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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mini-Lessons from Wednesday, Mar. 28, 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!
  • Link: Free grammar lessons (explanation, no exercises): http://www.eslcafe.com/grammar.html
  • Ancient History: Vandals: German tribe who attacked the Roman Empire near its end (5th century). Today, one who destroys property (vandalism).
  • Irregular Verbs: It's bad when the economy slides. Ours slid last year. It has slid several times this decade.
  • Idiom: salt of the Earth: describes a good, honest, simple person. "I enjoy talking with truck drivers. They're the salt of the Earth."
  • Pop Culture: Elizabeth Taylor: (1932-2011) British-American actress who started as a child star and became one of the greatest film actresses ever.
  • Slang: knock 'em dead: do a great job, and impress people. A: "I have a job interview tomorrow." B: "Cool! Knock 'em dead!"
  • Government: anarchism: the idea that people should live without government of any kind. "Anarchy" sometimes means "disorder."

STUDY:

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!
QUESTIONS:

1. Today's Idiom is "salt of the Earth." You would probably use this to describe:
a. a king who looks down on his people
b. a professor who thinks his neighbors are stupid
c. a police officer who is suspicious of everybody
d. a factory manager who eats lunch with his workers every day

2. Use the correct form of the Irregular Verb "slide" in these sentences:
a. The game was won when the runner __________ into home base.
b. Every time my dad sits on our sofa, he __________ off of it again.
c. Fruit is getting cheaper; the prices have __________ dramatically in the past few weeks.
d. My daughter enjoys __________ down the stair rail.
e. I will let you __________ this time, but don't be late from now on!

3. Match the Ancient History, Pop Culture, and Government terms below to these related ideas:
a. was married eight times, twice to Richard Burton
b. related to the Goths
c. appeared in her first film at age 9
d. a roughly-drawn "A" in a circle is a symbol of this
e. painting on buildings ("graffiti"), breaking windows, etc. is named for them
f. the word literally means "without a ruler"

(1) Vandals
(2) Elizabeth Taylor
(3) anarchism

4. In which case would you probably NOT use the Slang term "knock 'em dead"?

a. Your friend is going to have a job interview.
b. Your neighbor is fighting with her husband.
c. Your colleague is going to make a sales presentation.
d. Your classmate is going to make a speech in class.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION OR WRITING:

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. What do you know about the Germanic tribes of Europe, and their role in the downfall (the end) of the Roman Empire?
2. have you seen any of Elizabeth Taylor's movies? Find a picture of her. What do you think of her looks?
3. Have anarchists ever played a part in the history of your country? What is the general opinion of the idea among people you know?
ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS:

1. d.

2. Irregular Verb:
a. slid
b. slides
c. slid
d. sliding
e. slide

3. Matching:
a. (2) Elizabeth Taylor; her third husband died; all other marriages ended in divorce.
b. (1) Vandals; their lands were nearby, and they married each other.
c. (2) Elizabeth Taylor; the film was "There's One Born Every Minute"; it is not well-known.
d. (3) anarchism; this is often sprayed on walls in an act of vandalism.
e. (1) Vandals; these acts are examples of "vandalism"; people who do them are called "vandals," too.
f. (3) anarchism; "an"="not"; "archos"="ruler" (actually, "first" or "prime," as in "archenemy," "archangel," or "archbishop").

4. b. It shouldn't be used literally!

NOTES:
  1. The Idiom, the History and Government words, and some of the Pop Culture words, are from lists in the Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. I wrote the definitions and examples myself.
  2. The Link was found online; the Slang words, the Irregular Verbs, and some of the Pop Culture 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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