This series of Everyday Conversations is about a family traveling to each of the 50 states in the U.S. Join the family members as they learn about local pastimes and history. These conversations are for intermediate-level English-language learners or higher.

In this conversation, the family visits a very unusual park — the Crater of Diamonds State Park in the state of Arkansas.


Sam: How long are we going to spend here? I want to stay until I find a diamond.

Gina: We’ll spend the day here, so keep your eyes peeled for diamonds.

Claudine: Is it really likely that we’ll find something?

Paul: The park opened 45 years ago, and since then, visitors have found more than 30,000 diamonds.

Claudine: Wow! That’s a lot. I’ve never looked for diamonds in volcanic soil before, so maybe I’ll have beginner’s luck and find one. And we don’t have to give diamonds we find to the park?

Paul: No, it’s finders keepers.

Sam: Why are there diamonds here? I didn’t know there were diamonds in the U.S. — except at the store, of course.

Gina: There was a volcanic eruption about 100 million years ago. Because of the eruption, rocks and minerals were brought to the surface. Over time, erosion has removed a lot of the soil, and the heavier stuff — like diamonds — remains.

Sam: That’s lucky for us! Now let’s start looking.

Now let’s review the vocabulary.

Crater of Diamonds State Park is a state park in Arkansas and has the world’s only diamond site that the public can access. A state park is a protected area, usually created to protect and keep an area known for its beauty, historic importance, etc. State parks are managed by the government of each U.S. state. In contrast, a national park is managed by the national government.

To keep one’s eyes peeled means to watch carefully for something or someone.

Volcanic soil is from the volcanic ash from a volcano. A volcano is a mountain with a large hole at the top. Hot liquid rock, gases, steam and dust come out of the hole in the volcano. This is called a volcanic eruption. The gray or black powder that is left after the eruption is called volcanic ash. The volcanic ash then forms volcanic soil. (Soil is the top layer of earth. Plants, flowers, trees, etc., grow in soil.)

Beginner’s luck is unexpected success by someone who is doing an activity for the first time.

Finders keepers means that the person who finds something can keep it.

Erosion is the gradual destruction of the surface of something by natural forces, such as water or wind.

The American English website offers a variety of free resources for learners and teachers of English. The American English Facebook page posts learning materials for English-language learners daily. The American English for Educators Facebook page posts teaching materials for English-language teachers daily.

Everyday Conversations are developed by the State Department’s Heidi Howland, a senior program officer in the Office of English Language Programs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Learn more about planning a trip to the U.S. and applying for a tourist visa.