Unseen Passage for Class 12 Factual CBSE With Answers

Factual passages: convey information in a straightforward and direct manner about a particular subject. Usually, the language and style are simple and clear. Factual passages may give instructions or descriptions or report of an event or a new finding.

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Unseen Passage for Class 12 Factual CBSE With Answers

I. Read the following passage carefully. (12 marks)

1. From the moment a baby first opens its eyes, it is learning. Sight and sensation spark off a learning process which will determine in large measure, the sort of person it will become. Language stands head and shoulders over all other tools as an instrument of learning. It is the language that gives man his lead in intelligence over all the other creatures. No other creature can assemble a list of ideas, consider them, draw conclusions and then explain his reasoning. Man can do all this because he possesses language. And if thought depends on language, the quality of an individual’s thought will depend on that person’s language-rudimentary or sophisticated, precise or approximate, stereotyped or original.

2. Very young babies are soothed bv human voice uttering comforting words close to them. This essentially-emotional response provides early evidence that feeling is an important component of language learning. Children learn to use language in interaction with other human beings and this learning proceeds best against a background of affectionate feedback from the person who is closest to them. This is seen to perfection in the interaction between parent and a baby: eyes locked together, the adult almost physically drawing ‘verbal’ response from the baby, both engulfed by that unique experience of intimate and joyful ‘connecting’, which sets the pattern of the relationship between two people.

3. Thus, long before they can speak, children are involved in a two-way process of communication, which is steadily building a foundation on which their later use of language will be based. Constantly surrounded by language, they are unconsciously building structures in their minds into which their speech and reading will later fit grammatical constructions, tense sequences and so on. The forms of these structures will depend on the amount and complexity of speech they hear. Fortunate are those children who listen to articulate adults, expressing ideas and defending opinions. They will know, long before they can contribute themselves and understand, that relationships are forged through this process of speaking and listening; that warmth and humour have a place in the process, as have all other human emotions.

4. Using books is the most important means of ensuring a child’s adequate language development. None of us can endlessly initiate and maintain speech with very small children; we run out of ideas or just get plain sick of it. Their lives are confined to a limited circle and they do not have enough experience to provide raw material for constant verbal interaction.

5. Parents and children who share books share the same frame of reference. Incidents in everyday life constantly remind one or the other of a situation, a character, an action, from a jointly enjoyed book, with all the generation of warmth and well-being that is attendant upon such sharing. All too often, there is a breakdown of communication between parents and children when the problems of adolescence arise. In most cases, this is most acute when the give-and-take of shared opinions and ideas have not been constantly practised throughout childhood. Books can play a major role in the establishment of this verbal give-and-take because they are rooted in language.

6. Young children’s understanding greatly outruns their capacity for expression as their speech strains to encompass their awareness, to represent reality as they see it. Shades of meaning which may be quite unavailable to the child of limited verbal experience are startlingly talked to toddler. All the wonderful modifying words-later, nearly, tomorrow, almost, wait, half, lend, etc. begin to steer the child away from the simple extremes of “Yes” and “No” towards the adult word of compromise from the child’s black and white world to the subtle shades and tints of the real world. The range of imaginative experience opened up by books expands the inevitably limited horizons of children’s surroundings and allows them to make joyful, intrigued, awestruck acquaintance with countless people, animals, objects and ideas in their first years of life.

7. Books also open children to new points of view, besides their own as they unconsciously put themselves into other people’s places-‘if that could happen to him, it could happen to me’. This imaginative self-awareness brings apprehensions and fears as well as heightened hopes and joys.

8. In books, children can experience language which is subtle, resourceful, exhilarating and harmonious; languages that provide the human ear (and understanding) with a pointed and precise pleasure, the searing illuminating impact of good and true words.

A. On the basis of your understanding of the passage, answer the following questions by choosing the most appropriate option. (1 × 5 = 5 marks)

Question (i)
What is an important component of language learning?
(a) Feeling
(b) Linguistics
(c) Emotions
(d) Environment
Answer:
(a) Feeling

Question (ii)
What are the things that enable a baby to learn about the world around it?
(a) See and hear
(b) Sense and analyse
(c) Understand and use language
(d) See, hear and sense
Answer:
(b) Sense and analyse

Question (iii)
What are the most important means of ensuring a child’s adequate language development?
(a) Using books
(b) Two-way process of communication
(c) Uttering comforting words
(d) Drawing verbal response
Answer:
(a) Using books

Question (iv)
Why do books help in the establishment of verbal give-and-take?
(a) Because they help in interaction with others
(b) Because they are rooted in language
(c) Because they are beautiful to look at
(d) Because they have varied topics
Answer:
(b) Because they are rooted in language

Question (v)
How do books help children see things from other’s points of view?
(a) Books help in imaginative self-awareness
(b) Books have a beautiful cover
(c) Books generate a lot of discussions
(d) Books create awareness about various topics
Answer:
(a) Books help in imaginative self-awareness

B. Answer the following questions briefly. (1 × 7 = 7 marks)

Question (i)
How does the range of language affect a person’s thinking?
Answer:
The range of language helps assemble a list of ideas, consider these ideas, draw conclusions based on these ideas and explain his/her reasoning.

Question (ii)
What advantages do children, who listen to articulate adults, enjoy in comparison to others?
Answer:
They learn how to use language for interaction with other human beings; language becomes a unique experience of joy. It also helps build relationships with other people.

Question (iii)
Why, according to the writer, is ‘talking alone’ an inadequate base for language development?
Answer:
Talking alone is inadequate because a child is not always exposed to the complexity of speech if the adult is not articulate.

Question (iv)
What is the role of books in maintaining a good relationship? Explain.
Answer:
Parents and children who share books share situations, share characters, and share action. This fosters a good relationship that will grow into adolescence.

