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Spoken Corpus Comes To Life: Reading Answers

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Cambridge 1 Academic Test 3 – Passage 01: Spoken corpus comes to life reading answers location, explanation and pdf summary. This reading paragraph has been taken from our huge collection of Academic & General Training (GT) Reading practice test PDF’s.

IELTS reading module focuses on evaluating a candidate’s comprehension skills and ability to understand English. This is done by testing the reading proficiency through questions based on different structures and paragraphs (500-950 words each). There are 40 questions in total and hence it becomes extremely important to practice each and every question structure before actually sitting for the exam.

This reading passage mainly consists of following types of questions:

  • Multiple choice questions
  • Label the diagram
  • Choose correct letter

We are going to read about The Spoken Corpus – an initiative carried out by several groups involved in the production of language such as publishers, universities and the British Library. You must read the passage carefully and try to answer all questions correctly. 

Spoken corpus comes to life

A – The compiling of dictionaries has been historically the provenance of studious professorial types – usually bespectacled – who love to pore over weighty tomes and make pronouncements on the finer nuances of meaning. They were probably good at crosswords and definitely knew a lot of words, but the image was always rather dry and dusty. The latest technology, and simple technology at that, is revolutionising the content of dictionaries and the way they are put together.

B – For the first time, dictionary publishers are incorporating real, spoken English into their data. It gives lexicographers (people who write dictionaries) access to a more vibrant, up-to-date vernacular language which has never really been studied before. In one project, 150 volunteers each agreed to discreetly tie a Walkman recorder to their waist and leave it running for anything up to two weeks. Every conversation they had was recorded. When the data was collected, the length of tapes was 35 times the depth of the Atlantic Ocean. Teams of audio typists transcribed the tapes to produce a computerised database of ten million words.

C – This has been the basis – along with an existing written corpus – for the Language Activator dictionary, described by lexicographer Professor Randolph Quirk as “the book the world has been waiting for”. It shows advanced foreign learners of English how the language is really used. In the dictionary, key words such as “eat” are followed by related phrases such as “wolf down” or “be a picky eater”, allowing the student to choose the appropriate phrase.

D – “This kind of research would be impossible without computers,” said Delia Summers, a director of dictionaries. “It has transformed the way lexicographers work. If you look at the word “like”, you may intuitively think that the first and most frequent meaning is the verb, as in “I like swimming”. It is not. It is the preposition, as in: “she walked like a duck”. Just because a word or phrase is used doesn’t mean it ends up in a dictionary. The sifting out process is as vital as ever. But the database does allow lexicographers to search for a word and find out how frequently it is used – something that could only be guessed at intuitively before.

E – Researchers have found that written English works in a very different way to spoken English. The phrase “say what you like” literally means “feel free to say anything you want”, but in reality it is used, evidence shows, by someone to prevent the other person voicing disagreement. The phrase “it”s a question of crops up on the database over and over again. It has nothing to do with enquiry, but it’s one of the most frequent English phrases which has never been in a language learner’s dictionary before: it is now.

F – The Spoken Corpus computer shows how inventive and humorous people are when they are using language by twisting familiar phrases for effect. It also reveals the power of the pauses and noises we use to play for time, convey emotion, doubt and irony.

G – For the moment, those benefiting most from the Spoken Corpus are foreign learners. “Computers allow lexicographers to search quickly through more examples of real English,” said Professor Geoffrey Leech of Lancaster University. “They allow dictionaries to be more accurate and give a feel for how language is being used.” The Spoken Corpus is part of the larger British National Corpus, an initiative carried out by several groups involved in the production of language learning materials: publishers, universities and the British Library.

Questions 1-6

Reading Passage 1 has seven paragraphs (A-G).

Choose the most suitable heading for each paragraph from the list of headings below. Write the appropriate numbers (i-xi) in boxes 1-6 on your answer sheet.

NB There are more headings than paragraphs so you will not use all of them. You may use any heading more than once.

List of Headings
i    Grammar is corrected
ii    New method of research
iii    Technology learns from dictionaries
iv    Non-verbal content
v    The first study of spoken language
vi    Traditional lexicographical methods
vii    Written English tells the truth
viii    New phrases enter dictionary
ix    A cooperative research project
x    Accurate word frequency counts
xi    Alternative expressions provided
  1. Paragraph A
  2. Paragraph B
  3. Paragraph C – ……….xi………….
  4. Paragraph D
  5. Paragraph E
  6. Paragraph F
  7. Paragraph G

Questions 7-11

The diagram below illustrates the information provided in paragraphs B-F of Reading Passage.

Complete the labels on the diagram with an appropriate word or words.

Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each space.

Write your answers in boxes 7-11 on your answer sheet

Spoken Corpus Comes To Life: Reading Answers

Questions 12

Choose the appropriate letter A-D and write it in box 12 on your answer sheet

12. Why was this article written?

A) To give an example of a current dictionary.

B) To announce a new approach to dictionary writing.

C) To show how dictionaries have progressed over the years.

D) To compare the content of different dictionaries


Check out your Spoken corpus comes to life reading answers below with locations and explanations given in the text.

QuestionsTaskSkills tested
1-6Matching (people to opinions)• detailed reading
• identifying main ideas/themes/topics
• understanding gist
7-11Labelling a diagram• locating specific information
• understanding a process
• understanding paraphrase
• distinguishing examples from main ideas
12Global multiple choice• identifying the overall intention of the writer

Questions 7-11

(Suggested approach)

  • Read the task rubric carefully.
  • Note that you must use a maximum of three words but that these do not have to be taken from the passage. Note also that you need to focus on particular paragraphs.
  • Scan the diagram carefully and make sure you understand it. You have already read the passage once so you should realise that the diagram summarises most of the information in the passage.
  • Look at item 7. This box describes an input into the Language Activator that is not part of the Spoken Corpus. Skim through the passage to find out what other kind of information is going into the Language Activator.
  • The answer occurs at the beginning of paragraph C although it is helpful to read paragraph B too. An existing written corpus has been used.
  • Repeat this procedure with the rest of the questions.
QuestionAnswerLocation of answer in text
7existing“This has been the basis — along with the company”s existing written corpus …”
8(related) phrases“… key words … are followed by related phrases …”
9meanings //formsgist of paragraph D
10spoken// real//oral“… written English works in a very different way to spoken English.”
11noise// pauses// noises and pauses“It also reveals the power of the pauses and noises we use to play for time, convey emotion doubt and irony.”
Have any doubts??? Discuss in the comments ...

PDF Summary

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