Второй Всероссийской дистанционной олимпиады по английскому языку для студентов-гуманитариев

"Just Train Your Brain"

Дорогие конкурсанты!
Выполняя задние финала, помните что:
краткость - сестра таланта,
один оригинальный ответ лучше трех скучных,
даже самую блестящую мысль может испортить неправильная грамматика.

Solve the following puzzles:

Give a brief answer to each question and justify your ideas.

1) One tale may be taken as an illustration of Confuciuce's consideration of differences. A pupil asked him a question, "When we hear a good proposal, should we put it into practice at once?". "You should always first ask someone with more experience," Another, student asked Confucius the same question. To him Confucius replied, "Of course you should put it into practice at once." A third student who had heard both answers, puzzled by their apparent contradiction, asked Confucius about it.

What was Confucius's answer?

Confucius was reputed to be a renowned teacher, and such reputation was well deserved: he developed and effectively utilized an individual approach to every student. Thus, the first pupil was deemed too light-headed and required restraint, while the second one, on the contrary, lacked decisiveness and demanded a corresponding incentive. Indeed, verbum sapienti saepet. (Антон Диденко)

Confucius's answer was: "The same question has different answers for different people: the first pupil has little experience, but the second one has enough experience to act by himself. In fact the best way is at first to sit down and consider whether the proposal given to you is good or bad, only afterwards you may ask for someone else's opinion or put the proposal into practice. But I've given these pieces of advice, so that the pupils could learn from their own experience. Experience is sometimes the best teacher". (Алексей Горобий)

2) A legend says that Alexander the Great cried after one of his many victories.

What do you think upset him?
Alex the Great:

Indeed, Alexander cried, and those were the tears of a pitiful conqueror, who had nothing else to conquer. Such is the way of things in this mortal realm: whoever sets a high value on the fulfillment of his or her desires, no longer pleasures existence, no longer fights for life. A murderer, who has no one else to kill, a scientist, who has nothing else to discover, a tutor, who has nobody else to teach, a student, who has nothing else to learn… They all deserve compassion - for they have lost the meaning of life. Forever. (Антон Диденко)

Alexander the Great was upset by the fact that there was nothing more left for him to conquer. He had already created a great prosperous empire. But how long could it live? Wouldn't it soon collapse? He was thinking about it after one of his last victories. Isn't it a reason to weep over?(Алексей Горобий)

3) The famous summit meeting of Churchill and Roosevelt in CASABLANCA had great historical significance - the decision was taken to demand the unconditional surrender of Germany, Italy and Japan. German counter intelligence planned an operation to disrupt the negotiations but the plan failed because of a linguistic mistake.

What do you think happened?

During World War 2 there was an advanced German intelligence service in Spain. Once, Spanish intelligence intercepted a cipher message, in which it was said, that Churchill and Roosevelt were planning to meet on January 14, 1943 in Casablanca. The cipher message was transmitted to Germany, and Germans, being a very pedantic nation, translated the word "Casablanca" literally. In Spanish "Casa blanca" means "White house", so, German intelligence tried to intercept Churchill on his way to the USA, and Winston Churchill at that time was smoking his cigars in Morocco! (Дмитрий Мальцев)

4) Once Abraham Lincoln was asked how he could hold a point of view that was completely contrary to the one he had held only recently. "You can't change your point of view so drastically!"
Lincoln replied, "Why not? I don't think much of people who… "

Continue Lincoln's reply.

Lincoln replied: "Why not? I don't think much of people who hold one point of view forever. You should be flexible and consider the changing conditions". Indeed Lincoln was a wise politician and a flexible diplomat. It helped him win the American Civil War. (Алексей Горобий)

5) Language and expressions used in the British House of Commons must conform to a number of rules. "Good temper and moderation are the characteristics of parliamentary language". Objection has been taken both to individual words and to sentences and constructions - to imputation of false motives, charges of lying or being drunk, and misrepresentation of the words of another. Members of Parliament sometimes use considerable ingenuity to circumvent these rules. For instance, Winston Churchill substituted one of his sharp judgements of the words of his opponent with the phrase "terminological inexactitude".

What was the word or phrase he wanted to use instead?

Winston Churchill was known for his cigars and for his wisecracks. Once, being reproached for alcoholism, Churchill answered: "I have taken more good from alcohol than alcohol has taken from me". He was a great politician, but sometimes, when he got really angry (that happened quite often in Parliament) he could use strong language. There was a great scandal in the House of Commons, when having heard a speech of one MP, Churchill stood up and said that it was all "ravings of a madman", after that he left the audience in deathly silence. To my mind, in the given case Churchill wanted to repeat these words or accuse the MP of lying, but, being a real politician, he preferred to be cunning. (Дмитрий Мальцев)

Instead of the phrase "terminological inexactitude" W. Churchill wanted to say: "This man has wrong ideas wrapped up in a bad command of the English language". Churchill was a witty man and this phrase resembles what he once said about Russia: "It is a puzzle wrapped up in a puzzle put inside a puzzle box". He was also a great master of the English language and he certainly couldn't bear someone speaking in a "terminologically inexact" way. Besides Churchill was quite a sharp, presumptuous person and regarded everything that didn't match his own opinion a folly. (Алексей Горобий)

Having used a phrase "terminological inexactitude" Winston Churchill wanted to accuse his fellow MPs of lying. On the one hand in such a way he avoided objection to his words, and didn't break the rules set up in the British House of Commons, on the other hand he expressed his thoughts on the subject quite clearly. (Ольга Атаманчук)

6) A Lawyer teaches law for a large fee. He advertises his skills as a teacher by offering his students a contract, which states that they do not have to pay him until they have won their first case. If the student loses his first case, then he doesn't have to pay at all.
One student sees a loophole in the contract, takes the course and finishes it. After that, the student avoids arguing any cases. Since the student has not yet won his first case, he avoids paying his teacher. The teacher feels cheated but he is wise and he knows how to make the dishonest pupil pay the debt.

Now what's the teacher's idea?

A possible solution would be to file a lawsuit against the student, stating that the latter is obliged to pay the fee to the teacher. Thus, should the teacher prevail, the student would be induced to fulfil the obligation under the judgement, elsewise the student would win his first case! Thus, if the devil can quote Scripture for his own ends, so should all lawyers do the same thing! Anyway, we live to deceive… (Антон Диденко)


© иллюстрации Дениса Логачева
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