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

Mini-Lessons WITH EXERCISES from Wednesday, Mar. 21, 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: Have fun. Schools can make English seem boring, but if you use it to do fun things, you'll feel better about it!
  • Proverb: The show must go on: Even if you have had trouble, you must go ahead with your life. An actor who is sick still has to do his job.
  • Academic Vocabulary: notwithstanding: not affected by. "We had our picnic, the rain notwithstanding." "I'm not hungry; notwithstanding that, I'll eat."
  • Literature: Fountain of Youth: a spring of water in a story that can make one who drinks it young again. Spanish thought it was in Florida, USA.
  • Art: anthropology: the study of humankind. Cultural anthropology includes cultural efforts such as art and music.
  • Slang: the weatherman: the news report. A: "Are we still going hiking tomorrow?" B: "That depends on the weatherman."
  • Geography: Ho Chi Minh City: formerly Saigon, the largest city in Vietnam, called "Paris in the Orient," "the Pearl of the Orient."


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 "The show must go on." You would probably say this when:
a. a movie goes on for too long.
b. your TV isn't working because the electricity is off.
c. your partner can't make it to a presentation, but the clients are ready.
d. a live drama (a "play") is canceled.

2. Use the Academic Vocabulary word "notwithstanding" to revise each of these sentences.

EXAMPLE: She got a sunburn even though she used suntan lotion.
ANSWER: Suntan lotion notwithstanding, she (still) got a sunburn.

a. We still have to do what we think is best, regardless of the law.
b. She married him despite her mother's words.
c. I hated him even with him being my wife's cousin notwithstanding.
d. You can still guess the basic story, even without the details.
e. I went dancing anyway, even though my foot was sore.

3. Match the Literature, Art, and Geography terms below to these related ideas:
a. it was a French capital
b. it was used in the fourth "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie
c. the root word is Greek for "human"
d. it can include examining old bones
e. it is named for a national leader
f. the man who searched was Juan Ponce de Leon

(1) Fountain of Youth
(2) anthropology
(3) Ho Chi Minh City

4. In which sentence does the Slang term "weatherman" probably mean "the weather report"?

a. My cousin is a weatherman on TV.
b. I always check the weatherman before I leave for work, in case I need an umbrella.
c. Another word for "weatherman" is "meteorologist."
d. I wonder how many years you have to go to university to become a weatherman?


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. Look up the legend of The Fountain of Youth. Did people really believe in it? Why do you think they could do so?
2. Anthropology has many branches. Find out what some of them are, and talk about the differences.
3. Find some basic facts about Ho Chi Minh City. How many people live there? What is its area? Its elevation? When was it founded? What is its history (briefly)? What do we call a person from there in English (as a person from New York is called a "New Yorker")?


1. c. It means, "You should still make the presentation, even without your partner."

2. Academic Vocabulary:
NOTE: All answers may be in any of these forms:

I. A notwithstanding, B HAPPENED.
II. Notwithstanding A, B HAPPENED.
III. B HAPPENED, A notwithstanding.

I have given all answers in form I only; you may also express them in forms II or III.

a. The law notwithstanding, we still have to do what we think is best.
b. Her mother's words notwithstanding, she married him.
c. His being my wife's cousin notwithstanding, I hated him.
d. The details notwithstanding, you can still guess the basic story.
e. My sore foot notwithstanding, I went dancing anyway.

3. Matching:
a. (3) Ho Chi Minh City; it was capital of the French colony of Cochinchina from 1862 to 1954.
b. (1) the Fountain of Youth; "On Stranger Tides," the fourth "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie, is based on the search.
c. (2) anthropology; "anthropos" is the Greek word for "man" or "human"
d. (2) anthropology; physical anthropology can include examining old human bones, or modern human bones, such as in criminal investigations.
e. (3) Ho Chi Minh City; Ho Chi Minh was president of North Vietnam; when the country was unified (after his death) Saigon was named after him.
f. (1) the Fountain of Youth; the legend says that Juan Ponce de Leon, a Spanish explorer, looked for it, but this story was created after he died.

4. b. The others (a, c, d) are referring to an actual person.

  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."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave me a message; I can't wait to hear from you!