GUESSING MEANING FROM CONTEXT


There are a number of strategies you can use to work out the meanings of new/unknown words which will help with your overall reading comprehension. One of these strategies is guessing meaning from context.

In the activity below, each sentence contains advice about how to guess meaning from context. Complete the sentences by dragging suitable words into the gaps.



Answers:

  1. Consider common knowledge and the title as a guide in narrowing down the guesses of unknown words.
  2. Look at the unknown word and identify its part of speech. Is it a noun, verb, adjective or adverb? Knowing this information will help you to establish what its role is in the sentence.
  3. Look at the sentence to locate any words that signal a relationship between the different parts of the same sentence or other sentences. Sometimes, for example, the relationship is signaled by a linking word such as ‘while, however or but’, which show a contrast. This contrast can then help you think logically about the meaning.
  4. Break down the word into parts if it is possible e.g. look at its prefix, root and suffix. This will help you to understand the part of speech and possibly its meaning.
  5. Look for a definition, explanation, synonym or restatement of the word nearby.
  6. Decide if the word is positive, negative or neither.
  7. Look at the previous sentences or the ones after. They often give useful information/clues to help you work out the meaning.

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Task One


Use the strategies mentioned to see if you can work out the meanings of the highlighted words in the following article. The reading has been divided into three parts. You need to correctly answer each set of questions before you can move onto the next question. This is to help you work out the meanings step by step.

3D printing powered by thought

BBC Future 14 June 2013 By Camila Ruz
Reprinted with permission from BBC ( http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130613-3d-printing-your-thoughts )

Thinker Thing, a start-up based in Santiago, Chile, says it has developed a way of printing 3D objects from people’s thoughts. (Reprinted with permission from Nisha Ligon)


Thought provoking

Imagine if you could print objects just by thinking about them. Camila Ruz visits one company to see whether this is a far-fetched dream or a real possibility. It’s definitely not a bird. Nor is it a plane. The garish orange piece of plastic, small enough to hold in the palm of a hand, could pass for a missing limb of a toy tyrannosaurus. It may not look all that impressive, but it’s notable for two reasons. One is that the monster arm has emerged from a 3D printer. The other is that it is, in fact, the first ever object made from thought. This milestone was reached with little ceremony last month at the Santiago MakerSpace (http://stgomakerspace.com), a technology and design studio in the Chilean capital. The toy limb’s shape was determined according to the wishes of its designer, as gleaned from a headset picking up his brainwaves. The man in question was George Laskowsky, Chief Technical Officer of Thinker Thing (http://www.thinkerthing.com/), the Chilean start-up developing the mind-controlled 3D printing system. Engineers and designers have been using 3D printers for more than two decades. More recently, prices have tumbled and desk-top devices are increasingly being aimed at consumers. The promoted possibilities appear to be endless – from bones to buildings to burritos – making some observers predict revolutionary consequences like the eventual demise of the factory.





Task Two


Reading Comprehension.

Now that you have worked out the meanings of the new/unknown words answer the true/false questions below.


Thought provoking

Imagine if you could print objects just by thinking about them. Camila Ruz visits one company to see whether this is a far-fetched dream or a real possibility. It’s definitely not a bird. Nor is it a plane. The garish orange piece of plastic, small enough to hold in the palm of a hand, could pass for a missing limb of a toy tyrannosaurus. It may not look all that impressive, but it’s notable for two reasons. One is that the monster arm has emerged from a 3D printer. The other is that it is, in fact, the first ever object made from thought.

This milestone was reached with little ceremony last month at the Santiago MakerSpace (http://stgomakerspace.com), a technology and design studio in the Chilean capital. The toy limb’s shape was determined according to the wishes of its designer, as gleaned from a headset picking up his brainwaves. The man in question was George Laskowsky, Chief Technical Officer of Thinker Thing (http://www.thinkerthing.com/), the Chilean start-up developing the mind-controlled 3D printing system.

Engineers and designers have been using 3D printers for more than two decades. More recently, prices have tumbled and desk-top devices are increasingly being aimed at consumers. The promoted possibilities appear to be endless – from bones to buildings to burritos – making some observers predict revolutionary consequences like the eventual demise of the factory.




