The four personality types

According to studies started by Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist, and developed by psychologists since then, there are two ways people receive information from the outside world.  One way is with the senses, looking for details and facts, and the other way is with insight, trusting their own thoughts and feelings.  Similarly, there are two ways people make decisions.  The first is by thinking it out, and the second is by trusting their feelings.  These 2 variables make the 4 basic personality styles: controlling, promotingsupporting, and analyzing.

About 15% of people have a controlling style personality.  They are natural leaders and love to be in control.  They receive information through their senses and make fast and clear decisions with their feelings.  They are confident, disciplined, self-motivating, forward-looking people who want to get things done quickly.  They like to win, don’t mind stress, and often take risks.  They don’t like to waste time and don’t like other people wasting their time either.  They work best alone.  On the negative side they aren’t good listeners and can be seen as rude.  What they want most is to feel responsible and achieve a lot.

About 15% of people have a promoting style personality.  They are creative with many ideas, often at the same time.  They are friendly, energetic, and competitive people who start relationships easily and motivate others.  They receive information through their feelings and also make spontaneous decisions with their feelings.  They like to be the center of attention by telling good stories, driving fast cars, and doing things other people would never do.  They have good communication skills and can influence and motivate others.  They work best in groups, but like to do things the easiest way.  They don’t like details or anything boring.  On the negative side they talk before they think, are a bit disorganized, and can be forgetful.  What they want most is for others to recognize and approve of them.

About 35% of people have a supporting style personality.  They are friendly and good listeners.  They are dependable, trustworthy, patient, and loyal.  They receive information through their feelings and make slow, emotional decisions by thinking it out.  If they start something, they finish it, and if someone else starts something but doesn’t finish, they will often finish the job because they love to help.  They work best in groups and want to do things in an organized way.  They like to volunteer and be part of a group.  They don’t like public attention but prefer to stay unknown.  On the negative side they don’t take criticism well and don’t like sudden changes.  What they want most is to feel secure and needed.

About 35% of people have an analyzing style personality.  They are careful workers who hate to make mistakes.  They are conscientious, and sometimes unemotional people who like to gather information with their senses and make slow and careful decisions by thinking it out.  This often takes a long time because they need to gather more information to make the right decision.  They work best alone and don’t like to work under pressure.  They work well with details and schedules.  On the negative side they don’t like surprises or changes in their routine.  What they want most is perfection and truth.

Did one of these personality styles sound like you?  By knowing yourself and guessing what other people are, you can improve your communication and get along well with people with other styles.

Click on the audio recording below to hear the lesson.


psychiatrist:  a doctor who treats emotional, behavioral, or mental disorders
psychotherapist:  a doctor who treats people with emotional or mental disorders
psychologists:  scientists who study why people do what they do
senses:  seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching
details:  small things
insight:  a feeling or thought you have which does not come from your senses
similarly:  in a way that’s almost the same
decisions:  choices of what to do
thinking it out:  thinking about all the possibilities
variables:  things that can change
styles:  types, kinds
confident:  feeling sure about yourself, knowing you can do the job
disciplined:  always doing the things you have to
self-motivating:  giving yourself reasons to do something
forward-looking:  looking into the future
risks:  things that could  be dangerous
waste:  not use well
rude:  impolite
responsible:  feeling that it’s your duty to do something
achieve:  do important things
creative:  thinking of new things
energetic:  with lots of energy
competitive:  wanting to win
motivate:  encourages other people to do things
spontaneous:  done quickly without thinking
center of attention:  people seeing and listening to you
skills: abilities, things you can easily do
influence:  make people agree with you
recognize:  know who you are
approve: like what you are doing
dependable:  always there to help or support someone
trustworthy:  being a person that people can trust
patient:  able to continue for a long time
loyal:  always supporting another person
volunteer:  freely choose to do something
public attention:  lots of people looking at and listening to you
criticism:  telling someone what they’re doing wrong and how to improve
secure:  safe
conscientious:  always doing the right thing
unemotional:  not showing your emotions like anger, joy or fear
under pressure:  feeling that you have to finish the job quickly and do it well
schedules:  list of jobs to do and times to do them
perfection:  everything being perfect
get along:  interact
Pronunciation Exercise:  Listen and repeat the above vocabulary on the audio file below.

