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English Detective #6, What Shakespeare did for English, Feb. 11, 2013.
February 10, 2013

This Issue's New Vocabulary: chapter, conflict, couple, decline, deny, distinction, edition, globe, identical, intensity, manipulation, negative, paragraph, positive, prime, range, restricted, role, section, site, sought, stress, style, survived, tension, topic.

Start with two articles (with audio) from the Voice of America website. The first is on the development of modern English (which owes a lot to Shakespeare), and the second is an introduction to Shakespeare and his plays.

You can practice the new AWL words for this issue with a crossword and then some fill-ins on Writing Words and Shakespeare’s plays. There's more AWL practice with a game matching adjective opposites. (Links below.)

We'll also look at a few of the many of the idioms and phrases Shakespeare invented.

P.S. 6-2-15 Since writing this newsletter, I have learned about several helpful resources for introducing Shakespeare to ESL (and other) students. See the discussion in newsletter 52 (June 2, 2915 in the Back Issues), or this link from The British Council. It also links to the best of the others.

Vocabulary Practice

Right-click here to download a crossword practicing this issue’s vocabulary. The answers are here.

Click here for explanations and fill-in practice about Writing Words.

Right-click here to download the Advanced Adjective Opposites Matching Game pdf. You may not know all the meanings, but I suspect you can guess quite a few. (Use the paragraphs at the bottom for clues if you’d like.)

Explanations of Some Phrases from Shakespeare

To ‘fight fire with fire’ is to use the same tactics as the enemy. (Often firefighters will set a controlled “backfire” to make a firebreak (a cleared area that stops an uncontrolled fire as there is no fuel ahead of it.)

To ‘wear your heart on your sleeve’ is to expose your feelings (so everyone can see them.)

When something or someone has ‘seen better days,’ it is old and worn: its best days are already past.

‘Come what may’ means that something will not change, whatever happens. A friend might express his devotion by saying. “I’ll be your friend forever, come what may.”

To ‘break the ice’ is to get a relationship started, as fishermen need to make a hole in the ice before fishing in a frozen lake. “Icebreakers” are often getting-to-know-you activities for a class or business group who don’t know each other but will need to work together.

‘Fair play’ is honest, fair dealing, whether in sports or business. ‘Foul play’ is dishonest or sneaky or violent behavior-- breaking the rules and doing wrong to get an advantage.

Here's an explanation of more idioms, along with some practice.

Coming in the next issues: Aspects of (ways of thinking about) Creativity, Thinking and Learning, and several articles on the brain and its development (in children and adults.)

In case you missed these: Earlier issues of English Detective have articles on a number of topics, plus practice with over 150 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 in 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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