KA WORDCAST: Listen and Learn LESSON THIRTY-FOUR: It’s Elementary

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LESSON THIRTY-FOUR HERE! 

 

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In today’s lesson, entitled It’s Elementary, you will be listening to a passage about how literature’s most famous detective helped pave the way for modern-day detectives’ crime-solving methods. 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.

 

sherlock holmesIt’s Elementary 

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Lesson Thirty-Four PASSAGE ONLY track:

 

We all love a good detective story. To try to figure out “whodunit” before our favorite sleuth or private eye can identify the “perp” is great fun. And it makes us feel pretty clever, too. But fiction and fact are two different things. In real life, solving a crime and bringing the wrongdoer to justice is a long, arduous process, involving dozens of experts working around the clock for months, even years. And this in spite of having an arsenal of high-tech forensic-science investigative technologies to help them.

Just think how hard it must have been for the police of Scotland Yard in Victorian London to catch the bad guy. Without access to such modern-day resources as fiber and hair analysis, DNA sampling, and CCTV cameras, old-time detectives had to rely on eyewitness testimony, simple clues, and “smoking gun” evidence to solve their crimes. Not surprisingly, many people literally got away with murder. But all that was about to change, curiously enough thanks to the influence of a fictional sleuth.

This was Sherlock Holmes, the “consulting detective” first introduced to the world by British author Arthur Conan Doyle in his 1887 novel, A Study in Scarlet. Known as a master of observation and deduction, Holmes was also a pioneer in forensic science. Long before modern toxicologists developed sophisticated tests for chemical analysis, Holmes was using scientific methods to detect the presence of poisons. He was also the first to use ballistics, fingerprinting, and blood-sample analysis to solve his cases.

crime sceneLet’s jump ahead a few years to early 20th-century France. Edmond Locard was a skilled and respected criminologist. He was also an avid reader of the Holmes stories who saw Sherlock and his methods of detection as an inspiration.   In 1910, Locard opened the world’s first known forensic laboratory. Like Sherlock, he filled his lab with collections of soil, mineral, fiber, and hair samples and used a microscope to identify trace evidence. It was also Locard who formulated the “Exchange Principle,” a major breakthrough in forensic science that posits that every contact, whether it’s shoes on soil or fingerprints on a window pane, leaves a trace. “The perpetrator of a crime,” explained Locard, “will inevitably bring something into the crime scene and leave with something from it, and both can be used as forensic evidence.”

Today, Sherlock’s methods and Rocard’s principle still form the basis of forensic science. Once a serious crime has been reported, detectives seal off the crime scene to prevent anyone from removing, destroying, or contaminating any evidence that may have been left behind. Photos are taken and removable evidence and samples are bagged up and sent to the lab for careful analysis. Minute traces of gunpowder, a tiny shard of glass, or even a wad of spat-out chewing gum can provide vital clues.

Forensic science has come a long way in the last 100 years or so, with new and better technologies being developed all the time to ensure that “crime doesn’t pay.” But present-day crime-solving isn’t forensic science’s only task: it’s become an important tool in helping to clear up some unsolved historical mysteries. In 2012, for example, some remains were discovered in a parking lot in Leicester, England. A team of forensic anthropologists using DNA and bone analysis identified the victim as none other than King Richard III, who, 500 years ago, was the last English king to die in battle. What’s more, by studying the indentations in Richard’s skull, the team confirmed that the cause of death was two hefty blows to the head. Sherlock would be impressed, I’m sure, but not satisfied: he would soon be hard at work trying to find out who did the bashing.

 

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LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS

Listen to Listen and Learn Lesson Thirty-Four 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 write your answer. For the best results, always try to listen to the question without looking at the written questions on the website. Feel free to pause the recording if you need a moment or two to think about the question.

 

1. What does the author have to say about real-life crime-solving, as opposed to the way crimes are solved in fiction?

 

2. What modern-day resources did Scotland Yard police in Victorian London not have access to?

 

3. What did Scotland Yard detectives of the Victorian Era rely on to solve crimes?

 

4. Reading-between-the lines: What do you think the phrase “smoking gun evidence” means?

 

5. In which year did Arthur Conan Doyle first introduce Sherlock Holmes to the world and what was the title of the novel in which he was featured?

 

6. Edmond Locard opened the world’s first known forensic laboratory in 1910. What was Locard’s profession?

 

7. In your own words, explain Locard’s “Exchange Principle.”

 

8. Why do modern-day detectives seal off a crime scene?

 

9. Reading between the lines: How might a wad of spat-out chewing gum help detectives solve a case?

 

10. Whose 500-year-old remains were discovered in a Leicester, England, parking lot in 2012?    

 

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LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS and ANSWERS HERE!

