December 04, 2008

#01-192: Reading Boomtown Chronicles 62

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 #01-208, I wrote 72 lessons explaining expressions in articles published in the Shenzhen Daily. Read more about "Reading Boomtown Chronicles."

Get Ready: What sorts of incentives might cause you to work harder?

Boomtown Chronicles Part XXII - published Monday, November 24, 2008 (cont.)

decade: a ten-year period (as a century is a hundred). The root dec- means "ten." We find it in words like "decimal" (the system of numbers based on 10), and "December," which in the early Roman times was the tenth month (before January and February were added to the calendar).

GDP: Gross Domestic Product, one way to measure a nation's economy. It's defined as "the total market value of all final goods and services produced within the country in a given period of time." Put simply, it could be called the amount of monetary value generated inside the country.

venture capital: money "ventured," or risked, in order to finance a new or expanding enterprise (and thus, hopefully, enrich the investors). (See Lesson #01-178 for more.)

innovative: nov- means "new"; in- has the same meaning as in English. So to in-nov-ate means to "put something new into" the world.

incentive: a kind of reward; something that moves someone to make a greater effort. This word is a bit complicated in its origins. The in- is still English "in." However, the cen(t)- may be from canere meaning "to sing," or from cinere, meaning "to strike." In either case, the meaning is colorful: it meant to "set the tune" or "strike up the band," leading the way for a musical performance. So one who provides "incentives" is encouraging others to perform their best!

integrated: made whole; unified into a single system, as in "integrated industry chains." This in- is part of the Latin root word integer, meaning entire or whole. In- here means "not," as "integer" meant at its root "not touched" (and by extension "not divided," as when we say that something or someone that survives an attack has been left "untouched"). You may know the English word "integer" meaning a "whole number," not a fraction--a number that has not been divided (it is "integral").


Read more:

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

  1. decade
  2. GDP
  3. incentive
  4. innovative
  5. integrated
  6. venture capital

  1. The company's system of performance-based bonuses provides a real ________ to the employees.
  2. The ________ of the country improved dramatically as it turned from agriculture to manufacturing.
  3. The start-up company was going to need more ________ if it was going to survive.
  4. The modern use of ________ supply chains--where everything is connected to everything else--has reduced the cost of logistics.
  5. From the freshman year of university to the completion of a PhD can easily take a ________.
  6. We've tried everything else, so now we're going to have to find ________ ways to cut costs if we want to increase our profits.

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for December 4, 2008

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