Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Free seminar-workshop on “English Proficiency” for schools and government offices in Metro Manila and Rizal Province

For more information or to schedule a free seminar, contact Atty. Gerry T. Galacio at gtgalacio@yahoo.com or 0927-798-3138. The training matrix for the seminar is posted below.

Previous “English Proficiency” seminars:

1. Division of City Schools, Pasig City, October 2013 (Plain English seminar for English teachers)

2. Santolan High School, Pasig City, June 2014 (whole-day seminar on English Proficiency)

3. Sta. Lucia High School, Pasig City, December 2014 (4-Saturday seminar on English Proficiency)

4. Maybunga Elementary School, Annex, Pasig City, May 24, 2018 (whole-day seminar on English Proficiency)

1st picture - Mr. Christopher Santos, principal, addresses the participants; 2nd and 3rd pictures - participants work on the 290-plus interactive exercises that have been downloaded to their laptops, tablets, or smartphones.

5. Spurgeon School Foundation, Makati City, August 10, 2018 (whole-day seminar on English Proficiency)

6. National Museum, Intramuros, Manila, June 27, 2019 (whole-day seminar on Plain English style of writing)

7. Dela Paz High School, Pasig City, Metro Manila, August 31, 2019 (whole-day seminar on English Proficiency); photos below by Glearsean Francisco Samudio

Training Matrix for “English Proficiency” seminar (prepared by Atty. Gerry T. Galacio):

Free interactive exercises on English grammar, vocabulary, verbal analogy, and reading comprehension, with resources in writing (general, law, academic, business, science, journalism, etc.)

More than 1,000 exercises (or 10,000 items) from Dropbox with time limit and automatic scoring; these exercises are meant for:

(1) English teachers in their classroom activities;

(2) high school students preparing for college entrance exams;

(3) for college graduates taking exams such as Civil Service, LET, NMAT, PhilLSAT, etc; and

(4) HRD staff of companies for evaluating language skills of job applicants.
What the seminar is all about:

A. For proficiency in spoken English, the seminar emphasizes what is known as the “Proprioceptive Language Learning Method” or simply “Feedback Training Method.” This method emphasizes the simultaneous training of the mind, ears, vocal cords, lips, tongue, jaw, and facial muscles in learning a language. (For more information, surf to “Spoken English Learned Quickly” website with content developed by Dr. Lynn Lundquist.

People do not learn to speak the English language by studying vocabulary and the rules of grammar. The best way in learning to speak English fluently and to learn grammar at the same time is by listening to and speaking grammatically-correct sentences.

The seminars emphasize three rules of learning how to speak English fluently:

1. You must speak English aloud.

2. You must think in English.

3. The more you speak English aloud, the more quickly you will learn to speak it fluently.

By using the “Spoken English Learned Quickly” materials, a person can learn to speak fluent conversational English in less than nine months. The materials, which can be downloaded free, include a 450-page Student Workbook (PDF) and 150-plus hours of MP3 lessons in British and American accents.

B. For proficiency in English reading and writing, the seminars provide the participants (1) an overview of the thousands of materials freely available on the Internet, (2) practice in reading some selected classic literature, and (3) hands-on activity with interactive exercises that have time limit and automatic scoring.

For seminars involving school teachers, I also teach them how to create their own interactive grammar exercises using a freeware from the University of Victoria in Canada.

C. Sequence of topics:

1. Profile of speaker (8 slides; 2.6 mb)

2. Improving your communications skills (62 slides; 20.96 MB)

Topics include: DepEd programs for English proficiency; expectations and goals; To learn English, you must have desire, self-discipline, and practice; assessment and diagnostics tests; DOST LEAP (Learning English Application for Pinoys); Spoken English Learned Quickly; Hope ESL; verb exercises; Daily Pronunciation videos; Learn English through CNN; VOA Learning English resources; The Chaos; Learning English through songs, movies, and pictures.

3. The wonders of reading (42 slides; 5.51 MB)

Topics include: The Power of Words video; How many English words do you need to know in order to communicate effectively?; free resources in reading and reading comprehension; download thousands of books from Bookboon; Read and listen to stories from young writers; Rewordify.com free program for increasing vocabulary and reading comprehension; The Rose; The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.

4. Clear and concise English for effective writing (109 slides; 18.63 MB)

Topics include: Plain English style of writing; guidelines for writing and editing in Plain English; classic rules for good writing.

