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LESSON TWENTY-FIVE 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, Man Up!, 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 TWENTY-FIVE Man Up!
Listen to Listen Up! Lesson Twenty-Five PASSAGE ONLY track:
Today’s men may have all the conveniences of advanced technology on their side, but as a species, they come up short. In fact, says one Australian paleoanthropologist, they are “the sorriest cohort of masculine Homo sapiens to ever walk the planet.” Ouch! That’s the conclusion Peter McAllister reaches in his 2009 book Manthropology: The Science of the Inadequate Modern Male. Starting out, McAllister had hoped to prove that 21st-century man was the “best man to have ever walked this earth.” Boy, was he wrong. To his great disillusionment, he found that modern man is inferior to his predecessors pretty much across the board.
One such ancestor was T8—an Australian aboriginal who lived more than 20,000 years ago. Careful analysis of T8’s fossilized footprints left on a soft, muddy lakeshore shows that he reached running speeds of 37 kilometers per hour. Jamaican Usain Bolt, who holds the current world record for the 100-meter dash, has topped out at 42 kilometers per hour—but only for a second. Don’t forget that when Usain ran the 100 meters in his record-setting 9.69 seconds, he was a pro, had been training for years, and was running on a rubberized track in spiked shoes. T8, in contrast, was running barefoot in thick mud and, from what archeologists can gather, was actually accelerating. McAllister believes that with modern training and the right shoes, Paleolithic aboriginal hunters like T8 could have hit 45 kilometers per hour!
Manthropology offers many other eye-opening examples of modern man’s physical inferiority. First-century Roman legions, for example, often marched two marathons a day (84 kilometers) for six straight days, with each soldier hefting half his body weight in equipment. Greek historian Xenophon records that a 4th-century B.C. oar-powered Athenian warship could row from Byzantium to Heraclea—a distance of 236 kilometers—in a single day. That’s nearly fourteen kilometers per hour over a 12-to-16-hour trip. By comparison, even today’s fittest rowing champion is only capable of managing 11 kilometers per hour, and at most for an hour.
How can this be?
After all, sports science and nutrition have improved dramatically in the last century. We are certainly “healthier” and live much longer today than any of our predecessors. Why, then, have we managed to become so weak? McAllister puts it all down to lifestyle. “We are simply not exposed to the same loads or challenges that people were in the ancient past, and even in the recent past,” he says. “Our sedentary lifestyle has led to the gradual loss of bone density, muscle mass, and ultimately, our athleticism.”
But physical strength and endurance aren’t the only areas where modern man may be inferior. Linguistic evidence suggests that the ancient Greek poet Homer didn’t write the 358,000-word epic poem The Iliad. He more likely recited it from memory, a feat far beyond today’s most garrulous rap-artist. In all fairness, mankind has undoubtedly done great things and come a long way since Paleolithic days. But McAllister’s point is that we have the potential to achieve even “greater greatness.” Provided we stay active in both body and mind, we can be better, faster, stronger, and even smarter.
Today’s listening comprehension questions will be SHORT ANSWER and based on FACTUAL CONTENT and your ability to READ BETWEEN THE LINES.
Listening comprehension questions fall into three main types or areas to be tested, as explained below:
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.
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 …
were made of poor quality steel.
had not been used for a while.
were dug up and replaced with roller-coaster tracks.
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.”
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 write your answer. Feel free to pause the recording if you need a moment or two to think about the question.
LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS
1. Peter McAllister is the author of the book Manthropology: The Science of the Inadequate Modern Male. What is his field of expertise?
2. About how many years ago did T8 walk the Earth?
3. What top speed has Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt reached, though just for one second?
4. Give two reasons why Peter McAllister and other scientists believe that T8 could outrun Usain Bolt in a running race today?
5. Who is cited as having marched the equivalent of two marathons a day for six straight days?
6. What is the distance of two marathons equal to in kilometers?
7. How were 4th-century Athenian warships powered?
8. According to the passage, what is the fastest speed today’s fittest rowing champion is capable of attaining?
9. What, according to McAllister, has led to the gradual loss of bone density, muscle mass, and athleticism of the modern human?
10. Who was Homer?
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.
You may also download the lesson in PDF format to keep for your reference.
KA WORDCAST: Listen Up! LESSON TWENTY-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.
1. INFERIOR/ INFERIORITY
To his great disillusionment, he found that modern man is INFERIOR to his predecessors pretty much across the board.
