Back to Back Issues Page
English Detective 15: What makes prosperity possible? June 18, 2013
June 18, 2013

The current investigation (Introducing this issue):

There is just one video/reading in this issue, but it’s a very important one. The TED talk “The 6 Killer Apps of Prosperity” discusses the institutions and attitudes that make prosperity possible. (He compares them to the “apps” on a smartphone.)

I think this talk is worth watching both for the ideas he proposes and for the way he demonstrates the use of a lot of the academic vocabulary we have been studying.

Read the transcript twice-- first for the ideas and then to see how he uses this social change vocabulary. Then read a little more about the vocabulary and match words and definitions on the Social Change Vocabulary page.

Finally, check out another group of related Latin roots and the common English words that come from them.

Your First Clue: New vocabulary in this Issue

accumulated, alternative, assembly, brief, chart, code, collapse, complement, considerable, despite, domain, domestic, ethic, phenomenon, plus, posed, predominance, ratio, sequence, source, transition, trend, uniform

Other forms of these words: accumulation, assemble, briefly, collapsible, complementary, consider, consideration, domesticate, ethical, phenomena (the plural form of phenomenon), phenomenal (adjective form), posing, predominant, predominate, sequel, transitional, transit, trending, uniformity

*Note: ’Complement’ is not ‘compliment’, though the two words have similar uses and are often confused. Each can be a noun or a verb. A compliment expresses admiration. To compliment a lady is to tell her she looks good (or writes well or does excellent work, etc.)

To complement is to go together well or complete something. So you might compliment her on her new shoes, which complement (look good with) her suit. Sometimes we say a married couple complements each other. That means they work well together, each adding something to the other.

Also, note that the plural of 'phenomenon' is 'phenomena.' An example of use: "Oceanographers study all the natural phenomena connected with oceans: tides, waves, the geology of the sea floor, and so much more." Its adjective form is 'phenomenal,' often used to mean outstanding: "My brother thought the view from Machu Picchu was phenomenal."

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, see if you can remember them when you see them again, in another reading or a quiz.

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

The 6 Killer Apps of Prosperity

Follow the Clues (Vocabulary Practice):

Study and practice social change vocabulary.

Word Family Investigator: 3 related Latin Roots and the English Words that come from them

Words for home and power: domestic to predominant.

Coming in the next issue: Foundations of American Democracy

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!)

Back to Back Issues Page