5. Exercises from ADB Handbook (22 slides; 225.5 KB)
6. OECD exercises (36 slides; 1.1 MB)
7. Interactive exercises using the school’s available computers (or the laptops, tablets, or smartphones of the participants)
8. Output test for seminar participants
9. Answers to output test (9 slides; 1.1 MB)

Friday, January 26, 2018

Free interactive English grammar and vocabulary exercises based on Korean historical dramas

I have posted interactive grammar and vocabulary exercises based on Korean historical dramas at http://k-drama-english-grammar-and-vocabulary-exercises.bitballoon.com/. The exercises have time limit and automatic scoring.

These exercises are primarily designed for Asians who are beginning learners of English. (If you’re already an advanced learner of English, you can also use these exercises to refresh your knowledge.) Thus, the exercises focus on errors in grammar that Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, Malaysians, Indonesians, etc. commonly make with articles, prepositions, gender pronouns, tenses, and subject-verb agreement, among others.

With these exercises, you can foster your love for K-dramas and at the same time learn English grammar and vocabulary.

The exercises now available are based on “Empress Ki,” “Moonlight Drawn by Clouds,” “A Jewel in the Palace,” “Dong Yi,” and “The Moon That Embraces The Sun.”

Later on, I will post exercises based on The Flower in Prison, Jumong, Six Flying Dragons, A Tree With Deep Roots, Yi San, Rebel: Thief Who Stole People, The King’s Doctor, and Saimdang, Light’s Diary..

If you have questions. comments, or suggestions for these exercises, you can post them in the comments section below.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Rewordify (free, online reading comprehension and vocabulary development software)

Rewordify lets users:

The site lets teachers:
  • begin using the site in the classroom right now with the help of ready-to-use lesson plans (aligned to Common Core standards): no purchase orders or technology approvals needed
  • guide and coordinate learning by saving any text passage with one click, allowing learners around the world to get to assemble their own collections of learning materials, individualized for their learners and differentiated by readiness and interest
  • quickly create vocabulary activities and quizzes from any high-interest reading passage or web page, for more engaging learning
  • instantly obtain a Rewordify.com Reading Level Analysis for any passage, for effective differentiation by readiness.
Surf to Rewordify blog.

    Wednesday, May 17, 2017

    “Saimdang, Light’s Diary” synopsis (Ep. 1-30, international version) in Plain English

    Note: I’m writing this spoiler-free synopsis to illustrate what Plain English, Plain Language, or Clear Writing is all about. Among other things, Plain English means writing sentences that are short, simple, clear, and strong.

    Jump to synopsis of Episode 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 17; 18; 19; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24; 25; 26; 27; 28; 29; 30; How I made these synopses spoiler-free; Related article (external link): Backgrounders on historical Shin Saimdang and other information.

    This drama has two versions:

    (1) The international or original version, with 30 episodes, that was broadcast via cable TV to Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, and in Hong Kong; and

    (2) the re-edited version known as the SBS version, with 28 episodes, that was broadcast in Korea; you can read the synopsis for the SBS version in my “Campus Connection” blog.

    The international version is much better than the SBS version. You can watch the international version’s 30 episodes on iflix (paid subscription basis).

    Here’s a tip: Register for iflix’s 30-day free trial subscription and then binge watch (marathon) the whole drama within the free trial period.

    You can read below the differences between the international version and the SBS version.

    Episode 1

    The drama begins centuries ago in an Italian castle where there’s music and dancing during a stormy night. Despite the festivities, Lee Gyeom locks himself up in his room, furiously painting a portrait.

    Modern timeline ...

    Seo Ji-yoon is a businessman’s wife and the mother of a young boy. While pursuing her PhD, she works as an instructor in Hankuk University’s Art Department. She’s given a big career opportunity by Professor Min Jung Hak in presenting her evaluation of “Mount Geumgang”, a centuries-old painting of mountains by An Gyeon, a famous Joseon artist. But the presentation is disrupted by Han Sang-hyun, a young instructor who has previously been in conflict with Prof. Min.

    In an art conference in Bologna, Italy, Prof. Min tells Ji-yoon to change her major because he will not allow her to get her PhD.

    Ji-yoon gets locked out of her hotel room, and her problems worsen when she hears from her friend Hye-jung that Prof. Min has told the University that she must be fired from her job.

    In despair, Ji-yoon wanders around Bologna. In an alley, she nearly gets run over by a bicyclist, and she stumbles over a book stand. The owner apologizes to her by giving her a stack of books.

    Later, she discovers among the books an ancient diary that mentions the “Mount Geumgang” painting.

