IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 11|2. The selling of the Senoi

Test spot

In Part 3 of the IELTS Speaking Module, develop your ideas and be ambitious in your use of structures and vocabulary. Use modal verbs to speculate on possible reasons or likely advantages/disadvantages.


1. Answer some of these Part 3-type questions.

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  • What can dreams tell us about ourselves?
  • Do you think it is helpful to interpret someone’s dreams for them?
  • Why are dreams considered important in many cultures?
  • Are psychological issues more prevalent in modern society? Why, or why not?
  • How tar should we try to investigate our inner selves?
  • Is psychological well-being more or less important than physical fitness?

1. Read this article quickly without stopping, timing yourself as you read. Then read it again, stopping at each underlined word or phrase to check meaning in a dictionary, if necessary.

* about 750 words

The selling of the Senoi

pic1_IELTS|U11|L2
The Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Ever since the 1930s, through the writings of the American psychologist Kilton Stewart and others, a great deal of interest has been generated in the Senoi tribe, from whom, it has been suggested, the West might learn the art of self improvement through dream manipulation. Ann Faraday and John Wren-Lewis spent over a year living with the Senoi in a remote region of Malaysia, in order to research the precise role of dreams in Senoi culture. As a result, Faraday and Wren-Lewis have become fiercely critical of what they see as a misrepresentation of Senoi beliefs. Here is an extract from what they wrote following their period of field research.

It would be hard to imagine a people more dedicated to preserving their traditions intact, despite all the changes going on around them. We spent night after night listening to tales of olden days or joining in their frequent trance/dance sessions in which dream-inspired songs are used to call spirits, and our welcome would have been short-lived had we not scrupulously observed their time-hallowed rituals and taboos. We made a special point of talking to elders who could recall the 1930s, and one of them, who actually told his dreams to Noone and Stewart, became a key informant in our investigations. We also sought out the dreamers named by Stewart in his PhD thesis, finding two of them still living and interviewing the families of others.

Sadly, we must report that no one recalled any form of dream-control education in childhood or any such practice amongst adults; in fact, they vehemently denied that dream manipulation has ever been part of their culture. Given that dreams play such an integral part in their whole religious life, we cannot conceive of a major dream-practice being allowed to fade into oblivion when the religion itself is so very much alive. There is an elaborate Temiar lore for interpreting dreams as warnings or omens (though only the shaman’s interpretations have ever been given serious credence), and great attention has always been paid to anyone receiving a song or dance in dreams, for this indicates the emergence of a new shaman to invoke spirits for healing or protection of the village. However, no one, absolutely no one, would ever have presumed to ask for, still less demand, such a gift from a dream-character, as Western ‘Senoi dream theory’ advocates.

This would be high heresy for Temiar religion, in which the ’gunig’, or protective spirit, always chooses its human vehicle and would be repelled by any hint of coercion; in fact, the Temiar abhor coercion of any kind, dreaming or waking. They dismiss as nonsense the idea that children can be trained to confront hostile dream-characters, and boggle at the idea of converting such a figure into a gunig by fighting or killing it. Another point we took special pains to probe was whether Temiar culture had ever given any place to what is now in the so West called dream lucidity, awareness within a dream that one is dreaming. We framed our questions very carefully (an essential precaution in any investigation like this) and were interested to find that many Temiars, and notably all our shaman informants, understood at once what we were asking. In other words, they had no difficulty in grasping that one might have such awareness in a dream — but they emphatically denied that it played any part in their tradition.

As more and more evidence along these lines reaches Western literature (and there is plenty more still to come), we feel we must put a ban on the misuse of their name, which proponents of dream control seem reluctant to do. Just enclosing the word ‘Senoi’ in inverted commas isn’t good enough, for the real Senoi have a real dream culture of which they are very proud, and they become quite indignant when they hear their name identified with concepts utterly alien from their own. Some smart leaders even suggested to us that their newly formed tribal association could sue, or perhaps insist on a royalty from every book or workshop that takes their name in vain! Meanwhile, writings are already in the pipeline, from ourselves and others, which will bring real Senoi dream culture firmly into Western literature, so nothing but confusion can come from retaining the name for psychological techniques invented in America.


2. Answer these questions by choosing the correct statement.

1. Match the definitions on the left with the their correct equivalents on the right.



2. Fill in the gaps with the correct word from the box.

ritual     omen      precise     taboo      trance     manipulation      lore     

heresy


Task 2 Developing an argument

In the Task 2 essay, you need to present a clearly argued piece of writing, where your ideas are fully developed and exemplified. Remember that you will need to write at least 250 words (answers shorter than this are penalised).


1. Read the task and spend a few moments thinking about your own views on the statement.

Write about the following topic.

City living in the 21st century is stressful and offers no advantages. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.


2. Read the two answers, A and B, which are exactly 250 words.

Does each answer agree or disagree with the statement?

Which answer contains the clearest argument, in your opinion? Why?

A

You always have noise in a city and it is very stressful. I agree because I live in a large city and it can be stressful. But I can do lots of things in my city, like going to the cinema and seeing rock concerts, so I might disagree with the statement too. Nowadays, more people have to live in cities. Most of the jobs you find are in cities and it takes too long to travel there each day. That is stressful, the same as living in a city.

