August 18, 2008

#01-149: Reading Boomtown Chronicles 21

wide view of an urban area with bushes in the foreground, over which is written "READING BOOMTOWN CHRONICLES"
Shenzhen, the Boomtown

Note: Between Lesson #01-128 and #01-207, I wrote 72 lessons explaining expressions in articles published in the Shenzhen Daily. Read more about "Reading Boomtown Chronicles."

Get Ready: What are some of the major milestones you've passed in your life?

Boomtown Chronicles Part IX - published Monday, August 11, 2008

  • Title: "Auction fires first shot for land reform."

firing the first shot: doing something for the first of many times, and before others, like the shot that begins a battle.

  • Subtitle: "Solution to financial dilemma."

dilemma: a problem. Properly speaking, a dilemma indicates a choice to be made between two equally valid options, since the first syllable in the word "dilemma," di-, means "two." Sometimes, however, we just use it to mean a generalized problem, as here.

  • the rights to use land

use: Here, it's a verb; the u is fairly long, and the s is voiced (sounding like z). But in the term "land use rights," we have a noun (working here as part of an adjective); the s retains its unvoiced s sound, and the u is shorter. We generally hold vowels longer when they come before voiced sounds instead of unvoiced sounds. Compare, for example, "face" and "phase," or "feet" and "feed."

  • The city reached a "milestone."

milestone: any noteworthy event in the course of history; a marker of progress. If you look carefully along the side of a highway, you'll see markers noting the distance from one end of the highway. In China, these are stated in kilometers, but historically in England (and other countries using the English system), they were marked in miles, hence they were "milestones." As with "landmark" (see Lesson #01-143), a reference to space or distance has become a reference to time.

  • Luo Jinxing won "the tender for China's first land use rights transfer..."

tender: an offer. You may be confused here, as the word "tender" has several meanings. You can compare the use here to the word "extend," another word for offer.

  • "the tide of land reform"

tide: The image is of a swelling sea ("tide") that cannot be held back to describe the onslaught of change that occurred in Shenzhen.


Read more:

Practice: Choose the correct term to fill in the blank in the sentence below:

  1. dilemma
  2. firing the first shot
  3. milestone
  4. tender
  5. tide
  6. use (rhymes with "news")
  7. use (rhymes with "goose")

  1. The board has decided to refuse the ________ from the European conglomerate.
  2. After ________, the team had a disappointing second quarter.
  3. We need to find a good ________ for our wastewater.
  4. We need to capitalize on the ________ of increased mobile-phone use.
  5. Once we resolve this ________, we can proceed to the next level.
  6. We plan to ________ the same accountant we had last year.
  7. Our company is about to celebrate five years, a real ________ in such a young industry.

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for August 18, 2008

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. e; 2. b; 3. g; 4. a; 5. d; 6. f; 7. c