    Episode 2

    Episode 1 recap:

    Prof. Min and the director of the Sun Gallery connive to present “Mount Geumgang” as authentic, thus earning for both of them money, prestige, and power.

    Ji-yoon’s investigation leads her to the castle known as “Siesta Di Luna” in Tuscany, Italy where the real estate agent shows her the enormous halls filled with all kinds of art works.

    Ji-yoon and Lee Gyeom’s spirit cross each other, and as if she’s possessed, she rushes to a room where she stares at a painting. The glass cover then breaks into a thousand pieces, and Ji-yoon is stunned to find behind the painting a full-length portrait of a Joseon-era lady.
    Ji-yoon returns to to Korea with the diary, the seed pouch, and the portrait of a Joseon beauty. Almost immediately, she’s forced to face a disciplinary hearing at the university.

    Joseon timeline ...

    In her desire to see An Gyeon’s “Mount Geumgang” painting, the young Saimdang climbs over a fence of a compound owned by a member of the Royal Family. There, she meets Lee Gyeom.

    Modern timeline ...

    Ji-yoon and her husband are involved in a multiple-car collision. At the hospital, Ji-yoon begins having visions of herself as Saimdang returning to her ancestral house.

    Episode 3

    Episode 2 recap:

    Ji-yoon is terminated as lecturer in the university, while her husband goes into hiding as his company collapses.

    As Ji-yoon and Hye-jung study the diary,  they begin thinking that Prof. Min’s “Mount Geumgang” painting is fake.

    Ji-yoon asks Han Sang-hyun’s help in translating the diary. Later, her financial problems worsen when debt collectors force their way into her apartment.

    Joseon timeline ...

    The adult Lee Gyeom leads a wasted, frivolous life that frustrates his great aunt. As he wanders around his childhood house, he remembers Saimdang ...

    The young Saimdang spends her time painting at Unpyeongsa (Unpyeong Temple). As she follows the Head Monk around the temple compound, she sees numerous people in pain and suffering.

    Episode 4

    Episode 3 recap:

    In her vision, Ji-yoon, sees the “Mount Guemgang” painting hidden in a wall in Saimdang’s ancestral house. Later, she finds the Biikjo seal on the portrait of a Joseon beauty.

    Joseon timeline ...

    Brought together by their love of painting and poetry, Saimdang and Lee Gyeom fall in love with each other.

    Saimdang sees a rowdy group of government officials, gisaengs, and private soldiers arriving at the temple compound.

    Part of the group is Min Chi-hyung who’s a town mayor and a prosperous businessman. Besides widening his political connections, he also wants the Head Monk to supply him with the temple’s famous Goryeo paper.

    While waiting for Saimdang’s parents to answer his marriage proposal, Lee Gyeom meets again the lowborn girl Seok Soon.

    Episode 5

    Episode 4 recap:

    Infatuated with Lee Gyeom, Seok Soon doesn’t give him Saimdang’s letter.

    As Min Chi-hyung and his men start killing the monks and the people at the temple, Saimdang and Seok Soon run for their lives.

    To save Lee Gyeom, Saimdang agrees to marry someone else.
    Ji-yoon and Han Sang-hyun travel to Saimdang’s ancestral house “Ojukheon” in Gangneung.

    Ji-yoon’s husband finds out the connection between his company’s collapse and the activities of the Sunjin Group of companies.

    Joseon timeline ...

    Saimdang and her children visit her mother at their ancestral house before leaving for Hanyang (Joseon’s capital).

    Lee Gyeom creates a scandal during his wedding.

    Min Chi-hyung is now a high government official and a prosperous paper merchant. His wife Hwieumdang is the former lowborn girl Seok Soon; she’s now an accomplished artist whose paintings are coveted by the wives of government ministers.

    Episode 6

    Episode 5 recap:

    Ji-yoon and Han Sang-hyun fail to find the “Mount Geumgang” painting in Saimdang’s ancestral house.

    Joseon timeline ...

    Lee Gyeom walks out of his wedding and later goes to Hanyang to ask the King to annul his wedding. The King agrees on the condition that Lee Gyeom will serve him in a government position.

    Lee Won-su, Saimdang’s husband, gets scammed and loses the house in Sujinbang that Saimdang’s mother bought for Saimdang and her family.

    Saimdang and her children find themselves homeless in Hanyang, and to make matters worse, her youngest son Woo becomes sick with measles.

    After the feast, Lee Gyeom and Hwieumdang (the former lowborn girl Seok Soon) meet each other.

    In anger, Lee Gyeom goes to Sujinbang and talks to Saimdang for the first time after 20 years.

