martes, 5 de agosto de 2014

Madrid Teacher: Kill Switch

In this week's Madrid Teacher video, four teachers discuss the quality of electric appliances and how these devices seem to last less and less as technology gets more and more sophisticated, which is a bit suspicious.

As usual, we will be using the teachers' conversation as a springboard to study some features of spoken English.

First of all, watch the video through to gain some understanding of what the dialogue is about.
Now watch the video more carefully, and pay attention to these examples of spoken English:
  • Fillers to gain thinking time: well, erm; er; like;  you know
  • Showing agreement: yeah; Exactly; Absolutely;  Indeed
  • Use of actually to introduce a bit of  unusual information
  • Use of I mean to rephrase information you've just said and make yourself clear
  • Use of hedging so as not to sound so dogmatic: I think; I don't think; you seem to; it seems to; I guess
  • Use of so as a connector

Now it's over to you. Do you really think that these days electrical appliances and electronic devices are made not to last? Can you think of examples to support your view? If possible, get together with a friend an exchange ideas on this topic. Don't forget to use some of the features of spoken English we have seen in the video.
Have you heard the urban legend about the Sony Kill Switch?
No, I’ve never heard about that.
No? It’s, well, erm, it’s like I said it’s an urban legend, and people say that Sony have built a device into their electronic goods, er, which stops, erm, the electronic device from working usually the day after the warranty expires. Ha, ha, ha.
Well, that’s a little bit suspicious, isn’t it?
I dare say it’s not to the day the warranty expires but, for example, imagine if you buy a laptop and it’s got a two- year guarantee. Usually you would expect a computer or whatever to last you for maybe five years but it seems to be an automatic thing where as soon as it’s two years up – kaput.
I’ve had that happen to me actually. It’s always a week after it expires.
Check the paper work “Oh my Gosh, last week”.
And you can’t get back to them ‘cause they’ll say, “I’m sorry”.
Yeah, oops.
You’re a week late.
I think appliances don’t last as long as they used to and you seem to have to, I mean, you know, I’m not the richest person in the world and sometimes I go for the cheaper option and it never pays off because they don’t, they don’t last.
Buy cheap, buy twice.
Buy cheap, buy twice. Exactly. Yeah.
Yeah. I’ve noticed this actually, erm, not only with electronic goods although obviously they have the warranty, but it seems to be with everything, with clothes, with shoes, erm, with everything, with fridges, which are electronic but…
Things just don’t last anymore.
No, I don’t think they’re built to last.
The thing is that technology is changing so quickly, I guess, in a way, they’re pushing us to get the new model of the computer or get the new model of the mobile phone…
By making our things break early.
Perhaps, perhaps but it could also be a decline in quality as well so they’re just trying to get that fast production…
Not really concerned about the duration of the products. It could be that.
Yeah, because like in the past a company made its name on the fact that the, the, the object or the electronic device or the appliance would last like a long time…
Yeah, it was really a selling point.
But now it’s just consumer society of, you know, like come on renew, renew, renew and, you know, get rid of your old things and even if they’re still working, you know, so, it’s just the type of society we live in now.
Seems to be.