New words

Forget ‘the environment’:
we need new words to convey life’s wonders

abridged article by George Monbiot
courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd

[per sapere il significato delle parole evidenziate,
passaci sopra con il mouse senza cliccare]

If Moses had promised the Israelites a land flowing with mammary secretions and insect vomit, would they have followed him into Canaan? Though this means milk and honey, I doubt it would have inspired them.

So why do we use such language to describe the natural wonders of the world? There are examples everywhere, but I will illustrate the problem with a few from the UK. On land, places in which nature is protected are called “sites of special scientific interest”. At sea, they are labelled “no-take zones” or “reference areas”.

Even the term “reserve” is cold and alienating – think of what we mean when we use that word about a person. “The environment” is just as bad: an empty word that creates no pictures in the mind. Wild animals and plants are described as “resources” or “stocks”, as if they belong to us and their role is to serve us: a notion disastrously extended by the term “ecosystem services”.

Our assaults on life and beauty are also sanitised and disguised by the words we use. When a species is obliterated by people, we use the term “extinction”. It conveys no sense of our role in the extermination, and mixes up this eradication with the natural turnover of species. It’s like calling murder “expiration”. “Climate change” also confuses natural variation with the catastrophic disruption we cause: a confusion deliberately exploited by those who deny our role. We need a new vocabulary.

Words possess a remarkable power to shape our perceptions. The organisation Common Cause discusses a research project in which participants were asked to play a game. One group was told it was called the “Wall Street Game”, while another was asked to play the “Community Game”. It was the same game. But when it was called the Wall Street Game, the participants were consistently more selfish and more likely to betray the other players.

Words encode values that are subconsciously triggered when we hear them. When certain phrases are repeated, they can shape and reinforce a worldview, making it hard for us to see an issue differently. Advertisers and spin doctors understand this all too well: they know that they can trigger certain responses by using certain language. But many of those who seek to defend the living planet seem impervious to this intelligence.

If we called protected areas “places of natural wonder”, we would not only speak to people’s love of nature, but also establish an aspiration that conveys what they ought to be. Let’s stop using the word environment, and use terms such as “living planet” and “natural world” instead, as they allow us to form a picture of what we are describing. Let’s abandon the term climate change and start saying “climate breakdown”. Instead of extinction, let’s adopt the word promoted by the lawyer Polly Higgins: ecocide.

We are blessed with a wealth of nature and a wealth of language. Let us bring them together and use one to defend the other.

COMPREHENSION


  TRUE    FALSE

According to the author:

  1. The language we currently use to talk about the environment is too disinterested
  2. It is not important which words we use to talk about the environment but how we say them.
  3. The word “extinction” tends to hide man’s frequent responsibility regarding the disappearance of species.
  4. Many ecologists do not seem to understand the importance of words.
  5. The way we see the world is not influenced by the language that is used to describe it.
  6. New words for old problems could help to create a better world.

The Canterville Ghost: Chapter 2

[ intermediate / advanced ]

Come proseguire:

  1. Ascolta, anche più volte, senza leggere il testo;
  2. Ascolta, leggendo il testo, per chiarire eventuali dubbi;
  3. Rispondi alle domande “true or false” sul testo;
  4. Controlla con le soluzioni in fondo alla pagina;
  5. Lascia nei commenti una tua breve riflessione in inglese sulla storia.

Clicca QUI per Chapter 1

The Canterville Ghost
by Oscar Wilde

[per sapere il significato delle parole evidenziate,
passaci sopra con il mouse senza cliccare]

Chapter 2

The storm raged fiercely all that night, but nothing of particular note occurred. The next morning, however, when they came down to breakfast, they found the terrible stain of blood once again on the floor. “I don’t think it can be the fault of the Paragon Detergent,” said Washington, “for I have tried it with everything. It must be the ghost.” He accordingly rubbed out the stain a second time, but the second morning it appeared again. The third morning also it was there, though the library had been locked up at night by Mr. Otis himself, and the key carried upstairs. The whole family were now quite interested; Mr. Otis began to suspect that he had been too dogmatic in his denial of the existence of ghosts, Mrs. Otis expressed her intention of joining the Psychical Society, and Washington prepared a long letter to Messrs. Myers and Podmore on the subject of the Permanence of Sanguineous Stains when connected with Crime. That night all doubts about the objective existence of phantasmata were removed for ever.

