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English Detective #19, Great Ideas for Better Cities: August 13,2013
August 13, 2013

English Detective #19, Great Ideas for Better Cities: August 13, 2013

The current investigation (Introducing this issue):

This issue you can choose between three great talks about ways to make more liveable, better cities. (I hope you’ll choose all three, as each has a unique perspective on urban planning and growth.)

There are two fascinating TED talks, one on designing cities for more people and the other on charter cities as a solution to some major urban problems in Third World countries. (Some of his ideas remind me of the “Killer apps of prosperity” from newsletter 15.)

Voice of America discusses ways to make cities ‘green.’ You can read along while you listen to all three talks.

The only vocabulary practice in this issue is the crossword, but there is a major vocabulary test to review many of the words practiced in earlier newsletters. It has 18 multiple choice questions and a 20-blank gap-fill reading. The test uses 1/3 of the Academic Word List: most of the words in the first 5 levels.

If you have any comments after trying the test, please take a moment to complete the two-question evaluation. Help me make the next vocabulary tests better.

(After all, a major purpose of English Detective is vocabulary practice-- and tests are one way to find out if the practice has been effective. This test is long and probably difficult-- but if you can see words you have learned, it will be worth it.)

Your First Clue: Vocabulary we’ll Emphasize in this Issue

community, distribution, immigration, incidence, license, manual, mediation, mutual, nuclear, occupational, protocol, resident, simulation, specified, transmission, undertaken, utility, violation

A few notes about the new vocabulary:

‘Immigrants’ are people who leave their country to go to a new one. (A migrant is someone who travels, as migrating birds fly between their summer and winter homes. An emigrant is someone who travels FROM (ex- is shortened to e-) his or her old home or country. In the 1840s-70s many pioneers emigrated from the American East Coast or Midwest to Oregon and California.)

The U.S. Congress has been debating American immigration policy again. It has been a controversial subject in the U.S.-- as in many countries-- for at least 150 years.

‘Incidence’ is how often something happens. An ‘incident’ is one happening or event. ‘Incidental’ describes an event that is related but less important-- not the speaker’s main focus. “The accident broke his leg. While trying to move out of the road, he suffered other incidental cuts and bruises.”

We use ‘incidentally’ almost like parentheses (...), to add a comment that’s not important and maybe not closely related to the subject.

To ‘simulate’ is to pretend: to appear to be or to feel something without it really being true. When a child misbehaves in a funny way, his parents may simulate anger (because they want him to understand that the action is unacceptable), even though they may actually think it’s funny. People more often simulate love they don’t really feel.

War games are simulated battles, to give generals a chance to try out strategies without risking lives. Airlines use flight simulators to train pilots, and businesses may also use simulations to train their managers. The Red Cross sometimes leads disaster simulations to help communities practice and prepare for floods, hurricanes, or other natural disasters.

Two quick notes on different forms of words from earlier newsletters:

‘Conventional’ means the usual, accepted way that most people do things. If someone is ‘unconventional,’ they often behave in different (often odd or unexpected) ways.

‘Transit’ is similar to ‘transportation.’ Public transit is the buses or subways that help people get from one place to another.

Getting the whole story: this issue’s reading/listening practice:

Click here for Brilliant Designs to Fit more People in every City

and here for Charter Cities

Voice of America on Green Cities

Follow the Clues (Vocabulary Practice):

Click herefor the crossword (or right-click to download) and here for the answers.

Test your Deductions

Try this Academic Vocabulary Test.

Coming in the next issue: Cultures at Risk

In case you missed these: Earlier issues of English Detective have articles on a number of topics, plus practice with over 200 words from the Academic Word List. You can check them out with the link to the back issues page below (or find what words were practiced each issue here. or here for the most recent issues.

P.S. If you’re not already getting English Detective, you can subscribe by completing the form here. (It's free!)

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