Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. Welcome back to Ask Alisha, the weekly series where you ask me questions and I answer them. Maybe.
First question this week comes from Angel McNamara or Angel McNamara. Hi. "Hi, Alisha and team. I read this sentence: 'Having weighed up the pros and cons, he decided against resigning.' Present participle. Can you please explain that to me?" Okay. So, to my understanding, this question is about the use of the present participle in "resigning," in "decided against resigning." So, we can use the present participle to function as a noun. So, this can take the position of the subject of a sentence, the object of a sentence, indirect object, it can have many different functions. Here, it's functioning as the object of the preposition "against." So, "against resigning," it's the object of this preposition "against." So, "decided against" is kind of, it's an idiomatic phrase. To decide against something, to decide against a noun phrase, means to decide not to do that thing. Here, "decided against resigning" means he decided not to resign. But, we're just using this idiomatic expression, "decided against something." But, yes, here, the present participle is acting as a noun. We can do this. We call this a gerund. Here are a couple of other examples of gerunds in different parts of speech. "Cleaning bores me. I always try to finish as quickly as possible." Here, cleaning is the subject of the verb "bores" and the object of the verb is "me." So, "cleaning" here is the gerund. We're seeing it as the present participle form of the verb "clean."
"We love cooking because we can try lots of different things. At home!" Okay, in this example sentence, "cooking" is the gerund. And, in this case, it's functioning as the object of the verb, "love," "We love cooking." These are just a couple of examples of the different positions that gerunds can take in sentences. But, yes, we use this present participle as a noun in different places in sentences. I hope that this helps answer your question. Thanks very much. All right. Let's move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Dang. Hi, Dang. Dang says, "What is IPA? I'm really confused about it." Okay. In language learning, IPA stands for International Phonetic Alphabet. The International Phonetic Alphabet is different from the standard alphabet like the ABCs that many of us know. This is different from the standard alphabet because the phonetic alphabet is an alphabet of sounds. It's an alphabet for pronunciation. So, when we learn the ABC is like many native speakers, I think most native speakers probably know like the ABC song, A, B, C, D, E, F, G song. In that song though, we learn the names of the letters. We don't actually learn how we pronounce those letters. So, like a good example, is like the second and third letters of the alphabet song, B and C. So, we learned that B is called B, but we don't actually learn how to pronounce B. With the phonetic alphabet though, we learned that B makes a "buh" sound. And, if we want to get really specific, there are a couple of marks that show us exactly what kind of "buh" sound a B is supposed to make. With a complex letter like C though, the phonetic alphabet can be super useful. So, in the alphabet song, we learned that the letter is C, but we don't learn all the different pronunciations that we can make with this letter. So, of course, there's the "cuh" pronunciation as in like cat or car or cape, but we don't actually hear that in the song. So, this "cuh" sound is represented with a K actually, in the phonetic alphabet. When we pair C with another letter, like CH to make the "ch" sound, we see this sound represented with a different letter in the phonetic alphabet, So, it's like cheat, or chair, or chat.
So, the phonetic alphabet can show us pronunciations. Even if we don't know exactly how we should read a word like the first time we see it, we can find the pronunciation in many dictionaries with the phonetic alphabet. For example, if I look for the word "chair" in an online dictionary that uses the phonetic alphabet, I'll find a spelling like this. So, it uses that "ch" symbol, which doesn't look like a C, and then it ends with this "er" part. So, this "ER" refers specifically to the "er" sound. If you look at an International Phonetic Alphabet chart, you'll see some symbols that are the same as the standard alphabet, like with consonants like B or K sounds, for example. But, when you're looking at like vowel sounds and some of these special sounds like "ch" for example, you'll notice that there are these new symbols. So, if you look at these sorts of symbols and kind of study them as sort of sounds instead of just names, instead of just like symbols, you can use these to help with your pronunciation of something. So, if I'm learning and I don't know any rules of pronunciation, I might think the word chair is pronounced like "ka-hair" or something, if I'm reading each letter individually. With IPA, however, I can look at this information and I can understand the correct pronunciation easily as long as I've studied the sounds.
This is a quick introduction to the IPA and how you might use it. So, I hope that this is helpful for you. If you want to know more about the IPA, I would suggest a Google search for an IPA chart. You can find a few of them online. Wikipedia has a nice one and a nice explanation. And, there are some that you can find that will play audio So, you can click a button near a symbol and it will give you the sound for that. So, the symbol corresponds to a sound, not just a letter name. So, I hope that that helps you.
