5 Minute Listening: That’s superstitious!

  • Do you believe it’s bad luck to walk under a ladder or to make big plans on Friday the 13th?
  • Listen to the conversation about some beliefs people have, and then answer the questions.
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Click here for the audio

Voice 1: Are you superstitious? If you are, you're not alone. Superstitions or strange things, and even famous people from world leaders to film stars have them.

Voice 2: American millionaire, Cornelius Vanderbilt, had the legs of every bed he slept in placed in dishes of salt to keep evil spirits away. The famous English writer Samuel Johnson never entered a house with his left foot first, because he believed that this brought bad luck to the people who lived there.

Voice 1: The great British wartime leader Winston Churchill, always petted a black cat whenever he saw one, because he believed this would bring him good luck. Film star Jennifer Aniston won't board a plane without stepping on with her right foot first, and tapping the outside of the plane.

Voice 2: Hi, my name is Pete. Am I superstitious? You can bet your life I am, but only about one thing: I will never, ever, under any circumstances, walk under a ladder. The very thought of doing that makes me go cold. My friends and colleagues laugh at me, but I don't care. I can be walking along a pavement with friends, when we see a ladder propped up against a wall. Everyone else has no problems walking under it, but I'd carefully walk around it, even if it means stepping into the road. Walking under a ladder brings bad luck, you know? And I can prove it. Last week, I was out with my girlfriend and she quite happily walked under a ladder. A man was on top of the ladder painting a shop sign. He accidentally spilled some paint and it went all down her brand new, very expensive jeans. It all got sorted out, but I don't think she will walk under a ladder again.

Voice 1: Hello, my name is Jane West and I'm the director of an export company here in Hong Kong. And yes, I have one big superstition. I will never do any business or make any company decisions on a Friday the 13th. When that day and date comes around, I sit at my desk in my office, and just make sure the business is taking over. If there are any decisions to be made, or people to contact or anything of importance to do, it has to wait until Monday morning. I know you're thinking, how can a businesswoman afford to be superstitious?

Voice 2: Let me tell you how. When I was 12 years old, both my mother and father were seriously injured in a car accident on Friday the 13th. Five years later, I broke my leg while skiing, and I still walk with a slight limp. Friday the 13th again. That day makes me react with fear and almost horror. I wish I could stay in bed every Friday the 13th. Thank goodness it doesn't come around too often.

Answers

1.B

2.C

3.B

4.A

5.D

6.C

7.C

8.A

9.B

10.C

11.B

12.A

13.C

14.B

15.D

16.D

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