Monday, 24 October 2011

Objective Proficiency p 24. Animals. Speaking

1. MONOLOGUE. Prepare a talk of AT LEAST 5 minutes on the subject. You may use the pictures above and the contents below if you wish:

Each species on our planet plays a role in the healthy functioning of natural ecosystems, on which humans depend.
- William H. Schlesinger, Biogeochemist-

Do you think hunting and mistreating endangered species may render this planet uninhabitable? Can you think of anything that can be done to prevent animals from becoming extinct? How could you stop the poaching of elephants for their tusks? Are there any endangered species in your area? What could be done to protect defenceless animals in the wild? Do you think wild animals should be tamed? What are your views on vivisection? What would be your arguments against speciesism? Would you ever approve of culling?

You may make some notes for your talk to take into the exam. These should not exceed five lines.


In this part of the test, the examiner will ask you some questions about issues related to the TOPIC. Remember that you are expected to have a conversation as natural as possible and give full answers. This part of the examination will last AT LEAST 5 minutes. You will not see the questions below.


1. In what ways do oil spills and garbage patches in our oceans threaten marine life? What could be done to staunch the flow of oil and to cut down on the plastic debris that goes into the sea?

2. Do you get up with the lark?

3. When you want to relax do you ever go for a walk in the countryside? Tell us about it.

4. Have you, or anyone you know, ever been confronted with an animal that was about to attack you to protect their young? 

5. What are the reasons for the trafficking of cubs?

6. Have there been any developments in your area that have endangered wildlife?

7.  Have you ever felt like being in the wilderness? Why?

8. Do you feel very strongly about blood sports?

9. Can you think of anything that may come with a sting in the tail?

10. Have you ever experienced a mosquito whine while it is hovering by your ear? 

11. What would you do, if you were woken up by mice making squeaking and scratching sounds

12. Why do you think cats purr

13. Do you sometimes take things like water off a duck's back

Part 1
Quill (also quill feather)  

a large feather from the wing or tail of a bird.


/ˈfeðəd/ covered with feathers or having feathers



 a curved piece of metal, plastic or wire for hanging things on, catching fish with, etc.E.g. a picture/curtain/coat hook. A fish hook. Hang your towel on the hook


/beɪt/ food put on a hook to catch fish or in nets, traps, etc. to catch animals or birds. E.g. Live worms are used as bait. The fish took the bait. A trap was laid, with fresh bait.


(also leash) a long piece of leather, chain or rope used for holding and controlling a dog. E.g. Dogs must be kept on a lead in the park.

Stalk (something/somebody)  

to move slowly and quietly towards an animal or a person, in order to kill, catch or harm it or them. Follow stealthily. Sp. acechar. The lion was stalking a zebra. He stalked his victim as she walked home, before attacking and robbing her.  I watched a tiger stalking its prey.    


/ˈstelθi/ doing things quietly or secretly; done quietly or secretly. E.g. a stealthy animal. A stealthy movement. Stealthily (adv) / ˈstelθɪli / She crept stealthily along the corridor.


 /ˈdaʊni/ covered in something very soft, especially hair or feathers. Sp. pelusa. E.g. a layer of downy feathers. A downy coat.


the fur, hair or wool that covers an animal's body. Sp. pelaje. E.g. a dog with a smooth coat. Animals in their winter coats (= grown long for extra warmth).


/ˈkɔːtʃɪp/ the special way animals behave in order to attract a mate for producing young animals. Sp. cortejo. E.g. courtship displays.


sex between animals. E.g. The mating season. Ten matings produced forty-six puppies.


(V) (of animals) to have sex and produce young. Sp. Criar. E.g. Many animals breed only at certain times of the year. Kapo the gorilla was born and bred in captivity. Wild animals do not always breed well in captivity.



