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English Detective 14, A world without Hunger? June 4,2013
June 04, 2013

English Detective 14, A world without Hunger? June 4,2013

The current investigation (Introducing this issue):

Not many years ago ending world hunger seemed an impossible dream. Now a speaker at a TED talk says it’s not only possible but urgent.

The other reading, from the Voice of America (also with audio, so you can listen while you read) describes relief efforts in Africa’s Sahel region. It tells how people in the Sahel are learning to grow more drought-tolerant crops and making other changes to prevent future disasters when drought years come.

The newsletter also includes vocabulary practice with fill-ins, a word family lesson, and a vocabulary quiz.

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

adequate, aware, compiled, comprehensive, cycle, diversity, ensure, exceed, facilitate, fundamental, items, minimized, minimum, offset, recovery, revenue, reverse, straightforward, substitution, supplementary, symbol, text, virtual

Other forms of these words include (among others): adequately, awareness, (compile), compilation, comprehend, comprehensible, comprehension, comprehensively, incomprehensible, bicycle, cyclical, recycle, diverse, excess, excessive, fundamentally, item, itemize, (minimize-- in the U.K. and much of the British Commonwealth this is spelled minimise), recovery, substitute, supplement, symbolic, symbolize, texting, textual, virtually.

Which words do you already know? Which are familiar (you have seen them, or can guess their meanings), but you’d like to know more about them? Which are completely new?

Make a note of the words you would like to learn. After practicing them and taking the next quiz, how many have you learned?

Notice how they are used in the readings and practice activities. Then try to use some of them yourself, in a sentence or two.

A brief explanation of two of the new words: ‘Text’ originally was a noun referring to written words, especially the contents of a book or document.

In the last few years, ‘text’ has also become a verb. ‘To text’ means to send a text message on a cell phone.

‘Virtual’ is an adjective with several almost contradictory meanings. It refers to something or someone that represents or stands in for someone or something else, but is not the actual person or thing. So it can mean ‘imaginary.’ It is often used of on-line experiences that imitate reality: “virtual reality” games (that “feel” real, although they only exist in the computer) or virtual friends-- people you have never met face to face.

Virtually can also mean almost or nearly: he is virtually blind (almost without vision.)

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

Here’s the TED talk on ending hunger.

This is the talk about the Sahel.

Follow the Clues (Vocabulary Practice):

Click here for disaster-assistance vocabulary fill-in exercises.

Word Family Investigator

The Latin verb facere, which means to make (or do), is the root of a few English words: factory and facility (places where things are made-- though facility also means the ability to do things with ease), facilitate (to make something easier), etc.

It is also the root of many suffixes, including artificial (to make by art, not nature), classify (to make a grouping into related classes of things), classification (the noun for such groupings), diversify (to make or increase differences), intensify (to make more intense), magnify (to make larger), purify (to make pure), rectify (to make right, especially to correct a wrong), specify (to make a choice of one specific thing-- not just anything), superficial (to make on top of something else, in other words, on the surface), and many others.

Test your Deductions

Check your understanding of newsletter 13-14 vocabulary with this quiz.

Coming in the next issue: the Roots of Prosperity.

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.

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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