Standard 8 (std) English Topical Questions
Read the passage below and then answer questions 26 to 38
“I wonder what Aoko is doing at home,” Njeri said, looking at her friend Cherono. “Why don’t we go and find out?”
The three were close friends. In fact inseparable. They spent most of the day together, especially during the school holidays like now. Nine o’clock always found the girls together, and they would not part till evening. Strangely today, Aoko was nowhere to be seen yet it was already 10 o’clock.
The two girls walked to Aoko’s home. As they neared the house, Njeri called out, “Aoko, you have visitors!” There was no response. Obviously their friend was not in.
Outside the house was seated an old lady the two girls had never seen before. They went up to her and Cherono greeted her in Aoko’s mother tongue. Cherono spoke the language fluently, one could not tell she was from a different community. The old lady responded and smiled broadly, exposing toothless gums. Njeri guessed the old lady was probably a hundred years old. Cherono then asked her where Aoko was.
“I sent her to the shops to buy something, just get in and wait. I’m sure she’s on her way back,” said the lady.
Njeri did not understand a word. She just followed her friend into the house.
Half an hour later, the girls were still waiting. Impatience got the better of Njeri. She suggested that they go away and return later. Cherono on the other hand had a different idea. She was curious about the old lady seated outside.
“Why don’t we go out and chat with the lady, you know these old people usually have fascinating stories to tell,” she said.
“But I won’t understand a thing. For you, the language is not a problem, so you’ll probably enjoy the stories,” grumbled Njeri.
After a little persuasion, Njeri gave in on condition that Cherono would translate everything into English or Kiswahili. They went out and found the lady humming a tune. She was in a world of her own, her face a picture of happiness. She did not seem to notice the two girls, who also did not want to break in on her bliss.
“Oh!” she exclaimed when she realised she was being watched, “I really love singing. It is good for the sould. Do you also sing?” she asked.
Njeri looked at Cherono expecting her to translate what the lady had just said. And she did.
“I see you friend does not understand our language. The lady commented in English. The two girls were taken aback. “I just wanted to find out whether you two also love to sing,” she said, looking at Njeri.
“Yes,” replied Njeri. “buy I do not know you spoke English.”
The lady let out a hearty laugh, once again exposing her toothless gums. She then went on to explain that she was a retired teacher of English, having taught for forty years.
“I was taught the language by its owners,” she boasted.
“Just as I learnt your language from its owners,” Cherono remarked proudly. It was the lady’s turn to be astonished. “You mean you do not come from our community yet you speak our language so well?”
Aoko arrived to find the three deep in conversation. She was holding a newspaper. She explained that she had had to walk all the way to the shopping centre for it. “My great grandma loves reading and as soon as she arrived here this morning she asked for a newspaper.”
Soon afterwards the three girls skipped away leaving the old lady buried in the paper.
Read the passage below and then answer questions 39 to 50.
Laziness can be defined as a state of idleness and unwillingness to spend energy. When we feel lazy, we do not want to do any work. We want to let things stay as they are. Well, sometimes we all enjoy being a little lazy such as on a very cold or hot day. However, if this occurs too often, we need to do something about it. This is not to say that we should always be working so as not to be thought as lazy. We need to rest to refresh our bodies and minds after working for long hours. For us to do our work efficiently and eventually have a successful life, we must learn how to overcome laziness.
How can this monster be overcome? If you feel you have a lot to do, you will probably feel overwhelmed and let laziness overcome you instead of you overcoming laziness. The solution is to break down the huge task into small manageable parts which makes you feel you do not require too much effort. In some cases, the cause of laziness is lack of motivation. This means you simply do not see the reason for carrying out a task. In such cases, it is necessary to think about or visualize the importance of performing your task and achieving your goals. Think about the benefits you will reap if you overcome laziness and take action instead of thinking about difficulties or obstacles. Your imagination has a great influence on your mind, habits and actions. When tempted to be lazy, imagine yourself performing the task easily and energetically. Do this before starting a task or when your mind tells you to abandon what you are doing.
Sometimes laziness leads to procrastination. This is the act of postponing tasks without good reasons. If there is something you have to do now, and you can actually do it, not just do it and get it over with? An old saying goes, Do not put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
All in all you need to realize that overcoming laziness is achieved through a series of daily actions, and activities. Every time you overcome laziness, you get stronger, more able to achieve your goals and improve your life.
Adapted from Tips to overcome laziness by Remez Sasson. Succes.s consciousnecc.com
Read the passage below and then answer questions 26 to 38
When I was a small boy, my home was always full of babies and children of my relatives. In fact, I hardly recall any occasion as a child when I was alone. In my community, the Sons and daughters of one’s aunts and uncles are considered brothers and sisters, not cousins. We have no half-brothers and half-sisters. My mother’s sister is my mother, my uncle’s son is my brother and my brother’s child is my son or my daughter. The school consisted of a simple room. I was seven years old, and on the day before I was to begin, my lather took me aside and told me that I must be dressed properly for school. Until that time, I, like all the other boys, had worn only a blanket, which was wrapped round one shoulder and pinned at the waist. My father took a pair of his trousers and cut them at the knee. He then told me to put them on, which I did, and they were roughly the correct length, although the waist was far too large. My father then took a piece of string and drew the trousers in at the waist. I must have been a comical sight, but I have never owned a suit I was prouder to wear than my father’s cut-off trousers.
