HomeAdvanced Reading and Use of English Part 5

OVERVIEW

  • In Part 5, you will read a text followed by six four-option multiple-choice questions.
  • The text may come from a range of sources such as a newspaper, a magazine or journal, or a book of fiction or non-fiction.
  • The questions will focus on things such as the main idea and details of the content of the text, the writer’s opinion and attitude, the purpose and implications of the text, and features of text organisation, e.g. the use of examples, comparisons or reference words.

Choose the best option (A, B or C) to complete the tips for Reading and Use of English Part 5.

  1. You will find the answer to each question .
  2. Titles, sub-headings and, occasionally, visuals should all .
  3. The context will often help you to work out the .

TIP 1 · USING THE TITLE

Titles are important as they give readers an idea of what the text is likely to be about.
What do you think articles with the following titles will be about?

  1. Blizzards bring country to standstill
  2. Getting air traffic under control
  3. Worlds collide at the National Gallery’s new exhibition
  4. Diary of a teenage millionaire
  5. Fashion to cheer you up
  6. Secrets of stunning photography
  7. How to eat well: it’s all in the presentation

TIP 2 · Working out meaning from context

You almost certainly will not know every word in the text. However, often it is possible to understand roughly what it means from the context. What helps you guess what the underlined words in these sentences mean? Note that you need to think about the whole context, not just the sentence in which the word appears.

  1. Many of us share elements of a globalised culture, at least, perhaps watching Japanese movies, listening to K-pop, or eating Indian food.
  2. Why is it, then, that so many of us tussle with the basics of global communication?
  3. As an artificial language, it is appreciated as being devoid of ideological or political connotations.
  4. Esperanto may well be the answer that second-language learners have been seeking.
  5. The main criticism of Esperanto is that, despite its lofty ideals, the language never really caught on.
  6. It may even be considered as maintaining a primarily Western point of view, something the creator of Esperanto initially set out to mitigate.
  7. However, advocates of Esperanto would counter this criticism by maintaining that all languages can be considered as artificial.
  8. Proponents of the language assert that it has succeeded in areas where English might have failed.
  9. The global uptake of Esperanto may not eventually topple English from its perch, consigning it to a status similar to that of modern-day Latin.

TIP 3 · Paraphrasing

Texts often use different words to refer to the same thing rather than repeating the same word. In a text, a dance might also be referred to, more generally, as a party or a social event or, more specifically, depending on the context, as a ball or a disco. Similarly, options in Reading and Use of English Part 5 will usually use different words to convey the ideas in the text.

Put the words below into pairs of synonyms.

advocates · at first · be aware · connections · consequence · fascinating
for certain · have in common · initially · intend · interesting · key · main
realise · result · share · supporters · ties · undeniable · wish

Rewrite these sentences so they do not use any of the underlined words.

  1. Why is it, then, that so many of us tussle with the basics of global communication? 
  2. What is interesting is that, over a hundred years ago, a Dr Ludwig Zamenhof published a book about a new language that he had developed
  3. It is claimed to be easy to master
  4. It is appreciated as being devoid of the ideological or political connotations that accompany languages of former colonial powers. 
  5. The language never really caught on among the global population in the way its creator intended
  6. What Esperanto lacks in culture it makes up for in efficiency. 
  7. Esperanto has built up a history of its own, one shared by the thousands who speak it and use it as an international means of communication

EXAM PRACTICE

STRATEGIES

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  1. Read the title. This will give you some idea of the topic of the text.
  2. Read the text first, then read each question very carefully in turn.
  3. Underline key words in the question.
  4. Remember that questions follow the order of the text. Find the part of the text the question
    refers to. Check the text carefully before answering.
  5. Are you confident about the answer? If so, note it down and move on.
  6. If the answer is not obvious, eliminate the options you are sure are wrong.
  7. If you find one question difficult, move on to the next one.
  8. When you have finished, go back to any questions that you left out and look at them again. They may seem easier now. If they do not, just choose one of the options you have not eliminated. Do not leave any questions blank.

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  • You may find it useful to read the questions, but not the options, before you read the text – this may help you focus on the most appropriate bits of the text.
  • Do not expect to understand every word or phrase in the text. The general context may help you to understand roughly what unfamiliar words or expressions mean.
  • The answer must say the same as what is in the text – do not choose an option just because it states something true, if that truth is not in the text. And do not choose an option just because it uses some words from the text.

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You are going to read an article about Esperanto. For questions ❶-❻, choose the answer (Ⓐ, Ⓑ, Ⓒ or Ⓓ) which you think fits best according to the text.

