A. Discussion

Discuss the following questions with your classmates:

• Does this wedding look similar to weddings in your country?

• How do you think this couple will celebrate the birth of their baby?

• What is happening in the bottom photo?

(w! B. Vocabulary and Key Concepts

Read through the sentences, trying to imagine which words would fit in the blanks. Then listen to a dictation of the full sentences, and write the missing words in the blanks.

1. Customs and traditions are often_________________________ to

foreigners, partly because the customs are so___________________

that most local people accept them without ever thinking about them.

2. The baby________________________ is given by a close friend

or relative of the_________________________ mother.

3. The________________________ -________________________ –

________________________ is often invited to someone’s home

on some_________________________ so that she can be surprised.

4. Through advice and_______________________________________

________________________ , the expectant mother is

________________________ about the desirability of her


5. A few years ago, it was almost________________________

________________________ for men to participate in baby


6. In the past, men were________________________ from the

________________________ room, but today many men arc

with their wives to "coach" them through the birth.

7. Christians usually have a religious service, called a, for the new baby.

8. Some customs are generally____ concern­ing ___________ , the engagement period, and the

wedding ceremony.

9. Because priests, rabbis, and ministers are all legally

________________________ to marry couples, it is not necessary

to have both a_________________________ and a religious


10. Some customs about the_________________________ and

______________________ are rather______________________

in nature.

11. Some churches and other places where weddings are held have

recently_________________________ the throwing of rice as being

________________________ to guests, who can slip and fall on it.

12. At the time of death, one decision is whether the funeral will be held in a church or in a funeral home,- another decision is whether

the body will be________________________ or buried in a


13. The family may choose to have a—————————————-

service instead of a funeral. In either case, the family may hold

a_______________________ , where the body of the deceased

is displayed in its casket.

14. At a funeral, a________________________ is usually given by

someone close to the—————————————- person.

15. Those who want to express their—————————————-

usually send a sympathy card to the_________________________


Follow-up: Check the spelling of the dictated words with your teacher. Discuss the meanings of these words and any other unfamiliar words in the sentences.

C. Predictions

Using the photograph and the vocabulary exercise as a starting point, write three questions that you think will be answered in the lecture.

Examples: • Must a child’s baptism take place in the same church

that the parents were married in?

• Why are dead bodies displayed in a casket before the funeral?




Follow-up: After you have written your questions, share them with your teacher and your classmates.

Q D. Notetaking Preparation

1. Key Words: Listening

We have already talked about using key words to save time and take good notes. Think of key words as a telegram, that is, the basic infor­mation in reduced form. Practice reducing the following sentences you will hear to key words. You will hear each sentence twice. Listen, de­cide on the key words, and write them in the space below. For exam­ple, as you listen to the first sentence, see how the author has used key words to reduce the information.

a. ethnic groups follow old customs, but still general culture in U. S.





Note: The notetaker here not only reduced the number of words in the sentence greatly but also reworded it somewhat. Can you recreate the message of the sentence from these notes? Or would your notes look different?

Follow-up: Use your key words to reproduce the messages you heard. Add any words necessary to make your sentences clear and grammati­cal. Work with a partner, or check your answers as a class.

2. Adverbs as Content Words

Because adverbs are content words, it is important to understand them and to get them down in your notes. Read these sentences from the lecture, focusing on the italicized adverbs. Discuss the difference in meaning, if any, when you substitute the adverb in parentheses.

1. Almost always a baby shower is arranged in secret so as to be a complete surprise to the mother-to-be. (Occasionally)

2. Usually she was invited to someone’s home on one pretext or an­other. (Ordinarily)

3. There is always a very emotional outpouring of good wishes, (often)

4. In the past, when births mainly took place at home, it was a strictly female event, (mainly)

5. Men never went into the delivery room, (rarely)

6. For Christians, this service is ordinarily called a baptism, (some­times)

7. It is very hard to generalize, but there are some customs that are quite generally observed, (traditionally)

I. LISTENING___________________________________________________________

Q A. First Listening

The lecturer begins his talk with a discussion of cultural traditions in general and of how the United States is somewhat different from many countries. He then announces his subtopics: birth, marriage, and death. Because you already know the subtopics, you will have time to write down some main and secondary ideas of support in the first listening. Use key words and structure your notes.





