★☆☆Words and Their Stories: Military Expressions

2012年11月02日 ★☆☆, 2013年6月以前の記事, American Life & Culture, News Articles, VOA.

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. publication /ˌpəbliˈkāSHən/ (n.) the preparation and issuing of a book, journal, piece of music, or other work for public sale
  2. navy /ˈnāvē/ (n.) the branch of a nation’s armed services that conducts military operations at sea
  3. marine /məˈrēn/ (n.) a member of a body of troops trained to serve on land or at sea, in particular a member of the US Marine Corps
  4. galvanize /ˈgalvəˌnīz/ (vb.) to cover (steel or iron) with a layer of zinc to prevent it from rusting
  5. vehicle /ˈvēəkəl/ /ˈvēˌhikəl/ (n.) a thing used for transporting people or goods, especially on land, such as a car, truck, or cart


Words and Their Stories: Military Expressions

* Read the text below

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(1) A leatherneck or a grunt do not sound like nice names to call someone. Yet men and women who serve in the United States armed forces are proud of those names. And if you think they sound strange, consider doughboy and GI Joe.

(2) After the American Civil War in the eighteen sixties, a writer in a publication called Beadle’s Monthly used the word doughboy to describe Civil War soldiers. But word expert Charles Funk says that early writer could not explain where the name started.

(3) About twenty years later, someone did explain. She was the wife of the famous American general George Custer.

(4) Elizabeth Custer wrote that a doughboy was a sweet food served to Navy men on ships. She also said the name was given to the large buttons on the clothes of soldiers. Elizabeth Custer believed the name changed over time to mean the soldiers themselves.

(5) Now, we probably most often think of doughboys as the soldiers who fought for the Allies in World War One.

(6) By World War Two, soldiers were called other names. The one most often heard was GI, or GI Joe. Most people say the letters GI were a short way to say general issue or government issue. The name came to mean several things. It could mean the soldier himself. It could mean things given to soldiers when they joined the military such as weapons, equipment or clothes. And, for some reason, it could mean to organize, or clean.

(7) Soldiers often say, “We GI’d the place.” And when an area looks good, soldiers may say the area is “GI.” Strangely, though, GI can also mean poor work, a job badly done.

(8) Some students of military words have another explanation of GI. They say that instead of government issue or general issue, GI came from the words galvanized iron. The American soldier was said to be like galvanized iron, a material produced for special strength. The Dictionary of Soldier Talk says GI was used for the words galvanized iron in a publication about the vehicles of the early twentieth century.

(9) Today, a doughboy or GI may be called a grunt. Nobody is sure of the exact beginning of the word. But, the best idea probably is that the name comes from the sound that troops make when ordered to march long distances carrying heavy equipment.

(10) A member of the United States Marines also has a strange name — leatherneck. It is thought to have started in the eighteen hundreds. Some say the name comes from the thick collars of leather early Marines wore around their necks to protect them from cuts during battles. Others say the sun burned the Marines’ necks until their skin looked like leather.


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

  1. Have you ever imagined yourself joining the military? Why or why not? How will this career affect your way of living?
  2. Are you a patriotic person? Why do you say so? If yes, what are the common things that you do which shows love for your country? If no, what are the reasons why you are not patriotic and in your own ways how can you improve this belief?
  3. Why do you think wars happen? What are the advantages and disadvantages of war?


English Compositions

*Let’s make English compositions using the expressions from the article.

(1) Most people say the word/letters (noun) were a short way to say (noun).

EX) Most people say the letters GI were a short way to say general issue or government issue.

(2) A member of the (noun) also has a strange name — (noun).

EX) A member of the United States Marines also has a strange name — leatherneck.