Each month, we’ll post a TOEFL-level article from the internet to help you practice your reading and vocabulary. Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Milk and Economic Development: No Use Crying
From The Economist
This article presents the idea that the ability to digest milk may explain how Europe got rich.
First, let me be clear about my personal opinion: I don’t think it’s a very good idea to look for genetic reasons for Europe’s historical wealth. The reasons that Europe became wealthy are very many, and very complicated, I imagine. That said, this month’s article is a very short, interesting read, and it alone is not harmful. Plus it’s great as TOEFL practice. And that’s the point!
The general topics (European history, biology) are common TOEFL topics, and the vocabulary is at a challenging, academic level. It’s actually a bit more difficult than an average TOEFL text, but that makes for good practice.
Here are some vocabulary words you need for the article:
migration = moving from one place to live in another place
composition = what something is made of
proportion = the size of a part compared to the size of the whole
tolerance = ability to accept and not fight against
estimate = guess (a number) using some information
(pre-)colonial = of the time when European people started trying to control the Americas, Africa, Australia, and Asia
incidence = how common or uncommon something bad (like disease) is
extract = take out; take from
infrastructure = roads, electricity, water, and other things needed for a city
innovation = creating new things