KA Voicecast for Friday, February 1st

KA Voicecast for Friday, February 1st

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KA Voicecast will air new episodes each month on the 1st and the 15th.   Once you are a subscriber, new episodes will be automatically downloaded to your preferred device.



KA News
English Rules
Aidan’s Chuckle
WOW Words
Listening Comprehension
Let’s Get Quizzical

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KA will soon be starting a new, internet-based distance learning service for students residing abroad and outside of the Kanto area in Japan. It will be a writing course for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students. KA teachers will check the essays submitted by the students and make corrections before returning them to the students with appropriate supplementary materials,  such as grammar worksheets that correspond to the student’s strengths and weaknesses. Please be sure to check the website and future episodes of KA Voicecast for updates and further information about this exciting new program.

Daitabashi School will be closing the weekend of February 3, and will re-open at its new location in Meidaimae on Tuesday, February 4. The Grand Opening of the new school will take place on March 5th. Please check with your teachers or a staff member for more information if you are unsure how this move will affect you.

In the past few months, KA students have seen amazing test results and have been accepted to many of the best schools in Tokyo. Not only has KA’s Junior High Juken program been successful this year, but High School Juken as well. In addition, some of KA’s non-Juken 6th grade students have done exceptionally well, passing entrance exams for several schools, thus showing how effective KA’s Tracks 5 and 6 Non-Juken classes have been. None of this would have been possible without the amazing teachers and staff at KA so everyone deserves a pat on the back. Congratulations to all the students for doing so well on their exams. We are all very proud of your success.

The success of the KA winter courses have inspired the KA teachers to plan a variety of 1,2,3 and 4 day themed based Spring Courses the week of March 26 through 29th. Details will be available in future episodes.


In English Rules, we look at some of the many rules in the English Language and also sometimes discuss why English rules as a language.  You may want to refer back to the website for this section to read along with what is being said.  It is also possible to download a PDF on this lesson.

One of the things that make English such a difficult but interesting language to learn is that there are regional differences and variations in speech.  English is spoken as a first or primary language in many countries, including the United States, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and even in South Africa.  The language itself has evolved in various ways and for numerous reasons, and often, there is more than one word to describe one thing.  The most commonly compared example is of course, elevator and lift.    North Americans tend to use the word elevator, whereas the British call the exact same apparatus a lift.   I’d always said elevator, but recently, I have found myself saying lift, simply because I live in England.  And that brings me to the point I want to make today.

An elevator or lift?

As I mentioned earlier, we have had a bit of snow these recent weeks and when it first started to fall, I’d called a friend of mine to ask her if the snow was starting to stick nearer to my children’s school.   She chuckled and said, “Yes, it is starting to settle.”

So, when it snows and the snow remains on the ground and doesn’t melt, what is the verb you use for that?

I am originally from Seattle, Washington in the Northwestern corner of the United States, and I have always used “stick” as in;

It’s snowing heavily and beginning to stick.

But since coming to the UK, I’ve heard most people use the verb “to settle”.

Snow can settle quickly on untreated roads so take extra care while driving. 

Does snow “stick” or “settle”?

I’ve done a little research on this and have found there are actually a variety of words used to describe this action.

Canadians and Americans from the northern most “snowy” areas for example, often use the word “stay” or  “accumulates.”

The snow is accumulating on the driveway.

A native of Wiltshire, England may say that snow “lies.”

Look! It’s snowing and it’s lying!

I’ve even heard a Bristol native use the word “pitch.”

The snow is falling heavily and pitching.

I conducted a mini survey amongst my friends and here are the results:  My British friends like to use the word “settle” whereas my North American friends tend to say “stick”.

Aidan’s Chuckle!

Knock knock .

Who’s there?


Snow who? 

Snow wonder I’m freezing out here!!! 

WOW Words!

Attend, or the verb to attend, as heard in this story means to listen and pay close attention

A hobgoblin is a fearsome mythical creature that is similar to an imp or sprite

Something that is good for nothing is worthless, useless or incompetent

Immensely is an adverb that means to a great extent or extremely.  It is used as a submodifier in  phrases such as;  The cave was immensely deep and dark.

A grin can of course mean a smile, however, in this story it is more of a grimace or a scowl that is grotesque in appearance.

Distorting or to distort means to twist and pull out of shape.  It can also mean giving a misleading or false account or impression of something.

To mock means to tease or laugh at something in a ridiculing way.  Other words or phrases that have a similar meaning include jeer at, scoff at or taunt.

When something is amiss, it means that it is not quite right, wrong or out of place.

