Listening comprehension exercise
National Public Radio Morning Edition: When Walking Fails
reported by Joseph Shapiro   October 16, 2003
Click on the audio link on the following Web page to listen to the NPR report
(You will need to download the audio file to listen):

http://www.npr.org/features/feature.php?wfId=1466794

Vocabulary:
Lisa Iezzoni
Harvard Medical School
to be diagnosed with
multiple sclerosis (MS)
to practice medicine
researcher
Joseph Shapiro
to cover
disability issues
temporarily
to join the ranks of
to break one's ankle
Washington (D.C.)
a sort of
walking tour

to cross a wide intersection
Pennsylvania Avenue
U.S. capitol
to gleam
in the distance
to whiz across the street
scooter-style wheelchair
to be powered
black batteries
to rest under
captain's chair
to approach
pavement
to vibrate
to keep up on
four-wheeled
walker
"cool"
to picture
kid's scooter
platform
raised knee-high
padded
injured leg
to push off
device
cheerful
to comment on
turquoise
equipment
metallic
"hospital chrome"
got it
stylish
users
visible
cobbles
by law
consumer demand
Boston
sidewalks
corners
curb-cuts
to get around
to be paved with cement
smooth surface
to be on the lookout for
hazards
roadmaps
gap
to trip s.o. up
a stately look
diabetes
Parkinson's
nerves in their feet
sensitive
to respond quickly

sensory impulses
muscles and nerves
to keep one upright
to get a signal
neurological disease
to process
more likely that
to take a tumble
elevator
subway
the Metro
system
Boston
hardly accessible
reliable
to give priority to
persons with a disability
a tight squeeze
one banana peel away from
wet rock
to slip
for the time being
accidents
to make up a small...percent
arthritis
bad back
to account for
subway
street corner
airport
to direct her scooter
pothole
front wheel
to tip one over
rush hour
traffic
a certain nonchalance
to come to
to approach
to deal with the unexpected
sly
subtle
to feel on top of the world
terrific
to be flat on the ground
to fall out from underneath you
a grounding feeling
to lose control
to accept
to put so much significance
symbolic
ladder
to define
ancestor
brain size
homo sapiens
to struggle to walk
canes
crutches
progressive chronic condition
absolutely obvious
to resist
a symbolism of finality
independence
active
federal
research panel
health care
Chicago
on business
rehabilitation hospital
tour
to take off
at top speed
museum
excerpt
Image source

Listening comprehension questions:
1. What career did Lisa Iezzoni originally plan on? What did she later become instead? What is she doing now?
2. Why was the person who reported this story especially appropriate for the job when he did it?
3. Why does the host say "a sort of" walking tour? How does each of the two speakers get around for the tour?
4. What area of what region of the US are the reporter Joseph Shapiro and the interviewee Lisa Iezzoni touring?
5. Why have the designs of streets and buildings improved in terms of accommodating people with disabilities?
6. What design change in cities does Iezzoni say would make it much easier for the disabled to get around? What things does Iezzoni say are better in Washington than in Boston for people who have trouble walking?
7. Why do people with neurological diseases often have trouble negotiating brick and cobblestone streets?
8. What are the most common causes of walking disabilities? How common is the reporter's current reason for having trouble walking?
9. Describe the accident Iezzoni had with her scooter.
10. What does Iezzoni say about control, and what does she mean by "a kind of grounding feeling"?
11. What three English-language idioms does Iezzoni cite that refer to man's ability to walk? She says that the ability to walk on two legs was the key defining feature of what?
12. Why did Iezzoni resist using a wheelchair at first?
13. What was Iezzoni doing in Washington at the time of this interview?
14. Do you know anybody with a walking disability, temporary or otherwise? What does he or she have to say about how easy or difficult it is to get around in Taipei?


(Phonetics note: Note the way reporter Joseph Shapiro pronounces his /l/s— they are uvular, i.e. pronounced with the back of the tongue ޫ touching the uvula p instead of with the tongue tip touching the alveolar ridgei.)

home