IELTS® Listening Practice 37

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Listening Script Vocabulary

(Section 3: You will hear a conversation between two students who are discussing a school presentation. First, you will have some time to look at questions 21 to 32 [20 seconds]. Listen carefully and answer questions 21 to 32.)



J: Hi, Mary. Have you finished your presentation yet?

M: Hi John. Yes, nearly, I’ve just got a few more slides to add, but it’s mostly ready. 

J: Oh, well done. You’ll have no problem meeting the deadline, then. What subject did you chose?

M: Well, I searched for a topic for ages but finally decided on the history of chocolate.

J: (surprised) Really? Chocolate? I didn’t know it had a history.

M: Yes, chocolate. It has an amazing story.

J: (sarcastically) Sounds captivating!

M: Actually, it’s not as boring as you might think. I bet there are lots of things you don’t know about chocolate

J: Hmm, maybe. Go on then. Like what?

M: The Mayans of Central America are believed to be the first to have discovered cacao as early as 900 AD.

J: Oh, really? Well, it’s true, I didn’t know that. 

M: Yes. Plus, the Mayans were the first to make chocolate. But Mayan chocolate was very different than the chocolate we know today. It was a liquid made from crushed cacao beans, chili peppers, and water. There was no sugar in Central America. They poured the liquid from one cup to another until a frothy foam appeared on top. 

J: Hang on. Are you planning to tell me the entire history from A to Z?

M: Well, actually, if you don’t mind listening, it would be good practice for me. I always get nervous for presentations and my tutor said I should practice with a friend beforehand. 

J: OK, fine. Go on then. I’ll listen to your presentation. So tell me, where did the word ‘chocolate’ come from? Is it a Mayan word?

M: Yes, that’s right. It comes from a Mayan word that means ‘bitter water’. It may have been bitter water, but it was held in such high esteem that Mayans called it “the food of the gods”. Cacao was so important to the Mayans that images of cacao pods were painted on the walls of stone temples and Mayan artefacts have been found that show kings and Mayan gods drinking chocolate. Cacao was often consumed during religious ceremonies and marriage celebrations. 

J: So, was it only important to Mayans who could enjoy cocoa?

M: Not at all. All Mayans could enjoy cacao, regardless of their social status. People would enjoy it the same way we enjoy coffee today.

J: Hmm. I’m surprised it was so popular if it tasted bitter. You said they didn’t use sugar.

M: Well, cacao was highly valued for its healing and medicinal properties. So it was almost like a medicine.

J: I see. 

M: And also, cacao quickly became the force of the Aztec economy. The demand for the cacao bean created a huge network of trade routes throughout the region. When the Aztecs conquered the Mayans, they were forced to pay taxes to the Aztecs. These taxes were paid in cacao. 

J: What did the Aztecs use cocoa beans for? Did they trade with them? Cook with them?

M: Well, cacao beans were very valuable. The Aztecs used them as money. They paid for food, clothes, taxes, gifts, and offerings to their gods using cacao beans. Having a pocket full of beans was like having a wallet full of cash. As far as the Aztecs were concerned, money really did grow on trees.

J: Ha ha. I wish money grew on trees…

M: Yep. Me, too.

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