Exercise 1

1. Listen to two tourists, Di and Bernie. Which places below do they mention? Do they have the same idea about sightseeing tours?

2. Listen again and answer the questions.


1   Why did Di join a tour?

2   What was her impression of the organisation of the tour?

3   Where did she want to spend more time?

4   What did she and her friend Sue do in Italy?


 How many people did Bernie go travelling with?

 What was the problem with guidebooks and maps?

 Why did they almost have an accident in Paris?

 What was disappointing about the Mona Lisa?



Di mentions the Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna.

Bernie mentions the Louvre, Paris.

Di thinks the people organising these tours try to include too much in the timetable. Bernie thinks that sightseeing tours would mean you get to see a bit more and don’t waste time working things out.



1   She was travelling on her own and thought it would be a good way to meet other people.

2   The people organising the tour try to include too much in the timetable.

3   In the maze at the Schönbrunn Palace.

4   They spent a week in a hotel in Rome and then went to Florence and Venice.


  three other friends

 The information in them didn’t match reality.

 They were driving on the wrong side of the road.

 There were lots of people in the room taking pictures on their phones, and he couldn’t really see the painting.


DI   Because I was travelling on my own, I decided to book myself on a coach tour. I thought it’d be fun and, you know, it would be easy to meet people and hang out with them in the evenings. Well, that was true – I made friends quite easily. But the tour itself … well, I’d never do it like that again – not ever. The problem is the people organising these tours try to include too much in the timetable. It’s madness. Some days you have to be up, packed and ready to go by about 7.30 am. And all the time they’d say, ‘Remember to do this, remember to be back at such-and-such a time.’ I mean, I was on holiday – this felt like being in the army! And they never allowed enough time to visit places. Like, I remember visiting this really beautiful palace just outside Vienna – the Schönbrunn Palace, it’s called. In the gardens they have this really cool maze – you know, where they plant a whole lot of trees and hedges and it feels like you’re getting lost. Anyway, we were all having a great time in the maze, but no, we had to get on the bus and go to the next thing. Before arriving in Rome, I became friendly with a woman, Sue – she was travelling alone too. We decided to leave the tour – didn’t care about the money – and we found our own hotel to stay in. It was just a small place near a market. Every morning when I woke up I could hear the sellers setting up their market stalls. So Sue and I spent a week in Rome and then went on to Florence and Venice. Visiting these cities was a real highlight. And one of the reasons why was, it was great to do things in our own time. It was like getting out of school.

BERNIE   I worked in London over the winter months and then I got together with three other mates and we bought this van from a South African couple and we took off together to travel around Europe. We had a great time together and there were just a couple of times when we sort of disagreed about what we’d do. The only thing is finding your way round these European cities and getting from one place to another, it’s … well, it’s a bit of a nightmare really. I mean, we had guidebooks and maps and things, but often what you read about didn’t really match reality. And there are just so many cars and so many people. Driving in Paris was really hard work. It was the first really big city we went to. On the second day there, we were driving down a road and I noticed all these people waving their arms at us. We were driving on the wrong side of the road! It was difficult to get used to that. We were only there for three days and we didn’t really know where to begin. We went to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa and all that. But the painting’s in this room and there were all these people there with their phones taking a photo – without looking at the painting. And, actually, I couldn’t really see it at all. Sometimes I’d see other tourists on some kind of tour and it all looked nice and organised for them, so I guess you get to see a bit more that way and you don’t waste a whole lot of time trying to work things out. Next time I go away I might try going on a tour of some kind.

Exercise 2

1. Listen to the first part of an interview with a language expert. Then answer these questions.

1   What languages are most in danger of disappearing?

2   What is a ‘language hotspot’?


1   ‘Small’ languages, such as tribal languages in Northern Australia.

2   An area where there are many languages but they’re spoken by very few people.


INTERVIEWER   With us this week is Professor William Barnett, who is a specialist in dying languages. Professor, first of all, how many languages are there in the world? It must be more than the number of countries in the world?

PROFESSOR   Oh yes, much more. There are about 200 independent countries in the world but we think there are around 7,000 different languages.


P   Yes, more or less. We don’t know exactly, because there may well be languages in areas like the Amazon that we haven’t even discovered yet. In fact we only have detailed knowledge of about 15% of the world’s languages.

 And some of these are very widely spoken.

P   Yes, that’s right. Spanish, for example, is spoken by over 400 million people as a first language, English has about 500 million native speakers, Arabic has about 300 million. And the language with the most native speakers is Mandarin Chinese. It’s spoken by over 900 million people, that’s 14% of the world’s population. So these languages are very big, and they’re doing fine. In general, the languages that are widely spoken are increasing while the languages that are spoken by smaller groups of people are declining.

I   And is this something to worry about?

