Sounds people make

In the following passages, you will meet about fifty of the noises we humans make, many of them without producing words. Read the passages and then do the exercises that follow.

1.    Read the passage and decide whose thoughts are being described.

    I'm awake, lying here moaning, and northing's happening at all. Oh well, better start crying properly. Still no reaction. Right, they've asked for it. Here we go with a real scream. Ah, now I hear something next door. Must go on sobbing, so they realise it's serious. Here she comes, muttering to herself. Why is it always her? Never him? Ah, a bottle. Excuse me, but it's difficult to suck a bottle without making sucking noises, you know. Oh no. I've got hiccups again. Sometimes I seem to spend half my day hiccupping. Over the shoulder I go again. Oh dear, a burp. Pardon. Back to bed. Ah, I like it when she hums that song to me. Oh dear, we're both yawning. Time to sleep again. I can hear him snoring next door. 'Not a murmur now', she says to me, the same as always. There's no need to sigh like that, you know. You were a baby once.

    2 It's been a hard day's night, as they used to say. My boss made my life hell today. Read the passage and find out what my job is.

    I've never known a boss like him; you hardly ever hear him talking normally. He starts as soon as he comes into the office in the morning. If I'm two minutes late, he starts shouting at me. And you should hear him on the phone, yelling at some poor junior. When he asks you to do something, he just barks - like a fierce dog. And when he finds a mistake in your work, he roars like a lion. When someone asks him a question, he nearly always just grunts, like that. He'll sit for hours grumbling about the weather, the business, his colleagues, the market. And he will mutter! Half the time you can't understand a word he's saying. The worst thing is his dictation. He just mumbles all the way through the letter; I have to guess every other word. Then he bites my head off when I've written something he didn't want. I just start stammering and stuttering, and get out of the room as soon as possible.

    3 The third group of noises come from a theater. Read the text and find out what is happening on stage.

    You can hear the audience whispering excitedly. Some of them are clearing their throats. Could they be nervous? Some thing's happening. The audience are clapping; polite applause at the moment. Two of the audience are being invited onto the stage. The rest of them are cheering and calling out things. Now something is happening on stage; you could hear a pin drop. The two members of the audience are doing exactly what they are told and the chairs they are sitting on are beginning to rise into the air. The audience are gasping. Oh dear, what's happened? They've suddenly fallen to the ground and look most upset. The audience are booing loudly. It hasn't worked. Now they're whistling. The whistling has changed to hissing, but there's nobody on stage except the two members of the audience. Now they're chanting that they want their money back. The manager's coming out on stage. Listen to them groaning.

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