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LESSON FORTY-FIVE HERE!
In today’s lesson, entitled The Ship of Dreams, you will listen to a passage about the events leading up to and following the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic. Listen carefully to the passage and then answer the questions that follow. It’s always a good idea to take notes as you listen, but remember: don’t let your note-taking distract you from your listening.
The Ship of Dreams
Listen and Learn
Lesson Forty-Five PASSAGE ONLY track:
When the R.M.S Titanic, the “Ship of Dreams,” set sail across the North Atlantic on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York on April 10, 1912, she carried more than 2,200 passengers and crew. In first class were some of the wealthiest and most influential businessmen of the early 20th century, including Benjamin Guggenheim, son of mining industrialist Meyer Guggenheim. And down in “steerage” were hundreds of oppressed, poverty-stricken immigrants from Europe and the Middle East seeking freedom and fortune in North America.
The first three days were smooth sailing. The crewmembers went diligently about their tasks, the first-class passengers enjoyed the ship’s many comforts and leisure activities, and the poor passengers down below … well, packed in like cattle, they entertained themselves and dreamed of their new lives. That they were all headed for calamity was the last thing on anyone’s mind. After all, the Titanic was “unsinkable.”
On Sunday, April 14, 1912, the Titanic received several wireless messages from other ships warning her of icebergs in her path. Ignoring these warnings, she pushed through the icy, but still waters, travelling at nearly maximum speed. At 11:40 p.m., a “berg” grazed her side. Five of the sixteen supposedly watertight compartments were punctured. Within minutes, the ship’s bow began taking on water about 20 feet below the water line. The liner nosed down, and water rushed into the compartments, one after another. Two hours and forty minutes after the collision with the iceberg, 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, the Titanic plunged to the bottom of the sea. More than 1,500 people went down with her. Of the 705 survivors, the majority were first-class passengers. Benjamin Guggenheim was not among them, however.
News of the Titanic’s demise reached both sides of the Atlantic early that morning. Initial investigations blamed Captain E.J. Smith for not heeding warnings and sailing “full speed ahead” in treacherous waters. Further enquiries disclosed that the ship had not been equipped with enough lifeboats to accommodate all its passengers and crew. Second- and third-class passengers had been “sacrificed” to save the rich and powerful. The world was outraged. How could a tragedy like this happen? People everywhere called for strict safety procedures on all passenger-carrying ships. This led to the establishment of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which continues to govern maritime safety today.
Now, more than one hundred years after Titanic’s doomed voyage, people with deep pockets will have the opportunity to see what life on board the Titanic was like. A full-sized replica of the ill-fated ship, the Titanic II, is currently under construction in China, with a maiden voyage planned for 2018. Like the original, Titanic II will have first-, second-, and third-class cabins and dining areas. The old Titanic’s famed grand staircase, Turkish baths, squash court, gym, and other facilities are also being meticulously duplicated. But if you’re superstitious, relax. According to the ship’s website, Titanic II will come equipped with the latest high-tech navigation and safety systems. And lifeboats. There will be plenty of lifeboats.
LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS
Listen to Listen and Learn: Lesson Forty-Five LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS track:
Today’s listening comprehension questions will be SHORT ANSWER and based on FACTUAL CONTENT and your ability to READ BETWEEN THE LINES. Listen to each question carefully and mark your answer. Feel free to pause the recording if you need a moment or two to think about the question.
1. The Titanic set sail from Southampton, England, on April 10, 1912. Where was it going?
2. Reading Between the Lines: What does “maiden voyage” mean?
3. Reading Between the Lines: Why, most likely, was the R.M.S. Titanic called “The Ship of Dreams?”
4. How did the captain of the Titanic know that there were icebergs along the ship’s path?
5. How fast was the Titanic travelling when the iceberg grazed its side?
6. How long did it take the Titanic to sink?
7. Why was Captain E.J. Smith blamed for the disaster?
8. People around the world were outraged by what happened aboard the Titanic. Give two reasons why they were so angry.
9. Where is Titanic II being constructed?
10. How will Titanic II be different from the original R.M.S. Titanic?
LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS and ANSWERS HERE!
You may also download the lesson in PDF format to keep for your reference.
