October 23, 2008

#01-175: Reading Boomtown Chronicles 47

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: Have you ever had to "race against time" for anything?

Boomtown Chronicles Part XVII - published Monday, October 13, 2008 (cont.)

  • One of the most fascinating words in the article is "annals."

annals: a chronicle; a written history. The root is annus, meaning year. We see this root in many, many words. "Annual" means "yearly"; an "anniversary" is a yearly recognition of some event; in the pure Latin form, per annum means "for each year"; and few realize that the designation "A.D." (as in "This year is 2008 A.D.") stands for anno domini, meaning "year of the lord," since we count years from the approximate year of the birth of Jesus Christ (much as Imperial China counted years in terms of an emperor's reign).

The root also shows up in a slightly changed form: "biennial" means "biannual," or every two years, and "perennial" means, essentially, forever (every year). "Annual" can also be a noun: the yearbook produced by schools with pictures of the students might be called a "high school annual." As a noun it also refers to a plant that lives only one year, such as some flowers that bloom and die in a single season. (Flowers that come back every year are called "perennials.")

  • A school in Bao'an District was "razed" last year.

razed: torn down; demolished. "The building was razed" and "The building was raised" sound exactly the same, but have exactly opposite meanings! "Razed" comes from a Latin word meaning "to scrape." We see it in such common words as "erase" and "razor."

  • "His worries are not groundless."

Grammar point: This contains a double negative. "Not" + "-less" equals a positive, Our teachers always said this wasn't allowed. And yet, this construction is considered rather elegant. It's a sort of understatement. If I say, "I'm not unhappy," it means I'm not jumping up and down with joy, but I'm peaceful or contented.

  • Archeologists are often "racing with time."

racing with time: trying to beat a deadline. As Shenzhen speeds forward, building the infrastructure for the future, often the old has to make way for the new. And there just aren't enough financial and staff resources to find, study, and protect all of our built heritage. The limiting factor is time; that's what Mr. Zhang's team is "racing" with.


Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shenzhen

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

  1. annals
  2. anniversary
  3. annual
  4. biennial
  5. per annum
  6. perennial
  7. racing with time
  8. razed

  1. No one gets rich in the classroom: the average teacher's salary in the U.S. is $54,000 ________.
  2. Kids and grandparents love the Beatles; they're a ________ favorite.
  3. It's a shame that the house my dad was born in was ________ to make way for a new apartment building.
  4. He came to America half a century ago, so this is the 50th ________ of his arrival.
  5. To cut costs in half, they decided to stop meeting every year and make it a ________ conference instead.
  6. Every year, we look forward to our ________ family reunion.
  7. Her victory went down in the ________ of the school's sports records.
  8. The doctors had to work fast to get him into surgery; they were ________ to stop the bleeding.

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for October 23, 2008

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. g; 2. d; 3. f; 4. e; 5. a; 6. b; 7. h; 8. c; 9. i; 10. j