KA WORDCAST: Listen Up! Lesson 8 FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME

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Lesson EIGHT HERE!

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Entrance exam season is right around the corner, and we’re here to make sure you are 100 percent ready for it.  For the next several weeks, we will be providing you with additional listening material that you can use to practice and improve your aural comprehension skills.

Each week, you will listen to a short passage on a different topic—one that is interesting and useful in its own right, but one that is also the type of topic test-makers love to include on their exams.  Then, after listening to the passage, you will answer ten comprehension questions.  Before we listen to today’s passage, For the Love of the Game, here are a few tips:

  • It goes without saying that you should always listen to the passage carefully.  Give it your undivided attention.  That means: no outside distractions.  (A passage-only track is available on the KA Wordcast website so you can listen to the passage a second or third time.)
  • You can make brief notes of key points and details, but don’t let your note taking distract you from your listening.
  • Key vocabulary words are explained in the bonus track.  Each key word is clearly defined and accompanied by common synonyms and antonyms as well as sample sentences that show you how the word is used, and how to use it.  What better way to augment your active vocabulary!
  • The comprehension questions “test” three general areas: FACTUAL CONTENT, LOGICAL INFERENCE, and PERSONAL JUDGMENT.  (These are explained on the website and are available to download.)  The questions come in three different types or formats: MULTIPLE CHOICE, TRUE OR FALSE, and SHORT ANSWER.  The question format will vary, so be sure to listen to the instructions carefully before you answer the questions.

 

PDF DOWNLOAD KA WORDCAST Listen Up! Lesson 8 FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME

 

For the Love of the Game

Listen to Listen Up! Lesson EIGHT: PASSAGE ONLY TRACK

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Sports is big business.  According to one recent study, today’s global sports industry is worth as much as $620 billion a year.   In the U.S. alone, the Big Four—the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, and the National Basketball Association—accrue an average of $23 billion annually.   Each sport has its legions of diehard followers.  Fans are the lifeblood of professional sports; without them, athletes would not receive their huge, many would say exhorbitant, paychecks.  Sports fans come in all shapes and sizes.  They show their support and spend their time and money in all kinds of ways.

Take New York Yankees “superfan” Steve Melia, for example.  During the 2011 season, Melia attended all 162 Yankees’ games, home and away, traveling tens of thousands of miles.  He even wrote a bestselling book about his experiences.  Then there are fans like those of the Seattle Seahawks at Century Link Field.  In December 2013, Seahawks rooters set a Guinness record for the loudest crowd noise ever achieved at a professional football game, at 137.6 decibels.  To put that in perspective, a jet engine at 100 feet is about 140 decibels.

Across the pond in the U.K., the Barmy Army, a group of cricket fans, arranges tour parties for its members to follow the English national cricket team on its overseas campaigns. The “Army” uses flags, banners, songs, and chants to encourage the team and generally has a good reputation among cricket officials and other fans.  In contrast, some British Premier League football enthusiasts display their passion for the sport by behaving in a rowdy, sometimes violent manner.  But not even these “hooligans” can keep devout “footie fans,” dressed in team jerseys, from piling into their favorite team’s stadium every weekend. Manchester United’s home stadium, Old Trafford, reaches 99.5% capacity for every home game throughout every season, even when the Red Devils are on a losing streak.

Psychologists speculate that people become sports fans because sports generates feelings of both euphoria and tension for the viewer and is a form of escapism.  As New York Times writer Adam Sternbergh explains,  “Being a fan allows you to feel deep emotional investment in something that has no actual real-world consequences.” In other words, you feel joy when your favorite team wins and pain when it loses, but whether your team comes out on top or not, your life is not affected in the least.  (And if it is affected, you may need a professional of another kind!)

Sporting events may be “just a game” to some, but for millions of sports lovers worldwide, being a fan is a way of feeling connected—to the team, to its players, and to other fans.   It’s about knowing that thousands of others are experiencing the same thrill as you when a player scores a come-from-behind goal or touchdown, sinks a last-second three-pointer, or slams a walk-off home run.  It’s like being part of a “FANily.”

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Today’s listening comprehension questions will be MULTIPLE CHOICE and TRUE/FALSE based on FACTUAL CONTENT, LOGICAL INFERENCE, and your understanding of key vocabulary words.

Listening comprehension questions fall into three main types or areas to be tested, as explained below:

FACTUAL CONTENT

  • The answer is specifically stated as a detail in the text.

If the text reads, “John Birks Gillespie was born in 1917 in Cheraw, South Carolina,” you might be asked where Gillespie was born or in which year was he born.

LOGICAL INFERENCE

  • The answer may not be directly stated in the text, but can be understood or inferred from the details given. A direct hint may be given, from which you would have to work out the most logical answer (usually based on a MULTIPLE CHOICE or TRUE OR FALSE question).

For example, if the text describes a “hot and muggy afternoon,” you might be asked what season it is. If the text reads, “In 1872, an abandoned railroad track in the mountains of Pennsylvania became the first roller coaster ride in America,” you may be asked a question like:

“The railroad tracks …

  1. were made of poor quality steel.
  2. had not been used for a while.
  3. were dug up and replaced with roller-coaster tracks.
  4. were too damaged to use.

