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Unit 4
Reading 1
Language points
1 Work in corporate America (Title) Corporate America is a general term given to a large non-government-owned organization or company in the United States, eg a bank, a marketing research company etc. It has both positive and negative connotations. Positively, it means that a company or an organization produces wealth and improves people’s living standards in a free market and competitive society by people working together to achieve the goals. This mainly refers to financial gains and success. Negatively, it seems to indicate the promotion of self-interest, financial gains, greed and irresponsibility in the workplace. 2 It is not surprising that modern children tend to look blank and dispirited when ... (Para 1) To look blank means that modern children show no sign of understanding or emotion about the corporate workplace, they seem unresponsive and have blank looks. Someone who is dispirited does not have the hope, enthusiasm or interest that they had earlier; they are in low spirits or downhearted. 3 The parent could take his offspring to his place of business and let him watch while he repaired a buggy or built a table. (Para 2) A buggy is a vehicle used for babies and toddlers by carers (parents, grandparents and adults in caring professions), to push them around. It is also called a pushchair. In the US, it is called a stroller. 4 When a child asked ? his father could answer in terms that a child could come to grips with, such as “I fix steam engines” or “I make horse collars”. (Para 3) The expression come to grips with normally means to face up to a problem, situation or difficult job and deal with it. Here, it means that someone gets to understand something that is difficult or unpleasant. It has the similar meaning as to come to terms with, tackle, handle, manage etc. Horse collars are made of leather and fit around animals’ necks to allow them

to pull heavy things. When horses are used to pull carts or carriages they wear horse collars. Here, in corporate America, this is a deliberate image of something very old-fashioned, just like steam engines. 5 How can he possibly envision anyone analyzing a system or researching a market? (Para 5) The word envision is a verb which means to show a visual scene in your mind, to imagine something that is outside your experience, which has not happened or does not exist. 6 Even grown men ? and it is a safe bet that the average systems analyst is as baffled about what a space salesman does at the shop as the average space salesman is about the tools needed to analyze a system. (Para 6) The expression it is a safe bet means that the speaker or writer is sure about something (they would be willing to risk money to confirm it).
Changing times Unit 4 117

A space salesman deals with the arrangements for the use of space in offices and other places: How many rooms might be needed for what purposes, what sorts of work people do in particular offices and how the office furniture and equipment can best be arranged for the maximum effectiveness, how much it costs to rent or use office accommodation in different parts of a city ... But probably, a space salesman mainly deals with people who want to rent office space. In this sentence the writer is saying he is quite sure that neither the systems analyst nor the space salesman knows about each other’s work and what they actually do. 7 The machines that make things make them in such a fashion that they will quickly fall apart in such a way that repairs will be prohibitively expensive. (Para 7) The expression in such a fashion means in a particular way or manner. The cost is prohibitively expensive when it prevents you from buying something, as it is beyond the limits of what you can afford. Or, we may say the cost is prohibitive. The sentence means that the machines make things in such a way that they will break or fall into pieces so that they can’t be cheaply repaired. It is implied that the things are made to be short-lasting so that the manufacturers can sell more later. 8 The handful of people remotely associated with these machines can, of course,

tell their inquisitive children “Daddy makes junk”. (Para 8) Inquisitive children are those who like to ask lots of questions, especially things that adults do not want to talk about. 9 Most of the workforce, however, is too remote from junk production to sense any contribution to the industry. (Para8) The sentence means most workers are distant from the process of junk production so they do not feel that their work has any part in it. 10 Others telephone to ascertain the whereabouts of paper. (Para 12) The expression ascertain the whereabouts of something means to find out where something is. 11 Back at the office, the father orders the paper retyped and reproduced in quintuplicate, and then sent to another man for comparison with paper that was reproduced in triplicate last year. (Para 16) The word quintuplicate means that something is made into five copies. To quadruplicate means to make into four copies; triplicate three copies; and duplicate two copies.