Of my mother’s three huts, one was used for cooking, one for sleeping and one for storage. In the hut in which we slept, there was no furniture. We slept on mats and sat on the bare floor. I did not discover pillows until much later. My mother cooked food in a three-legged iron pot over an open fire at the centre of the hut or outside. We grew all the food we ate at home.
From an early age, I spent most of my free time in the field playing and fighting with the other boys of the village. A boy who remained at home tied to his mother’s apron strings was regarded as a weakling. At night, I shared my food and blanket with these same boys. I was no more than five when I became a herds boy looking after sheep and calves in the fields. I discovered the almost mystical attachment that the Xhosa have for cattle, not only as a source of food and wealth, hut as a blessing from God and a source of happiness. It was in the fields that I learnt how to knock birds out of the sky with a slingshot, to gather wild honey and fruits and edible roots, to drink warm, sweet milk straight from the udder of a cow, to swim in the clear streams, and to catch fish with twine and sharpened hits of wire.
As boys, we were mostly left to our own devices. We played with toys we made ourselves. We moulded animals and birds out of clay. Nature was our playground. I learnt to ride by sitting atop weaned calves — after being thrown to the ground several times, one got the hang of it. I still love open spaces, the simple beauties of nature, and the clear blue skies.
I don’t think my parents intended to take me to school. No one in my family had ever attended school. But a friend of my father’s, George Mbekela visited us one day and told my mother, ‘Your son is a clever young fellow. He should go to school.” My parents discussed it and decided to send me to school.
Read the passage below and then answer questions 26 to 38
All his life Charles Dickens, one of the greatest novelists in the world, would remember a particular day when he was nine years old, and something his father said. They were out walking together and had stopped, as they often did, to admire a handsome brick house. With its lovely windows and neat lawn, it seemed as grand as a palace.
Then John Dickens told his son that if he worked very hard, someday he might live in that house. The thought took Charles’ breath away. The sort of person who would live in that house would be a distinguished man of taste and education. His father believed that Charles could someday be like that. All he had to do was work hard.
He could not have known on that day how far he would fall and how high he would rise, and that he really would live in that house, and that he would die there.
When Charles looked back on his childhood, these were happy years. They lived in a small house which had a little garden and, across the road; there was a playground for the children. He had a nursemaid, Mary. Who comforted his childish sorrows? She also terrified him with blood-curdling horror stories that he adored, though they gave him nightmares. He spent wonderful hours in his tiny room reading from his father’s set of novels. He went for days imagining himself to be one of his storybook heroes.
But when Charles was ten, his father was transferred to London, and his happy childhood came to a sudden end. His father had many wonderful qualities. He worked hard at his job and was loving to his wife and children. He had many friends and loved to invite them to the house in the evening for a bowl of steaming porridge and lively conversation. But he had one terrible fault: he spent more money than he made.
In the ten years of Charles’ life, the family had lived in six different houses, each poorer than the one before. And as the number of mouths to feed kept growing, the family fell deeper and deeper into debt.
When they reached London, Charles was shocked to learn that he would not be sent to school -they couldn’t afford it. He stayed at home and made himself useful by cleaning his father’s boots and minding the younger siblings. His parents seemed to have forgotten him and all his ambitions.
Two days after his twelfth birthday, Charles was sent to work at a factory. From eight in the morning till eight at night, he worked in a dark room, covering pots of boot polish and pasting on labels. Other children worked there, too, but they were not like his old friends. They were poor boys with rough manners who referred to him scornfully as the “young gentleman.”
Worse still, two weeks later his father was arrested for debt and sent to prison, where he had to stay until his debts were paid. His wife and children were allowed to join him there. The whole family living in one room- everyone, that is, except Charles. The factory was too far from the prison for him to get back before the gates were shut at night. So he lived in a cheap boarding house. From Monday morning to Saturday night, he was on his own with “no advice, no counsel, no encouragement. no consolation, no support from anyone”.
At night he wandered through the dark city. His clothes were shabby. He had no friends. Instead of growing into a fine gentleman, he had descended to the streets.
The memory of that time was so painful that, even as a grown man. Charles could not walk through those streets without the sting of tears coming to his eyes. And years later, when he became a famous writer, his stories were filled with orphaned and abandoned children, debtors’ prisons, factories, and the grim and degrading lives of the poor.
Maurice A. Nyamoti is a teacher by profession and has passion for assisting students improve performance
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