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Lost For Words Reading Answers: IELTS Reading Practice Test

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Updated on Jul 02, 2024, 11:57

The IELTS Reading section is a crucial part of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), designed to evaluate your reading comprehension skills. In this section, you will encounter a variety of texts, ranging from academic to everyday topics, each with its own unique challenges. Your task is to read the passages carefully and answer questions based on the provided information.

 

Key highlights of the IELTS Reading section include:

 

  • Three passages of increasing difficulty, with a total of 40 questions.
  • Texts are sourced from authentic materials such as newspapers, magazines, journals, and academic textbooks.
  • Various question types include multiple-choice, true/false/not given, matching headings, sentence completion, and summary completion.

 

One popular passage in the IELTS Reading section is ‘Lost for words.’ This passage discusses the decline of the Navajo language, which faces extinction due to the dominance of English and socio-economic pressures. This trend is part of a global pattern where many languages disappear rapidly. 
 

Let’s learn more about Lost for Words reading answers! 

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1. Lost For Words Reading Passage

You should spend approximately 20 minutes answering Questions 1 - 13 based on the Reading Passage below. This approach can help manage time effectively during a reading comprehension activity or exam. 

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2. Lost For Words Reading Question & Answers

Discover exciting and informative IELTS reading answers about Lost For Words

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1.

Lost For Words Reading Passage

General Information

  • Read Instructions: Understand each question before answering.
  • Manage Time: Spend about 20 minutes per passage.
  • Skim and Scan: Quickly get the main idea and find specific information.
  • Highlight Key Info: Underline essential words or phrases.
  • Answer All Questions: Attempt every question; no penalty for wrong answers.
  • Stay Focused: Avoid distractions and keep your attention on the task.
  • Check Spelling: Ensure correct spelling and grammar.
  • Transfer Answers Clearly: Write answers neatly on the answer sheet.
  • Don’t Dwell: Move on if stuck and return later.
  • Review: If time allows, review your answers.

 

 

 

 

Lost For Words Reading Passage


 

 

Paragraph A: In the Native American Navajo nation, which sprawls across four states in the American southwest, the native language is dying. Most of its speakers are middle-aged or elderly. Although many students take classes in Navajo, the schools are run in English. Street signs, supermarket goods, and even their own newspaper are all in English. Not surprisingly, linguists doubt that any native speakers of Navajo will remain in a hundred years’ time.

 

Paragraph B: Navajo is far from alone. Half the world’s 6,800 languages are likely to vanish within two generations - that’s one language lost every ten days. Never before has the planet’s linguistic diversity shrunk at such a pace. At the moment, we are heading for about three or four languages dominating the world,’ says Mark Pagel, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Reading. ‘It’s a mass extinction, and whether we will ever rebound from the loss is difficult to know.’

 

Paragraph C: Isolation breeds linguistic diversity: as a result, the world is peppered with languages spoken by only a few people. Only 250 languages have more than a million speakers, and at least 3,000 have fewer than 2,500. It is not necessarily these small languages that are about to disappear. Navajo is considered endangered despite having 150,000 speakers. What makes a language endangered is not just the number of speakers but how old they are. If it is spoken by children, it is relatively safe. The critically endangered languages are those that are only spoken by the elderly, according to Michael Krauss, director of the Alaska Native Language Center in Fairbanks.

 

Paragraph D: Why do people reject the language of their parents? It begins with a crisis of confidence when a small community finds itself alongside a larger, wealthier society, says Nicholas Ostler of Britain’s Foundation for Endangered Languages in Bath. ‘People lose faith in their culture,’ he says. ‘When the next generation reaches their teens, they might not want to be induced into the old traditions.’

 

Paragraph E: The change is not always voluntary. Quite often, governments try to kill off a minority language by banning its use in public or discouraging its use in schools, all to promote national unity.

 

Paragraph F: The former US policy of running Indian reservation schools in English, for example, effectively put languages such as Navajo on the danger list. However, Salikoko Mufwene, who chairs the linguistics department at the University of Chicago, argues that the deadliest weapon is not government policy but economic globalisation. ‘Native Americans have not lost pride in their language, but they have had to adapt to socio-economic pressures,’ he says. ‘They cannot refuse to speak English if most commercial activity is in English.’ But are languages worth saving? At the very least, there is a loss of data for the study of languages and their evolution, which relies on comparisons between languages, both living and dead. When an unwritten and unrecorded language disappears, it is lost to science.

 

Paragraph G: Language is also intimately bound up with culture, so it may be difficult to preserve one without the other. ‘If a person shifts from Navajo to English, they lose something,’ Mufwene says. ‘Moreover, the loss of diversity may also deprive us of different ways of looking at the world,’ says Pagel. There is mounting evidence that learning a language produces physiological changes in the brain. ‘Your brain and mine are different from the brain of someone who speaks French, for instance,’ Pagel says, and this could affect our thoughts and perceptions. ‘The patterns and connections we make among various concepts may be structured by the linguistic habits of our community.’

