miércoles, 14 de octubre de 2015

Talking point: Personal identity

This week's talking point is personal identity. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below so that ideas flow more easily when you meet up with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.

Classmates, friends, teammates, workmates. Think about the groups you belong to and how important that group is to your identity. Choose the group you think has the biggest influence on you an explain your reasons.
The following factors can all influence our personal identity. Number them in order of importance to your identity (1 the most important, 8 the least):
clothes - studies - friends - interests - values - family - languages - job
Is family background important to your sense of identity?
What's the difference between family background and social status?
How might they be related to each other?
Do you and the people in your social group share the same life goals?
Is that important?
Do you think it is important 'to be yourself' at all times, even if sometimes it may upset people?
Have you ever felt out of place or that you didn't fit in?
Is your sense of identity connected to your language and culture?
Is your identity in your language the same as your identity when you speak English?

To illustrate the point you can watch the Speakout family history, where passers-by answer the questions:
Do you spend much time with your family?
Do you think you have inherited any family characteristics?
Do you know much about your family history?
Does your family history play a part in your sense of who you are?

A: Hi. My name is Andrea. I live and work in London though most of my family live in Brazil. I get on well with my sister when I see her but that’s only once a year. Do you spend much time with your family?
N: Spend quite a bit of time with my family. Obviously, er, less now since I left home and left university. Uh, but I go back every, kind of, every other weekend or every, say, three weekends. So yeah, I see them quite a bit.
D: Probably not as much as I could because the kids are busy and, er, I don’t have any parents any more and my husband’s family live a fair way away, so probably not as much as we’d like to.
To: I try to, yeah. I try and spend as much as possible. Erm … My ... I’ve got two sisters. My eldest sister lives in London (she lives on a houseboat actually, on the Thames – which is very nice). And my little sister lives in Tenerife with my parents.
Ti: I don’t, no. We’re geographically quite spread out.
R: Yeah, I do. I go to school in Toronto and they live there and I see them on weekends and whenever I can really.
A: Do you think you have inherited any family characteristics?
N: Well, er, often people say that I sound and look a lot like my dad, which I don’t see but, but everybody else does, so I guess, er, I guess I have done.
M: Yes, I do. A lot of people sometimes say I look like my aunt, erm, or my mother. But then there are a couple of my aunts and my cousins that when people see us they’re like, ‘Are you guys sisters?’
D: Unfortunately I think I have, but they’re probably not all bad. My family seems to all have fairly good personalities and it’s usually fun being around them, so, um, I think I might have inherited some of that.
R: Oh, absolutely. I get stressed very easily. I, er, I guess take things too seriously sometimes, but I really value spending time with my family and that’s probably a big thing that I’ve inherited.
Ti: Er, physically, yeah, definitely. Erm, yeah, I think I’m quite slender and quite tall which is like my mum. Er, but in terms of personality, probably not, no I don’t think so. No, no.
To: Yeah, definitely. I think, from my mum I’ve got the kind of bubbliness and chattiness – she’s very much like that. And, er, most of the time I’m like that, but then when I’m in a bad mood I get the dad side. And that’s er, he’s kind of, my mum used to call him ‘a volcano’ because he kind of just ‘erupts’. He’s really peaceful most of the time but then when you really make him angry he’ll erupt and that’s kind of how it is with me.
An: There’s this moment I think ... probably happens to all of us, where there was something our mum or our dad did which we hated and then we find that we’re doing it.
A: Do you know much about your family history?
An: Yes, I know quite a lot – um, group of eccentrics really. Um … my family was essentially, er, lived in Scotland and Argentina, different bits of Latin America. So I know, I know quite a lot about it.
M: We’re like, we’re great writers and historians so we do a lot of work with, you know, collecting that, we did a lot of work collecting that data of our family’s history coming from Barbados, um, and going to Liberia which is where I’m from originally.
D: A little bit. One of my aunties did a family tree and it appears that I’m about, I think, a third generation Australian. Originally, we came from County Clare in Ireland. So, that’s as much as I know.
To: Yeah, it’s quite interesting actually because my father and my mother were both Catholic missionaries from Spain and they met in Zimbabwe while they, while my father was a priest and my mother was a nun and they fell in love and they kind of left the church and decided to settle down in Zimbabwe and, um, have kids.
R: Yeah, I mean Canada is a country of immigrants, so my family’s from Scotland and France.
N: I remember conversations with my grandparents – them explaining but I wish I’d written more down because it’s amazing how much you forget. You think, ‘I’m sure it’s so vivid. I’m sure I’d remember more,’ but, er, I wish I did.
A: Does your family history play a part in your sense of who you are?
An: Yes, very much so. And part of that is that I was brought up in Latin America, speaking Spanish to my friends and English to my parents. So, in a sense, I was brought up ‘between two cultures’ and that, at the end, is part of who I am.
M: Definitely because family is a big part of me um, and, we just try to keep those connections going.
N: I guess it’s a difficult balance in my head to see what’s, how much is me and how much is my family. And knowing about my family history and knowing what I have inherited, which I’m sure there’s lots and lots of habits that I must have inherited, but I feel a lot of it’s ‘me’ but it probably isn’t.
Ti: Er, no, not really at all. Erm, I left home when I was about sixteen or seventeen so I think my sense of identity has been very much formed by my own belief systems and my own lifestyle rather than being particularly keyed into anything to do with my parents or my grandparents.