Real Exam English - B2, C1, C2

S02 - 10 Family

April 07, 2021 Real Exam English Season 2 Episode 10
Real Exam English - B2, C1, C2
S02 - 10 Family
Show Notes Transcript

Native English speakers answer questions about family from previous B2, C1, C2 and IELTS  exam papers.

We have some great language in the form of phrasal verbs and idioms, we take a look at some lovely verbs that end in EN and we examine some classic expressions from Scotland. You will hear speakers from England, the USA, Australia, Scotland and Ireland so a wide variety of accents for you, as usual. 

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Music: Wholesome by Kevin MacLeod

Thanks to all of the contributors, including Ian from the We Dig Music podcast, Arianwen from the In Mothering podast, Trisha from Conversations with a Random Nobody, Chris, Barbara, Ronny, Zoe, Ofordi, Karen, Keith, Mary, Emma and Ursula.

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Hello and welcome to Real Exam English. Today´s episode is about family. It´s been a tough time for families recently, what with many of us being separated from our loved ones because of travel restrictions or lockdowns, other families on the other hand having to spend all of the time locked in the same house as each other, which creates a whole other set of problems. Many people have sadly lost loved ones, and we offer our sincere condolences to all of them, so it´s a been a challenging time for many, but today´s episode is covid-free. What we do have is some great language in the form of phrasal verbs and idioms, we take a look at some lovely verbs that end in EN and we examine some classic expressions from Scotland. You will hear speakers from England, the USA, Australia, Scotland and Ireland so a wide variety of accents for you, as usual. And not only will listening to this podcast improve your listening, but you will also get a better idea how to answer questions in a speaking exam, plus there are language tips for writing and use of English, and let´s not forget reading, the transcripts are available on the Real Exam English website, So you can improve all of your skills by listening here today, so without further ado, let´s go with the questions!

Who do you think should care for the elderly, the government, or their family?

You know what? This is More of a my belief systems Question I think the government because if I live in a country and I'm working and paying taxes. ThenThere should be a pension at the end of it when all if I've spent my life grinding away doing work for The benefit of the country that I live in, why shouldn't that country or the government of that country then Help me through my Twilight years. Why should they not?

We heard a lovely phrasal verb here, I´ve spent all my life grinding away doing work. Grinding away means working hard over a long period of time, often doing something that is boring or difficult. Then we heard this expression my twilight years. So twilight is the period just before it goes dark in the evening, so your twilight years are the later years of someone´s life.

Who are you most like in your family?

Oh, I don't know. That's a good question. It´s either my mother and my father, I suppose. Because she can be A bit of both in some ways that I know I could tell you one thing. Now, being a father now myself, I can certainly see that my youngest is a chip off the old block, definitely, looks as well as disposition.

Many parents find it difficult to let their children become independent. What’s your opinion?

There's a line between assisting your children and Anne giving them the room to become independent to do their own things. You know whether that Be you know having breakfast or getting their own food or getting dressed in the morning, you know And naturally those things will...Well will change overtime as far as what responsibilities and decisions they take on as they get older.

In the first answer here the speaker gives himself a little bit of extra time by saying Oh I don´t know, that´s a good question. We´ve spoken before about the importance of having some expressions like this when you get a difficult question and you need a second or two to think. We heard a nice example of a participle clause, Being a father now myself, I  can certainly see….This is one of those advanced grammar structures that will impress an examiner. Then there was this awesome idiom, my youngest is a chip off the old block. So if a child is a chip off the old block it means that they are similar to one of their parents, or to use a nice phrasal verb, they take after one of their parents. 

Have you got any brothers and sisters?

I have one brother. He is 9 years younger than me.

How are the lives of young people today different from those of their parents?

Look, I think the really huge thing that is different. Is our access to social media and the permanence of the Internet, Even……… so, I've got children They are experiencing the world at such a different way because of the permanence of things like Facebook or Twitter Already, and they're not even on those things. So like my parents never had to think Oh should I put this photo of my child for public availability When I was little, whereas I have to think that for my children.

So I think that's a really huge difference. I actually think we expect a lot from our children now in terms of their knowledge and what they will do, Which is quite different I think that is probably the main difference.