© 2014 Ambien Malecot

Don’t Quit

I came across this poem by an unknown author when I was cleaning out my file cabinet, which I do every five years.  I love its message.

When things go wrong as they sometimes will
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill
When funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh

When care is pressing you down a bit
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit
Life is queer with its twists and turns
As everyone of us sometimes learns

And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow
You may succeed with another blow

Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt
And you never can tell how close you are
It may be near when it seems so far

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit

Click on the audio recording below to hear the lesson.


trudging:  traveling with difficulty
uphill:  difficult to do
funds:  money
debts:  money you owe
sigh:  breathe deeply to release stress
pressing you down:  making it hard for you to do anything
queer:  strange
twists and turns:  surprises
turns about:  gets better, becomes a success
had he stuck it out:  if he had continued to try
give up:  stop trying
pace:  speed of working
blow:  try
inside out:  opposite
silver tint:  good thing
clouds of doubt:  bad thinking
tell: realize
stick to:  continue doing
hardest hit:  have the biggest difficulties
worst:  most bad

Pronunciation Exercise: Listen and repeat the above vocabulary on the audio file below.

© 2014 Ambien Malecot

The country of Canada

Canada is the second largest country in the world but has only about 35 million people, including 1.2 million aboriginals, and 6.8 million immigrants.  Canada opens its doors to about 250,000 immigrants every year.  People mostly live in the most southern part of the country, which isn’t as cold in the winter as the northern part.  Eastern cities like Toronto and Montreal get lots of snow in the winter, but Vancouver and Victoria in the west get very little snow.  There are two official languages, English, spoken by over 24 million people, and French, spoken by about 7 million people.  Canada’s government is a parliamentary democracy, so the leader of the political party that wins the most seats in Parliament becomes the Prime Minister.  Canada’s total area of nearly 10 million square kilometres is divided into ten provinces and three territories.  From east to west it is a developed country with a strong economy and is ranked ninth highest in average income per person.  Canada is among the world’s leaders in manufacturing (automobiles, machinery, equipment,) technology (telecommunications, microelectronics, nanotechnology,) and pharmaceuticals, as well as chemicals, food, tourism, and banking.  It is a country rich in natural resources like lumber, fish, and minerals.  Canada is a major producer of zinc and uranium and is a large exporter of gold, nickel, aluminum and lead.  It has 13% of the oil reserves of the world and 10% of the world’s fresh water.  People from all parts of the world live in this country in peace and respect for each other’s differences.  Every Canadian has government medical insurance, so if someone gets sick or injured, the treatment costs him nothing.  Another government program is the Canadian Student Loan Program.  An immigrant after one year can apply for this money.  A third government program is a pension for workers when they retire, and there are many other programs like these.

Canada’s national sport is hockey, a game played on ice with six skaters on each team.  The heroes of this sport are as well-known as any other famous Canadians, like actors Jim Carey, Michael J. Fox, and Keanu Reeves, singers Celine Dion, Shania Twain, and Justin Bieber, and movie directors James Cameron and David Cronenberg.  Did you know Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, was Canadian?

Canada is a member of many international organizations, such as the G7, and NATO.  It is a good citizen of the world and has helped many other countries in times of need, including India, Japan, Haiti, Pakistan, and Uganda.  Canada accepts over 10% of the refugees of the world and gives over $500 million a year in humanitarian aid to countries that need it.

What a country!   Oh, and the natural beauty of the country is spectacular.