Question (v)
Pick out two advantages of the books mentioned in the passage.
Answer:
Children are exposed to a range of vocabulary; imaginative experience expanded; see things from other’s points of view; creates self-awareness.

Question (vi)
Find a word from the passage (para-3) which means ‘pronounce distinctly’.
Answer:
articulate

Question (vii)
Find a word from the passage (para-6) which means ‘give-and-take’.
Answer:
compromise

Unseen Passage Practice Examples for Class 12 Factual CBSE

1 Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.

1. On 14 April 1912, the Titanic received warnings all day about the floating icebergs. The first message was received at 9 a.m. Similar messages followed. Around 9 p.m., Captain Smith conferred with his second officer, Charles H. Lightoller before retiring for the night. They knew that on such a clear, moonless night it would be extremely difficult to spot icebergs. Why did they not change the course of the ship and take the ice–free southern route? It remains one of the unsolved mysteries surrounding the Titanic.

2. At 11:40 p.m., the two lookouts startled the officers: “Iceberg right ahead!”. First Officer Murdoch had less than a minute to react and arrive at a decision. He ordered the ship to stop immediately and reverse at full power. A frontal collision was just about prevented. However, it was not possible to halt the ship entirely and the bow collided with the iceberg. Later, Murdoch, who did not survive the tragedy, was severely criticized for his decision. According to the analysts, it would have been better to steer directly into the iceberg which would have damaged the bow, but the steamer would probably not have sunk.

3. Only a few people went out on deck to see what had happened. But when they heard that the ship had ‘just scraped past an iceberg, they went back to their cabins. Down in the bowels of the ship, the collision was more apparent. The firemen and engineers heard a loud bang and saw water gushing in. They ordered to seal the hatches to cut off the airflow to the furnaces. But the mailroom was flooded barely twenty minutes after the collision.

4. It was surmised that the hull of the ship would soon be filled with water; this meant the Titanic was destined to sink. The ship had to be evacuated in an hour. Around a thousand people were fated to be left behind as there were not enough lifeboats for everyone. Around 12:25 a.m., the first boat was launched. While Lightoller had to insist on letting only women onto the lifeboats, Murdoch was having trouble persuading people to get into the lifeboats in the first place as many believed the Titanic to be safer than the little boats. Meanwhile, dramatic scenes were taking place on deck. The millionaire’s wife, Ida Straus, refused to be separated from her husband. Other men bravely bade their families farewell.

5. The third – class passengers were the last to know. Some became aware of the catastrophe only when their cabins were flooded. Soon there was total chaos. Within an hour, the bow of the ship was already underwater. The music band continued to play lively ragtimes to boost the morale of those who were doomed to die. There were some who seemed to ignore what was happening; the first-class men sat peacefully playing cards. The Guggenheim heir insisted on getting dressed as he wanted to “die like a gentleman”. At around 1:30 a.m., the bow was already so deep in the water, that people could hardly keep upright on the steeply inclined deck. At around 1.55 a.m., the richest man on board, John Jacob Astor, found out that his money was worth little. He demanded to join his pregnant wife in a lifeboat but was forbidden by Officer Lightoller, who remained adamant: women and children only. According to the survivors, once all the boats had been lowered, a strange calm spread over the decks.

6. At 2:15 a.m., the water reached the first funnel. Rumbling, crackling and roaring noises followed. The lighting went out. The stern tilted up to a 45-degree angle. The ship split apart. The ship, which was considered unsinkable, went down. The people in the lifeboats rowed away from those in the water, crying for help, for fear that their boat would capsize if too many people tried to climb on board.

7. Less than a third of those aboard the Titanic survived the disaster. It took the Carpathia, a passenger steamship, four hours to reach the Titanic in response to the distress call sent out earlier. The Titanic sank before the Carpathia arrived. The ship rescued around 710 survivors afloat the Titanic’s lifeboats between 4.14 a.m. to 8.30 a.m.

1.1 On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer these questions.

(a) The word ……………………. in paragraph 2, means the opposite of the word “posterior’.
i. frontal
ii. anterior
iii. forward

(b) The word ‘hull’ means …………………….
i. a heavy metal object that is attached to a rope or chain and dropped over the side of a ship to keep it in one place.
ii. a piece of wood or metal at the back of a ship that is used for controlling its direction
iii. the main, bottom part of a ship, that goes in the water

(c) The words ‘rumbling’ and ‘crackling’, in paragraph 6, describe …………………….
i. visions
ii. sounds
iii. none of the above

(d) About ……………………. of the people aboard the Titanic died in the tragedy.
i. one-third
ii. two-third
iii. none of the above

1.2 On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer these questions.

(a) The weather abetted the accident. How?
(b) The officers had spotted the iceberg, yet they collided. Why?
(c) Why was Murdoch criticized?
(d) Why did people not consider the collision with the iceberg to be serious?
(e) What were the two things that people did on the ship to shut out reality?
(f) Apart from the imminent sinking of the Titanic, what was the other inexcusable fact that came into the light?

1.3 Pick out the words/phrases from the passage which mean the opposite of:

(a) approbated (para 2)
(b) unclear (para 3)

2 Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.

1. Mithila painting, as a domestic ritual activity, was unknown to the outside world until the massive Bihar earthquake of 1934. The devastation caused the house walls to tumble down, and the British colonial officer in Madhubani District, William G. Archer, inspecting the damage discovered the paintings on the newly exposed interior walls of the houses. Archer – later to become the South Asia Curator at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum – was stunned by the beauty of the paintings and similarities to the work of modern Western artists like Klee, Miro, and Picasso. During the 1930s, he took black and white photos of some of these paintings; the earliest images we have of them. Few years later, in 1949, an article in the Indian art journal, Marg, brought the wall paintings to public attention.