Dealing with unfamiliar words
4 Match the words in the box with their definitions. 1 old, broken or useless things (junk) 2 relating to large companies, or a particular large company (corporate) 3 to not approve of someone or something (disapprove) 4 to form a picture of someone or something in your mind (visualize) 5 an agreement in which you risk an amount of money by saying what you think will happen (bet) 6 to find out something (ascertain) 7 the space at the left or right side of a page where words are not usually printed or written (margin) 8 to discuss something with other people in order to reach a decision (confer) 9 important, respected, and admired (eminent) 10 to twist your face into an expression that shows you are angry (scowl) 5 Complete the sentences with the correct form of the words in Activity 4. 1 It’s not easy to visualize what life was like in the age of the steam engine. 2 If you disapprove of these plans, you should let me know exactly what you find wrong with them. 3 Thomas’ room is full of junk like broken electrical equipment and old computer parts he doesn’t need.

4 My bet is that this type of job won’t give you much satisfaction. 5 We’re going to need some time to confer with our lawyers before we make a decision. 6 The margins of the pages in this document have all been written on. 7 We can’t accept your application, without ascertaining the authenticity of your qualifications. 8 It was a corporate decision to close the bank, not the choice of any individual. 9 She’s a very nice person, and a very eminent professor. 10 Why is he scowling at me? What have I done? 6 Replace the underlined words with the correct form of the following words. You may need to make other changes. 1 A curious child is often eager to inquire about the jobs their parents do. (inquisitive) An inquisitive child is often eager to inquire about the jobs their parents do. 2 Most people think the decision they took is impossible to understand. (incomprehensible) 3 Could you write down any ideas you have during the meeting on this piece of paper? (jot) 4 You are very careful about noticing details if you can remember exactly what the manager was wearing. (observant) 5 I’m afraid we don’t know the place where Helen is right now. (whereabouts) I’m afraid we don’t know the whereabouts of Helen.
Changing times Unit 4 119

6 Don’t be unhappy and lacking in enthusiasm. I’m sure one of the applications will be successful. (dispirited) 7 I’d like to buy an open top car, but they’re all so terribly expensive. (prohibitively) 7 Answer the questions about the expressions. 1 If you look blank about something, do you (a) understand, or (b) not understand it? 2 If you come to grips with a problem, do you (a) start to deal with it, or (b) stop thinking about it? 3 When something falls apart, is it (a) in the wrong place, or (b) broken? 4 When something wears out, does it (a) not look very nice, or (b) become old and unusable? 5 If you mull over a problem, do you (a) think carefully about it for a long

time, or (b) quickly solve it? 6 Do people sometimes say “It beats me” because they (a) understand, or (b) don’t understand something?

Active reading (2)
Language points
1 There’s nothing new about our obsession with the new, says Dominic Sandbrook. (Introduction) Obsession is an emotional state in which someone or something is so important that you are always thinking about them, in a way that seems extreme to other people. 2 We live in a world of unprecedented, dazzling change. (Para 1) The word unprecedented means never having happened or existed before, eg an unprecedented situation, an unprecedented change. 3 Thanks to globalization, national frontiers are collapsing around us, while technological innovations are fundamentally reshaping our lives in ways we can barely comprehend. (Para 1) Because of the situation of globalization – that the whole world is developing a single complex economy, communication system and culture – it seems that there are no national borders and new technologies are influencing our lives in basic ways which we cannot really understand. 4 So run the clichés, anyway. (Para 2) A cliché refers to a phrase or idea that is boring because people use it a lot, and it is no longer original and sounds empty. The expression so run the clichés means these are the clichés you often hear. 5 But it is only our obsession with novelty, ignorance of deeper historical patterns and arrogant insistence on our own importance that leads us into this kind of talk. (Para 2) Historical patterns refer to major events in history which make patterns because they are related to each other or similar.
Changing times Unit 4 125

6 Yet there is a good case that we do not, in fact, live in very interesting times at all. (Para 2) A case here is a set of facts or arguments that you can state for or against