P   It certainly is, yes. The number of languages in the world is decreasing very very quickly, roughly one language every two weeks – that means that about 30 languages are lost every year. The situation is deteriorating because of globalisation – people have more contact with each other, and they start to speak English or Spanish or Chinese instead of their own language, and their own language dies out. We think that over the next 100 years about half of the world’s spoken languages will die out. That means 3,500 languages will disappear completely in just a hundred years.

I   Yes, that’s serious. Is there anything we can do about it?

 Well, one thing we can do is record the languages and find out more about them. Most ‘small’ languages are spoken in certain regions of the world – we call these ‘language hotspots’. These are areas which have a lot of different languages but each language is spoken by very few people. In one small part of Northern Australia, for example, there are around 135 different tribal languages, but they’re all in danger of disappearing. So we’re focusing on areas like these, and we’re writing the languages down and recording the voices of the last remaining speakers. So it may not be possible to revive the language, but at least we can try and preserve it for future generations.

2. Listen to the rest of the interview with Professor Barnett, who tries to preserve endangered languages. Answer these questions.

1   Does it matter if small languages die out …?

     ●   to the people who speak that language

     ●   to the wider world

2   Isn’t it a good idea for everyone to learn a global language?

3   Is it possible to stop languages from dying out?

3. Listen again. Tick (✓) the points he makes.

 No one feels happy about their language dying out.

 Languages are just as important as buildings.

 You can translate everything from one language to another.

 You can learn a ‘big’ language and still keep your own language.

 It’s not good for children to be bilingual.

 Children are the key to keeping languages alive.

 Technology can stop languages dying out.



 Yes, it is part of your identity.

      Yes, we’re losing part of human culture.

 No, you can keep your own ‘small’ language and learn a ‘big’ language.

 Yes, if we want to enough.


1 ✓   2 ✓   4 ✓   6 ✓   7


INTERVIEWER   Professor Barnett, your job is to try to preserve endangered languages. Does it really matter if small languages die out and bigger languages take over? Why is it so important?

PROFESSOR   Well yes, it does matter, it matters very much. First of all, of course it matters to the people who speak that language. Your language is part of your identity. Imagine if English died out and no one spoke it any more, how would you feel?

I   OK, that’s on a personal level. But what about for the wider world? Is it really important?

P   Well, yes. If we lose a language, we’re losing a part of human culture, there’s all that knowledge that the language contains. It’s like losing a painting or a building. Every language has its own way of seeing the world.

 How do you mean? Could you give an example of that?

P   Well, one example, it’s very well known, is a language called Inupiaq, it’s spoken in northern Canada. Now they have over 100 different ways to describe sea ice. It’s unique to that language, you couldn’t translate that into English. And you can find examples like this in every language – every language has a different way of looking at the world.

I   OK, I can see that, but isn’t it a good idea if everyone learns a global language, say English or Spanish or Chinese, or whatever? Then they can talk to other people. That’s what language is for, surely?

P   Yes, of course it’s a good idea, but that’s not the point. People often think you have to give up your own ‘small’ language to learn a ‘big’ language, and in the past that often happened, but in fact you don’t have to do that. You can keep your language and learn the big language – in other words, teach children to be bilingual.

 So, do you think it’s really possible to stop languages from dying out?

P   Yes, I think it is if we want to enough, and it’s already being done by people all around the world. One important thing we can do is change attitudes, especially in children, make them feel proud of their own language, because unless children want to speak their own language, the language dies. And another thing is we can use technology, and this is quite new. We can record people speaking the language, and we can create apps so kids can practise the language, for example. I think that’s really important because it gives a feeling that the language is something modern and fun, and something for young people to learn.

Exercise 3

1. Listen to Part 1. What is the favour?

2. Listen to Part 1 again. Answer the questions.

 What do Sam and Emma want to do?

 How does Sam feel about asking Becky?

 How do Sam and Emma feel afterwards?



Sam and Emma ask Becky to do them a favour. They’d like her to look after the café at the weekend.


1   go away for a long weekend (to Paris)

2   reluctant, nervous

3   relieved, grateful


Part 1

EMMA   So, if we leave late afternoon on Friday …

SAM   I need to check with Becky though.

 Do you think it’ll be a problem?

 Well, it’s asking quite a lot.

 She knows what to do, doesn’t she?

 Yeah, but it means she’ll have to look after the café for a day and a half by herself. Open up, set things up, deal with the cash, clean up – everything.

E   True.

S   That doesn’t seem very fair – she has only just started.

S   Becky?

BECKY   Yeah?

 Do you mind if we ask you a favour?

 Of course not. What is it?

 Feel free to say no, but we – that is, Emma and I – we were hoping to get away … on Friday afternoon … for the weekend.

 Oh, lovely! Where?

 Paris, actually.


 So we were wondering …

 Do you want me to look after the café?

 Would you?

 Of course. I can close up on Friday and sort everything out on Saturday. Just tell me what you need me to do.

