Listen! at the Talking People Podcast
Speaking Task: Speak about sb you love - two minutes
This exercise was done at the beginning of an Intermedio 2 course. Irene's rich language range is very good, as well as her textual structure, pronunciatoin and fluency. At the end of the course this should be sustainable in 3- or 4-minute monologues and in interactions that last 6-7 minutes. If she does a 3-4 minute version, she can improve a few things: include more clauses and modals, mainly, include more noun modifiers (e.g., -ing/-ed adjectives, so we can see she's good at that, and a Saxon Genitive!)
|List of Mistakes & List of Correct Uses!
List of mistakes (to avoid) and List of correct uses (of language items that usually get used incorrectly)
| Textual Structure
Irene's structure is outstanding. She has organized the distribution of her content really well. The topic helps, but not everybody takes such good care of this.
Opening sentence: presentation of the topic. Well done*
The total structure of her Speaking Performance is really good. What's her outline, do you think? Send us your outline, Irene!
The beginning is logical. She mentions the person's name and what kind of relationship they share. Then there is a description of the person (notice how well organized that is, and its logical sequence: physical, personality including an improvable aspect, occupational, likes and dreams). Then she explains the We part: how they met, and how their relationship developed... And then, she wraps things up by sharing her personal assessment of their relationship. Notice this kind of ending because she does it really well in terms of topic development (what) and also in terms of structure (when what is said).
The Ending: To round things up, she signals the physical end of her performance. When she finishes her presentation, she says, And... that's all!
| *Register: Speak / Talk
Opening sentence: presentation of the topic. Good. "Speak" would be better, though. Why?: I'm going to talk about my partner Carlos is an informal way of introducing her performance. In exams we recommend people introduce their "monolog(ue)s" more formally, this is, using "speak" instead of "talk". A third option, which is also informal, but which indicates a good command over the language is "I'm going to tell you about my partner Carlos."
Really or Actually / In fact?
| Connectors. Adding points: introducing another topic
About + possessive adjective: About his character, - Well done! This is a very English-speaking way to introduce a topic!
Like / As
Generally speaking, Irene's pronunciation is good.
he is medium height /mÍdium/
he has wavy brown hair /wéivi/
he is a bit bossy /bósi/ + using "a bit" as a mitigator!! Awesome!!
In fact I met him during a diving course /dáivin kórs/ (not /kurs/)
Omission of the -s's and -d's !!! (in 3rd person singular Present Simples and in regular Past Simples)
He always wants to do things his way (without "the" & "in")
He would have preferred to be a fire fighter
The Object is more important for the verb than the degree (very much/a lot), There is a non-systematic mistake in the V + O + other things structure: He likes a lot mountain sports. It should be: because he likes WHAT a lot. This is, Because he likes mountain sports a lot.
Interrogatives & Negatives:
Brilliant inversion of "Am I" in a question (really uncommon to hear among students)
Consolidated AUX+S+Verb...? structure
Consolidated word order with modifiers (adjectives, noun phrases)
Articles & Prepositions
No mistakes in this area! Well done!
during a diving course (ok) - also, in a diving course
at the end of the course: yes!, including the pronunciation /atdiénd/
A complex tense + correct choice of accompanying preposition: Nowadays we have been living together for 4 or 5 years and we are happy.
| The world of verbs
Tenses Irene uses in her 2-minute monlog: rich language range!
In very little time she uses very varied tenses and all of them perfectly used!
Correct use of the present simple of BE and HAVE - person's description
Correct use of verbs of likes and dislikes!: He likes cooking and I hate cooking - I prefer doing other things
Correct use of the present simple (except once = non-systematic mistake; she doesn't fix it -- that would be better -- but she doesn't make it again)
Correct use of the past simple (also with "ago", I met him seven years ago; we got on well); we didn't lose touch; and correct pronunciation of the -ed ending in all cases except this one (though it's not clear, perhaps she does pronounce the -d; anyway, mark its pronunciation so that we teachers do not have to wonder if you did! :D ): "he would have preferred", I couldn't hear the ending "d".
Correct use of the "going to" verbal phrase for plans and intentions
Perfect modal "would"! (see Complex structures)
Present perfect continuous (see Complex structures)
Infinitives and Gerunds
She also makes a good use of these, in the expression of likes and dislikes
There's a mistake in He really likes mountain sports, overall climbing - it's "climbing" because it follows a verb of likes/dislikes, this is, because it agrees with "he really likes + climbing"
Modals (the icon means: improve this!)
A bit poor (improvable) use of modals, though. You can all improve this.
For instance, Irene, you could have used a "can" expressing ability in "He likes cooking and I can't cook, so he does the cooking! Then, I don't mind doing housework"
Then the "am I" question would be better with a modal expressing ability (can). But at the Intermedio 2 level, considering "Am I going to...?" is a complex structure which students seldom use, this sentence would be seen as positive, meaning we would no take into account the non-use of the appropriate modal.
Perfect modal "would"! (see Complex structures). Awesome!
Complex Sentences (coordinating) and Clauses (subordinating)
| Complex structures
A complex sentence for the level is one usually full of mistakes among Spanish-speaking learners, and one that learners listening to English do not actually make that often: He makes friends wherever he goes - Well done! (with two -s ending present simple -- which include knowing that "friends" is said with the verb "to make" -- and a "wherever" time clause (subordinada de tiempo)!
A complex verbal phrase consisting of a perfect modal plus the full infinitive: Hypotheses that can't happen anymore: perfect modal "would" + a full infinitive here - He would have preferred to be a fire fighter! -- Wow! Awesome! And people, notice her fluency when using it!
A complex tense + correct choice of accompanying preposition: Nowadays we have been living together for 4 or 5 years and we are happy. Awesome!! (in terms of language and in terms of structure)
|Hesitations & Fluency
Some hesitation (it's inevitable when you improvise), but Irene was then fluent and fairly accurate, so hesitations did not indicate she was not resourceful. I mean, she solved things hesitating a bit but not too much.
Her fluency was good. Still, try to avoid hesitation, or try to "fill it in" with language, with a description of your "problem", so you gain time!), like "Oh, let me see... Mmm... I mean, ...", "Oh, I can't find the word - what was it? Mmm... Well, I meant..."
Politeness & Self-correction
Expressing uncertainty - using not to remember well something, not being sure about something
My couple or partner, well-built, patient (not confused with "pacience")