Click on the audio recording below to hear the lesson.


aboriginals:  the first people to live in the country
immigrants:  people who come to another country to live
official:  recognized by the government
parliamentary democracy:  a democratic form of government where the party with the greatest representation in the parliament forms the government
Parliament:  all the people who make the laws of Canada
Prime Minister:  the leader of the party in power, and the leader of the country
provinces:  the smaller political divisions of Canada
territories:  land that is controlled by the federal government.
economy:  all the money made by the exchange of goods and services
ranked:  put in order from highest to lowest
income:  the money a person earns per year
per:  for each
manufacturing:  the making of things to sell
technology:  advances in science and electronics
pharmaceuticals:  drugs used to treat illnesses
lumber:  wood from trees
minerals:  natural substances that come from mining
producer:  maker
exporter:  seller to other countries
reserves:  the part that is still underground
respect:  understanding of the worth of someone.
insurance:  money to replace something you lose
treatment:  what a doctor does to make you better
loan:  money that must be paid back
pension:  money paid to a worker for the rest of his life after retirement
heroes:  highly respected people
inventor:  creator, maker
organizations:  groups of countries with a common purpose
G7:  Group of Seven, the seven countries with the highest developed economies
NATO:  North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 12 countries that protect each other
citizen of the world:  a country that cares about the other countries of the world
refugees:  people who have to leave their countries because of war or famine.
humanitarian aid:  money, equipment or food to help people who need it.
spectacular:  beautiful

Pronunciation Exercise:  Listen and repeat the above vocabulary on the audio file below.

© 2014 Ambien Malecot

The story of corn flakes

Corn flakes are a popular breakfast cereal for many North Americans.  There are many brands of this cereal now, but in the beginning it was the idea of a couple of brothers.  The inventors of this food were Drs. John and Will Kellogg, and the funny thing is they made this cereal by accident.  The story goes like this.  They were both Seventh-day Adventists, a strict religion, and were trying to make vegetarian food for people of their church, who believed that eating meat was wrong.  One day in August, 1884, as they were experimenting with food in their home, they were both called to an emergency at the seminary where they worked.  They had to leave in a hurry and left the corn cooking by mistake.  When they got back home, it had all dried out and become flaky.  Because they didn’t want to waste food, they thought of a way to eat it – with milk and a little sugar.  In fact, this cereal became very popular with the people at the seminary.  Will decided to manufacture the cereal and built a factory called Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company.  He made the cereal sweet by adding sugar, and it became popular all over North America.  It’s interesting to note that the Kellogg company also developed Rice Krispies, another popular breakfast cereal, in 1928.

Click on the audio recording below to hear the lesson.

cereal:  grain, seed from grasses such as wheat, oats and corn
brands:  kinds made by different companies
inventors:  people who make something new
Drs.:  Doctors
funny thing:  unusual thing, odd thing
by accident:  unplanned
religion:  a system of beliefs
vegetarian:  made from only plants
experimenting:  trying different ways to see what works
emergency:  something that needs fast action
seminary:  religious school
flaky:  in small, dry, flat pieces
waste:  not use, throw out
popular:  liked by many people
manufacture:  make in a factory in large quantities
factory:  a large building where workers and/or machines make things
to note:  to also know

Pronunciation Exercise:  Listen and repeat the above vocabulary on the audio file below.

© 2014 Ambien Malecot

The story of coffee

Coffee gets its name from the Kingdom of Kaffa in Ethiopia, Africa.  One account is that it was discovered there in the ninth century CE by a goat-herder named Kaldi, who saw his goats eat the berries and then jump around with lots of energy.  Kaldi chewed some berries himself and felt energized, so he brought some of these berries to the nearest monastery and told a monk about them.  The monk disapproved and threw the berries into the fire.  The other monks smelled the burning beans and came to find out what was causing the delicious aroma.  The roasted beans were rescued from the fire, ground up and added to boiling water making the very first cup of coffee.