    Modern timeline ...

    Ji-yoon gets a part-time job to make ends meet and continues to study Saimdang’s diary with Han Sang-hyun.

    Hye-jung finds a mysterious object hidden in Saimdang’s diary.

    Episode 7

    Episode 6 recap:

    Rebuked by Saimdang’s words, Lee Gyeom rediscovers his talent for painting.

    Ji-yoon and Hye-jung find a copy of John Donne’s poem “Valediction Forbidding Mourning” hidden in Saimdang’s diary.
    Modern timeline ...

    Ji-yoon’s husband sneaks into Sun Gallery and copies files from the Director’s laptop.

    Han Sang-hyun helps Ji-yoon and Hye-jung set up a new place where they can study the diary without being spied on by Prof. Min and his assistants.

    Joseon timeline ...

    Lee Won-su, Saimdang’s husband, goes back home. Later, Saimdang tries to be a good neighbor with the deposed Queen.

    The King and his ministers visit Lee Gyeom to find out why his paintings have stirred up the people of Hanyang.

    In a fit of anger, Saimdang’s son Hyun-ryong storms out of the house, with little Woo following him.

    Episode 8

    Episode 7 recap:

    The King orders Lee Gyeom to establish Biikdang, Joseon’s center for the arts.

    While looking for her sons, Saimdang runs into Min Chi-hyung, the man who led the massacre at Unpyeongsa (Unpyeong Temple) 20 years ago.
    Saimdang warns Lee Gyeom about Min Chi-hyung.

    Saimdang’s son Hyun-ryong finds a copy of the King’s poem hidden in one of his grandfather’s books.

    Modern timeline ...

    Ji-yoon tells her husband that she can help him by proving that the “Mount Geumgang” painting is fake.

    Joseon timeline ...

    Hwieumdang catches Hyun-ryong inside the premises of Jungbu School.

    Saimdang whips her children after they get involved in an incident at the market.

    Lee Gyeom continues investigating Min Chi-hyung.

    Episode 9

    Episode 8 recap:

    Ji-yoon’s husband tells her to file for divorce.

    Joseon timeline ...

    Saimdang punishes her children for stealing dried persimmons at the market. Later, she takes them to the barren mountain and gives them hope for a better life.

    Despite their financial problems, Saimdang enrolls her son Hyun-ryong in Jungbu School. At the school, she, Lee Gyeom, and Hwieumdang meet each other again.

    When the mothers of Jungbu School protest Hyun-ryong’s admission, Lee Gyeom proposes a contest between Hyun-ryong and the other candidate for admission.

    Saimdang gets an idea on how she can earn some income for her family.

    Modern timeline ...

    Ji-yoon’s mother-in-law finds out about her situation and gets into a fight with her.

    Prof. Min gets a package from RADE.

    Episode 10

    Episode 9 recap:

    Hyun-ryong finally gets admitted into Jungbu School, and Saimdang tells Lee Gyeom not to meddle with her family.

    Saimdang finds plenty of mulberry trees in the barren mountain and decides to make paper as a source of income.

    Ji-yoon’s mother-in-law finds out about the divorce.

    Saimdang hires a former artisan at the Paper Production Office to teach her how to make paper.

    Saimdang gets a return gift from the deposed Queen.

    Hwieumdang proposes to Lee Gyeom a poetry and painting contest for the mothers and students of Jungbu School.

    Episode 11

    Episode 10 recap:

    The paper artisan steals Saimdang’s paper.

    Hwieumdang assigns “Unpyeong” as the topic for the poetry and painting contest in order to traumatize Saimdang.

    Saimdang runs away from the contest venue.

    Hwieumdang plans to bankrupt Saimdang’s paper business.

    Modern timeline ...

    Prof. Min forces his way into Ji-yoon’s bedroom.

    Ji-yoon’s conflict wth her mother-in-law increases.

    Episode 12

    Episode 11 recap:

    Saimdang and Lee Gyeom finally realize that Hwieumdang is the lowborn girl they knew as Seok Soon 20 years ago.

    Pressured by RADE’s investigation, Prof. Min threatens Ji-yoon.

    Ji-yoon finds the genuine “Mount Geumgang” painting hidden at the back of the portrait of the Joseon beauty.

    Saimdang goes back home but finds out that Hyun-ryong is missing.

    Hwieumdang orders her store manager to ask Saimdang to deliver 5,00 sheets of paper within five days. As Saimdang and her servant Hyang try to produce the paper, they meet a band of drifters.

