San Diego Comic Con

Coffee Break: 10 Expressions About… The San Diego Comic-Con

Whether you’re on your coffee break at the office, talking with friends or reading the newspaper, we encounter situations every day where topic-specific vocabulary is used. And when you don’t know the language, it can be really difficult to participate in the conversation! When the topic switches to recent news events, it gets even more complicated…

From politics and sporting events to fashion and technology, this blog series will help you understand and convey ideas about a wide range of recent events using the right vocabulary.

Today, it’s all about the geeks! The biggest “Comic Con” of the year starts today in San Diego, and it’s an unmissable event that brings together all the latest and greatest from pop culture. We’ve prepared a list of words and expressions that you’ll probably hear in the upcoming days.

  1. pop culture (noun): modern popular culture transmitted via mass media and aimed particularly at younger people
    Ex: San Diego Comic-Con is arguably the biggest event in pop culture.

  2. exhibitor (noun): a person who displays items of interest at a convention
    Ex: Large groups of fans walk excitedly from one exhibitor’s booth to another.

  3. to unveil (verb): to show or announce publicly for the first time
    Ex: Marvel will unveil a 13-foot-tall bronze Captain America statue at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.

  4. buff (noun): a person who is very interested in a subject and knows a lot about it
    Ex: “Even if you’re not a science-fiction fan or a movie buff, there’s an incredible atmosphere at the convention,” argued the fan.

  5. collectibles (plural noun): items worth collecting
    Ex: It’s rumored that this year they’ll be giving away exclusive Pokemon collectibles to special attendees because of the new Pokemon Go app.

  6. panel (noun): a live or virtual discussion about a specific topic amongst a selected group of experts in front of a large audience
    Ex: The HBO Game of Thrones panel, which will include four experts discussing the show, is one of the most anticipated events at the Comic-Con.

  7. cosplay (noun): the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime
    Ex: Game Of Thrones cosplays are really popular. Last year, a lot of fans dressed up like Khaleesi.

  8. overcrowding (noun): filled beyond what’s comfortable
    Ex: Because of the event’s popularity, attendees and vendors complained of overcrowding.

  9. fandom (noun): the fans of a particular person, team, fictional series, etc., regarded collectively as a community or subculture
    Ex: Dozens of different fandoms meet each year at the Comic-Con.

  10. attendee (noun): a person who attends an event
    Ex: Around 130,000 attendees are expected this weekend at the San Diego Comic-Con.

We realize that some of these words—like cosplay or fandom—are pretty specific, and you may not find them as useful in everyday conversation. But most of the words on this list—like panel, attendee and exhibitor—are much more common, and will be helpful to talk about all kinds of events or pop-culture trends. Try one out this week!

Voxy News

Voxy Receives NEAS Premium Product Endorsement

We are proud to announce that the National ELT Accreditation Scheme, or NEAS, recently awarded Voxy with a premium product endorsement. Voxy was recognized for its ability to be customized to learner needs; support for students, particularly when it comes to developing speaking skills; and a commitment to continuous improvement and quality operations.

NEAS is a global leader in quality assurance for the English language teaching (ELT) sector. Endorsed language centers and providers are given the NEAS quality mark and internationally recognized and valued by students, teachers and governments.

“Receiving the NEAS premium product endorsement is an honor for Voxy,” said Dr. Katharine Nielson, Voxy’s Chief Education Officer. “The stamp of approval from a global leader in accrediting ESL programs and courses confirms for our current and future partners that our innovative product, approach and methodology are effective.”

urban gardening breeding

Idioms of the Week: Nature

Learning English as a second language is hard enough, but it can be especially difficult when you run into idioms in casual conversation that don’t mean what they seem. In this weekly series, we’re breaking down common English expressions that are used in everyday conversation, so you’ll be able to expand your language skills and have fun with new English phrases.

Today, we’re keeping to the theme of nature, but pay close attention, these idioms refer to situations beyond the outdoors!

  1. a breath of fresh air (noun phrase): a new, imaginative approach

Ex: The honest transparency of the current presidential administration was a breath of fresh air to a country that was used to corrupt practices.

  1. to add fuel to the fire (verb phrase): to make a bad situation worse

Ex: When the soccer players started arguing, Logan added fuel to the fire by encouraging the group to fight each other.

  1. to be in hot water (verb phrase): to get in trouble

Ex: Lauren was in hot water with the school administration after she was caught cheating on the final exam.

  1. to beat around the bush (verb phrase): to stall, avoid or gloss over a topic of conversation

Ex: When Sarah’s brother asked for her opinion on his girlfriend, she beat around the bush by talking about how nice the weather was outside.

  1. calm before the storm (noun phrase): a quiet period before chaos occurs

Ex: Retail employees enjoy the calm before the storm in November right before customers start their Christmas shopping.

  1. to rain cats and dogs (verb phrase): to rain heavily

Ex: They were glad it was raining cats and dogs after the long drought.