Trade between Ethiopia and Yemen introduced the berries to southern Arabia.  From there coffee drinking spread to Egypt and North Africa.  By the 16th century it had spread to the Middle East, Persia and Turkey.  Records show that the first coffeehouse opened in Constantinople in 1554.  Italian traders imported coffee beans into Italy and it spread from there to the rest of Europe.  The first European coffee house in Venice, Italy, dates from 1645.  The Dutch took coffee plants to the East Indies and the Americas and started to grow coffee there.  By 1719 the Dutch were able to supply most of Europe’s coffee needs from these coffee plantations.  As international travel increased, people in more and more countries were introduced to this drink, and its popularity slowly spread all over the world.  In the late 20th century new improvements were developed, and instant freeze-dried coffee and canned coffee became commonly used.  These days most of the world’s coffee comes from Brazil and Colombia.  Businesses like Starbucks continue to spread the popularity of this flavorful drink.

Click on the audio recording below to hear the lesson.


account:  story
CE: common era from the year 1 to the present
berries:  round-shaped fruit of a plant
energized:  full of energy
monastery:  home for religious people called monks
monk:  a religious person
disapproved:  thought it was wrong
beans:  berries
aroma:  nice smell
rescued:  saved
ground up:  made into tiny pieces
boiling:  100 degrees Celcius
trade:  the exchange of goods
records:  writings
imported:  brought into the country
supply:   deliver and sell
plantations:  farms
popularity:  use by more and more people
late:  end of the
improvements:  Things and ways to make something better
developed:  made
instant:  ready to use, just add hot water
freeze-dried:  a process that quickly takes the water out of food
canned:   in a can
commonly:  by many people

Pronunciation Exercise:  Listen and repeat the above vocabulary on the audio file below.

© 2014 Ambien Malecot


A short history of the English language

The history of the English language really started with the arrival into Britain of three Germanic tribes who invaded the islands during the 5th century CE. These tribes, the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes, crossed the North Sea from what is today Denmark and northern Germany. At that time the inhabitants of Britain spoke a Celtic language. Most of these Celtic speakers were pushed west and north by the invaders into what is now Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The Angles came from “Englaland” and their language was called “Englisc”, which is where the words “England” and “English” come from.  This is the beginning of the period we call Old English, also sometimes called Anglo-Saxon.  Old English did not sound or look like English today.  It would sound like a foreign language to a modern speaker of English.  Even though this is true, about half of the most commonly used words today have Old English roots.  Words like cow, house, oaf, pig, and woman, as well as Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday come from the Anglo-Saxons.  There were other influences, however.   “Martyr, bishop and font” came from Catholic missionaries of the time, and the Vikings gave us the words ransack, thrust, drag, die, give and take.

Middle English starts with the arrival of the Normans from north-west France in 1066 CE.  These people spoke an old form of French called Old Norman.  This is when a major change started to happen to the English language.  The inflectional speech (high-voiced syllables and low-voiced syllables) spoken by speakers of Old English started to break down.   At the same time the Royal Court and the business class didn’t speak English at all, but spoke their form of French.  Only the lower classes continued to speak English.  In the 14th century English became dominant again but with many French words added.  This language would also be very difficult for anyone to understand today.  An example of words from Old Norman are judge, jury, evidence, justice, beef, and pork.  In all, there are about 10,000 words that came from this language.

Towards the end of Middle English around 1500 CE, a sudden change in pronunciation happened.  People started pronouncing their vowels shorter and shorter.  This was the beginning of Modern English.  The Renaissance introduced the Greek and Roman cultures bringing vocabulary from their languages into the English language.  The invention of the printing press meant that the language in print had to be understood by everyone, which meant standardization.  Spelling, for example, was standardized in the first dictionary in 1604.  Not only spelling but grammar also became fixed.  Books became cheaper and more and more people learned to read.  The English of London, where most of the publishing houses were, became standard English.  Around 1800 a lot of vocabulary was added to the language from the Industrial Revolution and technology.  Because the British Empire was worldwide, the language adopted many words from other languages.  Even today new words continue to enter the English dictionary when the need arisesCurrently there are over 600,000 words in English.  Don’t worry about that, though.  The average university-educated person in North America only knows less than ten percent, or between 40,000 and 60,000 words.

