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Section 1. GUIDELINES FOR READING ACADEMIC TEXTS

TEXT ORGANIZATION AND VOCABULARY IN CONTEXT CONTINUED

SUBHEADINGS, CONTEXT, KEY WORDS, SPECIFIC WORDS

Instruction: Discovering text organization through word meanings. Using the techniques of surveying, scanning and skim reading you will find information about the topic of the whole text and its parts. These techniques will also tell you something about how the text is organized. While you are reading, you will probably find many words you do not understand. However, this does not have to be a problem. Firstly, you should decide whether the word is important for you. Understanding the word may not be necessary to understand the text. If you think a word is important, there are some strategies given below you can use to help guess the meaning of the word.

Guessing the Meaning of Words

Supposing you find words you do not understand, it won’t be a problem if you get used to follow some regular strategies offered below:

Look at the context

Often you can guess the meaning of a word from the other words around it.

Check the part of speech of a word

Knowing whether the word is a noun (singular or plural), a verb, an adjective or an adverb can help you decide on its meaning within the context. Also, you may already know one form of the word (e.g. the noun contamination) but not the others (e.g. the participle contaminating, the noun contaminants, or the verb to contaminate), so you should look closely at the root word to give you a clue.

Use your previous knowledge of English

You may have seen the word in a different context. You can use your previous knowledge and the new context to work out the meaning. Or you may know the separate parts of a word, but may be unfamiliar with the word as a whole. You can use this knowledge to help you work out the meaning.

Check if there is a definition

Sometimes there will be a definition, explanation or example of an unknown word. These can be introduced by a variety of words—is, means, refers to, in other words, and i.e..

Look for any linking words or discourse markers

Linking words or discourse markers—such as however, but, therefore, for example, so that, finally—may help to indicate the meaning of a particular word.

Text: Polluting the Earth

As the human population grows, pollution from human activity also increases. Many activities — such as driving automobiles, farming, manufacturing, and power generation — release pollutants into the air, water, or soil. Common results of such pollution are changes in the chemistry of the environment.

These chemical changes affect not only the nearby environment — and the people who live there — but also areas hundreds or even thousands of kilometers from the place of release. For example, substances released into the air may be carried by the wind and be deposited far away by rain. Currents in rivers, lakes, and oceans spread pollutants that are dumped into water. Pollution in soil can seep into ground water and appear later in wells. Scientists ha

ve found evidence of pollution everywhere on Earth, from the largest cities to the remote and isolated South Pole.

Plant and animal life is sensitive to changes in the chemistry of the environment. For example, scientists have discovered extreme sensitivity in animals and plants that communicate by releasing biochemical compounds called pheromones. Some species can detect and respond to pheromone concentrations of as little as one part in a trillion — the equivalent of one teaspoonful in a lake that is 1 square kilometer (0.4 square mile) in area and 1 to 2 meters (3 to 7 feet) deep.

Such chemical sensitivity suggests to scientists that organisms may be easily affected by small but sudden changes in the chemistry of air, water, and land. Plants and animals may be able to adapt to changes as they evolve over thousands or millions of years. But in time periods measured in a few decades or even centuries, such changes may prove highly disruptive to many forms of life, including human beings.

There are many toxic (poisonous) pollutants, but the most well-studied are radioactive elements and certain chemical compounds used to kill insects. Radioactive elements give off radiation that is harmful to plants and animals. They have been well studied because scientists can measure and track them easily with instruments that detect the radiation they give off. Such radioactive elements as strontium 90 were distributed worldwide in nuclear-bomb testing in the 1950’s and early 1960’s.

Strontium 90 chemically resembles the mineral calcium. Plants and animals absorb and store strontium 90 in tissues where calcium normally accumulates. In animals, strontium 90 accumulates in bone and marrow, the blood-cell-forming tissue and can cause leukemia, a cancer of the blood. Small amounts of strontium 90 in the environment are a direct hazard to people.

Certain chemical pesticides used to control insects have also been well studied. Scientists can trace the chemicals’ effects because some of the compounds remain in the environment for a long time. In addition, they have been used in large amounts in many parts of the world.

Studies of radioactive and chemical contaminants have taught scientists a great deal about the hazards of toxins and their threat to people and nature. One of scientists’ most important discoveries was that toxins released into the environment not only circulate widely in air and water, but also may appear in living creatures in concentrations that are tens, hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of times higher than those measured in the air, water, or soil.

