Sunday, November 8, 2009

Speaking 003 (The sports you enjoy)

Speaking 003 (The sports you enjoy)

Part 1

Traffic where you live

How do most people travel to work where you live?
Most people in my place travel to work using public transport system.  We have both government and private bus services that are very efficient and frequent. The bus fares are also quiet moderate, and that makes it the favourite mode of travel for ordinary people to go to work.  People, who go to longer distances to work, usually make use of trains.  We have a number of short distance trains, which are very inexpensive.  A lot of people also have their own private vehicles to go to work.  Most young people have their own motor bikes.  The more affluent go to work by car. 

What traffic problems are there in your area?
Traffic problems are quite frequent in my area, especially during the peak hours of morning and evening, when people travel to work or study and back.  Many roads are very narrow and cannot hold the increasing traffic volume at a time.  So traffic moves at a snail’s pace, especially during the rush hours.  There are also a lot of puddles on the roads especially during the rainy season and manoeuvring them would further slow the traffic down.   There are constant repairs on the roads which are both slow and ineffective and traffic is often diverted through narrower roads making the situation still worse.

How do traffic problems affect you?
Traffic problems affect me very badly.  I need to reach work on time and very often the unexpected traffic snarls and jams do not let me do it.  I have made it a point that I start a bit earlier from home, so that these unexpected delays do not affect me much.  Another problem is that driving in high gear in the traffic jam, exhausts your fuel tank very fast.

How would you reduce the traffic problems in your area?
The first thing that the government should do is to widen the roads with immediate effect and that can definitely reduce the problem tremendously.  Another area that the authorities can look into is to engage a big company to construct roads that can last for a longer period of time.   It would definitely reduce the constant repairs on roads.  People also should be made to obey traffic rules very strictly.

Part 2

Describe a game or sport you enjoy playing.

You should day:
What kind of game or sport it is
Who you play it with
Where you play it
And explain why you enjoy playing it. 

In fact I don’t play any games at the moment, because I don’t have the time or opportunity for it.  It is very difficult for you to play a game once you get out of your school or college.  There are very few playgrounds for the public in our area.

May be, I will talk about the game I played when I was in college.  I was very interested in soccer, and I played in the forward line.  It was usually played in the evening when the sun was not very warm and that preserved a lot of your energy.  I hope you know that football requires a great deal of running and if it is very hot your steam will run out fast. 

I usually played with my college mates.  We would break into two teams and sometimes the numbers would vary from seven to twelve, depending on the number of people who were interested in playing the game.  It always used to be great fun to play with your mates in a very friendly atmosphere.  Since everybody knew each other there were hardly any hard tackling or rough play.  Everybody enjoyed the spirit of the game.

We played in the football ground, just in front of our college.  It was quite a big ground and so we had to run around a lot, but that gave us a lot of physical fitness.

I enjoyed playing soccer because there was a thrill in scoring goals and winning.  You kept improving with every game and that gave you a great deal of motivation and competitive spirit.  Even during the day, when you were not playing you kept thinking about the game.  So it was great fun and I always waited for the evenings to play soccer.

Discussion topics:

Children’s games

How have games changed from the time when you were a child?
Games have changed tremendously over the years.  When we were children the standard of the game or the players was not as good as it is today.  Moreover, newer rules have been introduced to make it more appealing to television audiences.  I think the speed of the game has considerably increased.  There is much more money in sports and games today, so more and more young people are interested in making it a full time career.  That was not the case when I was a child.

Do you think this has been a positive change? Why?
Yes, it has definitely been a positive change in all ways.  Games have become more popular and players get much better rewards.  Televised games have made it possible for people to watch games in the comfort of their homes rather than going to a stadium.  Watching games has become a very easy affair.  Overall, the standard of the game has improved.

Why do you think children like playing games?
Children are physically very active and you can’t keep them idle for a long time.  They always like to be with their friends, playing some games.  Psychologically, at their age they can’t think of engaging in a serious activity for a long time.  Playing games would occupy them time in a very effective way; otherwise they are going to create some mischief at home.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Speaking 002 (Healthy Lifestyle)

Part 1

Musical Instruments

Which instrument do you like listening to most? (Why?)
My favourite musical instrument is the flute.  (I love listening to the flute, the most).  I have always wondered why I like flute.  May be, it is because of its simplicity or because of it sweet sound.  Flute has a very soothing music and it goes directly into your heart.  I think it is very easy to learn flute, but I am not sure.  Anyway, I like it.

Have you ever learned to play a musical instrument?
Not really, I don’t think I have the talent for it.  So I have not seriously tried.  When I was small, I just used to play with the harmonium, but actually, I could never play any proper notes.  Even now, I love to press the keys of the electric keyboard and I like to hear the sound.  But I have never learned to play any musical instrument.

