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IELTS Listening Section 1
Woman: Good morning! University Language Centre. How can I help you?
Man: I’m interested in doing a language course. I did Mandarin last year and now I’d like to do Japanese. Can you give me some information about what courses are available at your centre and when they start. That sort of thing?
Woman: Yes, certainly. Well, we actually offer a number of courses in Japanese at different levels. Are you looking for full time or part time?
Man: Oh! I couldn’t manage full time as I work every day but evenings would be fine  and certainly preferable to weekends.
Woman: Well, we don’t offer courses at the weekend anyway, but let me run through your options. We have a 12-week intensive course three hours three nights a week – that’s our crash course ! Or an eight month course two nights a week
Man: I think the crash course would suit me best  as I’ll be leaving for Japan in six months time.
Woman: Are you a beginner?
Man: Not a complete beginner, no!
Woman: Well … we offer the courses at three levels, beginners, lower intermediate and upper intermediate, though we don’t always run them all. It depends very much on demand.
Man: I’d probably be at the lower intermediate level  – as I did some Japanese at school but that was ages ago.
Woman: Right, well the next Level Two course begins on Monday 12th September – there are still some places on that one – otherwise you’d have to wait until January or March.
Man: No – I’d prefer the next course .
Woman: Right! Can I get some details from you then so I can send you some information?
Woman: What’s your name? Family name first.
Man: Hagerty. Richard.
Man: No. H-A-G-E-R-T-Y 
Woman: Oh, OK! And your address, Richard?
Man: Well perhaps you could email it to me.
Woman: Right. What’s your email address?
Man: It’s ricky45 – that’s one word R-I-C-K-Y-4-5 , at hotmail dot com.
Woman: And I just need some other information for our statistics. This helps us offer the best possible courses and draw up a profile of our students.
Woman: What’s your date of birth?
Man: I was born on 29th February 1980 .
Woman: … 1980! So you’re a leap year baby! That’s unusual.
Man: Yes – it is!
Woman: … and just one or two other questions for our market research, if you don’t mind.
Man: No, that’s fine.
Woman: What are your main reasons for studying Japanese? Business, travel or general interest.
Man: My company’s sending me to Japan for two years .
Woman: Alright – I’ll put down ‘ Business’ . And do you have any specific needs? Will there be an emphasis on written language? For instance, will you need to know how to write business letters, that sort of thing?
Man: No. But I will need to be able to communicate with people  on a day-to-day basis.
Woman: OK so I’ll put down ‘ conversation ‘.
Man: Yes, because I already know something about the writing system at an elementary level and I don’t anticipate having to read too much.
Woman: You said you’d studied some Japanese. Where did you study?
Man: Three years at school . Then I gave it up so I’ve forgotten a fair bit. You know how it is with languages if you don’t have the chance to use them.
Woman: Yes, but I’m sure it will all come back to you once you get going again. Now once we receive your enrolment form we’ll …
IELTS Listening Section 2
Joanne: Welcome to this week’s edition of Country Wide. And today we’re taking a look at a number of different breeds of working dogs. And here to report on the dogs with jobs is Kevin Thornhill.
Kevin: Thanks, Joanne. Well yes, dogs with jobs is the subject of today’s programme. Dogs have earned themselves a reputation over the centuries for being extremely loyal . And here’s a little story which illustrates just how loyal they are. Just outside the country town of Gundagai, is a statue built to commemorate a dog  – a dog which sat waiting for his owner to return to the spot where he’d left him. Well … the story, which was immortalised in a song, has it that the poor dog died waiting for his master five miles from Gundegai, which is where they built the statue. Now that’s what I call loyalty!
Well, because of their loyalty and also their ability to learn practical skills dogs can be trained to do a number of very valuable jobs. Perhaps the most well known of working dogs is the border collie sheep dog. Sheep dogs which work in unison with their masters need to be smart and obedient with a natural ability to herd sheep. Some farmers say that their dogs are so smart that they not only herd sheep, they can count them , too!
