lunes, 29 de agosto de 2011

To what extent do you think advertising determines our buying habits? Are we all affected in the same way? Give your views.

Nowadays, no one can deny that we live in a consumerist society. But, to what extent does advertising determines our buying habits? Are we all affected in the same way?

To begin with, the term consumerism refers to “a social and economic order that is based on the systematic creation and fostering of a desire to purchase goods and services in ever greater amounts”. In other words, consumerism is the act or practise of an increasing consumption of goods. In general, the basics of consumerism are: the extraction of resources, the production of goods, the distribution, the consumption and the disposal. According to Mr Fortunato, consumerism can be defined as the “distorted desires to possess and consume things beyond what is necessary”. In order to accomplish this, companies hire commercial advertisers to generate increased consumption of some services and products through the creation of different publicities.

Moreover, some people think that advertising cannot sell any product if the person does not want to buy it. On the other hand, other people argue that advertising is so effective that it can brainwash us and make us spend money in unnecessary things. So, entrepreneurs are always designing new products, creating new necessities, and thinking on how to advertise them so that we, as consumers, will (want to) buy them.

Furthermore, what is true is that countless enterprises invest billions of dollars to get our minds and hearts and to influence our choices when buying. For this reason, they create commercials in which the products effects on people are exaggerated and what they offer is an opportunity to be part of the “cool” people; to make you feel better about yourself. To do this, companies improve their marketing techniques through: emotional appeal testimonials, scientific appeal, glittering generalities, etc.
What is more, frequently the products that are advertised are: cosmetics, alcohol and cigarettes. In fact, the amount of money that is spent in advertising this kind of products it much greater than the money used to improve society.
Besides, advertising makes happiness be seen as equivalent to having, rather than to being. In this way, Philip Saltier says: “Americans become unhappy and vicious because their preoccupation with amassing possessions alleviates their loneliness. This is why production in America seems to be on such an endless upward spiral: every time we buy something we deepen our emotional deprivation and hence our need to buy something.” Therefore, in many cases people are willing to work long hours, to steal, etc. in order to get the products on offer and to keep the same standard of living as the people who are around them.

Also, advertisements can provoke people to be disappointed with what they already have, and make them want even more. Thus, people are exposed several times to products that they cannot afford, thus creating a feeling of dissatisfaction and frustration. Continuing with this line of thought, not all the parents can afford the dolls, toys, cars, etc. that their children see on TV.

In addition, it is important not to forget that every kind of advertisement is targeted towards a specific population/segment. For example, children, teenagers, adults, etc.

However, people are not interested in advertising anymore. Research has shown that people try to skip from two-thirds to 80% (letters or numbers? Be consistent)of the ads. For this reason, companies have a big interest in placing brands in films, soap operas, etc. In this way, they advertise their products in a subtle way.

Taking everything into account, there is no doubt that we are immersed in a consumer society. But, what is important for us is to know whether advertising determines or not our buying habits and what are the effects that advertising has on us.

Read the joke and give your views on it considering language variations and linguistic imperialism.

An American visiting England walked into a hotel lobby. "The lift will be down presently", said the receptionist. "Oh, you mean the elevator." "No, I mean the lift." replied the Englishman. "I think I should know what it is called", said the American. "Elevators were invented in the States." "Perhaps" retorted the Englishman. "But we invented the language.

Nowadays, the Globalization process has lead humanity to share cultural traits. One of the most common ways to be connected is through language, and consequently there is always one or two which are favored.

To begin with, the language that appears to be preferred nowadays is English because of many reasons. It is simpler than others, it is widely used and recognized by people from very distant communities, and it is the language used by the most powerful countries in the world, so everybody needs to manage it. One may believe that when a specific language is established, it will never change and all its users will get used to it as it is. However, as every living language, it suffers from various series of changes during its existence. How? When people speak, let us say English, they modify it in several aspects, from pronunciation to spelling. After some time of dwelling with those modifications (as they are shared by a group of people) they become part of the language in the form of coined terms, or even new sublanguages.

Some examples of those new languages are Chinglish, Globish, Spanglish, etc. Those dialects began as English, but as their native people began to use it and modified it, those changes remained until they turned into a new language. This always leads to misunderstandings, jokes, problems and other issues that are generated by the native speakers of the main language, who usually feel negative emotions towards the various changes that their mother tongue suffers. Subsequently, we should consider what is important for a language, whether its origins or its actual use. In other words, we all know that a language cannot stand the test of time if it does not evolve according to peoples’ needs and new trends. That happened with coined languages such as Esperanto (that failed because of a lack of context), and also with Latin, as its users widespread around the world and kept on modifying it to be able to communicate with different cultures.