The concentrations may be increased or decreased as toxins are passed up the food chain. For example, a single plant may retain only a small amount of a toxin on its leaves. A rabbit eating many such plants may absorb the toxin in all the plants. And when a wolf eats many rabbits over the course of its lifetime, it absorbs the toxin in all the rabbits. In this way, the concentrations of a pollutant that is stored in animal tissues and not excreted may be dramatically larger in the tissues of some animals at the top of a food chain. This process is called biomagnifications.

Scientists are continuing to amass data concerning the effects of many other types of toxic pollutants. Air pollution, for example, can cause breathing difficulties and other health problems in people, aggravating such diseases such as asthma and pneumonia and contributing to the development of cancer and emphysema. Air pollution also harms plants and animals.

Two of the most serious air pollutants are oxides of sulfur and of nitrogen. A major source of these compounds is the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) in industry and in transportation. The pollutants often occur with high levels of other toxins such as lead, zinc, and ground-level ozone, a component of smog formed by chemical reactions between car exhausts and sunlight.

Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides also cause acidic precipitation, commonly called acid rain. Acid rain results when the airborne pollutants combine with moisture in the air to form sulfuric and nitric acids that fall back to Earth, usually in rain or snow. Since the late 1960’s, numerous scientific studies have demonstrated acid rain’s effects on the environment. These studies have shown that acid rain hinders plant photosynthesis (the process by which plants make food from water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide). Acid rain also contributes to the death of trees, destroys life in lakes and rivers, and damages statues and other structures.

Other pollutants under study include the metallic elements called heavy metals. These contaminants can pollute air, water, and soil. They include lead, mercury, silver, zinc, iron, copper, nickel, chromium, and cadmium. Some coal is rich in heavy metals, and burning it in electric power stations, incinerators, steel mills, and motor vehicles may produce air pollution containing the metals. The elements enter the atmosphere as extremely small particles called particulates. These particulates then fall to Earth and contaminate soil and water.

Scientists are accumulating evidence of the effects of heavy metals in the environment. Studies show that exposure to lead in soil or water can cause nervous-system damage in children, for example, and that if human beings eat mercury-poisoned fish, the effects can be deadly. In March 1991, Joel Schwartz, a scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, reported that as many as 60,000 people in the United States may die prematurely each year as a result of particulate pollution. In August 1991, measurements of mercury levels in fish caught in several U.S. lakes prompted officials in 20 states to warn consumers against eating fish from those waters. Heavy metals also threaten the growth of forests by disrupting the supply of nutrients in the soil.

Acid rain and heavy metals are only a few of the many pollutants that contaminate rivers, lakes, streams, seas, and oceans. Waste from industries is a particularly important cause of water pollution. Factories may dump waste containing toxic chemicals directly into bodies of water or into sewerage systems.

Sewage itself is another major contaminant of water that can cause ecological problems and such human diseases as cholera and dysentery. Marine life is also harmed by agricultural waste, chiefly runoff containing chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Finally, oil and other petroleum products, that are spilled into bodies of water, foul beaches and kill sea birds and mammals, such as dolphins and whales.

Chemical pollutants released into water or spread through the air are often invisible to the human eye. But the growing masses of solid waste that people produce are an all-too-visible pollutant in the form of trash.

The EPA estimates that by 2000, the United States will generate about 175 million metric tons (193 short tons) of solid waste per year. According to the

National Solid Wastes Management Association, an organization of businesses that collect, dispose of, and recycle trash, about 83 per cent of U.S. solid waste goes into landfill dumps.

In most landfills, operators spread earth over the most recent garbage to keep rats, flies, and other vermin away. But landfills still pose a widespread pollution hazard.

Apart from the land that landfills pollute, they can also poison underground reservoirs of water with metals and dangerous chemicals from packaging materials and other debris. This happens when rain seeps through garbage, dissolves the metals and chemicals, and carries them into the soil. Once in the ground, the compounds slowly filter down to enter water supplies — which are often used for drinking water. As solid wastes fill more and more landfills, this form of water pollution is an increasing concern.

To protect people and the environment, most developed nations have placed limits on the amount and types of pollution that can be released into the environment. But laws and political boundaries cannot stop the spread of pollution through the air or through the water. Therefore, nations and states with high levels of pollution can adversely affect those with the strictest pollution laws.

