Answer key: Learning English is Hard

Lesson Plan: Learning English Can Be Rewarding…and Frustrating!

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

  1. * deafening silence (idiomatic) absence of response, especially one signifying disapproval or lack of enthusiasm. The suggestion that they work through the holidays met with deafening silence.
  2. backtrack |ˈbakˌtrak| verb [no object] retrace one’s steps: she had to bypass two closer farms and backtrack to them later | figurative : to backtrack a little, the case is a complex one.
  3. legitimate  legitimate adjective |ləˈjidəmət| conforming to the law or to rules: his claims to legitimate authority.
  4. dumbfounded  |ˈdəmˌfound| verb [with object] greatly astonish or amaze: they were dumbfounded at his popularity.
  5. akin |əˈkin| adjective of similar character: something akin to gratitude overwhelmed her | genius and madness are akin.
  6. synonymous  |səˈnänəməs| adjective (of a word or phrase) having the same or nearly the same meaning as another word or phrase in the same language: aggression is often taken as synonymous with violence. • closely associated with or suggestive of something: his deeds had made his name synonymous with victory.
  7. robust  |rōˈbəstˈrōˌbəst| adjective (robuster, robustest) strong and healthy; vigorous: the Caplans are a robust, healthy lot.
  8. incomprehensible  |ˌinˌkämprəˈhensəb(ə)l| adjective not able to be understood; not intelligible: a language that is incomprehensible to anyone outside the office.
  9. Briticism |ˈbridəˌsizəm| (also Britishism |ˈbritiSHˌizəm| ) noun an idiom used in Britain but not in other English-speaking countries.
  10. insulate |ˈinsəˌlāt| verb [with object]  protect from the unpleasant effects or elements of something: he claims that the service is complacent and insulated from outside pressures.


New Oxford American Dictionary

* Wiktionary   

Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

I -1- began

I began teaching English in the U.S 20 years ago.

II -1 there

There are many varieties of English.

III – 1- words

Sometimes I stumble while pronouncing some words.

Identify The  Speakers

Aparna Gollapudi is a professor of English at Colorado State University who grew up in New Delhi.

  1. “A month or two after I began teaching in the U.S., I had to make some changes to the class schedule.”
  2. “We’ll need to prepone the quiz, I’m afraid,” I said.
  3. “I was an English major with a robust vocabulary, a convent school accent and fondness for reading Dickens, Austen and other such august writers.”

Srikanth Chander Madani is an author with interests in climate change, social equity and the creative arts.

  1. “The words we use to describe the many ways to speak English — like ‘mother tongue,’ ‘native’  and ‘non-native’ speaker — are often fraught.”
  2. “I grew up with three languages, as my parents did not share the same ‘mother tongue’.”
  3. “Having lived in the U.K., I know many whose first (and only) language is English and who make routine errors when speaking and many more when writing,”

Sergio Serrano is a professor of engineering science and applied mathematics at Temple University.

  1. “On the contrary, communication ends because [the foreign researchers] cannot explain to the American, in simple language, the advanced topics they were discussing. Yet, the American takes over the conversation.”
  2. “After 40 years living in North America,… I still encounter the situation when a stranger interrupts me after a few words I spoke to interrogate me: ‘You have a strong accent.”
  3. “I politely explain my origins, and then I add, ‘I cannot catch your accent. Where are you from?”