Pärnu, August 25-26, 2009 Exploring College Slang

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Greetings from Denver: the Most Interesting Trends in ELT in America

Vjatšeslav Konovalov

Narva College of Tartu University


EATE Summer Seminar

Pärnu, August 25-26, 2009
Exploring College Slang

by Joe McVeigh & Ann Wintergerst

Fill in the blanks with slang expressions describing people:
A) couch potato catch cold shoulder crush loaded player
Jack: Why didn’t you pick up the phone when I called you last night?

Mary: You ignored me in school today and were giving me _____________.

Jack: I thought you were mad at me because you heard I have a _________ on Angela and I’m a real ____________.

Mary: I’m not mad because of that but because you’re such a _________.

Jack: You know that I’m a good ___________ because I’m ____________.
B) screwed crammed bomb all-nighter
LiMing, a student from Shanghai, China, arrived on campus for the first day of classes. He overheard the following conversation in the cafeteria:

Pete: How’s it goin’ man?

Andy: Finals tomorrow, so I pulled a/an ____________.

Pete: Me too. I’m so far behind, so I _____________ ‘til way after midnight.

Andy: If I don’t do well and I _____________ the exam, I’ll fail my economics class for sure. Then I’ll be _________ because my GPA will go way down. My mom will kill me.

Pete: I’m in the same boat.

Matching column with slang expressions related to drinking and relationships:

1)____ black out a. to engage in heavy, usually prolonged kissing

2) ____ hot b. extremely intoxicated

3) _____ buzzed c. to fall asleep very quickly due to exhaustion or alcohol

4) _____ knocked up d. to lose one’s memory as a result of extreme intoxication

5) _____ pass out e. a close relationship; exuding stylish qualities

6) _____ make out f. sexy, popular or in style

7) _____ wasted g. pregnant, often referring to an unplanned pregnancy

8) _____ tight h. moderately inebriated

Key: a- 6; b-7 ; c-5 ; d-1 ; e-8 ; f-2 ; g-4 ; h-3

Creating crosswords: (http://puzzlemaker.discoveryeducation.com)


4. a person who's considered an adolescent and not yet an adult

6. a well-built sexually attractive man


1. do nothing in particular

2. an adjective, combining gigantic and enormous

3. hairstyle achieved by combing all of the hair to the center to give the appearance of a Mohawk without shaving the head

5. endearing though socially inept

Answers: 1.chillax 2.ginormous 3.fauxhawk 4.adultalescent 5.adorkable 6.hunk
Electronic Resources:

  • Middlebury College Slang Project


  • Introduction to TESOL Course Web Site


  • Joe McVeigh dot org – presentation resources


  • Urban Dictionary


  • The Online Slang Dictionary


  • The Internet Slang Dictionary


Improving Speaking and Listening Skills with Digital Media Story-telling

by Bob Cole, Director, Teaching & Learning Collaborative

Lisa Leopold, Assistant Professor & Program Head, EAPP

Sarah Springer, Instructional Technologist

Monterey Institute of International Studies
Critiquing a Digital Media Story

 1. What was your first reaction to this digital media story?  What feeling(s) did the story evoke within you?  What universal, human emotions did the story-tellers appeal to in their story?

2. What do you suppose is the central message of the digital media story?  How is the message one of advocacy or persuasion?  How did the story exhibit elements of ethos, pathos, and / or logos?

3. How did the narrative, organizational structure, voice, images, and music contribute to the overall effect of this digital media story?


Presenters’ wiki: http://tesol09digitalstory.wiki.zoho.com/

Examples of media stories:




Corpora in the classroom: Forging new paths

Randi Reppen

Northern Arizona University
1)*Work out the meaning of the missing word from the context given (one word fits all the sentences) (Hong Kong University VLC Web Concordancer www.edict.com.hk/concordance/default.htm is advisable)

1. d wide, he squirted the warm white ____ against  the roof of his mouth and

2. oat would not.     "You're boiling ___ ain't you"? soothing it with  his

3. ed in a still room, with a bowl of ___ and a loaf  of Indian bread. I can

4. st to eat in his  cereal bowl with ___ and honey.     Maple syrup is made

5. at had to be bought for the baby, ___ and orange juice  and vitamins and

*(this idea was borrowed from C.Tribble & G. Jones Concordances in the Classroom, Longman, 1990)

The keyword is “milk”


2) albeit

Here is a random selection of 50 solutions from the 1379 found...

A0P 406 Both were old enough to feel keenly the savage blow, one from which Leonard suffered in particular, albeit outwardly in guarded silence: `;The deeper the sorrow, the less tongue it has,'; said the rabbis.