Furthermore, something similar happened with the different varieties of languages like the Spanish from Spain and the one from Latin America (and the different varieties within this continent), and American, British, and other varieties of English. At the beginning, the different regions felt animosity towards the rest and the way they used the language, but then they started to get along and accept their differences. Nevertheless, there is still rivalry between American and British English, like the enmity between American and British English institutes in Uruguay. Sometimes English people look down on Americans because of the modifications they have done to the language, but it is actually because they have different lifestyles. Besides, the USA is newer, so it is seen as less important or serious, and it opens its doors to people from all cultures, while British people are less flexible in this aspect, they do not want to have modifications in their language.

All in all, English is the language preferred by the inhabitants of our Global Village, who usually modify it. This is controversial, but we should consider those changes as the core of its existence, and try to be open minded and keep updated.

jueves, 25 de agosto de 2011

The Effects of Music

The effects of music on living beings

Many people believe that music is part of their lives and they could not imagine life without it. Many of them take music as an entertaiment (like many of us may think it really is), but at the same time they might ignore the effects that it has upon us. And not only on us, but also on any kind of living organism. Music is not only played to entertain people, it is played and it has been played in religious ceremonies and in many aborigine tribes as a way to iniciating youngsters in the daylife and activities of the tribe.

Music can be a very good companion for people in different circumstances, for example it is played at nightclubs where people are having fun at weekends or even in pubs where many people gather after working all day long to relax and drink something. Many people like to listen to music when they are doing the housework. Music plays an important role in their lives. Whatever the kind of music they like, it is something that they have chosen because they like it and it makes them feel good.
Some people who have researched the effects of music on humans, say that it does not only affect human’s mood, but it can also affect their body physically. Music has the power to change their moods, to help them relax after a long stressing day or to make them feel even worse. It has also the power to make them feel angry. In spite of that, the music that people really like has to play an important role, too. Personally, I like some sort of music, but there are times, when I am very tired or I have such a terrible headache that I do not want to listen to any kind of music.

Scientists also claim that music has effects on humans’ organisms. They found that the rhythm of slow classical music can influence the beat of humans hearts and make their blood stream go slower. With fast classical music the influence is the same, it makes their heart beat faster and also changes the speed of the blood stream.

The effects of music on animals have also been researched by some curious people. The most amazing experiment was done by an university student who exposed some mice to classical music 24 hours per day, and took another group of mice and exposed them to heavy metal. The experiment was meant to see what influence music may have on them. He found that those mice which were exposed to classical music had increased their ability to solve mazes, but he had to stop the experiment because the other group of mice (the ones which were exposed to metal music) started killing each other. This means that music has the power to influence not only humans but also animals. On the one hand, there is the classical music power, which helped the mice increase their intelligence. On the other hand, there is the metal music power which led mice to let their beast and angry instinct take control of them and became very violent.

A further point to add here is about experiments on plants. Retallack carried out an experiment which consisted of playing different kinds of music to plants and seeing how they (plants) grow up. The researcher used different kinds of music such as rock and pop, country and jazz. Those plants which were exposed to country and jazz music, grew healthily and very well. But the ones which were exposed to rock, grew tall and in a sad way. These ones died in just a fortnight.

All in all, music is around everything, and it has been around probably since the beginnings of the human race. It may sound strange to talk about the powers of music, but it may be because those powers were ignored until today. Now that experiments have enlightened something about the influence of music it could be a good idea to go on with these experiments. Some of them have shown that music can help people with some diseases, like Autism, and they have also shown that classical music is good to develop memory or increase intelligence, even to relax.

Esteban Arrieri

The Royalty

The royal wedding and the monarchy for English people.

Many young people as well as many grown-ups in the world may not understand the importance of the royal family for the British. Some may wonder why they still have a monarch or the purpose of having that. But, there is something clear, British people care and love their royal family.

The royal wedding took place last Friday 29th April when the entire country and perhaps even the world stopped to look at what was happening there. The whole wedding was broadcast from its beginning to its end. It was as if the entire England was stopped by that event.