Another difficult question involves what level of pollution is safe. Many laws require that pollution levels not exceed those found to be harmful to people. But, as scientists have learned through the study of DDT and other pesticides, it may be necessary to protect plant and animal life in order to protect people. Doing so would require much more restrictive standards than those based simply on protecting people from direct contamination. Yet experts say that enacting such tough standards is the only way to assure the protection of people from the poisoning of the environment that is now underway.

Task: Match the following 7 headings with letters A, B, C, D, E, F, G.

Your task is to choose the correct one from the list of headings provided in the box. You should skim a paragraph or section before choosing the correct answer from the list. Remember that it is more efficient to skim the long piece of text first and get the idea of the whole text. Then you can look through the alternative headings very quickly.

From air pollution to acid rain A

The weighty problem of heavy metals B

Other water pollutants C

Solid waste D

Clearing the water, land, and air E

Studying the effect of pollutants F

Pollution from human activity G

Step 1 Survey the text

The list of headings will give you some clues to help you quickly understand what each part of the text is about.

Step 2 Skim read each paragraph

Every paragraph deals with a specific aspect of a topic. The first sentence of a paragraph may tell you what the rest of the paragraph is about. Therefore while trying to identify the main idea of a paragraph, you should read the first sentence and skim the rest of the paragraph.

Task: Scan the text for key words.

This title Polluting the Earth can help you understand that key words must concern any kinds of polluting activities or be connected with effects of pollution. E.g., in paragraph A it is possible to point out the following key words: pollution, pollutants, environment, chemical changes, plant and animal life, chemical sensitivity, pheromones, to adapt.

Follow the three-step strategy to make finding key words easier.

Step 1 Make sure you know what you are looking for.

Step 2 Scan each paragraph for 5-10 key words. Do not read every word.

Step 3 Select 5-10 key words for the whole text.

Task: Use your general background knowledge, understanding of the general context, knowledge of parts of speech and root words.

Your knowledge and experience about what is logical or illogical can help you guess the meaning of some words. Let us take, for instance, the last two passages of paragraph A:

«Plant and animal life is sensitive to changes in the chemistry of the environment. For example, scientists have discovered extreme sensitivity in animals and plants that communicate by releasing biochemical compounds called pheromones. Some species can detect and respond to pheromone concentrations of as little as one part in a trillion — the equivalent of one teaspoonful in a lake that is 1 square kilometer (0.4 square mile) in area and 1 to 2 meters (3 to 7 feet) deep.

Such chemical sensitivity suggests to scientists that organisms may be easily affected by small but sudden changes in the chemistry of air, water, and land. Plants and animals may be able to adapt to changes as they evolve over thousands or millions of years. But in time periods measured in a few decades or even centuries, such changes may prove highly disruptive to many forms of life, including human beings.»

You know that the words Plant and animal are normally nouns, but here they are acting as adjectives describing the noun ‘life’.

Supposing you don’t know what «pheromones «are, you may see some structural analogy to the word «hormones» and guess from the context that these biochemical compounds are released, detected and responded to by plants and animals as signs of their sensitivity and communication.

Your knowledge of the root word can also help you: You may not know the adjective disruptive but you may compare it to such well-known word nests as «corrupt, corruption, corruptive» and guess that there is some negative meaning about this word. On the other hand, there is a clear opposition of «may be able to adapt… over thousands or millions of years» supported by the linking word but and the next phrase «in a few decades or even centuries… may prove highly disruptive.» Therefore you may guess that disruptive — disruption would mean «death, destruction or disappearance».

Task:

  • · Basing on paragraph B explain what the process of biomagnification is and how it works at the top of a human food chain.
  • · Basing on paragraph C explain what an acid rain is and how it affects the environment.
  • · Basing on paragraph D explain what particulate pollution is and how it affects plants, animals and human beings.
  • · Basing on paragraph E explain what pollutants contaminate water bodies and how it affects the water life.
  • · Basing on paragraph F explain what pollution hazard is posed by landfills and how they poison underground reservoirs.
  • · Basing on paragraph G explain what restrictive standards can protect people and how interests of different nations are interconnected.

Task: Collect specific information by pointing out groups of synonyms, semantic and thematic groups. Keep it in mind that vocabulary in context includes both single words (usually nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs). and twoor three-word phrases.

It is claimed in paragraph B that Toxic (poisonous) pollutants refer to radioactive elements and certain chemical compounds. Continue this list and find

all names of toxic pollutants mentioned in the text. Make a thematic group of names of toxins.

