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GENERAL ISSUES

Superstition

A A A A GENERAL ISSUES GENERAL ISSUES Superstition Lesson code: BF77-F76B-9AEA-P U P P E

Lesson code: BF77-F76B-9AEA-P

UPPER INTERMEDIATE +

U P P E R I N T E R M E D I A T

1 Warm-up

What are superstitions? Are you superstitious?

+ 1 Warm-up What are superstitions? Are you superstitious? 2 Key words Complete the sentences with

2 Key words

Complete the sentences with the words below:

doomed

folklore

insanity

misfortune

omen

restored

1. If something brings

2. If you are

3. If something is

4. If something is a bad

5. A person who is seriously mentally ill suffers from

6. is the traditional stories and culture of a particular group of people.

, it brings bad luck.

, something bad is certain to happen to you.

, it is returned to an earlier good state or condition.

, it is a sign that something bad will happen in the future.

.

it is a sign that something bad will happen in the future. . 3 Reading Look

3 Reading

Look at the common superstitions below. Do you know what they are about or where they come from?

1. Friday the 13th

2. Breaking a mirror

3. Black cats

4. Walking under a ladder

5. Opening an umbrella indoors

6. A full moon

Now read the article on the next page to find out. Ask about or look up any words you don't know.

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Superstition

Superstition

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Innovation in Learning

Innovation in Learning

e lingua house Innovation in Learning Innovation in Learning TM TM A A A A A

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GENERAL ISSUES

GENERAL ISSUES

A A A A A A GENERAL ISSUES GENERAL ISSUES Friday 13th and other superstitions Where

Friday 13th and other superstitions

Where do superstitions come from?

1 The date Friday the 13th is considered to bring bad luck, according to western superstition. But where does this strange belief come from? One theory states that it is a modern combination of two older superstitions: that thirteen is an unlucky number and that Friday is an unlucky day.

Let's take a look at other well-known superstitions thought to bring misfortune to the masses.

2 Breaking a mirror

According to this superstition, breaking a mirror will leave you doomed for seven years. The generally accepted explanation is that the reflection in a mirror represents a soul, so damaging a mirror corrupts the soul of the one that broke it. Some believe that the reason for the seven years is that the Romans (who were the first glass mirror-makers) believed that life renewed itself after every seven years, so the soul wouldn't be fully restored until the next seven-year cycle had passed.

3 Black cat

The belief surrounding the luck of black cats varies across the world, with some cultures believing them to be lucky and others a bad omen. The most widespread belief is that if a black cat crosses your path, you will suffer bad luck.

Black cats have often been associated with witches and during the Middle Ages, these superstitions led people to kill black cats.

4 Walking under a ladder

This superstition is said to have originated from early Christian teachings -- an object with three points represents the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit. A ladder leaning

against a building was seen as a triangle, and to pass through this triangle by walking under the ladder was seen as breaking the Trinity, putting you in league with the devil.

Of course it could simply be bad luck for you and the person at the top of the ladder if you accidentally knock it.

5 Umbrella indoors

This myth originates from the days when umbrellas were used mainly as protection against the sun in Ancient Egypt. To open one indoors would be an insult to the sun god (Ra) and invite his wrath on everyone in the household.

Another legend surrounding the superstition is that

it was invented specifically to cut down on the

number of accidents. In 19th century England, the umbrella had pointy and dangerous metal spokes.

6 Full moon

Full moons are traditionally linked with insanity due to the folklore that madness can occur in cycles with the moon. It was thought that sleeping in direct moonlight caused madness or blindness

and in Italy, France and Germany, it was said that

a man could turn into a wolf if he, on a certain

Wednesday or Friday, slept outside on a summer night with the full moon shining directly on him.

Various facts have been claimed about the appearance of full moons. Police in Toledo, Ohio (US) claimed that crime rises by five percent during nights with a full moon and a study by a hospital in Bradford (England) found that dog bites were twice as common during a full moon.

Adapted from The Independent, Friday 13 January 2012, by Laura Davis

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Superstition

Superstition

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Innovation in Learning

Innovation in Learning

h o u s e Innovation in Learning Innovation in Learning TM TM A A A

TM TM

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GENERAL ISSUES

GENERAL ISSUES

A A A A A A GENERAL ISSUES GENERAL ISSUES 4 Checking understanding What do you

4 Checking understanding

What do you remember? Answer the questions below.

1. Which two superstitions resulted in the superstition of Friday the 13th?

2. Why did breaking a mirror bring 7 years of bad luck according to the Romans?

3. Why were black cats killed in the Middle Ages?

4. Why was walking under a ladder considered `evil' according to early Christians?

5. Why was opening an umbrella indoors considered dangerous in the 19th century?

6. What evidence `proves' that the appearance of a full moon is a bad omen?

that the appearance of a full moon is a bad omen? 5 Talking point Do you

5 Talking point

Do you have the same superstitions in your country? Are there any common superstitions in your country that are not mentioned in the article?

in your country that are not mentioned in the article? 6 Grammar - Passive structures Study

6 Grammar - Passive structures

Study the following sentences from the text.

a. The date Friday the 13th is considered to bring bad luck.

b. This superstition is said to have originated from early Christian teachings.

