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Quick Write 091911 “Reflect what Cheney reflects”

In a recently published book "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir", the former Vice President Dick Cheney chronicles his 40 years in American politics. I saw a video on PBS Newshour (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics/july-dec11/cheney_09-16.html) that features a conversation between the anchor Judy Woodruff and Cheney. It’s less than 10 minutes, and they speak at a moderate speed. Above all, the transcript for the whole dialogue accompanies the video. What can English language learners in “English as a Foreign Language (EFL)” setting as in Japan would expect more than that? Anyway, what I did to this good listening material was that I watched the video twice, read the transcript, and watched the video again. Then I went back to the script and tried finding some nice phrases that I’d love to steal. Well, I used the verb “steal” as “to learn the word/phrase and use it in my own speaking/writing”, just for the record, people. Among the words and expressions that Mr. Cheney used in his talk, here is the one I liked the best.

“I guess the way I look at it is that the -- there was justification.”

I’ve heard of the phrase “The way I look at it is that …” several times, and I think I’d comprehend what that means when somebody uses it in his/her speaking – a conversational gambit in order to present one’s view or opinion without being too arrogant, which is nothing more than my personal interpretation, though.

But, honestly, I’ve never used the phrase in my own speaking/ writing. I’m very much aware that this kind of “starter”, “attention getter”, or “conversational gambit” is important to have people listen to what you’d like to say. No matter how good an idea you have, you’ll never be heard unless you elicit attention of your audience. I’m yet not very good at using conversational gambits effectively, for instance, in discussions with native English speakers, and I often disappoint myself by not much being able to contribute to group discussions that we’re assigned at grad school. So, next time I have an opportunity to use this phrase, I’d go like:

“I guess the way I look at this issue is that there are so many variables among the research subjects, and thus, we cannot fully trust the data that the authors provide.”
“I think the way I look at this problem is that teachers have preconception that learners cannot handle the material at this level, but, actually, it often turns out that they’re much more input-hungry than we’d imagine.”

How do these sound to you? Do they sound fine? Okay, the initial mental rehearsal is somehow finished. The next thing to do is to wait for an opportune moment and take a chance.

(20 minutes / 457 words)

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the former Vice President Dick Cheney
250px-46_Dick_Cheney_3x4.jpg

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Aya

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