    Lee Gyeom goes back to Unpyeongsa and talks to an old man who knows what happened 20 years ago.

    Modern timeline ...

    Prof. Min and his assistants enter the club searching for Ji-yoon and Han Sang-hyun. Later, Ji-yoon visits the director of Sun Gallery.

    Episode 13

    Episode 12 recap:

    Ji-yoon tells Director Sun that she has the genuine “Mount Geumgang” painting.

    Lee Gyeom finds out that someone survived the Unpyeongsa massacre.

    Saimdang offers the band of drifters a business deal to help her make the 5,000 sheets of paper.

    As Ji-yoon continues doing odd jobs, Prof. Min contacts her again.

    Joseon timeline ...

    The drifters begin helping Saimdang make the 5,000 sheets of paper. Meanwhile, Hwieumdang’s store manager betrays her.

    The infighting and intrigues among the ministers continue, and Min Chi-hyung uses something from the past to intimidate the Prime Minister.

    Episode 14

    Episode 13 recap:

    When Hwieumdang’s new store manager refuses to buy the paper, Saimdang and the drifters begin selling them on the street. A fight then ensues between Lee Gyeom and Min Chi-hyung’s private soldiers.

    Saimdang begs on her knees for the drifters to understand why she couldn’t sell the 5,000 sheets of paper.

    As Saimdang prays in the mountain in memory of all the people who died in Unpyeongsa, an old man approaches her and asks for her forgiveness.

    Hanyang’s police arrest all of the drifters.

    Lee Gyeom goes back to Bukpyung Village to talk with Saimdang’s mother.

    The King visits Biikdang looking for Lee Gyeom.

    Episode 15

    Episode 14 recap:

    The old man tells Saimdang that the massacre wasn’t her fault and that Min Chi-hyung planned it so that no one else will know the secret to making Goryeo paper.

    Saimdang personally guarantees to the police officer that the drifters won’t run away and that they will pay their taxes.

    The old man tells Saimdang and the drifters how to make Goryeo paper.

    Lee Gyeom finally finds out from his great aunt what happened 20 years ago. He rushes back to Hanyang to see Saimdang. Unknown to them, Min Chi-hyung is watching them from afar.

    Lee Gyeom embraces Saimdang and asks for her forgiveness for all the sacrifices she made for him.

    Modern timeline ...

    Prof. Min’s assistants break into Ji-yoon’s apartment. Meanwhile, Ji-yoon’s husband finds a secluded van belonging to the Sunjin Group.

    Joseon timeline ...

    Hwieumdang orders her servant to bring Man Deuk (Saimdang’s paper artisan) to her.

    The King’s bodyguard counsels Lee Gyeom on how he can protect Saimdang. Later, Lee Gyeom confronts Min Chi-hyung.

    Episode 16

    Episode 15 recap:

    The King’s bodyguard tells Lee Gyeom that, in order to protect Saimdang, he must not oppose the King.

    Lee Gyeom challenges Min Chi-hyung to a sword fight.

    Hwieumdang orders Man Deuk to spy into what Saimdang and the drifters are doing.

    Director Sun sets things up for Ji-yoon and Han Sang-hyun to transfer the genuine “Mount Geumgang” painting to the gallery. But Prof. Min and his goons hijack the painting.

    Han Sang-hyun and Hye-jung report the hijacking to the police, while Ji-yoon goes to see Director Sun.

    Joseon timeline ...

    Hyun-ryong gets into a fight, and Saimdang is required to report to Jungbu School.

    As suggested by Lee Gyeom, the King and the ministers go on a hunting trip. When Lee Gyeom breaks away from the group, Min Chi-hyung follows him.

    Episode 17

    Episode 16 recap:

    Prof. Min burns the “Mount Geumgang” painting.

    Ji-yoon’s husband meets a car accident.

    Joseon timeline ...

    Lee Gyeom is nearly hit by Min Chi-hyung’s poison-tipped arrow.

    During her confrontation with the mothers of Jungbu School, Saimdang paints grapes and grape vines on the silk skirt; afterwards, she takes Hyun-ryong out of the school.

    The King and the ministers are thrown into chaos as the Ming ambassador arrives.

    The Ming ambassador is coming to Joseon because of the Emperor’s complaint about the quality of Goryeo paper sent as part of the tributes.

    Saimdang’s painting on the silk skirt causes a stir among the people of Hanyang.

    At the temple, Lee Won-su is disciplined by the Head Monk.

    The Royal Court announces an open competition for those who can supply the government with the highest-quality Goryeo paper that the Ming Emperor demands.