Why could this be so important for British people?
I think it has something to do with identity. This is something that represents British people from ancient times. But is this just the only thing that represents them? We may answer no, it is not. For example, the English language is something that represents them too. But, nowadays that is no longer an identity for them as many people speak English in the rest of the world; the language is not something they may claim as theirs. In contrast to this, the monarchy is actually something that represents them. They are proud of their future king and Queen, because it gives them an identity. There are very few countries of the world which continue to have a monarchy. That monarchy is plays also an important roll in English Society, because it is the head of the British army, so it has in their own hands the power to start a war or to end a war too. It is also the head of the Commonwealth, which represents an important oath among European countries.

This is my view on the importance of the royal family. And everything concerned to them will be of extreme importance for the British people. It is something anchored in their tradition, and they not only accept it but also love it.

Esteban Arrieri

The Mass Media

No doubt we are all affected by the media these days. Is it all as negative as it is usually claimed? Give your views.

We cannot deny that the media has become part of almost every person who lives in society, whether its consequences are good or bad, it lives with us.

Many people claim and complain about the content they see on TV, in newspapers, on the web, that is to say, in the media. Most of them are violent or obscene, they claim and they also associate it with different phenomena occurring in our societies. In other words, they point out that people are being wrongly influenced by the media. Some studies show that because of early exposure (in children, for example) to the mass media, people tend to have some problems like drug abuse, alcohol abuse and early pregnancy. In addition, academics complain about attention problems in students, which could be caused by the excessive use of the media. For example, children who spend three or four hours watching TV, receiving different images per minute, have hard problems trying to concentrate on reading or solving math problem.
Some other arguments in favour to this position say that the media is also influencing our personal relationships. We may be more in contact with people from the outer world than those people who live next doors or even under the same roof as us. For example, children who spend hours chatting online are just alone in front of the screen and no personal (face to face) communication takes place.

On the other hand, some other people, in contrast with the above exposed, say that the media has influenced people in a good way (in this case, the term people could also be a synonym of society). Media, they say, has left an open door to the outer world. We get to know almost immediately what happens in any “corner of the world”. The use of cell phones has also made it easier to communicate among people. By sending a text message you can totally convey an idea, apology for getting late or tell your mum that you are OK.

Personally, I agree with some other people who claim that it is not the media which influences us in a good or bad way, it is the use and the place we let it get in our lives that make so. We have the power of deciding what content we want to see, to read, and to be exposed to. In other words, the media, thanks to its development, has many things to offer us, so, we are the ones who choose what we want.

Esteban Arrieri


Globalization has shortened distances between countries, it has allowed people from one part of the world to communicate with people from different parts of it. To define it, it is the constant exchange of information and goods from different parts of the world among them.

Many people say “we live in a globalized world”, that is to say, we live in a world communicated through the net, the TV and the radio. In this globalized world, techonolgy plays an important role, because it is thanks to that technology that many people are communicated and have access to the latest news around the world.
This advances have contributed a lot to the field of education. Nowadays, e-mails can be exchanged among classmates to carry out projects and even on line courses have appeared giving a possibility to those people who cannot afford their studies because they have to move from their home town.
Globalization also concerns the exchange of goods. Many multinational companies, like Coca Cola, have settled in developing countries providing local people of those countries with work. With the help of those companies, those countries can fight famine and unemployment in many cases.

Regarding some bad aspects of globalization, it can be said that it can exclude you, that is to say, if you are not willing to be globalized, you will be left behind. In other words, it is something that demands you to take it or leave, if you are not willing to be part of this, you would be like dropped aside from the way without going ahead in this new world.
Some other people say that globalization threatens local cultures, because of that exchange among different parts of the world with their different products, they are in one way “trading” culture. Those countries which let other cultures get into them, are undergoing some sort of exposure to other cultures and are leaving aside their own local culture.

To sum up, it can be said that globalization is good in what we let it play a role in our lives, but we should take into consideration that it can swallow you and give you the many possibilities it has to offer you or it can just leave you behind without its sources.

Esteban Arrieri

Please read the joke below and give your views on it considering the Chinglish, Spanish, Globish and other variations as well as linguistic imperialism.

An American visiting England walked into a hotel lobby. "The lift will be down presently", the receptionist told him.
"The lift?" said the American. "Oh, you mean the elevator."
"No, I mean the lift." replied the Englishman.
"I think I should know what it is called",. said the American. "Elevators were invented in the States."
"Perhaps" retorted the Englishman. "But we invented the language."

Languages are living entities that may develop, merge with other languages and even die, as is the case of Latin. In the past, this was not very often, in other words, a language could merge with another if one nation tried to conquer another and in more recent cases when different nations trade their goods among them. That was the case of English, when the British conquered north America. Then, after a series of different problems, America became independant and kept something from the former conqueror, the language.

