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Listening Comprehension

Listening 1

- Listen to the text and answer the following questions:

1. What is the topic of the text?

2. What are fads and trends? Why are they important?

3. What are some fads these days?


- Listen to the text and fill in the gaps.



A These days, urban ______________ seem to change very fast. It is more than just clothing and hairstyles that are in style one year and out of date the next; it’s a whole way of living. One year, people wear sunglasses on top of their heads and wear jeans and boots; they drink white wine and sushi at Japanese restaurants; for exercise they jog several miles a day. However, the next year everything has changed. Women wear long skirts; people drink expensive water from France and eat pasta at Italian restaurants; everyone seems to be exercising at health clubs. Then, suddenly, it has changed again. Men shave their heads and wear earrings; people wear only natural ______________ (safe for the environment); they drink ______________ coffee and eat Thai food; for both leisure and exercise, adults may go bicycling; and some younger people may go skateboarding.
B Almost nothing in modern life escapes the ______________ of fashion: food, sports, music, exercise, books, slang words, movies, furniture, places to visit, even names go in and out of fashion. For a while, it seemed that all new parents in the U.S. were naming their babies Heather, Dawn, Mike, and Adam. These names were “in.” then, suddenly, these names were “out”, and Madison, Amber, and Jason were “in.” it’s almost impossible to write about specific ______________ because these interests that people ______________ follow can change very quickly.
  The Essence of a Fad
C This is the ______________, the central quality, or a fad: it doesn’t last long. Some fads disappear before we have even heard of them. How many people remember Green Peace swimsuits? (They changed color to indicate polluted water). And then there was “Beethoven Bread”. Popular in Japan in 1994, it was expensive - $20 for one loaf. It was made while classical music played in the kitchen. The woman who created this bread emphasized that “bread doesn’t like rock music.” In 2005, a company introduced a new toothbrush, “Tooth Tunes”, which brought music “from the teeth to the ears.” These fads quickly disappeared.
  the Reasons for Fads
D What causes such fads to come and go? And why do so many people follow them? Although clothing designers and manufacturers influence fads in fashion because they want to make a ______________, this desire for money doesn’t explain fads in other areas, such as language. For example, why have English-speaking teenagers in the past 25 years used – at different times – the ______________ words groovy, boss, awesome, rad, or tubular instead of simply saying “wonderful”? According to Jack Santino, an expert in popular culture, people who follow fads are not irrational; they simply want to be part of something new and creative, and they feel good when they are part of an “in group”. Santino believes that fads are common in any country that has a strong consumer economy. However, because of TV, movies, and the Internet, fads are now common worldwide and spread very fast. Increasingly, they seem to begin in Asia, especially in Hong Kong, Japan, and Korea.
  Fads and Trends
E Santino points out that it’s sometimes difficult to see the difference between a fad and a ______________. A fad, he says, lasts a very short time and is not very important. A trend lasts much longer. A recent trend is the interest in good health, but many fads come from this trend: aerobic exercise, kickboxing, organic vegetables, or special diets like carbohydrate-counting. A trend in the 1980s was the use of personal computers; certain computer games were fads. However, these days we can’t really continue we can’t really continue to call computers a “trend” because now they have become an essential part of everyday life.
F ______________ is the ability to identify a trend at an early stage – an extremely important skill in the business world. The first company that can correctly identify a new trend (and do something with it) has a ______________ - an advantage – over other companies. The person who founded the Starbucks chain of coffeehouses was able to ______________ a trend – interest in quality and variety of coffee. Today, people buy Starbucks products in shopping centers, airports, and supermarkets everywhere. But when a development in popular culture is new, it’s difficult to ______________ between a fad and a trend. Trendspotters need to ask themselves: will this become an important global trend, or it is just a passing fad? “Hello Kitty” began as a fad but became a trend. People who ______________ their funds in Green Peace swimsuits, however, probably regret their decision. Clearly, they mistook a fad for a trend.
  Popular Culture and the University
G Possibly because of the importance of trend spotting in business, more and more universities are offering classes in popular culture. Some even offer a major in popular culture. Parents of students at New York University have sometimes been surprised to find their children taking such classes as “Inside the Mouse” (about the influence of Disney), “Golden Arches East” (about McDonald’s in Asia), or “Hope in a Jar” (about the cosmetics industry). At Bowling Green State University, in Ohio, there has been a course on Pokémon, found in Japanese culture. At other schools, students might ______________ in “The History of Rock ’n’ Roll”, “Addiction in Literature”, and “Smoking and Advertising”. Many people don’t take such classes seriously. However, companies are seeking out graduates of Bowling Green, which actually offers a master’s degree in popular culture. These graduates find jobs in advertising, television, publishing, and manufacturing. With an understanding of popular culture, these graduates are becoming the new trend spotters. The question now becomes this: Are courses in popular culture just a fad or a real trend?