    Hwieumdang disguises herself as the “Black Peony.”

    Modern timeline ...

    Ji-yoon’s son is traumatized by his father’s accident, and her mother-in-law becomes severely depressed.

    Episode 18

    Episode 17 recap:

    Saimdang decides to go back to Unpyeongsa (Unpyeong Temple) to find out the secret to making the highest-quality Goryeo paper.

    Through Lee Gyeom’s influence, Lee Won-su is appointed to a government office.
    Ji-yoon brings her son to her father’s house for rest and recuperation.

    Han Sang-hyun and Hye-jung find out that his friend Ah-na is related to Director Sun.

    After getting another message from RADE, Prof. Min calls up Ji-yoon.

    Joseon timeline ...

    The King puts Lee Gyeom in charge of the Paper Production Office.

    Min Chi-hyung goes to a temple to visit Noble Lady Nam, a former Royal Concubine.

    Hwieumdang finds out that Saimdang is on her way to Unpyeongsa.

    Episode 19

    Episode 18 recap:

    Lee Gyeom orders the arrest of Min Chi-hyung for bribing the previous Ming ambassador.

    Hwieumdang and her men kill old man Pal Bong and corner Saimdang at a cliff.

    Lee Gyeom rescues Saimdang at a cliff. Together, they travel back to Hanyang.

    The Prime Minister and the other top ministers urge the King to execute Min Chi-hyung.

    With the looming deadline for submitting the Goryeo paper that the Ming Emperor demands, the King seeks the advice of Noble Lady Nam.

    Episode 20

    Episode 19 recap:

    The King releases Min Chi-hyung and orders him to produce the Goryeo paper that the Ming Emperor wants.

    Ambushed by Min Chi-hyung and his private soldiers, Saimdang and the wounded Lee Gyeom seek shelter in a cave.

    The King orders Lord So and the Royal Guards to rescue Lee Gyeom.

    The King ignores Lee Gyeom’s protests that Min Chi-hyung tried to kill him. Instead, the King tells him that whoever can produce the Goryeo paper that the Ming Emperor wants is his loyal subject.

    The race is on between Saimdang, on one hand, and Hwieumdang and Min Chi-hyung, on the other, to decode what the poem means on how to make the highest-quality Goryeo paper.

    Min Chi-hyung orders Man Deuk to sabotage Saimdang’s paper mill.

    Modern timeline ...

    Ji-yoon tries to cheer her son up; later, Hang Sang-hyun and Hye-jung come by for a visit.

    RADE reaches out to Ji-yoon.

    Episode 21

    Episode 20 recap:

    Saimdang finds out that pulp from mulberry and wisteria trees must be mixed in the right proportion to produce the highest-quality Goryeo paper.

    Despite the fire that gutted down her storage shed, Saimdang is able to join the paper selection competition.

    Modern timeline ...

    RADE gives Ji-yoon a postcard with the “Man in Korean Costume” painting by Rubens.

    For the final criterion in selecting the best paper, the Ming ambassador asks Saimdang and Hwieumdang to paint on their paper.

    Lee Gyeom urges the King to punish Min Chi-hyung.

    Modern timeline ...

    Ji-yoon studies the “Man in Korean Costume” painting by Rubens and its related painting “The Miracles of St. Francis Xavier”. Meanwhile, Han Sang-hyun tries to convince Prof. Min’s assistants to turn against him.

    Episode 22

    Episode 21 recap:

    Prof. Min shows to his assistants the genuine “Mount Geumgang” painting safely stored in his office.

    Joseon timeline ...

    The King exiles Min Chi-hyung.

    (Time skip of two years)

    Saimdang and the drifters have become prosperous paper merchants.

    Lee Gyeom fights off the Japanese raiders with a new weapon.

    Lee Won-su’s pregnant concubine goes to Yangyooo Paper Production Office.

    Lee Gyeom returns to Joseon after traveling all over Asia for the last two years.

    Min Chi-hyung pressures Hwieumdang to get him out of his exile.

    Modern timeline ...

    Ji-yoon tries to reconcile with her mother-in-law and to reach out to her son Eun-soo.

    When RADE continues to pressure him, Prof. Min orders his assistants to dig up any kind of dirt against Ji-yoon and Han Sang-hyun.

    Episode 23

    Episode 22 recap:

    Saimdang finds out that her husband Lee Won-su has taken in a concubine.

    Modern timeline ...

    Ji-yoon finds her mother-in-law unconscious and rushes her to the hospital.

    Ji-yoon finally breaks the emotional barrier between her and her son Eun-soo.

