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                    [post_content] => Just like us, billions of people around the world are changing their habitual behaviours because of the coronavirus pandemic. In order to reduce the transmission of the disease, many countries are enacting restrictive social distancing measures. These are steps taken in order to minimise social interaction. Among other things, people are advised to work from home whenever possible and to avoid gatherings with friends and family. In the case that we do meet other people we are told to avoid a very common gesture: the handshake. The reason is that our hands are always touching things, and, inevitably, they pick up many bacteria from the environment. According to one study, on a human hand there are approximately 3.200 bacteria from 150 different species. These germs can hop from one hand to another when we shake hands. This is why it’s always a good idea to wash our hands regularly, whether we shake hands or not.

 

The history of the handshake

Historians tell us that the handshake is at least 3.000 years old. Some believe that it was born as a gesture of peace, a way of showing that one’s hand held no weapons. Most likely, in ancient times it was more solemn than it is today. It was probably used during ceremonies or special occasions to express a strong bond between two people. It could seal an alliance between politicians, friends or spouses. Over the centuries different kinds of handshakes developed. Some secret societies had their own special handshake, which allowed their members to identify each other. The same goes for some college fraternities. In the late twentieth century, African American communities invented the dap greeting which can involve a handshake, palm slapping and bumping knuckles together. All kinds of handshakes are true to their ancient origin: they are a friendly gesture between people. Conversely, refusing to shake hands is considered a hostile act.

 

Alternatives

In our current social distancing period, how can we greet each other in a friendly way without shaking hands? Some suggest using the ‘elbow bump’, but this forces people to come even closer to each other than when they shake hands. The head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, suggested using the Namaste greeting (‘Namaste’ means ‘I bow to the divine in you’) used in India and South East Asia. This is done by placing the palms together with the fingers pointed upwards in front of one’s chest. There’s also a similar traditional Chinese greeting that requires cupping the right fist in the palm of the left hand. Some people are unsure about these alternatives; they think it’s wrong to use gestures that belong to someone else’s culture. Others have suggested more recent – and unusual – alternatives, from the shaka sign of surfers to the Vulcan salute from Star Trek. And what about just waving one’s hand? Dr. Tedros spoke of his own personal preference: “I like to put my hand on my heart when I greet people these days.”

 

A social need

These alternatives share the essence of the handshake: they are  respectful and friendly gestures that bring us closer together. They all satisfy our need to be connected. Some common greetings are even more openly intimate. For example, many people like to greet each other with a hug or a kiss. The Maori of New Zealand instead practice the hongi, where two people press together their noses and sometimes their foreheads, exchanging – it is said – the breath of life in a symbolic show of unity. Scientists proved that friendly physical contact is a way to produce positive chemicals in the body. Hugs, for example, increase the levels of oxytocin, the so called ‘bonding-hormone’, and reduces blood pressure. Our current need for social distancing is absolutely necessary, but it goes against our nature because we are social animals. Hopefully, with the return to normality, we will all find a greater appreciation for the small gestures that we took for granted, such as handshakes, and, as a consequence, respect each other more.

 
USEFUL LINKS 1) Check out the content of the Canadian national public broadcaster CBS ‘Coronavirus’ section, like this video on ‘social distancing’: https://www.cbc.ca/kidsnews/ and this one on ‘physical distancing’: https://www.cbc.ca/kidsnews/post/what-is-physical-distancing 2) Here are the social distancing measures taken by the UK government: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do 3) How are germs transmitted? Check out these interesting experiments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5-dI74zxPg 4) Learn more about the history of the handshake: https://www.history.com/news/what-is-the-origin-of-the-handshake 5) Check out these famous historical handshakes: https://www.history.com/news/8-historic-handshakes 6) Watch these videos on alternative ways to greet each other: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suGWClD5zmA
Puoi svolgere gli esercizi collegati a questo articolo anche in modo interattivo su ZTE.
COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative. 1. Social distancing measures tell us that
  1. we should not shake hands.
  2. everybody must work from home.
  3. we should meet other people.
2. Originally, shaking hands was a way to show that
  1. you carried weapons.
  2. you did not have hostile intentions.
  3. you wanted to meet another person.
3. Probably in ancient times the handshake was
  1. a very common gesture.
  2. used only by people who sealed an alliance.
  3. a solemn gesture.
4. Many college fraternities invented their own
  1. dap greeting.
  2. special handshake.
  3. knuckle bump.
5. The dap greeting is
  1. more complex than a handshake.
  2. used by African Americans to identify each other.
  3. a simplified version of the handshake.
6. Examples of greeting gestures that avoid physical contact between people are
  1. the elbow bump and the hongi.
  2. the Namaste greeting and the Vulcan salute.
  3. the dap greeting and the shaka sign.
7. These days the head of the World Health Organization does not use
  1. the handshake.
  2. the Namaste greeting.
  3. the hand on the heart.
8. Currently, the hongi is not a good alternative to the handshake because
  1. it brings people too close together.
  2. it belongs to another culture.
  3. only the Maori can use it.
9. The handshake and similar forms of greetings are
  1. intimate.
  2. friendly.
  3. symbolic.
10. Friendly physical contact
  1. is unnecessary.
  2. goes against our nature.
  3. is good for our bodies.
  VOCABULARY 2) Complete the following sentences choosing the right alternative. 1. A short jump is called a hop / cup. 2. The spouse / head of an organization is its president or leader. 3. When people get together we can say that they form a fraternity / gathering. 4. We are true to / We take for granted what we value too lightly. 5. One word that can describe both a husband and a wife is spouse / head. 6. The joint between the upper and lower parts of the arm is called elbow / knuckle. 7. To bond / To seal an agreement means making it permanent. 8. You hop / cup your hand when you curve it in a rounded manner. 10. A social group for male college students is called a fraternity / gathering. 11. To bond / To seal means to form a close personal relationship. 12. If you are true to / take for granted somebody then you are loyal and faithful to that person. 13. Each hand has many elbows / knuckles.   GRAMMAR – Adverbs of degree, frequency, manner 3) Complete the following sentences choosing the correct adverb. Adverbs of degree: almost, fairly, very, terribly 2. He’s ________ good at following all the social distancing rules. He’s a model citizen! 3. We ________ shook hands! We stopped in time and greeted each other with a bow instead. 4. I think it’s ________ difficult to work from home, but it’s not impossible! 5. What’s happening in the world is a tragedy. It makes me ________  sad.   Adverbs of frequency: sometimes, always, usually, rarely 1. I ________ go for a walk after dinner, but not every single day. 2. I ________ do a bit of yoga in the morning – I never miss a day. 3. We ________ watch TV before going to bed because we prefer to read a book. 4. I like staying at home, but I ________ miss going out.   Adverbs of manner: beautifully, foolishly, patiently, quickly 1. The virus spreads ________, so there’s no time to lose! 2. I’m ________ waiting for this crisis to be over. 3. You play the piano ________. Please play again. 4. They ________ went out without wearing their surgical masks.   SHORT ESSAY 4) Investigate a greeting gesture. You can pick one of these alternatives (or find another one): the dap greeting, the knuckle bump, the secret handshake, the Namaste greeting, the traditional Chinese greeting, the shaka sign, the Vulcan salute, the hongi, the elbow bump, the hug, the kiss. How is it performed and when? Does it have a symbolic or special meaning? When was it invented? Who uses it? (60-80 words) 5) What social interaction do you miss most during this period of social distancing? Explain why you miss it and why it is important for you. (60-80 words)
___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Pixabay, Pixabay) [post_title] => Social distancing and the handshake [post_excerpt] => We live in a time when we have to limit our social interactions. Among other things, we are advised to avoid a very common and very ancient gesture: the handshake. What is the story and meaning of the handshake and can we find a valid alternative? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => social-distancing-and-the-handshake [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-15 17:45:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-15 15:45:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=16928 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 16705 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2020-03-01 21:54:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-03-01 20:54:03 [post_content] => It’s all over the news: the Coronavirus epidemic is spreading. Is it a true, global threat, or are we all overreacting? First some facts. The Coronavirus was first detected in the city of Wuhan, China, a few months ago. Since then it has spread to fifty countries. The Coronavirus produces a disease called Covid-19, which is very similar to the ordinary flu, with symptoms such as fever, coughing and sneezing. Although the flu can also be deadly, Covid-19 is more dangerous. So far some 82,000 people have caught it, and nearly 3,000 died. It must be noted that most of its victims were people already in poor health. In other words, a healthy person who contracts the virus will most likely recover from it. Indeed, some 80% of infected people report mild or no symptoms at all.  

Reactions around the world

One of the problems of the Coronavirus is that, like the viruses that cause the flu, it can spread quickly, through the air, person to person. Sometimes it’s hard to detect, just because its effects are so similar to those of the flu. The ways to deal with this epidemic vary around the world. Public statements go from that of US president Donald Trump who claimed that the danger to Americans “remains very low,” to Australian prime minister Scott Morrison who said that the risk of a pandemic was “very much upon us.” In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the government is planning for “all eventualities” if the number of Coronavirus cases rise. For sure, many countries are taking measures against the spread of the virus, such as quarantining people from affected areas, cancelling public events or shutting down schools.  

What needs to be done

These measures cannot stop the virus, but they are useful in slowing the contagion. This is very important because it allows the health care systems to deal with this emergency. There are not enough hospitals if too many people get sick at the same time. Correct information is also very important. For example, the UK is launching a mass public information campaign. Informing the public with solid science and good advice is a way to prevent mass panic and irrational behaviour. It is a problem, for example, if people hoard goods, medicines and surgical masks. It is more helpful, as the World Health Organization recommends, to take simple precautions to reduce exposure and transmission such as avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth and washing your hands regularly.  

