August 26, 2008

#01-153: Reading Boomtown Chronicles 25

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: Do you live "in the shadow" of anything famous?

Boomtown Chronicles Part X - published Monday, August 18, 2008 (cont.)

  • OCT lies "in the shadow of Shekou..."

in the shadow of something: near. This sometimes means "under the influence of" or "overshadowed by" ("He grew up in the shadow of his famous father"), but here it simply means they're in the same area, though there may be a hint of Shekou's greater fame as well.

  • Splendid China in OCT is still "the world's largest miniature scenic spot."

"largest miniature": This is an oxymoron, a figure of speech that features opposites, like "little giant" or "wise fool."

  • The theme park features "scale replicas."

scale: a proportional relationship. The scale of the miniatures at Splendid China is 1:15, where 1 centimeter in the models, for example, equals 15 centimeters in the originals. In the phrase "scale replicas," scale works as an adjective to modify the noun "replicas," meaning "copies" or "models." Another way to say it would have been "replicas built to scale."

  • Splendid China was designed so Chinese "could get a taste of the whole country in a day."

taste: a small sample. Usually associate "taste" with the mouth (tasting food and drink, for example), but it can also mean to have a slight experience of something. And here, the miniature "samples" really are small!

  • The OCT Group's "confidence was boosted" when "more than 100 top-notch" experts supported the idea of Splendid China.

boost: increased; raised. Described as an American word of unknown origin, "boost" first appeared in the early nineteenth century. Some think it may have derived from "bustling," a word that describes busy activity.

top-notch: first rate; number one. Also originating in America around the same time as "boost. The meaning of "top" is obvious, but where does "notch" come from? It may have been a logging term, as "notch" can describe a mark cut in a tree. The logger who worked the "top notch" in a tree being cut down was less likely to be injured than the other workers down below.


Read more:

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

  1. boost
  2. in the shadow of
  3. oxymoron
  4. scale
  5. taste
  6. top-notch

  1. It's difficult to imagine the distance of a journey when the map is not to ________.
  2. I can't stand a too much opera, but I don't mind a ________ of it now and then.
  3. If this car is going to run, I'll need to find a ________ mechanic.
  4. Saying that "the silence was deafening" is kind of an ________.
  5. Taking vitamins can help ________ your immune system.
  6. Parisians are so lucky to grow up ________ the Eiffel Tower!

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for August 26, 2008

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