IELTS Reading Passage 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 which are based on
Reading Passage 1 below.
Blue-footed Boobies 2
Boobies are a small group of seabirds native to tropical and subtropical oceans throughout the world. Their diet consists mainly of fish. They are specialized fish eaters feeding on small school fish like sardines, anchovies, mackerel, and flying fish. When their prey is in sight, they fold their long wings back around their streamlined bodies and plunge into the water from as high as 80 feet, so streamlined they barely make a splash. They travel in parties of about 12 to areas of water with large schools of small fish. When the lead bird sees a fish shoal in the water, it will signal the rest of the group and they will all dive together. Surprisingly, individuals do not eat with the hunting group, preferring to eat on their own, usually in the early morning or late afternoon.
There are three varieties on the Galapagos: the blue-footed, red-footed, and
masked boobies. They are all members of the same family, and are not only
different in appearance but also in behaviours. The blue-footed and red-footed boobies mate throughout the year, while the masked boobies have an annual mating cycle that differs from island to island. All catch fish in a similar manner, but in different areas: the blue-footed booby does its fishing close to shore, while the masked booby goes slightly farther out, and the red-footed booby fishes at the farthest distances from shore.
Although it is unknown where the name “Booby” emanates from, some conjecture it may come from the Spanish word for clown, “bobo”, meaning “stupid”. Its name was probably inspired by the bird’s clumsiness on land and apparently unwarranted bravery. The blue footed booby is extremely vulnerable to human visitors because it does not appear to fear them. Therefore these birds received such name for their clumsiness on land in which they were easy, captured, killed, and eaten by humans.
The blue-footed booby’s characteristic feet play a significant part in their
famous courtship ceremony, the ‘booby dance’. The male walks around the
female, raising his bright blue feet straight up in the air while bringing his
‘shoulders’ towards the ground and crossing the bottom tips of his wings high above the ground. Plus he’ll raise his bill up towards the sky to try to win his mate over. The female may also partake in these activities – lifting her feet, sky pointing, and of course, squawking at her mate. After mating, another ritual occurs – the nest-building which ironically is never used because they nest on the bare ground. When the female is ready to lay her eggs, they scrape the existing nest away so she can nest on exposed ground. Sun-baked islands form the booby’s breeding grounds. When ready the female Blue Footed Booby lays one to three eggs.
After mating, two or three eggs are laid in a shallow depression on flat or gently sloping ground. Both male and female take turns incubating the eggs. Unlike most birds, booby doesn’t develop brood patches (areas of bare skin on the breast) to warm the eggs during incubation. Instead, it uses its broad webbed feet, which have large numbers of prominent blood vessels, to transmit heat essential for incubation. The eggs are thick-shelled so they can withstand the full weight of an incubating bird.
After hatching, the male plays a major role in bringing fish home. He can bring back a constant supply of small fish for the chicks, which must be fed
continuously. The reason is that the male has a longer tail than the female in relation to his body size, which makes him able to execute shallower dives and to feed closer to shore. Then the female takes a greater part as time proceeds. Sooner or later, the need to feed the young becomes greater than the need to protect them and both adults must fish to provide enough.
When times are good, the parents may successfully fledge all three chicks, but, in harder times, they may still lay as many eggs yet only obtain enough food to raise one. The problem is usually solved by the somewhat callous-sounding system of “opportunistic sibling murder.” The first-born chick is larger and stronger than its nest mate(s) as a result of hatching a few days earlier and also because the parents feed the larger chick. If food is scarce, the first born will get more food than its nest mate(s) and will outcompete them, causing them to starve. The above system optimizes the reproductive capacity of the blue-foot in an unpredictable environment. The system ensures that, if possible, at least one chick will survive a period of shortage rather than all three dying of starvation under a more ‘humane’ system.
The reading passage has seven paragraphs, A-G
Choose the correct heading for paragraphs A-G from the list below.
Write the correct number, i-ix, in boxes 1-6 on your answer sheet.
List of Headings
i. Unusual way of hatching the chicks
ii. Feeding habit of the red-footed booby
iii. Folding wings for purpose
iv. Rearing the young
v. Classification of boobies
vi. Diving for seafood
vii. Surviving mechanism during the food shortage period
viii. Mating and breeding
ix. Origin of the booby’s name
- Paragraph A
- Paragraph B
Paragraph C ix
3. Paragraph D
4. Paragraph E
5. Paragraph F
6. Paragraph G
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading
In boxes 7-9 on your answer sheet, write
TRUE if the statement is true
FALSE if the statement is false
NOT GIVEN if the information is not given in the passage
7. Boobies are afraid of human approaching.
8. Female boobies eat more than the male ones.
9. When there is not sufficient food, the larger chicks will be fed at the expense of the survival of its smaller mates.
Questions 10 – 13
Complete the summary below.
Using NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the Reading Passage for each
Write your answers in boxes 10-13 on your answer sheet.
The courtship of the Blue-footed Booby consists of the male flaunting his blue feet and dancing to impress the female. During the dance, the male will spread his wings and stamp his feet on the ground with his bills 10……………………. After mating, the booby’s unusual demeanor continues with ritual 11………………………….. that really serves no purpose. When the female Booby lays eggs, the parental boobies incubate the eggs beneath their 12……………………… which contain 13 …………………………. to transmit the heat, because of the lack of brood patches.