Side effects

What cannot be overlooked about the Coronavirus outbreak are its side effects. What seems to be spreading faster than the virus is the fear of it. Some countries have stopped traveling to and trading with China and other countries affected by the virus. As a consequence, many businesses that rely on tourism or international trade are in trouble. Some analysts warn that the Coronavirus could trigger a new financial crisis. This irrational fear is also producing another, deadly virus: racism. In many places around the world Chinese people are accused of spreading the disease. There are also many reported cases of discrimination towards infected individuals. Finally, it should be noted that the Coronavirus is distracting people from other far more deadly problems, such as pollution, climate change and international conflicts. It’s time to face the Coronavirus epidemic with rationality and the right perspective.
Useful links 1) How can you protect yourself from the Coronavirus? Here is some advice from the World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 2) Here is some more advice from the British government: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public 3) Facts or fiction? Find out the myths about the virus you shouldn’t believe: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/2019-novel-coronavirus-myth-versus-fact 4) This map keeps track of the spread of the Coronavirus: https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/685d0ace521648f8a5beeeee1b9125cd
  Mettiti alla prova con gli esercizi dello SPECIALE CORONAVIRUS sulla piattaforma ZTE.
COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative. 1. The Coronavirus
  1. first appeared in China.
  2. was created in Wuhan.
  3. produces the flu.
2. Covid-19 is
  1. not as dangerous as the flu.
  2. caused by sneezing and coughing.
  3. very similar to the flu.
3. The Coronavirus can be very dangerous
  1. for people who are already weak and sick.
  2. for healthy people.
  3. for 80% of infected individuals.
4. The Coronavirus
  1. spreads slowly.
  2. is very contagious.
  3. is caused by Covid-19.
5. President Trump was
  1. very worried about the Coronavirus.
  2. more optimistic than prime minister Morrison.
  3. more pessimistic than prime minister Morrison.
6. Many countries are taking measures
  1. to stop the virus.
  2. to build more hospitals.
  3. to slow down the spread of the virus.
7. The UK government is inviting people to
  1. hoard medicines and surgical masks.
  2. act rationally.
  3. listen to the World Health Organization.
8. The fear of the Coronavirus is having a negative impact on
  1. international relations.
  2. the World Health Organization.
  3. China alone.
9. The Coronavirus epidemic is dangerous also because
  1. it’s making many people fearful, irrational and racist.
  2. it has produced a new financial crisis.
  3. many people are cancelling their trips to China.
10. Problems such as pollution and climate change
  1. produce fewer casualties than the Coronavirus.
  2. are far less important than the Coronavirus epidemic.
  3. are more dangerous than the Coronavirus.
  VOCABULARY 2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary. outbreak * to overreact * to recover * pandemic * epidemic * to quarantine * to hoard * side effect * to deal with * deadly 1. An _________ happens when a disease spreads quickly and unexpectedly within a certain population. 2. The sudden spread of a disease can also be called an _________. 3. A _________, instead, is when a new disease spreads quickly all over the world. 4. A lot of people _________ medicines: they are buying lots of them and hiding them away. 5. There are many diseases that are more _________ than the Coronavirus. 6. An undesirable secondary effect of a medicine, or of an action, is called a _________. 7. People infected with the Coronavirus are _________, which means that they are isolated from the rest of the population. 8. I can’t _________ all this negative news, it’s making me really anxious. 9. Please look at the facts. You have to act rationally, not _________. 10. I no longer have the flu and I feel great – I have _________ completely.   GRAMMAR – Making questions 3) Look at the answers below. Write the right question for every answer. 1. _________________________________________________________________ No, the Corona virus is more dangerous than the flu. 2. _________________________________________________________________ So far 82,000 people have caught the Coronavirus. 3. _________________________________________________________________ The percentage of infected people who report mild or no symptoms at all is 80%. 4. _________________________________________________________________ Yes, president Donald Trump said that the danger to Americans remains very low. 5. _________________________________________________________________ British prime minister Johnson said that the government is planning for “all eventualities.” 6. _________________________________________________________________ According to the World Health Organization, people should take precautions such as washing hands regularly. 7. _________________________________________________________________ Yes, the government shut down the schools to slow down the spreading of the disease. 8. _________________________________________________________________ Some of the side effects of the Coronavirus epidemic are irrational fear and racism. 9. _________________________________________________________________ Tourism in China and other countries is in trouble because many tourists no longer want to spend their holidays there. 10. _________________________________________________________________ Yes, we can stop talking about the Coronavirus.   SHORT ESSAY 4) What’s your opinion on the Coronavirus? Is it a true, global threat, or are we all overreacting? Write a text on the topic (60-80 words) or discuss with your classmates. 5) Do you think there are other problems around you more dangerous than the Coronavirus? Describe in a text (60-80 words) or discuss with your classmates.
___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Pixabay, Pixabay) [post_title] => Coronavirus: a global emergency? [post_excerpt] => It’s all over the news everywhere: the Coronavirus epidemic is spreading around the world. Is it a true, global threat, or are we all overreacting? Let’s look at some facts. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => coronavirus-a-global-emergency [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-04-01 11:08:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-04-01 09:08:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=16705 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 16533 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2020-02-10 16:28:34 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-02-10 15:28:34 [post_content] => One of last January’s highest trending news items in the British press was the surprising ‘divorce’ between the Sussexes and the British Royal Family. It began when the Sussexes – Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex – decided to “step back” from their roles as senior royals. Their idea was to no longer work full-time for the Monarchy and to “carve out” a new role for themselves. To many people this sounded like a betrayal, and a serious one considering that Prince Harry is not just any member of the Family, but is the grandson of the Queen herself. The media pointed out that there is one precedent to this situation. In 1936, King Edward VIII wanted to marry an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson, but the Archbishop of Canterbury did not allow him to because the Church of England opposed marriage after divorce. The British government also sided against the King. In the end, Edward had to abdicate to marry the woman he loved.  

Under pressure

Like Wallis Simpson before her, Meghan Markle has been the object of public attention. Like Wallis, she is not British but American, and a divorcee. She is also biracial, her father being white and her mother black. Some saw all this as at odds with the traditional, all-British and all-white Royal Family. Always looking for gossip, scoops and drama, some tabloids treated Meghan as an ambitious ex-actress interested in money and titles. They suggested that she did not respect her new role and was not welcomed by other members of the Royal Family. The Sussexes reacted strongly to this. Last year they took legal action against several newspapers, accusing them of spreading false news and violating their privacy. Prince Harry made a direct reference to his mother, Princess Diana, who died in 1997 in a car accident while running away from the paparazzi. “My deepest fear is history repeating itself,” he said. “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”  

Megxit (and to Meghan Markle)

All this pressure surely played a role in Harry and Meghan’s surprise decision, on January 8, to step back as senior royals. The usual tabloids called it Megxit – a portmanteau of the words Meghan and Brexit – suggesting her responsibility in this decision. Those that sided with Meghan, instead, coined a new verb: ‘to Meghan Markle’, which means ‘to preserve your own mental wellbeing by leaving an environment that doesn’t value you’. Whatever the reasons, the Sussexes’ idea was to work part-time for the Monarchy while also following their own path. Although the Queen said that she supported “their wish for a more independent life,” she did not agree with how they wanted to achieve this. Buckingham Palace released a statement saying that the Sussexes were very welcome to start a new life, but they could no longer be “working members of the Royal Family,” and, therefore, they could no longer use His/Her Royal Highness (HRH) titles. The Queen’s line was clear: you can’t be half-in and half-out of the Royal Family.  

National identity

If the Sussexes hoped for more privacy, this new situation has increased the media attention on them. But one should wonder: isn’t all this media circus too much? Is it not anachronistic, in the 21st century, to be so interested in the lives of princes and princesses? Is not the Monarchy itself an outdated institution? Apparently British people don’t think so. According to polls, only 14% of Britons think that the United Kingdom should become a republic. There seems to be an emotional attachment to the Monarchy that goes beyond rational consideration of whether a group of unelected people should have a say in the running of the country. The Monarchy is part of national identity. It’s in the national anthem – “God save the Queen” – and in the very name of the nation: the United Kingdom. The Monarchy is also good business. Each year it costs taxpayers £300-350 million, but it generates about £1.8 billion in tourist revenue. No wonder that the story of the Sussexes has received so much attention.  
Useful links 1)Here is the official website of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex: https://sussexroyal.com/ 2)Would you like to know more about a member of the Royal Family? Have a look here: https://www.royal.uk/royal-family 3)Find out how to use the verb ‘to Meghan Markle’ in different situations: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/jan/24/to-meghan-markle-verb-how-to-use-it 4) Here is the original January 8 statement from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex: https://sussexroyal.com/about/ 5) Here is Buckingham Palace’s answer to Harry and Meghan mentioned in the article: https://www.royal.uk/statement-her-majesty-queen-0 6) Would you like to learn the British national anthem? You can find it here: https://www.royal.uk/national-anthem There are also other versions of the national anthem. Have a look: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_Save_the_Queen
  COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative. 1. Harry and Meghan at first decided that 
  1. they no longer wanted to work for the Monarchy.
  2. they wanted to work part-time for the Monarchy.
  3. they wanted to leave the Royal Family.
2. In regards to the desire of Edward VIII to marry Wallis Simpson, the British government
  1. sided with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
  2. remained neutral.
  3. sided with the King.
3. In the end, Edward VIII
  1. was told to resign by the Archbishop.
  2. never married.
  3. married, but only when he was no longer king.
4. Meghan Markle was seen as at odds with the Royal Family primarily because
  1. she is a divorcee and an ex-actress.
  2. she is American and biracial.
  3. she is an ambitious woman interested in money and titles.
5. Harry said that Meghan was like his mother because
  1. she is disliked by the media.
  2. she wants to leave the Royal Family.
  3. she is a victim of too much media attention.
6. The noun ‘Megxit’ is used to
  1. suggest that Meghan was responsible for the Sussexes decision.
  2. suggest that Meghan’s decision was wise.
  3. describe the Sussexes wish for a more independent life.
7. The verb ‘to Meghan Markle’ is used to
  1. suggest that Meghan was responsible for the Sussexes decision.
  2. suggest that Meghan’s decision was wise.
  3. describe the Sussexes wish for a more independent life.
8. The Queen
  1. was against Harry and Meghan’s wishes and refused their terms.
  2. supported Harry and Meghan’s wishes as well as their terms.
  3. accepted Harry and Meghan’s wishes, but not their terms.
9. In the UK, the Royal Family is
  1. a popular institution.
  2. an unpopular institution.
  3. liked by only 14% of the population.
10. The members of the Royal Family are
  1. chosen by the Queen.
  2. not elected by the British people.
  3. elected by the British people.
  VOCABULARY  2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary. portmanteau   * path * royal pain  * to carve out * tabloid  * outdated * to run * to step back  * senior * national anthem   1. The verb ______ does not only mean to move faster than walking, but also to manage, to govern 2. Every country has an official song that represents it, called the ______ 3. The word ______, which means a small track or course, can also be used metaphorically.  4. A ______ is a word formed by two words combined. A famous example is ‘brunch’, which indicates a late morning meal, half-breakfast and half-lunch. 5. An older member of a specific group of people (like a family, a club or a school) is usually called a ______, while a young member is usually called a junior 6. ______ is an idiom that indicates something or somebody who is truly irritating. 7.A newspaper more interested in gossip and scoops than in in-depth reporting is called a ______. 8. The opposite of ______ is up-to-date. 9. If he ______ from his position, there are many people willing to step forward and take his place. 10. She is a very talented artist; she ______ her own special place in today’s art world.   GRAMMAR – Indefinite determiners 3) Choose the correct indefinite determiner (some, any, no) to complete the following sentences. 1. ______ of my friends are really interested in the whole ‘Megxit’ drama. 2. Meghan Markle was an actress. Did you see ______ of her films? 3. I have ______ sympathy for royalty – I think Britain should become a republic. 4. I’m sorry, but the newspaper is sold out. There aren’t ______ copies left. 5. The Queen and her grandchildren, William and Harry, are ______ of the world’s most famous people. 6. Do you have ______ idea what it feels like be followed around by the paparazzi all day long? 7. You have ______ excuse for not finishing your homework! 8. I’ve run out of beer. Would you like ______ wine instead? 9. There is ______ coffee left. I have to go out and buy it. 10. I would like to get ______ recognition for my work!   SHORT ESSAY 4) Are you a fan or a follower of a celebrity (or of a member of a Royal Family)? Describe this person and explain why you are interested in him/her. (60-80 words) 5) Did you ever ‘Meghan Markle’? What situation was it? Describe. (60-80 words)
___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Wikimedia Commons, Wikimedia Commons) [post_title] => Royal pains [post_excerpt] => Last January Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, decided to “step back” from their roles as senior royals. It was an unexpected decision that rocked the Royal Family and sent the press into a frenzy. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => royal-pains [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-03-01 21:54:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-03-01 20:54:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=16533 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 16221 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2019-11-27 15:30:06 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-11-27 14:30:06 [post_content] => One of this year’s most trending topics has been climate change. Understandably: climate change is speeding up rather than slowing down. The problem is so serious that even the terms used to describe it needs to be updated. Several scientists and organizations, state that it’s more appropriate to talk about ‘climate emergency’, ‘climate crisis’ or ‘climate breakdown’ rather than climate change. Also ‘global heating’ is more accurate than ‘global warming’. Scientists say that we have 12 years left to reverse the situation before it goes out of control. We wrote about the Paris Agreement, an international treaty aimed at keeping rising temperatures in check[1]but, unfortunately, it has been largely ineffective. Few countries are doing what they promised to do and this past November the United States requested to withdraw from the Agreement. If governments are moving slowly though, many private enterprises and movements are not. Let’s recap and update some of these inspiring stories.  