  1. salt of the earth (adjective phrase): used to describe someone who is honest and good

Ex: Frank is the salt of the earth—he’s always willing to help out someone in the neighborhood.

  1. to not hold water (verb phrase): used to describe a statement or argument that is not logical or strong

Ex: His argument that the sun revolved around the earth didn’t hold water with the scientists at NASA, who had decades of proven research against his theory.

  1. to make a mountain out of a molehill (verb phrase): to make a fuss about nothing

Ex: The journalist made a mountain out of a molehill when she reported that the whole economy was crashing, when in reality it was just a minor recession.

  1. dead in the water (adjective phrase): used to describe something that has no chance of succeeding or making any progress

Ex: After yet another budgetary setback, the manager declared the project dead in the water.

Try using these idioms the next time you practice your English skills. You’ll find yourself using them more naturally in conversation in no time!

US Elections_White House

Coffee Break: 10 Expressions About… The U.S. Elections

Whether you’re on your coffee break at the office, talking with friends or reading the newspaper, we encounter situations every day where topic-specific vocabulary is used. And when you don’t know the language, it can be really difficult to participate in the conversation! When the topic switches to recent news, it gets even more complicated…

From politics and sporting events to fashion and technology, this blog series will help you understand and convey ideas about a wide range of recent events using the right vocabulary.

Next week, on July 18 and July 25, the Republicans and Democrats will choose their respective party’s nominees for President and Vice President of the United States during their national conventions. To help you navigate the deep (and often confusing!) waters of political conversations, we have a list of 10 words and expressions that you might come across in the upcoming weeks:

1.    poll (noun): collection of opinions on a subject, in politics usually the percentage of favorable opinion towards a candidate
Ex: Polls have found Hillary Clinton leading Bernie Sanders in California.

2.    partisan (noun): supporters of a political party or candidate
Ex: More than 3,500 partisans attended the debate.

3.    front runner (noun): the candidate that is leading the election race
Ex: Donald Trump is now officially the Republican front runner.

4.    to run neck and neck (phrase): to be very close or equal, especially in a race, contest, or election
Ex: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are running neck and neck in the 2016 election.

5.    landslide (noun): a large victory in an election
Ex: In 1920, Warren Harding had the largest landslide victory in U.S. presidential election history.

6.    in full swing (phrase): when the campaign is at its highest level of activity
Ex: The presidential campaign is now in full swing in the United States.

7.    term of office (phrase): the time for which a political candidate is elected
Ex: In the U.S., a single term of office of the President is four years.

8.    POTUS (abbreviation): informal name for the President of the United States
Ex: Obama has been POTUS for eight years now.

9.    endorsement (noun): publicly declaring one’s support of a candidate for elected office
Ex: President Barack Obama has officially endorsed Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party presidential nominee.

10. GOP (abbreviation): Grand Old Party or Republican Party
Ex: The GOP leadership announced its candidate this afternoon.

Now if your colleagues decide to have a debate on whether the next POTUS will win by a landslide victory or if the candidates will run neck and neck in the polls, you’ll know what they’re talking about!

Industry Words

10 Words for… Basic Business

Working in the business world varies widely from culture to culture and it can be really challenging to bridge the language gap at work, but learning a set of basic business-related terms is a great place to start. That’s where we come in! This blog series will explore the top 10 useful words for specific industries, so you can learn the English you can actually use in the real world. This week, we’re looking at some basic business concepts and vocabulary words.

1. revenue (noun): income of a company or organization
Ex: The company’s revenue increased by 1.4% this quarter.

2. expense (noun): money spent or cost incurred to generate company revenue
Ex: The accounting department congratulated the sales team on their expense management.

3. profit (noun): financial gain from amount earned and amount spent
Ex: In 2016, Qatar Airways’ full-year profit more than quadrupled.

4. budget (noun): an estimate of income and expenses for a set period of time
Ex: Pampers is the brand that spends the most on advertising globally, with a budget of $8.3 billion.

5. deadline (noun): the latest time or date a task should be completed by
Ex: The deadline for the final report is next Monday.

6. competitor (noun): a rival company that offers the same product or service
Ex: In the aircraft industry, Airbus is Boeing’s main competitor.

7. brand (noun): a unique image that identifies a product and distinguishes it from its competitors
Ex: Apple and Google are two of the most valuable brands in the world.

8. to sell (verb): to make something available to be bought in exchange for money
Ex: Amazon sells a wide range of products online.

9. to advertise (verb): to promote a product or service through public communication or news mediums
Ex: A lot of companies use humor as a mean to advertise their products.

10. to invest (verb): to spend money with the expectation it will bring potential profit, interest, or income
Ex: Startups are always looking for people to invest in their companies.

For additional practice with industry-specific terms in English, check out the Unit Catalog in your Voxy course for more work-related materials!