Listening Activity – Jane Austen

This is a listening activity based on The School of Life’s short video (about 7 minutes long) “LITERATURE – Jane Austen”. This activity is aimed at students who have an English level between B2 and C1 (Upper Intermediate and Advanced).

I suggest that you read the following vocabulary list before watching the video. Under the video, there are two exercises (with answers) and a writing practice suggestion. 

VOCABULARY 

  • AMBITIOUS: having a desire to be successful, powerful, or famous; having ambition.
    Ex. She was ambitious enough to aim for the company’s presidency.
     
  • STERN: very serious; severe.
    Ex. Journalists received a stern warning not to go anywhere near the battleship.
     
  • CONSCIOUS: awake, thinking, and knowing what is happening around you.
    Ex. When I took the exam, I was conscious that my parents were expecting a lot of me.

  • DIGNIFIED: serious and somewhat formal; having or showing dignity.
    Ex. Even when very old, he was very dignified in appearance.

  • WELL OFF: moderately rich.
    Ex. They must be well off if they can afford to buy a house there!
     
  • TEMPTED: to want something or to want to do something.
    Ex. “Would you like some more pie?” “I’m tempted, but no thank you.”

  • STRUGGLE: a long effort to do, achieve, or deal with something that is difficult or that causes problems.
    Ex. The people of this country will continue in their struggle for independence.
     
  • TO CONDEMN: to say in a strong and definite way that someone or something is bad or wrong.
    Ex. We strongly condemn this attack against our allies.
     
  • TO OVERCOME: to prevail over (opposition, a debility, temptations, etc.); surmount.
    Ex. To overcome one’s weaknesses.

  • INCOME: money that is earned from work, investments, business, etc.
    Ex. He has a very high annual income.
     
  • TO FELL APART: to break into pieces (often used figuratively).
    Ex. I feel as if my family is falling apart.
     
  • TO SUPPLY: to furnish or provide (something wanting or requisite).
    Ex. To supply a community with electricity.
     
  • WEALTH: a large amount of money or valuable possessions that someone has.
    Ex. The wealth of a city. 
  • ELUSIVE: hard to find or capture.
    Ex. Police are trying to track down the elusive criminal, who has so far avoided all their attempts to capture him.

  • SNOBBISH: like a snob (a person who respects and likes only people who are of a high social class).
    Ex. He’s a snobbish rich kid.

  • GREED: a selfish desire to have more of something (especially money).
    Ex. He was a ruthless businessman, motivated by naked ambition and greed.

Downloadable PDF version: JANE AUSTEN – Vocabulary

Watch the video and answer the following questions

  1. Austen wanted to change people with her novels. How did she want them to become?
  2. When is Jane Austen born and where?
  3. How was the writer’s family social status?
  4. Did she get married?
  5. What’s Jane’s sister name?
  6. How many novels did Jane complete?
  7. What are the titles of the novels she completed?
  8. What are the four main things Jane Austen wanted to teach us?
  9. In Jane Austen’s opinion marriage depends on two factors, do you remember them?
  10. Name the two mistakes people make around money according to Jane Austen.

Writing practice suggestion

  1. Write Jane Austen’s main opinions concerning love, marriage, judging people, money, and being snobbish. Do you agree or disagree with the writer?
    Justify your answer.

Downloadable PDF version: Jane Austen – Listening comprehension

Downloadable PDF version: Jane Austen – Listening comprehension with answers

Watch the video then fill in the gaps in the following sentences

  1. Jane Austen is loved mainly as a guide to fashionable life in the _____________ period, but her own vision of her task was radically different.
  2. She was an ambitious and ______________ moralist.
  3. Born in _____________, Austen grew up in a small village in Hampshire, where her father was the Anglican _________________.
  4. She did much of her writing at a ______________ octagonal table.
  5. The _______________ was her chosen weapon in the struggle to reform humanity.
  6. ________________ starts of feeling superior because he has more money and higher status.
  7. The story ______________ them because they have developed well.
  8. ______________________________ starts when quiet, shy Fanny Price goes to live with her much richer cousins, the Bertrams.
  9. In Pride and Prejudice, she explains that Mr. _________________ has an income of _________________ pounds a year –that’s rather a lot- while Darcy has more than twice that.
  10. At one point in _______________________________, it looks like Elinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars who are otherwise well suited won’t be able to get married.
  11. In Emma, the heroine –Emma herself- takes ______________________ -a pretty girl from the village- under her wing.

Downloadable PDF version: Jane Austen – Fill in the gaps exercise

Downloadable PDF version: Jane Austen – Fill in the gaps exercise answers

 

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