2. A second natural disaster, the drought of the 1960s, prompted the All India Handicrafts Board to encourage a few upper caste women in villages around Madhubani town to transfer their ritual wall paintings onto paper as an income-generating project. Drawing on the region’s rich visual culture of contrasting ‘line painting’ and ‘colour painting’ traditions, and their individual talents, several of these women turned out to be superb artists. Four of them went on to represent India in cultural fairs in Europe, Russia, and the USA. Their national and international recognition prompted many other women from marginalized castes to begin painting on paper.

3. By the late 1970s, the popular success of the paintings – aesthetically distinct from other Indian painting traditions – drew dealers from New Delhi offering minimal prices for mass-produced paintings of the most popular divinities and three familiar scenes from the Ramayana. Out of poverty, many painters complied with the dealers’ demands, and produced the rapid and repetitious images known as “Madhubani paintings’. Nevertheless, with the encouragement of a number of Indian and foreign patrons, other artists working within the same aesthetic traditions continued to produce the highly crafted, deeply individualistic and increasingly diverse work, now known as ‘Mithila Painting’.

4. Mithila had long been famed for its rich culture and numerous poets, scholars, and theologians. As the males of the society were lauded for their intellectual contributions, it was quite some time before the talent of the women folk received its due. They were mostly confined to their homes, managing their family, raising children and engaging in ritualistic wall painting. It was only after they started painting on paper, some fifty years earlier, that recognition started pouring in.

5. The position of women in Mithila society has dramatically altered. Apart from contributing to the family income, individual women have gained local, national, and even international recognition. Artists are being invited to exhibitions across India, Europe, the USA, and Japan as ‘contemporary artists’ rather than folk artists. Along with economic success, opportunities to travel, gain an education, the radio, and now television is expanding the women’s consciousness and engagement with the multiple worlds around them. Gender relations have considerably shifted. A few men continue to paint within what is still defined as “a women’s tradition’, but their work tends to be personal and soothing. In contrast, women’s paintings are comparatively socially charged, critical, and edgy.

6. These changes have provoked an argument in Mithila and beyond, between those who claim that commercialization and the loss of its ritual functions have debased Mithila paintings, versus those who see Mithila paintings as a contemporary art form rooted in the expanding experience, concerns, and freedom of the women of Mithila.

2.1. Choose the correct option.

(a) The massive earthquake in Bihar occurred in
i. 1933
ii. 1934
iii. 1935

(b) The word ……………………., in paragraph 1, means ‘astonished’.
i. stunned
ii. amazed
iii. horrified

(c) The word ‘contemporary’ in paragraph 5 means …………………….
i. belonging to the same time
ii. modern
iii. historical

(d) The word ‘provoked’, in paragraph 6, means …………………….
i. wanton
ii. goaded
iii. malicious

2.2. On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer these questions.

(a) How was the earthquake in Bihar a blessing in disguise?
(b) Who was William G.Archer?
(c) When did the women of Mithila get their due recognition?
(d) Name the two different painting traditions adopted by the women of Mithila.
(e) Which was the second natural disaster the region experienced?
(f) How has the position of women in the Mithila society changed dramatically?

2.3 Pick out the words/phrases from the passage which mean the same as:

(a) artistically (para 3)
(b) awareness (para 5)

3 Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.

1. The Hum is a generic name for a series of a phenomenon involving a persistent and invasive low frequency humming noise not audible to all people. Hums have been reported in various geographical locations. In some cases, a source has been located. A well – known case was reported in Taos, New Mexico, and thus the Hum is sometimes called the Taos Hum. Hums have been reported all over the world, especially in Europe. A Hum on the Big Island of Hawaii, typically related to volcanic action, is heard in locations dozens of kilometres apart. The local Hawaiians also say the Hum is most often heard by men. Typically, the Hum is difficult to detect with microphones, and its source is hard to localize.

2. The Hum is sometimes prefixed with the name of a locality where the phenomenon has been particularly publicized: for example, the ‘Bristol Hum’ or the ‘Taos Hum’.

3. The essential element that defines the Hum is what is perceived as a persistent low – frequency sound, often described as being comparable to that of a distant diesel engine idling, or to some similar low pitched sound for which obvious sources (for example, household appliances, traffic noise, etc.) have been ruled out.

4. Some people hear the Hum continuously, but others hear it only during certain periods. For some people, the perceived Hum can represent a faint sound and a mild annoyance while for others who notice the Hum’s sound or its vibrations more intensely, it can be a nuisance that can seriously interfere with daily activities. Common consequences include lack of sleep. Such cases have given rise to the expression ‘Hum sufferers’.

5. It is during the 1990s that the Hum phenomenon began to be reported in North America and to be known to the American public, when a study by the University of New Mexico and the complaints from many citizens living near the town of Taos, New Mexico, caught the attention of the media. However, in the 1970s and 1980s, a similar phenomenon had been the object of complaints from citizens, media reports, and of studies, mostly in the United Kingdom, and also in other countries such as New Zealand. The Taos Hum was featured on the television show, Unsolved Mysteries, where recorded footage of the Hum was aired for the benefit of the viewers. On 15 November 2006, Dr. Tom Moir of the University of Massey, New Zealand, made a recording of the Auckland Hum and published it on the University’s website. The captured Hum’s power spectral density peaks at a frequency of 56 Hertz.

6. It is difficult to tell if the Hum reported in those earlier cases and the Hum that began to be increasingly reported in North America in the 1990s should be considered identical or of different natures. During the last decade, the Hum phenomenon has been reported in many other cities and regions in North America and Europe and in some other regions of the world.

