The Reading / Listening - Memes - Level 5

Memes are a growing part of our life and popular culture, especially online. We know memes as the pictures that go viral on social media sites. People use them to make jokes or make social and political comments. However, author Richard Dawkins, the originator of the word 'meme', is unhappy with the Internet defining a meme as a "picture with words". Mr Dawkins coined the term 'meme' in his book 'The Selfish Gene'. He said memes are ideas that replicate and spread from brain to brain, much like genes. He never uses the word 'meme' to refer to a picture with writing on it.



Universities now offer degree courses on memes. Northwestern University started its Meme Studies course in 2011. Britain's Sky News says memes help to make politics easier for young people. A Twitter user said: "Memes helped people understand more complex ideas, and that having politics framed in a different way makes it more [understandable]." Memes were an important way for people to express their views during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The vice.com website said: "Memes now have as much power, influence and reach as the propaganda posters of yesteryear."

Try the same news story at these levels:

    Memes - Level 4 or  Memes - Level 6

Sources
  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/39967075/did-you-know-the-word-meme-is-41-years-old
  • http://news.sky.com/story/how-memes-make-dull-and-dry-politics-accessible-10888209
  • https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/meme-historians-are-an-inevitability


Make sure you try all of the online activities for this reading and listening - There are dictations, multiple choice, drag and drop activities, crosswords, hangman, flash cards, matching activities and a whole lot more. Please enjoy :-)



Phrase Matching

Paragraph 1

  1. Memes are a growing part
  2. popular
  3. go viral on social
  4. make
  5. Dawkins coined the
  6. ideas that
  7. spread from brain to brain,
  8. the word 'meme' to refer to a picture
  1. replicate
  2. media sites
  3. with writing on it
  4. term 'meme'
  5. of our life
  6. much like genes
  7. culture
  8. jokes

Paragraph 2

  1. Universities now offer degree
  2. memes help to make politics
  3. understand more
  4. having politics framed in a
  5. an important way for people to
  6. presidential
  7. power, influence
  8. propaganda posters of
  1. express their views
  2. complex ideas
  3. easier
  4. election
  5. and reach
  6. courses on memes
  7. yesteryear
  8. different way

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

Memes (1) ___________________ part of our life and popular culture, especially online. We know (2) ___________________ pictures that go viral on social media sites. People use them to make (3) ___________________ social and political comments. However, author Richard Dawkins, the originator of the word 'meme', is unhappy with the Internet defining (4) ___________________ "picture with words". Mr Dawkins coined the term 'meme' in his book 'The Selfish Gene'. He said (5) ___________________ that replicate and spread from brain to brain, much like genes. He never uses the word 'meme' to refer (6) ___________________ writing on it.

Universities (7) ___________________ courses on memes. Northwestern University started its Meme Studies course in 2011. Britain's Sky News says memes (8) ___________________ politics easier for young people. A Twitter user said: "Memes helped people understand (9) ___________________, and that having politics framed (10) ___________________ way makes it more [understandable]." Memes (11) ___________________ way for people to express their views during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The vice.com website said: "Memes now (12) ___________________ power, influence and reach as the propaganda posters of yesteryear."

Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

Memesareagrowingpartofourlifeandpopularculture,especiallyonline
.Weknowmemesasthepicturesthatgoviralonsocialmediasites.Peopl
eusethemtomakejokesormakesocialandpoliticalcomments.Howeve
r,authorRichardDawkins,theoriginatoroftheword'meme',isunhappy
withtheInternetdefiningamemeasa"picturewithwords".MrDawkinsc
oinedtheterm'meme'inhisbook'TheSelfishGene'.Hesaidmemesareid
easthatreplicateandspreadfrombraintobrain,muchlikegenes.Henev
erusestheword'meme'torefertoapicturewithwritingonit.Universities
nowofferdegreecoursesonmemes.NorthwesternUniversitystartedit
sMemeStudiescoursein2011.Britain'sSkyNewssaysmemeshelptom
akepoliticseasierforyoungpeople.ATwitterusersaid:"Memeshelpedp
eopleunderstandmorecomplexideas,andthathavingpoliticsframedin
adifferentwaymakesitmore[understandable]."Memeswereanimport
antwayforpeopletoexpresstheirviewsduringthe2016U.S.presidentia
lelection.Thevice.comwebsitesaid:"Memesnowhaveasmuchpower,i
nfluenceandreachasthepropagandapostersofyesteryear."

Student survey

Write five GOOD questions about this topic in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper. When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

(Please look at page 12 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

Discussion — Write your own questions

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

(a) ________________

(b) ________________

(c) ________________

(d) ________________

(e) ________________

(f) ________________

(g) ________________

(h) ________________

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

(i) ________________

(j) ________________

(k) ________________

(l) ________________

(m) ________________

(n) ________________

(o) ________________

(p) ________________





Free writing

Write about this topic for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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Answers

(Please check your answers against the article above.

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