So this speaker is talking about social media being the really huge difference. Huge means really big, and is a word that I hear being mispronounced all the time, it finishes with that j sound, which can be tricky for some nationalities, so make sure to practice that one huge. And remember it´s much better to say huge, or enormous, or gigantic, instead of really big. At a higher level words like big, good or bad don´t impress examiners so you have to learn and practice using better adjectives, and it makes your language more colourful and interesting for the listener or reader.


Have you got any brother or sisters?

I do. I have two brothers and two sisters, so I have an older sister, two younger brothers and a little sister.

Does your family like spending time together?

Yes, we we spend time together fairly often. now that we're all grown, it's harder for us to spend time together, but we still get together as much as we can, with the exception of this year, obviously But when we do get together, it's a..It's a good time We spend a lot of time together when we can.

How are the lives of young people today different from those of their parents?

I think that online communication is very much the norm now Which it was and when I was young, you know we would, We had to call on the phone and even when I was a young teenager we had to call on the landline. It was very rare for somebody to have a cell phone when I was in like high school and now it's very much the norm for somebody to have a cellphone, the other thing that I think is especially for like older teenagers and even like college students, is the prevalence of online dating. So it's very much in common Now for people to meet online and then date versus when I was in college, it was very rare. You were thought of as as a pariah, Right?

So this speaker says he gets together with his family as much as he can, with the exception of this year. That´s a really handy expression, with the exception of. So when you have one thing that doesn´t follow a rule or doesn´t belong in a list, you can use with the exception of. For instance, I like all types of music with the exception of heavy metal. Then we had a word which means the exact opposite of the exception, and that was the norm, our example was having a cellphone in school is the norm these days, meaning it is the usual thing, or the accepted way of doing things.

How are the lives of young people today different from those of their parents?

I assume their lives are different, mainly because they spend more time on the Internet or on the phone, and I think that they are generally more anxious about sort of….. some, well, some, not all, but are more sort of nervous about interacting with people sort of face to face because there's such a culture in the media about… short sentences being witty and lot of young people don't feel comfortable having a longer conversation and interacting with people in a way that perhaps their parents would have because. There wasn't such a drive to use the Internet and there wasn't the Internet when most of their parents were alive.And also I think our society as a whole has become a lot more focused on appearance and style over substance, and so you know, young people feel far more pressure to perform to look a certain way to act a certain way to dress a certain way to behave a certain way. I mean that stuff was always there, but I think the degree to which it sits there is Has been far more heightened because of the Internet.

Do you think that parents should help their children make important decisions, even when the children are grown up?

I think it depends what one means by help their children. I think that can be quite loaded. I think if you're helping in that, you're sort of providing advice which the children have asked for. Then fair enough, but if one is essentially saying I am your parents and I know best and therefore you should do as I say, and I'm telling you this because I'm helping you, then perhaps not so much. You know. I mean, parental advice is always useful, and if people ask for help, absolutely that's a wonderful thing But I think it's about, I think it depends on the child and the parent.


In the first answer here the speaker said the pressure on young people has been far more heightened. This word heightened means it has been made higher. This is one of a bunch of similar words that frequently appear in C1 and C2 use of English exams. They all end in en, like heighten, and many of them relate to measurements, so for example, the adjective high changes to the verb heighten. Long changes to lengthen, which means to make longer, wide changes to widen, broad to broaden, deep to deepen. There are others that aren´t to do with measurements like sweet changes to sweeten, or fat to fatten. So if you are stuck for a verb when you are doing this type of exercise then check if it follows this pattern, as it is appears pretty often. 

In the second answer the speaker mentions that it is useful to get advice. Make a note that she didn´t say advices, which is a quite common mistake. In English advice is an uncountable noun so you can get some advice or a piece of advice but never advices. 


Ok so this next speaker is from Scotland, which is the most difficult accent for many speakers. If you guys can understand every word that this speaker says then you will have no problems doing any listening exam! There´s many native English speakers who might have difficulty catching every word, and this speaker speaks well, I may add. Ok, let´s see how you do.

Do you go on holiday with your family?