The day had been warm and sunny; and, in the cool of the evening, the whole family went out to drive. They did not return home till nine o’clock, when they had a light supper. The conversation in no way turned upon ghosts, so there were not even those primary conditions of receptive expectation which so often precede the presentation of psychical phenomena. The subjects discussed, as I have since learned from Mr. Otis, were merely such as form the ordinary conversation of cultured Americans of the better class, such as the immense superiority of Miss Fanny Davenport over Sarah Bernhardt as an actress; the difficulty of obtaining green corn, buckwheat cakes, and hominy, even in the best English houses; the importance of Boston in the development of the world-soul; the advantages of the baggage check system in railway travelling; and the sweetness of the New York accent as compared to the London drawl. No mention at all was made of the supernatural, nor was Sir Simon de Canterville alluded to in any way. At eleven o’clock the family retired, and by half-past all the lights were out. Some time after, Mr. Otis was awakened by a curious noise in the corridor, outside his room. It sounded like the clank of metal, and seemed to be coming nearer every moment. He got up at once, struck a match, and looked at the time. It was exactly one o’clock. He was quite calm, and felt his pulse, which was not at all feverish. The strange noise still continued, and with it he heard distinctly the sound of footsteps. He put on his slippers, took a small oblong phial out of his dressing-case, and opened the door. Right in front of him he saw, in the wan moonlight, an old man of terrible aspect. His eyes were as red burning coals; long grey hair fell over his shoulders in matted coils; his garments, which were of antique cut, were soiled and ragged, and from his wrists and ankles hung heavy manacles and rusty gyves.

“My dear sir,” said Mr. Otis, “I really must insist on your oiling those chains, and have brought you for that purpose a small bottle of the Tammany Rising Sun Lubricator. It is said to be completely efficacious upon one application, and there are several testimonials to that effect on the wrapper from some of our most eminent native divines. I shall leave it here for you by the bedroom candles, and will be happy to supply you with more should you require it.” With these words the United States Minister laid the bottle down on a marble table, and, closing his door, retired to rest.

For a moment the Canterville ghost stood quite motionless in natural indignation; then, dashing the bottle violently upon the polished floor, he fled down the corridor, uttering hollow groans, and emitting a ghastly green light. Just, however, as he reached the top of the great oak staircase, a door was flung open, two little white-robed figures appeared, and a large pillow whizzed past his head! There was evidently no time to be lost, so, hastily adopting the Fourth Dimension of Space as a means of escape, he vanished through the wainscoting, and the house became quite quiet.

