Group three

Group Three Thursdays 10.30 – 12.00  Upper Intermediate,

Bibliothek, Gemeindehaus, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt Gemeinde,

Onkel-Tom-Straße 80, 14169 Berlin

To find out what to do for next week, scroll to the bottom!

This is a group of people who are interested in all the usual things which will help them improve and remember their English. Some want to use their English travelling or talking to visitors, some need it for relatives-in-law and some…….

A lot of the time they are talking in groups of twos and threes.


Welcome to 2016 – and Neil McGregor’s  ‘A History of the World in 100 Objects’

which is published as a book made from his 2010 broadcasts on BBC. Here are the useful links either to download as a pdf or to look up individually:

links for ‘´McGregor A History of the World

1) Home:

So here you can find the podcasts, lists, pictures (but not directly the transcripts)


= list of 100 objects and possibilities of getting to other pages


= where you can go to download podcasts of McGregor’s talks

4) In order to find a transcript you need to go to

then choose the episode or object you want,

click onto that

then scroll to the bottom of the4 page and

click on: “Transcript

Read the programme transcript“ – which will take you to the individual transcript.

 the Victorian Teaset –


 the Lewis Chessmen -

We have now finished with Tim Harford and his 50 ideas at least for the moment. . After Christmas we will be talking about George Orwell to whom a statue has just been erected outside the BBC. I will order books for us all at Buchhandlung Born in the Ladenstraße.

Welcome to 2018!

We are going to be talking a bit about George Orwell

including his short story ‘On Shooting an Elephant’, his fairy story ‘Animal Farm’ and the dystopia 1984.

We  have read and talked about ‘Animal Farm’ and will also have talked about ‘On Shooting an Elephant’ by Easter.

On April 12th we’ll be talking about one chapter out of 1984 which is about language and then on 19th, before some of us go to Scotland, we can round off our readings of Orwell for the moment.

Please read this for April 12th Newspeak (text from Ch 5, ’1984′)


Still within the context of Orwell’s ideas I would like to practise listening – listening to an interview between a BBC reporter and Daniel Ellsberg.

Here is most of the interview for you to look at it before 17th IF YOU WISH.witness the pentagon papers ellsberg transcript

Here is the interview (9 minutes) if you would like to listen to it at home Ellsberg witness

We’ll listen to it together on 17th May (and probably start to talk about Universal Basic Income)

We are then changing our emaphasis and before reading something new, probably ‘The Giver’ by Lois Lowry, I would like to talk about Universal Basic Income because we have often mentioned it.

For May 24th please read: U B I Scotland BBC

Here is a little vocabulary help vocab for citizens income BBC

In addition there are various other interesting articles. Here is a selection for you to have a look at:

1,      2,        basic income dot org summary                covering all experiments u b i

canada+           Glasgow universalbasic income              Scotland plan for ubi – bids

Scotland united universal basic income kenya           

Universal basic income US support grows as Finland ends its trial                                       

           U B I Scotland BBC

Now we have talked about UBI, about protecting children from danger and next week (June 7th) (via supermarket sweep historical legacy)we will get round to talking about the meaning of our nation’s historic legacy for ourselves. Then we will move on to Lois Lowry’s ‘The Giver’ not because it is great literature but because it throws up a few similar topics – we’ll start to look at it probably on 7th, too.

Reading chapter 2 for Thursday 21st June:

- What do we learn about Jonas’ character (assuming that he has one)?

- And again, which aspects of their society are familiar to us from our and which are quite different?

- What kind of mood do you think Lois Lowry wants to put us in?

Here is the lesson for June 28th. There is no meeting on July 4th so we meet again on 12th. Group Three 28th June 2018 vocab

The twelfth of July 2012/2018: For Christa and Monika

Twas the 12th of July 2012:

My Thursday commitments I’ll shelve*.

I know what I need:

To talk English and read;

In my now fallow** English I’ll delve***.

Six years ago two of you came:

Over Sixties’ became the new name.

We must learn’ you both said,

We have talked, we have read:

And now more of you do just the same.

And so we were born: ‘Over Sixties’:

Your English not good? Here we fix it.

Some left and more came,

It is never the same,

But we’re glad we are all ‘Over Sixties’.

You all seem to like coming here

And know there is nothing to fear

So with hard work and chat

You know what you’re at

May we go on for many a year!

Dear Christa, I must say ‘We miss you’

Not just me, the others do, too.

We hope you’re OK,

In the autumn you’ll say:

Yes, now I have energy new!’