 

Paragraph H: So, despite linguists’ best efforts, many languages will disappear over the next century. However, a growing interest in cultural identity may prevent the direst predictions from coming true. ‘The key to fostering diversity is for people to learn their ancestral tongue, as well as the dominant language,’ says Doug Whalen, founder and president of the Endangered Language Fund in New Haven, Connecticut. ‘Most of these languages will not survive without a large degree of bilingualism,’ he says. In New Zealand, classes for children have slowed the erosion of Maori and rekindled interest in the language. A similar approach in Hawaii has produced about 8,000 new speakers of Polynesian languages in the past few years. In California, ‘apprentice’ programmes have provided life support to several indigenous languages. Volunteer ‘apprentices’ pair up with one of the last living speakers of a Native American tongue to learn a traditional skill, such as basket weaving, with instruction exclusively in the endangered language. After about 300 hours of training they are generally sufficiently fluent to transmit the language to the next generation. But says that preventing a language from dying out is not the same as giving it new life by using it every day. ‘Preserving a language is more like preserving fruits in a jar,’ he says.

 

Paragraph I: However, preservation can bring a language back from the dead. There are examples of languages that have survived in written form and then been revived by later generations. But a written form is essential for this, so the mere possibility of revival has led many speakers of endangered languages to develop systems of writing where none existed before.

2.

Lost For Words Reading Question & Answers

Discover exciting and informative IELTS reading answers about Lost For Words

Questions and Answers 1-4
  • Complete the summary below.
  • Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.
  • Write your answers 1-4 on your answer sheet.

 

 

There are currently approximately 6,800 languages in the world. This great variety of languages came about largely as a result of geographical 1)  ____________ But in today’s world, factors such as government initiatives and 2)  __________ are contributing to a huge decrease in the number of languages. One factor which may help to ensure that some endangered languages do not die out completely is people’s increasing appreciation of their 3) __________ This has been encouraged through programmes of language classes for children and through ‘apprentice’ schemes, in which the endangered language is used as the medium of instruction to teach people a 4)  ____________ Some speakers of endangered languages have even produced writing systems to help secure the survival of their mother tongue.

 

 

Lost For Words Reading Answers with Explanation (1-4)

 

Type of question: Summary Completion
 

In this task, you are provided with an incomplete summary based on the information in the passage. You aim to fill in the missing information by selecting the passage's most appropriate words or phrases.
 

How to best answer:
 

  • Read the incomplete summary carefully to understand what information is missing.
  • Scan the passage to locate the relevant information that completes the summary.
  • Select words or phrases from the passage that accurately fill in the missing parts of the summary.
  • Ensure that the words or phrases you choose maintain the meaning and context of the original passage.
  • Verify your answers by confirming that the completed summary accurately reflects the main ideas presented in the passage.

 

 

1. Isolation

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph C, "Isolation breeds linguistic diversity: as a result, the world is peppered with languages spoken by only a few people."

 

Explanation: This statement clearly shows that linguistic diversity happens due to isolation.


 

2. Economic globalisation/globalization /socio-economic pressures

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph F, "But Salikoko Mufwene, who chairs the Linguistics department at the University of Chicago, argues that the deadliest weapon is not government policy but economic globalisation. ‘Native Americans have not lost pride in their language, but they have had to adapt to socio-economic pressures,’ he says.”

 

Explanation: This statement shows the reason for the decrease in the number of languages.


 

3. Cultural identity

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph H, “A growing interest in cultural identity may prevent the direst predictions from coming true.”

 

Explanation: This statement shows that the growing interest will prevent the language from dying.


 

4. Traditional skill

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph H, “Volunteer ‘apprentices’ pair up with one of the last living speakers of a Native American tongue to learn a traditional skill such as basket weaving, with instruction exclusively in the endangered language.”

 

Explanation: This statement is directly about about the apprentice schemes.

Questions and Answers 5-9
  • Look at the following statements (Questions 5-9) and the list of people in the box below.
  • Match each statement with the correct person A-E.
  • Write the appropriate letter A-E in boxes 5-9 on your answer sheet.
Note:You may use any letter more than once.

 

 

A

Michael Krauss

B

Salikoko Mufwene

C

Nicholas Ostler

D

Mark Pagel

E

Doug Whalen

 

 

5.   Endangered languages cannot be saved unless people learn to speak multiple languages.

 

6.   Saving languages from extinction is not in itself a satisfactory goal.

 

7.   The way we think may be determined by our language.

 

8.   Young people often reject their community's established way of life.

 

9.   A change of language may mean a loss of traditional culture

 

 

Lost For Words Reading Answers with Explanation (5-9)

 

Type of question: Matching Features

 

This task presents you with a set of features or characteristics and a list of options. Your task is to match each feature with the correct option based on the information provided in the passage
 

How to best answer:
 

  • Carefully read each feature or characteristic presented.
  • Scan the passage to locate information that corresponds to each feature.
  • Match each feature with the option in the list that best aligns with the information found in the passage.
  • Verify your answers by ensuring that the chosen options accurately represent the features described in the passage.


