TOPIC 1 Does grammar matter? – Andreea S. Calude
Q1 English is fast becoming the world’s universal language, and instant translation technology is improving every year. So why do you learn English?
Q2 Can you think of any situations in which prescriptivism is unhelpful?
Q3 Spoken and written language use different patterns for organizing words. Do you think that (monolingual) speakers and writers operate with two completely different grammars, or would you say that they have one single grammar system which contains different word patterns whose frequencies differ in spoken and written forms of that language? Why?
Q4 Does language shape the way we think?
Q5 There are over 170,000 words currently in use in the English language. Yet every year, about a thousand new words are added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Where do they come from, and how do they make it into our everyday lives?
TOPIC 2 What Would a Trip Through the Past Be Like
From the first bang, expanding endlessly across the darkness, to the intricacies of our own planet, the history of humanity is awe inspiring.
Q1 How do you think the world began?
Q2 Out of billions of galaxies and billions of stars, can we find Earth-like habitable worlds?
Q3 Could there be intelligent life on other planets?
Q4 If you could have been alive to see any part of the formation of the universe, which part would you choose and why?
Q5 The earth is 4.6 billion years old. When we make a one-year calendar of its history, the earth was born on January 1. The first living things appeared in late March, about 3.5 billion years ago. Dinosaurs appeared on December 13, about 200 million years ago. They all died on December 26. And humans appeared on the morning of December 31, about 7 million years ago. What do you think of this calendar?
参考： The Cosmic Calendar