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Speaking

Communication

CD1 Track 30

My mother tongue is Hungarian. It is spoken in Hungary and it is a minority language in the surrounding countries, especially Romania. It is not part of the same language family as European languages like English, French, German or Russian. It is a Uralic language, distantly related to Finnish and Estonian. Because Hungarian is not a widely spoken language, if you want to get on, you have to speak a foreign language. Unsurprisingly, the most popular second language among Hungarians is English, the global language. Like most of my friends, I am multilingual- as well as Hungarian, I am fluent in English and German. I can also get by in Italian and I did an evening course in Spanish a few years back, but I’m a bit rusty now. I seem to pick up languages quite easily, helped, I’m sure, by the fact that language teaching in Hungary is so good – it has to be, given that no-one speaks our language but us!

CD1 Track 31

What’s your mother tongue?
What other languages do you speak?
What do you think is the best way to keep in touch with friends?
Do people keep in touch differently now compared to fifty years ago?

What’s your mother tongue?
My mother tongue is Portuguese. Irs predominantly spoken in Brazil but also in other parts of the world, such as Portugal and Africa .

What other languages do you speak?
Although I grew up in Brazil, I can also speak Italian because my mother and one set of grandparents are Italian and I grew up hearing the language all around me. I’m really proud to be bilingual and I’d like my children to be bilingual too.

What do you think is the best way to keep in touch with friends?
It depends how far you are from your friends. If you are geographically close, you should meet up face-to-face. Long-distance communication can cause misunderstandings and resentments to build up – when you write, you only have the words on the page, not body language or tone of voice.

Do people keep in touch differently now compared to fifty years ago?
Well, of course, people use the Internet now and mobile phones. I’m quite young but even when I was a teenager nobody in my friendship circle had a mobile. Now it’s seen as indispensable and you would feel left out if you didn’t have one. But as I said before, I think it’s better to meet up with friends than to communicate using technology. There’s much to be said for communicating in so-called old-fashioned ways.

CD1 Track 32

A language I would like to learn is Spanish. It’s used not only in Spain but also in many other countries, and I believe it’s one of the most widely-spoken languages in the world. So it’s a language that is definitely worth knowing . It would be useful to me for business purposes. Also, Spanish culture is becoming more and more influential internationally. It is, for example, overtaking English as the most widely-spoken language in certain parts of the USA. It is influencing music and art. So, all in all, I think it’s a handy language to know.

I doubt it would be too challenging for me to learn Spanish because it is a Latin language, just like my mother tongue, French. I think Spanish vocabulary would be easier for me to acquire than Spanish grammar. I understand the grammar is one of the most difficult things about the Spanish language.

I would use Spanish primarily when going on holiday. I’ve been to Spain many times, and I always find that if you go off the beaten track irs difficult to find people who speak English. You get very good at speaking with you”r hands! And irs difficult to really engage with people and understand the culture if you don’t speak the language. Speaking Spanish would. undoubtedly make my holidays a lot easier and more enjoyable. On top of that, the company I work for has an office in Madrid and it would also be very interesting to be able to work there. I would enjoy the challenge and the exposure to a new culture. It would be such an exciting opportunity. To make the move, though, I’d obviously need to be able to speak Spanish. Luckily, my company would most likely sponsor me to have Spanish lessons.

Where have you been in Spain?
I’ve been to Spain many times and each time I did a road trip. One trip was in the north of Spain, travelling from France across the Pyrenees, through the Basque country and all the way down to Madrid.

CD1 Track 33

See page 46 for text.

CD1 Track 34

1 – sixth
2 – strong
3 – glimpsed
4 – three

CD1 Track 35

Language learning

Is it considered important in your country to learn foreign languages?
What, in your opinion, is the best way to learn a language?
Why are some people seemingly better at learning languages than others?

English as a global language

How do people in your country feel about English being the world language?
Do you think the culture of English-speaking countries, as well as the English language, dominate the world?
Why do you think people feel it is important to continue speaking their local languages?

Is it considered important in your country to learn foreign languages?
More than just important, irs considered essential. The English poet John Donne said ‘no man is an island’, and I think in this day and age that is also true of countries: we are all intricately connected. A country that wants to do business abroad and export its goods has to know how to communicate with foreigners, and that means speaking foreign languages.

What, in your opinion, is the best way to learn a language?
Undoubtedly, the best way is to go and live in a country where the language is spoken as a native language. But that is not enough – I have friends who have done just that, but they stuck together with people who spoke their language and so they hardly learnt anything . You have to immerse yourself completely in the language and the culture. This takes courage but is well worth the effort. One of my friends went to study in England and got an English boyfriend . Her English improved dramatically in just a few months, so arguably that’s the best way!

Why are some people seemingly better at learning languages than others?
Irs true that some people seem to pick up language really easily. Being bilingual from a young age certainly helps because the more languages you speak, the more easily you acquire a new one. Another major factor is motivation: two people can study the same materials for the same number of hours but the person who is more motivated will learn
more and remember better what they’ve learnt. I really believe that the more you care about learning a language, the more effortlessly you will pick it up.

How do people in your country feel about English being the world language?
I don’t think most people feel anything exactly; they just see it as something inevitable. They don’t fight it because that would just leave them trailing behind other countries that embrace English as the global lingua franca. Not learning English would leave us economically disadvantaged.

Do you think the culture of English-speaking countries, as well as the English language,dominate the world?
The rise of the Internet has certainly increased the dominance of English, and therefore also the spread of English and American ways of seeing the world. I think we are all expected to conform. Also, the majority of young people in my country like to watch American films and listen to American music: it’s considered trendy to do so. So, yes, I
would definitely say that the culture of English-speaking countries holds much sway all over the world.

Why do you think people feel it is important to continue speaking their local languages?
There is a backlash in some quarters against the spread of English. One way this is expressed is by the insistence on maintaining local languages. A local language is more than just words. It links a community with its past, with its heritage, and so if you stop speaking your language, you lose a part of yourself.

CD1 Track 36

Which language do you think is generally considered the most beautiful?
Well, I think Italian is generally considered the most beautiful European language. It’s probably because of the, um, the music of the language, the way speakers sound like they’re singing. Personally, er, I prefer Spanish.

CD1 Track 37

So, everyone in your country speaks English?
Actually, no they don·t. It is primarily young people who learn English at school. The older generation tend to speak only our native language.

American music is more popular than other forms of music, is it?
Not exactly, no. Japanese music is also extremely popular.

VOCABULARY

Direct link to the Game

Reference: Collins Speaking for IELTS

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