IELTS speaking practice, for people targeting band 7 and above. For those who don’t know what IELTS is, well it’s an internationally recognised English testing system that assesses your English language skills in four areas: speaking, listening, reading and writing. They give each of these skills a band score between 0-9, 9 being the best you can get.
Now this might all sound very specific to a test you have no intention of taking. You
would be WRONG. You need exactly the same sort of English speaking practice to hold a normal everyday English conversation, test or no test! The good news is our lesson content is interesting, and you would probably listen to it anyway. So there is no downside.
For the people who are looking for help with the IELTS speaking test, which is what we are going to help you with today. The IELTS speaking assessment looks for fluency, grammar, pronunciation and the depth of your vocabulary understanding. I will cover these things in today’s lesson, and better still, all of our English speaking podcasts are excellent practice for you.
- Speak on an interesting topic, without needing to pause or hesitate
- Be clear in what you say and be understood
- Have an excellent range of vocabulary, idioms and collocations
If you repeat listen with our Adept English English lesson content enough times, you will automatically avoid speaking errors. Hear when grammar is being used in-correctly understand how and when to use intonation to make your conversations sound more engaging. All things you would want to speak English fluently. So test or no test, this sort of listening practice is definitely worth listening to.
Recognised Intonation Contraception Mortality Population Fertility Pension
Hi, there. Let's do a general interest podcast today. And for those of you who are doing higher level IELTS tests, this will be useful. You need economic and statistical vocabulary for those tests. Ahhhh! So let's do some practice at that today. And for those of you who aren't doing higher level IELTS tests, I'll make it nice and easy so that you can understand it too.
Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.
Let's start with an interesting fact that I learned last week. Under Communism in Eastern Europe, women didn't have access to contraception. And in fact, in countries like Romania, contraception was banned. It was illegal for a time. I promised you vocabulary explanation - so Communism and contraception?
'Communism', first of all, is the system of government based on the ideas of Karl Marx. Karl Marx wrote his Communist Manifesto in 1848. And this system has been used to base governments on at various points in history.
There are many things to say about Communism, but I hadn't realized until last week that in Eastern Europe, contraception wasn't available. 'Contraception' that's C O N T R A C E P T I O N. That's the long one. 'Contraception' means any device, any mechanism you might use to stop yourself getting pregnant. So if you want to have sex, but you don't want to have babies, you'll need 'contraception'.
The Soviet Union was Communist, much of Eastern Europe. And there are still countries in the world who are Communist countries, for example, China, North Korea, Vietnam.
Before I go on, just a reminder to those of you who only listen to the podcast, we are available on YouTube and on Spotify with video. And it's useful because you can also see the transcript, the written words on the screen as I speak. So check that out, Spotify and YouTube. And please subscribe to our channel. That helps us at Adept English as well.
So what are the effects of women not having access to contraception? Well, on the whole, it means of course that they have more babies. More children. And this isn't necessarily a choice. Their husbands may also not want that many children, but lack of contraception tends to mean that you have more children.
A really interesting economic statistic is the Total Fertility Rate or TFR. So this basically means how many children on average do people have? If you have a Total Fertility Rate of 2.1, this tends to mean that your population rate is steady. Basically the parents are 'replacing themselves'. If every couple have two children, then over the long term, the population stays the same.
If you have a population that has on average, fewer than 2.1 babies, 2.1 children per family, then over time, your population declines. And if you have greater than 2.1 as your Total Fertility Rate, then over time, your population increases. That's logical, isn't it?
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But just to be clear, a falling fertility rate is not the same as an overall falling population rate. There are nearly 8 billion of us on the planet now. That's more than ever before. There are other variables, other factors that determine this.
Obviously people are living longer. People are healthier. So they're living to a greater age. What about our Queen Elizabeth aged 96? She's a good example.
On average, we're living longer. That's generally a good thing, but it could bring some problems too.
What about those fertility rates, first of all? In the last 50 years, fertility rates have dropped drastically all around the world. So in 1952, the average number of children that people had in their families across the world was five. In 2022, it's only three.
That's a big drop!