7. In the case of Kokomo, Indiana, a city with heavy industries, the source of the Hum was thought to have been traced to two sources. The first was a pair of fans in a cooling tower at the local Daimler Chrysler casting plant emitting a 36 Hertz tone. The second was an air compressor intake at the Haynes International plant emitting a 10 Hertz tone.

3.1 Choose the correct option.

(a) Taos is in …………………..
i. New York
ii. New Jersey
iii. New Mexico

(b) The word “perceived’ in paragraph 5 means …………………..
i. experimental
ii. calculated
iii. observed

(c) The meaning of the word ………………….., in paragraph 5, is the opposite of the word ‘pleasure’.
i. bliss
ii. delight
iii. annoyance

(d) “Decade’ represents a period of ………………….. years.
i. 5
ii. 10
iii. 15

3.2 On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer these questions.

(a) What were the two characteristics of a Hum?
(b) How did Taos Hum get its name?
(c) What is the cause behind the Hum on the Big Island of Hawaii?
(d) What are the adverse effects of the Hum?
(e) Which television show featured the Taos Hum?
(f) Who made a recording of the Auckland Hum?

3.2 Find words in the passage which convey the opposite meaning as the following:

(a) insignificantly (para 4)
(b) pleasure (para 5)

4 Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.

1. The World Cup is considered the apex of soccer competition. Held once every four years, it brings together some of the best footballers of the world. All of whom attempt to do their respective nations proud by winning the coveted trophy.

2. The 1994 World Cup, held in the United States of America, was no different from its predecessors. Traditional favourites, like Brazil and Italy produced moments of sheer poetry on the pitch while newcomers like Nigeria and Saudi Arabia put up gallant performances. However, the event will be remembered with a touch of sadness. The otherwise spectacular competition was marred by the murder of Colombian defender, Andres Escobar.

3. The Colombian team had entered the World Cup in a blaze of glory. Undefeated in the qualifying rounds, they had even trounced the 1986 champions, Argentina, with a five-goal win. Soccer is known to evoke high passions amongst fans, but in Colombia, where soccer is said to be bigger than religion’, expectations soared to a fever pitch.

4. The team was captained by Carlos Valderrama, a two – time winner of the South America Player of the Year Award. With brilliant attackers, Freddy Fincon and Faustino Asprilla, Colombia seemed indomitable and were even touted to be the next champions.

5. However, the Colombians lost their opening match to Romania. After witnessing such a dismal performance by their favoured team, the press and fans began to wonder if the accolades heaped upon Colombia had been premature.

6. Following their loss, the Colombian squad began to receive death threats. Coach Francisco Maturana was coerced into removing a player – Gabriel Jaime Gomez, whose family had been similarly threatened. Demoralized and now petrified, Colombia performed badly in their match against the Americans. It was in the thirty-fourth minute of the match that Andres Escobar made a dreadful mistake. He slid on his right foot to cut off an attack by American John Harkes, and inadvertently directed the ball past goalkeeper Oscar Cordoba, into his own net. America’s second goal, via Ernie Stewart, sealed Colombia’s fate. Colombia managed a last-minute goal but it was too late. After two defeats, the team was eliminated from the competition.

7. Following the defeat, in a letter to a Colombian newspaper, Escobar tried to placate fans. He reasoned, “Life does not end here.” He was however brutally shot barely forty – eight hours after returning to his beloved hometown of Medellin. The drug mafia, who had lost millions of dollars in the bet favouring Columbia, was believed to be responsible.

8. Andres Escobar, who represented Colombia in fifty – eight games and two World Cups, was considered one of their finest central defenders. A humble and friendly man, he was called ‘the gentleman of Colombian soccer? and admired by many. Thousands of fans, including Colombian President Cesar Gaviria and Medellin Mayor, Luis Alfredo Ramos, paid their last respect to the slain hero. Sickened by the violence plaguing their country, they chanted protests against the drug lords as they escorted the body to its final place of rest.

9. In spite of glorious football history, the Colombian nation has the dubious reputation of having the highest rate of violence in the world for a country not at war. Since the 1970s Colombia has been home to some of the most violent and sophisticated drug trafficking organizations in the world. Home to the rival drug empires, Medellin and Cali cartels, the country is notorious for being the drug capital of the world. Drug lords are responsible for tainting Colombia’s soccer league. Exorbitant sums of drug money are betted on matches. Corruption is rampant as players and officials are often bribed.

10. The violent history records the crime scene of the country. In 1983, Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara Bonilla was slain, months after he had alleged that several football clubs were run by drug traffickers. In 1989, referee Alvaro Oriega was killed after a match. He had disallowed a goal by Deportivo Independiente and had sent off one of its players. Apparently, the team’s defeat caused the drug lords to lose huge sums of money which caused the referee to be murdered.

4.1 Choose the correct option

(a) ………………………. are traditional favourites to win the World Cup.
i. Brazil and Italy
ii. Italy and Columbia
iii. Brazil and Columbia

(b) ………………………. was the Columbian goalkeeper in the fateful match.
i. Oscar Cordoba
ii. John Harkes
iii. none of the above

(c) The word “rampant’ means ……………………….
i. contained
ii. unbridled
iii. in control

(d) The 1994 World Cup was held in ……………………….
i. Asia
ii. Australia
iii. the USA

4.2 On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer these questions.

(a) Why is the World Cup considered the pinnacle of soccer competition?
(b) What does the writer imply when he says that Brazilians and Italians produced sheer poetry’ on the pitch?
(c) Give an example from the passage to suggest that Colombians are ardent fans of soccer?
(d) Why is the Colombian team described as entering the tournament in ‘a blaze of glory”?
(e) Andres Escobar made a dreadful mistake. What was it?

