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Lesson TWENTY-EIGHT HERE!
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In today’s lesson, entitled What’s In A Name? you will learn how some of America’s cities and natural landmarks got their names. You will also learn about the controversy surrounding the name of the tallest mountain peak in North America. Listen carefully to the passage and then answer the questions that follow. It’s always a good idea to take notes as you listen, but remember: don’t let your note-taking distract you from your listening.
What’s In A Name?
Listen and Learn
Lesson Twenty-Eight PASSAGE ONLY track:
Open a U.S. map and glance across the page. What you’ll find is an eclectic assortment of place names: quintessential English names—New Jersey, Manchester, and Woodstock, for example—and lots of French and Spanish names—like New Orleans, Santa Fe, and Los Angeles. And then there are the places named after influential historical figures—Washington, Pennsylvania, and Jamestown, to list a few. It may surprise you to know, however, that the names of over half the states that make up the union, as well as the names of many cities, lakes, rivers, mountains, and other natural landmarks, are actually Native American words that were adopted (or, rather, adapted) by white settlers.
Now let’s look at Washington State, up there in the Pacific Northwest corner of our map. Washington is named after the first U.S. president, George Washington. But you’ll soon see that many of Washington’s place names look and sound a little “different.” Well, that’s because they are derived from words in the languages of the many different Indian nations that originally inhabited the area. “Seattle” is a case in point. Before the first Europeans arrived, the land that is now Seattle had been home to the Duwamish and Suquamish people for at least 4,000 years. Seattle was named after Chief Si’ahl, a prominent figure among his people and a gracious friend to the new European settlers. Nearby communities like Tacoma, Mukilteo, Snoqualmie, and the quirky-sounding Klickitat are just a few of the hundreds of other place names in Washington with indigenous roots.
What’s true in Washington is true all across America. “Mississippi,” “Chattanooga,” and “Pensacola” are good examples of names that pay homage to the language, traditions, and culture of the local inhabitants. But not all the explorers and settlers who made their way across the continent gave the places they “discovered” Indian names. They did their naming based on their own history and heritage, disregarding the names that Native Americans had given the places many centuries earlier.
Take Alaska’s Mt. McKinley, for example, the tallest mountain in North America. It got its name (unofficially, at first) in 1896, when a gold prospector wanted to honor William McKinley of Ohio, who was soon to become the nation’s 25th President. Now, President McKinley never set foot in Alaska. He had no affiliations with either the people of Alaska or the mountain itself. Nevertheless, in 1917, the U.S. Congress made the unofficial official: Mt. McKinley it was. And that’s the way it has stayed for nearly a century.
But the name was never accepted by the Koyukon Athabaskans people, who have inhabited the area on the north side of the majestic mountain for many centuries. To them, Mt. McKinley is “Denali,” which means the “great one” or the “high one” in the local language, and it’s been “Denali” for thousands of years. Denali played a central role in the creation myth of the Koyukon people, who consider its peaks sacred ground. Alaskan politicians and Native American groups have long been pushing Congress to change the name back to “Denali.” But all their attempts have been blocked by members of the Congressional delegation from Ohio, the home state of the mountain’s presidential namesake.
But their efforts have finally paid off. In August 2015, President Barack Obama and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that the mountain would from now on be referred to as Denali in all official documents. After the announcement was made, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski was ecstatic. “I’d like to thank the President for working with us to achieve this significant change to show honor, respect, and gratitude to the Athabaskan people of Alaska,” she said.
LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS
Listen to Listen and Learn Lesson Twenty-Eight LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS track:
Today’s listening comprehension questions are of various types. Follow the instructions for each question. Feel free to pause and listen several times if needed.
1. Decide if this statement is true or false.
The names of more than half the states that make up the United States are European in origin.
2. Choose the best answer to complete this sentence.
Washington, Pennsylvania, and Jamestown are examples of ___________________________.
a) places named after existing European towns and cities
b) places named after influential historical figures
c) places with Spanish or French names
d) place names that have recently been changed to names of Native American origin
3. Write a brief answer to this question.
Why do so many of Washington State’s place names sound so “different”?