The reasons for this are quite well known. And if you're a woman, it's not difficult to imagine why this might happen. If you have access, not only to contraception, but better education and employment, you can get a job and you can earn money, then it's understandable why women choose to have smaller families, fewer children. It happens all across the world.
Children are lovely, but.....having children means that you've got less time and energy and freedom to go to work, to study and to be economically active. That means that you generate income. It's harder to have a career and you just generally have less freedom, the more children that you have.
Having fewer children means that you get to do many more other things in life.
Here in the UK 100 years ago, then just like many other places around the world, people had large families, much larger than today. It was common to have lots of children. In my family, one of the sisters of my granddad, so my granddad's sister had 11 children.
Can you imagine 11 children? Uh! I have three children and I love them dearly, but three children is a lot of time and energy. Three children was enough for me. I can't imagine having 11! One of the reasons why people had a lot of children, back 100 years ago in the UK, was child mortality. You expected some of the children would die.
'Child mortality' means the number of children that die before they reach adulthood. So it's a good thing that 'child mortality' has come down. And people also had lots of children because there was no system of pension. There was no such thing as a pension. So if you were old, you needed a big family to look after you - a sort of insurance policy, if you like.
So it's interesting that under Communism in Eastern Europe, women were denied contraception.
That was a way of keeping them at home, keeping them occupied and ensuring population increase.
Wherever in the world, women have access to contraception and education, the number of children goes down. This is backed up by research. For example, in Iran in the 1950s, women had an average of three years of schooling and had on average seven children. By 2010, Iranian women had nine years of schooling on average and an average of 1.8 children. So that's very clear.
What's the impact of this on society and on the world in general?
As I said before, lower fertility rates doesn't mean that there are fewer of us in total. We're nearly at 8 billion in population across the world. But what it does mean is that our average age goes up. There are more old people, fewer young people, and that brings some problems.
The average global age was 25 in 1950. In 2022, the average global age is 33. That's a lot more. What are the problems in this? Well, it means that there are a smaller number of people working, generating income, generating revenue, generating tax, if you like for governments to spend. And there are a greater number of people who are dependent upon the working population.
So there are fewer working people and there are more old people who don't work.
This is a problem where you have a system of pensions. So a 'pension' is where you put money aside during your working life, or the government may put money aside during your working life, so that you have money for your old age. So that system could be broken by there not being enough younger people to work and too many older people claiming their pension.
A photograph of a young lady hugging an older lady. IELTS speaking practice for people who want to improve their band score.
It's also a problem for healthcare systems. Older people are more likely to need healthcare. And if there are fewer people around to pay for that healthcare, you've got a problem. Even our lovely NHS in the UK - the healthcare may be 'free at the point of delivery', but it still needs to be paid for by the state. And that comes of course from tax take.
So as there are more old people and fewer people who are younger and of working age, generating money for the economy, you have problems. Perhaps it's not sustainable.
But there are many other factors. Better healthcare and greater knowledge about health and healthy living means that people stay healthy longer. So although we have more old people, they're healthier. They maintain their health for a greater number of years. This also means then that older people are likely to be economically productive.
That means they continue to work for longer to a greater age. I'm certainly not going to be like my mother's generation where women retired at 60 years old. I expect to work till around 70. That's because of money, but that's because I enjoy my work and I like the freedom that it brings.
So yes, women are having fewer babies, yet there are more of us on the planet and our average age is greater.
Perhaps that's not necessarily all bad news. Women have a better quality of life. Maybe elderly, old people have a better quality of life. And maybe our wisdom is greater. If our average age is greater, maybe we should aim at being more wise generally.
Let us know what you think of this. Let us know what you think of the podcast.
Whether I have helped you with the kind of vocabulary that you need, whether I've given you enough explanation and whether you enjoyed it and found it interesting. So we always appreciate feedback. And at the same time, listen to this podcast a number of times until you understand all the words. And if you really want to help Adept English, then don't forget to subscribe to Spotify and subscribe to YouTube so you can continue to see us on video.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
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- Global Decline of Fertility Rates
- Fertility Rate
- Fertility rate statistics
- The contraceptive Iron Curtain
- Communist Countries
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