4.3 Pick out the words/phrases from the passage which mean the same as the following.

(a) unconquerable (para 4)
(b) pacify (para 7)

5 Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.

1. During the end of the eighth century AD, a fierce, bold race of pirates periodically left their homelands to raid the coasts of Europe. Easily recognizable with their tall, muscular figures, blue eyes, and flaxen or red hair, they hailed from Scandinavia, or present-day Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. They were called the Norsemen, and those who participated in the raids were known as the Vikings.

2. At home, the Vikings were mainly farmers or stockmen. Hence, their expeditions were timed to coincide with the lull periods which were during spring, after the seeds were sown, and in autumn, after the crops were harvested.

3. Their large oak ships were rowed by forty to sixty oarsmen. They were decorated with colourful sails and burnished shields. The arched bows, carved into shapes of dragons, earned the vessels the label, ‘dragon ships’.

4. “The Vikings would attack unsuspecting villages at dawn. Christian monasteries were popular targets as they possessed many treasures, and were defenceless. Armed with swords and battle-axes, the Vikings killed those who came in their way and departed with as much loot as possible. Young men and women, who were spared, served the Vikings as slaves. Later, with the advent of intermarriages, many were voluntarily freed, and many others were released after the advent of Christianity.

5. Between 740 and 1050 AD, the Vikings grew in strength. At the pinnacle of their supremacy, they colonized Iceland, Northern France, and large parts of Britain and Ireland. They had also attacked the Lapps, Finns, Russians, North Africans, and parts of the Roman Empire. In time, the Vikings developed trade with the Europeans in place of piracy.

6. Till today, their legacy is evident in Britain and Ireland. For instance, many countries have places whose names end with by’, like Derby, Rugby, and Kirby. In Danish, oby’ means home or village. Conversely, most of the Norsemen became Christians by 1000 AD, primarily due to Irish influence. Christianity also thrived because the Norwegian king, Olaf Tryggvason, a devout Christian, threatened those who refused conversion with military action.

7. The success of the Vikings can be attributed to their culture, which placed great emphasis on courage and might. Norsemen were trained in self – defence and encouraged to partake in sports such as swimming, rowing, and riding. Hence, the Vikings became tough and highly adaptable warriors. Young Norsemen were eager to participate in these expeditions as they held promise of fortune, glory and even noble rank. However, they were required to prove their worth since only the elite would be selected. Religion was also a motivating factor. Much of the Viking mythology was inspired by warrior gods, who battled for noble causes. Valhalla, their heaven, was not an eternal abode for all good souls. Only those who had died an honourable death in battle were believed to gain entry. Believing that heroic action was the highest possible good, the Vikings were willing to take up challenges and risks, which undoubtedly led them to a great many discoveries. Their superior navigational skills also distinguished them as intrepid travellers.

8. Much of the Vikings’ history has been gleaned from their legendary tales, called sagas, a word which comes from the Norse verb meaning ‘say’ or ‘tell’. Sagas began as a form of entertainment during feasts, and related the Vikings’ mythical past, discoveries, feuds and their eventual conversion to Christianity.

9. The European clergy disapproved of these fables and considered them sacrilegious. However, the Vikings were determined to preserve their heritage. Their culture endured because of their distance from Europe. Moreover, their Christian leaders did not object to their tradition of storytelling.

10. It was customary for Viking warriors to be buried in longships with valuables, clothes, and chariots, which were believed to be useful in the afterlife. These ships, excavated in Scandinavia and former colonies, were retrieved in good condition. They had been embedded in clay or ice, which preserved them over centuries. The treasures remained intact as they were made of durable materials such as gold, silver, and stone. These graves have revealed to the later generations the past glory of the Viking race.

5.1. Choose the correct option.

(a) The word ‘flaxen’ in paragraph 1, means ……………………….
i. red
ii. pale yellow
iii. black

(b) The word ………………………., in paragraph 3, means ‘adorned’.
i. burnished
ii. decorated
iii. carved

(c) The word “sacrilegious’, in paragraph 9, means
i. blasphemous
ii. pious
iii. virtuous

(d) The word ………………………, in paragraph 7, means ‘dwelling’.
i. heaven
ii. abode
iii. hell

5.2 On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer these questions.

(a) What set the Vikings apart from other races?
(b) Why did the Vikings undertake their expeditions?
(c) Why did the Vikings attack Christian monasteries?
(d) How did the Vikings preserve their heritage?
(e) How did religion inspire the Vikings to attain greater heights?

5.3 Pick out the words/phrases from the passage which mean the same as the following.

(a) unwary (para 4)
(b) peak (para 5)

6 Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.

1. Smoking is the major cause of mortality with bronchogenic carcinoma of the lung and is one of the factors causing death due to malignancies of the larynx, oral cavity, oesophagus, bladder, kidney, pancreas, stomach, and uterine cervix, and coronary heart diseases.

2. Nicotine is the major substance present in the smoke that causes addiction. The additives can cause damage to the body – for example, ammonia can result in a 100 – fold increase in the ability of nicotine to enter into the smoke.

3. Levulinic acid, added to cigarettes to mask the harsh taste of the nicotine, can increase the binding of nicotine to brain receptors, which increases the ‘kick’ of nicotine.

4. Smoke from the burning end of a cigarette contains over 4000 chemicals and 40 carcinogens. It has long been known that tobacco smoke is carcinogenic or cancer-causing.

5. The lungs of smokers collect an annual deposit of 1 to 1/2 pounds of the gooey black material. The invisible gas phase of cigarette smoke contains nitrogen, oxygen, and toxic gases like carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, acrolein, hydrogen cyanide, and nitrogen oxides. These gases are poisonous and in many cases interfere with the body’s ability to transport oxygen.