4. Choose the two best answers to complete this sentence.
Before the European settlers arrived, the land that is now Seattle had been home to______________ and _________________.
a) the Duwamish people
b) the Si’ahl people
c) the Snoqualmie people
d) the Suquamish people
5. Decide if this sentence is true or false.
Most of the explorers and settlers who made their way across the North American continent gave the places they “discovered” Indian names.
6. Decide if this sentence is true or false.
Mount McKinley was named after William McKinley, who had been a prominent figure in the State of Alaska as well as the 25th President of the United States.
7. Write a brief answer to this question.
In which year did the U.S. Congress make the name Mount McKinley official?
8. Write a brief answer to this question.
What does “Denali” mean to the Koyukon Athabaskan people who have inhabited the area on the north side of Mt. McKinley for many centuries?
9. Choose the better answer.
Why has it taken so long for Alaskan politicians to convince Congress to change the name of Mt. McKinley back to “Denali”?
a) All attempts to change the name back to “Denali” have been blocked by the state of Ohio, the home state of the mountain’s presidential namesake.
b) All attempts to change the name back to “Denali” have been blocked by previous U.S. Presidents who didn’t understand the significance of what “Denali” meant to the local people.
10. Write a full-sentence answer to this question.
In your opinion, how might the act of changing the name of Mt. McKinley to “Denali” change the face of the map of the United States in the future?
LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS and ANSWERS HERE!
You may also download the lesson in PDF format to keep for your reference.
KA WORDCAST: Listen and Learn! Lesson TWENTY-EIGHT
KEY VOCABULARY WORDS
Be sure to listen to the Key Vocabulary bonus track. This will help you improve your understanding of the passage itself and give your vocabulary a big boost.
Open a U.S. map and glance across the page. What you’ll find is an eclectic assortment of place names: QUINTESSENTIAL English names—New Jersey, Manchester, and Woodstock, for example—and lots of French and Spanish names—like New Orleans, Santa Fe, and Los Angeles.
QUINTESSENTIAL is an adjective that means representing the most perfect or typical example of something. Stereotypical, classic, and exemplary are some good synonyms.
A QUINTESSENTIAL “English Tea” consists of a couple of scones, some clotted cream and strawberry preserves, and a pot of tea.
This QUINTESSENTIAL country village was at one time a thriving market town, drawing merchants and traders from miles around.
Not everyone loves the director’s new movie, but some critics are calling it the QUINTESSENTIAL horror film with all the elements that make an audience sit on the edge of their seats.
With her soft, soothing voice and sprite-like gestures, Miss Delaney is the QUINTESSENTIAL kindergarten teacher.
QUINTESSENTIALLY is the adverb form of QUINTESSENTIAL.
The Aston Martin is the QUINTESSENTIALLY British automobile and is forever associated with James Bond.
Although there are many connecting highways and motorways zigzagging across the country, trains remain the QUINTESSENTIALLY Japanese way to travel.
Well, that’s because they are DERIVED from words in the languages of the many different Indian nations that originally inhabited the area.
DERIVE is a verb that, when talking about language or words, means to come from a specific source. Some good synonyms and phrases include originate in, have its origin in, be taken from, be based on, and stem from.
The English word “jacket” is DERIVED from the French word “jaquet,” which means “short coat with sleeves.”
Our daughter’s name “Tiana” DERIVES from the Greek word for “princess.”
DERIVE also means to obtain or get something from a specific source.
Quite often, the meaning of a word can be DERIVED from the context in which it is used.
Tristan read the poem at least a dozen times, but he couldn’t DERIVE any significance from it.
The bench was placed on top of the hill in honor of the late Reverend Bishop, who always DERIVED much pleasure from looking out across the valley from this vantage point.
More than four and half million people in Indonesia DERIVE their livelihood from fishing.
According to a recent study, about 40% of the calories a typical American consumes in a day are DERIVED from fat.
Most of the shop’s 300 beauty and healthcare products are DERIVED from plants and other ingredients found in nature.
Penicillin is DERIVED from a certain type of mold.
