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This is an example of Paper 1 (Reading), Part 4 of ESOL Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE), the most difficult among the exams designed by the University of Cambridge for students of English as a foreign/second language.

This part is designed to assess the candidates' reading skills: they have to read a long text and they need to understand the main idea and detail of the text and any opinions or attitudes which are expressed in it.
Time is limited in the exam, but not here! Emotion: smile

____________________

Kanzy

Kanzy is a pygmy chimpanzee. When he was two and a half he was separated briefly from his mother (who had already begun her on language training) and he suddenly, without any coaxing at all, began to use her board and the symbols on it to request food and activities and announce what he was about to do. In one day he showed that he had learned signs his mother failed to learn. His trainers decided that from that point on Kanzi should be trained to use symbols, but that his training would reflect the casual, spontaneous learning he had already demonstrated. Kanzi has never been required to use symbols to get anything -- if he does use them it is because he has seen someone else using them, in much the same way (it's thought) a child learns to speak.

Kanzi is quite different from all other chimpanzees that have been taught to use symbols to express their thoughts. For one thing, he understands spoken English. Kanzi's trainers have even tested him with words produced by a speech synthesizer, one that produces a sound for every letter of the alphabet and comes out with very weird, flat, chipped, monotonous kind of speech, only two-thirds of which is understandable by adult humans. Kanzi understands about two-thirds of it as well, meaning that the emotional content, unintentional stresses on words and any of the other cues that might have tipped him to the meaning of the words spoken by his trainers cannot explain his understanding of speech.

There is also evidence that he can comprehend grammatically complicated commands, as long as they are precise. So if there is an orange sitting in front of Kanzi, and he is told,'Go to the sitting room and get the orange,' he hesitates (is he thinking 'which orange'?). But if the sentence is rearranged: 'Get the orange that is in the sitting room,' he has no trouble, even that there is that complicated (for a chimp) phrase in the middle, 'that's in the.' In fact at the age eight Kanzi was better at understanding such sentences than a two-year-old girl who was being asked the same sorts of questions. However, even a brilliant performance by Kanzi is going to be treated with caution by the skeptics, and there has already been some doubt cast on exactly what the symbols on the board mean to Kanzi. It has been argued that because Kanzi switches from one meaning to the other for a given symbol, depending on the context, the symbols cannot mean the same thing as a word means to a child. For instance, Kanzi will use 'juice' to refer to the 'drink', the place where he gets the drink, or the act of going to that place. But when tested for his vocabulary, he links the symbol 'juice' with the picture of a glass of juice. Critics use this evidence to claim Kanzi just uses the symbol as a means of solving different problems in different circumstances and has no idea it means 'juice' all the time.

This sounds like a tricky argument, because children do what appears to be the same sort of thing, like pointing to the chair and saying 'Daddy'. But the critics say that children rarely use a word for two different kind of things, like using 'table' to mean both the thing in the kitchen and breakfast, whereas Kanzi does.

1. What approach have Kanzi's trainers taken to him?

2. What does the experiment with the speech synthesizer suggest?

3. What does the example of the orange suggest, according to the writer?

4. People who are doubtful about Kanzi's language ability believe that

5. What is the writer's purpose in the passage?
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Comments  
2 out of 5

I hate such tests, since they are always ambiguous. What's the writer's purpose? To write about it because it's their damn job! That would have been the correct answer. It would be interesting to hear what native speakers think of such tests.
Please try again. I've fixed something Emotion: embarrassed
KooyeenIt would be interesting to hear what native speakers think of such tests.

Indeed!
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
5 out of 5.
This paragraph and its questions are on the same difficulty level with a typical TOEFL test's reading one.
TanitPlease try again. I've fixed something
Ah! You wanted to trick me! Ok, 4 out of 5now, hehe! Emotion: stick out tongue
Hi,
KooyeenAh! You wanted to trick me!
Sorry, I didn't mean it! Emotion: sad

I guess you know how the code for tests works ... The correct answer has to be put in the first place (in the code), but I forgot to reshuffle the answers to two questions and copied them down in the same order they were given in the exercise! Emotion: sad
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
TanitSorry, I didn't mean it!
No excuses! I know you did that on purpose, and you must be punished! Emotion: super angry

Hahah, LOL. Come on, you know I am always kidding. You didn't need to be sorry! Emotion: wink
By the way, these exercises you posted are very useful to understand what kinds of tests we need to face if we want to try to take the CAE, CPE, etc. The impression I get is... it's not so easy! But with a lot of practice, I believe every learner can improve a lot. I would say that the best practice for these kinds of advanced tests is reading A LOT, especially newspapers.
KooyeenI would say that the best practice for these kinds of advanced tests is reading A LOT, especially newspapers.

Believe me, only reading doesn't work! I wish it were true, though..Emotion: smile
PuccaBelieve me, only reading doesn't work! I wish it were true, though..
Because you need a little bit of active reading too. Don't just read, you need to learn. That is, if you keep seeing a word you don't know, like "procrastinate", for example, and keep skipping it, you are never gonna learn it. You need to look up the words you see the most, so that whenever you come across them again you'll be able to understand, and that will lead you to try to use it when you practice, because it will be a word you understand. Emotion: smile
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