People in relationship:

client (clients)
NOUN A client of a professional person or organization is a person that receives a service from them in return for payment.
■ a solicitor and his client
■ The company requires clients to pay substantial fees in advance.

colleague (colleagues)
NOUN Your colleagues are the people you work with, especially in a professional job.
■ Female academics are still paid less than their male colleagues.
■ In the corporate world, the best sources of business are your form er colleagues.

employer (employers)
NOUN Your employer is the person or organization that you work for.
■ employers who hire illegal workers
■ The telephone company is the country’s largest employer.

parent (parents)
NOUN Your parents are your m other and father.
■ Children need their parents.
■ When you become a parent the things you once cared about seem to have less value.

sibling (siblings)
NOUN Your siblings are your brothers and sisters. [FORMAL]
■Some studies have found
that children are more friendly to younger
siblings of the same sex.
■Sibling rivalry often
causes parents anxieties.

spouse (spouses)
NOUN Someone’s spouse is the person they are married to. Husbands and wives do not have to pay any inheritance tax when their spouse dies.

Describing people:
autonomous
ADJECTIVE An autonomous person makes their own decisions rather than being influenced by someone else
■ They proudly declared themselves part of a new autonomous province.
■ the liberal idea of the autonomous individual

consistent
ADJECTIVE Someone who is consistent always behaves in the same way, has the same attitudes towards people or things, or achieves the same level of success in something.
■ Becker has never been the most consistent of players anyway.
■ his consistent support of free trade
■ a consistent character with a major thematic function

conventional
ADJECTIVE Someone who is conventional has behaviour and opinions that are ordinary and normal.
■ a respectable married woman with conventional opinions
■ this close, fairly conventional English family

co-operative also cooperative
ADJECTIVE If you say that someone is co-operative, you mean that they do what you ask them without complaining or arguing.
■ The president said the visit would develop friendly and co-operative relations between the two countries.
■ a contented and co-operative workforce

efficient
ADJECTIVE If something or someone is efficient, they are able to do tasks successfully, without wasting time or energy.
■ With today’s more efficient contraception women can plan their families and careers.
■ Technological advances allow more efficient use of labour.
■ an efficient way of testing thousands of compounds

flexible
ADJECTIVE Something or someone that is flexible is able to change easily and adapt to different conditions and circumstances.
■ more flexible arrangements to allow access to services after normal working hours
■ We encourage flexible working.

idealistic
ADJECTIVE If you describe someone as idealistic, you mean that they have ideals, and base their behaviour on these ideals, even if this may be impractical.
■ Idealistic young people died for the cause.
■ an over-simplistic and idealistic vision of family dynamics

tolerant
ADJECTIVE If you describe someone as tolerant, you approve of the fact that they allow other people to say and do as they like, even if they do not agree with or like it.
■ [+of] They need to be tolerant of different points of view.
■ Other changes include more tolerant attitudes to unmarried couples having children.

vulnerable
ADJECTIVE Someone who is vulnerable is weak and without protection, with the result that they are easily hurt physically or emotionally.
■ Old people are particularly vulnerable members of our society.


Track 01

1

I’ve learned a lot from so many people, but I suppose the person that stands out is my colleague Lin. When I started working at the firm, my employer didn’t give me a lot of formal training so I had to learn on the job. I was given the desk next to Lin and she explained everything to me. She was incredibly efficient. She knew the job so well, and she made it look so easy.

2

The person I admire the most is probably my boss. She really knows what she wants to achieve with the organization, but at the same time she is so flexible and open to new ideas. She really takes an interest not only in her clients but also in her employees. She really listens to what they have to say.

3

I suppose the relationship I’ve found most difficult – but ultimately most rewarding – has been my relationship with my younger brother. He’s different from me in almost everyway you can imagine. I’m the kind of person who likes to get things done, but he is a real dreamer – so idealistic. It used to drive me crazy, but over the years, I’ve come to really admire him for following his dreams.

Track 02

I’m going to begin this section of my talk by saying something about only children, that is children without siblings. Historically, only children were relatively uncommon. However, these days, as families are becoming smaller, being an only child has become relatively more common. There are many reasons for this trend – social, economic, and political, which I won’t go into at this point. However, I will say that having an only child generally means that parental resources can be concentrated on the one child. And I would add that, by parental resources I mean not just money but also care and attention.

Only children have frequently been seen as different from children with siblings and subjected to negative stereotype. They are often considered to be less tolerant of others – i.e. less able to accept differences, to allow those with different points of view to say and do as they like. Not surprisingly, they are sometimes said to be less co-operative than other children – in other words, less able to work effectively with others. On the other hand, only children are often highly regarded for their autonomy, that is to say, their ability to make their own decisions without being unduly influenced by others. In short, the picture that’s emerging is of children who are rather unconventional, that is not quite ‘normal’ in social terms.

I think it’s important to say here that many of these views have been challenged. In fact more recent research has found that only children are in fact very similar to children with siblings…

Track 3

The subject of my talk today is the relationship between birth order and personality. By birth order I mean whether an individual is the firstborn child in the family, a middle child, an only child, and so on.

The belief that birth order has a lasting impact on personality is widespread and frequently referred to in popular psychology literature. Alfred Adler, an Austrian psychotherapist, was one of the first to suggest that there was a connection between birth order and personality. He noticed that firstborn children experienced a loss of status with the birth of siblings. According to Adler, this made eldest children more likely to be anxious than other children. However, on
the positive side, they also tend to be conscientious and achievement-oriented, perhaps because they want to regain a position of primacy within the family.

Since Adler, there have been many attempts to establish links between birth order and a range of personality traits. Some studies have found that last-born children tend to be more extrovert and agreeable, that is, they not only seek out the company of others but also tend to get along well with other people. Middle children, on the other hand, are more likely to be rebellious, perhaps in an attempt to define themselves as special’ in relation to their more conscientious
elder siblings and agreeable younger siblings. Some studies, for example, have found that middle children are more likely to choose unconventional careers and hobbies.

However, whilst these views are widely held among the public, scholars have more recently cast doubt on their validity. Many studies have been found to employ a flawed methodology, for instance failing to adequately consider variables such as the family’s socio-economic status. Large-scale meta-analyses of studies have proved inconclusive with no single trait consistently associated with a given position within the family. Nevertheless, most people are intuitively
drawn to the idea that birth order has an effect on the sort of people we become.