These sentences have the same meaning as:

1. It is considered that the date Friday the 13th brings bad luck.

2. It is said that this superstition originated from early Christian teachings.

What do you notice about the two types of passive structures? How can the sentences be rewritten in the active voice?

Find two examples of the second type of structure (`It

') in Paragraph 6.

These types of passive structures are often used in reporting news. They can be used with a number of other verbs, for example:

believed reported known expected alleged understood

The suspect is believed to be hiding somewhere in South America. It is believed that the suspect is hiding somewhere in South America.

The football player was alleged to have cheated during the match. It was alleged that the football player had cheated during the match.

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Superstition

Superstition

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Innovation in Learning

Innovation in Learning

h o u s e Innovation in Learning Innovation in Learning TM TM A A A

TM TM

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A A A A A A A A GENERAL ISSUES GENERAL ISSUES

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GENERAL ISSUES

GENERAL ISSUES

A A A A A A GENERAL ISSUES GENERAL ISSUES 7 Practice Rewrite the sentences below

7 Practice

Rewrite the sentences below in another way, for example:

It is believed that Paul is in France.

Paul is believed to be in France.

1. It was considered that black cats were evil.

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2. It is thought that the suspect was the mastermind behind the crime.

 

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3. It is believed that Friday the 13th is a relatively modern superstition.

 

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4. It is believed that the missing boy is wearing a white t-shirt and black trousers.

 

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5. It was alleged that the accountant had stolen millions from the company.

 

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6. It is expected that the manager will retire next month.

 

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7. It is understood that he was relaxing on the beach when the accident happened.

 

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8. It was known that he was out of the country at the time of the incident.

 

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9. It is suspected that the prime minister was involved in last year's scandal.

 

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. . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Talking point Why

8 Talking point

Why do you think people believe in superstitions?

point Why do you think people believe in superstitions? 9 Flashcard review Don't forget what you

9 Flashcard review

Don't forget what you learned in this lesson! Go to www.linguahouse.com, click `Learning English' and enter Lesson code: BF77-F76B-9AEA-P.

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Key

Superstition - Key

Superstition -

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GENERAL ISSUES

1- Warm-up

Superstitions -- irrational beliefs based on old ideas about magic, witchcraft, religion, etc. Encourage a brief discussion as a warm-up. You can elicit examples of superstitions, but do not let the students get carried away, as specific superstitions will be discussed further on in the worksheet.

2- Key words

1. misfortune 2. doomed

3. restored

4. omen

5. insanity

6. folklore

3- Reading

Before reading, students briefly discuss the superstitions and speculate on their origin. In a large class, this can be done in pairs or groups. Be prepared to explain any unfamiliar vocabulary in the text during the reading, e.g. `the masses' (the majority of people in society), `leaning against', `in league with the devil' (secretly working with the devil), `wrath' (extreme anger), `metal spokes', etc.

4- Checking understanding

1. The number 13 is unlucky; Friday is an unlucky day.

2. The soul wouldn't be fully restored.

3. They were associated with witches.

4. A ladder leaning against a building resembled a triangle, which represented the Holy Trinity.

5. Umbrellas had dangerous metal spokes.

6. Crime rate rises and the number of dog bites increases.

6- Grammar - Passive structures

Sentences 1-2 use the structure `It is said/considered etc. that + SUBJECT + VERB'. Sentences a-b use the structure 'SUBJECT + is said/considered etc. + INFINITVE'. The past simple in sentence 2 becomes a past infinitive (`to have originated') in sentence b. The sentences could be rewritten as follows:

1. People consider Friday the 13th to bring bad luck. / People consider that Friday the 13th brings bad luck.

2. People say that this superstition originated from early Christian teachings.

In P6: `It was thought that sleeping in direct moonlight caused madness';` it was said that a man could turn into a wolf'.

7- Practice

1. Black cats were considered to be evil.

2. The suspect is thought to have been the mastermind behind the crime.

3. Friday the 13th is believed to be a relatively modern superstition.

4. The missing boy is believed to be wearing a white t-shirt and black trousers.

5. The accountant was alleged to have stolen millions from the company.

6. The manager is expected to retire next month.

7. He is understood to have been relaxing on the beach when the accident happened.

8. He was known to be out of the country at the time of the incident.

9. The prime minister is suspected to have been involved in last year's scandal.

Learn faster, forget less! Review this lesson with the Expemo memorization system. i
Learn faster, forget less! Review this lesson with the Expemo memorization system. i
Learn faster, forget less! Review this lesson with the Expemo memorization system.
Learn faster, forget less! Review this lesson with the Expemo memorization system.

Learn faster, forget less! Review this lesson with the Expemo memorization system.

Learn faster, forget less! Review this lesson with the Expemo memorization system.

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