Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wikileaks: Twelve Questions For You

Hello everyone and welcome back to the Rome English Blog in January 2011.

As promised, here is a list of comprehension questions to help you focus on the interview between John Humphrys and Julian Assange. John Humphrys is a very experienced political reporter with the BBC.

How to listen to the interview: First, read the twelve questions listed below:

1. In what ways does John Humphrys say that Mr Assange has 'changed the world'?
2. Why wouldn't Mr Assange show his electronic tag to the interviewer?
3. Why, after initially being dropped, were charges of sexual assault against Mr Assange taken up again in Sweden?
4. Why is Mr Assange refusing to return to Sweden?
5. What paradox does John Humphrys point out between Mr Assange's refusal to return to Sweden and his principles as the founder of Wikileaks?
6. Does Mr Assange admit to having had unlawful sex with two women in Sweden?
7. What does Mr Assange mean when he says that woman have 'put up with' him?
8. What, in Mr Assange's view, has Wikileaks achieved?
9. Why does Mr Assange believe that, despite Wikileaks, government agencies will continue to keep written records of their activities?
10. How does Mr Assange answer the suggestion that after Wikileaks/Cablegate, diplomats and politicians will no longer feel able to communciate freely?
11. How does Mr Assange answer the accusation that Wikileaks obtains its information by illegal means?
12. How does Mr Assange see himself?
Now go to the BBC web page containing the interview. Click on the audio button to listen. But at this stage, don't look at the transcript on the page. Try listening only, and make a note of the answers.

Then read the transcript to see whether your answers were right. Use your dictionary to look up any unusual words. Here is a short list of words you may like to check:  - belittled - bamboozzled - smear - honey-trap - tizzy - tittle-tattle

And finally, share your thoughts on this interview with everyone by leaving a comment, for long answers, or for short answers, a message on the Tag Board. Don't answer the questions, which can be checked in the transcript. Instead, say how easy or difficult you found it to understand the speakers. Say also whether listening to the interview helped you to improve your listening ability.

Finally, you may like to visit the BBC Radio 4 'Today' site for further interviews. Many of them are podcasts which you can save to your computer or MP3 player.

I look forward to seeing everyone's comments and messages!

More later this week,

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