Click on the audio recording below to hear the lesson.


tribe – a group of people who live together
invade – go into a new land and take control
CE – Current Era, meaning the years from 1 to now (We don’t use AD anymore)
inhabitants – people who live there
Celtic – the people who lived in Britain from 4000 years ago
foreign – from outside the country
modern – from today
commonly – by most people
roots – beginnings
influences – things that caused the language to change
missionaries – teachers who want others to learn about their religion
Vikings – sailors from northern Europe
syllable – part of a word
break down – not happen anymore
class – a group of people who have the same profession and make the same money
dominant – the most used
pronunciation – how you say words
vowels – the long voiced sounds of a language
Renaissance – a rebirth of Greek and Roman culture beginning in the 14th century
cultures – the different ways people live in different parts of the world
invention – a human creation
printing press – a machine that prints words onto paper to make books
standardization – making everything the same for everyone
fixed – not changing
publishing – producing books
standard – seen by everyone as correct
Industrial Revolution – the beginning of products being made by machines and not people
technology – those things that allow humans to do more
British Empire – land controlled by Britain, including Australia, Canada, India, and New Zealand.
worldwide – in all parts of the world
adopted – took into itself
need arises – it becomes necessary to do it
currently – at this time, now

Pronunciation Exercise:  Listen and repeat the above vocabulary on the audio file below.

© 2014 Ambien Malecot


The meaning of Desiderata

Desiderata, which translates from Latin as “desired things,” is a famous poem written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann (1872–1945).  It is written in an old-style English.  Some people believe he translated it from the text on the stone wall of the bell tower of Old Saint Paul’s Church in Baltimore, Maryland.  It urges people to see the beauty and troubles of the world through wise, hopeful and compassionate eyes.  It was mostly unknown in the author‘s lifetime, but became well known after its use in an Anglican Church service, and after being found in 1965 at the deathbed of former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson II.  The poem became very well-known among the “baby boom” generation in the 1960s and 70s.  Here is the text, followed by my modern English version, which is easier to understand.

Click on the audio recording below to hear the paragraph above.


Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, 

and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,

even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.


Avoid loud and aggressive persons;

they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,

you may become vain and bitter;

for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.


Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; 

it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. 


Exercise caution in your business affairs;

for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;

many persons strive for high ideals;

and everywhere life is full of heroism.


Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection.

Neither be cynical about love,

for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,

it is as perennial as the grass.


Take kindly the counsel of the years,

gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.


Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,

no less than the trees and the stars;

you have a right to be here.


And whether or not it is clear to you,

no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,

whatever you conceive Him to be,

and whatever your labors and aspirations, 

in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.

With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams,

it is still a beautiful world.  Be cheerful

Strive to be happy


Max Ehrmann 1927


Click on the audio recording below to hear the poem.

Go calmly through a world of noise and fast living

and remember there is peace in silence.

Without being untrue to yourself, try to get along with everyone

Say what you believe quietly and clearly, and listen to others

because everybody, no matter who they are, has a story. 


Avoid loud and aggressive people;

their annoying behavior can bring you down.

If you compare yourself with others,

you may become conceited or hateful

because there will always be others who are better or worse than you


Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans for the future

Stay interested in your own career, even if you think it’s not very important;

You’ll be glad you have it when everything around you changes.


Be cautious when you do business with people

because the world is full of those who will take advantage of you.

But don’t think there’s no goodness out there;

many people are trying to improve themselves;

and all over the world people are doing what’s right.


Be yourself.  Above all, don’t pretend to love.

Also, don’t think love doesn’t exist

because even when it seems that everything is getting worse,

love is as everlasting as the grass.


Learn from your experiences,

and let go of the things you could only do when you were young.

Learn to be strong if things should suddenly go wrong.

But don’t imagine the worst.

Many fears are the product of fatigue and loneliness. 


Apart from a healthy discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,

no less than the trees and the stars;

you have a right to be here


And whether you know it or not,

the universe is definitely evolving as it should.