Another much-loved working dog is the guide dog, trained to work with the blind. Guide dogs, usually Labradors, need to be confident enough to lead their owner through traffic and crowds but they must also be of a gentle nature . It costs a great deal of money to train a dog for this very valuable work but the Guide Dog Associations in the UK, America and Australia receive no government assistance so all the money comes from donations .
Another common breed of work dog is the German shepherd. German shepherds make excellent guard dogs and are also very appropriate as search and rescue  dogs working in disaster zones after earthquakes and avalanches. These dogs must be tough and courageous to cope with the arduous conditions of their work. And so that they can be sent anywhere in the world to assist in disaster relief operations, effective dogs and their trainers are now listed on an international database .
When you arrive at an airport here in Australia, you may be greeted in the baggage hall by a detector dog, wearing a little red coat bearing the words ‘Quarantine’. These dogs are trained to sniff out fresh fruit as well as meat and even live animals hidden in people’s bags. In order to be effective, a good detector dog must have an enormous food drive – in other words they must really love their food . At Sydney airport where there are ten detector dogs working full time, they stop about 80 people a month  trying to bring illegal goods into the country. And according to their trainers, they very rarely get it wrong!
Another famous working dog is the husky. Huskies, which originally came from Siberia, have been used for decades as a means of transport on snow, particularly in Antarctica where they have played an important role. Huskies are well adapted to harsh conditions and they enjoy working in a team . But the huskies have all left Antarctica now because the International Treaty prohibits their use in the territory as they are not native animals. Many people were sad to see the dogs leave Antarctica as they had been vital to the early expeditions and earned their place in history along with the explorers.
IELTS Listening Section 3
Chairman: We’re very pleased to welcome to our special interest group today, Dr. Linda Graycar who is from the City Institute for the Blind. Linda is going to talk to us about the system of writing for the blind known as Braille. Linda, welcome.
Dr. Graycar: Thank you.
Chairman: Now we’d like to keep this session pretty informal, and I know Linda won’t mind if members of the group want to ask questions as we go along. Let’s start with an obvious one. What is Braille and where does it get its name from?
Dr. Graycar: Well, as you said, Braille is a system of writing used by and for people who cannot see. It gets its name from the man who invented it, the Frenchman Louis Braille who lived in the early 19th century.
Chairman: Was Louis Braille actually blind himself?
Dr. Graycar: Well… he wasn’t born blind, but he lost his sight at the age of three as the result of an accident in his father’s workshop . Louis Braille then went to Paris to the National Institute for Blind Children and that’s where he invented his writing system at the age of only 15 in 1824  while he was at the Institute.
Chairman: But he wasn’t the first person to invent a system of touch reading for the blind, was he?
Dr. Graycar: No – another Frenchman had already come up with the idea of printing embossed letters that stood out from the paper but this was very cumbersome and inefficient.
Chairman: Did Louis Braille base his system on this first one?
Dr. Graycar: No, not really. When he first went to Paris he heard about a military system of writing using twelve dots. This was a system invented by an enterprising French army officer and it was known as ‘night writing’  It wasn’t meant for the blind, but rather for battle communications at night.
Chairman: That must’ve been fun!
Dr. Graycar: Anyway, Braille took this system as a starting point but instead of using the twelve dots which ‘night writing’ used, he cut the number of dots in half and developed a six-dot system.
Chairman: Can you give us a little more information about how it works?
Dr. Graycar: Well, it’s a system of touch reading which uses an arrangement of raised dots called a cell. Braille numbered the dot positions 1-2-3 downward on the left and 4-5-6 downward on the right  . The letters of the alphabet are then formed by using different combinations of these dots.
Student: So is the writing system based on the alphabet with each word being individually spelt out?
Dr. Graycar: Well … it’s not quite that simple, I’m afraid! For instance, the first 10 letters of the alphabet are formed using dots 1, 2, 4 and 5. But Braille also has its own short forms for common words . For example, ‘b’ for the word ‘but’ and ‘h’ for ‘have’ – there are many other contractions like this.
Chairman: So you spell out most words letter by letter, but you use short forms for common words .