6. Like many carcinogenic compounds, they can act as tumour promoters or tumour initiators by acting directly on the genetic make – up of cells of the body leading to the development of cancer.

7. During smoking, within the first 8–10 seconds, nicotine is absorbed through the lungs and quickly ‘moved’ into the bloodstream and circulated throughout the brain. Nicotine can also enter the bloodstream through the mucous membranes that line the mouth (if tobacco is chewed) or nose (if snuff is used) and even through the skin.

8. Our brain is made up of billions of nerve cells. They communicate with each other by chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. Nicotine is one of the most powerful nerve poisons and binds stereoselectively to nicotinic receptors located in the brain, autonomic ganglia, the medulla and the neuromuscular junctions. Located throughout the brain, they play a critical role in cognitive processes and memory.

9. The nicotine molecule is shaped like a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine which is involved in many functions including muscle movement, breathing, heart – rate, learning and memory. Nicotine, because of the similar structure with acetylcholine when it gets into the brain, attaches itself to acetylcholine sites and produces a toxic effect.

10. In high concentrations, nicotine is more deadly. In fact, one drop of purified nicotine on the tongue will kill a person. It has been used as a pesticide for centuries.

11. Recent research studies suggest that acute nicotine administration would result in increased dopamine release from the brain, producing perceptions of pleasure and happiness, increased energy and motivation, increased alertness, increased feeling of vigour during the early phase of smoking.

12. However, notwithstanding these superficial effects, research shows that the relationship between smoking and memory loss is strongest in people who smoke more than 20 cigarettes each day and this is not specific to the socio-economic status, gender, and a range of associated medical conditions of the – smoker. Smoking may speed up age-related memory loss, the details of which are however not yet clear. Some studies suggest that repeated exposure to high nicotine smoke related to ‘brain – wiring’ is nothing but neuro – biochemistry that deals with complex interaction among genetic experience and biochemistry of the brain – cells.

13. ‘NO’ is a unique molecule which plays a role in a number of beneficial and some of the harmful brain and body mechanisms, for example, synapse formation, drug tolerance, and local regulation of cerebral blood flow, Parkinson’s disease etc. It is also found that people who smoke more cigarettes a day have poorer memories in middle age than non – smokers.

14. Some experts say that smoking is linked to memory problems because it contributes to narrowed arteries that restrict blood – flow to the brain. One of the causes of memory decline in relation to brain function could be nerve cell death or decreased density of interconnected neuronal network due to loss of dendrites, the tiny filaments that connect one nerve cell to another. Self – restraint from smoking is essential, not only to avoid this systemic damage but also to cut down on the pollutants affecting the environment.

6.1 Choose the correct option.

(a) The word ………………………….., in paragraph 4, means ‘cancer-causing compounds’.
i. carcinogenic
ii. carcinogens
iii. tobacco

(b) The word ‘ganglia’, in paragraph 8, is the plural for the word …………………………..
i. ganglion
ii. gangly
iii. none of the above

(c) ………………………….. is not a toxic gas.
i. carbon monoxide
ii. acrolein
iii. acetylcholine

(d) ………………………….. are tiny filaments that connect one nerve cell to another.
i. dendrites
ii. mucous membranes
iii. brain – cells

6.2 On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer these questions briefly.

(a) What is a cigarette makes people addicted to it?
(b) What are neurotransmitters?
(c) How is smoking a major cause of mortality?
(d) How does nicotine produce a toxic effect?
(e) According to experts, how is smoking linked to memory?

6.3 Pick out the words from the passage which mean the same as the following.

(a) vigour (para 11)
(b) helpful (para 13)

7 Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.

1. The rock-cut caves of Ajanta are world-famous for their murals that demonstrate the degree of skill and artistry that Indian craftsmen had achieved several hundred years ago. The site of the caves, situated at a distance of 107 kilometres north of Aurangabad, is an important tourist destination in the world. The caves get their name from a nearby village called Ajanta.

2. These caves are excavated in a horseshoe-shaped bend of rock surface almost 76 metres in height, overlooking a narrow stream known as Waghorn. The site of this valley once provided a calm and serene environment for the Buddhist monks who retreated there during the rainy season. This retreat also provided them with enough time for furthering their religious pursuits through intellectual discourses for a considerably longer period.

3. The site consists of many excavations. A total of thirty excavations were hewn out of rock including an unfinished one. Many of the caves can be dated to the pre – Christian era, the earliest among them being from the second century BC. It is understood that the art was financed by royal patronage of that time. Professional artists carried out much of the work and each contributed his own individual skill and devotion to this monumental work. The stupa formed the object of worship here and these caves exhibit the imitation of wooden construction to the extent that the rafters and beams are also sculpted even though they are non – functional.

4. New excavations were made again during the period of Vakatakas, the contemporaries of the imperial Guptas. The caves were made to be excavated by royal benefaction and the feudatories under the Vakatakas as illustrated by the inscriptions found in the caves. The boom in activities at Ajanta was between the mid-fifth century AD and the mid-sixth century AD. However, Hiuen Tsang, the famous Chinese traveller who visited India during the first half of the seventh century AD has left a vivid and graphic description of the flourishing Buddhist establishment here, even though he did not visit the caves. A solitary Rashtrakuta inscription in one of the caves indicates its use during the eighth – ninth centuries AD.

5. The second phase departs from the earlier one with the introduction of new patterns in the layout as well as the centrality of the Buddha image, both in sculpture as well as in paintings.

6. The world-famous paintings at Ajanta can be classified into two broad phases. The first phase is noticed in the form of fragmentary specimens which can be dated to the second century BC. The headgear and other ornaments of the images in these paintings resemble the bas – relief sculpture of Sanchi and Bharhut.

