Andean Civilization

“Andean civilization: Complex of aboriginal cultures that evolved in the Andean region of western South America before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores in the 16th century. Unlike the peoples of the Mesoamerican civilization to the north, none of the Andean peoples developed a system of writing, though the Incas devised a sophisticated system of recording numbers. In its level of cultural development and technical expertise in the arts and crafts, however, this civilization constitutes a New World counterpart to those of ancient Egypt, China, and Mesopotamia.”

Excerpted/Adapted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Cultural Literacy: Lima, Peru

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Lima, Peru. This is a half-page worksheet with a two-sentence reading and three comprehension questions. In other words, the sparest of introductions to the capital of Peru and a world capital as well.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Isabel Allende

“Isabel Allende: (1942-) Chilean novelist, short-story writer, and journalist. Touted as the first major female figure in Latin America’s book of narrative fiction, she has become one of the continent’s best known and bestselling authors, but has been dismissed by some as an epigone of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his school of Magic Realism. Born in Lima, Peru, she worked as a journalist in Chile. After President Salvador Allende, her father’s cousin, was deposed in 1973, she emigrated to Venezuela and then to the U.S. Her best-known novel is her first book, La casa de los espiritus (1982; tr The House of the Spirits, 1985); set in a nameless Latin American country, it is the story of several generations of the upper-class Trueba family. It was followed by the novels De amor y de sombra (1984; tr Of Love and Shadows, 1985) and Eva Luna (1987; tr 1988), and the short-story collection Cuentos de Eva Luna (1990; tr The Stories of Eva Luna, 1991). Later books include El plan infinito (1991; tr The Infinite Plan, 1993), the story of a Chicano lawyer in San Francisco, and Paula (1994; tr 1995), a moving account of her daughter’s illness and death.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Cultural Literacy: Salvador Allende

Today begins Hispanic Heritage Month 2021. So let’s begin with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on Salvador Allende. This is a half-page worksheet with a four-sentence reading and four comprehension questions.

Allende was overthrown in a United States-sponsored coup in 1973. This was a particularly disgraceful moment in the history of United States foreign policy–though a similar event, the coup that overthrew President Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala, certainly competes. But so do so many other covert U.S. interventions in sovereign states around the world.

In fact, if you’re interested in learning more about how anti-communism informed a variety of political and social disasters across seven continents, I highly recommend Vincent Bevins’ recent book, The Jakarta Method. Mr. Bevins is a skilled journalist, and his book is a masterful synthesis of how United States foreign policy has distorted global development–and caused the deaths of over a million people guilty only of having a communitarian vision of a more just world.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Nominal

“Nominal: 1. Relating to nouns: a nominal group. 2. A noun or pronoun: He and bridge are the nominals in the sentence He crossed the bridge. 3. An adjective functioning as a noun: the poor (poor people); the accused (the accused person). The terms nominal group and nominal clause mean the same as noun phrase and noun clause. A nominal clause is a finite or non-finite clause that resembles a noun phrase in the range of its functions; for example, as the subjects of sentences, That he can’t lift his arm in That he can’t lift his arm worries me, and Smoking cigarettes in Smoking cigarettes can cause cancer.”

Excerpted from: McArthur, Tom. The Oxford Concise Companion to the English Language. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

The Weekly Text, 10 September 2021: A Lesson Plan on Lesson Plan on the Number of Characters Used in Writing Systems from The Order of Things

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on the number of characters used in writing systems. Like all of the lessons and other materials under the heading of The Order of Things, this lesson and its list as reading and comprehension questions are adapted from Barbara Ann Kipfer’s magisterial reference book of the same name.

Nota bene, please, that I adapted these materials to assist students who struggle to work with two symbolic systems–i.e., in this case, numbers and letters–at the same time. Needless to say, these documents can be adapted for your use; they are, like almost everything else here, in Microsoft Word. In other words, they are open source.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Lantern

“Lantern: A superstructure atop a dome, with windows on all sides.”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

On the Road

Here is a reading on Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road along with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. Kerouac, and particularly this novel, influenced me greatly as a very young man. I probably read On the Road five times, and The Dharma Bums another five.

I recently listened to some recording of William S. Burroughs on the streaming music service I use, and some of Kerouac’s recordings popped up as recommendations. So I listened, and realized that Jack Kerouac (and all the Beats, really) will probably always be in my life.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

H.L. Mencken on Morality

“Morality is the theory that every human act must be either right or wrong, and that 99 percent of them are wrong.”

H.L. Mencken

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

Cultural Literacy: Conspicuous Consumption

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the concept of conspicuous consumption–an idea which requires attention, I submit, in our benighted age. This is a simple, half-page worksheet with a two-sentence reading and two comprehension questions.

Which includes a reference to Thorstein Veblen, the progenitor of the idea of conspicuous consumption, as well as conspicuous leisure. Veblen is, I think, an important figure in the history of American thought. I’ve posted several quotes from him on this blog, which you can find simply by searching his name in the search bar above.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.