(N) a particular type of animal that has been developed by people in a controlled way, especially a type of dog, cat or farm animal. Sp. raza. E.g. Labradors and other large breeds of dog. A breed of cattle/sheep. That's an unusual dog. What breed is it?


the producing of young animals, plants, etc. Cría. E.g. The breeding season. Some birds set off for their breeding grounds.

marine debris

 /ˈdebriː/ /ˈdeɪbriː/ [uncountable] litter that ends up in oceans. E.g. Marine debris can be very harmful to marine life


 /ˌbaɪəʊdɪˈɡreɪdəbl/ a substance or chemical that is biodegradable can be changed to a harmless natural state by the action of bacteria, and will therefore not damage the environment. E.g. Most plastics are not biodegradable. Much of the marine debris is non-biodegradable (not biodegradable).


 /ˌbaɪəʊdɪˈɡreɪd/ (of a substance or chemical) to change back to a harmless natural state by the action of bacteria. E.g. plastic goods do not biodegrade but instead break down into smaller pieces. 

wear down

 to become, or make something become, gradually smaller or smoother by continuously using or rubbing it. Many plastics, for instance, do not wear down; they simply break into tinier and tinier pieces. 



at risk

E.g. Seals and other marine mammals are especially at risk. 

entangle somebody/something (in/with something)  

to make somebody/something become caught or twisted in something. E.g. The bird had become entangled in the wire netting. Seals can get entangled in abandoned plastic fishing nets.

litter something 

to be spread around a place, making it look untidy. E.g. Bits of plastic debris litter the shore: bottle caps, toys, cigarette lighters, fishing line and other garbage.


/ˌɪnədˈvɜːtəntli/ by accident; without intending to. E.g. In many areas of the globe, birds inadvertently feed on plastic floating on the water, mistaking it for food, and many times this ingestion leads to death and even the death of their young.


/dɪˈtraɪtəs/ debris, rubbish.  E.g. Large plastic detritus such as bottles and packaging has well-known effects on sea life, strangling birds and fish and transporting alien species to new waters.


to get rid of something that you no longer want or need. E.g. Especially lethal is discarded fishing gear.


/ˌdiːkəmˈpəʊz/ to be destroyed gradually by natural chemical processes. E.g. Plastic water bottles take 450 years to decompose


Part 1 Questions

Render somebody/something + adjective 

(formal) to cause somebody/something to be in a particular state or condition. Make. E.g. to render something harmless/useless/ineffective. Hundreds of people were rendered homeless by the earthquake.


/ɪkˈstɪŋkt / no longer in existence. E.g. an extinct species. To become extinct. The red squirrel is in danger of becoming extinct in England. The fossilised remains of extinct animals. It is terrible that animals are becoming extinct because of human greed.


(something)/pəʊtʃ/ to illegally hunt birds, animals or fish on somebody else's property or 
without permission. E.g. The elephants are poached for their tusks.


 either of the long curved teeth that stick out of the mouth of elephants


/ɪnˈdeɪndʒə(r)/ The sea turtle is an endangered species (= it may soon no longer exist).  Illegal sale of endangered animals. 


/dɪˈfensləs/ weak; not able to protect yourself; having no protection. Defenceless children. The village is defenceless against attack. Animals are defenceless creatures.

The wild 

 [singular] a natural environment that is not controlled by people. E.g. The bird is too tame now to survive in the wild. The animals were released back into the wild when they had recovered.  


(V) to make something tame or easy to control. E.g. Lions can never be completely tamed.


 (of animals, birds, etc.) (ADJ) not afraid of people, and used to living with them. Dócil. E.g. The bird became so tame that it was impossible to release it back into the wild. Don't be afraid of the monkey, it's quite tame. I have seen children that are absolutely terrified of my incredibly tame cats.


/ˌvɪvɪˈsekʃn/ the practice of doing experiments on live animals for medical or scientific research.



/ ˈspiːʃiːzɪzəm/ the belief that humans are more important than animals, which causes people to treat animals badly.