S   Are you sure?

B   Of course. I’m happy to help.

S   Thanks. That’s really nice of you.

E   Yes, thanks, Becky. It’s just, Sam hasn’t had a weekend off for more than nine months.

B   My pleasure – it’s about time you two had a break together. And I know how everything works now – it’s no trouble at all.

E   We really appreciate it.

 And if I don’t know what to do, I can always ask Phil. Can’t I, Phil?

PHIL   What’s that?

B   You know all about the café.

P   Do I?

S   Don’t worry, JK. Go back to your book.

E   Yes, make us all famous.

S   I really am very grateful.

B   It’s not a problem.

3. Listen to Part 2. Why … ?

1   Tessa has come to visit Becky at the café

2   Phil is saying ‘great’

3   Becky is saying ‘sorry’

4. Listen again. Are the sentences true or false?

 Tessa is interested in science fiction.

 She asks Phil if she can read his book.

 Tessa suggests that she and Becky begin their photography project.

 Tessa offers to make sandwiches at the café.

 Becky suggests that Tessa works in the café every Saturday.



 To return Becky’s notes.

 Because he has a great idea for the story.

 She can’t start the assignment this weekend (because she is working).


1 T   2 F – she asks Phil to tell her his ideas.

3 T   4 F – she offers to clear tables.

5 F – she doesn’t suggest this.


Part 2

BECKY   Hi there.

TESSA   Hi. Just returning your notes.

PHIL   Great!



 Great what?

 I’ve just had this great idea. For the story.

B   Great!

T   So … um … What is it you’re writing?

P   A science-fiction novel.

T   Oh. I’m quite into science fiction.

P   Oh. Really?

T   You must tell me about it – I mean, your story … your ideas. One day.

P   Oh, right. Yeah. Sure. One day. Love to.

 So … my notes.

T   Oh, sorry. Thanks for the loan.

 No problem.

T   Hey, I was thinking. You know this project – photographing bridges. We should probably make a start soon. I know somewhere great we could go.

B   Good idea. When were you thinking?

T   How about this weekend?

B   Sorry, I can’t. I’ve just told Sam I’d look after the café.

T   No problem – how about the weekend after then?

B   It’s a date.

T   Do you want a hand on Saturday?

B   Here?

T   Yeah. I can help clear tables and … things like that.

B   Great, thanks. That’s really kind of you.

T   I’m more than happy to help out.

 And if things are a bit slow …

T   What?

 Phil can tell you all about his book.

Exercise 4

1. Listen to Kirsten and John telling a friend about a trip to the Grand Canyon. Which of these topics do they not talk about?

the people      the views      camping      birds

cars      the desert      cowboys      meals

2. Listen again and answer the questions.

1   How did they travel?

2   What is unusual about the Mojave Desert?

3   Where did they stay: the first night? the second night? What do they say about it?

4   What two events did they watch at the Grand Canyon?

5   Where did they go next?






1   They drove.

2   It’s a salt desert.

3   They camped. The first night was very uncomfortable because there was no airbed. For the second night, they were lucky to find a place.

4   They saw the sun rise and saw a condor.

5   They went to Las Vegas.


ALEX   So where did you go?

KIRSTEN   We went camping in the Grand Canyon. It was amazing, a real experience. But before, we drove through the Mojave Desert – that’s a big salt desert, just salt for miles and miles.

 Wow, amazing.

 And we saw cowboys, didn’t we, John. Where was that?

JOHN   I don’t know, some town near there. It was like a cowboy show, they had a shootout.

 You mean like a gun fight? For show?

 Yeah, that’s right. Then we stopped for something to eat, and we were really lucky cos it was getting late and we had nowhere to stay, but the owner of the restaurant was really nice, wasn’t he?

 He let us camp behind the restaurant.

K   Yeah, the people were really friendly, weren’t they?

 Yeah. It wasn’t very comfortable, though.

A   Why not?

K   We couldn’t blow up the airbed. It had a hole in it.

 So we slept on the ground. Really uncomfortable.

K   Anyway, the next day we actually saw the Grand Canyon.

A   Oh, that must be incredible.

K   It is. It’s breathtaking. I’ve never seen anything like it.

A   Did you walk through it, or what?

K   No, we just drove round it. Round the south rim, that’s where the best views are. And we camped there too.

 We were lucky to find a place. It was peak season.

K   Yeah. So anyway, then we watched the sunset over the Grand Canyon. Pretty amazing. And the next day we got up at 4.45 and saw the sunrise.


J   Oh, it was worth it. It looks completely different at dawn. Um, what else did we do?

 We saw a condor.

J   Oh yes, they’re really rare apparently. Only 30 birds left. Really impressive birds.

 Mm, sounds great.

 And then we went on to Las Vegas.

 Wow, Las Vegas? Hope you didn’t lose all your money!

