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Listen&Learn: The Renaissance

18th November 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • humanism: a movement during the Renaissance that focused on human happiness and success
  • emerge: to develop and become well-known
  • philosophy: the study of existence, thought, and reality
  • contrast: a noticeable difference between two things
  • Middle Ages: the time period between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance
  • influential: able to affect something in a major way

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

The Renaissance was a period of change in Europe. The term ‘renaissance’ is a French word, meaning ‘rebirth’. The Renaissance began in Italy in the 14th century, when a movement called humanism became very popular. Humanism emerged after 14th-century Europeans began to ancient Greek philosophy. The main ideas of humanism were that humans deserved to pursue wealth and happiness, and that science, literature, and the arts were essential to human life. This was a contrast to the Middle Ages, when was often considered the most important part of life. Humanism encouraged many people to study and create art. One of the most well-known artists of this period was Italian Leonardo Da Vinci, the creator of the Mona Lisa. Although the Renaissance ended around the 17th century, the and discoveries from back then are still influential in many cultures today.

Comprehension questions

1. Humanism was inspired by writings of philosophers from

Correct! Wrong!

Humanism was inspired by writings of philosophers from Ancient Greece.

2. One of the main ideas of humanism was that

Correct! Wrong!

One of the main ideas of humanism was that humans deserved wealth and happiness.

3. One of the most famous artists from the Renaissance period was

Correct! Wrong!

One of the most famous artists from the Renaissance period was Leonardo da Vinci.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. How has the Renaissance affected art, science, culture, and politics today?
  2. What do you think was the most important invention from the Renaissance period?

Transcript

The Renaissance was a period of cultural change in Europe. The term ‘renaissance’ is a French word, meaning ‘rebirth’. The Renaissance began in Italy in the 14th century, when a movement called humanism became very popular. Humanism emerged after 14th-century Europeans began to rediscover ancient Greek philosophy. The main ideas of humanism were that humans deserved to pursue wealth and happiness, and that science, literature, and the arts were essential to human life. This was a contrast to the Middle Ages, when religion was often considered the most important part of life. Humanism encouraged many people to study and create art. One of the most well-known artists of this period was Italian painter Leonardo Da Vinci, the creator of the Mona Lisa. Although the Renaissance ended around the 17th century, the ideas and discoveries from back then are still influential in many cultures today.

Listen&Learn: The Cold War

1st July 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • rivalry: a competitive relationship between two people or groups
  • ideology: a set of political beliefs
  • capitalism: an economic system where corporations control the production of goods and services
  • communism: an economic system where the government controls the production of goods and services
  • restrict: to put limits on something
  • treaty: a written agreement between countries

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

The Cold War was a rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union that lasted from 1947 to 1991. It was caused by the opposing ideologies of the American and Soviet . While the U.S. was a capitalist country, the Soviet Union had a communist system. After World War II, the Soviets controlled communist governments in Eastern Europe, while the Americans were allied with democratic governments in Western Europe. The divide between Eastern and Western Europe became known as the Iron Curtain. Throughout the Cold War, both the Soviet Union and the U.S. tried to prove their superiority by gathering and testing nuclear . While the two countries never each other directly, they became involved in conflicts between other countries. In the 1980s, the U.S. and the Soviet Union began to sign agreements restricting nuclear weapons. However, the treaties divided the citizens of the Soviet Union. Some people still strongly communism, and didn’t want to make peace with the United States. Others wanted to convert to a capitalist system. This division eventually led to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, which ended the Cold War.

Comprehension questions

1. The Cold War started in

Correct! Wrong!

The Cold War started in 1947.

2. The government of the Soviet Union was

Correct! Wrong!

The government of the Soviet Union was communist.

3. In the 1980s, the two countries agreed to

Correct! Wrong!

In the 1980s, the two countries agreed to restrict nuclear weapons.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. Some historians have debated about which country was at fault for the Cold War. However, many believe that the Cold War was always going to happen, because the U.S. and the Soviet Union were powerful countries with opposing beliefs. Do you think it is possible for two powerful countries with different ideologies to exist without conflict?

Transcript

The Cold War was a political rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union that lasted from 1947 to 1991. It was caused by the opposing ideologies of the American and Soviet governments. While the U.S. was a capitalist country, the Soviet Union had a communist system. After World War II, the Soviets controlled communist governments in Eastern Europe, while the Americans were allied with democratic governments in Western Europe. The divide between Eastern and Western Europe became known as the Iron Curtain. Throughout the Cold War, both the Soviet Union and the U.S. tried to prove their superiority by gathering and testing nuclear weapons. While the two countries never fought each other directly, they became involved in conflicts between other countries. In the 1980s, the U.S. and the Soviet Union began to sign agreements restricting nuclear weapons. However, the treaties divided the citizens of the Soviet Union. Some people still strongly supported communism, and didn’t want to make peace with the United States. Others wanted to convert to a capitalist system. This division eventually led to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, which ended the Cold War.

Listen&Learn: The Voynich Manuscript

6th May 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • mysterious: hard to explain or understand
  • manuscript: a book written by hand rather than typed
  • bizarre: weird; unusual
  • medicinal: has the ability to heal disease or pain
  • artificial intelligence: computers programmed to “think” like humans
  • decipher: to translate a coded message into known language

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

The Voynich Manuscript is a mysterious that was written in Europe back in the 15th century. The manuscript was named after Polish bookseller Wilfrid Voynich, who brought it to public attention after he purchased it in 1912. The Voynich Manuscript contains bizarre of mysterious plants and constellations, and the text is written in an unknown language that humans have still not been able to . The author of the text is also unknown. Some theories suggest that the manuscript was written by aliens, while other people believe that it was simply written as a guide to medicinal plants. It is likely that the alphabet used in the text is a code, and that the manuscript was originally written in a known European language. However, no one knows what the original language is. Recently, have turned to artificial intelligence to help them decipher the text, but so far, its meaning is still unclear. The Voynich Manuscript is currently kept at Yale University in the United States.

Comprehension questions

1. The Voynich Manuscript got its name from

Correct! Wrong!

The Voynich Manuscript got its name from the bookseller who discovered it.

2. The manuscript contains drawings of

Correct! Wrong!

The manuscript contains drawings of plants and constellations.

3. The Voynich Manuscript is currently kept

Correct! Wrong!

The Voynich Manuscript is currently kept at Yale University in the U.S.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. Do you think that we will ever be able to decipher the Voynich manuscript? Why or why not?

Transcript

The Voynich Manuscript is a mysterious text that was written in Europe back in the 15th century. The manuscript was named after Polish bookseller Wilfrid Voynich, who brought it to public attention after he purchased it in 1912. The Voynich Manuscript contains bizarre drawings of mysterious plants and constellations, and the text is written in an unknown language that humans have still not been able to translate. The author of the text is also unknown. Some theories suggest that the manuscript was written by aliens, while other people believe that it was simply written as a guide to medicinal plants. It is likely that the unfamiliar alphabet used in the text is a code, and that the manuscript was originally written in a known European language. However, no one knows what the original language is. Recently, researchers have turned to artificial intelligence to help them decipher the text, but so far, its meaning is still unclear. The Voynich Manuscript is currently kept at Yale University in the United States.