★★☆Hey, I’m Workin’ for Chickenfeed Here!

2014年10月14日 ★★☆, VOA, Words and Their Stories, 未分類.

Read and understand the article. If you may have any difficult words to pronounce and words you cannot understand, always ask your teacher.

*Teachers will divide the article into 2-3 paragraphs to help you understand and check the pronunciation of the difficult words.


*Read the words carefully.

  1. protest /prəˈtɛst/ (v.) to show or express strong disagreement with or disapproval of something
  2. chicken feed /ˈtʃɪkn̩ ˈfiːd/ (n.) an amount of money that is too small to be considered important
  3. probably /ˈprɑːbəbli/ (adv) very likely : almost certainly
  4. agitator /ˈæʤəˌteɪtɚ/ (n.) usually disapproving : a person who tries to get people angry or upset so that they will support an effort to change a government, company, etc.
  5. link /ˈlɪŋk/ (v.) to join or connect (two or more things, places, etc.) together


Hey, I’m Workin’ for Chickenfeed Here!

* Read the text below

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(1) Almost every language in the world has a saying that a person can never be too rich.

(2) Americans, like people in other countries, always want more money. One way they express this is by protesting that their jobs do not pay enough. A common expression is, “I am working for chickenfeed.” It means “working for very little money.” The expression probably began because seeds fed to chickens made people think of small change. “Small change” means metal coins of not much value, like nickels which are worth five cents.

(3) An early use of the word chickenfeed appeared in an American publication in 1930. It told about a rich man and his so​n. Word expert Mitford Mathews says it read: “I’ll bet neither the kid nor his father ever saw a nickel or a dime. They would not have been interested in such chickenfeed.”

(4) Chickenfeed also has another interesting meaning known to history experts and World War II spies and soldiers. Spy expert Henry S. A. Becket writes that some German spies working in London during the war also worked for the British. The British government had to make the Germans believe their spies were working. So, British officials gave them mostly false information. It was called “chickenfeed.”

(5) The same person who protests that he is “working for chickenfeed” may also say, “I am working for peanuts.” She means she is working for a small amount of money. It is a very different meaning from the main one in the dictionary. That meaning is “small nuts that grow on a plant.”

(6) No one knows for sure how a word for something to eat also came to mean something very small. But, a peanut is a very small food.

(7) The expression is an old one. Word expert Mitford Mathews says that as early as 1854, an American publication used the words “peanut agitators.” That meant “political troublemakers who did not have a lot of support.”

(8) Another reason for the saying about “working for peanuts” may be linked to elephants. Think of how elephants are paid for their work in the circus — they receive food, not money. One of the foods they like best is peanuts.

(9) When you add the word “gallery” to the word “peanut” you have the name of an area in an American theater. A gallery is a high seating area or balcony above the main floor.

(10) The peanut gallery got its name because it is the part of the theater most distant from where the show takes place. So, peanut gallery tickets usually cost less than other tickets. People pay a small amount of money for them.


*Let’s talk about the article based on the questions below

  1. Do you enjoy working? What motivates you to work?
  2. What is the smallest amount of money in your country? What can you buy with it?
  3. Many people say that ‘Money is the root of all evil’. Do you agree or disagree? Why?


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