something. A case for something is positive support or a good case; a case against something is a counter-argument or reasons why the case is not valid; a poor case is weak and does not have solid facts or reasons behind it. You can state, make or argue a case. 7 Take the example of globalization, which, according to its American champion, Thomas Friedman ... influencing “the politics, environment, geopolitics and economics of virtually every country in the world”. (Para 3) The word champion here refers to someone who publicly supports or defends a set of beliefs or political aims, ie a strong supporter. Geopolitics means the study of how a country’s position, economy or population can influence its politics, especially in relation to other countries. 8 The Roman Empire, for example, is nothing if not a multi-ethnic, multicultural, transnational entity ? (Para 4) The word transnational means affecting or involving several countries. The prefix trans- means across. 9 And for all the hype about the Internet, the brutal truth is that most of us use it to do remarkably old-fashioned things ... (Para 6) Hype refers to the use of a lot of advertisements or other publicity to influence or interest people. To hype up means to make something sound more interesting or impressive than it is. The brutal truth refers to the truth that is extremely honest, given in a way that seems unkind. 10 We are always being told that the Internet has “opened up” the world, yet a staggering 90 per cent of all web traffic is local. (Para 6) The word staggering means extremely surprising. Many people would think that much or most use, or traffic, of the World Wide Web would be global or international, but the writer says that, surprisingly, 90 per cent is local. 11 When Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey ? talking to sentient computers and living on the Moon. (Para 7) Sentient computers are computers which are capable of feeling things through the physical senses. 12 But the cinema-goers of 1968 would have been deeply disappointed to realize

that in fact they would be living in Milton Keynes and watching Midsomer Murders. (Para 7) This sentence presents a contrast with the previous sentence which gave a picture that people had in 1968 of possibly going into space. Instead, their future turned out to be living in a very ordinary town of many new streets which all seem identical (like Milton Keynes) and watching detective stories about rural villages on TV (like Midsomer Murders, a TV series based in rural southern England). 13 Even our neophilia is nothing new. (Para 8) The prefix neo- means modern or new. The suffix -phile describes someone who loves or likes something; thus an anglophile likes English things, a francophile likes French things, a sinophile likes Chinese things. The word neophilia means the love of new things or novelties. 14 If so, then we are lucky, because we don’t. (Para 10) We are lucky because we don’t live in interesting times, which means we should avoid the chaos and anxiety of interesting times.

Dealing with unfamiliar words
5 Match the words in the box with their definitions. 1 an emotional state in which someone or something is so important to you that you are always thinking about them (obsession) 2 the study of the way that goods and services are produced and sold and the way money is managed (economics) 3 to proudly tell other people about what you have done or can do, or about something you own (boast) 4 a car (automobile) 5 an area or town near a large city but away from its centre, where there are many houses, especially for middle-class people (suburb) 6 a new idea, method, piece of equipment etc (innovation) 7 something that you suggest is true, although you do not say it directly (implication) 8 the limits of your experience (horizons) 6 Complete the sentences with the correct form of the words in Activity 5. 1 The middle-class dream used to be to live in a peaceful suburb and own a new automobile.

2 Today we have an obsession with healthy lifestyles and the latest technological innovations. 3 He has good reason to boast about the progress he has made in his career. 4 The implication is obvious: We are beginning to understand the impact of globalization. 5 Most of us need a professor of economics to explain how our horizons have been pushed back by the opening up of new world markets. 7 Replace the underlined words with the correct form of the words in the box. You may need to make other changes. Teaching tips Ss need to realize that some adjectives, eg unprecedented and plausible, that you are going to insert should go before the nouns. 1 The water has risen to levels which we have never seen before. (unprecedented) The water has risen to unprecedented levels. 2 Can you give me any reason which I can believe to explain what has happened? (plausible) Can you give me any plausible reason to explain what has happened? 3 I think that the decision was based on the fact that he doesn’t know anything. (ignorance) I think that the decision was based on his ignorance. 4 The news you’ve just given me is absolutely incredible. (staggering) 5 I hope this crisis will be followed by a period in which there is no change. (stability) 6 Are computers the best thing that ever happened to us, or a piece of bad luck caused by someone who wants to hurt us? (curse) 8 Answer the questions about the words and expressions. Teaching tips To go over the answers, T gives ten Ss a number, each between one and ten. T calls “One”, then S1 reads Question 1 to the class. He / She should choose the correct answer and make it a complete sentence. T calls “Two” and S2 reads Question 2 etc. T doesn’t need to say anything unless a student gives a wrong answer. In that case, T should ask other Ss to help them.
Changing times Unit 4 129

1 If a change is dazzling, is it (a) very impressive, or (b) not impressive at all? 2 If you use clichés in your writing, does your writing (a) contain some boring words or ideas that people have used a lot, or (b) contain lots of fresh thoughts? 3 If someone is arrogant, do they think that they (a) never, or (b) always know better than everyone else? 4 Is an entity something that (a) has, or (b) doesn’t have internal unity? 5 If you behave in a brutal way, are you (a) very gentle, or (b) very violent? 6 Do people who always grumble never seem (a) happy, or (b) unhappy about anything? 7 If you brag about something, do you talk (a) in a proud way that annoys people, or (b) patiently because it is hard to understand? 8 Is the advent of something another way of talking about (a) the appearance, or (b) the disappearance of something? 9 If you refer to the magnitude of a problem, do you think that it might be (a) big, or (b) small? 10 If something happens in the wake of something else, does it (a) come before it, or (b) follow it?