You may also download the lesson in PDF format to keep for your reference:

PDF DOWNLOAD:KA WORDCAST Listen and Learn LESSON THIRTY-FOUR It’s Elementary

 

 

KA WORDCAST: Listen and Learn!   Lesson THIRTY-FOUR

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! 

 

INVESTIGATIVE technology and equipment.

INVESTIGATIVE technology and equipment.

1. INVESTIGATIVE

And this in spite of having an arsenal of high-tech forensic-science INVESTIGATIVE technologies to help them.

Before we look at the adjective INVESTIGATIVE, let’s first look at the verb INVESTIGATE from which the adjective is derived. INVESTIGATE means to carefully examine the facts of a situation, event, crime, or other happening in order to find out the truth about it or how it came about. You can also INVESTIGATE a particular problem or subject through research and study. Some synonyms include scrutinize, probe, analyze, inspect, and research.   To look into, get to the bottom of, pore over, and suss out are some more idiomatic substitutes for INVESTIGATE.

Our homework assignment this week is to INVESTIGATE how Charles Darwin came up with his theory of evolution.

The fire department is still INVESTIGATING a mysterious fire that broke out in the local middle school over the weekend.

investigateVanessa heard a clanging noise coming from the kitchen, so she crept downstairs, baseball bat in hand, to INVESTIGATE.

In an interview with the local radio station, Detective Brown stressed that the two shooting incidents were unrelated and that they are being INVESTIGATED as separate crimes.

Now back to INVESTIGATIVE, which is always used before a noun and describes something or someone involved in investigating an event or situation to find out the truth about it.

Garret’s INVESTIGATIVE article for the junior high school newsletter about latch-key children was reprinted in a local newspaper.

Two INVESTIGATIVE reporters writing for the Washington Post were the first to expose what history now calls the Watergate Scandal.

An INVESTIGATIVE committee has been set up by the town council to look into the effects climate change may have on local tourism.  

An INVESTIGATION, by the way, is an official examination of the facts about a situation or crime.

A catering company that provides school lunches for local primary schools is under INVESTIGATION after dozens of children were hospitalized for food poisoning.

Though Melissa has a solid alibi, she is still under INVESTIGATION by the FBI.  

 

 

A witness gives his TESTIMONY in court.

A witness gives his TESTIMONY in court.

2.TESTIMONY

Without access to such modern-day resources as fiber and hair analysis, DNA sampling, and CCTV cameras, old-time detectives had to rely on eyewitness TESTIMONY, simple clues, and “smoking gun” evidence to solve their crimes.

In the passage, TESTIMONY refers to a formal written or spoken statement of the truth or of what is believed to be true. TESTIMONIES are usually given in a court of law.   Sworn statement is a good substitute.

According to Jake’s TESTIMONY, he was nowhere near Dick’s Drive-In last night when the robbery took place.

In the mock trial we held in our social studies class, I had to pretend to be a witness giving the TESTIMONY that proved the defendant was lying.

One of the witnesses in the murder trial later withdrew his TESTIMONY, saying that the detective had pressured him into giving false information.  

Jacqueline, who was trying to protect her brother Steve, has been charged with giving false TESTIMONY in his arson trial.

TESTIMONY also refers to the evidence or proof of something. Testament is a commonly used synonym.

An increase in the number of students applying to our university bears TESTIMONY to the quality of the education we offer.

This posthumous Best Male Performance award is TESTIMONY to the late actor’s immense talent.  

 

 

EVIDENCE is presented in court.

EVIDENCE is presented in court.

3. EVIDENCE

Without access to such modern-day resources as fiber and hair analysis, DNA sampling, and CCTV cameras, old-time detectives had to rely on eyewitness testimony, simple clues, and “smoking gun” EVIDENCE to solve their crimes.

In the sentence above, EVIDENCE is a technical legal term that refers to the information used in a court of law (or in law enforcement) to try to establish the facts about a crime. EVIDENCE used in a legal investigation is usually (but not limited to) concrete objects such as a knife or gun, strand of hair, fingerprints, and so on.

The perpetrator was careful not to leave any EVIDENCE at the scene of the crime.

All the EVIDENCE suggests that it was a team of three or more people who broke into your home while you were away on holiday.

Most of the EVIDENCE taken from the crime scene was damaged or destroyed when the police building’s basement flooded.

The defendant’s responses and facial expressions showed that he was guilty of murder, but there wasn’t sufficient EVIDENCE to secure a conviction.

EVIDENCE suggests that being bilingual actually increases brain size.

EVIDENCE suggests that being bilingual actually increases brain size.

But in everyday, non-technical use, EVIDENCE refers to the facts, signs, or objects that make you believe that something is true. Proof is the most commonly used synonym.

All the EVIDENCE suggests that being bilingual actually increases brain size and cognitive ability.

