Famous Songs: I’ve Been Working on the Railroad; Burning Man; irony versus
Sarcasm versus satire; agreement versus contract; to fall for (someone) versus to
Fall for (something)
Folk song – a song that is often sung by ordinary people and is common among
* My father taught me some folk songs he sang as a child in Russia.
To date back – to be able to look back in history to when something appeared for
The first time
* The invention of the modern telephone dates back to the mid-1800s.
Railroad – the network of railroad tracks that allow trains to move over land
* The early railroads allowed people and goods to travel long distances, between
Cities and even between states.
To pass the time away – to do activities that are not productive or useful, but
That entertain us a little and give us something to do during the day
* What do you plan to do to pass the time away once you retire from your job?
Whistle – a device that makes a loud, musical sound with a single note when air
Is blown or pushed through it
* At the game, the referee blew her whistle each time a player did something
Against the rules.
To rise – to wake up; to get up out of bed
* On our farm, we rise at 4:00 a. m. to begin working in the fields.
Radical – something that is extreme and not ordinary; something that is
Completely different from what people know or are used to
* Dying your hair orange would certainly be a radical change in your appearance.
Self-reliance – how well people are able to survive and do things for themselves,
Without depending on other people or needing help from other people
* My parents taught me self-reliance and I’ll never depend on someone else to
Earn money for food or
to pay for a place to live.
Harsh – difficult; rough; severe
* Shin knew that it would be cold climbing the mountain, but he didn’t know that
The strong winds would be so harsh.
Leave no trace – the idea that when people go into a natural area, they shouldn’t
Leave behind garbage or anything else that may affect or damage the
* When we go camping, we try to leave no trace.
To burn – to light something on fire so that the fire consumes it and nothing is left
* The firefighters stopped the fire before it could burn any houses.
Effigy – a model of someone; a sculpture made to look like a particular person or
Type of person, often made so that it can be destroyed in a symbolic way
* The voters were angry and burned an effigy of the mayor in front of city hall.
Irony – words used to say something different than what they literally (by their
Dictionary definition) mean, usually used for humor; a style of writing in which
Words are used to mean something other than what they literally say, either for
Humor or for some other effect
* Quan uses irony in his article to make fun of people who drive very large cars.
Sarcasm – words used to mean something different than what they literally say,
Especially to hurt or tease a person
* Carl’s sarcasm about his wife’s weight can be very cruel.
Satire – the use of irony in writing, especially if it is meant to point out a flaw in
People or society
* This play is a satire on our society’s high opinion of beautiful people.
Agreement – when two or more people have the same opinion; an arrangement
Between two or more people
* Our agreement is that if you cook, I’ll wash all of the dishes, right?