Business English Course

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Could you imagine tulips selling for almost $80 000 each?  In Holland in the 1630’s, tulips were a status symbol for the rich.  Originally, only connoisseurs purchased the bulbs, but eventually speculators and ordinary citizens caught on to the rapidly increasing commodity price and quickly followed suit.  At one point the price of the bulbs went up twenty-fold in less than a month.  Common sense flew out the window and people were selling their homes, land, and using their life savings just to purchase a bulb or two.  Eventually the supply of tulips rose and down came the price.  The tulip market crashed and it took decades for the economy to recover.  A:  Let me get the first round

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Tulips:  A type of flower.

Status Symbol:  Something that shows that you are rich or part of the upper class.  Some examples of status symbols are having a really nice car or being a member of an exclusive golf course.

Connoisseurs:  A person who has a lot of knowledge in a particular area and can appreciate and recognize high quality.  You can be a connoisseur of modern art, or a connoisseur of fine wine for example. 

Bulbs:  The part of the tulip that you plant in the ground.  It looks a bit like a ball.

Speculator:  A person who buys something at a low price and hopes it will rise in value so they can sell it later.  Some people speculate on certain stocks, some people speculate in the real estate market. 

Followed suit:  This term means to do the same thing that someone else just did.  She was the first person to take her shoes off at the door and it seemed like everyone else just followed suit.  This means that everyone else also took off their shoes.

Twenty-fold:  This means twenty times.  You can use this with any number.  5 fold, 10 fold for example.  If you bought a stock for 8 dollars and a year later it was 40 dollars, it means that it went up 5 fold.

Common sense flew out the window:  If something “flies out the window” it means it went away completely and very quickly.  This means that all of a sudden, people were no longer using any common sense.


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