The Ocean Cleanup Project

Last year we wrote about the Ocean Cleanup Project, founded by the young inventor Boyan Slat[2], that launched a device for capturing the plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean’s Great Garbage Patch. The testing phase ended this November. After some initial difficulties, the device proved capable of capturing and collecting floating plastic debris. The project is successfully moving ahead. In parallel, the Ocean Cleanup just launched a new device called the River Interceptor. This invention is a solar powered floating machine that stops plastic from flowing downriver into the seas. This is Boyan Slat’s next ambitious aim: to tackle the 1,000 most polluting rivers (responsible for about 80% of ocean plastic pollution) before the end of 2025. Boyan Slat will not be alone: recently two Italian friends (one based in London and one in New York) developed a similar system called Blue Barriers. It seems like they will be competing with Slat in cleaning the world’s dirtiest rivers.  

Strike for climate

This year no climate action has been more in the news than the Fridays for Future strikes inspired by Greta Thunberg. We spoke about them in February[3], and since then the movement has increased in size. In September, Greta spoke at the UN Climate Action Summit where she scolded world leaders for their inaction. “How dare you!” she said. “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words!” Her courage energized many people to demand change from their own governments. This year also saw the rise of a similar movement, Extinction Rebellion, founded in the UK in 2018. Extinction Rebellion promotes peaceful acts of civil disobedience to demand political solutions against climate breakdown. Many governments are now taking steps because of the pressure of these popular movements. Italy, for example, is the first country to introduce climate change studies in schools. Also, Greta Thunberg was one of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize candidates, an acknowledgment that fighting for the environment contributes to world peace. Finally, the Nobel went to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for his effort to achieve peace between his country and Eritrea.  

Earth Day

Curiously, though, Prime Minister Ahmed is also famous for his Green Legacy Initiative, a reforestation campaign. As part of the Initiative, this July Ethiopians planted more than 350 million tree seedlings in a single day, a world record. Many scientists believe that reforestation is one of the most effective ways to fight climate breakdown. Planting trees is also one of the Earth Day initiatives that we wrote about two years ago[4]. Next year Earth Day will celebrate its 50th anniversary. By then it aims to have completed its Canopy Project: the planting of 7.8 billion trees – one tree for every person on Earth. News like these prove that 2019 saw a significant growth in climate activism. Hopefully, this is a sign that we are at the beginning of a worldwide shift, where people are taking charge of their environment and their future.   [1] “COP 21 – Trying to save planet earth” https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/planet-english/cop-21-earth/ [2] “Cleaning up the Ocean” https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/planet-english/cleaning-up-the-ocean/ [3] “School strike for climate” https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/planet-english/school-strike-for-climate/ [4] “Earth Day 2017” https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/planet-english/earth-day-2017/  
Useful links 1) Find out about the River Interceptor on the The Ocean Cleanup’s website: https://theoceancleanup.com/rivers/ 2) Here is the similar Blue Barriers project: https://www.seadefencesolutions.com/blue-barriers/ 3) Read some of Greta Thunberg’s speeches: https://www.fridaysforfuture.org/greta-speeches 4) Here is Extinction Rebellion’s website: https://rebellion.earth/ 5) Read about the Green Legacy Initiative’s tree-planting record: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-49151523 6) Learn more about Earth Day’s Canopy Project: https://www.earthday.org/campaigns/reforestation/ 7) What terms should be used when talking about climate change? https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/17/why-the-guardian-is-changing-the-language-it-uses-about-the-environment
 
COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative. 1. In 2019 climate change
  1. slowed down.
  2. was a minor trending topic.
  3. caused some fifty climate disasters.
2. The Paris Agreement is ineffective because
  1. not all countries are respecting it.
  2. people and private enterprises are not doing their part.
  3. climate change cannot be stopped.
3. The United States wants to
  1. join the Paris Agreement.
  2. leave the Paris Agreement.
  3. rewrite to Paris Agreement.
4. The Ocean Cleanup Project collects plastic found
  1. on the surface of the Ocean.
  2. at the bottom of the Ocean.
  3. below the surface of the Ocean.
5. Boyan Slat launched the River Interceptor 
  1. last year.
  2. as a substitute to his Ocean Cleanup Project.
  3. to stop more plastic from flowing into the Oceans.
6. Greta Thunberg spoke at the UN Climate Action Summit
  1. complimenting the good work done so far.
  2. criticizing the participants.
  3. thanking the participants for their impact on her life
7. Extinction Rebellion
  1. was created by Greta Thunberg.
  2. has similar aims to those of Fridays for Future.
  3. is contributing to world peace.
8. The Nobel Peace Prize
  1. considered climate activism as an activity that favours peace.
  2. was won by Greta Thunberg.
  3. was won by Prime Minister Ahmed for his Green Legacy Initiative.
9. The Green Legacy Initiative and the Canopy Project
  1. are promoted by Prime Minister Ahmed.
  2. want to plant one tree for every person on Earth.
  3. have similar objectives.
10. 2019 has been
  1. a good year for climate activism.
  2. a bad year for climate activism.
  3. the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
  VOCABULARY 2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary. recap  * bushfire  * acknowledgement  * canopy * to withdraw  * capable * to tackle *  legacy * seedling * shift 1. A ______ is an uncontrolled fire in a forest. 2. The leafy branches of trees form a natural ______. 3. A young plant is called a ______. 4. I like ______ difficult problems because I like a good challenge. 5. The ______ of people like Gandhi and Martin Luther King is the peaceful methods behind their social activism. 6. ______ is short for ‘recapitulation’. 7. The opposite of to advance is ______. 8. He is a ______ instructor: he is very good at teaching what he knows. 9. Until recent years, there was little public ______ of the seriousness of climate change.  10. New ‘green’ laws are a sign of a positive political ______ in the direction of protecting the environment.    GRAMMAR – Past Simple and Present Perfect 3) Complete the sentences using the verbs provided. In one instance use the past simple, in the other the present perfect. 1. The UN ______________ (to produce) the Paris Agreement in 2015. So far, 195 countries ______________ (to sign) it. 2. In 2015, the United States ______________ (to support) the Paris Agreement. Since then, the US ______________ (to change) its position. 3. Boyan Slat ______________ (to launch) The Ocean Cleanup Project at the end of 2018. The Project ______________ (to face) many difficulties. 4. Greta ______________ (to hold) her first strikes in front of the Swedish parliament. Since then she ______________ (to join) strikes in many places around the world. 5. Jennifer ______________ (to meet) Greta Thunberg at a public event last year, whereas Hellen, ______ never ______ (to meet) her. 6. ______ you ever ______ (to participated) in a Fridays for Future strike? I ______________ (to participate) in one last February. 7. Abiy Ahmed Ali ______________ (to become) Prime Minister in April 2018. He ______________ (to be) in office for almost two years. 8. The Nobel Committee  ______________ (to award) the Peace Prize to Abiy Ahmed Ali. The Committee ______________ (to award) the Prize annually since 1901. 9. Earth Day ______________ (to found, passive form) in 1970. Over the past 49 years, it ______________ (to promoted) many interesting initiatives. 10. Human activity ______________ (to destroy) much of Ethiopia’s forests. Yet, last year Ethiopians ______________ (to plant) millions of trees in a great reforestation effort.    SHORT ESSAY 4) Look at the projects and movements mentioned in the article and pick the one that you believe is the most effective in fighting climate change. Motivate your choice. (60-80 words)   5) Do you think Greta Thunberg should have won the Nobel Peace Prize? Why or why not? (60-80 words)  
___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Pixabay, Pixabay) [post_title] => Our climate news recap and update [post_excerpt] => One of this year’s most trending topics has been climate change. In previous articles, we wrote about people and private enterprises fighting against this existential problem. It is time to recap and update some of these inspiring stories. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => our-climate-news-recap-and-update [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-02-10 16:28:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-02-10 15:28:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=16221 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 16041 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2019-10-29 14:00:43 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-10-29 13:00:43 [post_content] => A recent BBC documentary, called "The Octopus in My House", tells the story of the curious relationship between David Scheel, a professor at Alaska Pacific University, and an octopus named Heidi. Professor Scheel put Heidi in a large aquarium in his home to study her. The documentary shows the octopus’ incredible abilities, such as solving puzzles, recognizing people and, apparently, watching TV with the family. Professor Scheel points out that octopuses are very intelligent animals. They can use tools, solve mazes, unscrew jar-lids, and even pass memory tests. There is one part of the documentary that went viral: it shows Heidi changing colour as she sleeps. Professor Sheel says that, since octopuses change colour when hunting, Heidi is probably dreaming of catching and eating a crab.  

