Friday, 23 December 2011

Objective Proficiency p 84. Languages and Globalisation. Extra Speaking

1. MONOLOGUE. Prepare a talk of AT LEAST 5 minutes on the subject. You may use the pictures above and the contents below if you wish:

"The sum of human wisdom is not contained in any one language, and no single language is capable of expressing all forms and degrees of human comprehension."  

Ezra Pound (Ezra Weston Loomis Pound) (30 October 1885 – 1 November 1972) was an expatriate American poet and critic who was a major figure of the early modernist movement.

Do you think the majority of languages around the world will eventually die out? Do you think that governments should have programmes to protect minority languages, or should we accept that they will die out? Can you think of any dead languages? Do you think that their speakers would have predicted that their languages would eventually die out? Is social media saving dying languages?
What would be the advantages and disadvantages of having a global language?

You may make some notes for your talk to take into the exam. These should not exceed five lines.


In this part of the test, the examiner will ask you some questions about issues related to the TOPIC. Remember that you are expected to have a conversation as natural as possible and give full answers. This part of the examination will last AT LEAST 5 minutes. You will not see the questions below.



1. Do you appreciate it when English speakers make an effort to enunciate each word slowly and carefully so that you understand them? or do you find it patronising? Are they being thoughtful and considerate? or do you feel belittled? Does it bolster your confidence? or do you get the impression they are demeaning you?
2. Do you like the way your mother tongue is changing? What do you think the future of your mother tongue is?
3. Can you think of any advantages and disadvantages of using English as a lingua franca?
4. Do you like to adopt new words and expressions?
5. Can you think of any instances in which people are expected to have a good command of English?
6. In what situations should you mind your language?
7. Can you tell us about the last time you faced a language barrier?
8. When was the last time you couldn't get a word in edgeways?
9. Do you prefer to listen to someone who beats about the bush or who gets to the point?

10. When was the last time you witnessed two people talking at cross purposes?
11. Have you ever had to give anybody a good talking-to?
12. Do you have any friends who always talk shop? How do you feel about it?
13. Do you find it irritating when they ask you to run everything by again?
14. Have you ever been in a situation in which you couldn't make head nor tail of what was being said?
15. When was the last time you got the wrong end of the stick

Useful language

Monologue questions: sample answer
Some languages are in a very poor state nowadays, particularly given today’s climate of mass culture and so on.
For instance, I have often heard stories of punishment that my parents received for speaking their own language at school. They are able to laugh about it now, but at the time it was considered deeply shaming. It made them feel as the country bumpkin, someone to be despised.
On the one hand these punishments were effective in the sense that they lowered the status of a language. On the other hand they also caused resentment and made people more defiant towards the authorities. You know, it can be a bit like pruning a tree- if you cut it back, it grows much stronger.
However, globalisation and tourism are much more powerful forces which represent a much bigger threat to the survival of a minority language
Although tourism can give a language status by attracting outside interest in it, it can also have a negative effect on local cultures. You know, here in Mallorca, the natives moan about the influx of outsiders and how they buy up land at giveaway prices to build holiday cottages, and how it’s destroying their culture, and so on. But then the very same people are selling up their farms so they can run hotels or open souvenir shops. Understandable, perhaps, but they’re encouraging the very thing they’re complaining about.
If no positive action is taken, some languages will simply die out. The problem is that some people are indifferent, and even hostile to their own language. They think it’s of no use in the modern world, which they so desperately want to be part of. Fortunately, though, there are enough people around who realize that to lose your mother tongue is like losing a part of yourself. Your language makes you who you are. And if you spoke a different language, maybe you would be a different person.

People on their own can’t do much. It is really up to the authorities to legislate to ensure the survival of minority languages.
I think there are several things you can do. Firstly, of course, the authorities would have to bring in some language experts to analyse the present situation. Secondly, these experts…

Many languages in the world are slowly dying from increased globalisation and wider dissemination of more dominant or popular languages. Many countries have one main language of use and several other dialects that are being forgotten or abandoned.
In South America, where there used to be huge linguistic diversity, many of these native languages have become extinct or are in danger of extinction, with the huge promotion of Spanish and Portuguese as the lingua franca. However, with the advent of new technology, some of these dying languages can now also reach to wider audiences.
In Southern Chile, youth that speak a language called Huilliche produce rap videos and post them on the internet in their native tongue. In the Philippines, youth send text messages to each other in their native tongues. It seems that although technology helps bring ideas, and thus language assimilation, to the most remote parts of the world, it also gives these languages a chance to reach out and fight off extinction.
Linguists have noted that youth are more keen to use their native language through modern technology when their peers use it, especially through texting, because it is deemed as “cool.” There has been a direct correlation between teenagers’ access to technology and more interest in learning and retaining their native languages and dialects.

