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1. Pre-listening task

1. Look at the graph below. It shows the number of prisoners executed (put to death) in the United States between 1930 and 2000.

2. Discuss the following questions with a partner.

1 What does the graph show about the death penalty in the United States?

2 What is your reaction to the information in the graph?

3. The following items contain important vocabulary from the tape. Work with a partner. Using the context and your knowledge of related words, choose the best synonym for the words in bold by circling the correct letters. Check your answers in a dictionary, if necessary.

  1. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that capital punishment was unconstitutional. a illegal b immoral c impossible

  2. But later, the Court reinstated it.

a continued to discuss it b put it back in place c repeated its argument

  1. Executions are usually carried out by lethal injection or electrocution. a cruel b deadly c painless

  2. States with the most executions are also the states with the highest homicide rates. a assault b fraud c murder

  3. I have another major objection to capital punishment.

a interest in b criticism of c opinion about

  1. They were released because they were improperly convicted.

a immediately b angrily c incorrectly

  1. There were 26 people on death row, and 13 of them were released.

a waiting to go to court b waiting to be freed c waiting for execution

  1. That should not be in the domain of the state.

a interest b world c power

2. Listening

1. Recording numerical information

You can often hear numerical information when people refer to research studies and other examples that support their ideas. It is important to listen to the context of the numerical information so that you understand what the number represents. Here are some examples of what numbers can represent:

  • a year (examples: 1983, 1832)

  • a percentage (examples: twenty percent, forty-four percent)

  • a fraction (examples: one-eighth, three-quarters)

Read the following descriptions. Each of them refers to numerical information that you will hear on the tape.

__________ 1. The date the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that capital punishment was unconstitutional

__________ 2. The date when capital punishment was reinstated

__________ 3. The number of executions that have been carried out since capital punishment was reinstated

__________ 4. The percentage of people in the United States who say they favour the death penalty in cases of murder

__________ 5. The people in the United States who say they favour the death penalty in cases of murder, expressed as a fraction

__________ 6. The number of murders per 100,000 people per year in the United States

__________ 7. The number of murders per 100,000 people per year in Japan

__________ 8. The number of murders per 100,000 people per year in France

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