You must use the hints given in the passage to work out the most likely answer.  In this case, the answer, based on “hot and muggy,” to the first question would be “summer,” and the answer to the second question would be B, with the hint being the word “abandoned.”

PERSONAL JUDGMENT

  • The answer is not directly stated in the text and you might have to read more deeply or “between the lines.”

You may be asked to describe a character’s feelings, reactions, or intentions.  For example, if the question is, “How do you know Joanna felt sad on the last day of school?” you would have to find evidence in the descriptive language the author uses.  Perhaps Joanna had tears on her cheeks, or she was walking with her head hanging low, or perhaps she had a frown on her face.

Listen to the question carefully and mark your answer.  Feel free to pause the recording if you need a moment or two to think about the question.

 

LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS

 

1.  Today’s global sports industry is worth

a) $23 billion a year.

b) an amount not specified in the passage.

c) up to $620 billion a year.

d) over £620 billion (pounds) annually.

 

2. Baseball “superfan” Steve Melia attended every Yankees home game during the 2011 season.

a) TRUE

b) FALSE

 

3. Listen to the following sentence from the passage.

Each sport has its legions of diehard followers.  Fans are the lifeblood of professional sports.

In the sentence above, the underlined word “lifeblood” is closest in meaning to

a) inspiration.

b) bottom line.

c) eccentrics.

d) driving force.

 

4.  Seattle Seahawks fans at Century Link Field broke a Guinness record for

a) the highest attendance at a single football game.

b) the loudest crowd noise every recorded at a football game.

c) chanting fight songs for the longest duration of time at a football game.

d) having the most fans at a football game dressed in their home team jerseys.

 

5) Old Trafford Stadium in Liverpool reaches 99.5% capacity for every home football game.

a) TRUE

b) FALSE

 

6. Listen to the following sentence from the passage.

Fans are the lifeblood of professional sports; without them, athletes would not receive their huge, many would say exorbitant, paychecks.

 The underlined word “exorbitant” in the sentence above is closest in meaning to

a) excessively high.

b) economical.

c) unfair.

d) extraneous.

 

7. New York Times writer Adam Sternberg believes that being a sports fan

a) allows you to become emotionally connected to something that is highly important.

b) can sometimes make you behave violently.

c) affects your outlook on life.

d) allows you to feel emotional investment in something that has no real-world consequences.

 

8. The Barmy Army travels around the world supporting the English national football team.

a) TRUE

b) FALSE

 

9.  Listen to the following sentence from the passage.

Psychologists speculate that people become sports fans because sports generates feelings of both euphoria and tension for the viewer and is a form of escapism.

A synonym for the word underlined “euphoria” in the sentence above is

a) distress.

b) harmony.

c) elation.

d) anxiety.

 

10.  Listen to following sentence from the passage.

Psychologists speculate that people become sports fans because sports generates feelings of both euphoria and tension for the viewer and is a form of escapism.

The best definition for the underlined word “escapism” as it is used in the sentence above is

a) the act or method of leaving an unpleasant or dangerous place or situation.

b) an exciting or daring adventure.

c) a way of seeing, accepting, and dealing with a certain situation.

d) an activity that helps you keep your mind off unpleasant or boring things.

Now that you have completed today’s listening comprehension exercise, it’s time to check your answers and see how well you did. Answers to today’s listening comprehension questions will follow immediately after the closing jingle , so please stay tuned in. 

Listen to the Listening Comprehension Questions and Answers HERE

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You many also download the lesson in PDF format to keep for your reference.

PDF DOWNLOAD KA WORDCAST Listen Up! Lesson 8 LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS and ANSWERS

 

 

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KA WORDCAST:  Listen Up!  Lesson EIGHT KEY VOCABULARY

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.

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1. ACCRUE

In the U.S. alone, the Big Four—the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, and the National Basketball Association—accrue an average of $23 billion annually.

ACCRUE is a verb that means to receive or earn an amount of money (or other sort of reward) over a specified period of time.  In finance, ACCRUE is used to talk about the interest, income, or expenses a person or business gradually accumulates.

I thought I was getting a good deal when I signed a 24-month contract for my new phone, but soon, the hidden fees began to ACCRUE, and I can’t afford the monthly payments anymore.

Interest on your student loan will start to ACCRUE while you are at university, but you can defer payments until after you graduate and have started earning a decent income.

I’ve ACCRUED enough points on my credit card to get a free airplane ticket to any city in Europe.  Now, where should I go? 

 

 

 

Drawing in PERSPECTIVE.

2. PERSPECTIVE

In December 2013, Seahawks rooters set a Guinness record for the loudest crowd noise ever recorded at a professional football game, at 137.6 decibels.  To put that in perspective, a jet engine at 100 feet is about 140 decibels.

In the sentence above, PERSPECTIVE is part of an idiomatic phrase, to PUT IN(TO) PERSPECTIVE, which means to compare one thing with something similar so that the reader gets a clearer, easier-to-understand picture of the idea or information being expressed.