Spectacles are just another way of saying eyeglasses.

To be just means to do or to behave according to what is considered morally right and fair.

Story Time!

 The Snow Queen

 By Hans Christian Andersen

 First Story

Which Deals With a Mirror and Its Fragments

Now we are about to begin, and you must attend; and when we get to the end of the story, you will know more than you do now about a very wicked hobgoblin. He was one of the worst kind; in fact he was a real demon.

One day he was in a high state of delight because he had invented a mirror with this peculiarity, that every good and pretty thing reflected in it shrank away to almost nothing. On the other hand, every bad and good-for-nothing thing stood out and looked its worst. The most beautiful landscapes reflected in it looked like boiled spinach, and the best people became hideous, or else they were upside down and had no bodies. Their faces were distorted beyond recognition, and if they had even one freckle it appeared to spread all over the nose and mouth. The demon thought this immensely amusing.

If a good thought passed through any one’s mind, it turned to a grin in the mirror, and this caused real delight to the demon. All the scholars in the demon’s school, for he kept a school, reported that a miracle had taken place: now for the first time it had become possible to see what the world and mankind were really like. They ran about all over with the mirror, till at last there was not a country or a person which had not been seen in this distorting mirror. They even wanted to fly up to heaven with it to mock the angels; but the higher they flew, the more it grinned, so much so that they could hardly hold it, and at last it slipped out of their hands and fell to the earth, shivered into hundreds of millions and billions of bits.

Even then it did more harm than ever. Some of these bits were not as big as a grain of sand, and these flew about all over the world, getting into people’s eyes, and, once in, they stuck there, and distorted everything they looked at, or made them see everything that was amiss. Each tiniest grain of glass kept the same power as that possessed by the whole mirror. Some people even got a bit of the glass into their hearts, and that was terrible, for the heart became like a lump of ice. Some of the fragments were so big that they were used for windowpanes, but it was not advisable to look at one’s friends through these panes. Other bits were made into spectacles, and it was a bad business when people put on these spectacles meaning to be just. The bad demon laughed till he split his sides; it tickled him to see the mischief he had done. But some of these fragments were still left floating about the world, and you shall hear what happened to them.


Listening Comprehension Questions

First question:

The hobgoblin found some things immensely amusing.  Can you give three examples of the things the hobgoblin, or demon, found amusing?

Let’s listen again to the sentences that preceded the statement.

The most beautiful landscapes reflected in it looked like boiled spinach, and the best people became hideous, or else they were upside down and had no bodies. Their faces were distorted beyond recognition, and if they had even one freckle it appeared to spread all over the nose and mouth.   The demon thought this immensely amusing.

If you were able to give any of the above as examples, well done.

 Next question:

Why did the scholars at the demon’s school want to fly up to heaven?

They wanted to mock the angels, but unfortunately, they dropped the mirror and it shivered into millions and billions of bits.

 Last question:

What happened to the people who got a bit of the shivered mirror in their eyes?

If you said that it distorted everything they looked at and made them see everything that was amiss, you were listening very well.


Let’s Get Quizzical


In the previous episode, we talked a little about a certain holiday that is celebrated on February 2nd in America.  According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will continue for six more weeks.

Question from January 1st

Can you name this silly holiday and in which state does the official ceremony take place?

And the answer is:

Groundhog Day and the largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where crowds of up to 40,000 people have gathered to celebrate the holiday since at least 1886.  Punxsutawaney’s most celebrated resident is a groundhog named Punxsutawaney Phil and last year, he predicted a long winter.  Just for the record, January and February of 2012 experienced some of the warmest temperatures on record for 48 of the 50 United States since 1895.  In other words, Punxsutawaney Phil is not entirely reliable.

Punxsutawaney Phil

Recommended Film:  Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie McDowel.  This classic comedy is about an arrogant weatherman who, during an assignment covering the events of Groundhog Day in Punxstuwaney, Pennsylvania, finds himself in a time-loop, repeating the same day over and over again.

 This week’s question:

The Academy Awards, or the Oscars, as it is often called, will honor the best films of 2012 in the United States and will be held on February 24.  Already, there is “Oscar Buzz” as film and sofa critics predict which of the nine films nominated for Best Picture will take home the Oscar this year.

Can you name at least four of the nine films nominated this year for Best Picture?

The next Voicecast will be aired on Friday, February 15th so be sure to send in your answers by clicking on the GOT SOMETHING TO SAY? button or sending them into comments@kavoicecast.com.  I look forward to hearing from you!

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PDF for KA Voicecast Friday, February 1st