1. Listen to a woman telling a story and underline the correct answer, a), b) or c).

 The woman

      a)   has never been embarrassed.

      b)   likes talking about herself.

      c)   prefers other people’s stories.

 Her brother

      a)   tells funny stories.

      b)   doesn’t like talking about himself.

      c)   hates people laughing at him.

 Her brother told her a story about

      a)   his holiday in Spain.

      b)   his ex-wife.

      c)   an embarrassing experience.

 In the story, Bob

      a)   talks to a man who is lying on the beach.

      b)   saves a man who can’t swim.

      c)   helps a man get his boat onto the beach.

 Bob communicated with the man

      a)   using only sign language.

      b)   with gestures and incorrect English.

      c)   using incorrect Turkish.

 Bob was embarrassed because

      a)   the man laughed at him and then said he wasn’t strong enough to help.

      b)   the man didn’t speak English, but thought Bob could understand Turkish.

      c)   he had behaved foolishly because he thought the man didn’t speak English.

2. Listen again and write true (T) or false (F).

 The woman doesn’t enjoy telling others about situations she found embarrassing.

 Her brother Bob enjoys telling stories about things that have happened to people he knows.

 Bob likes making people laugh, but doesn’t enjoy it when they laugh at him.

 The story that she remembers took place before her brother and his wife separated.

 In the story, Bob was asked for help by someone on the beach.

 Bob thought the man was a local, so he used basic English and hand movements to communicate with him.

Answer & Audioscript


1 c)   2 a)   3 c)   4 c)   5 b)   6 c)


1 T   2 F   3 F   4 T   5 F   6 T


Woman:   What’s the most embarrassing experience that ever happened to me? Uhm … well … I can’t think of anything I can actually talk about! I mean, they were such awful experiences, I don’t even want to think about them. Anyway, other people’s stories are much funnier, I always think, don’t you?

      My brother, for example … he tells fantastic stories. He loves telling stories—especially about himself—but he’s very good at it. I remember one story he told me—about an embarrassing experience he had. It made me laugh so much. It was the way he told it, with all the gestures and everything. He doesn’t seem to mind people laughing at him. I think he likes making people laugh—maybe that’s what it is.

      Anyway, this story he told me—it happened quite a few years ago, I think—five or six years at least. He was on vacation somewhere—Spain, was it? No, no, Turkey. Yes, it was definitely Turkey. He was there with his ex-wife. I think it was their last vacation together before they split up. They separated five years ago.

      Anyway, to get back to the story, Bob—that’s my brother’s name, by the way—was walking on the beach alone one afternoon when he saw this man trying to pull a boat out of the water. Apparently, it looked quite heavy. So Bob wanted to help. He’s that sort of person—very sociable. He likes talking to people and doing things for them. So he went up to this man and started using sign language … you know, pointing to himself and to the boat and miming pulling the boat out of the water. He even said “Me help you, yes?” in very simple, very bad English … like baby talk—honestly! Of course, he thought the man was local, you know, Turkish.

      Well—this is the best part—the man looked at him for a moment and said, “Thanks mate, but I can manage.” He was English of course! My brother felt so stupid, you can imagine—making a fool of himself and talking like Tarzan in the movies. I laughed so much. I couldn’t stop. The best thing was that Bob laughed a lot, too. Great story …

3. Listen and answer the questions below.

1   According to June, what activity did people used to be embarrassed or ashamed of doing?

      Writing with their left hand.

2   How old was June when her parents realized she was left-handed?


3   How was she stopped from using her left hand to write with before she started school?


4   What two reasons does June give for people not being allowed to be left-handed in the past?


5   Which hand does June use to write with now?


6   What percentage of people in the world is left-handed?


Answer & Audioscript

suggested answers:

2   15 months old

3   It was tied behind her back

4   It had been considered unlucky or culturally unacceptable

5   her left (one)

6   (about) 10%


Narrator:   Listen to June talking about her experience of learning to write.

June:   It’s interesting how things change with time. These days, in the U.K., writing with your left hand isn’t something to be embarrassed or ashamed of. It’s not a habit that people generally try to get you to change nowadays, but, at the time when I was born, it was. I don’t remember the look on my parents’ faces the first time I picked up a pencil and used my left hand. I was only eighteen months old at the time, no—actually, I remember Mom saying I was fifteen months old. But I do remember that, until I started school, I was made to write with my right hand, and that my left one used to be tied behind my back so I wouldn’t use it. As you can imagine, it didn’t feel natural for me to use my right hand, so my writing was terrible. You could hardly read it! Fortunately, by the time I started school, attitudes had changed, and people were allowed to be left-handed. It was no longer considered to be unlucky or culturally unacceptable.

      As soon I as could, I started learning how to write with my left hand again. It felt a lot more natural to me, and my writing became so much neater. I still think it’s pretty strange that, in some places in the world, being left-handed is considered a bad thing.

      I think I read somewhere that twenty percent—no, I have that wrong, it was about ten percent of the world’s population is left-handed!

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