The tallest living man on record is part-time Turkish farmer Sultan Kosen, who measures 8 feet 3 inches.   To PUT THAT IN PERSPECTIVE, the average Turkish male is only 5 feet 7 inches tall. 

The Milky Way Galaxy houses more than 46 billion Earth-sized planets.  To PUT THAT INTO PERSPECTIVE, that’s more than all the grains of sand on all of the beaches and in all of the deserts on Earth. 

The noun PERSPECTIVE has several other common uses.  For one, it means the actual physical angle from which we see something, as in this example:

From this PERSPECTIVE, you can see all of the Kent Valley and the Green River that runs through it.

PERSPECTIVE is also an art-related term that means the effect of depth and distance in a painting or photograph.

Today in art class, Mrs. Sanchez taught us how to draw buildings and other objects in proper PERSPECTIVE. 

PERSPECTIVE can also mean a particular attitude towards or way of seeing some issue or problem or phenomenon.  It is close in meaning to point of view, viewpoint, or position.

Sheila’s experience traveling to developing countries gave her a broader PERSPECTIVE on what charity organizations should be doing to improve the lives of people in need.

Finally, to have PERSPECTIVE means to be able to see your problems or circumstances in a reasonable, sensible way without exaggerating their importance or severity.  When you have PERSPECTIVE, you have the ability to make sound decisions and judgments.

Talking to your friends and family can often help to put your problems into better PERSPECTIVE so that you don’t take them too seriously or let them get you down.

 

 

The Barmy Army ENCOURAGES the team and other fans.

3. ENCOURAGE

The “Army” uses flags, banners, songs, and chants to encourage the team and generally has a good reputation among cricket officials and other fans.

In the sentence above, ENCOURAGE means to give support, courage, or hope.

Our school choir was greatly ENCOURAGED to perform well at the regional competition by the positive support we received from teachers and other students. 

ENCOURAGED by the kind words of the magazine’s fiction editor, Allan was determined to keep trying to make it as a short-story writer.

When you ENCOURAGE someone, you give him/her support and advice so that he/she will have the confidence to do or continue to do something.

“Please ENCOURAGE your children to read at least thirty minutes a day,” the Year 5 teacher said as she addressed a group of parents at the school’s Open Evening.

My parents have always ENCOURAGED me to make my own choices about what extra-curricular activities I want to pursue and to not let my friends influence my decisions.

ENCOURAGE also means to make something more likely to happen, as in this sentence:

Many people claim that violent video games ENCOURAGE violent behavior in children and should therefore be banned.   

 

 

4. SPECULATE

Psychologists speculate that people become sports fans because sports generates feelings of both euphoria and tension for the viewer and is a form of escapism. 

SPECULATE is a verb that means to form an opinion about something without knowing or having all the facts.  Synonyms include guess, surmise, theorize, and hypothesize.

Everyone on the softball team SPECULATED about the reasons for the coach’s sudden, unexpected resignation.

Some historians and archeologists SPECULATE that the huge monolithic stones in Stonehenge were used in some kind of pagan ritual or religious ceremony.

 

 

Using wind to GENERATE electricity.

5. GENERATE

Psychologists speculate that people become sports fans because sports generates feelings of both euphoria and tension for the viewer and is a form of escapism.

Literally, the verb GENERATE means to produce electric power, as in:

This new tiny battery GENERATES enough power to light up and heat an entire skyscraper.

But in the sentence from the passage above, GENERATE is used figuratively to mean to cause something (an emotion, ability, hoped-for result, certain situation, etc.) to come about.  Synonyms include prompt, trigger, induce, come up with, and create.

If we want this year’s World Culture Fair to be bigger and better than last year’s, we’ll need to recruit some new blood who can GENERATE new ideas. 

By taking the children to the Science Museum early on in the school year, we are hoping to GENERATE enough curiosity and excitement to carry them throughout the year.

Most new authors hope their debut novel will GENERATE the buzz and media interest that J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series did, but few can be so lucky.

 

 

They probably should have considered the CONSEQUENCES.

6. CONSEQUENCE(S)

“Being a fan allows you to feel deep emotional investment in something that has no actual real-world consequences.”

In the sentence above, CONSEQUENCES means the result of an action or condition.   Outcome, effect, repercussion, and end result are some useful synonyms.

Have you considered the CONSEQUENCES of not taking your SATs?  Simply put, you won’t be able to apply to the best universities.

“If you drop out of high school, you’ll have to face the CONSEQUENCES of your decision,” Dad said in a fury.  “And if you’re planning to stay here at home, you’ll have to get a job and start paying rent.” 

As a direct CONSEQUENCE of inflated ticket prices, more than 10,000 seats in Century Link Field remained empty for last Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos.  

CONSEQUENCE is also a noun that means importance or relevance.  Significance and value are some near equivalents.

As insignificant as they may appear, the algae floating in the sea are microscopic plants of great CONSEQUENCE to the global ecosystem. 

Principal Griffiths rambled on for nearly thirty minutes after the children’s Christmas play, but as usual, she didn’t say anything of any real CONSEQUENCE.  

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PDF DOWNLOAD KA WORDCAST Listen Up! Lesson 8 KEY VOCABULARY