Advanced English, Conversational English, English Exams, Listening, Speaking

Podcast Lesson: Blue Jeans

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Hello students,

Today we have a lesson for you based on a podcast from the BBC’s ‘Why Factor’ series. Have a listen then try and answer the questions that follow. There are answers at the bottom and for the writing part
, please feel free to post your answers in the comments box below this post

BBC Podcast: The Why Factor – Blue Jeans

From its early days as work-wear for gold-miners and cowboys in the US, denim has transcended its origins, becoming a global fashion item. Mike Williams explores the appeal of a pair of blue jeans and the history of this simple garment. Once a symbol of youth rebellion, it is now common around the world – worn by men and women, old and young. From cowboys to the catwalk, how did denim come to dominate?




  • Stitching – a joint, mend, or fasten with many loops or portions of thread
  • Rivets – a metal pin for passing through holes in two or more plates or pieces to hold them together


  1. Why do the French claim ownership of denim? 1’20”
  2. When and where did modern denim first become popular? 1’55”
  3. Who is Tracey Pannick? 2’37”
  4. Who were the world’s first blue jeans sold to? 3’40”
  5. How much did a dozen blue, copper riveted jeans originally cost? 4’09”
  6. How much collectors pay for an original pair of blue jeans today? 4’30”
  7. According to the sociologist Sophie Woodward, why did people wear jeans? 6’15”
  8. How did this desire to be ordinary come about? 6’34”
  9. What happened in 1934? 8’04”
  10. What was the connection between Vogue Magazine and a Dude Ranch? 8’40”


For this Speaking Task, record yourself speaking on your smart-phone. Guaranteed you’ll find some mistakes you can fix yourselves

  1. Do you own a pair of jeans?
  2. How much did you pay for them?
  3. When and where did you buy them?
  4. Do you wear your jeans often? why?
  5. What is it about your jeans that you like the most?


Write a paragraph in the Comments Box based on the questions from the SPEAKING TASK (90 words if you can)

How to Leave a Paragraph in the Comments Box



  1. The original term for a fabric that looked like denim was Serge de Nime, from the city of Nimes in France.
  2. America in the 1850s
  3. She is a corporate historian at Levi Strauss and Co. based in San Francisco
  4. Workmen such as minors, rail-road engineers, cowboys and farriers
  5. $12 for 12 pairs of jeans
  6. $100, 000 – 150,000
  7. People wore jeans because they wanted to be ordinary
  8. The desire arose from multicultural societies where people wished to be identified more as a mother, worker etc than their country of origin
  9. The first pair of blue jeans for women, ‘Lady Levis’ was launched
  10. Vogue’s article described what the best dressed woman on a Dude Ranch would be wearing

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