On reaching a small secret chamber in the left wing, he leaned up against a moonbeam to recover his breath, and began to try and realize his position. Never, in a brilliant and uninterrupted career of three hundred years, had he been so grossly insulted. He thought of the Dowager Duchess, whom he had frightened into a fit as she stood before the glass in her lace and diamonds; of the four housemaids, who had gone off into hysterics when he merely grinned at them through the curtains of one of the spare bedrooms; of the rector of the parish, whose candle he had blown out as he was coming late one night from the library, and who had been under the care of Sir William Gull ever since, a perfect martyr to nervous disorders; and of old Madame de Tremouillac, who, having wakened up one morning early and seen a skeleton seated in an armchair by the fire reading her diary, had been confined to her bed for six weeks with an attack of brain fever, and, on her recovery, had become reconciled to the Church, and broken off her connection with that notorious sceptic Monsieur de Voltaire. He remembered the terrible night when the wicked Lord Canterville was found choking in his dressing-room, with the knave of diamonds half-way down his throat, and confessed, just before he died, that he had cheated Charles James Fox out of £50,000 at Crockford’s by means of that very card, and swore that the ghost had made him swallow it. All his great achievements came back to him again, from the butler who had shot himself in the pantry because he had seen a green hand tapping at the window pane, to the beautiful Lady Stutfield, who was always obliged to wear a black velvet band round her throat to hide the mark of five fingers burnt upon her white skin, and who drowned herself at last in the carp-pond at the end of the King’s Walk. With the enthusiastic egotism of the true artist he went over his most celebrated performances, and smiled bitterly to himself as he recalled to mind his last appearance as ‘Red Reuben, or the Strangled Babe,’ his début as ‘Gaunt Gibeon, the Blood-sucker of Bexley Moor,’ and the furore he had excited one lovely June evening by merely playing ninepins with his own bones upon the lawn-tennis ground. And after all this, some wretched modern Americans were to come and offer him the Rising Sun Lubricator, and throw pillows at his head! It was quite unbearable. Besides, no ghost in history had ever been treated in this manner. Accordingly, he determined to have vengeance, and remained till day-light in an attitude of deep thought.


COMPREHENSION


  TRUE    FALSE

Propongo agli studenti più avanzati di fare questo esercizio senza riguardare il testo in un primo momento.

  1. Washington started to doubt the efficiency of the Paragon Detergent.
  2. Mr. Otis started to believe that the ghost may actually exist.
  3. The Otis family had dinner out that evening.
  4. The Otis family talked about various things that evening, including psychical phenomena.
  5. The Otis family did not like the London accent much.
  6. Mr. Otis was woken up by a strange noise just after half past eleven.
  7. Mr. Otis’s primary concern was stopping the noise.
  8. The Canterville Ghost’s primary concern was his honour.
  9. The Canterville Ghost began to doubt the brilliance of his career.
  10. In his illustrious career, the Canterville Ghost had never actually caused the death of anyone.

ATTENZIONE
SOLUZIONI QUI SOTTO

right-wrong
down-arrows
down-arrows
  1. F – He started to believe the ghost could really exist.
  2. T – He began to doubt his convictions about ghosts not being real.
  3. F – They had dinner when they got home at 9:00.
  4. F – There was no conversation about psychical phenomena.
  5. T – They thought the New York accent was sweeter.
  6. F – It was already one o’clock when he was woken up.
  7. T – He offered the ghost a lubricator for his chains.
  8. T – He felt insulted by the attitude of the Otis family.
  9. F – He was very proud of all his achievements.
  10. F – He had caused the death of Lord Canterville, possibly the butler, and indirectly Lady Stutfield.

The Canterville Ghost: Chapter 1

[ intermediate / advanced ]

Come proseguire:

  1. Ascolta, anche più volte, senza leggere il testo;
  2. Ascolta, leggendo il testo, per chiarire eventuali dubbi;
  3. Rispondi alle domande “true or false” sul testo;
  4. Controlla con le soluzioni in fondo alla pagina;
  5. Lascia nei commenti una tua breve riflessione in inglese sulla storia.


The Canterville Ghost
by Oscar Wilde

[per sapere il significato delle parole evidenziate,
passaci sopra con il mouse senza cliccare]

Chapter 1

When Mr. Hiram B. Otis, the American Minister, bought Canterville Chase, every one told him he was doing a very foolish thing, as there was no doubt at all that the place was haunted. Indeed, Lord Canterville himself, who was a man of the most punctilious honour, had felt it his duty to mention the fact to Mr. Otis when they came to discuss terms.

We have not cared to live in the place ourselves,” said Lord Canterville, “since my grand-aunt, the Dowager Duchess of Bolton, was frightened into a fit, from which she never really recovered, by two skeleton hands being placed on her shoulders as she was dressing for dinner, and I feel bound to tell you, Mr. Otis, that the ghost has been seen by several living members of my family, as well as by the rector of the parish, the Rev. Augustus Dampier, who is a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge. After the unfortunate accident to the Duchess, none of our younger servants would stay with us, and Lady Canterville often got very little sleep at night, in consequence of the mysterious noises that came from the corridor and the library.”