Answers:

1 – True, 2 – False, 3 – False, 4 – False, 5 – True

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Task Three


Read part two of the article and answer the questions below.


Because 3D printers build objects layer by layer from materials such as plastic or metal dust, a key advantage is the comparative freedom they give designers. Yet the design software is not easy to master, especially if you are four-years-old and haven’t yet learnt to hold a pencil properly. “What is the point of these printers if my son cannot design his own toy?” says Bryan Salt, CEO of Thinker Thing. “I realised that while there were a lot of people talking about the hardware of the printer no-one really seemed to be talking about how to actually use it.”

In theory 3D printers could help unleash our inner creativity, freeing us from the constraints of traditional production methods. However, in practice those unwilling or unable to plough through the software instruction manual could be left downloading ready- made models designed by others.

That’s where Emotional Evolutionary Design (EED), the software that allows Thinker Thing to interpret its users’ thoughts, comes in. Its current role is to power the Monster Dreamer Project, which will allow users to design their own fantastical creatures using the power of thought. Chilean children will get the first opportunity to try it out during a tour of schools in the country at the end of this month.





Task Four


Reading Comprehension.

Now that you have worked out the meanings of the new/unknown words answer the true/false questions below.


Because 3D printers build objects layer by layer from materials such as plastic or metal dust, a key advantage is the comparative freedom they give designers. Yet the design software is not easy to master, especially if you are four-years-old and haven’t yet learnt to hold a pencil properly. “What is the point of these printers if my son cannot design his own toy?” says Bryan Salt, CEO of Thinker Thing. “I realised that while there were a lot of people talking about the hardware of the printer no-one really seemed to be talking about how to actually use it.”

In theory 3D printers could help unleash our inner creativity, freeing us from the constraints of traditional production methods. However, in practice those unwilling or unable to plough through the software instruction manual could be left downloading ready- made models designed by others.

That’s where Emotional Evolutionary Design (EED), the software that allows Thinker Thing to interpret its users’ thoughts, comes in. Its current role is to power the Monster Dreamer Project, which will allow users to design their own fantastical creatures using the power of thought. Chilean children will get the first opportunity to try it out during a tour of schools in the country at the end of this month.




Answers:

1 – False, 2 - True, 3 – True, 4 – False – 5 – True

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Task Five


Read part three of the article and answer the questions below.


When those children sit in front of a computer running Monster Dreamer, they will be presented with a series of different body shapes in bubbles. These will mutate randomly, with built-in rules preventing them becoming too abstract. The children’s reactions to the changes will be picked up by an Emotiv EPOC headset (http://www.emotiv.com/), a $300 electroencephalography (EEG) device designed to pick up the electrical signals from brain cell interactions using fourteen sensors on the scalp. As different brain states such as excitement or boredom generate specific patterns of brain activity, the computer can identify the shapes associated with positive emotional responses. The favoured shapes will grow bigger on the screen, while the others shrink. The biggest shapes are combined to generate a body part, and the process is repeated for different body parts until the monster is complete. The final result should be a unique 3D model that is ready for printing as a solid object.




Task Six


Reading Comprehension.

Now that you have worked out the meanings of the new/unknown words answer the true/false questions below.


When those children sit in front of a computer running Monster Dreamer, they will be presented with a series of different body shapes in bubbles. These will mutate randomly, with built-in rules preventing them becoming too abstract. The children’s reactions to the changes will be picked up by an Emotiv EPOC headset (http://www.emotiv.com/), a $300 electroencephalography (EEG) device designed to pick up the electrical signals from brain cell interactions using fourteen sensors on the scalp. As different brain states such as excitement or boredom generate specific patterns of brain activity, the computer can identify the shapes associated with positive emotional responses. The favoured shapes will grow bigger on the

screen, while the others shrink. The biggest shapes are combined to generate a body part, and the process is repeated for different body parts until the monster is complete. The final result should be a unique 3D model that is ready for printing as a solid object.




Answers:

1 – F, 2 – T, 3 – F, 4 – T, 5 - F

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