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The other day, I  was listening to the podcast of BBC Global News and came across with something that I found  interesting.  The topic was the Climate Summit in Copenhagen last week.  When asked whether the expectation for some accomplishment was met during the Summit, one of the organizing committee members (I trust) said that there was a step forward agreed by those participants.(I do not recall the exact words or sentences, but it was something like that.)   As the overall  impression  I had about the Summit until then was  that the discussion was still wide apart between the advanced and emerging economies and that not much has been accomplished, I started paying attention.

The interviewer then asked is the agreed step was a “commitment” or “aspiration”?  I knew of these two words, but I did not know how these were used.  So I found the way to ask a question with these two words interesting (and thus, I do not recall the answer of the interviewee. I have an impression that he did not give a clear answer either way.)

I have heard of the term, “commitment” several times and I myself have used it on some occasions.  (The first time I felt I got better understanding of the meaning was when Mr. Carlos Ghosn, then President and CEO of Nissan, used the term.)

I have used the term “aspiration” much less often, as I did not quite get the nuance of the term, though I sensed there was something positive and hopeful about it. Now I learned at least one context that these two terms can be used.

It is quite difficult to understand the meaning of the words in the context, whether it is your own language or your second language.  It requires quite a bit of learning and experience particularly for your second language.  I hope I will come across with another context that these terms are used.

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