CPE :: Lesson 37



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ACTIVITY 172: You're going to read an article about teenagers' language. For questions 1-5, choose best alternative according to what you read. Then check the correct answers.

Naturally the young are more inclined to novelty than their elders and it is in their speech, as it always was, that most of the verbal changes originate. But listening critically to their talk I hear hardly any new words. It is all a matter of using old words in a new way and then copying each other, for much as they wish to speak differently from their parents, they want even more to speak like people of their own age. A new usage once took time to spread, but now a pop star can flash it across the world in hours.
Of course it is not only the young who like to use the latest in-word. While they are describing their idols as smashing, great, fab or cosmic, their parents and the more discriminating of the younger set are also groping for words of praise that are at once apt and fashionable. However, their choice of splendid, brilliant, fantastic and so on will in turn be slightly dimmed by over-use and need replacement.
Magic is a theme that has regularly supplied words of praise (and the choice must betray something in our nature). Charming, entrancing and enchanting are all based on it. So also is marvellous, which has been used so much that some of its magic has faded while among teenagers wizard had a great run. Another of this group, though you might not think it, is glamorous, which was all the rage in the great days of Hollywood. Glamour was a Scottish dialect form of "grammar" or "grammarye", which itself was an old word for enchantment. (Grammar means the study of words, and words have always been at the heart of magic.) The change from "r" to "I" may have come about through the association with words like gleaming and glittering.
On the whole, when a new word takes over the old ones remain, weakened but still in use, so that the total stock increases all the time. But some that start only as slang and never rise above that class can disappear completely. "Did you really say ripping when you were young?" my granddaughter asked me, rather like asking if I ever wore a suit of armour. Of course I did and it was no sillier than smashing, which some of her contemporaries are still saying.



What do young people like to do in their speech?


A.     Invent words that older people cannot understand.
B.     Use words invented by pop stars.
C.     Give words new meanings to mislead their parents.
   Copy the speech of their contemporaries.


Words of praise keep changing because...


A.     they lose their freshness.
B.     there are more words available in this area.
C.     young people are becoming more discriminating.
   older people try to avoid the in-words of the young.


The fact that magic is a frequent source of words of praise suggests that people...


A.     lack linguistic originality.
B.     have always been interested in magic.
C.     are becoming more superstitious.
   are interested in magic when young.


Which of these words does not have an association with magic?


A.     marvellous
B.     grammar
C.     gleaming


 To the author's granddaughter the word ripping...


A.     seems strange and old-fashioned.
B.     has a clearer meaning than it does for the author.
C.     is unacceptable because it is slang.
   means much the same as smashing.


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