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Text C. A person who happens to be blind
John Bailey is blind and has a guide dog named Elgar. John finds that many people don’t know what to do or say when they meet someone like him who can’t see. Here he explains how to behave towards blind people and their dogs.
* Remember I am an ordinary person, just blind. You don’t need to shout or talk to me as if I cannot understand. If you are giving me a cup of tea or coffee, then I can tell you how I take it - you don’t have to ask my wife.
* I can walk more easily with you than by myself, but please don’t grab my arm; let me take yours. When I am with Elgar, I will drop the handle on his harness to tell him he is no longer working, and I will take your left arm with my right. I will keep half a step behind so that I can feel it when we are about to go up or down steps or a kerb. Going downstairs, I prefer to hold the handrail if there is one.
* It is always nice for me to know who is in the room with us, so please do introduce me - and to the cat and dog ! And if you come into a room where I am, please do speak so I know you’re there.
* If I am somewhere new, you will have to guide me to a chair and tell me about things in my way or on the floor. Don’t forget about lampshades - they often stick out into my path and I do hate breaking things!
* At mealtimes, I may ask for a little help, particularly with cutting up meat. And you can make my meal a lot more enjoyable by telling me where which food is on my plate - for example “ Chicken at 9 o’clock, peas at 3 o’clock and potatoes at 6 o’clock - and a glass of water at 2 o’clock ”.
* Words like “ see ” don’t worry me, so you needn’t be embarrassed about using them; I use them too. I am always glad to see people.
* Elgar loves attention, but remember never to distract him when he’s working, as my safety depends on him. And, of course, please don’t feed him titbits - he gets very properly fed at home and will get fat if you feed him too !
* The most important thing of all is not to think of me as a blind person; I am a person who happens to be blind.
( from Forward - the Journal of The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association )
I. Make sure you know the words given above.
II. Read the text ‘A person who happens to be blind’. Decide if the following statements are true (T) or false (F).
1. John likes people to help him walk.
2. He doesn’t worry if he breaks things.
3. He has dinner at 9 o’clock.
4. He is blind but he can see people a little bit.
5. He doesn’t like people to give his dog food.
III. Express the main idea of the text ‘A person who happens to be blind’.
Text D. About Poverty Level
Poverty is a family characteristic rather than an individual characteristic. That is, people are defined as poor or nonpoor depending on the economic status of the family with which they live. Two factors are particularly important in determining a family’s economic status: ( 1 ) the total income of the family and ( 2 ) the ratio of dependents to earners ( dependency ratio ) in the family.
We focus on six demographic characteristics that are related to a person’s family income and dependency obligations: age, education, employment status, marital status, parental status, and single parenthood ( the interaction of marital status and parental status ). The first three characteristics - age, education, and employment status - tell us something about a person’s earnings capacity ( experience and skills ) and employment effort. Higher earning capacity and active employment increase total family income, all else being equal. Marital status tells us something about a person’s family income as well as their dependency ratio. Marriage can increase income by increasing the number of potential earners in a family. Note that because poverty is a family characteristic rather than an individual characteristic, men and women who live in the same family have, by definition, identical poverty rates. Thus, if all men and women were married, there would be no gender difference in poverty. Parenthood and single parenthood, on the other hand, increase poverty by increasing the dependency ratio.
( From American Sociological Review, 1994, vol. 59, August )
I. Translate the text ‘About Poverty Level’ using a dictionary.
II. Answer the question:
How do demographic characteristics influence poverty level ?
C O N V E R S A T I O N
About myself and my family
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