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Word Reductions

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English speakers often shorten sounds and/or words in their speech. This is called REDUCTION. The words that are generally reduced are function words that don’t carry much meaning, such as pronouns (he, she, his, her, them), articles (a, an, the) and prepositions (in, to).
Listen to the audio below as you read the sentences.  When you become familiar with the sounds, download and take the quiz.

  1. I’m gonna buy that new car. I am going to buy that new car.
  2. How‘bout eating at Joe’s? How about eating at Joe’s?
  3. Couldya give’em this book? Could you give him this book?
  4. Tell’er we’ll be back tomorrow. Tell her we will be back tomorrow.
  5. Didya go last night? Did you go last night?
  6. You hafta pay your bills. You have to pay the bills.
  7. She hasta take the test yet. She has to take the test yet.
  8. Whadcha think about the new teacher? What do you think about the new teacher?
  9. Whadya do last night? What did you do last night?
  10. Do you wanna go shopping tomorrow? Do you what to go shopping tomorrow?

Because these words don’t carry as much meaning as content words, don’t worry if you don’t understand all of them.  It is more important for you just to know they are there, then to learn all of them.  In time you will understand more and more and be able to even use them in your speech.

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Creative Thinking Exercise C

Creative Thinking Exercise C

Learning to Think Outside the Box

Directions: Read the passage below, and then answer the questions. This is a NO CELL PHONE activity.

Download: Creative Thinking Exercise C

By Laura Pappanobeb (2014)

1. Once considered the product of genius or divine inspiration, creativity — the ability to spot problems and devise smart solutions — is being recast as a prized and teachable skill. Pin it on pushback against standardized tests and standardized thinking, or on the need for ingenuity in a fluid landscape.

2. “The reality is that to survive in a fast-changing world you need to be creative,” says Gerard J. Puccio, chairman of the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College, which has the nation’s oldest creative studies program, having offered courses in it since 1967.

3. “That is why you are seeing more attention to creativity at universities,” he says. “The marketplace is demanding it.”

4. Critical thinking has long been regarded as the essential skill for success, but it’s not enough, says Dr. Puccio. Creativity moves beyond mere synthesis and evaluation and is, he says, “the higher order skill.” This has not been a sudden development. Nearly 20 years ago “creating” replaced “evaluation” at the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning objectives. In 2010 “creativity” was the factor most crucial for success found in an I.B.M. survey of 1,500 chief executives in 33 industries. These days “creative” is the most used buzzword in LinkedIn profiles two years running.

5. Traditional academic disciplines still matter, but as content knowledge evolves at lightning speed, educators are talking more and more about “process skills,” strategies to reframe challenges, extrapolate and transform information, and to accept and deal with ambiguity.

6. The view of creativity as a practical skill that can be learned and applied in daily life is a 180-degree flip from the thinking that it requires a little magic: Throw yourself into a challenge, step back — pause — wait for brilliance to spout.

7. The point of creative studies, says Roger L. Firestien, a Buffalo State professor and author of several books on creativity, is to learn techniques “to make creativity happen instead of waiting for it to bubble up. A muse doesn’t have to hit you.”

Retrieved from www.nytimes.com

Questions

Answer all questions from the passage using your own words.

  1. According to the passage, what is creativity?
  2. Why are more and more universities focusing on creativity?
  3. In this passage, does the author’s equate critical thinking with creative thinking? Explain.
  4. According to the passage, is creative thinking an inherent ability? Explain.
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Creative Thinking Exercise B

Creative Thinking Exercise B

Directions: Reading the passage below, then answer the questions.

Louis Pasteur

Download: Creative Thinking Exercise B

“Exploration into this mysterious world of germs began around 1850 by a Frenchman by the name of Louis Pasteur (1822-1895). At that time Pasteur, Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Lille, was approached by a man who worked at a factory that produced beer from sugar beets. Much to the businessman’s lament, vats of the fermented beer were turning sour, so the businessman asked Pasteur to find out the cause.

“Pasteur used a microscope to analyze the beer samples and found thousands of microorganisms. His theory was that these microbes or “germs” were not the result of the beer going sour, rather they were the cause. Pasteur went on to study other liquids such as vinegar and milk.

“From his experiments with liquids, Pasteur became convinced that the air contained tiny living organisms unseen by the naked eye. These organisms could cause putrefaction of liquids and could be prevented by killing the germs with heat. Initially his beliefs were ridiculed by the medical community, but he was able to prove his case beyond doubt. Indeed, we are all familiar with the term “pasteurized milk” which was named in Pasteur’s honor.

“Further, in his career Pasteur became convinced that microbes could affect not just liquids, but humans as well. Furthermore, he believed these microbes could spread diseases among humans. . This became known as the “Germ Theory of Disease”. He continued his work by searching for ways humans could be protected from getting diseases.”