Aliens of the deep

The documentary suggests that octopuses have many ‘human’ characteristics, but they are also very different from us. Dr. Scheel himself claims that he read a lot of science fiction when he was a child and decided that “working with marine animals seemed as close as I was likely to get to studying aliens.” The scientists who worked on the ‘Octopus Genome Project’ agree. They have claimed that octopuses are genetically so different from us (and even from other invertebrates) that they might as well be considered ‘aliens’. Octopuses are also very different from us physically. They have three hearts and blue blood. They have one central brain and eight smaller ‘brains’, one for each tentacle. They might be smart, but they lack some characteristics typical of intelligence such as living in communities and having a long lifespan. In fact, octopuses are solitary animals, and they only live for six months to five years.  

Anthropomorphism

So, how ‘human’ are octopuses? And how ‘human’ are other animals? Scientists agree that attributing human qualities and intentions to animals is an uncontrollable and universal activity of our brain, which is called “anthropomorphism”. In other words, when we see an animal doing something, we automatically interpret its behaviour in human terms. That’s why our language is full of expressions such as ‘stubborn as a mule’, ‘cunning like a fox’ or ‘industrious as an ant’. There is a difference, though, between a simplistic view of animals described in human terms, and recognizing traits shared by different species. In 2012 a group of scientists published ‘The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness’ that states that non-human animals have brains (even if very different from ours) that allow them to be conscious. This means that they are self-aware and are capable of conscious decisions. Also, various scientific studies have proved that many animals have complex social lives and experience emotions.  

Non-human persons

These scientific observations have important philosophical and moral consequences. They challenge the theory of human exceptionalism, which claims that humans are special and stand above all other creatures. Instead, they support the ideas of people who think that all animals should be treated with equal respect, even more so if science tells us that they can think and feel like us. Recent scientific insights regarding animals is also the basis for new laws passed to protect ‘non-human persons’. For example, in 2007 the Balearic Islands gave legal rights to all great apes. This means that it is no longer possible to use apes for harmful experiments, in circuses or for television commercials. In 2013, India recognized that dolphins and whales are “highly intelligent and sensitive”, and banned their use in marine animal parks. This new attitude towards animals might actually reveal a lot about us: it demonstrates our capacity for empathy, one of the most ‘human’ qualities.  
Useful links 1) Watch this BBC video that describes octopuses: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QCF2MeUnKY 2) Here is the video of Heidi ‘dreaming’ from the documentary ‘An Octopus in My House’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vKCLJZbytU 3) Find out more about Heidi here: https://www.dogonews.com/2019/10/3/researcher-captures-mesmerizing-video-of-pet-octopus-changing-color-while-dreaming 4) Are you interested in the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness? Here it is: http://fcmconference.org/img/CambridgeDeclarationOnConsciousness.pdf 5) Are you interested in speciesism? Here is the Simple English and English Wikipedia pages: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciesism
COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative. 1. Octopuses are very intelligent because
  1.  they can dream.
  2.  they are good at problem-solving.
  3.  they watch TV.
2. Usually, octopuses change colour when
  1.  looking for food.
  2.  solving puzzles.
  3.  sleeping.
3. Scheel and other scientists say that octopuses
  1. are similar to other invertebrates.
  2.  are aliens.
  3.  have ‘alien’ characteristics.
4. Usually, intelligent animals
  1.  live long lives.
  2.  are solitary.
  3.  live short lives.
5. ‘Anthropomorphism’ offers
  1.  a correct interpretation of animal behavior.
  2.  an incorrect interpretation of animal behavior.
  3.  a simplistic interpretation of animal behavior.
6. ‘The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness’ states that
  1.  only humans are conscious.
  2.  different types of brains can produce consciousness.
  3.  you need a human-like brain to be conscious.
7. Scientific papers like ‘The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness’
  1. suggest that humans and animals share common traits.
  2. agree with the theory of human exceptionalism.
  3. agree with anthropomorphism.
8. The critics of human exceptionalism think that
  1. all animals should be treated with respect.
  2. only some animals, like apes and dolphins, should be treated with respect.
  3. only humans should be treated with respect.
9. The term ‘non-human person’ can be applied
  1. only to apes.
  2. to all kinds of animals.
  3. to apes and dolphins.
10. Laws in favour of ‘non-human persons’
  1. say that humans and animals are the same.
  2. are against the use of animals to entertain humans.
  3. say animals can be used to entertain humans.
  VOCABULARY 2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary. ape  *  stubborn  *  insight  *  maze  *  to state  *  trait  *  invertebrate  *  cunning  *  the deep  *  lifespan 1. Another way of saying ______ is ‘labyrinth’. 2. ‘______’ and ‘monkey’ are not synonyms: the first term refers to those primates that are closer to humans, such as chimpanzees and gorillas. 3. I like saying ‘______’ instead of ‘the sea’ – I find it more poetic! 4. An ______ is an animal without a backbone. 5. He clearly ______ that animals deserve respect. 6. Humans have one of the longest ______ in the animal kingdom. Few animals live longer than us. 7. It’s really hard to get her to change her mind, she is really ______! 8. Be careful because he might trick you to get what he wants: he is really ______. 9. A ______ is a personal quality or characteristic. 10. She studied dolphins all her life, and this has given her great ______ into dolphin behaviour.   3) Complete these animal similes with the correct animal: 1. as blind as a ____________  (wolf, bat, peacock) 2. as brave as a ____________  (lion, cat, ox) 3. as  hungry as a ____________  (owl, wolf, bee) 4. as dumb as an ____________  (cat, bird, ox) 5. as busy as a ____________  (peacock, lion, bee) 6. as wise as an ____________  (owl, beaver, ox) 7. as eager as a ____________  (cat, beaver, lion) 8. as cool as a ____________  (bee, bat, cat) 9. as cheerful as a ____________  (bird, owl, beaver) 10. as proud as a ____________  (peacock,wolf, bat)   GRAMMAR – Conjunctions 4) Complete the sentences using the following conjunctions: when  *  because (x2)  * that  *  while  *  but  *  when  *  if  *  nor  *  unless * although * whereas 1. It was 2012 ______ the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness was signed. 2. Professor Sheer said that Heidi was dreaming ______ she changed colour. 3. How can we be nice to animals ______ we can’t even respect each other? 4. Humans are social animals ______ octopuses live very solitary lives. 5. Some animals are called ‘non-human persons’ ______ they have human-like traits. 6. Professor Sheer is convinced ______ octopuses are like aliens. 7. Animals deserve respect, ______ many people treat them as things. 8. You are right ______ you think that dogs can experience emotions. 9. In the Balearic Islands you cannot use apes in circuses ______ can you use them in harmful experiments. 10. ______ you study all these scientific papers, you will never understand animal behaviour.   SHORT ESSAY 5) There are many animals that are considered intelligent: dogs, dolphins, apes, magpies… Pick one, do some research, and explain why it is considered intelligent. (60-80 words)   6) Do you agree or disagree with human exceptionalism? Describe your relationship with and attitude towards animals. (60-80 words)
___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Flickr, Flickr) [post_title] => Smart octopuses and non-human persons [post_excerpt] => A recent BBC documentary showed how intelligent octopuses are: they can use tools, solve puzzles and pass memory tests. But how ‘human’ are octopuses, and how ‘human’ are other animals? Recent scientific studies shed new light on what animals think and feel and are re-writing our relationship with them. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => smart-octopuses-and-non-human-persons [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-06-03 12:15:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-06-03 10:15:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=16041 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 15850 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2019-09-23 16:50:42 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-09-23 14:50:42 [post_content] => From 20 September to 2 November,  Japan will host one of the world’s greatest sporting events: the men’s Rugby World Cup. Although for a long time rugby (also known as rugby union) was a sport mostly played in the English speaking world, today it’s becoming popular in countries like Japan, Italy, Argentina and the Pacific nations. This is one of the reasons why the World Cup was created in 1987. The competition is held every four years. This year’s Cup will be the ninth overall and the first held in Asia. Twenty nations will compete to become the next world champion. The favourites to win the title are New Zealand, England and South Africa. Curiously, the same whistle is used for the opening match of every World Cup; this whistle was first used in 1905 – one-hundred and fourteen years ago – during a game between England and New Zealand.  

The origins of rugby (and football)

Rugby is an old sport and its origins are closely linked to those of football. In the early eighteen hundreds, ball games were a common pastime in English boys’ schools. Each school had its own rules, but most agreed that running with the ball in your arms was not allowed. According to legend, in 1823 Webb Ellis, a pupil attending Rugby school (in the town of Rugby, Warwickshire), picked up the ball during a match and ran with it, thus originating the distinctive feature of the rugby game. This story is so famous (even though it’s a myth) that the World Cup trophy is called the Webb Ellis Cup. The first rules of the game were actually written down in 1845 by other Rugby school pupils. Not all schools adopted them, though. So, in 1863, representatives from eleven schools and clubs met in London to write down a shared set of rules. The majority decided that running with the ball in your arms was not allowed. By doing so, they founded modern football. In 1871 other clubs decided they wanted to play a game where you could run holding the ball. This became modern rugby. Also the balls used in football and rugby became different. Football adopted a round one, which was easier to kick, while rugby adopted an oval one, which was easier to carry.  

The All Blacks

Rugby spread quickly in the English-speaking world. The first international matches were held in the late 1800s. In 1925, New Zealand’s team, also known as the All Blacks because of the colour of their jerseys, toured Britain, France and Canada, winning all their 32 matches, earning the title ‘The Invincibles’. Almost a hundred years later the All Blacks are still the team to beat. They are the current world champions, and they won the World Cup three times. That’s more than Australia and South Africa, who have two wins each, and England, which has one. The All Blacks are also known for a Maori dance they perform before each match: the Haka. This dance is meant to challenge and intimidate the opposing team. New Zealand is a ‘superpower’ in women’s rugby too. It won 5 of the 8 World Cups played so far. Women’s rugby fully developed only in the 1960s and 70s. This is because, before that, there was a lot of discrimination towards women playing contact sports.  

