Listen! at the Talking People Podcast
Víctor - Speaking Task: Speak about sb you love - two minutes
This exercise was done at the beginning of an Intermedio 2 course. However, Víctor's level is what Intermedio 2 students should have for their Speaking Test at the end of this course.
Shall I start? - Shall + 1st persons means "I/we" offer to do sth for the people there. In Spanish it's always a present (¿Empiezo ya?)
"Yes, please. Go ahead" - is a good reply to that.
"I'm going to speak about" is a great beginning. It shows the person knows how to use the "going to" future and also that "speak" is best for "monologs", for it is less informal or more formal than "I'm going to talk about", or "I'm going to tell you about"…
He first describes his daughter's appearance, her looks, and shows he's fluent in "be" and "have" for descriptions (Present simple) and in the use of adjectives. There's just one mistake: "kind" is the adjective form. "She's kind". If we wish to use the adverb form "kindly" would modify a verb: "She behaves kindly with people". But this sentence is not an ordinary way to express that idea.
Where she lives. When Victor starts addressing this, he changes to the Present continuous, indicating he's also aware of when to use this tense. Then a Past simple follows, with "ago", indicating he's good at this, too.
"and I am missing her a lot". This wording is highlighting the fact that Victor misses his daughter. The ordinary way to express this is, "and I miss her a lot." This expressive (non-grammatical) use of "am missing her" is like what we've been hearing on a TV commercial "I'm liking it!". If your English is not fluent, you should stick to the ordinary way of using "miss" or "like", i.e. in the Present simple. This special use of the tense is OK for higher levels, say, Avanzado 2, supposing the person is fluent, too (makes it sound "natural").
With the previous sentence he shows he's fluent and accurate in the use of "a lot". A typical mistake students make at this level is to say "a lot of" when they should be saying "a lot", for nothing follows ("a lot" is modifying the verb, it's not indicating how much we've got of something).
"We used to… We usually share many activities [We usually do a lot of things together]. We like going to the mountain, bird-watching… We ALSO like playing badmington… BUT now her life has changeD a lot -- in THESE last two months -- because now she's living in… with a host family. Now she has got another family. And… she goES to HIGH-SCHOOL… … And she feels as IN an American movie (in a US American movie) … I don't know if you have watcheD "Glee" -- So [picking up the thread again after clarifying what "Glee" is! Well done!] she told me that LIFE [be careful with "the"!!] in American high schoolS [mark your s's!] is as Glee shows [well done!] ON TV.
Hesitations (these are OK for the level -- they're not too long and he always solves the communication problem. Actually, the mistakes he makes do not hamper communication) Notice his mistakes are omitting small words: "I want to… She can't COME back TO Spain until the end of HER course so we're going to… we're going to… we have to! wait - excuse me ["sorry" could be better, it's an apology for the mistake; with "excuse me" you ask for permission to interrupt] - we have to wait… until the end of the COURSE /coors/ to visit her, or TO wait FOR her TO come back TO Spain."
VERB PHRASES: WAIT FOR SB TO DO STH. We have to WAIT for her TO COME BACk to…
It's like: WANT SB TO DO STH. I WANT her TO LEARN as much as she can.
It's like: WOULD LIKE SB TO DO STH (more polite than previous). I'd like her to learn as much as she can while being there.
"So the way we use to talk" is wrong. This wording does not exist! (only "used to"). Because it is a present habit, you need a Frequency Adverb and a present simple:
"So -- the way we USUALLY communicate is through/via"
"So -- we usually communicate via Skype", "So -- every week we communicate via Skype"
"So -- we usually talk to/with her ON Skype"
Well done!: he explains what Skype is! EXCELLENT
"IT's [mark the T, the subject!] Skype, a software [program] that allows you [EXCELLENT!] to talk to someone on the Internet [EXCELLENT!]
Fluent and accurate use of a difficult structure: ALLOW SB TO DO STH
"I think that's all I want to SAY [not "tell"] about my daughter", or "tell YOU about"
Victor has spoken for two minutes on the topic. His pronunciation of words and his intonation are very good. His English is fluent and fairly accurate. Most of the mistakes he makes are minor, in the sense that they do not hamper communication and also because they are not systematic (well, two mispronouncings of the -ed ending in this context would lower his mark -- which he can avoid just by repeating the verb with the correct pronunciation of the -ed ending!). He has used a number of simple and more complex structures. His communicative strategies are very effective: he has shown he knows how to re-word things when he can't find the words. And he's very sensitive to the listener, which he shows by clarifying the use of words like "Skype" or the name of a movie -- here he's brilliant, he checks briefly the listener knows what it is and moves on.
His textual structure is good. He presents the topic. He describes the person, starting with a more factual approach (appearance, moving to the USA), to what helps them be closer (sharing likes). Then he moves to his daughter's experiences and shares her general impression… The moment when he hesitates the most is when he is describing what they do to mitigate the feeling of missing each other so much. Obviously, when you speak about things that are close to your heart (que te emocionan) you hesitate more, but notice how well HE hesitates! hahahah. This part ends focusing on Skype, which helps him move away from strong emotions. So the fact he ends here is understandable.
He finishes his talk (charla) by signaling the end.
GOOD JOB, VICTOR, and thanks SO much for allowing me to share your performance! Give your daughter kind regards from us! :)
If you want to read more about Víctor, check out his blog "Educadores 21"