“My Lord,” answered the Minister, “I will take the furniture and the ghost at a valuation. I come from a modern country, where we have everything that money can buy; and with all our spry young fellows painting the Old World red, and carrying off your best actors and prima-donnas, I reckon that if there were such a thing as a ghost in Europe, we’d have it at home in a very short time in one of our public museums, or on the road as a show.”

“I fear that the ghost exists,” said Lord Canterville, smiling, “though it may have resisted the overtures of your enterprising impresarios. It has been well known for three centuries, since 1584 in fact, and always makes its appearance before the death of any member of our family.”

“Well, so does the family doctor for that matter, Lord Canterville. But there is no such thing, sir, as a ghost, and I guess the laws of Nature are not going to be suspended for the British aristocracy.”

“You are certainly very natural in America,” answered Lord Canterville, who did not quite understand Mr. Otis’s last observation, “and if you don’t mind a ghost in the house, it is all right. Only you must remember I warned you.”

A few weeks after this, the purchase was concluded, and at the close of the season the Minister and his family went down to Canterville Chase. Mrs. Otis, who, as Miss Lucretia R. Tappan, of West 53rd Street, had been a celebrated New York belle, was now a very handsome, middle-aged woman, with fine eyes, and a superb profile. Many American ladies on leaving their native land adopt an appearance of chronic ill-health, under the impression that it is a form of European refinement, but Mrs. Otis had never fallen into this error. She had a magnificent constitution, and a really wonderful amount of animal spirits. Indeed, in many respects, she was quite English, and was an excellent example of the fact that we have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language. Her eldest son, christened Washington by his parents in a moment of patriotism, which he never ceased to regret, was a fair-haired, rather good-looking young man, who had qualified himself for American diplomacy by leading the German at the Newport Casino for three successive seasons, and even in London was well known as an excellent dancer. Gardenias and the peerage were his only weaknesses. Otherwise he was extremely sensible. Miss Virginia E. Otis was a little girl of fifteen, lithe and lovely as a fawn, and with a fine freedom in her large blue eyes. She was a wonderful amazon, and had once raced old Lord Bilton on her pony twice round the park, winning by a length and a half, just in front of the Achilles statue, to the huge delight of the young Duke of Cheshire, who proposed for her on the spot, and was sent back to Eton that very night by his guardians, in floods of tears. After Virginia came the twins, who were usually called ‘The Stars and Stripes,’ as they were always getting swished. They were delightful boys, and with the exception of the worthy Minister, the only true republicans of the family.

As Canterville Chase is seven miles from Ascot, the nearest railway station, Mr. Otis had telegraphed for a waggonette to meet them, and they started on their drive in high spirits. It was a lovely July evening, and the air was delicate with the scent of the pinewoods. Now and then they heard a wood pigeon brooding over its own sweet voice, or saw, deep in the rustling fern, the burnished breast of the pheasant. Little squirrels peered at them from the beech-trees as they went by, and the rabbits scudded away through the brushwood and over the mossy knolls, with their white tails in the air. As they entered the avenue of Canterville Chase, however, the sky became suddenly overcast with clouds, a curious stillness seemed to hold the atmosphere, a great flight of rooks passed silently over their heads, and, before they reached the house, some big drops of rain had fallen.

Standing on the steps to receive them was an old woman, neatly dressed in black silk, with a white cap and apron. This was Mrs. Umney, the housekeeper, whom Mrs. Otis, at Lady Canterville’s earnest request, had consented to keep on in her former position. She made them each a low curtsey as they alighted, and said in a quaint, old-fashioned manner, “I bid you welcome to Canterville Chase.” Following her, they passed through the fine Tudor hall into the library, a long, low room, panelled in black oak, at the end of which was a large stained-glass window. Here they found tea laid out for them, and, after taking off their wraps, they sat down and began to look round, while Mrs. Umney waited on them.