The third half

One of the most distinctive aspects of rugby is a tradition the French nicknamed ‘the third half’. This is when the winning and losing teams meet for a post-match dinner or night out at the pub. It’s a way for players to socialise and become friends. Today, in the age of professionalism, this tradition is fading. Now most players are too competitive or busy to go out with their opponents. Yet, this year at the World Cup somebody will honour this old tradition. New Zealand’s coach Steve Hansen always invites the opposing team into the All Blacks’ changing room after the final whistle. He wants his players to be friendly and humble, whether they win or lose. These old-school values are, after all, still at the core of rugby, despite it’s a rough game on the pitch. As the saying goes: ‘rugby is a thug’s game played by gentlemen’.
USEFUL LINKS 1) Follow the World Cup on its official website: https://www.rugbyworldcup.com/ 2) What are the rules of rugby? Read them here: https://www.rulesofsport.com/sports/rugby.html or watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOJejnPI0p0 3) Here are some interesting facts about the Rugby World Cup: https://www.sportsmirchi.com/rugby-world-cup-interesting-facts/ 4) Would you like to know more about the All Blacks’ Haka? https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haka You can watch it being performed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiKFYTFJ_kw Did you know that other Pacific nations perform their own ‘war dances’? Have a look here: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-01/rugby-world-cup-haka-pacific-war-dances-dwayne-the-rock-johnson/11456828
 

COMPREHENSION

1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative 1. The World Cup is
  1. approximately six weeks long.
  2. played only be English-speaking countries.
  3. always played in Asia
2. The whistle used for the opening match of every World Cup was first used
  1. for a World Cup match.
  2. for an international match.
  3. for an English league match.
3. English school children in the early 1800s played
  1. rugby and football.
  2. ball games that were a bit of a mixture of rugby and football.
  3. a game invented by Webb Ellis.
4. The story of Webb Ellis running with the ball is
  1. probably true.
  2. true.
  3. false.
5. The game of rugby owes its name to
  1. a school.
  2. a student.
  3. a legend.
6. Most World Cup winners are
  1. English-speaking countries.
  2. not European nations.
  3. From Oceania.
7. The Haka is a dance
  1. performed before all rugby games.
  2. that the All Blacks perform to scare their opponents.
  3. that the All Blacks perform to entertain their opponents.
8. The tradition of women’s rugby is not as old as man’s rugby because
  1. contact sports are not ‘womanly’.
  2. women don’t like playing rugby.
  3. society was against women playing rough sports.
9. The ‘third half’ is
  1. a social occasion.
  2. the third part of a rugby match.
  3. a French tradition.
10. The third half
  1. is very common in professional rugby.
  2. is becoming popular again.
  3. was very common in amateur rugby.
 

VOCABULARY

2) Complete the sentences with the following words. to host  * to challenge  *  whistle  *  myth  *  pitch  *  nickname  *  to socialise  *  humble  *  jersey  *  thug 1. The term ‘________’ refers both to an instrument and to the sound it makes. 2. This year South Africa and Australia will ________ New Zealand’s record of three World Cup wins. 3. A violent, criminal person can be called a ________. 4. A story or an idea that is widely held but that is false is called a ________. 5. I’m tired of spending time home alone. Let’s go out and ________. 6. South African rugby players wear green ________, white shorts and green socks. 7. Indoor sports are usually played on a court; outdoor sports on a ________. 8. Many rugby national teams have ________: All Blacks for New Zealand, Wallabies for Australia, Springboks for South Africa. 9. I didn’t have to go to a hotel because a friend of mine ________ me. 10. A synonym for modest is ________.  

GRAMMAR – Comparative and superlative adjectives

3) Complete the sentences using the adjective in brackets with comparatives of majority (+) minority (–) or equality (=), or superlatives (S). 1. New Zealand has (S) ____________ (strong) rugby team in the world. 2. The Webb Ellis myth is (+) ____________ (interesting) than the historical origin of rugby. 3. The women’s World Cup is played every four years, (=) ____________ (often) the men’s World Cup. 4. The Rugby World Cup is (S) ____________ (important) rugby competition. 5. The third half is (–) ____________ (popular) in professional rugby than in amateur rugby. 6. The sport of rugby is (+) ____________ (old) than most sports played today. 7. South Africa won two world cups, (=) ____________ (many) Australia. 8. A football is (=) ____________ (heavy) a rugby ball: they both weigh a bit more than 400 grams. 9. Football is (+) ____________ (popular) than rugby. 10. I find football (–) ____________ (interesting) than rugby.  

SHORT ESSAY

4) Have you ever watched a rugby match? What do you think of the sport? (60-80 words) 5) Is there a sportsperson that you like or admire? Is it for his/her sports skills or for the way he/she is in everyday life? (60-80 words)
  ___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: pixabay and Flickr) [post_title] => The Rugby World Cup [post_excerpt] => From 20 September to 2 November, Japan will host one of the world’s greatest sporting events: the men’s Rugby World Cup. Over almost two hundred years, rugby developed from a boys’ school pastime to one of the most popular sports on the planet. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-rugby-world-cup [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-12-11 15:22:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-12-11 14:22:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=15850 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 15529 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2019-05-15 11:46:37 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-05-15 09:46:37 [post_content] => Last April the Indian army tweeted an incredible piece of news regarding one of its expeditions in the Himalayas. The tweet said: “For the first time, an #IndianArmy Moutaineering Expedition Team has sited Mysterious Footprints of mythical beast ‘Yeti’ measuring 32x15 inches [81x38 cm] close to Makalu Base Camp on 09 April 2019. This elusive snowman has only been sighted at Makalu-Barun National Park in the past.” The tweet was accompanied by pictures of large footprints in the snow. The tweet provoked many reactions. People who believe in the existence of the Yeti greeted it with enthusiasm. Many others, instead, considered the news totally unbelievable and said that the footprints were very flimsy evidence. Some even accused the Indian army of being irresponsible for making such ridiculous claims.  

The Abominable Snowman

The Yeti, which means ‘wild man’, is a creature of Himalayan folklore, described as a very large, ape-like mountain creature. In the 1920s, English explorers were told about this mysterious being by locals after they discovered strange tracks in the snow. In 1951, the highly respected British explorer Eric Shipton took a picture of a huge and very detailed footprint in the snow near Mount Everest. The picture became a sensation, and many explorers travelled to the Himalayas to find the Yeti, also known in the West as the ‘Abominable Snowman’. Some attempts were very ambitious: American oilman Tom Slick headed a 6-month expedition with 500 porters. He even used bloodhounds to track the scent of the mysterious creature. Despite all these efforts, nobody found a Yeti. Scientists say that the Abominable Snowman probably doesn’t exist. They have analyzed many alleged Yeti hair samples, including a ‘Yeti scalp’ found in a Buddhist temple. Most belonged to known animals. Some came from a very rare species of Himalayan bear.  

Bigfoot

North America has its own version of the Yeti: Bigfoot, also known as the Sasquatch. Like the Yeti, Bigfoot is found in old legends and is described as a large ape-like creature. Its popularity exploded in 1967, when two men, Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin, filmed a few seconds footage of a hairy female creature walking in a Northern California forest. Over the years, the mysterious Bigfoot has been caught on camera on other occasions, and many footprints and hair samples have been found. Yet all the evidence is controversial. The pictures and videos, for example, might be fake. Indeed, there are known cases of people dressing up in ape costumes and pretending to be real Bigfoots. Even the creature in the Patterson-Gimlin film might be a man in a costume. As with the Yeti, scientists find the evidence for Bigfoot unconvincing. So why do so many people still believe in the existence of these creatures?  

Why we believe

Daniel Taylor, an expert on the Yeti, gives an interesting answer. He says that the belief in ape-like creatures began in the Victorian era after Charles Darwin published his theory of human evolution. Some scientists believed that, if humans descend from apes, then there had to be a ‘missing link’, a creature that was more than an ape but not yet a human. And maybe that missing link still existed. Many explorers and scientists travelled the world searching for it. This search for an ape-man was not just a scientific project. In a way, it was also a spiritual one. “The deep mystery at our core,” says Taylor, “is that we want to be connected to the great beyond. And we need symbols to help us understand the connection. That’s why we believe in God or angels or the Loch Ness Monster. Throughout human history, and across human cultures, we have developed messengers from the great beyond. Ultimately, that’s what the Yeti is.”
Useful links 1) Check out the Indian Army tweet (and some answers) and the pictures of the Yeti footprints: https://twitter.com/adgpi/status/1122911748829270016 2) Read these Wikipedia Simple English pages on the Yeti and the Bigfoot: https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeti https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bigfoot 3) Here is Eric Shipton’s picture of the Yeti footprint: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeti#/media/File:Eric_Shipton_yeti_footprint.png 4) Watch the original Patterson-Gimlin film (Bigfoot appears at min. 2.37): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBTUQI60yqQ Here you can see Bigfoot in greater detail: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngVH-7tMpjo 5) Read the interview with Yeti expert Daniel Taylor: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/08/yeti-abominable-snowman-bear-daniel-taylor/
COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative.
  1. The Indian army claimed that
  1. the Yeti exists.
  2. they had sighted the Yeti.
  3. they had found Yeti footprints.
  1. The reactions to the army’s tweet were
  1. positive.
  2. mixed.
  3. negative.
  1. In the 1950s the Yeti became very popular thanks to
  1. a local Himalayan legend.
  2. a scalp.
  3. a picture.
  1. Another name for the Yeti is
  1. Bigfoot.
  2. Abominable Snowman.
  3. Sasquatch.
  1. The evidence seems to suggest that the Yeti is actually
  1. an ape-man.
  2. a bear.
  3. the missing link.
  1. The Bigfoot in the Patterson-Gimlin film
  1. might be a man in a suit.
  2. is a man in a suit.
  3. is most certainly a real Bigfoot.
  1. Scientists say that the evidence for Bigfoot is
  1. not very good.
  2. very good.
  3. unbelievable.
  1. The origins of the Yeti and Bigfoot can be found in
  1. the Victorian era.
  2. legends and folklore.
  3. Charles Darwin’s theories.
  1. Scientists thought that finding the Yeti would
  1. disprove Darwin’s theory of evolution.
  2. solve the deep mystery at our core.
  3. prove Darwin’s theory of evolution.
  1. Daniel Taylor says that the Yeti is
  1. a symbol.
  2. an angel.
  3. a mystery.
  VOCABULARY 2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary. porter  *  bloodhound  *  core  *  elusive  *  scalp  *  link  *  the (great) beyond  *  ape  *  flimsy  *  to sight 1. A ______  is a dog with a very keen sense of smell. 2. A chain is made of many steel ______ . 3. The ______  beliefs of a person are his or her deepest and most cherished beliefs. 4. To prove the existence of the Yeti scientists need solid proof, like a body, not ______  evidence, like a footprint in the snow. 5. ______  is often used as a synonym for ‘monkey’, but technically it refers only to large primates such as gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans. 6. Patterson and Gimlin ______  a Bigfoot in a forest. 7. The Yeti is considered ______  because it seems impossible to find. 8. Expeditions in the Himalayas often make use of ______ , people who carry the expedition’s equipment. 9. ______ refers to the unknown or the mystery of life after death. 10. The skin covering the head is called ______ .   GRAMMAR – Modal Verbs. 3) Choose the correct modal verb to complete the sentence. 1. The body of a Yeti must/would/may be undeniable proof of its existence. 2. Scientists would/can/should base their theories on solid evidence. 3. Believers in the Yeti say that one day a Yeti would/will/may be found for sure. 4. I am convinced that Patterson and Gimlin might/can/must have faked their Bigfoot video. 5. It’s easy to make a fake Bigfoot footprint, we will/would/could do it ourselves. 6. Bigfoot has been sighted in this forest; if we are lucky we might/must/would see it ourselves. 7. Scientists should/can/may analyze all evidence with an open mind. 8. Some people are so gullible that they would/may/could believe anything! 9. Searching for the Yeti can/should/ought to be a very disappointing enterprise. 10. The footprint photographed by Eric Shipton would/might/should be that of a bear.   SHORT ESSAY 4) Do you believe in the existence of the Yeti (or Bigfoot)? Or do you think it’s just a legend? Motivate your answer. (60-80 words) 5) Look at Eric Shipton’s picture or watch the Patterson-Gimlin film. Describe what you see and try to give your ‘scientific’ opinion. (60-80 words)
___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: pixabay and pixabay)     [post_title] => Looking for the Yeti and Bigfoot [post_excerpt] => Recently the Indian Army declared it had found footprints left by a Yeti. The claim renewed the debate over the possible existence of this legendary creature. Despite the lack of truly convincing evidence, belief in the Yeti, as well as in the American Bigfoot, is widespread and the reason for this might be more than simple scientific curiosity. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => looking-for-the-yeti-and-bigfoot [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-12-11 15:00:42 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-12-11 14:00:42 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=15529 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 15281 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2019-03-20 10:30:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-20 09:30:00 [post_content] => In March 1989, a 34-year-old British computer scientist called Tim Berners-Lee went to his boss with an idea. He gave him a document titled “Information Management: a Proposal”. Tim’s boss, Mike Sendall, read Tim’s document and wrote on its front page: “vague but exciting.” He encouraged Tim to develop his idea further. At the time, Tim was working at the CERN laboratories in Geneva where scientists were doing incredibly complex experiments. His proposal was inspired by a question that CERN scientists often asked: “How will we ever keep track of such a large project?” CERN scientists already used computers and the internet, but they had difficulties sharing the information regarding their experiments. To help them, Tim imagined a linked information system, or a web of documents, that, in his proposal, he called “Mesh”.  