Dr. Graycar: Yes. Though, I think that makes it sound a little easier than it actually is!
Chairman: And was it immediately accepted? I mean, did it catch on straight away?
Dr. Graycar: Well, yes and no! It was immediately accepted and used by Braille’s fellow students at the school but the system was not officially adopted until 1854, two years after Braille’s death . So, official acceptance was slow in coming!
Student: I suppose it works for all languages which use the roman alphabet?
Dr. Graycar: Yes, it does, with adaptations, of course.
Student: Can it be written by hand or do you need a machine to produce Braille?
Dr. Graycar: Well, you can write it by hand on to paper with a device called a slate and stylus but the trick is that you have to write backwards , for example from right to left so that then when you turn your sheet over, the dots face upwards and can be read like English from left to right.
Student: Oh, I see.
Dr. Graycar: But these days you’d probably use a Braillewriting machine, which is a lot easier!
Chairman: And, tell us, Linda. Is Braille used in other ways? Other than for reading text?
Dr. Graycar: Yes, indeed. In addition to the literary Braille code, as it’s known, which of course includes English and French, there are other codes. For instance, in 1965 they created a form of Braille for Mathematics .
Student: I can’t, imagine trying to do maths in Braille!
Dr. Graycar: Yes, that does sound difficult, I agree. And there’s also a version for scientific notation . Oh and yes, I almost forgot, there is now a version for music  notation as well.
Chairman: Well, thanks, Linda.
IELTS Listening Section 4
Lecturer: We’re going to look today at some experiments that have been done on memory in babies and young children.
Our memories, it’s true to say, work very differently depending upon whether we are very old, very young or somewhere in the middle. But when exactly do we start to remember things and how much can we recall?
One of the first questions that we might ask is – do babies have any kind of episodic memory, can they remember particular events ? Obviously, we can’t ask them, so how do we find out?
Well, one experiment that’s been used has produced some interesting results. It’s quite simple and involves a baby, in its cot, a colourful mobile and a piece of string . It works like this. If you suspend the mobile above the cot and connect the baby’s foot to it with the string the mobile will move every time the baby kicks. Now you can allow time for the baby to learn what happens and enjoy the activity. Then you remove the mobile for a time and re-introduce it some time from one to fourteen days later .
If you look at this table of results, at the top two rows you can see that what is observed shows that two-month-old babies can remember the trick for up to two days and three-month-old babies for up to a fortnight .
And although babies trained on one mobile will respond only if you use the familiar mobile, if you train them on a variety of colours and designs, they will happily respond to each one in turn.
Now, looking at the third row on the table, you will see that when they learn to speak, babies as young as 21 months demonstrate an ability to remember events which happened several weeks earlier. And by the time they are two, some children’s memories will stretch back over six months , though their recall will be random, with little distinction between key events and trivial ones and very few of these memories, if any, will survive into later life. So we can conclude from this that even very tiny babies are capable of grasping and remembering a concept.
So how is it that young infants can suddenly remember for a considerably longer period of time? Well, one theory accounting for all of this – and this relates to the next question we might ask – is that memory develops with language  . Very young children with limited vocabularies are not good at organising their thoughts. Though they may be capable of storing memories, do they have the ability to retrieve them ? One expert has suggested an analogy with books on a library shelf. With infants, he says, ‘it is as if early books are hard to find because they were acquired before the cataloguing system was developed’.
But even older children forget far more quickly than adults do. In another experiment, several six-year-olds, nine-year- olds and adults were shown a staged incident. In other words, they all watched what they thought was a natural sequence of events. The incident went like this: a lecture which they were listening to was suddenly interrupted by something accidentally overturning, in this case it was a slide projector. To add a third stage and make the recall more demanding, this ‘accident’ was then followed by an argument . In a memory test the following day, the adults and the nine-year-olds scored an average 70%  and the six- year-olds did only slightly worse. In a retest five months later, the pattern was very different. The adults’ memory recall hadn’t changed but the nine-year-olds’ had slipped to less than 60% and the six-year-olds could manage little better than 40% recall .