7. The second phase of paintings started around the fifth-sixth century AD and continued for the next two centuries. The variations in style and execution in these paintings are mainly due to the different artists who made them. The main themes of the centre of the painting around Jataka stories, different incidents associated with the life of Buddha, and also contemporary events and social life. The ceiling decoration invariably consists of geometrical as well as floral patterns.

7.1 Choose the correct option.

(a) The word ………………………….., in paragraph 2, means “tranquil’.
i. calm
ii. serene
iii. both i. and ii.

(b) The word “hewn’, in paragraph 3, is the past participle form of the verb …………………………..
i. how
ii. hew
iii. hone

(c) The word ………………………….., in paragraph 4, means ‘charitable donation’.
i. contemporaries
ii. feudatories
iii. benefaction

(d) ………………………….. is a form of sculpture.
i. bas – relief
ii. Jataka
iii. monumental

7.2 On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer these questions briefly.

(a) Where are the Ajanta caves situated?
(b) How do the Ajanta caves get their name?
(c) Who was Hiuen Tsang?
(d) When was the boom in activities at Ajanta?
(e) The Vakatakas were the contemporaries of which famous Indian imperial dynasty?
(f) What are the characteristics of the first phase of Ajanta paintings?

7.3 Pick out the words from the passage which mean the same as the following.

(a) scholarly (para 2)
(1) (b) detailed (para 4)

8 Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.

1. Referred to as ‘nature’s theatre’, auroras have long fascinated the human race. During medieval times, the occurrences of auroral displays were seen as harbingers of war or famine. The Menominee Indians of North America believed that the lights indicated the location of giants who were the spirits of great hunters and fishermen. The Inuit community of Alaska believed that the lights were the spirits of the animals they hunted: the seals, salmon, deer, and beluga whales. Other aboriginal peoples believed that the lights were the spirits of their ancestors.

2. The bright dancing lights of the aurora are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere. The lights are seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres. They are known as “aurora borealis’ in the North Pole and ‘aurora australis’ in the South Pole. Scientists have learned that, in most instances, northern and southern auroras are mirror-like images that occur at the same time, with similar shapes and colours.

3. Auroral displays can also be seen over the southern tip of Greenland and Iceland, the northern coast of Norway, and over the coastal waters north of Siberia. Southern auroras are not often seen as they are concentrated in a ring around Antarctica and the southern Indian Ocean.

4. Auroral displays appear in many colours, although pale green and pink are the most common. Common sightings of the same in shades of red, yellow, green, blue, and violet have been reported. Variations in colour are due to the type of gas particles in the Earth’s atmosphere that is colliding with charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere. The most common auroral colour, a pale yellowish-green, is produced by oxygen molecules located about 96 kilometres above the earth. Rare, all-red auroras are produced by high – altitude oxygen, at heights of up to 320 kilometres from the Earth’s surface. Nitrogen produces blue or purplish-red aurora.

5. The lights appear in many forms from patches of scattered clouds of light to streamers, arcs, rippling curtains or shooting rays that light up the sky with an eerie glow.

6. Auroras are classified as diffuse or discrete. Most aurorae occur in a band known as the auroral zone. Diffuse aurora is a featureless glow in the sky which may not be visible to the naked eye even on a dark night. Discrete aurorae are sharply defined features within the diffuse aurora which vary in brightness from being just barely visible to the naked eye to being bright enough to read a newspaper at night. Discrete aurorae are usually observed only in the night because they are not as bright as the sunlit sky.

7. Whereas some people still connect various legends with aurorae, the fact remains that it will continue to fascinate people who experience it.

8.1 Choose the correct option.

(a) The word “harbingers’, in paragraph 1, means …………………………..
i. signs that show that something is going to happen soon
ii. indications of something that has already happened
iii. none of the above

(b) The word ………………………….., in paragraph 5, means ‘dispersed’.
i. patches
ii. scattered
iii. shooting

(c) The word ‘aurora’ has two plural forms.
i. true
ii. false
iii. cannot be said

(d) ………………………….. produces blue or purplish-red aurora.
i. high – altitude oxygen
ii. low – altitude oxygen
iii. nitrogen

8.2. On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer these questions briefly.

(a) What does ‘nature’s theatre’ imply?
(b) What were the superstitions associated with auroras?
(c) What was the scientific answer to the superstitions?
(d) Fill in the table with information about auroras.

8.3 Pick out the words from the passage which mean the same as the following.

(a) heralds (para 1)
(b) myths (para 7)

9 Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.

1. The Hangul deer or the Kashmiri stag is a species of red deer. The Hangul is one of the most famous animals of Jammu and Kashmir. It inhabits the dense forests of the state. Striking in appearance, the Hangul derives its name from ‘han’ which is the local name for the horse chestnut tree, the fruit of which the deer feed on.

2. Scientifically known as Cervuselaphus hanglu, Hangul is the only surviving race of the red deer family of Europe in the sub – continent. The Hangul deer’s coat is brown with slight speckles and each of its antlers consists of five points.

3. Much at home in the forest, the deer can be seen in the lower valleys of Dachigam National Park on the foothills of the Zabarwan range on the outskirts of Srinagar for most parts of the year, though a greater number of their species can be seen from October to March. Normally found in small groups of two to eighteen, Hanguls use the forests of the Dachigam Valley as an important feeding ground and move to the higher slopes to graze. Individual stags are more likely to be seen feeding on the hill slopes. They move about quite a lot from one area to another in their search for good forage. Hanguls eat various plants such as Fraximushockeri, Jasminum humile, Hemerocallisfulva and perennial herbs, depending on the season.

4. In March and April, the stags shed their antlers and begin moving up the mountains to the alpine meadows and pine forests of Upper Dachigam between 2500 to 3500 metres. They return to the lower valley in September, by when a new set of antlers begin to grow. The natural predators that attack Hanguls are leopards and Himalayan black bears.