Questions

  1. According to the passage, what is a synonym for “germs?”
  2. The author uses the word, “putrefaction” in the third paragraph. From the context, what does the word mean?
  3. Why do you think Pasteur’s beliefs were “ridiculed by the medical community?”
  4. Is there any evidence in this passage that would suggest that the “medical community” finally accepted Pasteur’s ideas? Explain.
  5. What was Pasteur convinced of? (Paraphrase)
  1. Paraphrase the last paragraph in this passage.

 

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Creative Thinking Exercise A

 

Exercise A

Discovery of Machu Picchu

Download:  Creative Thinking Exercise A

Directions: Read the excerpt from “Machu Picchu’s anniversary, cause for celebration and caution.” Then answer the questions. (www.northeastern.edu/news/2011/07/machu_picchu/)

“Why was the discovery of Machu Picchu in 1911 a significant moment in history? It was the first opportunity that our world had to learn about this mysterious Incan royal city located high among the mountains. In the 16th century, Spanish invaders destroyed most of the Incans’ civilization, but never found Machu Picchu during their conquest in Peru. For that, it is highly significant as a relatively intact cultural site, which has helped it garner attention from historians, academics, and tourists across the globe. The discovery not only changed the perception of the world; it also changed the way people thought about the world and increased their understanding of the significance of ancient civilizations. On a more personal note, it has provided incredibly enriching experiences for Northeastern students participating in the Peru Dialogue of Civilizations programs.” (Shemin)

Questions

  1. Summarize the main idea of the paragraph in one sentence.
  2. The author says, “Spanish invaders destroyed most of the Incans’ civilization.” Explain why she calls the Spanish “invaders.”
  3. Why does the author say the discovery of Machu Picchu was “highly significant?”
  4. Why do you think this discovery changed the perception and understanding of the world? (Do not use personal pronouns).

 

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What does “core” mean?

The word “core” has four meanings: 1). the center part of certain types of fruit, 2). the center or the most important part of something, 3). the central part of a planet, that which is in the middle, 4). relating to inflation, sudden and temporary price changes.

For our purposes here we are interested in the first two meanings. The first one refers to fruit as in the following examples. “Usually we don’t eat the core of apples.”  “The core is tough and contains the seeds.” “You will need to core the pear before eating it.”

The second one refers to that which is most important, as in the following examples. “Students must take core classes before they can graduate.”  “We need to get to the core of the problem before we can solve it.”

Word Family

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Collocations

core classes, core values, down to the core, at its core

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Reductions in Speech

English speakers often shorten sounds and/or words in their speech. This is called REDUCTION. The words that are generally reduced are function words that don’t carry much meaning, such as pronouns (he, she, his, her, them), articles (a, an, the) and prepositions (in, to). 
Below is just a short list of some of the more common reduced words.
  1. going to = gonna / I’m gonna buy that new car.
  2. how about = howbout / Howbout eating at Joe’s?
  3. him = ‘im / Couldya give’im this book?
  4. her = ‘er / Tell’er we’ll be back tomorrow.
  5. did you = didya / Didya go last night?
  6. have to = hafta / You hafta pay your bills.
  7. has to = hasta / She hasta taken the test yet.
  8. what do you = whatcha / Whatcha think about the new teacher?
  9. what did you = whadya / Whadya do last night?
  10. want to = wanna / Doya wanna go shopping tomorrow?

Because these words don’t carry as much meaning as content words, don’t worry if you don’t understand all of them.  It is more important for you just to know they are there then to learn all of them.  In time you will understand more and more and be able to even use them in your speech.

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Strategies: Listening to a Lecture

When a professor is giving an example for a teaching point and he or she wants to compare or contrast, they often use signal words.  To improve your listening skills, become familiar with the list below.

Words or Phrases Used to Compare

In addition, the neighboring countries in Africa also suffered from the drought.

Some businesses in Japan hold to traditional methods for doing business.  Likewise, some businesses in Korea as well hold to traditional practices for doing business.

Similar to Oregon, Alaska, Montana, New Hampshire, and Delaware have chosen not to impose a sales tax on their residents.

Words or Phrases Used to Contrast

Oregon does not impose a sales tax.  On the other hand, California requires its residents to pay six percent sales tax.

In contrast to the countries in Africa that are suffering from drought, countries in South America are under flood warning.

Unlike California, Oregon does not have a statewide sales tax.

Words or Phrases Used to Signal Examples

There are a number of states that do not impose a sales tax; for instance, Oregon and Alaska are two states that do not add a sales tax on items that are sold.

This year a number of states have suffered from droughts.  For example, both California and Texas have experience water shortage in the past three years.

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How to make a request

When making a request, we often change our language depending on who we are asking.

  1. If we are requesting a friend to do something, we might say, “Can you take this to the library, please?”
  2. If we are requesting a coworker to do something, we might say,“Would you mind taking this to the Library?” Or “Would you please take this to the library?”
  3. If we are requesting someone a superior to do something, we might say,  “I am sorry to bother you, but is there any chance you could take this to the library?”