Therefore, be at peace with your God,

whatever you think that is,

and whatever you do and whatever you dream

in this noisy and confusing life, stay peaceful in your soul.

Even with all it’s dishonesty, hard work and broken dreams,

it is still a beautiful world, so be as happy as you can.

Click on the audio recording below to hear the modern version.


desired – wanted
urges – advises, encourages
compassionate – sympathetic, wanting to help others
author – writer
deathbed – the bed where someone dies
baby boom – all the people born between 1946 and 1964
untrue – doing something you don’t believe in
get along – be friendly
aggressive – doing anything necessary to succeed
annoying – bothersome, irritating
bring you down – make you less happy
conceited – thinking you’re special
achievements – things that you worked hard for
career – what you mostly do to make money
cautious – careful
take advantage of you – take your money but not give you much
pretend – act as if it’s real
everlasting – continuing forever
experiences – things that you do or that happen to you
let go of – stop trying to do
fatigue – tiredness
discipline – doing things that you know you should
universe – all the stars and planets everywhere
a right – something no one can take away
evolving – developing
confusing – complicated, not easy to understand
soul – the part of you that doesn’t die
broken dreams – goals that you never achieve

Pronunciation Exercise:  Listen and repeat the above vocabulary on the audio file below.

© 2015 Ambien Malecot for modern version and vocabulary lesson only  

Simon Fraser University

Simon Fraser University, located near Vancouver, British Columbia, has been one of Canada’s top universities for the past twenty years.  I went there myself in the early 1970s to get my teaching credentials so I could teach in the public school system.  The Times Higher Education world rankings of 100 universities ranks Simon Fraser University 2nd in Canada and 30th in the world.  The university, named after the famous explorer Simon Fraser, opened its doors in 1965 to 2500 students.  It has grown a lot since then.  Now it is a university known for its excellence and innovation in academic programs.  It also has a reputation for excellence in research.  It is a public university with half of its funding coming from the government.  There are eight faculties:  the Faculty of Applied Science, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Beedie School of Business, the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology, the Faculty of Education, the Faculty of Environment, the Faculty of Health Sciences, and the Faculty of Science.  There are almost 30,000 undergraduates, half of whom are full-time students.  The university has 946 faculty members and 3403 staff members.  Seventeen percent of the undergraduate student population is international students from China, South Korea, and other countries around the world.  International students are about 20% of the graduate student population, but are more highly represented in science and technology areas.  Simon Fraser University is on three different campuses.  The main campus is on the top of Burnaby Mountain, about 20 km. east of downtown Vancouver.  This campus has won many awards for its architecture.  A second campus is located in downtown Vancouver.  When SFU opened this campus in the 1980s, it was the first urban university classroom in British Columbia.  Now this campus has four buildings in the downtown core and serves 10,000 students.  The most recent SFU campus was opened in Surrey, a quickly growing suburb of Vancouver.  The student newspaper, The Peak, is distributed to all three campuses.  The school also has a radio station, CJSF-FM, at 90.1 FM or online at:  The newspaper and radio station are an excellent way to learn about what’s happening on campus.  Finally, there are over a hundred clubs on campus and many events for students to enjoy.  Simon Fraser University is an experience that any international student will benefit from and remember for the rest of their life.

Click on the audio recording below to hear the lesson.


top – best
credentials – educational requirements
rankings – list of best to worst
explorer – someone who discovers new places
innovation – introducing something new or different
academic – higher education
reputation – what others think of you
research – investigation into a subject
public – belonging to everybody
funding – money to operate
faculties – departments of learning
undergraduates – students before they graduate
faculty members – professors
staff members – people who work there but who aren’t professors
graduate – students who already have a bachelor’s degree
highly represented – a larger percentage (more than 20%)
campus – buildings and grounds of a university
architecture – the style of buildings
urban – city
core – area
suburb – district immediately outside a city
distributed – sent
event – something that happens
benefit – get success

Pronunciation Exercise:  Listen and repeat the above vocabulary on the audio file below.

© 2014 Ambien Malecot