In time, these lessons and "stubs" will be migrated to the Buzzwords site.
Until then, consider them historical.

Mini-Lessons from Tuesday, Mar. 27, 2012

These Mini-Lessons are posted on Twitter, and in China on Weibo, throughout the day. You can follow them there!

To get the most from them, you should try to use them in sentences, or discuss them with friends. Writing something on Twitter or Weibo is a great way to practice!

  • Tip: Make real friends. In person is best, on the internet or by mail is also good. Talk about your life, your hopes and fears. Get real!
  • Proverb: A friend in need is a friend indeed: The best friend is one who helps you when you have a problem. Another might let you down.
  • Academic Vocabulary: inherent: included in, and cannot be removed. "Moving slower is inherent in growing old." "See the inherent good in all people."
  • Literature: astrology: the belief that a person's future may be seen in the stars. (Astronomy is the scientific study of the stars, planets, etc.)
  • Art: folk: meaning "of the people," a kind of art, dance, or music. May be old, or may be done by a modern person in a traditional style.
  • Slang: blah blah blah: a rude way to say "etc." A: "I need you to finish your homework..." B: "…and do the dishes blah blah blah."
  • Geography: Yosemite: US National Park in California, has over 3.7 million visitors a year. Yosemite Valley was cut by glaciers (ice).


Read the Mini-Lessons above. Make cards and study them. When you think you know them, answer the questions below. You may have to look up some new words to answer the questions!


1. Today's Proverb is "A friend in need is a friend indeed." You would probably say this when:
a. Your doctor gives you an emergency appointment.
b. Your babysitter cancels and you have to call a friend to take care of your child.
c. Your teacher corrects your homework.
d. You have a flat tire and a stranger stops to help you.

2. Use the Academic Vocabulary word "inherent" and the related verb "to inhere" in their correct forms:
a. What sort of benefits __________ in being a lawyer?
b. Laughter is __________ in being the parent of a young child.
c. Dogs are __________ loyal.
d. When I was in school, studying all night __________ in the lifestyle.

3. Match the Literature, Art, and Geography terms below to these related ideas:
a. often "handed down"
b. preserved even before Yellowstone
c. famous for its waterfalls
d. This can often be found in newspapers.
e. Bob Dylan is famous for his songs.
f. Some people feel this is just a superstition.

(1) astrology
(2) folk
(3) Yosemite

4. The Slang term "blah blah blah" would probably NOT be used when?

a. in complaining to a coworker about something your boss said
b. in telling your teacher why you're late
c. in making fun of a gossipy friend
d. in telling your friend to stop bothering you while you study


If you can, try to talk about these questions in English with a friend. If not, try writing your answers. You may need to do some research in your language, but then you should express your answers in English.

1. Do you believe in astrology? Why or why not? Ask some of your friends what they think.
2. Does your country or culture have an unusual folk art, like some kind of painting, weaving, dance, music, cooking, etc? Describe it.
3. Look for some pictures of Yosemite National Park online. What do you think? Does your country have national parks? Have you been tone? Which would you like to go to?


1. b.

2. Academic Vocabulary:
a. inhere
b. inherent
c. inherently
d. inhered

3. Matching:
a. (2) folk; folk traditions are usually "handed down," passed from one generation to the next.
b. (3) Yosemite; Abraham Lincoln made a land grant to preserve the Yosemite in 1864, but Yellowstone was the first place to become a national park, in 1872.
c. (3) Yosemite; there are over 20 waterfalls, the highest being Horsetail Fall at 2,100 feet (640 meters).
d. (1) astrology; many newspapers have a daily astrology column.
e. (2) folk; Dylan is a folksinger.
f. (1) astrology; there is no science to support the idea.

4. b. Can you imagine? "First my alarm didn't go off, then I missed the bus, and blah blah blah..." Not very convincing!

  1. Academic Vocabulary is the Academic Word List from Oxford University Press. This is "a list of words that you are likely to meet if you study at an English-speaking university."
  2. The Proverb, and the Literature, Art, and Geography words are from lists in the Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. I wrote the definitions and examples myself.
  3. The Tip and Slang words are from my own lists, and I wrote the definitions and examples myself.

This lesson is ©2012 by James Baquet. You may share this work freely. Teachers may use it in the classroom, as long as students are told the source (URL). You may not publish this material or sell it. Please write to me if you have any questions about "fair use."

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