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Buzzy Buzzwords : A Whole New World

【明報專訊】MANY fans of Disney couldn't wait at all since Disney announced that they were making a live action version of Aladdin in 2016. Finally the movie hit the silver screen a few weeks ago and it is so amazing that we could experience the thrill of seeing "a whole new world" when the love story of Aladdin and Princess Jasmine comes to life once again.

One of the most touching, breathtaking and inspiring scenes is arguably the one where Aladdin invites Princess Jamine to take on a magic carpet ride to experience the exhilarating adventure, freedom and love while serenading (為……演唱) her the song "A Whole New World" — the theme song of the movie. In fact, many people find the music their favourite part of the movie, especially this theme song, the first and so far only Disney song to have won the Grammy Award for the Song of the Year. The appeal of the song is due not only to its enchanting melody but also to the inspiring messages conveyed through the beautiful lyrics written with literary devices such as imagery and similes. To many local students, the vocabulary used in this song is useful for their writing. So what can students learn from this great song?

1. Some local students might ask: why is there a need to add the word "whole" here? Can't we simply say "a new world"?

Actually the word "whole" functions as an adverb having the meaning of "completely".

Example: With wise arrangement, retirement is definitely not the end but instead, it opens a whole new chapter of life to our senior citizens.

Example: The chef introduced a whole new batch of recipes in his latest book.

2. Likewise, "a whole new ballgame" (完全是另一回事) is an idiom used to describe a situation that is completely different from what one is expecting.

Example: I used to teach lots of kids but teaching my own kids is a whole new ballgame.

Example: The couples encountered huge problems in their marriage but since they consulted a marriage counsellor, it's been a whole new ball game and they have been feeling much happier with each other.

3. Some students might also wonder what the word "red‑letter" means in the verse "every moment red‑letter".

Originally, "Red‑letter day" referred to a holiday recognised by the Catholic Church. Holy days were numbered in red on official calendars so believers would know what days they needed to go to church.

In fact, there was such a tradition of printing the New Testament with Jesus's spoken words printed in red because they are considered extraordinarily important. Now, this term is commonly used to refer to a day which is important and significant.

Example: The day I first met my wife 10 years ago was a red‑letter day for me.

4. In the song, a variety of words are used to describe a wonderful place, like shining, shimmering, splendid, dazzling, unbelievable, wondrous, all of which are good choices for students.

While it is great fun to learn English from watching movies, let's experience the joy spread by this newest musical of Aladdin through its singing and dancing in these turbulent times. Hopefully everyone of us can have a taste of a whole new world of peace someday from every corner of our globe.

■By Jacob Hui 許承恩 & Watchman Tang 鄧sir

Experienced Liberal Studies teacher & Experienced English teacher at an education centre.

Email: jacobhsy@gmail.com & watchman@sfechk.com

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