Suddenly Mrs. Otis caught sight of a dull red stain on the floor just by the fireplace and, quite unconscious of what it really signified, said to Mrs. Umney, “I am afraid something has been spilt there.”

“Yes, madam,” replied the old housekeeper in a low voice, “blood has been spilt on that spot.”

“How horrid,” cried Mrs. Otis; “I don’t at all care for blood-stains in a sitting-room. It must be removed at once.”

The old woman smiled, and answered in the same low, mysterious voice, “It is the blood of Lady Eleanore de Canterville, who was murdered on that very spot by her own husband, Sir Simon de Canterville, in 1575. Sir Simon survived her nine years, and disappeared suddenly under very mysterious circumstances. His body has never been discovered, but his guilty spirit still haunts the Chase. The blood-stain has been much admired by tourists and others, and cannot be removed.”

“That is all nonsense,” cried Washington Otis; “Pinkerton’s Champion Stain Remover and Paragon Detergent will clean it up in no time,” and before the terrified housekeeper could interfere he had fallen upon his knees, and was rapidly scouring the floor with a small stick of what looked like a black cosmetic. In a few moments no trace of the blood-stain could be seen. “I knew Pinkerton would do it,” he exclaimed triumphantly, as he looked round at his admiring family; but no sooner had he said these words than a terrible flash of lightning lit up the sombre room, a fearful peal of thunder made them all start to their feet, and Mrs. Umney fainted.

“What a monstrous climate!” said the American Minister calmly, as he lit a long cheroot. “I guess the old country is so overpopulated that they have not enough decent weather for everybody. I have always been of opinion that emigration is the only thing for England.”

“My dear Hiram,” cried Mrs. Otis, “what can we do with a woman who faints?”

Charge it to her like breakages,” answered the Minister; “she won’t faint after that;” and in a few moments Mrs. Umney certainly came to. There was no doubt, however, that she was extremely upset, and she sternly warned Mr. Otis to beware of some trouble coming to the house.

“I have seen things with my own eyes, sir,” she said, “that would make any Christian’s hair stand on end, and many and many a night I have not closed my eyes in sleep for the awful things that are done here.” Mr. Otis, however, and his wife warmly assured the honest soul that they were not afraid of ghosts, and, after invoking the blessings of Providence on her new master and mistress, and making arrangements for an increase of salary, the old housekeeper tottered off to her own room.


COMPREHENSION


  TRUE    FALSE

Propongo agli studenti più avanzati di fare questo esercizio senza riguardare il testo in un primo momento.

  1. Mr Otis thought it was foolish to buy Canterville Chase.
  2. Lord Canterville’s family no longer lived in Canterville Chase.
  3. After the incident with the Duchess of Bolton, all the servants left Canterville Chase.
  4. No one in Lord Canterville’s family had ever actually seen the ghost.
  5. Lady Canterville had difficulty sleeping at night because of the noises.
  6. Mrs Otis did not look like a typical American lady abroad.
  7. Washington was proud of his name.
  8. Lord Bilton won the pony race round the park.
  9. The weather changed as they entered the avenue of Canterville Chase.
  10. Mrs Umney had already worked for Mrs Otis in the past.
  11. Tea was laid out in the library.
  12. Sir Simon was 9 years older than Lady Eleanore.
  13. Washington Otis was struck by a terrible flash of lightning.
  14. Mr Otis believes that some English people should leave the country.
  15. Mrs Umney believed that something bad was going to happen.
  16. Mrs Umney was not afraid of ghosts.

