Listening task 1: Gift-giving occasions

A Listen. What are the gift-giving occasions? Number the occasions from 1 to 6. (There are two extra occasions.)

____ anniversary

____ birthday

____ business meeting

____ Father’s Day

____ graduation

____ Mother’s Day

____ retirement

____ thank you

Answer & Audioscripts

1 retirement   3 Father’s Day   5 thank you

2 graduation   4 birthday   6 Anniversary

Audioscripts in B below

B Listen again. Which gifts are the people going to buy? Check (✓) the correct pictures.

Answer & Audioscripts

1 a   2 b   3 b   4 a   5 a   6 B



Tyler:   Hi, Vanessa! What are you doing here?

Vanessa:   Hi, Tyler. I’m trying to choose a retirement gift for my mother. She’s retiring next month.

Tyler:   Really? I didn’t know that. Good for her. What are you going to get her?

Vanessa:   Well, a few years ago she got really interested in photography. I know she wants to spend more time taking pictures after she retires.

Tyler:   I know the perfect thing, then. Look at this.

Vanessa:   Wow! It’s so small! And thin! It looks like a credit card.

Tyler:   Isn’t it amazing? But it takes great pictures. I know – I have one myself.


Woman 1:   Oh, a gift catalog! What are you looking for?

Woman 2:   I need a gift for my niece. Her high school graduation is in June.

Woman 1:   Oh, how nice. What kinds of things does she like?

Woman 2:   Well, she wears a lot of jewelry – you know, necklaces, bracelets, earrings …

Woman 1:   Hmm. Well, look at this. What do you think? It’s a nice size, and she could put a lot of things in it. The wood looks pretty, too.

Woman 2:   I think she’ll like it a lot. I think I’ll get it!


Greg:   Hey, Steve! What are you up to?

Steve:   Oh, hi, Greg. I’m looking for something for Father’s Day.

Greg:   Well, any of these would be great. Does your dad play a lot?

Steve:   Yes, he’s out on the court almost every weekend. He loves to be outside, and he loves to exercise.


Woman:   Excuse me. I’m looking for a birthday gift for my grandson. He really loves music. Could you recommend something?

Store clerk:   Sure. What kind of music does he like?

Woman:   Uh, I’m not really sure.

Store clerk: Well, uh, who are his favorite singers?

Woman:   Oh, I can’t remember. He’s sixteen. Just give me something that kids that age like to listen to.

Store clerk:   Well, why don’t you get him one of these? Then he can choose his own music.

Woman:   That’s a great idea. I’ll take one for fifty dollars.


Man:   I can’t believe classes are almost over.

Woman:   Yeah, l know. I think I’m going to get something for Professor Wang. She’s been so helpful to me this year, and I just want to thank her.

Man:   Well, why don’t you get her one of these?

Woman:   I’m sure she has one already – or several. But she’s always drinking tea before class. I’m going to get her one of these.

Man:   Good idea. Better get a large one!


Store clerk:   How can I help you, sir?

Man:   Well, it’s our anniversary today.

Store clerk:   Congratulations. How many years have you been married?

Man:  Just one.

Store clerk:   Well, in that case, you’ll want to get something special. How about some of these?

Man:   Those are beautiful. And pink’s her favorite color.

Store clerk:   Would you like twelve, a dozen?

Man:   Yes, please.

Listening task 2: Gifts and cultures

A Listen. Sometimes the meanings of gifts are different among cultures.
Cross out (✗) the items that are not good gifts.

Answer & Audioscripts

1 a   2 a   3 b   4 b

Audioscripts in B below

B Listen again. Why are the items not good gifts?
Circle the correct answers.

1   China

      a. It can also mean “Good-bye.”

      b. It’s too cheap.

2   Argentina

      a. It’s too personal.

      b. It isn’t comfortable.

3   Italy

      a. They’re too expensive.

      b. The number of roses is unlucky.

4   Japan

      a. The number of items is unlucky.

      b. There are too many.

Answer & Audioscripts

1 a   2 a   3 b   4 a



Woman:   Did I tell you I’m going to China on business? I have to buy some gifts before I leave.

Man:   Good idea. What are you going to bring?

Woman:   I was thinking of bringing some handkerchiefs. They’re colorful, beautiful … also lightweight. I don’t want to carry anything heavy.

Man:   Uh, I don’t think you should give handkerchiefs. They aren’t good gifts in Chinese culture.

Woman:   Why not?

Man:   A handkerchief is a symbol of saying good-bye or ending a relationship.

Woman:   Saying good-bye?

Man:   Yeah, like when you’re going away, and people are crying, so they need a handkerchief. Actually, I’ve heard that one of the best things to give is a dinner – not a present, but a big dinner. It’s good for business.


Woman:   I’m going to Argentina to do a homestay and I need to bring some gifts for my family. Did you know that in Argentina you should never give clothes unless you know the person really well?

Man:   Don’t give clothes? Why not?

Woman:   Clothes – even things like neckties – are too personal. Only good friends give clothes.

Man:   Huh? I never thought of a tie as being personal, just uncomfortable. So what are you going to bring?

Woman:   I don’t know. Maybe a plant or something for the house.


Woman:   [shop door closes] Hello. I’d like to buy some flowers. I want to give them to a friend who’s from Italy. How about those? About ten, I guess, please.

Store clerk:   Ma’am, I don’t think you should give ten flowers. In Italy, even numbers – two, four, six, and so on – are bad luck.

Woman:   Even numbers are bad luck? OK, I’ll take nine flowers then.


Store clerk:   May I help you?

Man:   I’m going to stay with a family in Japan. I need to get something for them.

Store clerk:   Pen sets are always a good gift.

Man:   Oh, that’s a good idea. Let’s see…. Here are some sets with a pen and pencil and bigger sets with four pens.

Store clerk:   You said you’re going to Japan?

Man:   Yeah.

Store clerk:   Don’t give a set of four pens, then. In fact, don’t give four of anything.

Man:   Why not?

Store clerk:   The Japanese word for “four” sounds like the word for “death.” It’s bad luck.

Man:   Thanks for telling me. I’ll take the pen and pencil set, then.

Store clerk:   Good choice. These sets make very good gifts. After all, pens write in any language!

Man:   Uh … yeah. Right.

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