KA Wordcast: Listen and Learn! Lesson Forty-Five
KEY VOCABULARY WORDS
Be sure to listen to the Key Vocabulary bonus track. This will help you improve your understanding of the passage itself and give your vocabulary a big boost.
And down in “steerage” were hundreds of OPPRESSED, poverty-stricken immigrants from Europe and the Middle East seeking freedom and fortune in North America.
In the passage, OPPRESSED is used as an adjective based on the verb to OPPRESS, which means to treat people in an unfair or cruel way, especially by not giving them the same freedoms or rights as others. Persecute, maltreat, suppress, ill-treat, and abuse are some synonyms for OPPRESS. Synonyms for the adjective form OPPRESSED include persecuted, maltreated, suppressed, abused, and exploited.
The tyrannical dictator has long been OPPRESSING his country’s people.
After decades of unfair treatment, the country’s OPPRESSED minorities are banding together to demand liberty and equality.
As recently as forty years ago, some husbands still OPPRESSED their wives by forbidding them to work outside the home.
The word “ghetto” was originally used to describe neighborhoods occupied by Europe’s OPPRESSED Jews.
OPPRESS also means to cause distress or anxiety to another person. Depress, distress, dishearten, crush, sadden, and discourage are some synonyms for this usage.
Oscar, the class bully, OPPRESSED his victims by threatening to take away their lunch money.
I once lived in Africa and saw the situation there firsthand, so watching movies like “Blood Diamond” and “Hotel Rwanda” OPPRESSES me.
The noun OPPRESSION refers to the prolonged cruel or unjust treatment of others.
According to President Barack Obama, gender OPPRESSION is “crippling” development in some African countries.
THE OPPRESSED is a collective noun that refers to people who are OPPRESSED.
After retiring from their teaching jobs, Alice and Andrew dedicated their lives to helping the poor, the sick, and THE OPPRESSED in developing countries.
That they were all headed for CALAMITY was the last thing on anyone’s mind. After all, the Titanic was “unsinkable.”
CALAMITY is a noun that refers to an event that causes great damage or distress. Disaster, catastrophe, and tragedy are some useful synonyms.
If it hadn’t been for the bus driver’s quick reaction, the accident, which involved more than thirty schoolchildren, could have been a real CALAMITY.
The 16th-century French philosopher Nostradamus is said to have prophesized that a major CALAMITY would cripple the world in 2016.
America is only now slowly recovering from the 2008 so-called sub-prime financial CALAMITY.
Scientists say that the record-breaking floods are a manmade CALAMITY caused by over-development along the Mississippi River.
CALAMITOUS is the adjective form. Disastrous, catastrophic, devastating, tragic, dreadful, and terrible are some synonyms.
As we boarded up our windows, we prayed that the typhoon would not be as CALAMITOUS as meteorologists had predicted.
Dropping out of college to pursue a dancing career turned out to be a CALAMITOUS decision on Ryan’s part.
CALAMITOUS forest fires have resulted in the evacuation of several nearby towns and cities.
News of the Titanic’s DEMISE reached both sides of the Atlantic early that morning.
The noun DEMISE usually refers to the death of a living thing. Here, DEMISE is used figuratively to refer to the Titanic’s “death.” Synonyms for this usage of DEMISE include passing and end.
Because Frank had been so young and physically fit, we were all stunned to hear of his DEMISE.
When my daughter learned about the DEMISE of her beloved Guinea pig Swirly, she cried non-stop for days.
DEMISE is often used to talk about the end or failure of something such as an institution or enterprise. For this usage, synonyms include break-up, ruin, failure, and collapse.
The spread of the mobile phone is leading to the DEMISE of the public payphone.
On-line newspapers are largely responsible for the DEMISE of traditional newspapers.
The Amazon rainforest is a worldwide resource, and its DEMISE will affect us in a multitude of ways.
Following the DEMISE of the U.S.S.R, many Russians chose to emigrate to England and other Western European countries.
Initial investigations blamed Captain E.J. Smith for not heeding warnings and sailing “full speed ahead” in TREACHEROUS waters.
TREACHEROUS is an adjective that means having hidden or unpredictable dangers. Unsafe, hazardous, risky, perilous, and precarious are some equivalents.
Driving along the narrow, unlit country lanes at night can be TREACHEROUS.
Working under TREACHEROUS conditions, the rescuers managed to save hundreds of lives.