(w? В. Further Listening

While listening again, write down necessary relevant details below the main subtopic to which they belong. Remember to use content words as key words to save time.

Follow-up: Check your notes. If you missed important information or have doubts about your notes, (1) verify them by asking a classmate questions to fill the gaps in your notes or (2) listen to the lecture a third time. When verifying your notes with a classmate, do not show each other your notes,- ask specific questions to get the information you need.

Examples: • Can you explain what a baby shower is?

• What was said about marriage superstitions?

• What’s the difference between a funeral and a memorial service?

This is also a good time to check to see if the lecturer answered your Predictions questions about the lecture.

II. POSTLISTENING_____________________________________________________

!w) A. Accuracy Check

Listen to the following questions, and write short answers. Use your notes. You will hear each question one time only.











Follow-up: Check your answers with your teacher. If your score is less than 70 percent, you may need to listen to the lecture again or rewrite your notes so that you can understand and retrieve the information in them.

В. Oral Activities

1. Review

In pairs, use your notes to reproduce sections of the lecture. Student A will present the introduction and subtopic 1, including details, to Stu­dent B. Student В will present subtopics 2 and 3 with details to Student

A. Check what you hear against your notes. If you don’t understand or you disagree with what you hear, wait until your partner finishes. Then bring your notes into agreement by seeking clarification, as follows:

• My notes are a little different from yours. I don’t believe men are allowed to come to baby showers.

• Excuse me. I didn’t catch what you said about the tradition of what brides wear or carry at their weddings.

2. Transfer

Choose one of the major subtopics (birth, marriage, or death) and care­fully describe your customs that differ from those in the United States. Your teacher may ask you to present your report orally to a small group or the whole class, or to write a paragraph to hand in.

C. Collaboration: Discussion

Discuss the questions below in small groups. Appoint one person to re­port your group’s opinions to the class.

1. Is it surprising that people in the United States, with its great racial and ethnic diversity, celebrate birth, marriage, and death in similar ways? Why or why not?

2. Death is a topic that is very difficult for most Americans to talk about. What reasons might there be for their avoidance of the topic of death?

3. The lecturer mentioned two fairly recent changes in American society. One is that men are now sometimes invited to baby showers and the other is that more and more men accompany their wives in the delivery room when the baby is born. Do you think these are positive changes? Why or why not?

4. The lecturer discussed superstitions connected to weddings, specifically that a groom should not see the bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony. What reason might there be for this superstition? Does your culture have superstitions connected to weddings? Superstitions about births and deaths? What are they?

D. Pursuing the Topic

The following are recommended for a closer look at life passages in the United States.


Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth. On Death and Dying. New York: Macmillan, 1969.

The author discusses terminal illness, dying, and how those involved can deal with these issues.


Father of the Bride, Charles Shyer, director; 114 minutes, PG.

The comedy depicts a father’s reaction to his daughter’s falling in love, getting engaged, and finally getting married.

Steel Magnolias, Herbert Ross, director; 118 minutes, PG.

A sentimental look at marriage, motherhood, and the lives of women in a small Louisiana town.

Now that you have completed the chapters in this unit, your teacher may want you to take a quiz. Your teacher will tell you whether or not you can use your notes to answer the questions on the quiz. If you can use your notes, review them before taking the quiz so that you can anticipate the questions and know where to find the answers. If you cannot use your notes, study them carefully before you take the quiz, concentrating on organizing the information into main ideas and details that support these main ideas.

Work in small groups to help each other anticipate the questions your teacher will ask. Before breaking up into groups, review your notes and highlight important, noteworthy points. After reviewing your notes, break up into groups. Discuss and write specific short – answer questions and more general essay questions. (For guidelines in writing questions, see the Unit Quiz Directions at the end of Unit 1.)

Write your group’s questions on the following pages.


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