Mechanisms of Linguistic Change
A The changes that have caused the most disagreement are those in
pronunciation. We have various sources of evidence for the pronunciations of earlier times, such as the spellings, the treatment of words borrowed from other languages or borrowed by them, the descriptions of contemporary grammarians and spelling-reformers, and the modern pronunciations in all the languages and dialects concerned From the middle of the sixteenth century, there are in England writers who attempt to describe the position of the speech-organs for the production of English phonemes, and who invent what are in effect systems of phonetic symbols. These various kinds of evidence, combined with a knowledge of the mechanisms of speech-production, can often give us a very good idea of
the pronunciation of an earlier age, though absolute certainty is never possible.
B When we study the pronunciation of a language over any period of a few
generations or more, we find there are always large-scale regularities in the
changes: for example, over a certain period of time, just about all the long [a:] vowels in a language may change into long [e:] vowels, or all the [b] consonants in a certain position (for example at the end of a word) may change into [p] consonants. Such regular changes are often called sound laws. There are no universal sound laws (even though sound laws often reflect universal tendencies), but simply particular sound laws for one given language (or dialect) at one given period.
C It is also possible that fashion plays a part in the process of change. It certainly plays a part in the spread of change: one person imitates another, and people with the most prestige are most likely to be imitated, so that a change that takes place in one social group may be imitated (more or less accurately) by speakers in another group. When a social group goes up or down in the world, its pronunciation of Russian, which had formerly been considered desirable, became on the contrary an undesirable kind of accent to have, so that people tried to disguise it. Some of the changes in accepted English pronunciation in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries have been shown to consist in the replacement of one style of pronunciation by another style already existing, and it is likely that such substitutions were a result of the great social changes of the period: the increased power and wealth of the middle classes, and their steady infiltration upwards into the ranks of the landed gentry, probably carried elements of middle-class pronunciation into upper-class speech.
D A less specific variant of the argument is that the imitation of children
is imperfect: they copy their parents’ speech, but never reproduce it exactly. This is true, but it is also true that such deviations from adult speech are usually corrected in later childhood. Perhaps it is more significant that even adults show a certain amount of random variation in their pronunciation of a given phoneme, even if the phonetic context is kept unchanged. This, however, cannot explain changes in pronunciation unless it can be shown that there is some systematic trend in the failures of imitation: if they are merely random deviations they will cancel one another out and there will be no net change in the language.
E One such force which is often invoked is the principle of ease, or minimization of effort. The change from fussy to fuzzy would be an example of assimilation, which is a very common kind of change. Assimilation is the changing of a sound under the influence of a neighbouring one. For example, the word scant was once skamt, but /m/ has been changed to /n/ under the influence of the following /t/. Greater efficiency has hereby been achieved, because /n/ and /t/ are articulated in the same place (with the tip of the tongue against the teeth-ridge), whereas /m/ is articulated elsewhere (with the two lips). So the place of articulation of the nasal consonant has been changed to conform with that of the following plosive. A more recent example of the same kind of thing is the common pronunciation of football as football.
F Assimilation is not the only way in which we change our pronunciation in order to increase efficiency. It is very common for consonants to be lost at the end of a word: in Middle English, word-final [-n] was often lost in unstressed syllables, so that baken ‘to bake’ changed from [‘ba:kan] to [‘ba:k3],and later to [ba:k]. Consonant-clusters are often simplified. At one time there was a [t] in words like castle and Christmas, and an initial [k] in words like knight and know. Sometimes a whole syllable is dropped out when two successive syllables begin with the same consonant (haplology):
Complete the summary below.
Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each
Write your answers in boxes 27-30 on your answer sheet.
The pronunciation of living language undergo changes throughout thousands of years. Large scale regular Changes are usually called 27………………. There are three reasons for these changes. Firstly, the influence of one language on another; when one person imitates another pronunciation(the most prestige’s), the imitation always partly involving factor of 28…………….. . Secondly, the imitation of children from adults’ language sometimes are 29 ………………, and may also contribute to this change if there are there are insignificant deviations tough later they may be corrected. Finally, for those random variations in pronunciation, the deeper evidence lies in the 30 ……………… or minimization of effort.
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 3?
In boxes 31-37 on your answer sheet, write
TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN If there is no information on this
31 ……………….. It is impossible for modern people to find pronunciation of words in an earlier age
32 ………………..The great change of language in Russian history is related to the rising status and fortune of middle classes.
33 ……………….. All the children learn speeches from adults while they assume that certain language is difficult to imitate exactly.
34 ……………….. Pronunciation with causal inaccuracy will not exert big influence on language changes.
35 ……………….. The word scant can be pronounced more easily than skamt
36……………….. The [g] in gnat not being pronounced will not be spelt out in the future.
37……………….. The sound of ‘temporary’ cannot wholly present its spelling.
Look at the following sentences and the list of statements below. Match each statement with the correct sentence, A-D.
Write the correct letter, A-D, in boxes 38-40 on your answer sheet
A Since the speaker can pronounce it with less effort
B Assimilation of a sound under the influence of a neighbouring one
C It is a trend for changes in pronunciation in a large scale in a given period
D Because the speaker can pronounce [n] and [t] both in the same time
38 ……………….. As a consequence, ‘b’ will be pronounced as ‘p’
39 ……………….. The pronunciation of [mt] changed to [nt]
40 ……………….. The omit of ‘t’ in the sound of Christmas
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