Die-hard surfers have been known to “hit the beach” even when the waves are choppy and TREACHEROUS.
We found the climb up to the top of the waterfall more TREACHEROUS than our guidebook had described it.
TREACHEROUS also refers to someone who is disloyal and can’t be trusted (it can also refer to things, as in the third sentence below). Synonyms include deceitful, double-crossing, unfaithful, untrustworthy, and unreliable.
Misled by a TREACHEROUS guide, the soldiers were ambushed at the mouth of the river by local rebels.
The notoriously TREACHEROUS Guy Fawkes has become synonymous with the Gunpowder Plot, the largest act of treason in English history.
Like so many other young voters, Roger deplores the country’s TREACHEROUS politics and only supports candidates who are ready to make a big change.
This definition of TREACHEROUS comes from the noun TREASON, the crime of doing something that could cause danger to your country such as leaking information to an enemy or trying to overthrow the government. A TRAITOR is someone who commits an act of TREASON.
Is it TREASON to try to bring down an oppressive regime?
Some see the man as a TRAITOR while others see him as a hero.
The captured spy was convicted of committing acts of TREASON and executed as a TRAITOR.
Further enquiries disclosed that the ship had not been equipped with enough lifeboats to ACCOMMODATE all its passengers and crew.
In the passage, ACCOMMODATE is a verb that means to provide enough space for a certain number of people. Hold, take, fit, and have room for are some near equivalents.
To ACCOMMODATE the overflow of new students, the school had to rent several units in a nearby building.
With people having fewer children these days, local schools can easily ACCOMMODATE all the children in the community.
We ended up inviting more people to my son’s graduation party than our house can comfortably ACCOMMODATE, so we held the party at a large family restaurant.
One disc can ACCOMMODATE up to 74 minutes of recorded music, or more if the tracks are condensed to mp3 format.
ACCOMMODATE also means to provide someone with a room or a place to sleep, live, or sit. ACCOMODATION is the noun for this usage.
Students attending the college through the summer-exchange program are ACCOMMODATED in the homes of local families.
There is a new youth hostel in town that can ACCOMMODATE up to eighty young travellers.
For £149, you get your flights, two nights’ ACCOMMODATION, and a guided tour of Rome.
Red Cross Volunteers have built temporary ACCOMMODATION for people who have lost their homes in the hurricane.
ACCOMMODATE can also mean to fit in with the wishes or needs of someone or something else. ACCOMODATING is the adjective for this usage.
We try to ACCOMMODATE all the different needs of our students by offering a wide range of courses.
When I told my boss that I wanted to take some evening courses at the local college, he graciously ACCOMMODATED me by only scheduling me for day shifts.
I asked my manager if I could take a week off from work to study for an important exam, and he was surprisingly ACCOMMODATING.
Finally, ACCOMMODATE means to adapt to a new situation, as in:
We reckon it will only take a few weeks for our children to ACCOMMODATE themselves to their new life in Japan.
Hattie stayed up late and slept in every day during the summer holidays, so she is having a tough time ACCOMMODATING herself to her fall class schedule.
The old Titanic’s famed grand staircase, Turkish baths, squash court, gym, and other facilities are also being METICULOUSLY duplicated.
In the passage, METICULOUSLY is the adverb form of the adjective METICULOUS. A METICULOUS person is very careful and precise in everything he/she does. Synonyms for METICULOUS include exacting, thorough, fastidious, and (less flattering) pedantic (which means METICULOUS to a fault).
Jenny always takes METICULOUS notes in class, so whenever I miss a lecture, I ask to see hers.
Carrie planned the family’s three-week road trip along the Oregon coast in METICULOUS detail.
When it comes to getting ready for a role in a play, Andy is the most METICULOUS actor I know.
Some people are METICULOUS about measuring exact quantities when they cook or bake, but I just toss ingredients together haphazardly and hope for the best.
METICULOUSLY, therefore, means doing something in a careful and precise way, as in:
Professor Scott plans all his lectures METICULOUSLY, leaving little time for class discussion.
Despite having a full-time job and three young children to look after, Lucy’s front garden is always METICULOUSLY maintained.
We recently visited a METICULOUSLY restored medieval castle in the Scottish highlands.
Detectives believe that the serial killer is a METICULOUSLY organized person who is careful not to leave a trace at the scene of the crime.