ATTENZIONE
SOLUZIONI QUI SOTTO

right-wrong
down-arrows
down-arrows
  1. F – Other people thought it was foolish.
  2. T – They left the house after the Duchess of Bolton’s experience.
  3. F – Only the younger servants refused to stay in the house.
  4. F – Several living members of his family had seen the ghost.
  5. T – The noises coming from the corridor and the library disturbed her sleep.
  6. T – She looked very healthy while typical American women abroad always looked ill.
  7. F – He regretted his parents’ moment of patriotism.
  8. F – Virginia Otis won the pony race.
  9. T – It became overcast and started to rain.
  10. F – She had already worked for Lady Canterville in the past.
  11. T – It was laid out under the stained-glass window.
  12. F – He died seven years after Lady Eleanore.
  13. F – The flash of lightning lit up the room but it did not strike anyone.
  14. T – He believes that England is overpopulated and that emigration is the answer.
  15. T – She sensed that trouble was coming.
  16. F – Mr and Mrs Otis were not afraid of ghosts.

The Fisherman and the Banker

Come proseguire:

  1. Ascolta senza leggere il testo cercando di capire il racconto solo con l’audio;
  2. Ascolta leggendo il testo per confermare e/o chiarire dubbi sorti dal primo ascolto;
  3. Rispondi alle domande “true or false” sul testo;
  4. Controlla con le risposte corrette in fondo alla pagina.
  5. Lascia nei commenti una tua brevissima riflessione sul racconto (in inglese).

The Fisherman and the Banker

(adapted for didactic purposes from the original story by Courtney Carver)

N.B. Per sapere il significato delle parole evidenziate passarci sopra con il mouse.

An American banker was walking along a beautiful beach in a small Mexican village when he saw a fisherman in his boat with a few freshly caught fish.
“Good catch,” he said. “How long did it take you?”
“Oh, not very long, ” answered the fisherman.
“In that case why didn’t you stay out at sea a little longer and catch some more?” asked the banker.
“Well,” replied the fisherman, “there are enough fish here to feed my family and me.”
“So what do you do with the rest of your time?” asked the banker.
“I get up late in the morning and go fishing for a while. Then I play with my kids. After lunch I have a nice long siesta with my wife. Then, in the evening, I stroll into the village and sip wine and play guitar with my friends.”
The banker chuckled condescendingly. “Listen,” he said, “I’m a graduate from Harvard University and I can give you some really good advice. First of all you should stay out fishing all day so that you can start selling your fish in the market and buy a bigger boat. With a bigger boat you’ll be able to catch even more fish and make enough money to buy a second boat and then a third one and so on. After a while, instead of selling your fish in the market, you can sell them directly to a fish factory. Eventually you can even open your own fish factory. Then you can move from this little village to Mexico city, and finally to New York where you can be the managing director of your own thriving fishing company.
“And how long will all this take?” asked the fisherman, a little bewildered.
“Oh, about 15 to 20 years,” answered the banker.
“And then?” asked the fisherman.
“Then it starts to get really interesting,” replied the banker. “When the moment is right, you put your company on the stock exchange and make millions!”
“Millions?” repeated the fisherman. “And then what?”
“Well, then you can move to a little village by the sea, where you can get get up late in the morning, go fishing for a while, play with your kids, have nice long siestas with your wife, stroll into the village in the evening and sip wine and play guitar with your friends.”


COMPREHENSION


  TRUE    FALSE

Propongo agli studenti più avanti di fare questo esercizio senza riguardare il testo.

  1. The fisherman isn’t happy with his catch.
  2. The banker wants to help the fisherman.
  3. The fisherman wants to buy more boats.
  4. The fisherman usually sells his surplus fish in the market.
  5. The banker feels that the fisherman can do more with his life
  6. The banker considers himself to be more intelligent than the fisherman.
  7. The banker’s plan is for the fisherman to open a fish factory in New York.
  8. The fisherman likes his present lifestyle.
  9. The fisherman is interested in the banker’s plan.
  10. The end result will be a big improvement for the fisherman.

