martes, 13 de enero de 2015

Madrid Teacher: Whale hunting

Our Madrid Teachers are discussing whale hunting this week, which gives us an opportunity to revise some of the features of spoken English that they use.

First of all, watch the video through to get the gist of what the conversation is about.

Now watch the video more carefully, paying attention to the following:
  • Use of actually to add information to the previous statement
  • Use of hedging to introduce facts and opinions and not sound too dogmatic: I think; I don’t think
  • Showing surprise and reacting: Oh my God; Ridiculous; that’s unbelievable; Oh, wow
  • Use of you see to express a wish that the people who are with us will understand us
  • Use of so as a linking word
  • Use of I mean to paraphrase what we have just said and make ourselves clear
  • Conversation fillers to gain thinking time: Well; like
  • Use of ambiguous language: a huge thing; the seal hunting thing; sort of

Now it's over to you. If possible, get together with a friend or relative to discuss the topic: How do you feel about whale hunting and seal killing? To what extent are these practices justified? What other animals are or were killed in large numbers? Do you know the reasons? Do you sympathize with the organisations that are trying to put an end to these killings?

When you talk, don't forget to use some of the features of spoken English we have revised today.

Vicky: I recently watched an article in the news about a protest, I think it was in Australia actually, er, and the protest was against whaling. Did anyone hear about it? There is a boat called the Ady Gil, which was I think it was the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society who are protesting against the Japanese who are whaling in the vicinity.
Thomas: I’m sorry. People are whaling today?
Vicky and Joyce: Yeah.
Louise: Yes, in the southern ocean.
Thomas: That still happens?
Louise: Absolutely.
Thomas: What for?
Louise: Good question.
Joyce: For the Japanese people it's a delicacy.
Thomas: Oh, it’s for food.
Joyce: It’s considered a delicacy.
Vicky: But it’s not only. Traditionally, whale, the blubber of whale oil…
Thomas: Exactly.
Vicky: …has been used in soaps, cosmetics, shampoos.
Thomas: Oh my God.
Joyce: It used to be used for the oil wax.
Thomas: Yeah, you see, that’s what I m talking about. I grew up in the north east of the States where whaling used to be a huge thing, it’s done now so we just learn in school about historical whaling and the blubber and the oil lamps and we go to whaling museums and see like the [baling] knife handles and stuff. I thought this was all the stuff of yesteryear.
Vicky: Definitely not.
Louise: There’s still a lot indigenous, indigenous people in North America too who’ve always hunted whales so..
Thomas: Yeah, but that’s their subsistence I mean.
Louise, Vicky and Joyce: Yeah.
Joyce: That’s different.
Thomas: That’s kind of sustainable, right?
Vicky: Not commercial.
Louise: No, but still, it’s still happening but er...
Joyce: But in those cases I could justify that. I mean it’s a little bit like the seal hunting thing. I mean, these people, it’s their livelihood.
Thomas: And it’s sustainable.
Joyce: And they do it on a small scale.
Thomas: I don’t think they over do it and ship the hides all over the world.
Vicky: No.
Louise: But even, sorry, the countries that are commercially whaling also have quotas, I mean they have limits.
Thomas: Mmm hmm.
Louise: Er, but I mean I make the same face. I still... I think there must be now with all of the advances in technology chemicals that can replace.
Thomas: Thank you, thank you. Can't we make soap without killing, making some animal extinct?
Vicky and Joyce: Of course, yeah.
Thomas: Ridiculous.
Vicky: The main countries that are pro-whaling are Norway, Iceland and Japan.
Thomas: Norway?
Vicky: Well, obviously Iceland is quite far removed so, obviously they’re still responsible for their actions. Norway, on the other hand, is a European country.
Thomas: I thought they were peaceful people, ha, ha, ha.
Vicky: Well, they’ve got an enormous fishing industry
Thomas: OK.
Vicky: In Norway, so obviously to make an outright ban on whaling, affect many people economically, however, not to, affects everyone on the planet…
Thomas: Yeah.
Vicky: … environmentally, you know.
Joyce: I even read about this Japanese minister, I don t remember his name but, this fellow like to sort of justify whaling he called these particular types of whales, like, cockroaches of the sea.
Vicky: That was minke whales, that’s unbelievable.
Thomas: Oh, wow.
Joyce: Yeah, so to justify, well, it doesn’t matter, we don t need these anyways.
Vicky: Minke whales are gorgeous.
Vicky and Louise: Yeah.
Vicky: Anyway.
Louise: Amazing creatures but this collision, this collision was between a big whaling boat, this protest we were talking about…
Vicky: That’s right.
Louise: It was actually a direct collision between a big whaling boat and a small Shepherd of the Sea that was supposed to be monitoring the commercial whaling so...
Vicky: Well, when you don’t know how to continue your job without some organization getting in the way, just ram your boat into the side of them.
Thomas: That’s what I always said.