New research shows that there is some EVIDENCE that playing violent games does indeed reduce gamers’ sensitivity to the pain and suffering of others.

Is there any real EVIDENCE that taking vitamin C actually prevents colds?

Because the apartment bore EVIDENCE of a struggle, the police are investigating the incident as a murder, not as a suicide.

 

 

Children these days master SOPHISTICATED computer programs at a young age.

Children these days master SOPHISTICATED computer programs at a young age.

4. SOPHISTICATED

Long before modern toxicologists developed SOPHISTICATED tests for chemical analysis, Holmes was using scientific methods to detect the presence of poisons.

In the sentence above, SOPHISTICATED is an adjective that describes something technical that is very complicated or complex in the way it works.

Children these days master and learn how to operate even the most SOPHISTICATED computer programs very quickly.

In the new James Bond movie, 007’s gadgets are more SOPHISTICATED than ever.

“Without a SOPHISTICATED security system in place, your house will be an easy target for burglars,” the police officer warned us.

Archeologists have recently discovered SOPHISTICATED cave drawings in Indonesia that are comparable in artistic quality to the Stone Age cave paintings found in Lascaux in southern France.

Audrey Hepburn:  The epitome of SOPHISTICATED elegance.

Audrey Hepburn: The epitome of SOPHISTICATED elegance.

SOPHISTICATED also describes people who have a lot of experience or knowledge about culture and other things generally considered important. SOPHISTICATED can also describe such people’s views or comments. Worldly, cultured, and refined are some useful substitutes.

Elaine’s new boyfriend Damon is a SOPHISTICATED, well-read young man.

The new Japanese restaurant in Greenwich Village attracts a young, SOPHISTICATED crowd of New Yorkers.

My daughter’s SOPHISTICATED interpretation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest for a class assignment makes me think that she may be a writer or literary critic someday.

 

 

FORMULATING a plan of action.

FORMULATING a plan of action.

5. FORMULATE

It was also Locard who FORMULATED the “Exchange Principle,” a major breakthrough in forensic science that posits that every contact, whether it’s shoes on soil or fingerprints on a window pane, leaves a trace.

FORMULATE is a verb that means to come up with or prepare something carefully, paying special attention to details. Draw up, put together, develop, hatch, think up, and conceive are some near equivalents.

The new program that Mr. Pinnick FORMULATED for teaching coding to young children has proven very successful.

This new breakfast cereal is especially FORMULATED for children who have wheat or nut allergies.

Lily’s two best friends FORMULATED a plan to get the most popular boy in class to ask Lily to the Homecoming Dance.

Eager to get back on the football pitch after a knee injury, Donovan asked his physical therapist to FORMULATE an exercise program that would speed up his recovery.

FORMULATE also means to express your thoughts or ideas using carefully chosen words. The best synonym for this usage is articulate.

The vague way that the professor had FORMULATED the questions on the essay test left the students scratching their heads.

During a school admissions interview, it is important that you FORMULATE your answers in a way that clearly shows your knowledge and verbal skills.

Sarah actually has a lot of good ideas on how to raise money for the school, but she has difficulty FORMULATING them in a convincing way.

 

 

Children drinking CONTAMINATED water.

CONTAMINATED water.

6. CONTAMINATE

Once a serious crime has been reported, detectives seal off the crime scene to prevent anyone from removing, destroying, or CONTAMINATING any evidence that may have been left behind.

In the sentence above, the verb CONTAMINATE means to change or make something no longer pure by altering it or by adding a harmful substance to it. Pollute, taint, and adulterate are the nearest equivalents.

Inhabitants of the island nation sued the movie production company after film crews CONTAMINATED the island’s beaches during filming.

The city’s drinking water was CONTAMINATED when a sewage pipe burst and waste seeped into the reservoir.

Dozens of people were hospitalized after eating shellfish that had been CONTAMINATED with toxic pollutants.

Film crews were asked not to CONTAMINATE the beach.

Film crews were asked not to CONTAMINATE the beach.

Whenever you go camping, always boil your drinking water, because it could be CONTAMINATED.

People who take part in the festival must pledge not to CONTAMINATE the desert or to leave any physical trace of their presence.

More figuratively, CONTAMINATE means to influence in a bad way. You can CONTAMINATE a person’s perceptions, opinions, ideas, or attitude by feeding him or her negative or harmful ideas. A place can be CONTAMINATED by destroying its normally happy or positive mood.

Watching nothing but rubbish on TV is bound to CONTAMINATE any child’s perception of the real world.

The positive atmosphere in the classroom was CONTAMINATED when Mrs. Randall, the school’s grouchy old secretary, showed up.

 

 

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PDF DOWNLOAD: KA WORDCAST Listen and Learn Lesson Thirty-Four KEY VOCABULARY WORDS