A6G 1441 Thus Caroline Norton, who was the subject of a trumped up crim. con. suit and who lost the custody of her children, is portrayed as a simple victim, albeit in her case not a passive one.

A75 331 Humans are synchronized to a 24-hour cycle, however, and so time-cues must exist, albeit often artificial ones.

AA9 906 It is a measure of Quisling's obstinacy that he was back as `;premier'; --; albeit the puppet of Reichskommissar Josef Terboven --; within two years, thus ensuring that he shared the guilt for the occupation war-crimes for which he was duly shot in 1945.

ABF 346 Darwin's idea of `;survival of the fittest'; found a home in political philosophy in the form (albeit distorted) of social darwinism.

AHC 1171 Indeed, Mr Voss had last year written to The Daily Telegraph extolling the place --; `;for patrons who wish to relax in comfort and splendour and enjoy the delights of haute cuisine'; --; and complaining that it wasn't fair that Paddy Burt had written about a nearby Dorset establishment (albeit unfavourably).

3) Below are two sets of sentences (part a) that are focused on the differences in meaning between two verbs to ensure and to assure, which are looked at separately.  Part b) gives a chance to differentiate between the two verbs in a jumbled set of sentences.


1    as the commune program, which will ensure agricultural  poverty for years. Th

2    ollowing from any decision  can he ensure attention to the practical details

3     the rights  of the individual **h ensure his development **h enlarge  his op

4    ponents of single elements tend to ensure predominance  of that element witho

5     Good operational intelligence can ensure sound planning,  greatly reduce for


1    y protect the work table, but also assure a clean  breakthrough. Another meth

2     or sufficiently secured so as to  assure a reasonable chance of repayment. T

3   e Technique tells the readers- "We assure  you that the total number of peopl

4    ion  on Liberated Europe seemed to assure democratic institutions  on the Wes

5    d before desegregation, how can we assure  equal opportunity? In fact, in



1   ble destruction.  But I once again ______ all peoples and all nations that                          

2    y of minor scraps along the way to ______ that you understand what the word             

3    ry, reflects our determination  to ______ the peace and the future of freed                        

4   r before you leave for Europe will ______ you of  having one on tap when you                

5    is small pore size was required to ______ uniformity of the flow leaving the                      

1,4 – assure; 2,3,5 - ensure  

Here is another example of a task, which requires the knowledge of a very precise distinction between the given variants (typical CAE task): 


4) Using a concordancer, decide which word fits the gap in the sentence


The _________ of these volunteers for hard work is amazing.”

  1. ability; b) capacity; c) capability

b) is the right answer


5) New forms of words being used in English: 

Quitted/ lighted/ waked; (the British National Corpus has found 13 solutions for quitted; 240 solutions for lighted, and only 4 for waked)


Different from / different to/ different than (this is the actual order of frequency of usage)



1. C.Tribble & G. Jones Concordances in the Classroom, Longman, 1990

2. R. Mc Andrew, English Observed, LTP, 1994

COBUILD is the best concordancer around, and allows you extensive control over what you are looking for. The bottom half of the page gives instructions for how to look for various forms of a word, or word pairs or groups. It is also the only concordancer that can search for collocations (which words typically go together with the word you choose). NB: COBUILD uses pop-up windows, so if you have a pop-up blocker, make sure it is switched off: http://www.collins.co.uk/corpus/CorpusSearch.aspx

British National Corpus Concordancer provides you with up to 50 examples of your chosen word or phrase from the British National Corpus. It shows you the whole sentence, wherever the key word is in that sentence. Unlike the Cobuild concordancer, it also shows you how many times the word actually appeared in the corpus: http://sara.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/lookup.html


One of the fun ways to revise grammar with your students, past tenses in particular, was suggested at one of the presentations I heard at Denver TESOL convention. For that you will need a projector, a screen (or while wall), and a computer with internet connection.

Go to youtube.com and type into the search window “Ameriquest funny commercials” or go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzzMir7zbN4.

Pair the students off, and ask one student to turn his/her face away from the screen, so that he/she wouldn’t see the commercial. The other student’s task is to watch the video and then report what they saw to the pair-mate. Then you play the commercial again and those who did not see the video initially report to the class how accurate the description was, and whether the description included all the intricacies of the script that made it funny. Alternatively, before the second showing of the video you could ask some of the students who did not see it and were only told about the plot of the commercial by their pair-mates, what they thought they were going to see, why it was funny, where the twist of the video was, etc.

Then you change the roles of the students in the pairs and repeat the routine with some of the other funny commercials.

NB! It is always best to take some time and watch the videos before you show it in class. As the degree of explicitness in some of the commercials varies, you might want to select, which of them you would actually like to show in class.

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