An act of desperation

Tim worked on his project for more than a year. Tim gave Mesh a new name, the World Wide Web, and at the end of 1990 he presented to CERN the world’s first website, the first Web server, and the first Web browser. The website was very simple: it described what the World Wide Web was, and how Web technology worked. The scientists at CERN finally got what they needed. “Creating the Web,” said Tim “was really an act of desperation, because the situation without it was very difficult.” Over the next two years Tim and other scientists at CERN continued developing the Web. In 1993 CERN made World Wide Web technology available on a royalty-free basis. This meant that everybody could use it for free. Tim explains: “we were more interested in the excitement of making something useful than in getting rich.”  

A present to the world

The World Wide Web became more than ‘something useful’. It revolutionized modern life. Today, thirty years after it was invented, some four billion people, about half of the world’s population, use it. There are now more than 1.5 billion websites. The Web is a tremendous source of information: it allows easy access to all kinds of documents, for example, this very article. The Web is also used to communicate, to work, to shop and for entertainment purposes. Tim imagined his creation to be a democratic arena with no central authority: everybody could use it to interact and share knowledge. In a way, the Web does what Tim wanted it to do, but it is also true that the Web has developed in unexpected and sometimes negative ways. Tim himself says that ‘the Web has failed in many places’.  

Caught in the Web

Tim points out how today giant corporations such as Facebook, Google and Amazon monopolize everything that happens online. They possess an enormous amount of private information on all their users. Tim Berners-Lee is currently working on a new platform called Solid to re-decentralize the Web. Others like him are helping to make the Web a safe and democratic space once again. In the meantime, it is important to reflect on how dependent we are on being connected. In 1909, the British writer E.M. Forster wrote a prescient science fiction short story called The Machine Stops about a future where every human being lives alone in a room, served by an all-powerful Machine. The Machine provides them with everything, from music to food to clothing. Through the Machine a person can get to know thousands of people, but the Machine only gives “a general idea of people.” So humans live connected but isolated, with only a vague idea of each other. Interacting with the real world causes “the terrors of direct experience.” Forster’s story suggests that we have to be careful of how much we let technology control our lives and our social interactions. Technology needs to be a tool, not a master.
Useful links 1) Learn more about Tim Berners-Lee and the creation of the World Wide Web: https://webfoundation.org/about/vision/history-of-the-web/ 2) Here is some interesting information about Tim Berners-Lee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mhpQd3GNDs 3) Check out this video explaining what the World Wide Web is. (You can add subtitles to help you out): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8hzJxb0rpc 4) What’s the difference between the internet and the World Wide Web? It’s explained here: https://www.webopedia.com/DidYouKnow/Internet/Web_vs_Internet.asp 5) Check out the world’s first Website. You can even surf the Web using a re-creation of the first Web browser: https://home.cern/science/computing/birth-web
 
COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative. 1. Mike Sendall believed that Tim’s idea
  1. needed more work.
  2. was not very good.
  3. was perfect the way it was.
2. CERN scientists complained that
  1. their projects were too large and complex.
  2. it was difficult to manage all the information created by large projects.
  3. Tim’s proposal did not solve their problem.
3. Tim Berners-Lee wrote his Proposal
  1. to impress his boss.
  2. to help CERN scientists.
  3. to solve a computer problem.
4. The World Wide Web
  1. is owned by CERN.
  2. was sold, making Tim a rich man.
  3. was given away for free by CERN.
5. Today the World Wide Web
  1. is used for many different purposes.
  2. has more websites than users.
  3. has developed the way Tim wanted it to develop.
6. Tim Berners-Lee wanted the Web to be used
  1. for entertainment purposes.
  2. for scientific reasons.
  3. in a democratic way.
7. Tim Berners-Lee thinks that giant internet corporations
  1. are a good thing.
  2. are too powerful.
  3. spread fake news.
8. Giant internet corporations
  1. know very little about their users.
  2. know many things about their users.
  3. are interested in de-centralizing the Web.
9. The Web is
  1. not as democratic as it used to be.
  2. democratic.
  3. controlled by government agencies.
10. M. Forster’s story suggests that being connected
  1. is a good thing.
  2. helps people interact with the real world.
  3. is not a substitute for direct experience.
  VOCABULARY 2) Complete the sentences with the following words. to keep track of  *  prescient   *  tool  *  available  *  billion  *  proposal  *  citizen  *  tremendous  *  entertainment  *  to monopolize 1. Today, all kinds of knowledge are easily ______ to anyone with an internet connection. 2. A hammer is a typical example of a ______: an object that helps perform a job. 3. Going to the cinema is a popular form of ______. 4. A thousand million is a ______. 5. Forster’s story is ______ because it predicted the ever-increasing importance of technology. 6. If you do a ______ job it means that you did it very well. 7. Monopoly is a game that teaches what the verb ______ means: at the end of the game somebody ends up with all the money! 8. A ______ can be a formal suggestion, but also an offer of marriage. 9. I’m very interested in current events. I try ______ all the important things that happen in the world. 10. I feel at home everywhere I go. I consider myself a ______ of the world.   GRAMMAR – Active and passive voice 3) Turn these passive form sentences into active. Es. Tim Berners-Lee was employed by CERN. / CERN employed Tim Berners-Lee. 1. The World Wide Web was invented by Tim Berners-Lee. 2. The internet was used by the scientists at CERN. 3. Extremely complex experiments were carried out by CERN scientists. 4. World Wide Web technology was given away for free by Tim and CERN. 5. Modern life was revolutionized by Tim’s invention.   Turn these active form sentences into passive. Es. E.M. Forster wrote The Machine Stops. / The Machine Stops was written by E.M. Forster. 1. On the Web, people can access all kinds of information. 2. Tim designed the Web to be a democratic arena. 3. Corporations control us! 4. Tim developed a new platform called Solid. 5. We will all shape our digital future.   SHORT ESSAY 4) Can you imagine a world without the World Wide Web? How would your life be different? (60-80 words)   5) What do we mean by the word ‘privacy’? What do you think should remain private and not be shared on the Web? (60-80 words)
___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Enrico Bergianti, Southbank Centre, flickr)     [post_title] => The World Wide Web turns thirty [post_excerpt] => Thirty years ago, a British computer scientist called Tim Berners-Lee went to his boss with a document titled “Information Management: a Proposal”. Tim was working at the CERN laboratories in Geneva and he wanted to help CERN scientists share the information regarding their experiments. Tim’s proposal, that his boss called ‘vague but exciting’, would become the WWW. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-world-wide-web-turns-thirty [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-12-11 15:23:07 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-12-11 14:23:07 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=15281 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 15078 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2019-02-08 16:27:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-02-08 15:27:02 [post_content] => On February 15, thousands of UK school children will go on strike. Events are being prepared in many cities such as London, Manchester, Glasgow and Brighton. The protesters will follow the example of other students from around the world that went on strike over the past few months. Last November 15,000 students marched in 30 towns and cities in Australia. In January, 35,000 teenagers demonstrated in Brussels and 45,000 children did the same in dozens of German and Swiss cities. All these protests will be followed by a huge, global student strike on March 15. But why are all these children skipping school to take part in demonstrations?  

What adults are doing

These students are protesting against their governments. They say that politicians are not doing enough to fight climate change. They claim that if we don’t take radical action now, there will be more and more extreme weather events such as wildfires, droughts, heat waves and tornadoes. Earth will become a very dangerous planet to live on. It is true that governments meet regularly to discuss climate change – the latest conference was held in Poland last December and was called COP 24 – but the young protesters say that the decisions taken at these meetings are not enough. They say that even the more virtuous nations are doing too little to prevent a global catastrophe.  

