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  • The United States Elections – English Listening Exercise

    So, unless you live somewhere without electricity or internet service (in which case, how are you reading this?) you’ll have heard the the United States reelected President Barack Obama to a second term.

    As is the tradition in the United States, (and most countries that elect their politicians, I imagine) the president gave a victory speech. We’ve decided to create a listening exercise out of it for you.

    Here is the video of his speech. You’ll find questions below.

    After you listen, try to answer the questions below. If you write your answers in comments, we will correct them.

    1. What does Obama talk about perfecting at the beginning of the speech?
    2. We have ____ ourselves __, we have _____ our way ____ , and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the ____ is ___ to ____.
    3. Why does he say, “By the way, we have to fix that” at about 4:40?
    4. Whether you ______ the pavement or ____ __ the phone.
    5. What does first phrasal verb in question 5 mean?
    6. I have always believed that hope is ___ _____ ____ ____ ___ ___ _____, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us.
    7. What do you think of the elections? What do you think they mean for your country?
    • Melanie

      1. What does Obama talk about perfecting at the beginning of the speech?

      It moves forward to perfect the task of unifying this country. His words refer to the big American family that stands more and more together.

      2. We have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know
      in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to
      come.

      3. Why does he say, “By the way, we have to fix that” at about 4:40?
      That was a joke about the long lines in front of the polling places. A lot of people had to wait for half an hour or more than an hour until it was their turn to vote.

      4. Whether you pounded at the pavement or picked up the phone.

      5. What does first phrasal verb in question 5 mean?
      Maybe to stay a very long time outside at the pavement?!

      6. I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insits, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us.

      7. What do you think of the elections? What do you think they mean for your country?

      I’m very happy that Obama has won the elections. I like his and the ideas of his party more than the republicans. He seems to be more openminded and liberal. And I have the hope that he will finish the military activities in Afganistan. That would be great for Germany as well.

      • LOIEnglish

        Melanie…Thank you for your great answers.
        4. pounded the pavement…we don’t use ‘at’ in this expression. The meaning is to walk/work on the streets. Police often pound the pavement in their district. Meaning they are out of their cars walking and talking to people.

    • EnriquePMartin

      1. He talks about perfecting the union of the country.

      2. picked up; found back; best; yet; come

      3. the long queues which are formed for voting

      4. put on (?); pick up

      5. pick up the phone means take it to answer the call

      6. (?)

      7. It is a critical moment for the future of the country, nevertheless I think too much unnecessary money is spent; In my country, where some decades ago people where living under a dictatorial regime, the elections represent the celebration of the democracy.

      • LOIEnglish

        Enrique thank you….Question 4 is: pounded the pavement or picked up the phone. To pound the pavement means to be walking and working in the streets. Some sales people pound the pavement in order to sell their product. This means they walk up and down the streets talking to people at their houses trying to persuade them to buy their product.

        6. I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insits, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us.

        Thank you for answering.