Breaking down the language barrier?

A look at Esperanto

We are supposed to live in a ‘globalised’ world, or so we are increasingly taught in school. Many of us share elements of a globalised culture, at least, perhaps watching Japanese movies, listening to K-pop, or eating Indian food. Why is it, then, that so many of us tussle with the basics of global communication in this age of instant messaging, email and video conferencing? English may certainly be the (self-appointed) lingua franca of the globalised world, with millions of students struggling daily to learn its phrasal verbs and idioms. But English is the mother tongue of only a relatively small percentage of the global population, so wouldn’t it be easier if we all spoke a simpler language? Perhaps what is needed is an international language.

What is interesting is that, over a hundred years ago, a Dr Ludwig Zamenhof published a book about a new language that he had developed, with the intention of providing an appropriate international means of communication. He called this language ‘Esperanto’, and it is said that hundreds of thousands of people have learned to speak it, with about one thousand today even using it as their first language. It is claimed to be easy to master and, more significantly, as an artificial language, it is appreciated as being devoid of any of the ideological or political connotations that accompany languages of former colonial  powers, such as English. It is said to be learnt much faster than English, with a one symbol-one-sound writing system (making spelling easier) and a grammar with a limited number of rules. Vocabulary even borrows a number of words that are already shared internationally, such as telefono (telephone) and matematiko (mathematics). In short, Esperanto may well be the answer that second-language learners have been seeking.

The problem is that it is likely that, before reading this article, you might never have heard of Esperanto, and you would almost certainly not be alone on that point. The main criticism of Esperanto is that, despite its lofty ideals, the language never really caught on among the global population in the way its creator intended. Whether there was a vested interest in preventing the language from spreading is hard to say. The key factor is that the language does, in fact, look rather similar to Romance languages such as French, Spanish or Italian, at the expense of other popular languages such as
Arabic or Mandarin. As such, the ‘international’ language is perhaps not international enough, and may even be considered as maintaining a primarily Western point of view, something the creator of Esperanto initially set out to mitigate.

As mentioned, Esperanto is what is known as an ‘artificial language’. Those involved with the development of its vocabulary and structures were well aware that the language they were creating had few ties with languages of the past, and so one of the basic features of any other language – that of a cultural heritage – can be considered missing for speakers of Esperanto. However, advocates of Esperanto would counter this criticism by claiming that all languages can be considered as artificial, in the sense that the creators of any language were human. What Esperanto lacks in culture, it makes up for in efficiency, and as language learners in the busy modern world are constantly under pressure of time, it is possible that, for some, it is worth developing communicative efficiency at the expense of a certain prestige. In addition, as Esperanto itself is now a over a century old, one might argue that this language, too, has built up a history of its own , one shared by the thousands who speak it and use it as an international means of communication.

Whether we consider the Esperanto experiment a success or failure, one thing is for certain: an international language should reflect all aspects of global society, while at the same time be easy to learn, free from ambiguity, and neutral in terms of ideology. Critics of Esperanto claim its failure in each of these aspects, while proponents of the language assert that it has succeeded in areas where English might have failed. While there may not be enough global uptake of Esperanto to eventually topple English from its perch, there is no doubt that it has provoked increased interest in the debate on language in the shadow of globalisation, and this debate is far from over.

  1. What is the main point the writer is making in the first paragraph?

    Read the whole of the first paragraph before answering this question.
  2. What does the writer suggest is the main reason why Esperanto appeals to learners?

    Look for a phrase that suggests something is the main reason, rather than being just one of several reasons.
  3. How does the writer explain the fact that Esperanto has been less successful than initially hoped?

    The final sentence of the third paragraph should help you find the answer.
  4. How does the writer suggest that Esperanto is now changing?

    Read the whole of the fourth paragraph before choosing your answer to this question.
  5. The writer concludes that .
    Remember that the question is asking about the writer’s conclusion, rather than just a point made by the writer.
  6. What does it in the last paragraph refer to? 
    Try replacing it with each of the options to see which one makes the sentence make sense.
References
Acknowledgements

All authors must admit to a dependence on the work of others. We are no exception. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the publications and reference sources that we have consulted and adapted for educational purposes. It would also have been quite impossible to have produced the material on this website without adapting a variety of authentic resources that we have regularly referred to. While every effort has been made, it has not always been possible to identify and cite the sources of all the material used or to trace all copyright holders. We will be happy to omit any contents or include any appropriate acknowledgements when they are brought to our notice.

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