No, not for about 10 years now we went to New York 10 years ago and it was brilliant. It was the first time I'd ever been. It is my favorite city in the world. I've been lucky enough to go back five Times Now it's just such a great place. Yeah.I mean, I wouldn't be going there now, Just now, I mean, let's just make that clear, yeah? But I I would, I think if that got muted again, I think there was talk of 1 new year getting a lodge out someplace and the family, going dogs and all that kind of stuff, and having a right time of it. But I've got great memories of past holidays, going to like Benidorm, Tenerife and stuff like that. And I remember in benidorm with my family, about three or four years old. It's amazing what things you remember just diving into pool thinking Probably swim and my mom who doesn't swim had to dive in and save me and I don´t think she talked to me much less than a week. But anyway, it's something that I think would be pretty cool, but something I've I've never really thought of, but something like a wee weekend or that I could probably survive that I think.

Ok so this speaker is from Scotland, which is a lot of people find difficult to understand, including native English speakers. And we had a couple of typical Scottish expressions here. The first one was I was thinking of getting a lodge for new years eve and having a right time of it. So a lodge is like a big house out in the country and having a right time of it means having really good fun. You can hear this expression in Ireland too but I think outside of those two countries it´s not too common. Then we heard THE most typical Scottish word ever and that is wee, which means small. If you go to Scotland you´ll hear this all the time, someone might offer you a wee cup of tea, or a wee whisky if you´re lucky. I wouldn´t recommend using language like this in an exam situation as it wouldn´t sound natural but it´s good to know in case you go to Scotland or listen to someone from Scotland and are wondering why they are talking about wee all the time!


In what ways have families in your country changed in recent?

I'm Irish so and I live in Ireland so traditionally in Ireland families. Would have been quite quite large due to us being a Catholic country and contraception being banned in the Catholic religion, so but now we are very much. Not bound by the rules of the Catholic Church and families, there is a lot of family planning and uhm, financial constraints. Of course, in the modern world come into play. So most families I would say would have an average of 2.5 kids. Whereas traditionally they would have had around could be 10 kids or 7 to 10 kids. 

Should husbands and wives have different roles within the family? 

No, I don't think so. I accept that I think that's very, very, very difficult to change, even though it is changing in modern society. I think it perhaps has not changed enough. Is if I. An example is that even if the wife is the breadwinner in the family, and works more hours than the husband, it still often falls on the the woman of the house. To do the traditional housekeeping duties, which is part of family life. 


Many parents find it difficult to let their children become independent. Whats your opinion?

Yes, I think this is becoming more of a problem in today's society. 

And you know a helicopter Parenting is becoming more and more evident because of the dangers that parents are aware of through social media and the news that perhaps they weren't aware of all the dangers that were not there. Many years ago. And there is a level of anxiety amongst parents that never was there before of of what their kids can get up to an what they are and what influence there. Kids can come under an just in in the unregulated society. 


We have some superb family language to finish with today. In the first answer we heard about family planning which is of course planning how many children you want to have and when you want to have them, rather than it being uncontrolled like the speaker mentioned in Ireland, where they used to have ten kids as a norm.

In the second answer we heard this brilliant word the breadwinner. The breadwinner is the person who earns the money to support their family, typically the sole one. I know in Spanish there is a similar expression, the person who brings home the bread and I´m sure in other languages you can find expressions like this too.

In the last answer there was this excellent description for parents who pay extremely close attention to every single thing their child does, so that their child doesn´t experience any difficulties and are educated in the perfect way, and that was helicopter parenting. I love this expression, you can really picture this type of parent hovering over the child, making sure everything is just right and it’s a big problem in modern society as the speaker mentioned. Wow three top-class pieces of vocabulary to finish off with there. 

And finishing is what we are doing today. This is the final episode of season two of the Real Exam English podcast. We´ve covered a lot of great language in this season and some really interesting topics. I´d like to thank all of the contributors for giving their time answering the questions and more importantly I´d like to thank you, the listeners, for listening. Remember to keep an eye out for updates on the Real Exam English social media pages on Facebook and Instagram, as well as on the Real Exam English website, You can find all of the transcripts there, as well as a bunch of use of English exercises and information about online classes. There are group classes preparing for exams and individual classes too, so get in contact if you are interested, I´d love to see you in class. 

Ok guys, that´s all, see you next season for some more Real Exam English, all the best