5. In the past, Jammu and Kashmir had a large and vibrant population of Hangul deer. However, hunting and loss of habitat from deforestation and the building of dams has significantly curbed the wild population of Hangul deer. During the 1940s, their number was believed to be around 3,000–5,000. As per the latest census in 2008, only 160 are left. A captive breeding centre is planned to be commissioned at Shikargah, Tral in south Kashmir, for the captive breeding of Hangul, which will be eventually released in the wild.

6. In the last few years, the government has spent crores of rupees on different projects related to the conservation of Hangul in Jammu and Kashmir. A Habitat Research Study has been initiated in Kashmir in which satellite collaring of Hangul will be used in order to understand their movement patterns and habitat, both in and outside the Dachigam National Park. In addition, a massive improvement in conducting the census programme of Hangul has been undertaken whereby satellite telemetry and field cameras of high definition are being placed in the Park. Besides, an important research programme has been launched to study the relic population of Hangul outside Dachigam National Park in collaboration with the Wildlife Trust of India.

7. The strict enforcement of wildlife acts and the setting up of new initiatives are anticipated to replenish this highly endangered species.

9.1 Choose the correct option.

(a) ………………………….. is the scientific name of the Hangul deer.
i. Jasminum humile
ii. Hemerocallisfulva
iii. Cervuselaphus hanglu

(b) The word ………………………….., in paragraph 5, means the opposite of ‘free’.
i. captive
ii. vibrant
iii. curbed

(c) The word “collaboration’, in paragraph 6, means …………………………..
i. calibration
ii. partnership
iii. none of the above

(d) Each of the Hangul deer’s antlers consists of ………………………….
i. three
ii. four
iii. five

9.2. On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer these questions briefly.

(a) What makes the Hangul deer stand out from others of its species?
(b) How does its name suggest the deer’s origin?
(c) How is the deer’s habitat conducive to its existence?
(d) How does nature help prevent these stags from being preyed upon?
(e) What are the factors which prevent the population of this species from growing?

9.3. Pick out the words from the passage which are the antonyms of the following.

(a) sparse (para 1)
(b) destruction (para 6)

10. Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow.

1. In today’s fiercely competitive business environment, companies need to communicate information pertaining to a whole range of issues in a lucid and precise manner to their customers.

2. This is particularly so in the case of companies which do business in areas such as manufacturing, information technology (IT), engineering products, and services – companies whose products and services may not be understood by a customer not familiar with its technical aspects.

3. The skills of a technical writer are being increasingly sought for preparing marketing documents such as brochures, case studies, website content, and media kits and for the preparation of a whole range of manuals. Though technical writers in a company do a good portion of such work, the trend now is to outsource technical writing to freelancers.

4. Technical writing and writing textbooks are poles apart. The former is aimed at those who do not have in-depth knowledge about a product and hence should be direct and lucid. An overdose of technical terms and jargon would only add to the confusion of the customer.

5. The basic requirement for being a technical writer is the near-total mastery over the English language.

6. A technical writer should be natural in creative writing and needs to be an expert in using Business English.

7. This simply means that those with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature along with a diploma/degree in Journalism and with a Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Applications (PGDCA) are ideal candidates for being employed as technical writers.

8. According to Joe Winston, Chief Executive Officer of l – manager, good speaking skills are not imperative for a technical writer. All one needs is the talent to write in a simple and effective manner. Many have inhibitions in speaking English but their writing skills should be very sharp.

9. Technical writing would be a good option for such people. If a candidate is to be assigned the ta preparing high – end technical manuals, he/she is required to have higher qualifications such as an MA/ MPhil in English Literature and a degree such as an MCA.

10. Companies look for such qualifications because technical writers first need to understand the technical information themselves, before trying to convey it in de – jargonised language to potential customers.

11. However, it is also true that many companies provide rigorous on – the – job training to fresh technical writers before allowing them to graduate to high – end products. Though the demand for good technical writers has risen sharply over the years, the emphasis is never on numbers but on skills.

12. They point out that even graduates of English Literature are often found wanting when it comes to creative and effective writing. Merely having the right mix of writing and comprehension skills is not sufficient. A technical writer should keep his or her ‘writing blades’ constantly sharpened. It means untold hours of reading up the latest in the technological trends and ceaseless honing of one’s Business English and writing skills. The nature of technical writing is such that a writer has to be at the peak of his or her expressive powers in each piece of writing he or she produces.

13. A beginner can expect to get paid anywhere between 8,000 to $15,000 a month. Technical writers usually join as executive technical writers and then go on to become senior technical writers, team leaders, documentation heads and some even manage to make it to a management job within a decade. As in most private-sector jobs, merit is the main criterion for advancement in the job and not necessarily the number of years one has put in.

10.1 Choose the correct option.

(a) IT is the abbreviation for …………………………..
i. information technology
ii. information techniques
iii. none of the above

(b) ………………………….., in paragraph 1, means ‘clearly expressed’.
i. communicate
ii. precise
iii. lucid

(c) The word ‘imperative’, as used in paragraph 9, means …………………………..
i. commanding
ii. essential
iii. impaired

(d) Companies provide rigorous on – the – job training to fresh technical writers before allowing them to graduate to high – end products.
i. This statement is always true.
ii. This statement is often true.
iii. This statement is never true.

10.2 On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer these questions briefly.

(a) What is the need for technical writing in today’s world?
(b) What is the nature of the job of a technical writer?
(c) According to Joe Winston, who could be a technical writer?
(d) What should be the academic qualification of a technical writer?

10.3 Pick out the words from the passage which mean the same as the following.

(a) non – stop (para 13)
(b) allocated (para 10)