Language in use
in such a way / fashion that …
1 Rewrite the sentences using in such a way / fashion that … 1 Because of the way this office is built, it is difficult to avoid wasting energy on heating. This office is built in such a way that it is difficult to avoid wasting energy on heating. 2 Due to the way in which the instructions were written, I couldn’t understand how to assemble the product. The instructions were written in such a fashion that I couldn’t understand how to assemble the product. 3 Because of the way in which they welcomed me, I immediately felt at home in the new office. They welcomed me in such a way that I immediately felt at home in the new office. 4 Due to the way in which problems are dealt with, it is unlikely that the top managers ever get to know about them.

The problems are dealt with in such a fashion that it is unlikely that the top managers ever get to know about them. 5 Because of the way in which I was taught English, I will probably never forget it. I was taught English in such a way that I will probably never forget it.

word formation: in-, un-, dis2 Look at the sentences from the passage Work in corporate America and answer the question. What do the prefixes in-, un- and dis- have in common? They are all negative prefixes meaning not. 3 Replace the underlined words with the word in brackets and the appropriate prefix. You may need to make other changes. 1 I’m afraid Matthew has turned out to be no good at his job. (competent) I’m afraid Matthew has turned out to be incompetent at his job. 2 I don’t have the same opinion as you. I think he’s doing fine. (agree) I disagree with you. I think he’s doing fine. 3 If you click here, you can cancel the last change you made to the document. (do) If you click here, you can undo the last change you made to the document. 4 How many people are without a job in this town? (employed) How many people are unemployed in this town? 5 I didn’t know that you had introduced all these new rules. (aware) I was unaware that you had introduced all these new rules. 6 Obviously, it wasn’t our intention not to obey the orders. (obey) Obviously, it wasn’t our intention to disobey the orders.
Unit 4 Changing times 134

7 I’ve had a look at the report and I think it is not complete. (complete) I’ve had a look at the report and I think it is incomplete. 8 I don’t know my colleagues very well, but I don’t have any bad feelings towards them. (like) I don’t know my colleagues very well, but I don’t dislike them. 9 I’m afraid that software is not compatible with our system. (compatible) I’m afraid that software is incompatible with our system.

for all + noun phrase

4 Rewrite the sentences using for all + noun phrase. 1 Although we are concerned about the environment, there is little that we can do to protect it. For all our concern about the environment, there is little that we can do to protect it. 2 He has a lot of knowledge about the world of finance, but he doesn’t seem to know how to invest money wisely. For all his knowledge about the world of finance, he doesn’t seem to know how to invest money wisely. 3 Although she said a lot of kind words, I don’t think she really appreciated just how much time we had spent on this project. For all her kind words, I don’t think she really appreciated just how much time we had spent on this project. 4 He has hundreds of bright ideas about developing new products, but he never seems able to put them down on paper. For all his bright ideas about developing new products, he never seems able to put them down on paper. 5 I do have a lot of doubts about this new software, but I recognize that it is quite innovative. For all my doubts about this new software, I recognize that it is quite innovative.

as + adj. … as
5 Rewrite the sentences using as + adj. … as. 1 I am confused about how to apply for the job. Similarly, they are confused about who can apply. I am as confused about how to apply for the job as they are about who can apply. 2 My wife and I were worried about staying longer than we were supposed to. Similarly, our hosts were worried that we might not have enjoyed the meal. My wife and I were as worried about staying longer as our hosts were that we might not have enjoyed the meal. 3 Our generation knows little about cassette recorders and record players. Similarly our parents know little about iPods and MP3 players. Our generation knows as little about cassette recorders and record players as our parents know about iPods and MP3 players.