As a side note, IPA also has a beer reference. IPA also means Indian Pale Ale or India Pale Ale. So, quite different from the alphabet we're talking about here. But don't get them confused. There are those two very common abbreviations, IPA, or the very common initialisms rather. Okay. So, I hope that that helps you. Thanks very much for this question. Let's move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Alam. Hi, Alam. Alam says, "Hi, Alisha. I want to learn English by watching movies. So, should I watch it with or without subtitles? And should the subtitles be in English also or in the language that I understand?" Yeah, we get this question a lot. What I usually say or what I try to say, what I recommend is that you plan to watch your movie or your TV show more than once. So, the strategy that I like to use and that I have used in the past is to watch one time with subtitles in your native language. So, in my case, I watched with English subtitles. So, in this example, I was watching a Japanese TV show. So, I watched it one time with all the subtitles on in English. So, I could read everything, but I was listening in Japanese in this case. So, as I was doing this, I was picking up like commonly used words in the series. I was picking up grammar points that they used a lot, and I was listening to different speaking styles that the different characters used. So, in this way, I had like this kind of basis for the story that I could gain and I had kind of this understanding of like, "Okay, this is the way these different people talk." I was kind of prepared.
Then after a gap, I went back and I watched it again without subtitles. So, this forced me to try to remember the words that I heard and that I saw on screen in English the first time around. But, it also kind of forced me to make guesses. So, of course, I couldn't remember everything and that meant I had to try to make an educated guess about the situation. So, if the characters used a word I didn't know, I had to think about like, "What did they do when I was watching this the first time and I had subtitles on?" So, based on that, I could try to guess what words meant, if that makes sense. So, I remembered seeing this episode in the past, maybe I can remember the sorts of things that happened in this episode, and maybe I can make a guess about what they're talking about now. So, actually, when I was first watching the series, I was also studying Japanese in university. So, that really helped me to improve my vocabulary and grammar and just kind of be able to enjoy the series and enjoy watching it a little bit more. And having a little bit of space between my first viewing and my second viewing also helped me see just how much I had improved. So, I would say maybe if you're planning on using a movie or a TV show, like try to space out your viewings a little bit. So, don't watch it like one time with subtitles, one time without subtitles, like in the same day. So, try to space out your learning a little bit. So, you give your brain a little time to try to recall the information. Then, maybe you can try if you want to, you can try watching the movie with English subtitles after that to review again and to practice your reading as well. So, this is something that I would do. I hope that this is helpful for you. This was fun and helpful for me. So, maybe it'll work well for you. So, thanks very much for sending this question along and good luck and enjoy your movie studies. Okay, let's move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Arjun Singh. Hi, Arjun. Arjun says "Hi, Alisha. Could you please tell me the difference between 'stress' and 'depression?'" Okay. So, this is kind of a tough question because, for some people, stress and depression are very closely linked. So, I'll speak very generally about this. "Stress" refers to the everyday feelings that we have that are negative. So, this is like your anxiety, your worries, maybe from lots of work or lots of study to do or you feel tired or you make a mistake, you have problems. This is all of the negative stuff that happens that we think about, that we kind of carry in our minds. We call that stress. So, some examples in a sentence, "I'm under a lot of stress at work right now." "You need to reduce the stress in your life."
"Depression," on the other hand, refers to a medical condition in many cases. For some people, there's something called seasonal depression which usually happens in winter, and it's like this feeling of sadness, loneliness, this kind of empty feeling that people experience. For other people, depression is year round. It's this really, really, like unhappy, persistent, unhappy feeling that never really goes away. So, maybe people with depression can have trouble with everyday tasks, or they might have trouble getting out of bed or eating. So, this very kind of basic things may be difficult for people with depression. So, that's considered a medical issue and some people get treatment for depression. So, depression is something that's constant, something that's like a constant emotional state or a medical state that requires treatment. Stress, on the other hand, is temporary, or in most cases, it's temporary. It's something that kind of comes and goes with life. Depression is something that's a much longer period. So, some examples of depression: "A friend of mine is struggling with depression." "Do you have a history of depression?" I hope this helps you understand the differences. Remember, stress kind of comes and goes for most people, and depression is a medical condition that sometimes requires treatment. Thanks very much for the question. All right, let's move on to your next question.
Next question comes from Ahmad Reza. Hi, Ahmad. Ahmad says, "Hi, Alisha. What's the difference between 'college' and 'university?'" Oh, yeah. In general conversation, we tend to use these words exactly the same. I would say too, in American English, we tend to use college more often than university. But, the actual difference is that colleges offer just undergraduate education. So, an undergraduate education in the US is four years. So, that's a bachelor's degree. You get a bachelor's degree when you finish your undergraduate education. A university, however, offers undergraduate and graduate education. So, at a university, students can get a bachelor's degree, a Master's, they can get their PhD there. So, a university offers more courses, more opportunities for education than a college. But, as I said, in conversation these days, most people use them interchangeably. For example, I might say, like, "I applied to five universities last year." We probably wouldn't say, "I applied to two colleges and three universities last year," because we consider them pretty much the same. So, if you want to be super specific, I guess you could, but it might sound a little unnatural to use college and university in the same sentence like that. So, again, generally, we use them the same way, but specifically, there are those differences in terms of the courses that are offered. So, I hope that this helps you. Thanks very much for the question.
All right. That's everything that I have for this week. Thank you, as always, for sending your questions. Remember, you can send them to me at EnglishClass1on1.com/ask-Alisha. Thanks very much for watching this week's episode of Ask Alisha and I will see you again next week. Bye-bye.