There are some advantages to city living. A large city has too many people and there is traffic all the time so it is very stressful. I have recently visited Bilbao in northern Spain, which has an excellent transport system. There are trains and an underground network so you can go from one part of the city to another very quickly. I don’t call that stressful, and it doesn’t cost much either.

If I had the choice I would still live in a city because I like it. There is a lot of live entertainment and many cultural things on offer. Shops are good and every city has many shops. In other words, it must be an advantage to have shops and there aren’t many shops in smaller places. With Internet shopping, it doesn’t matter where you live any more. There’s no green in the city and it makes us stressed. I agree with the statement because it is stressful.

B

The percentage of the world’s population domiciled m cities is increasing and because of this, some of the largest cities must be fairly oppressive places in which to live if you are short of money or unemployed. At the same time, for those with disposable income, a city provides a lively environment, with many cultural benefits and other opportunities. Thus, the advantages of contemporary urban living far outweigh any disadvantages, in my opinion.

In terms of entertainment, city residents are often spoiled for choice, and on any night of the week could probably visit anything from small jazz venues to theatres, dubs and numerous cinemas. Cities also generally offer wonderful museums.

Another obvious benefit is the diversity of shops and specialist stores m any city of a reasonable size. While it may be the case nowadays that some people do most of their shopping over the Internet. for myself, it is essential to have the chance to browse and windowshop, and a city gives me that.

It has been said that one of the least attractive aspects of city living is transport, and I would certainly never dream of using my car to travel across town. However, most cities nowadays have developed excellent and affordable public transport systems, taking all the stress out of getting around. What is more, the cities of the 21st century often look good, with unusual modern architecture.

In short, today’s cities can support a rich, varied and exciting lifestyle, which is stimulating rather than stressful.

Answers

B is the clearer answer because it is better organised and contains more exemplification to support the argument (though not all points are equally well exemplified — as exercise 3 reveals). The writer of B disagrees with the statement and states his/her opinion unambiguously in the opening paragraph, then goes on to exemplify each aspect in a new paragraph and finally includes a clear conclusion.

A, on the other hand, is rambling and contradictory, its paragraphs are disorganised, there is no introduction and the final the final sentence is unclear. Interestingly, as exercise 3 reveals, it has more points than B, but these are rarely developed or exemplified (apart from the information given on Bilbao).


3. Tick which points are included in each answer (A and B in exercise 2) and rate the development and clarity of each one from 1-3.

  1. unclear and/or barely addressed
  2. reasonably clear with some exemplification
  3. clearly developed and exemplified

Suggested answers

Live entertainment A 2 B 3
Open spaces A 1 B    
Transport A 3 B 3
Cultural benefits A 1 B 2
Noise / crowds A 1 B    
Shopping A 1 B 3
Architecture A     B 2


4. Now answer the task in exercise 1, following the advice below. Write at least 250 words.

Advice

  • Read the task carefully.
  • Underline key words and think of different ways of saying the same thing.
  • Make a plan, including each new point in a new paragraph.
  • State your overall opinion in the introduction.
  • Use linking phrases to make your argument clearer.
  • Develop and exemplify each of your main points.
  • Restate your opinion in a conclusion.
  • Leave time to check your answer for accuracy.

Task 2 Developing an argument

In the Task 2 essay, you need to present a clearly argued piece of writing, where your ideas are fully developed and exemplified. Remember that you will need to write at least 250 words (answers shorter than this are penalised).


5. Read the task and spend a few moments thinking about your own views on the statement.

Write about the following topic.

City living in the 21st century is stressful and offers no advantages.
To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write about 250 words.

Linking words and phrases for academic essays

1. Complete the essay by writing a linker from the box in each space.

yet as for so that provided such as
consequently
in the case of despite even though however in terms of


2. Structure: use the linkers to complete the sentences.

even     also     not only     but     in addition to


3. Meaning: add linkers from the box to the correct category.

in spite of     in addition to    not onlybut     concerning     even     while   

moreover     finally     furthermore     on the other hand    having said that   

to begin with     nevertheless     regarding  secondly



4. Complete each sentence using a linker from the box. Two answers are possible for each gap.

nevertheless     in spite of     having said this     despite     while     even though


5. Complete the paragraph using a linker from the box. Two or more answers are possible for each gap.

first-of-all as for in the case of furthermore
moreover to begin with regarding in terms of

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1. Meaning: add linkers from the box to the correct category.

like as long as in order to for instance as a result
therefore hence so as to subsequently so if


2. Structure: choose the correct linker in each sentence. Then answer the question.

Answers for Questions 1-3

1. Sentence (b)
2. Sentence (a)
3. so as to: sentence (b)
if: sentence (a)


3. Complete each sentence 1 — 3 with a linking expression to explain its use. Then use the expression in the correct sentence 4-6.

on the other hand     on the contrary     whereas


4. Structure: choose the correct linking expression in italics indicating ‘reason’ in each sentence. More than one answer may be possible.

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