Find two synonyms for the phrase solid waste in paragraph F.

Explain a contrast in the following sentence from paragraph B: One of scientists’ most important discoveries was that toxins released into the environment not only circulate widely in air and water but also may appear in living creatures in concentrations that are tens, hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of times higher than those measured in the air, water, or soil.

What is the referent word for those?

Section 2. GUIDELINES FOR GRAMMAR TEST

Errors with parallel structures

Structures that are often involved in parallelism are nouns, adjectives, verbs, prepositional phrases, gerunds, and infinitives.

Some problems with parallelism are actually word form problems similar to previously discussed.

As a young man, George Washington liked boating, to hunt, and fishing. In general, errors involving parallelism are easy to identify.

Exercise: Identifying and correcting errors involving parallelism.

Directions: If the underlined form is parallel to other forms in the sentence, mark the sentence C (Correct). If the underlined form is not parallel, mark the sentence I (Incorrect), and write a correction for the underlined form in the blank at the end of the sentence.

Steel is alloyed with manganese to increase its strength, hardness, and resistance to wear.

Sacramento is the commercial, industry, and financial center of California’s Central Valley, as well as being the state capital.

Philosophers are concerned with questions about nature, human behavior, society, and reality.

When taking part in winter sports, one should wear clothing that is lightweight, warmth and suitable for the activity._

Folklore consists of the beliefs, customs, traditions, and telling stories that people pass from generation.

Major sources of noise pollution include automobiles and other vehicles, industrial plants, and heavy construction equipment.

Because of their hardness, industrial diamonds can be used for cutting, grind, and drilling.

Other word form problems

Pairs of words are sometimes confused, including those listed below.

No Used as an adjective before nouns; means «not any.» Also used in the expression no longer.

Not… Used to make all other words negatives.

Correct the following examples:

Not gasoline was left in the tank.

This is no the station I usually listen to. I not longer listen to that station

Most Used in superlative adjective phrases; also used to mean «the majority.

Almost Used as an adverb to mean «nearly.»

Correct the following examples:

This is the almost interesting chapter in the book. I’ve read almost of the chapters in the book.

I’ve solved most all of the problems in the book.

Twice Used as an adjective to mean «two times.»

Double Used as an adjective to mean «make twice as large.»

Correct the following examples:

Henry has double as much money as he did before he invested it. Henry twice his money.

Percent Used after a number, Percentage Not used after a number. Correct the following examples:

Fifty percentage of the people voted in favor of the initiative.

The percent of people who approve of the initiative has been steadily growing.

After Used as a preposition before a noun or as an adverb-clause marker before a clause,

Afterward Used as an adverb, means «after that.»

Correct the following example: We’ll go to dinner afterward the play.

Ago Used to talk about a time earlier than the present.

Before Used to talk about a time earlier than some other point in time.

Correct the following example: Harold won a gold medal in the Olympics last year, and four years ago that, he won a silver medal.

Tell Used with an object; also used in certain set expressions: tell a story, tell the truth, tell a secret.

Say Used without an object.

Correct the following examples:

Mr. Hunter said us that he’d had a good trip. Joe said a wonderful story.

Mr. Hunter told that he’d had a good trip.

Ever Means «at any time.» Used with not to mean «never.» Also used in some set expressions.

Never Means «at no time.» Not used with a negative word.

Correct the following example: He hardly never goes to that club.

Alive Used after a verb,

Live Used before a noun.

Correct the following examples:

Sue likes to have alive plants in her apartment.

Although she forgot to water it for a week, the plant was still live.

Around Used as a preposition to mean «in a circular path.»

Round Used as an adjective to mean «circular in shape.»

Correct the following example: The new office building will be an around glass tower.

Age Used as a noun, often in these patterns: at the age of 21, 21 years of age.

OId Used as an adjective, often in this pattern: 21 years old.

Correct the following examples:

Harriet will be thirty years age next week.

Operators of motor vehicles must be eighteen years of old in Ukraine.

Near Used as an adjective; means «close to.» Nearly Used as an adverb; means «almost.» Correct the following examples:

Lynn is looking for an apartment nearly the Medical Center.

The two-bedroom apartment she looked at cost near a thousand dollars a month.

Some Used as a determiner before a noun to mean «an indefinite amount.»

Somewhat Used as an adverb to mean «slightly.»

