Speaking with your heart

Gordon Bateson

February and March are exciting times in Japan as the school year comes to an end. Many students are preparing for exams, then taking exams, and finally waiting anxiously for results. There is also romantic excitement in the air, as we celebrate Valentine’s Day in February and White Day in March. In this season of high emotions, there are several English idioms about the “heart” which may come in useful.

In some subjects, such as history and geography, the aim is to memorize all the important details about the subject until you “know it by heart”. This means you can easily and quickly remember the details without needing to look anything up.

One good way to increase your motivation to study is to think about why you need to do well in the exam. If you really wish to achieve a specific goal, we say you “have your heart set on doing” something. Students without strong motivation often study “half-heartedly”, which means they study with only about 50% of their full capacity. On the other hand, students with strong motivation will never give up. We say they never “lose heart”, even when things get tough.

There is a saying in English that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, and in February and March it may be fun to take a break from your studies for a little romance. For many young people, this is a time to “follow one’s heart”, and confess one’s true feelings to someone you love. Chocolates, cards and pretty flowers, are the traditional ways to get your message across. If you speak or write a message very sincerely, we say it comes “from the bottom of your heart”. Hopefully, your Valentine partner has a “heart of gold” and will not turn you down. If you get “No”, don’t let it “break your heart”. Be strong, and “take heart” from the words of Alfred Lord Tennyson, who wrote “it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all”.


===== Glossary 用語集 =====

know something by heart 何かを暗記している

have your heart set on doing something に心を決める

half-heartedly 気乗りしないで

lose heart やる気をなくす

all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

follow one’s heart 自分の心に従う

from the bottom of your heart 心の底から

have a heart of gold 心優しい人

break your heart 失恋させる

take heart 元気づく

it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all
イギリスの詩人 Alfred Tennyson(1809-1892)の名言

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