In my last post here I looked at a monologue from a non-native speaker of English, Dani and analysed what made him a proficient, fluent speaker (see A lot from a little V). The interesting thing about his monologue is that its sophisticated quality does not derive from grammatical or lexical complexity but rather from the communicative strategies that he employs.  I noted that his intonation and way of placing emphasis contributed greatly to his message.   But by analysing a monologue like this, we can also draw conclusions about...

Continuing my series on less is more. Today, and in the following posts, we will look at how much can be discovered about spoken language from watching a monologue of a mere 200 words. In this case, the monologue is given by Dani, a proficient non-native speaker of English from Barcelona. Before reading the rest  of the post, 1) Watch this video of Dani’s anecdote [video width="640" height="480" mp4="https://new.richmondshare.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/dani-copy.mp4"][/video] then 2) Download a Word document of the monologue from dani transcript. Alternatively, download them both from my website: https://www.bengoldstein.es/blog/2011/07/13/building-the-speaking-skill/ Regardless of the content of...

Continuing this series of exercises based on less is more, this month we turn to adverts as a resource for intercultural awareness or should I say one advert in particular. During the Superbowl in February this year, Coca Cola aired a commercial called “It’s Beautiful” which showed people doing typical American leisure activities – surfing, eating fast food, rollerblading with backdrops such as the Grand Canyon. In the meantime, the song “America the Beautiful” plays in the background. You can see it for yourself here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=443Vy3I0gJs At first sight, you might...

Continuing this series of exercises based on the concept of less is more, this month we turn to the movie trailer as a resource for the language classroom Trailers have become omnipresent in digital media and gain more views on YouTube than almost any other genre, except the music video. They are fascinating to analyse partly because they have undergone radical changes in terms of objectives and content over the years. As concentration spans have diminished, the trailer has become shorter and more dramatic and evolved into the ‘teaser’. One...

This is the second of my posts which focus on drawing big conclusions from small details of language use. In the previous one we saw how the minimum of text, when combined with the right kinds of images, can generate a lot of different activities. This time round, we’re going to look at the intense, perhaps disproportionate, public reaction to a speech and a particular phrase used in that speech. The speech in question was given by the Mayor of Madrid, Ana Botella, at the 2020 International Olympic Committee...

Hello everybody Every month, I’ll be posting an image or a text or a combination of the two (as you’ll find today) which has worked for me in the classroom or in teacher training sessions over the years. The main idea behind these posts is that a lot can be extracted from very little. You don’t necessarily need a long text or an incredibly impactful image (although the latter can help!), it’s all about responding to a “found” piece of material and working out how to get the most...