Some believe that a global language would be beneficial because the idea that one country is better than another just because they speak one language would be forgotten. Everyone could get along and maybe even the wars would fade away, eventually. Also, communication would no longer be a problem. Business, travel, and trade would be much easier because we could all talk to each other easily.
On the other hand even though one global language would be nice to have, humans come from diverse ethnic backgrounds and many cultures. A single global language would lead to homogeneity /ˌhɒmədʒəˈniːəti/ as opposed to differentiation. Verbal understanding would be better, but the diversification /daɪˌvɜːsɪfɪˈkeɪʃn/ of ideas would cease. Darwin's theory of evolution preaches diverse species survive whereas ones that can't adapt fail. Humans need diverse languages in order to move forward with our society in a positive way.

enunciate (something)  to say or pronounce words clearly. E.g. He doesn't enunciate (his words) very clearly. She enunciated each word slowly and carefully.

patronise (somebody) (also -ize)(disapproving) to treat somebody in a way that seems friendly, but which shows that you think that they are not very intelligent, experienced, etc. E.g. Some television programmes tend to patronize children.

belittle somebody/something to make somebody or the things that somebody does seem unimportant. E.g. She felt her husband constantly belittled her achievements. By saying this, I do not mean to belittle the importance of his role. He spoke to me in a belittling tone. A person who belittled our efforts to do the job right.

bolster: /ˈbəʊlstə(r)/ to improve something or make it stronger. E.g. to bolster somebody’s confidence/courage/morale. More money is needed to bolster the industry. She tried to bolster my confidence/morale (= encourage me and make me feel stronger) by telling me that I had a special talent. They need to do something to bolster their image.

demean somebody/something to make people have less respect for somebody/something. Degrade. E.g. Such images demean women. Behaviour like this demeans politics. 

lingua franca: /ˌlɪŋɡwə ˈfræŋkə/ a medium of communication used between people who speak different languages. E.g. English has become a lingua franca in many parts of the world.

global language: a language used all around the world. E.g. English has become a global language. 

command of a language: /kəˈmɑːnd/ ability to use a language. E.g. Applicants will be expected to have (a) good command of English. 

mind/ watch your language: pay attention to the words that you use (for example, in order not to appear rude). E.g. Watch your language, young man! 

language barrier: a breakdown in communication as a result of people not having a common language in which to communicate.  The difficulties faced when people who have no language in common attempt to communicate with each other. E.g.  Investigators faced a language barrier because the husband and wife only spoke Cantonese. The couple then went to a local French hospital, but the language barrier proved a slight problem. 

(not) get a word in edgeways (not) to be able to say anything because somebody else is speaking too much. E.g. When Mary starts talking, no one else can get a word in edgeways. 

beat about the bush (British English) (North American English beat around the bush) to talk about something for a long time without coming to the main point. E.g. Stop beating about the bush and tell me what you want.

to the point expressed in a simple, clear way without any extra information or feelings. Pertinent. Relevant. E.g. The letter was short and to the point. His evidence was brief and to the point.  Please get to the point of all this. Will you kindly get to the point? (get to the important part).

cross purposes: /ˌkrɒs ˈpɜːpəsɪz/ if two people are at cross purposes, they do not understand each other because they are talking about or aiming at different things, without realizing it. E.g. I think we're talking at cross purposes; that's not what I meant at all. I think we're/they're at cross-purposes (Sp. creo que estamos/están hablando de cosas distintas). We seem to be talking at cross-purposes (Sp. esto parece un diálogo de sordos).

talking-to: a serious talk with somebody who has done something wrong. E.g. to give somebody a good talking-to. They gave Peter a talking-to about solving problems with words, not fists. The boss gave us a real talking-to at half time and we came out with more aggression for the second half.

run something by (someone) (again) to explain something to someone again; to say something to someone again. E.g. I didn't hear you. Please run that by me again. Please run it by so we can all hear it.

get (hold of) the wrong end of the stick (British English, informal) to understand something in the wrong way. To misunderstand something. E.g. The game was probably the most sensitive treatment and realistic treatment of battle displayed in a video game at that point, so obviously, the media got the wrong end of the stick. 

reach out to someone to ask someone for help. E.g.  She urged him to reach out to his family.

fight somebody/something off to resist somebody/something by fighting against them/it. E.g. The jeweller was stabbed as he tried to fight the robbers off.

deem: to have a particular opinion about something. Consider. E.g. The evening was deemed a great success. I deem it an honour to be invited. She deemed it prudent not to say anything. They would take any action deemed necessary.

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