English as a Second Language/Ambiguity

Advertisement


Question
QUESTION: Hi,
I have started reading Hillary Clinton`s recent book titled as HARD CHOICES. I faced some sentences that are hard to understand and I cannot imagine what was she going to say.

Here are these sentences:

1) Jim Kennedy, an old friend with a magic touch for evocative language, had woken up in the middle of night thinking about how the 18 million people who had voted for me had each added a hole in the ultimate glass ceiling.

2)I was heading to a secret meeting with Barack Obama - and not the one I hoped for and expected until just a few month earlier.

Thank you

ANSWER: Hello Hossein,

and thank you for your question.

One thing at a time..

First of all "the glass ceiling" is an unofficially barrier to advancing in a profession, or in this case in the political career (this affects particularly women and minorities).

With this in mind, the meaning of the first sentence:

Jim Kennedy, an old friend of Hillary Clinton, who has a special talent with words, woke up one night and thought how the   millions of people who voted for her made a significant difference in the political career of the former first lady. "Each added a hole in the glass ceiling" means that each vote, made it clear that there should no barriers for women to access positions of high political power, such as that of the president of the US.

The second sentence: Hillary was going to a secret meeting with Barack Obama, but not the meeting she had hoped for or anticipated until a few months earlier. (this is a bit out of context, so this is the best interpretation I can give you for now).

Please feel free to follow up with me if you still have questions about these sentences, or if you encounter more paragraphs you have a hard time understanding. I'll try my best to clarify things for you.

Best to you and I hope you continue to enjoy reading the book.

Amy



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Would you  please clarify these sentences? What was the Hillary`s intention by saying these ?

1) I tinkered with the speech right up until the very last minute, so that when my motorcade arrived one of my aides had to leap out of the van and sprint ahead to hand the thumb drive to the teleprompter.

2) One woman wore a huge »Hillary for pope!« button. Well, that certainly was not in the stars, but I was moved by the sentiment.

Thanks a lot

ANSWER: Hello again.

Let me begin by thanking you for your kind words and for the ratings you have given me for my previous answer.

1.Hillary kept modifying her speech until the last moment when her motorcade (the cars that are assigned to take her to the event where she was supposed to give a speech) arrived. When that happened she managed to give the thumb drive (a form of electronic storage, also known as a USB drive) where she saved her speech to one of her aides. The aid finally handed that thumb drive to the teleprompter.
A teleprompter is an electronic device connected to a computer that projects the information on the computer (in this case, the info on the thumb drive) on a screen for the speaker to be able to read the text whenever addressing the public.

For a visual on a teleprompter see this link http://images.politico.com/global/news/111018_obama_teleprompter_ap_328.jpg

2. A woman wore a pin (http://www.bombayharbor.com/productImage/0516461001245481240/Round_Button_Pin.JP) that said: "Hillary for pope". That is something unlikely to happen (Hillary being a woman,the pope being a Catholic priest), but regardless of that Hillary was impressed and moved by the intention that woman had (which I assume was to express the fact that if Hillary was interested in becoming the new pope, she would have the support of a lot of people; in other words, her supporters are behind her 100% no matter what her future plans are, even if she were interested to be the next pope, which obviously is something that will never happen).

As before, I hope this helps.

Let me know if I can further assist and I'll do my best to get back to you.

Best,

Amy

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello again

Would you please explain what is the difference between roll call and acclamation ?

What does this mean: a determined group of my delegates still intended to vote for me during the roll call of the states.

And what is the difference between the roll call in the above sentence with the one in the following sentence ?

Then I moved to suspend the roll call and nominate Barack by acclamation.

Thank you so much

Answer
Would you please explain what is the difference between roll call and acclamation ?

What does this mean: a determined group of my delegates still intended to vote for me during the roll call of the states.

And what is the difference between the roll call in the above sentence with the one in the following sentence ?

Then I moved to suspend the roll call and nominate Barack by acclamation.


The meaning of "role call" is the same in both sentences.
Roll calling here is the process of calling out individual states' names (better yet their representatives) and asking them to show their preference for a particular candidate in the electoral race. In this case, I think the choices were Hillary and Barack Obama.

When she said that "she suspended the roll call and nominated Barack by acclamation" she means that she decided to stop the roll calling process and instead proposed that Barack Obama be nominated as a candidate for presidency in the elections.

Acclamation is a form of election that doesn't require a ballot (see here for more) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acclamation

Bottom line: roll calling is election by ballot (each individual who has the right to vote casts his/her vote, then the votes are counted and whoever got the most votes wins the election; acclamation is election without a ballot, a voice vote, in which the voting group is asked who favors and who opposes the proposed candidate. In the event of a lack of opposition, the candidate is considered elected.

I hope this helps.

You know where to find me if you have more questions Hossein.

Best,

Amy

English as a Second Language

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Amy Baker

Expertise

I can answer question about grammar, spelling, syntax, idioms, reading and/or writing that pertain to English as a Second Language. I am knowledgeable about both TOEFL and IELTS.

Experience

I'm a certified ESL teacher with 12 years of experience teaching K-12 and adults.

Education/Credentials
BSc MEd TESL post grad program for k-12 TESL post grad program for adult ed

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.