/ˈspiːʃiːzɪst/ adjective, noun 

Cull something  

to kill a particular number of animals of a group in order to prevent the group from getting too large. 


oil spill:

(also oil slick) an area of oil that is floating on the surface of the sea. E.g. a 50 km slick from the damaged tanker.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch 

 is a soupy collection of marine debris—mostly plastics.


staunch something 


to stop the flow of something, especially blood. E.g. Customs officers are struggling to staunch the flow of illegal imports. He bound his thigh firmly to staunch the flow of blood.


/ˈhemərɪdʒ/ 1. a medical condition in which there is severe loss of blood from inside a person’s body. E.g. a massive brain/cerebral haemorrhage. 2. haemorrhage (of somebody/something) a serious loss of people, money, etc. from a country, a group or an organization. E.g. Poor working conditions have led to a steady haemorrhage of qualified teachers from our schools.


 /ˈdebriː/ /ˈdeɪbriː/ [uncountable]
  1. pieces of wood, metal, brick, etc. that are left after something has been destroyed. E.g. Emergency teams are still clearing the debris from the plane crash. Several people were injured by flying debris in the explosion.
  2. (formal) rubbish/garbage or pieces of material that are left somewhere and are not wanted. E.g. Clear away leaves and other garden debris from the pond. The debris of their lunch

What we all can do:

  • Reduce our use of disposable (made to be thrown away after use) plastic products;
  • Reuse and recycle what we can;
  • Buy reusable grocery bags to cut down on plastic bag use;
  • Tell others about the dangers of marine debris;
  • Pick up litter;
  • Volunteer for beach clean-ups;
  • Remind others not to release balloons into the atmosphere.

Be/get up with the lark:

to get out of bed very early in the morning. Lark a small brown bird with a pleasant song (Sp. alondra).


Be confronted with something 

 to have something in front of you that you have to deal with or react to. E.g. Most people when confronted with a horse will pat it.


a young bear, lion, fox, etc. E.g. a lioness guarding her cubs


/ ˈwaɪldlaɪf/ animals, birds, insects, etc. that are wild and live in a natural environment. Development of the area would endanger wildlife. A wildlife habitat/sanctuary. Something must be done to protect wildlife.


/ˈwɪldənəs/ a large area of land that has never been developed or used for growing crops because it is difficult to live there. E.g. The Antarctic is the world's last great wilderness.

Feel very strongly about something

 to have firm opinions about something. E.g. This is an issue I feel strongly about. I could write pages and pages on this particular topic as I feel very strongly about it.


Blood sport:  

a sport in which animals or birds are killed. E.g. I detest blood sports.








the sharp pointed part of an insect or creature that can go into the skin leaving a small, painful and sometimes poisonous wound. Sp. aguijón. E.g. the sting of a bee. The scorpion has a sting in its tail.  




A sting in the tail:





 (informal) an unpleasant feature that comes at the end of a story, an event, etc. and spoils it. E.g.At the start, it's humorous and light but like most of her short stories, there's a sting in the tail. Cheap rates may come with a sting in the tail.








/waɪn/ a long high sound that is usually unpleasant or annoying. E.g. a mosquito whine is the sound
a mosquito makes when it is hovering by your ear.








 / ˈhɒvə(r)/ to stay in the air in one place. E.g A hawk hovered over the hill.


/skwiːk/ (V) to make a short high sound that is not very loud. E.g. My new shoes squeak. The mouse ran away, squeaking with fear.


 (N) a short, high cry or sound, that is not usually very loud. E.g. the squeak of a mouse.


/pɜː(r)/ when a cat purrs, it makes a low continuous sound in the throat, especially when it is happy or comfortable. Sp. ronronear. E.g. The cat was purring contentedly on my lap.

Like water off a duck's back: 

(informal) used to say that something, especially criticism, has no effect on somebody/something. E.g. I can't tell my son what to do; it's water off a duck's back with him.

 Watch this Youtube video.

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