Nowadays, thanks to the advances in communication, specially the internet, the spread of English through the net has even threatened the existance of other languages around the world. As English leads its way through different and exotic cultures –if we take Britain as the cot of the English language- that it has started to merge with other native languages like Spanish, Chinese, French, and other languages, making up new variations of the cited language.

What is the role America plays in this ‘spreading of the English language’ if the cot of the language is Britain? As America has spectacularly developed itself as one of the most important countries of the world, she has ‘printed’ every new item she produces and every new discovery she makes, with the English language. So, she has helped in the spreading of the language throughout the world, which is also known as the English imperialism. This can be clearly seen in the Internet where the English language appears in 74% of the websites, leaving just a tiny percentage to other languages. It can also be seen in the many foreign products that we consume, even though they are produced in a non-English speaking country, they are written in English because it has become the language of the international trade or because of the presence of multinational companies as well. The imperialism is not only concerned with the economical dominance one country can have upon others, but it is also concerned with its language. The language is, perhaps the first thing that is exposed to the market, and with this, to the world.

Because of the cited spreading of the English language, many countries have developed their own view and ways of using English as a lingua franca. This fact is no less important, because by this moment, there are perhaps fewer English native speakers than non-natives speakers, which is threatening the future of the English language. There are some other people who considering the circumstances, take advantage of them, and try to ‘sell’ their products, as is the case of Globish, which according to the person who coined the term, Paul Nerrier, it is a simplified version of English to help enterpreneurs do business. In other words, it is the language of Globalization.

To conclude, it can be said that this new world full of communication and trade may lead us to obtain and speak a globalized language which might differ from any previous ancestor and ending up in an unrecognized variety of English or any other language.

GLOBISH - The language of Globalization

Through Globisthe language of the Globalization- there are no language barriers any longer. Do you agree?

Globalization has led to many improvements in our societies, such as better and faster means of communication. This is no less important if we take into account the impact it has on langauges, specially the spread of English in the Internet (which is referred to English imperialism) and the threat it means to other languages.

Nowadays, even English is being threatened by a new product of Globalization, that is Globish. This is a simplified version of English, specially for business. One of its most interesting arguments is that you can only speak Globish wiht 1500 words. Thus, it is a new way out for people who want to integrate the globailized world. But at the same time it is a threat to English and other languages as well.

These days, we may find books and courses about Globish. So, this also implies that many languages may become extinct, and it seems to be that Globalization will allow this if there isn’t any change about this. For example, some European countries were implementing some protectionist laws against English in order to protect their mother toungues. It is mainly a policy to foster and protect the tradition and use of their mother tongues.

So, if we let Globish get into our lives without being conscious enough of what it really implies, we can lose an essential feature of our indentity as a nation and as a people. As it is stated above, this is a business language, which may work or not, but it is not an entire corpus full of traditions and culture such as a language (for example the English language). We should take it, just for what it is meant to be, a way out to the –many times- difficult negotiations between two or more countries whose langauges are different.

Esteban Arrieri



Globalisation seems to be part of everyone’s life these days. And we often tend to be thankful of the many gifts it has given to us such us immediate communication, better technology to communicate, netbooks, cellular phones, etc. Why do we talk of the negative effects of globalisation then?
Some investigations carried out by daring journalists have uncovered some information about one of the best known clothing companies and how it hires people to work for it. This has shown that one of the most ancient enemies of human rights is still among us, even in the XXI century, that is slavery.

So, what does it have to do with ethical consumerism? Everything. Once common people get to know how these companies make their workers work for them, the hostile conditions in which they have to work and the ones they are given to live, consumers should take action. But how? Well, perhaps a good way would be avoiding buying those expensive products that are made with less than seven dollars.

It may be hard to fight against those companies, and many people may not even believe or refuse to believe what is shown in some T.V. news about their human resources policies and their working conditions until they see what those journalist who dared carring on a research working for CBS /CNN have done. But once you are aware of what happens in those companies’ factories , it is difficult to turn a blind eye on this, it is difficult to look at one of this famous brands and forget how those products are made. So that is what ethical consumerism is about, it is a way out for those people who are working behind the brand firm by preventing it from developing and earning more money. Many people might say that those products are the best of the market because of their quality and the price is worthwhile (and perhaps they are right), but there is something else behind good quality in this case, and that is ethics, human rights, the rights of those people who are being forced to work in harsh conditions and are badly paid.

From my point of view, people who, knowing about this fact, buy these products are as guilty as the heads of the companies and are promoting slavery in our globalised world.