What does “espionage” mean? (and a few new words to learn)…

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Since today is Thursday, it means it’s another English lesson from us! Today, I’m going to be sharing with you some words and phrases you might find helpful to improve your vocabulary.

In most cases, we don’t really need to use a lot of big words in our everyday speaking situation. What’s important is that we are fluent and able to get our message across clearly.  But the more vocabulary we know, the better we can be in expressing ourselves and understanding what we listen to. What’s more, enriching our vocabulary can be a fun way to improve our English listening and speaking skills.

I work part-time as a translator and so I come across a lot of English words that I sometimes struggle with finding the correct Malay translation to!

In my latest assignment, I had to translate a documentary about the Pearl Harbour attack in Hawaii. So I thought it’d be great to share a few words and phrases from the documentary that you might find helpful. Though some of these words and phrases may not be what we use to speak at work, knowing what they mean can prove helpful in listening and understanding English.

You can take down notes if you want. Here goes!

espionage –  the practice of spying or of using spies, typically by governments to obtain political and military information.
Example: Takeo Yoshikawa began burning evidence so that he would not be accused of espionage.

Speaking of espionage, have you watched the latest Mission Impossible movie yet? Azimah has and she loves it. I’m planning to watch it this weekend. We’re such big fans that I even mentioned it in a video we did about writing formal letters.

I digress…

chalk up –  to consider something as having a particular cause.
Example: Most historians chalk up the absence of the US aircraft carriers to a fortunate coincidence for the Americans.

smoking gun –  something that serves as conclusive evidence or proof (as of a crime or scientific theory).
Example: Is the McCollum memo the smoking gun that proves the US deliberately pressured Japan into attacking Pearl Harbour?

emphatic –  expressing something forcibly and clearly.
Example – I can’t be more emphatic on this point about the Japanese breaking radio silence.

corroborative –  proof to an account, statement, idea, etc. with new information.
Example: The bomb plot messages are the key, any other evidence is merely supportive or corroborative.

So there you have it. A few words and phrases that you can use when you speak or write in English! I’m not so sure where you’d use “espionage”, but that was just an excuse for me to mention Mission Impossible in this post. ?

Here’s something you can do this week – watch an English documentary online, turn on the English subtitles and write down three or four words that you don’t know the meaning to. Google the meanings and write them down in a book for reference. Create sentences out of those new words and have fun!

We’ll talk to you again soon!

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Hi there!

We’re Azimah, Amnah and Aisya from Malaysia. We created My English Matters as an online platform to help people improve their English.

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