Correct the following example: His bicycle is some more expensive that the one I looked at yesterday,

NOTE: The distinctions between words such as desert and dessert, stationary and stationery, capital id capitol are really spelling problems. Nativespeakers of English often make mistakes with these words!

Incorrect forms of words connected with certain fields

This error involves a confusion between the names of fields (biology, for example) and the name of a person who practices in that field (biologist), or between one of those terms and the adjective that describes the field (biological).

First specializing in industrial photography, Margaret White later became a famous news photographer and editorial.

The adjective editorial is used to describe the field of editing. However, a noun referring to a person (editor) is needed in this sentence

Hunting played an important role in the cultural of ancient people

The noun culture, not the adjective cultural is needed.

The galaxy Andromeda is the most distance object visible to observers in the Northern Hemisphere.

The adjective distant is needed in place of the noun distance.

Scientists belief that the continents once formed a single continent surrounded by an enormous sea.

In this sentence, the verb believe is needed in place of the noun belief.

Bunsen burners are used to hot materials in a chemistry lab.

In this sentence, the verb heet is needed in place of the adjective hot.

A sudden freezing can destroy citrus crops.

Rather than the gerund (-ing) form, the noun freeze is required.

Mini-test

Identify and correct errors involving parallel structures and word forms If the italicized form is parallel to other forms in the sentence, mark the sentence C (Correct). If the underlined form is not parallel, mark the sentence I (Incorrect), and write a correction for the underlined form in the blank at the end of the sentence.

Many activities — such as driving automobiles, farming, manufacture, and power generation — release pollutants into the air, water, or soil.

Chemical changes affect not only the nearby environment, people who live there but also distant areas.

Currents in rivers, lakes, and ocean spread pollutants that are dumped into water.

Plants and animals absorb and are storing strontium 90 in their tissues.

A major source of pollution is the burning of fossil fuels in industry and in transportation.

Organisms may be easily affected by small but sudden changes in the chemistry of air, water, and land.

Petroleum products that leak into bodies of water foul beaches and kill sea birds and mammals

Toxins released into the environment not only circulate ( ) widely in air and water, but also may appear in living creatures in high (_ _) concentrations that are tens, hundreds, thousands, or hundred of thousands ( ) of times higher than those measured in the air, water, or soils ( ).

Identify word form errors

Scientists have discovered extreme sensitivity in (most/most all) animals and plants that communicate by releasing (somewhat/some) biochemical compounds called pheromones.

Plant and animal life is (almost/most) sensitive to changes in the chemistry of the environment.

Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides cause (double as/twice as) much acidic precipitation as other chemicals.

Laws and political boundaries can (not longer/no longer) stop the spread of pollution through the air or through the water.

60,000 people in the United States may (no/ever/never) live up to (the age of/the old of) 18 as a result of particulate pollution.

Developed nations have (ever/never) actually tried to placed limits on the amount and types of pollution that can be released into the environment.

.High (percent/percentage) of (other/another) pollutants include the metallic elements called heavy metals.

(Afterwards/after) many studies scientists have learned that it is (hardly/ hard) possible to protect plant and animal life in order to protect people.

Such radioactive elements as strontium 90 were distributed worldwide in nuclear-bomb testing in 1960’s and ten years (ago/before) in 1050.

Leaders of advanced nations (said/told) the world they were going to reduce pollution by 50 (percent/percentage) by 2020.

(Near/Nearly) 150 nations were present at the Summit. The decision is not to be found (round/around) the corner.

(No/Not) (live/alive) plants or animals can be found in the areas of industrial runoff containing chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Find and correct the errors

A single plant may retain only a small amount of a toxic on its leaves.

Plant and animal life is sensitive to changes in the chemical of the environment.

Sciences are continuing to amass data concerning the effects of many other types of toxic pollutants.

These chemistry changes affect not only the nearby environment — and the people who live there — but also areas hundreds or even thousands of kilometers from the place of release.

As the human population growth, pollution from human activity also increases.

Apart from the land that landfills pollute, they can also poisonous underground reservoirs of water with metals and dangerous chemicals from packaging materials and other debris.

Finally, oil and other petroleum productions, that are spilled into bodies of water, foul beaches and kill sea birds and mammals, such as dolphins and whales.

Sewage itself is another major contamination of water.

It can cause ecology problems and such human diseases as cholera and dysentery.

Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides also cause acid precipitation, commonly called acid rain.


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