What’s true in Washington is true all across America. “Mississippi,” “Chattanooga,” and “Pensacola” are good examples of names that pay HOMAGE to the language, traditions, and culture of the local inhabitants.
HOMAGE is a noun that refers to something that is said or done to show respect for someone or something. In the sentence above HOMAGE is part of the phrase, TO PAY HOMAGE TO, which means to honor, give recognition to, praise, or salute someone.
The academy paid HOMAGE to the school’s former headmaster by naming the new science wing after him.
According to the tourist guidebook, inside the refurbished Western saloon is a mini-museum of artifacts and memorabilia that pay HOMAGE to the Old Wild West.
To pay HOMAGE to the recently deceased former President, flags on all government buildings will be flown at half-mast today.
When the singer accepted her award, she paid HOMAGE to her parents and the fans who had helped make her career a success.
They did their naming based on their own history and heritage, DISREGARDING the names that Native Americans had given the places many centuries earlier.
When you DISREGARD something, you treat it as unimportant and don’t give it any thought or consideration. To ignore, discount, take no notice of, and refuse to acknowledge are some good equivalents.
Alice, the head of the Prom Committee, completely DISREGARDED outside suggestions and ended up doing everything “her” way, as usual.
The judge told the jury to DISREGARD certain comments made by the defense lawyer because they were not pertinent to the case.
Justin may be smaller than your typical goalkeeper, but don’t DISREGARD his agility and his ability to make quick, intuitive decisions.
Some people DISREGARDED the weather warnings and needed to be rescued by helicopter when the banks of the river collapsed and water flooded the city.
DISREGARD is also the noun form. It refers to the act of treating someone or something as unimportant or not worthy of care or consideration. The nearest synonym is INDIFFERENCE. Look at these examples.
My son shows a total DISREGARD for other people’s feelings and struggles to communicate with his peers, so I’m really worried that he may be autistic.
You could have been really badly hurt or even killed because of your friend’s reckless driving and complete DISREGARD for speed limits and traffic laws.
The combination of a poorly maintained pipeline and a total DISREGARD for safety precautions led to the Kolva River oil spill in Russia in 1983.
Now, President McKinley never set foot in Alaska. He had no AFFILIATIONS with either the people of Alaska or the mountain itself.
AFFILIATION refers to a person’s connection with a particular place, person, religion, political party, or other entity. Association, bond, link, and tie are the nearest synonyms.
The majority of the children who attend St. Leonard’s Church of England school do not actually have any AFFILIATIONS with the Anglican Church.
Thomas was a junior when the Mount Vernon School for Boys decided, despite his family’s long AFFILIATION with the school, to expel him for misconduct and breaking school rules.
Dean Gregory announced that Professor Eagan’s AFFILIATION with the school had been terminated at the end of last year.
Many companies chose to end their sponsorship AFFILIATION with the star athlete after he was arrested for drunk driving.
The noun AFFILIATION is based on the verb to AFFILIATE, which means to link or connect a group, organization, or company very closely with another larger group or association, as in:
Our primary school is now AFFILIATED with a small international elementary school in Tokyo, Japan.
Many of the country’s large corporations are AFFILIATED with the right-wing political party.
We support this particular charity because, as far as we know, it is not AFFILIATED with any religious organization.
Denali played a central role in the creation myth of the Koyukon people, who consider its peaks SACRED ground.
In the sentence above, SACRED is an adjective that refers to something that is considered holy because of its connection to a god or other higher power. Holy and spiritual are the nearest synonyms.
Eagles and bears are SACRED animals in many Pacific Northwest Native American cultures.
You will find many cattle wandering the streets in India because cows are considered SACRED in the Hindu religion.
Stonehenge is believed to have been a SACRED site for the people who inhabited England thousands of years ago.
Tragically, hundreds of Muslims lost their lives in a stampede while making their annual SACRED pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city of Mecca.
In everyday conversation and more figurative speech, something that is SACRED is considered very important and should not be interfered with.
I told my boss that I’m happy to put in overtime during the workweek, but that my weekends are SACRED.
In our house, books are considered SACRED and are treated with the same respect as old family photographs and other precious heirlooms.