What can children do?

Children can’t vote, but they can take action. “Youth have a very powerful voice,” says Raynne Penconek from Canada. He is one of eighteen teenagers from various countries who met in Poland last December to find solutions to climate change. Their project was called #Decarbonize #Decolonize, and they presented their ideas at the COP 24 conference. They also invited children from around the world to use art to raise awareness about the problem. Avery McRae from Oregon did something different. When she was 5 she read a book about snow leopards and was “super heartbroken” when she learned that they were an endangered species. She decided to raise money for the animals by making and selling cakes and Christmas decorations. She raised $200, which she gave to an association that protects snow leopards. She didn’t stop there. In 2015, she joined twenty other kids to formally accuse the US government of not taking action against climate change. A similar group of young people in Colombia accused their government of not doing enough to stop the cutting down of the Amazon rainforest. They won, and the Supreme Court of Colombia ordered the government to stop the destruction of the rainforest.  

The global strike of March 15

The student strikes around the world are the product of one girl’s actions. Last August, 15-year-old Greta Thunberg from Sweden started striking every Friday outside Swedish parliament. She demanded that politicians act against climate change. Her story became so famous that she was invited to speak at the COP 24 conference. She also spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this January. She scolded the politicians and businessmen at Davos for thinking only of making money instead of saving the planet. She told them that they had to act “as if your house is on fire. Because it is.” Greta has changed her lifestyle to reduce her impact on the climate. For example, she didn’t travel to Davos by plane, but took the more ecological train instead, even though the train ride took 32 hours. “You are never too small to make a difference,” she said. “If a few children can get headlines all over the world for not going to school, then imagine what we could do all together.” The global school strike of March 15 might be the first real taste of that.
Useful links 1) Here are some articles on the student strikes for Climate: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46999381 https://theecologist.org/2019/jan/31/climate-school-strikes-go-global 2) Explore the #Decarbonize#Decolonize website: http://decarbonize.me/ and check out the section on ‘Youth Art for Climate’: https://gg.tigweb.org/tig/decarbonize-youth-art-for-climate-change/ 3) Read about the children trying to sue the American Government: https://www.cbc.ca/kidsnews/post/kids-trying-to-sue-u.s.-over-climate-change 4) Here is what Greta Thunberg said at the COP 24 conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1znxp8b65E 5) And this is Greta’s speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7dVF9xylaw
COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative. 1. The student strikes for climate began
  1. last year.
  2. this year.
  3. in January.
2. The students are saying that politicians are
  1. endangering their future.
  2. taking radical action.
  3. fighting climate change.
3. Extreme weather events
  1. are inevitable.
  2. can be prevented.
  3. will surely be stopped.
4. To prevent a global catastrophe all governments need to
  1. follow the example of the more virtuous nations.
  2. follow the decisions of COP 24.
  3. do much more than what they’re doing right now.
5. Child activists believe that the decisions taken at COP 24 are
  1. more than enough.
  2. a small step in the right direction.
  3. great.
6. You can have a say in political decisions if you
  1. vote.
  2. raise money.
  3. take action.
7. Raynne Penconek gave a report of his ideas to the
  1. COP 24 conference.
  2. Snow Leopard Trust.
  3. American Government.
8. Avery McRae sued the American Government for
  1. endangering snow leopards.
  2. making the future climate unsafe.
  3. breaking her heart.
9. Greta Thunberg told the businessmen at Davos that they were
  1. greedy.
  2. responsible.
  3. famous.
  1. Greta Thunberg believes that
  1. children are too little to participate in politics.
  2. everybody should stop taking the plane.
  3. anything is possible if people work together.
  VOCABULARY 2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary. wildfire  *  strike  *  to skip  *  heartbroken  *  lifestyle  *  endangered  *  rainforest  *  to make a difference  *  headline  *  to scold 1. A _______ is a form of protest. Workers often use it to ask for better working conditions. 2. Her pet dog died, that’s why she’s ______ . 3. Pandas are a famous example of an ______  animal. 4. He always ______ (skips) breakfast. He’s never hungry in the morning. 5. A tropical jungle is also called ______ . 6. ______ means to have a significant effect on something. 7. A ______  is the way in which a person lives his life. 8. The ______  is the title of a newspaper article. 9. Last summer, there were many ______ ; it was so hot and the vegetation was so dry that many forests burned. 10. Her teacher ______  her for leaving her book at home.   GRAMMAR – Future forms (present simple, present continuous, will, shall, be going to) 3) Complete the sentences choosing the correct future form. 1. Scientists say that the heat wave will end/ends next week. 2. We have a plan to help the snow leopard. We will raise/are going to raise money tomorrow at the conference. 3. The conference is going to start/starts at 9 am. 4. Shall we support/Do we support the children striking? I believe we should. 5. Hurry! The train for Davos will leave/leaves in one minute! 6. He is coming/shall come I have to pick him up at the airport. 7. I’m sure that tomorrow’s strike will be/is a success. 8. The car pollutes a lot. Shall we take/Will we take the train instead? 9. Look at those clouds over there. I think it is going to rain/shall rain 10. She meets/is meeting the politicians next week to tell them about her ideas.   SHORT ESSAY 4) Choose an example of social activism by children (it can be a personal experience, one mentioned in the article or any other). Research it and write about it. (60-80 words)   5) Choose one of these climate strike slogans and comment on it. (60-80 words) - There is no planet B - March now or swim later - Don’t be a fossil fuel! - If you don’t act like adults, we will! - Safety before profits - Change the system not the climate - Respect existence or expect resistance
___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: School Strike, flickr and Leonhard Lenz, Wikipedia) [post_title] => School strike for climate [post_excerpt] => On February 15, thousands of UK school children will go on strike, and there will be a global student strike on March 15. All these kids are protesting against politicians for not doing enough to fight climate change. These and other inspiring initiatives are the product of children who have discovered that one is never too young to make a difference. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => school-strike-for-climate [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-12-11 15:26:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-12-11 14:26:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=15078 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 9 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 14750 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2018-11-28 11:28:49 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-11-28 10:28:49 [post_content] => Last 12 November one of the most important authors in the history of comic books passed away: his name was Stan Lee and he was 95 years old. Lee wrote hundreds of comics and invented dozens of characters. He worked for many years for the publisher Marvel Comics, for whom he created, among others, The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Daredevil, Black Panther and the X-Men. Today these characters are more than fifty years old, but they are still very popular. They are the protagonists of comic books, but also of video games, animated and live-action series and feature films. The ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ – which includes the films of just some of Marvel’s superheroes – is the highest-grossing film franchise in history, earning more than even the Star Wars and Harry Potter franchises. Lee ‘signed’ these films by appearing in them as an actor, playing short, funny cameos.  

Lee’s superheroes

Lee was full of energy and ideas. He started working when he was very young. After a series of odd jobs, he began working for a comic book publisher, Timely Comics (later renamed Marvel Comics). It was 1939. He liked writing, but he felt that the comic books of the time were too simple. After many years of writing what he called “silly little comics” he was ready to quit, but his wife told him: “before you do, why don’t you do one comic book the way you would like to do it?” If his boss fired him it wouldn’t matter – he was going to quit anyway. Lee followed his wife’s advice. In 1961, he created an unusual team of superheroes called the Fantastic Four. It was a success. Lee then created the Hulk, Spider-Man, the X-Men and dozens of other heroes and villains. The artists who drew his comics often helped him in the creative process. The most famous was Jack Kirby, who had a very dynamic style of drawing. It was the beginning of the ‘Marvel Revolution’.  

The Marvel Revolution

Lee reinvented superhero comics, making them popular again. He did more than simply invent new characters with special powers; he created three-dimensional individuals. His superheroes are not perfect. They have personal problems and character flaws. They have complicated relationships with their powers. The X-Men, for example, are a group of misfits who are the victims of discrimination. Bruce Banner, who transforms into the Hulk, doesn’t even want his superpowers. Peter Parker, the boy behind the mask of Spider-Man, is a shy, bullied school boy. When he first dresses as Spider-Man he uses his powers in an egotistical manner, and he doesn’t help a policeman catch a thief. The same thief later kills Peter’s uncle. Peter feels responsible and understands that “with great power there must also come great responsibility.”  

Comics as literature

All of Lee’s superheroes learn this lesson, but so did Lee himself. He knew that he was creating role models for his young readers. He used his comic books to entertain, but also to express positive values. Lee also wanted comics to ‘grow up’. His work inspired a new generation of authors who used comic books to tell more complex and mature stories. One such example is the comic book Watchmen, written by the Englishman Alan Moore, and published in 1986-7. Moore’s superheroes are so life-like and his story so sophisticated that Time Magazine put Watchmen in its list of the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923. Stan Lee once said: “Our goal is that someday an intelligent adult would not be embarrassed to walk down the street with a comic magazine.” His work was extremely important in making that possible.
Useful links 1) Read the biography of Stan Lee on Simple English Wikipedia: https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stan_Lee 2) Watch this tribute to Stan Lee’s life and work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5EVBhXfnUw 3) Read some of Stan Lee’s landmark comics (such as the first stories of The Fantastic Four and Spider-Man) at this link: https://www.marvel.com/comics/discover/546/stan-lee 4) Check out some of Jack Kirby’s superhero art here: https://whatifkirby.com/gallery 5) Listen to this review of the comic book Watchmen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqgPiFoWM4s
 
COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative. 1. Stan Lee’s superheroes first appeared in
  1. films.
  2. TV series.
  3. comic books.
2. Lee was born in 1922. He invented his most famous character when he was
  1. in his fifties.
  2. in his late thirties and early forties.
  3. when he was very young.
3. Lee became a comic book writer
  1. as his first job.
  2. after doing other jobs.
  3. because he was full of ideas.
4. Lee believed that comics in the 1940s and 50s were
  1. immature.
  2. mature.
  3. difficult to understand.
5. Lee’s wife told him to
  1. write The Fantastic Four.
  2. write a story that wasn’t a ‘silly little comic.’
  3. quit his job.
6. Lee created many of his characters with the help of
  1. his publisher.
  2. other artists.
  3. his wife.
7. The ‘Marvel Revolution’ superheroes are special because
  1. they have special powers.
  2. they don’t want their superpowers.
  3. they have flaws like ordinary humans.
8. At the very beginning, Spider-Man
  1. did not fight crime.
  2. fought against criminals.
  3. bullied other boys.
9. Watchmen is a comic book that
  1. tells the story of some of Lee’s superheroes.
  2. is considered literature.
  3. is considered the best comic book since 1923.
10. Stan Lee wanted to write comics
  1. just for kids.
  2. just for intelligent adults.
  3. for a wide readership, including intelligent adults.
  VOCABULARY 2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary. to gross  *  franchise  *  to quit  *  to fire  *  flaw  *  misfit  *  to bully  *  odd jobs  *  to pass away  *  villain 1. Another way to say ‘to die’ is to say ______. 2. The evil character who fights the hero is called ______. 3. An outsider, or a person who does not ‘fit’ in society is called a ______. 4. She ______ her job because she didn’t like it any longer. 5. He never showed up at work, so his boss ______ him. He is jobless now. 6. We all have our virtues, and we all have our ______. 7. That boy likes ______ smaller, vulnerable children. He must be stopped. 8. The term ______ is often used to describe a group of films with the same characters and setting. 9. ______ means to earn. 10. He should stop doing______, he should start focusing on a career.   GRAMMAR – Past simple and past continuous 3) Complete the sentences using the verbs provided. Use the past simple or the past continuous. 1. I ______ (to read) a comic book when the phone ______ (to ring). 2. I ______ (to watch) a Marvel film when suddenly Jack ______ (to say): “Look, that actor is Stan Lee!” 3. At 6 o’clock, Mary ______ (to find) me at the library; I ______ (to draw) Iron Man. 4. While Stan Lee ______ (to write) stories, Jack Kirby ______ (to illustrate) them. 5. Stan Lee ______ (to invent) his most famous characters while he ______ (to work) for Marvel. 6. What ______ you ______ (to do) yesterday evening? I ______ (to attend) a comic book convention. 7. I ______ (to see) John at the comic book convention. He ______  (to wear) his Spider-Man costume! 8. Stan Lee ______ (to plan) many new projects when he ______ (to die). 9. I ______ (to like) comic books when I was younger, but today I prefer to read novels. 10. A radioactive spider ______ (to bite) Peter Parker while he ______  (to visit) a laboratory.   SHORT ESSAY 4) Do you like comic books? What’s your favourite comic book or comic book character? Explain why you like it. (60-80 words)   5) Do you think that some (or all) comic books can be considered literature? Explain. (60-80 words)
(Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Gage Skidmore, flickr and Ford Green Focus, flickr)     [post_title] => Stan Lee and the Marvel Revolution [post_excerpt] => Last 12 November Stan Lee passed away. Lee was one of the most important authors in the history of comic books. He invented dozens of superheroes, such as The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man and the X-Men. He did not simply create new characters with special powers, he also made them relatable and three-dimensional. His work helped comics become a complex and respected art form. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => stan-lee-and-the-marvel-revolution [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-12-11 15:26:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-12-11 14:26:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=14750 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 10 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 16928 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2020-04-01 11:08:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-04-01 09:08:35 [post_content] => Just like us, billions of people around the world are changing their habitual behaviours because of the coronavirus pandemic. In order to reduce the transmission of the disease, many countries are enacting restrictive social distancing measures. These are steps taken in order to minimise social interaction. Among other things, people are advised to work from home whenever possible and to avoid gatherings with friends and family. In the case that we do meet other people we are told to avoid a very common gesture: the handshake. The reason is that our hands are always touching things, and, inevitably, they pick up many bacteria from the environment. According to one study, on a human hand there are approximately 3.200 bacteria from 150 different species. These germs can hop from one hand to another when we shake hands. This is why it’s always a good idea to wash our hands regularly, whether we shake hands or not.   The history of the handshake Historians tell us that the handshake is at least 3.000 years old. Some believe that it was born as a gesture of peace, a way of showing that one’s hand held no weapons. Most likely, in ancient times it was more solemn than it is today. It was probably used during ceremonies or special occasions to express a strong bond between two people. It could seal an alliance between politicians, friends or spouses. Over the centuries different kinds of handshakes developed. Some secret societies had their own special handshake, which allowed their members to identify each other. The same goes for some college fraternities. In the late twentieth century, African American communities invented the dap greeting which can involve a handshake, palm slapping and bumping knuckles together. All kinds of handshakes are true to their ancient origin: they are a friendly gesture between people. Conversely, refusing to shake hands is considered a hostile act.   Alternatives In our current social distancing period, how can we greet each other in a friendly way without shaking hands? Some suggest using the ‘elbow bump’, but this forces people to come even closer to each other than when they shake hands. The head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, suggested using the Namaste greeting (‘Namaste’ means ‘I bow to the divine in you’) used in India and South East Asia. This is done by placing the palms together with the fingers pointed upwards in front of one’s chest. There’s also a similar traditional Chinese greeting that requires cupping the right fist in the palm of the left hand. Some people are unsure about these alternatives; they think it’s wrong to use gestures that belong to someone else’s culture. Others have suggested more recent – and unusual – alternatives, from the shaka sign of surfers to the Vulcan salute from Star Trek. And what about just waving one’s hand? Dr. Tedros spoke of his own personal preference: “I like to put my hand on my heart when I greet people these days.”   A social need These alternatives share the essence of the handshake: they are  respectful and friendly gestures that bring us closer together. They all satisfy our need to be connected. Some common greetings are even more openly intimate. For example, many people like to greet each other with a hug or a kiss. The Maori of New Zealand instead practice the hongi, where two people press together their noses and sometimes their foreheads, exchanging – it is said – the breath of life in a symbolic show of unity. Scientists proved that friendly physical contact is a way to produce positive chemicals in the body. Hugs, for example, increase the levels of oxytocin, the so called ‘bonding-hormone’, and reduces blood pressure. Our current need for social distancing is absolutely necessary, but it goes against our nature because we are social animals. Hopefully, with the return to normality, we will all find a greater appreciation for the small gestures that we took for granted, such as handshakes, and, as a consequence, respect each other more.  
USEFUL LINKS 1) Check out the content of the Canadian national public broadcaster CBS ‘Coronavirus’ section, like this video on ‘social distancing’: https://www.cbc.ca/kidsnews/ and this one on ‘physical distancing’: https://www.cbc.ca/kidsnews/post/what-is-physical-distancing 2) Here are the social distancing measures taken by the UK government: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do 3) How are germs transmitted? Check out these interesting experiments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5-dI74zxPg 4) Learn more about the history of the handshake: https://www.history.com/news/what-is-the-origin-of-the-handshake 5) Check out these famous historical handshakes: https://www.history.com/news/8-historic-handshakes 6) Watch these videos on alternative ways to greet each other: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suGWClD5zmA
Puoi svolgere gli esercizi collegati a questo articolo anche in modo interattivo su ZTE.
COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative. 1. Social distancing measures tell us that
  1. we should not shake hands.
  2. everybody must work from home.
  3. we should meet other people.
2. Originally, shaking hands was a way to show that
  1. you carried weapons.
  2. you did not have hostile intentions.
  3. you wanted to meet another person.
3. Probably in ancient times the handshake was
  1. a very common gesture.
  2. used only by people who sealed an alliance.
  3. a solemn gesture.
4. Many college fraternities invented their own
  1. dap greeting.
  2. special handshake.
  3. knuckle bump.
5. The dap greeting is
  1. more complex than a handshake.
  2. used by African Americans to identify each other.
  3. a simplified version of the handshake.
6. Examples of greeting gestures that avoid physical contact between people are
  1. the elbow bump and the hongi.
  2. the Namaste greeting and the Vulcan salute.
  3. the dap greeting and the shaka sign.
7. These days the head of the World Health Organization does not use
  1. the handshake.
  2. the Namaste greeting.
  3. the hand on the heart.
8. Currently, the hongi is not a good alternative to the handshake because
  1. it brings people too close together.
  2. it belongs to another culture.
  3. only the Maori can use it.
9. The handshake and similar forms of greetings are
  1. intimate.
  2. friendly.
  3. symbolic.
10. Friendly physical contact
  1. is unnecessary.
  2. goes against our nature.
  3. is good for our bodies.
  VOCABULARY 2) Complete the following sentences choosing the right alternative. 1. A short jump is called a hop / cup. 2. The spouse / head of an organization is its president or leader. 3. When people get together we can say that they form a fraternity / gathering. 4. We are true to / We take for granted what we value too lightly. 5. One word that can describe both a husband and a wife is spouse / head. 6. The joint between the upper and lower parts of the arm is called elbow / knuckle. 7. To bond / To seal an agreement means making it permanent. 8. You hop / cup your hand when you curve it in a rounded manner. 10. A social group for male college students is called a fraternity / gathering. 11. To bond / To seal means to form a close personal relationship. 12. If you are true to / take for granted somebody then you are loyal and faithful to that person. 13. Each hand has many elbows / knuckles.   GRAMMAR – Adverbs of degree, frequency, manner 3) Complete the following sentences choosing the correct adverb. Adverbs of degree: almost, fairly, very, terribly 2. He’s ________ good at following all the social distancing rules. He’s a model citizen! 3. We ________ shook hands! We stopped in time and greeted each other with a bow instead. 4. I think it’s ________ difficult to work from home, but it’s not impossible! 5. What’s happening in the world is a tragedy. It makes me ________  sad.   Adverbs of frequency: sometimes, always, usually, rarely 1. I ________ go for a walk after dinner, but not every single day. 2. I ________ do a bit of yoga in the morning – I never miss a day. 3. We ________ watch TV before going to bed because we prefer to read a book. 4. I like staying at home, but I ________ miss going out.   Adverbs of manner: beautifully, foolishly, patiently, quickly 1. The virus spreads ________, so there’s no time to lose! 2. I’m ________ waiting for this crisis to be over. 3. You play the piano ________. Please play again. 4. They ________ went out without wearing their surgical masks.   SHORT ESSAY 4) Investigate a greeting gesture. You can pick one of these alternatives (or find another one): the dap greeting, the knuckle bump, the secret handshake, the Namaste greeting, the traditional Chinese greeting, the shaka sign, the Vulcan salute, the hongi, the elbow bump, the hug, the kiss. How is it performed and when? Does it have a symbolic or special meaning? When was it invented? Who uses it? (60-80 words) 5) What social interaction do you miss most during this period of social distancing? Explain why you miss it and why it is important for you. (60-80 words)
___ (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Pixabay, Pixabay) [post_title] => Social distancing and the handshake [post_excerpt] => We live in a time when we have to limit our social interactions. Among other things, we are advised to avoid a very common and very ancient gesture: the handshake. What is the story and meaning of the handshake and can we find a valid alternative? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => social-distancing-and-the-handshake [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-15 17:45:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-15 15:45:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=16928 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 33 [max_num_pages] => 4 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => 1 [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 66f2244dd81e1dab2d20c291f3138b1e [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )
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