Janet is a writer. She writes detective stories. She works at home, and she uses a computer. She’s writing a new book now, called “The Final Test”.
Susanna is a university student. She’s studying political science at the university of Milan. This is her last year. She’s working on her thesis now: “The Future of Modern Civilisation”.
Mercury Trading Limited is an international import-export firm. They buy and sell things from Asia and South America. They had a bad year last year, but now business is improving and the company is growing.
Maurizio is an executive with an international financial consulting company. He lives in Milan and he works a lot. His girlfriend Laura says he works too much. He speaks English very well, but he wants to speak it better.
Laura and Maurizio are very busy people.
Last Friday, Maurizio stayed at the office until eight p.m. He had to work late — he had to do a lot of work. First of all, he had to do some accounts. Last month, his boss made a mistake in the accounts, and Maurizio had to do them again. He also had to make an important telephone call, to Seattle. He made the call at seven p.m. It was ten a.m. in Seattle, because there’s a difference of nine hours between Italy and the west coast of the United States. He had to speak English on the telephone, but this was not a problem because Maurizio speaks English very well. In fact, he studies at VirtuAule. He did Unit 88 last week! So he made a good impression on the phone. Then he made a call to Laura. “What are you doing, Laura?” “I’m making your dinner, Maurizio. And I’m doing my English homework.” They always speak English on the phone — it’s good practice.
At seven o’clock, in fact, Laura always does her English homework. She’s also studying English at VirtuAule, and she tries to do an hour of homework every day. Last Friday evening she did her dictation for Unit 19 Part 1. Unfortunately, she made a lot of mistakes, and she had to do the dictation again. She’s making progress with her English, slowly but surely, but she’s having some problems with dictation. Last week, in class, she did Unit 18 Part 1 and Unit 18 Part 2. Now she is ready to do her Level Exam. She has to do the Unit 19 Part 2 before she can do the Basic Course 2 Level Exam.
On Saturday morning Laura did the shopping at her local supermarket. She bought a lot of food, including two kilos of green apples. She wanted to make an apple pie for Maurizio. Saturday was his birthday, and he loves apple pie. Then she came home and made lunch. She usually makes pasta for lunch, but on Saturday she wasn’t very hungry, and Maurizio was at the office, so she just made a ham sandwich. In the afternoon she made the apple pie. Then she worked on a new sweater that she is making for Maurizio. She made a blue sweater for his birthday, and now she is making a red and green one for Christmas.
On Sunday, Laura and Maurizio were very tired. They stayed home, and they didn’t do anything!
Roger and Madeleine are planning a trip to Italy next summer. To prepare for this trip, Roger is taking an interesting course called: “Italian for Tourists, Art Lovers and Shoppers — How to Survive in Sunny Italy”. He has lessons every Tuesday and Thursday evening, from seven o’clock to half past eight.
Now, it’s important for a language student to have a good bilingual dictionary, and in fact Roger — like most of the people in his class — uses a classic dictionary for beginners, a small Collins pocket dictionary. A little dictionary like this is very practical when you’re travelling.
But Roger is a very serious student. He knows that when you’re studying a language, for example Italian, it’s important to have an Italian-Italian dictionary. Roger’s also a perfectionist — he always wants the biggest and the best — so when his Italian course began he bought a very big and expensive dictionary, imported from Italy — the “Zingarelli” dictionary, published by “Zanichelli”.
Roger is enjoying his course. He’s studying hard, and he’s learning a lot. He finds that Italian is easier than French, because the pronunciation is relatively simple. For example, there are not very many vowel sounds in Italian, compared to French — or English! “I’m certainly glad I’m not an Italian studying English”, he said to Madeleine the other day. “It must be very difficult for them.”
Madeleine is not interested in learning Italian. “It’s not really necessary,” she insists. “I’m sure that everyone over there speaks English, don’t they?”