 

5. E

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph H, “Most of these languages will not survive without a large degree of bilingualism, says Doug Whalen.”
 

Explanation: This statement directly refers to Doug Whalen's statement about the necessity of bilingualism for the survival of endangered languages.


 

6. B

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph H, “But says that preventing a language from dying out is not the same as giving it new life by using it every day. ‘Preserving a language is more like preserving fruits in a jar,’ he says.”

 

Explanation: This statement shows Salikoko Mufwene's view that merely preventing a language from dying out does not equate to truly revitalising it.


 

7. D

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph G, “The patterns and connections we make among various concepts may be structured by the linguistic habits of our community.”
 

Explanation: Mark Pagel's statement indicates that our linguistic habits can influence our cognitive patterns and perceptions.


 

8. C

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph D, “People lose faith in their culture,’ he says. ‘When the next generation reaches their teens, they might not want to be induced into the old traditions.”

 

Explanation: Nicholas Ostler's statement explains how young people may reject traditional ways of life as they lose faith in their culture.


 

9. B

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph G, “Language is also intimately bound up with culture, so it may be difficult to preserve one without the other.”
 

Explanation: Salikoko Mufwene's statement highlights the close connection between language and culture, suggesting that losing a language can also mean losing cultural traditions.

Questions and Answers 10-13
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the Reading Passage?
In boxes 10-13 on your answer sheet, write

  • YES if the statement agrees with the information given
  • NO if the statement contradicts the information given
  • NOT GIVEN if there is no information about this

 

 

10. The Navajo language will die out because it has too few speakers.

 

11. A large number of native speakers fails to guarantee the survival of a language.

 

12. National governments could do more to protect endangered languages.

 

13. The loss of linguistic diversity is inevitable.

 

 

Lost For Words Reading Answers with Explanation (10-13)

 

Type of question: Yes/No/Not Given

 

In this task, you are presented with a statement, and your task is to determine if it aligns with the information in the passage (Yes), contradicts the information in the passage (No), or if there is insufficient information in the passage to make a decision (Not Given).

 

How to best answer:

 

  • Understand the missing information outlined in the summary.
  • Identify key terms and phrases from the summary in the main passage to locate the relevant information.
  • Ensure that the information you select from the passage matches the context provided in the summary.
  • Finalise your answers by confirming that the chosen information accurately addresses the missing parts of the summary.

 

 

10. No

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph A "The native language is dying. Most of its speakers are middle-aged or elderly."

 

Explanation: The passage mentions that the Navajo language is dying, but it doesn't directly attribute this to the number of speakers.


 

11. Yes

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph C "Navajo is considered endangered despite having 150,000 speakers."
 

Explanation: Despite having a significant number of speakers, the Navajo language is still considered endangered, indicating that a large number of native speakers does not guarantee survival.


 

12. Not Given

 

Reference:

 

Full passage
 

Explanation: While the passage discusses governmental actions that impact languages, it does not explicitly state whether national governments could do more to protect endangered languages. Hence, the answer is "Not given."


 

13. Yes

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph H "So despite linguists’ best efforts, many languages will disappear over the next century."


Explanation: The passage suggests that despite efforts to preserve languages, many will still disappear, indicating that the loss of linguistic diversity is inevitable.

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FAQs

Q. What is the difference between false and not given statements in the Identifying Information task?

Ans. While attending an Identifying Information task or Identifying a Writer's Views/Claims task, you might need to confirm a statement as false or not given. A ‘false’ statement is when the given information contradicts the information provided by the reading passage. Your answer can be ‘not given’ if the information in the question statement is not mentioned anywhere in the passage.

Q. What can I do if I don't know the answer to my IELTS Reading test question?

Ans. If you don't know the answer to your IELTS Reading test question, try to make an informed guess. You can omit the less probable options and filter out the most appropriate answer from the options available. If the question seems too difficult to answer, do not overthink it. You can skip the question and move to the next. Make sure you start your IELTS preparation early and cover all the necessary topics within the time. Getting help from expert IELTS trainers can make this much easier.

Q. Can I request extra time for my IELTS Reading test if needed?

Ans. No, you cannot ask for extra time during your IELTS Reading test. The time allocated for your exam is one hour. You have to finish your test within this time. There isn't any extra transfer or other time permitted. Ensure you read the passages, answer the questions, and proofread them within this time.