ATTENZIONE
RISPOSTE CORRETTE QUI SOTTO

right-wrong
down-arrows
down-arrows
  1. F – He only wants enough fish for his family and for himself.
  2. T – The banker wants to help the fisherman to make lots of money.
  3. F – The fisherman is quite happy with the boat that he already has.
  4. F – The fisherman doesn’t catch surplus fish.
  5. T – The fisherman’s lifestyle is very unproductive in the banker’s opinion.
  6. T – The banker clearly considers the fisherman to be pretty stupid.
  7. F – According to the plan, the head office will be in New York, not the fish factory.
  8. T – The fisherman shows no sign of being unsatisfied with his lifestyle.
  9. F – The fisherman shows no real interest in the banker’s plan.
  10. F – After 20 years of hard work the fisherman will finally return to his old lifestyle!

Who was Saint Patrick really?

Taken Prisoner By Irish Raiders

It is known that St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D. Although his father was a Christian deacon, it has been suggested that he probably took on the role because of tax incentives and there is no evidence that Patrick came from a particularly religious family. At the age of 16, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family’s estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. (There is some dispute over where this captivity took place. Although many believe he was taken to live in Mount Slemish in County Antrim, it is more likely that he was held in County Mayo near Killala.) During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian. (It is also believed that Patrick first began to dream of converting the Irish people to Christianity during his captivity.)

Guided By Visions

After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, a voice—which he believed to be God’s—spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland. To do so, Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo, where it is believed he was held, to the Irish coast. After escaping to Britain, Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation—an angel in a dream tells him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Soon after, Patrick began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than 15 years. After his ordination as a priest, he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission: to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish. (Interestingly, this mission contradicts the widely held notion that Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland.)

Bonfires and Crosses

Familiar with the Irish language and culture, Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs. For instance, he used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire. He also superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that veneration of the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish. Although there were a small number of Christians on the island when Patrick arrived, most Irish practiced a nature-based pagan religion. The Irish culture centered around a rich tradition of oral legend and myth. When this is considered, it is no surprise that the story of Patrick’s life became exaggerated over the centuries—spinning exciting tales to remember history has always been a part of the Irish way of life.

Source: History.com


COMPREHENSION


  TRUE    FALSE

According to the article:

  1. Patrick was not born in Ireland.
  2. Patrick’s father was a devout Christian.
  3. Patrick decided to go to Ireland at the age of 16.
  4. Fear and solitude drove Patrick to Christianity.
  5. Patrick first started converting the Irish people to Christianity during his captivity.
  6. After escaping, Patrick went back to Britain.
  7. On his return to Ireland, Patrick started studying to be a priest.
  8. Patrick chose not to attempt to eradicate native Irish rituals in his teachings.
  9. The Celtic cross was invented by Patrick.
  10. It was Patrick who first introduced Christianity to Ireland.

ATTENZIONE
RISPOSTE CORRETTE QUI SOTTO

right-wrong
down-arrows
down-arrows
  1. T – Il nome ‘Britain’ (Bretagna) si riferisce all’isola maggiore (Inghilterra, Scozia, Galles) e non include l’Irlanda.
  2. F – Non ci sono prove che la famiglia di Patrick era particolarmente religiosa (si pensa che suo padre era diacono solo per usufruire delle agevolazioni fiscali!)
  3. F – Fu portato in Irlanda contro la sua volontà dai sciacalli irlandesi.
  4. T – ‘Lonely and afraid’ = solo e impaurito (paura e solitudine).
  5. F – Forse ha cominciato a pensarlo ma ha cominciato a farlo molto più tardi.
  6. T – Ha camminato da County Mayo fino alla costa e poi è fuggito nella Bretagna.
  7. F – Ha studiato in Bretagna prima di tornare in Irlanda.
  8. T – Ha preferito incorporare i riti e simboli tradizionali irlandesi nelle sue lezioni di cristianesimo.
  9. T – Secondo il testo fu Patrick a combinare il simbolo del sole (il cerchio) con la croce cristiana per dare nascita alla ‘Celtic Cross’.
  10. F – Anche se relativamente pochi, c’erano già dei cristiani in Irlanda prima dell’arrivo di Patrick.

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