(*aufschieben **brach liegen *** mich vertiefen)

Continuing with ‘The Giver’ we’ll be talking about chapters 6 – 9 on July 19th. We’ll go through the questions that we all have in more detail – you have my paper – before we go on. Here are the last of them:

- Have you ever been in a situation where you knew other people’s attitude to
you had changed? That they whispered behind your back? (9)
- In general how do you feel about lying? Do you try never to lie? Can it be useful
to lie? What does our society think about it, really? (9)
- Under what circumstances do you (and other members of our society) use
medication? How is it regulated? Can one get round this regulation – and for what
reasons would one try? (9)

Later, to talk about before reading the following chapters:
- Under which circumstances have other people stood up to show you their
respect? When do you stand up to show other people respect? (10)
- When do you personally lock doors? (Abschließen) When do we encounter locked
doors in daily life? (10)
- Jonas is going to receive memory. Jonas thinks he is going to listen to the
Receiver telling him about his childhood. To what extent have you, in your life,
listened willingly and with pleasure to older people talking about times gone by ?
- But that is not what Jonas is going to receive. He is going to receive ‘the
memories of the whole world’. What do you think this means, what it involves
and includes.

Group Three 16.08.2018 ‘Giver’ chapters 13/14

Elsewhere? We talked about whether it existed. Here is proof from the BBC

(Cows on nudist beaches, stealing in NZ). But this is really just for the headline.

Chapter 12:

Lest we forget’ day? I told you rubbish about the origin of the word ‘Lest’ – Old English, less that = conjunctive adverb (!!!)

- Some time I would like to discuss (and decide?) what history questions should be asked of a person who has applied for German citizenship.

- What do you do when you try to remember something? Is it similar regardless of whether it is an event or a name? (cf. p. 76)

- Everyone in the community has one-generation-memories like those’ (p. 76 l.29) says the Giver. How about our society?

- ‘Our people made that choice’ for Sameness. (p. 78, l.14). Who made the decision? ‘…when we relinquished sunshine and did away with the differences’.

(Jonas feels strongly that that was a wrong decision.) Which comparably far-reaching decisions have our society taken or do we have ahead of us? Etc.

(Death penalty, assisted dying, NHS, ???)

Words and terms:

p. 73, l. 20 significant = important, having a special meaning.Maßgeblich, erheblich etc., signifikant = techn.

p. 73, l. 22 shed (haaren, Arbeitsplätze abbauen….:-)!!! cf shed light on

p. 75, l.7 frowning (why?) – movement of eyebrows to….annoyed, worried; (finster blicken, mißbilligen?)

p. 75, l. 13 flustered (wuschig, agitated, confused – origin drunken)

p. 77, l. 33 chuckled – laugh quietly, inwardly (glucksen, kichern?)

p. 78, l. 14 shrugged (What does that express?)

p. 78, l. 21 wryly (ironisch, verdreht, dry, possibly mocking humour; indicating disapproval. Origin Old French, surly look

Chapters 13 and 14

What do you think is important and should be discussed?

1. p. 79, l. 12: ‘It isn’t fair that nothing has colour!’.

l. 23: ‘But it’s the choosing that’s important, isn’t it?’

l. 35 making the wrong choices;

p. 80, l.l.3 letting people make the wrong choices

- of mate, of job

People need protecting from wrong choices. (Do they? How far is this possible? Garden onf Eden? Not for nothing that so many theologians theoretise about it.)

2. Jonas’ anger at their satisfaction with their lives; cf Lily is ‘indifferent’ p. 82

3. Loss of our (conservative) idea of family – Jonas can’t talk to spouse; none of them can be a grandparent…..So what does life consist of? Suffering? Knowing more? (That factual knowledge makes no sense when not embedded in its context p. 85 The question of fulfilment in all their lives.)

NB Things we have already commented on, or partly:

- Touching being rude and, hence, painful;

- stuffed toy up on a shelf (regulated), unreal;

- old people no long in family unit – not grandparents, for instance;

- function of Receiver- hardly ever called upon because they don’t want change.

But they do need Receiver to protect themselves from the burden of memory and, hence,

suffering! (Cf Rosemary.)

- Jonas is still afraid of them being overheard.

- no leisure time for citizens (but he sometimes has to go away). Do we need recreation because we carry so many burdens?

- looking at the bridge to Elsewhere. (Adjacent communities seem to be basically trhe same).

What else do YOU want to discuss? (including the next chapter)

Chapter 13/14 Jonas offers himself for some of the Giver’s pain – and gets it.

- makes him lonely because the others do not know pain or other things; isn’t allowed to talk to them…..

- function of hunger to avoid wars (p. 90 cf Trump?)

- wanting to change things, share the burden

NB Lily would like a different baby if Gabriel is released. (Understandable but hard-hearted.); mother worries that father might have to release one twin;

- Jonas’ thoughts on where the second twin will go (p. 92)

- Jonas takes Gabriel for a night and gives him some memories easily. (Reasons?) He had tried with Asher and his family with no success.

Cf Chapter 15 (p. 95) Giver looks away as if he can’t bear what he has done to Jonas. Why could that be?

For next week (23rd) chapters 15 and 16, and for 30th chapters 71 and 18, leaving the rest and the thinking to be done for September 27th.

We’ll finish reading ‘The Giver’ for Sept 27th.

- consider, of course, what interested you most about the book, for whom it couild be stimulating a n d formulate your criticism.