    The King tells the ministers that he wants to abdicate in favor of the Crown Prince.

    Lee Gyeom gathers the Biikdang staff for an important announcement. Later, his great aunt pressures him again to get married, and the Crown Prince visits him.

    Bandits attack the entourage of Princess Jeongsun (the King’s favorite daughter).

    Saimdang finds out that all of her paintings are missing from her studio.

    Episode 24

    Episode 23 recap:

    After staging a fake but deadly attack on Princess Jeongsun’s entourage, Hwieumdang and her men rescue her. Out of gratitude and remembering Noble Lady Nam’s advice, the King lifts Min Chi-hyung’s exile.

    Lee Won-su takes all of Saimdang’s paintings and gives them to his concubine, who sells them off.

    Lee Gyeom and the Crown Prince, in disguise, visit the market and Yangyoo Paper Production Office.

    Lee Gyeom buys back all of the paintings and restores them to their proper places in Saimdang’s studio.

    Princess Jeongsun visits Saimdang at her studio.

    Min Chi-hyung tries to regain the political power that he once had.

    Saimdang visits Lee Won-su’s concubine.

    The Crown Prince appoints Lee Gyeom as the head of the Bureau of Paintings.

    Modern timeline ...

    Han Sang-hyun and Hye-jung ask the help of the president of the Antique Arts Society.

    Prof. Min retaliates against Ji-yoon, Han Sang-hyun, and Hye-jung.

    Episode 25

    Episode 24 recap:

    Ji-yoon and Han Sang-hyun are accused of plagiarizing their theses, and Hye-jung gets fired from her job at the National Museum.

    Joseon timeline ...

    Disguised as a boy, Mae-chang wins the first round in the selection of new artists for the Bureau of Paintings.

    Min Chi- hyung agrees to sell the blueprints of Joseon’s turtle ship to the Japanese.

    Mae-chang gets kicked out of the Bureau of Paintings competition for new artists.

    Min Chi-hyung meets Saimdang and Mae-Chang at night in the market.

    Lee Gyeom announces an open competition for the Royal Portrait Painter.

    Modern timeline ...

    Ji-yoon decides to go back to Seoul and fight back against Prof. Min. Later, she gets an email from RADE asking her for a face-to-face meeting.

    Episode 26

    Episode 25 recap:

    Saimdang wins the open competition for the Royal Portrait Painter. But the ministers and the Confucian scholars begin protesting her appointment.

    At the portrait-painting session, the King tells Saimdang that he remembers her and her father.

    Modern timeline ...

    Prof. Min bribes the president of the Antique Arts Society to discredit Saimdang’s diary.

    Ji-yoon finds out more about RADE from its Korean representative.

    While Saimdang begins working on the Royal Portrait, Hwieumdang plans how to steal the blueprints for Joseon’s turtle ship.

    The ministers continue protesting against Saimdang’s appointment.

    The King visits the capital in disguise. Later, he orders Lee Gyeom to paint the Royal Portrait together with Saimdang.

    Episode 27

    Episode 26 recap:

    Hwieumdang steals the blueprints for Joseon’s turtle ship.

    With the help of the Confucian scholars, the King plans to discredit Saimdang and Lee Gyeom during the public unveiling of the Royal Portrait. But his plan backfires when people praise the Royal Portrait in music and dance.

    Saimdang reaches out in friendship to Hwieumdang.

    The King orders Min Chi-hyung to kill Saimdang and Lee Gyeom.

    Lee Gyeom races to where Saimdang is being held, but there, he’s surrounded by Min Chi-hyung and the Japanese.

    The King orders Lee Gyeom’s arrest for treason.

    Lee Won-su brings his concubine to the family home in Sujinbang.

    Modern timeline ...

    One of Prof. Min’s assistants turns against him.

    Episode 28

    Episode 27 recap:

    After Ji-yoon gets the genuine “Mount Geumgang” painting back, she and the Korean guy from RADE plan how to entrap Prof. Min.

    Joseon timeline ...

    Hwieumdang entrusts her children to Saimdang.

    After Saimdang finds Lee Won-su and his concubine in the family home, her children urge her to fulfill her lifelong dream of climbing Mount Geumgang.

    Lee Gyeom follows Saimdang, and at last, they fulfill their teenage dreams of painting at the mountain together.

    The King finds out that Saimdang has returned to Hanyang; he immediately orders her placed under house arrest in order to catch Lee Gyeom.

    Modern timeline ...