4 We are curious about what he does for a living. Similarly, he is curious about what our company does. We are as curious about what he does for a living as he is about what our company does.
Changing times Unit 4 135

5 I have very little idea about how to shoe a horse. Similarly, he doesn’t have much idea about how to repair a motorbike. I have as little idea about how to shoe a horse as he has about how to repair a motorbike.

collocations
6 Read the explanations of the words. Answer the questions. 1 margin This word usually means the space at the side of a page where you don’t write anything. (a) Do you have a habit of jotting notes in the margin when reading books? Yes, I do. But other people just take notes on a separate piece of paper because they don’t want to spoil the book. (b) If you win an election by a narrow margin, how big is the victory? The victory is not big; it is just a narrow or close victory. (c) What sort of problems are faced by people who live on the margins of society? They may face social and economic problems because they have fewer opportunities and may find it difficult to join the mainstream society. (d) If the margin of error in a calculation is very small, what are the chances that the calculation is wrong? The chances are small and any errors are likely to be very small. 2 ignorance This word usually means lack of knowledge or facts about something. (a) If an answer that you give betrays your ignorance, how do you feel? You feel embarrassed because your answer has shown people your ignorance and most people do not like to show this in public. (b) Do you think that ignorance of the law can ever be an excuse for breaking it? It’s a human excuse because it means that you didn’t know the law on that point, but it is not a legal excuse. (c) Do you know of any decisions that have been taken but which were based on ignorance? Yes. In the early days of the stock market in China, some people bought shares

in the belief that all shares would make money quickly, but later they lost money when the shares lost value. They bought the shares in ignorance about how the market works and they had little idea of the risks. 3 sheer This word is usually used for emphasizing the amount or degree of something. (a) If somebody tells you that your company is sheer delight, how would you feel? I would feel complimented because that’s a nice thing to say to anyone. (b) If you were overcome by sheer weight of numbers, was it the quality or quantity of the opposition that defeated you? It would have been the quantity of the opposition, eg the large number of opponents. (c) Do you think it is easy to climb a sheer cliff face? Not at all, because that kind of cliff is nearly vertical and it is very difficult to climb without training.
Unit 4 Changing times 136

7 Translate the paragraphs into Chinese. 1 Even grown men who do market research have trouble visualizing what a public relations man does with his day, and it is a safe bet that the average systems analyst is as baffled about what a space salesman does at the shop as the average space salesman is about the tools needed to analyze a system. 即使是那些从事市场研究工作的成年人也难很想象公关部的人每天都在做些什么。 一名普通 的系统 分析师肯定不知道空间推销员在店里都干些什么, 就好像空间推销员对分析系统的工具也一 窍不通 一样。 2 So run the clichés, anyway. But it is only our obsession with novelty, ignorance of deeper historical patterns and arrogant insistence on our own importance that leads us into this kind of talk. Hoping to prove our superiority over the generations that preceded us, we boast that we live in a period of unprecedented change. Yet there is a good case that we do not, in fact, live in very interesting times at all. 不管怎么说,这就是那耳熟能详的套话。可是,让我们有这种论调的正是缘自我们对新奇事 物的过 度迷恋, 对深层次历史模式的无知, 以及我们的狂妄自大。 为了证明相比于先辈们的优越性,

我们 夸耀说自己生活在一个前所未有的变革期。但是,有一个很好的例子可以用来证明,实际上 我们并 没有生活在多么有趣的时代。

8 Translate the paragraphs into English. 1 我们根本就看不懂他们的计划书, 因为他们的观点不太容易把握。 这很可能是因为我们双 方对于 另一方的思维方式都感到同样的困惑。我认为应该安排一次面谈,让大家消除误会,扫除沟 通的 障碍。(make of; come to grips with; it’s a safe bet that; as baffled ? as) We couldn’t make of their proposal at all, because it was no easy job for us to come to grips with their perspective. It was a safe bet that we were as much baffled about their way of thinking as they were about ours. I think we need to arrange a meeting to clear up misunderstandings and to remove communication barriers. 2 从与他共事二十多年的一位同事所写的传记中不难得出这样的结论: 他所代表的绝对是该 国二战之 后的精英阶层,他们在宗教和政治方面的观念较为保守。(nothing if not; in the wake of; in terms of) From a biography written by one of his former colleagues who had worked with him for more than two decades, it is not difficult to conclude that what he represented was nothing if not the elite class of the country in the wake of World War II, who were rather conservative in terms of religious and political views.


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