martes, 16 de septiembre de 2014

Madrid Teacher: Spend away

In this week's episode of Madrid Teacher, three teachers discuss spending habits and consumerism. Their conversation gives a great opportunity to study some features of spoken English.

First, watch the video through, so that you get the gist of what the conversation is about.
Now, pay attention to the following elements that the speakers use in their conversation.
  • Fillers to gain thinking time: Erm; you know; Well
  • Reacting to what the speaker is saying to show that you're paying attention: Yeah; Oh, really; Oh wow
  • Use of so as a linking word.
  • Use of and as a linking word.
  • Use of really to emphasize the adjective.
  • Use of just to emphasize the verb
  • Use of vague language: or whatever;
  • Showing agreement: Absolutely; Exactly; Of course, yeah; Of course, that’s true; Yeah, yes, you’re right
  • Use of actually to introduce a piece of surprising information

Now it's over to you. How do you feel about buying brands and expensive products? Are you a person who is always careful with money and tries to get the best bargains? Do you know any spendthrifts? How good is consumerism for the economy of a country? And for the environment?

When you discuss the topic with your friends, try to use some of the features of spoken English which have come up in the video.

Erm, the other night I was at a dinner with some friends, and they had just gone shopping…
…and so they were talking about what they had just bought and showing things off. And they were actually bragging about how expensive the jeans that they bought were. It was ridiculous prices. And I just thought it was really interesting because, when I brag, I generally brag about a bargain, a deal, you know. I got this for fifty cents, you know. I just thought it was interesting, the difference.
Yeah, for me… the thing about buying something really cheaply and it is really good…
And that, that makes you feel really good.
Getting a really great deal, yeah.
And the opposite is terrible. When you spend loads of money and then you realise you don’t like what you got.
Which is horrible.
I revolt on it, yeah.
And every time you see it you think oh, I spent four hundred pounds on that…
And never use it, yeah.
But it’s curious, how for example, in different cultures, how we show our wealth…
…or how we share how much we’ve spent is different in different cultures…
Because I remember once I was travelling in China, and if you had something that was a name brand, or whatever, sometimes they would leave the stickers on the bottom so that everyone else would know how much was spent.
Oh, really?
Absolutely. And also they would ask, how much did you spend on that? They were always asking different prices, but again it’s not considered a rude thing. Because in another culture that might be considered something quite like you would never ask.
Well, there are some cultures where they wear their wealth in gold…
… and I always found that really interesting as well.
Yeah, yeah.
Well, then you hear about these famous people who just spend ridiculous amounts of money on, you know, things like spending millions of euros on a car…
…when you can probably just get a nice you know, good car for half the price…
…or tenth of the price. Or like the erm, people, famous people spending millions on parties…
On parties, yeah. Dropping five hundred thousand euros or dollars on…
But doesn’t everybody?
Oh yeah.
Did you hear about the um, party with erm, Mittal, when he was, they did things like send out an invitation, and in the invitation box there was a diamond, just like…
Oh wow, I want an invite!
Yeah. Just send the invite and keep the diamond.
That’s what I would call a bargain.
Some people say that it’s actually good for the economy. Think about it.
Of course, yeah.
Spending all that money, it does help the economy in some way.
Of course, that’s true.
So, you know, if you go out and you spend too much, you’re not being selfish. No, no, you’re just giving it, you’re sharing it.
Our economy depends on people…
…buying things, and then factories can produce things. And that’s a whole other question, whether that’s good or not, isn’t it?
There was a point in time that the president was saying: Go out and buy, spend!
Yeah, and he is supposed to be environmentally-friendly president.
That goes against the environment in a way, doesn’t it? Because the more you produce, the more pollution.
Depends on what you’re buying.
There are pros and cons to all of it, isn’t there?
Spending too much, spending too little.
Yeah, yes, you’re right. If you don’t spend, people lose jobs I suppose.
Of course, yeah.
Then, none of us would have money to spend at all.
I think we should all get rid of our bank accounts and spend all our money.
Exactly, well let’s go now!
Not that we have any money, but...