    After Ji-yoon copies the John Donne poem from the diary, she begins acting strangely, telling Han Sang-hyun and Hye-jung that the “Portrait of a Joseon Beauty” is fading.

    Goons sent by Prof. Min attack the club, searching for the “Mount Geumgang” painting. Ji-yoon grabs the painting and rushes out of the room, but the goons corner her at the club’s rooftop.

    Episode 29

    Episode 28 recap:

    Saimdang leaves Lee Gyeom, choosing to return to her children. She also burns An Gyeon’s “Mount Geumgang” painting and her own painting.

    Lee Gyeom decides to protect Saimdang by giving himself up to the authorities. The King then orders his exile and death by poisoning.

    Modern timeline ...

    Ji-yoon falls from the rooftop and is rushed to the hospital. In her vision, she meets Saimdang.

    Ji-yoon assures Saimdang that she can save Lee Gyeom.

    Saimdang rallies the bandits and the drifters to rescue Lee Gyeom. She also seeks the help of Lord So and the Crown Prince.

    Modern timeline ...

    A mysterious man visits Ji-yoon at the hospital. Later, Director Sun also visits Ji-yoon.

    Episode 30

    Episode 29 recap:

    Ji-yoon’s husband turns up alive and is reunited with his family.

    Joseon timeline ...

    With help from the Crown Prince’s men, the bandits and the drifters catch up with the soldiers escorting Lee Gyeom to his exile. But to everyone’s surprise, the King’s bodyguard releases Lee Gyeom. Later, the bodyguard kills himself.

    At the river, Saimdang and Lee Gyeom bid each other farewell.

    After an arduous journey over land and sea, Lee Gyeom reaches Italy.

    How I made these synopses spoiler-free:

    1. I assumed that you will be reading these recaps and watching the videos chronologically.

    2. I narrated the main actions in each episode without revealing the plot’s twists and turns.

    3. At the beginning of each synopsis starting with Episode 2, I placed in a table some of the major twists and turns of the previous episode. But because you have already watched the video of the previous episode, they aren’t spoilers anymore.

    (I used this same structure in my recaps of “Six Flying Dragons,” “Moonlight Drawn by Clouds,” “The King’s Doctor,” “A Jewel in the Palace,” and “The Flower in Prison.”)

    Differences between the SBS version and international or original version (with potential spoilers for those who have not yet watched this drama):

    (a) The SBS version focuses on the historical timeline, while the international version has an equal balance between the historical and modern timelines.

    (b) The SBS version cuts so many scenes — equivalent to two episodes — that are integral to the story and character development. Here are some examples:

    The SBS version doesn’t show us why Lee Won-su brazenly brought his concubine to Saimdang’s house. But the international version shows us in two episodes that Lee Won-su has found out about Saimdang and Lee Gyeom’s affection for each other.

    These two episodes are (1) when Lee Gyeom holds Saimdang’s hand after they watched Min Chi-hyung being sent into exile, and (2) when Lee Won-su brings food to Saimdang after she was appointed as Royal Portrait Painter, and he sees Saimdang and Lee Gyeom having dinner together.

    In Ep. 27 SBS version, Ji-yoon gives to Saimdang the bracelet that her son Eun-soo gave her. Ep. 26 SBS version does not tell us the bracelet’s significance, but the international version does (in the dialogue between Ji-yoon's father and her son Eun-soo as they’re buying the bracelet).

    In Ep. 23 SBS version, Hwieumdang shoots an arrow with a message attached to it. Lee Gyeom reads it and then goes to Saimdang’s rescue, with Hu rushing to the Crown Prince who then sends his royal guards to help Lee Gyeom. It appears from the SBS version that the Crown Prince only wanted to help Lee Gyeom rescue Saimdang. But the international version shows that Hwieumdang warned Lee Gyeom that Min Chi-hyung was selling the blueprints for Joseon’s turtle ship to the Japanese raiders and that the Crown Prince sent his men to help Lee Gyeom rescue Saimdang and to prevent the Japanese raiders from getting the blueprints.

    (c) The sequence of events are different in the two versions. For example, the episode where Saimdang confronts Hwieumdang and the other mothers and paints on the silk skirt is Ep. 13 SBS version. But these scenes are in Ep. 16 or 18 (if I remember correctly) in the international version.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2017

    Free Plain English interactive exercises

    Plain Language, Plain English, Clear Writing exercises and resources (419 exercises total)

    Plain English interactive exercises for seminars (108 exercises total)

    Note: These exercises were created using Hot Potatoes v. 6.3, a freeware from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

    Monday, January 9, 2017

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