IELTS Academic Reading Practice 19

 
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This reading practice simulates one part of the IELTS Academic Reading test. You should spend about twenty minutes on it. Read the passage and answer questions 1-10.

Questions 1-7

The reading passage has seven sections, A-G.

Choose the correct heading for sections A-G from the list of headings below.

Write the correct number i-x in boxes 1-7 on your answer sheet.

List of Headings
  1. Post-computer transformation
  2. The first study of spoken language
  3. Technology learns from dictionaries
  4. The modern corpus dictionary
  5. Dictionary makers of the past
  6. The way English really works
  7. Who benefits from a corpus?
  8. English language innovation
  9. Data collection for the corpus
  10. Written English tells the truth

1. Section A
2. Section B
3. Section C
4. Section D
5. Section E
6. Section F
7. Section G
Questions 8-10

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

Write your answers in boxes 8-10 on your answer sheet.

8 According to Delia Summers, a director of dictionaries, which has completely changed the way that lexicographers work?

9 What are lexicographers just starting to incorporate into their data for the first time?

10 How is a language corpus compiled?


Answer Sheet
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
N/A
12
N/A
13
N/A
14
N/A
15
N/A
16
N/A
17
N/A
18
N/A
19
N/A
20
N/A
21
N/A
22
N/A
23
N/A
24
N/A
25
N/A
26
N/A
27
N/A
28
N/A
29
N/A
30
N/A
31
N/A
32
N/A
33
N/A
34
N/A
35
N/A
36
N/A
37
N/A
38
N/A
39
N/A
40
N/A


  • help Learn how to HIGHLIGHT & ADD NOTES
    1. HOLD LEFT CLICK
    2. DRAG MOUSE OVER TEXT
    3. RIGHT CLICK SELECTED TEXT

Spoken Corpus

Section A

Historically, compiling dictionaries is often traced back to the work of studious professorial types, perhaps bespectacled, who loved to pore over weighty tomes and make claims about 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, made simpler than ever, is revolutionising the content of dictionaries and the way they are put together.

Section 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 been studied this way in the past. In one project, 150 volunteers each agreed to tie a Walkman recorder to themselves, and discreetly record everything around them for 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.

Section C

This project formed the basis for the Language Activator dictionary, along with an existing written corpus, or body of compiled language. The dictionary has been 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,” which allows learners to form new connections between related words and phrases.

Section 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.

Section 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, as evidence now shows, by someone to prevent the other person voicing disagreement. The phrase “it’s a question of…” appears on the database over and over again. However, it seems this phrase has nothing to do with a question. Surprisingly, this phrase was revealed to be one of the most common phrases in the English language, even though it was never entered into a dictionary before.

Section 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 buy time, and to convey emotion, doubt or irony.

Section G  

For now, foreign learners are benefiting most from the Spoken Corpus. “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, such as publishers, universities and the British Library.

Reading Passage Vocabulary
Spoken Corpus

Section A

Historically, compiling dictionaries is often traced back to the work of studious professorial types, perhaps bespectacled, who loved to pore over weighty tomes and make claims about 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, made simpler than ever, is revolutionising the content of dictionaries and the way they are put together.

Section 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 been studied this way in the past. In one project, 150 volunteers each agreed to tie a Walkman recorder to themselves, and discreetly record everything around them for 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.

Section C

This project formed the basis for the Language Activator dictionary, along with an existing written corpus, or body of compiled language. The dictionary has been 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,” which allows learners to form new connections between related words and phrases.

Section 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.

Section 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, as evidence now shows, by someone to prevent the other person voicing disagreement. The phrase “it’s a question of…” appears on the database over and over again. However, it seems this phrase has nothing to do with a question. Surprisingly, this phrase was revealed to be one of the most common phrases in the English language, even though it was never entered into a dictionary before.

Section 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 buy time, and to convey emotion, doubt or irony.

Section G  

For now, foreign learners are benefiting most from the Spoken Corpus. “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, such as publishers, universities and the British Library.

 
IELTS Academic Reading Tips for Success
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