- Read the sentences below and select the main idea of the text.

1. Fads in fashion are common because clothing manufacturers make more money if syles change very often.

2. Trends, which are basically long-lasting, are important for both social and business reasons.

3. Fads usually last a very short time, but they can be a lot of fun.

4. People follow many different kinds of fads because they like to be part of something new and creative.

5. The ability to distinguish between fads and trends is increasingly important in the business world.


- Find a definition or a synonym in the text for each word or expression below.


lifestyle ___________________
fads ___________________
essence ___________________
profit ___________________
slang ___________________
trend ___________________
trend spotting ___________________
competitive edge ___________________
distinguish ___________________
enroll ___________________

- Read the text again and answer the vocabulary questions below.

1. Which of the following is closest in meaning to wear, as it is used in Paragraph A?

a. show signs of being used very roughly

b. use as a piece of clothing or jewelry

c. remain useful for a long time

d. display publicly

2. Which of the following is closest in meaning to out, as it is used in Paragraph B?

a. far away

b. extended

c. discovered

d. unpopular

3. Which of the following is closest in meaning to and then, as it is used in Paragraph C?

a. also

b. in the past

c. however

d. at that time

4. Which of the following is closest in meaning to follow, as it is used in Paragraph D?

a. walk behind

b. come next participate in

c. talk about

5. Which of the following is closest in meaning to areas, as it is used in Paragraph D?

a. parts of life

b. parts of the world

c. kinds of communication

d. kinds of business

6. Which of the following is closest in meaning to lasts, as it is used in Paragraph E?

a. comes to an end

b. continues to be present

c. influences society

d. remains good to eat

7. Which of the following is closest in meaning to founded, as it is used in Paragraph F?

a. bought

b. discovered

c. closed

d. started

8. Which of the following is closest in meaning to taking, as it is used in Paragraph G?

a. delivering

b. stealing

c. showing interest in

d. studying in

Listening 2

Who’s taking care of the children?

1. You are going to listen to an interview on a TV talk show. Listen to the introduction. Then answer the questions.

· What is the talk about?

· Who is Julie Jones going to interview?

· What are the three questions you think Julie Jones will ask?

2. Read the list of issues. Listen to the TV talk show. Put the issues in order from 1 to 5.

___The difference between a nanny and a sister

___Child care in the United States

___What a nanny does

___What one husband thinks about male nannies

___How this man became a nanny

3. Listen to the TV talk show again. Circle the sentence that is true.

1. a. More than 50 percent of families with children in the United States pay for child care. b. Fewer than 50 percent of families in the United States pay for child care.

2. a. A woman is sometimes called a manny. b. A man is sometimes called a munny.

3. a. A male and female nanny do the same things. b. A male and female nanny do different things.

4. a. A sitter usually does household chores. b. A nanny usually does household chores.

5. a. This male nanny thinks child care is women’s work. b. This male nanny doesn’t think child care is women’s work.

6. a. This male nanny went to a special school. b. This male nanny didn’t go to a special school.

7. a. Most parents like male nannies. b. Some parents like male nannies.

8. a. The woman who hired this male nanny was surprised. b. The woman who hired this male nanny wasn’t surprised.

9. a. At first, the woman’s husband didn’t like the many being alone with his wife. b. At first, the woman’s husband liked the many being alone with his wife.

10. a. This male nanny has friends who are mannies. b. This male nanny doesn’t have friends who are mannies.


4. Listen to the excerpts from the listening. Discuss these questions with a partner.

Excerpt 1

Who likes male nannies? Why? Think of three reasons.

Excerpt 2

Are male nannies the same as fathers? What are some differences?

Think back to when you were a child. Would you have liked a nanny? If yes, would you have liked a male or female nanny? Why?

Listening 3

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