In the sentence above, INFERIOR is an adjective that means lower in rank, status, or quality. Not as good as, second-rate, and substandard are some good synonyms for INFERIOR.
Buy the cheapest guitar the music shop sells and you’ll end up with one whose quality is INFERIOR to those that are even just a little higher priced.
Many people believe that the education offered at public schools is INFERIOR to that of private schools, but I don’t think that is true.
We went into the game all cocky and confident, thinking our opponent was INFERIOR to us, and we paid the price.
During his first year at Harvard, coming from a small Nebraskan farming community, Jake felt socially INFERIOR and self-conscious.
As a noun, INFERIOR refers to a person lower than another person in rank, status, or ability.
Some of the children in the class are treated as INFERIORS just because they aren’t good at sports.
The regrettable fact is that women are still treated as INFERIORS in many parts of the world.
Marcy is a well-respected boss because she treats all of her employees as equals and not as INFERIORS.
INFERIORITY is another noun form of INFERIOR, and it is used in the passage like this:
Manthropology offers many other eye-opening examples of modern man’s physical INFERIORITY.
Here, INFERIORITY means the state of not being as good as someone or something else.
During halftime, the team argued and complained that their goalkeeper’s INFERIORITY was costing them the match.
Joanna first felt her musical INFERIORITY when she had to audition in front of the other, more talented members of the school’s glee club.
I often feel a sense of INFERIORITY at not having achieved the financial success of my younger sister.
Hitler’s ideas about racial INFERIORITY were clearly laid out in his autobiography, Mein Kampf, which is now copyright free and available to a whole new generation of readers.
First-century Roman legions, for example, often marched two marathons a day (84 kilometers) for six straight days, with each soldier HEFTING half his body weight in equipment.
HEFT is a verb that means to lift or carry something heavy from one place to another.
Kenny pinched a nerve in his lower back while HEFTING his grandmother’s trunk from the attic to the living room.
Professional movers often retire young because years of moving heavy furniture and HEFTING bulky boxes can take its toll on the body.
With the elevator out of order, Penny and Ross were forced to HEFT their new sofa up the stairs to their third-floor apartment.
HEFT is also a noun. It refers to the weight of someone or something.
I was surprised by the sheer HEFT of the package the deliveryman handed me.
When cell phones first became available to the public, there was definitely more HEFT to them than there is now.
HEFT also refers to a person’s ability or influence over others.
The popular television series does something different at the beginning of the second season by adding more HEFT to the minor characters.
To manufacture and distribute the new product she had invented, Joy needed the financial backing of an investor with plenty of HEFT.
If something or someone is HEFTY, he, she, or it is heavy, as in:
Lucky for Elena, she didn’t take after her father, who was not so tall but quite HEFTY.
Julian felt a wave of panic sweep over him when two HEFTY men stepped out of the car he had just crashed into.
HEFTY can also refer (somewhat slangily) to a large amount of money, especially when the amount is more than usual or what was expected.
If Brendan gets caught speeding again, not only will he get a HEFTY fine, but he may lose his driver’s license.
Sharon buys used goods for next to nothing at garage sales and then sells them on Internet auction sites for a HEFTY profit.
Our SEDENTARY lifestyle has led to the gradual loss of bone density, muscle mass, and ultimately, our athleticism.
SEDENTARY is an adjective that means spending a lot of time sitting down and not doing a lot of physical work. Inactive, still, and stationary are some good synonyms.
After her knee operation, Eileen’s doctor advised her to remain completely SEDENTARY for at least two weeks.
Playing games for hours on end means that kids today are more SEDENTARY, resulting in various weight and health problems.
My job keeps me mostly SEDENTARY throughout the week, so on the weekends, I try to take long walks and get plenty of exercise.
In science, SEDENTARY refers to people or animals that stay and live in the same area, that is, that are not migratory or don’t move from one place to another, as in:
Unlike elephants that roam for miles each day, rhinos are mainly SEDENTARY animals.
Aunt Maggie has led a SEDENTARY but happy life, having never traveled outside of Chicago in all her 54 years.
Our sedentary lifestyle has led to the gradual loss of bone DENSITY, muscle mass, and ultimately, our athleticism.
The noun DENSITY is better understood once you know that the adjective form, DENSE, means containing a lot of people, things, plants, and so on with only a little space in between each.