Exercise 5

1. Listen to the podcast and tick (✓) the topics that the people mention.

















2. Listen again and tick (✓) the correct answers.

1   Which reason does the presenter not give for why people go on ‘staycations’?

      a   to save money

      b   to find things near where you live

      c   to have a chance to do work around the house

2   What does Mike say about what made the staycation special?

      a   the visits to the exhibition and the coast

      b   the small changes to how he spent his day

      c   the fact he wasn’t staying in a hotel

3   What do we learn about Mike and his wife?

      a   They don’t normally eat breakfast together.

      b   They always like to have a cooked breakfast.

      c   They don’t have a TV.

4   Which of the following statements is true about Samantha’s staycation?

      a   She didn’t do everything she had originally planned to do.

      b   She did more activity than she planned.

      c   She repeated some of the activities on different days.

5   What does Samantha say about the food she ate?

      a   She never ate a takeaway.

      b   She ate takeaways several times.

      c   She only ate a takeaway once.

6   What do we learn about Louise’s children during their staycation?

      a   They didn’t think the staycation was different from normal holidays.

      b   They were unable to follow a rule Louise had made.

      c   They did sport every day.

7   Which of the guests would recommend a staycation to the listeners?

      a   Mike and Samantha

      b   Mike and Louise

      c   all three guests



sports:   Samantha, Louise

music:   Mike, Louise

food:   Mike, Samantha, Louise


1 c   2 b   3 a   4 a   5 b   6 b   7 c


PRESENTER   Hello, and welcome to this week’s travel podcast. As you know, we normally like to invite listeners in to talk about faraway places they’ve visited, but this week it’s almost the opposite – we’re talking about ‘staycations’. If you don’t know what they are, well, the word ‘staycation’ is a combination of ‘stay’ and ‘vacation’, and it’s basically a holiday that you have in your own home, or at least staying at your own home at night. Why do that? Well, for economic reasons, to avoid the stress of travelling, to explore your local area and even to enjoy your own house a little. Now, we’ve got three people to talk to us about their staycations. So let’s speak first to Mike and hear about his … well, I won’t say trip because you didn’t go anywhere.

MIKE   No, I didn’t!

 But tell us about it anyway!

M   Yes, well, I had a four-day staycation last week. I took Friday and Monday off work – my wife did too – so we had four days in all.

 And what did you do?

M   Well, we’d done quite a bit of planning. So we knew there was a concert we wanted to go to on the Saturday night, and a photo exhibition as well. We also took a day trip to the coast and spent the day by the sea.

 Sounds nice.

M   It was. But actually those are the things we’d do anyway, at the weekend. I think it was the little things we did differently that made the experience interesting. So, every morning, we had a big breakfast together, like in a hotel. Normally, we just eat a bowl of cereal, generally not at the same time, but this time we prepared fresh fruit, had yoghurt, something hot like mushrooms, that kind of thing. It was great to sit together and really enjoy it.

P   OK.

M   And also we had made some rules. No TV. No Internet. No checking emails. So we did different things – we read a lot. We listened to music, I even did some painting, and my wife wrote some poetry.

P   Oh, wow. OK, now let’s talk to our second guest. Samantha, tell us about your staycation.

SAMANTHA   Well, I wanted it to be active, like an activity holiday. So I planned everything around that idea. I tried to do something active every day. So one day I went running in the countryside, another day I went cycling, then I went for a walk.

P   Sounds tiring.

S   It was, and actually on the last day, I gave up and stayed at home and slept! The other thing I did was to treat myself to a takeaway every other day. I felt I’d earned it with all that physical activity!

P   Well, thanks. Now, finally, let’s hear from Louise. What did you get up to?

LOUISE   Well, my experience was more of a challenge because, unlike the other two, I’ve got two kids to entertain!

P   Right, so what did you do to keep them occupied?

 Well, a bit like the others, I tried to find an activity every day. So we had a trip to the zoo, going to see a football match, going out for lunch to a restaurant, cooking all together at home, going to a concert. I tried to have the same rule as Mike – no TV or Internet – but that was too hard with kids. They couldn’t understand why we’d want to change. But overall, it went quite well. I think it felt different for the kids, compared to just staying at home during the school holidays. They felt we were all doing something different.

P   OK, thanks, Louise. So, as usual, I’ll ask you all for a mark out of ten and whether you’d recommend the holiday to our listeners. So first, Louise.

 I’d give it seven out of ten. It’s not easy with kids, but it’s worth a try.

P   Thanks. Samantha?

 Eight out of ten. I’d recommend it, but it’s probably better to have more variation instead of doing sport every single day!

P   OK, and Mike?

M   I really enjoyed it. You have to make an effort but if you do, I think it’s a great way to spend a few days. So nine out of ten, and yes, I’d definitely recommend doing what I did.

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