During the summer months, the forest floor is DENSE with undergrowth, making it difficult to follow the walking trail.
Scout dogs were used during the Vietnam War to help locate the enemy in DENSE jungles.
Crime is more likely to occur in areas where the population is DENSE and relatively poor.
DENSE is also used scientifically or technically to describe a substance that has a thick or closely packed texture or that permits little light or air to go through it.
Osmium is the DENSEST naturally occurring substance on Earth.
The magma in a volcano is less DENSE than the solid rock around it, which is why the magma is pushed upwards and outward.
Although delicious, one bite of Felicia’s DENSE chocolate fudge cake was all I could eat.
As we climbed up the hill towards Wigginton village, the fog grew so DENSE that we could hardly see ten meters ahead of us.
Once the DENSE smoke and ash cleared, we could see the damage the volcanic eruption had left on the landscape.
DENSELY is the adverb form.
Many of the islands off the coast of Costa Rica are rugged and DENSELY forested, and are home to an abundance of wildlife.
Health officials fear that the new strain of virus could spread swiftly in DENSLEY populated cities.
DENSITY, therefore, means the quality of being DENSE or the degree to which something is DENSE. Like the adjective, DENSITY also has a more scientific or technical usage.
With a population of around 36 million, Tokyo’s population DENSITY is around 2,600 people per square kilometer.
A recent survey revealed that the population DENSITY in the commuter-belt of London is increasing rapidly.
Icebergs float because water has a greater molecular DENSITY in liquid form than it does as a solid.
The DENSITY of the morning fog frequently forces the airport to cancel all incoming and outgoing flights.
If the DENSITY of the universe is greater than what scientists call the “critical DENSITY,” then gravity will eventually win and the universe will collapse back on itself.
You may also hear someone refer (very unkindly) to someone else as DENSE. DENSE in this case is a slang term that means not very clever or bright. It shouldn’t be used in formal writing—or even in conversation, really. Here’s an example of how NOT to use DENSE.
“How could you be so DENSE as to leave your cell phone on the train again?” Mom shouted.
But physical strength and ENDURANCE aren’t the only areas where modern man may be inferior.
ENDURANCE is a noun that refers to a person’s ability to continue doing something difficult or challenging for a long time without stopping or complaining. For physical challenges, stamina, staying power, persistence, and tenacity are some good synonyms. For mental and other challenges, you could use tolerance, patience, and fortitude in place of ENDURANCE.
It takes an incredible amount of ENDURANCE to complete a full triathlon.
Charlotte has shown remarkable ENDURANCE throughout her illness and treatment.
The popular television game show tests contestants’ mental as well as physical ENDURANCE.
Thanks to the low-fat, low-sugar diet my doctor recommended, my energy and ENDURANCE are up and my weight is down.
Because of the long lines, a day at Disneyland Tokyo with the family can be a test of ENDURANCE.
ENDURANCE is based on the verb ENDURE, which means to experience something that is unpleasant, challenging, or painful for a long time without complaining or giving up. Bear and put up with are the nearest synonyms.
Some breeds of dog such as Huskies and Malamutes are built to ENDURE the harsh, cold winters of the Arctic.
I finally took my friend’s advice and visited an acupuncturist when I could no longer ENDURE the pain in my right wrist.
No one can truly understand the hardships my grandmother ENDURED as a mother raising six young children in post-war Japan.
FYI: The adjective ENDURING is often used to describe works of art that last or become classics.
Of all the fiction being written today, I believe that the short stories of Alice Munro will prove to be the most ENDURING.
The movie is not only a great piece of entertainment; it is, to my mind anyway, an ENDURING work of art.
He more likely recited it from memory, a feat far beyond today’s most GARRULOUS rap-artist.
Someone who is GARRULOUS is very talkative. He or she can talk on and on about anything, quite often about things that are not important. Talkative, chatty, and verbose are some good synonyms for GARRULOUS.
Quiet children like Sophie are often overlooked because of their more GARRULOUS classmates.
Miss Bates, the affable, even-tempered neighbor of Emma Woodhouse in Jane Austen’s Emma, is one of the most GARRULOUS characters in all of literature.
It only takes one glass of wine for Liza to become GARRULOUS and sociable.
The Republican candidate may be more GARRULOUS than his Democratic opponent, but nothing he has to say interests me whatsoever.