Yes I play the keyboard.  I started leaning it at a very early age.  My mother bought me a toy piano when I was a small kid.  I started playing it on my own.  Later, I went to a music school, where I leaned to play the electric organ.  Now I play it quiet well.

Do you think children should learn to play a musical instrument?

It is good in one way.  As children, you have the time and interest in learning a musical instrument.  In think learning a musical instrument can give a lot of confidence to children.  They will learn to perform before other people.  They can be proud of the fact that they know how to play a musical instrument.  It is the best way to know whether a child had the taste for it.  However, we should not force a child into it, especially if he doesn’t have the talent for it.

No I don’t think children should learn a musical instrument.  It is the time for them to play and enjoy games.  Playing a music instrument is a very serious job.  It requires a lot of patience and discipline.  So I think it is better not to force children into it at an early age.  If they have the taste and talent they will learn it later.

How easy would it be to learn to play an instrument without a teacher?

I think, it is not easy to learn a musical instrument without the help of a teacher, because you have no one to clear your doubts.  Not only that, you can never learn it, systematically.  There are people who learn musical instruments like guitar with the help of a book or through the internet.  But, I don’t think you go can very far, in this way.

Why not!  There are a lot of people who learn musical instruments without the help of a teacher.  You can get books and lessons from the internet.  The advantage is that you can learn at your own pace and convenience.  Then why go for a teacher.

Part 2

Describe something healthy you enjoy doing

You should say:
What you do
Where you do it
Who you do it with
And explain why you think doing this is healthy.

Playing sports, cycling, exercising

I have been playing badminton for the last few years.  This is something that I really enjoy.  When I started I wasn’t a good player.  Over the years I have improved tremendously.  Every day I wait for the evening to play badminton. 

I play it in our college campus.  We have an indoor court and so the wind doesn’t disturb our game. 

I play with my colleagues at work.  There are about 6 to 8 people who play regularly and if you don’t reach the court in time, you don’t get to play the first game.  After a game is over, usually the losers have to give chance to the other players, who wait outside. 

I think this has definitely kept me fit.  I have lost about 6 kilos in the last 2 years, just because I play this game.  I have no other exercise and I don’t need any.  I can eat anything I like and I can burn my extra calories in the game.  Now my body has become very flexible and I have improved my stamina.  My movements have become easy and my body is much more flexible now.  I can even run up steps without panting.  My cholesterol and blood sugar levels are much lower than before.  So this is something healthy that I enjoy doing.

Part 3

Keeping fit and healthy

What do most people do to keep fit your country?
Most people, in my country do some kind of manual labour and that keeps them fit.  They don’t need any other exercise.  The farmers work in the field and there are a lot of people who work in constructions and similar manual jobs.  The middleclass white collar workers and the rich people are also very health conscious and do regular exercises like jogging, walking in the morning or playing some games. There are some people who work out in gyms to keep themselves fit.

The most common exercise, that people in my country do, to keep themselves fit, is to go for a walk.  If you get up early in the morning and look at the streets, especially in cities, you can see a lot of people walking by the side of the road.  There are also a lot of evening walkers as well.  Some jog or cycle or do some exercise or play some games.  There are a lot of people who visit gyms to be fit.  Yoga is another popular exercise that people are interested in.

How important is it for people to do some regular physical exercise?
It is extremely important for people to engage in some kind of regular exercise, especially after 30 or 35.  Otherwise we will be prone to common lifestyle diseases like, high blood sugar or blood pressure.  Heart ailments are very common among people who have no physical exercise.  Regular exercise can give your body a lot of immunity against such diseases.  It can burn your extra fat that causes all these ailments.  So, regular exercise is essential for people to keep themselves fit.

Health and modern lifestyles

Why do some people think that modern lifestyles are not healthy?
See, people have a valid reason for thinking so.  People today love comfort and luxury and they want to satisfy their appetites at any cost.  Rather than cooking at home, they love to eat out, at restaurants and fast food joints.  Fast food may be tasty but contains a lot of fat that is not good for health.  Previously people used to walk or engage in some kind of manual work.  That is not the case today.  Personal vehicles and modern devices have made their life easy and people have great aversion towards sweating their body.  This lifestyle naturally invites diseases.

Why do some people choose to lead unhealthy lives?
The simple answer is laziness.  Today many people do not have the discipline to lead a healthy life.  They love comfort and convenience in everything that they do.  In fact, they don’t realise that their comfort and luxury are going to end soon.  They need to face the reality sooner than later. 

Should individuals or governments be responsible for making people lifestyles healthy?
It is the individuals themselves who are responsible for making their lifestyles healthy.  It is one’s personal freedom to lead a healthy lifestyle.  Government has nothing to do with it.  No government can interfere into such personal affairs.  Government can’t ask people to eat this or that.  The only thing that government can do is to spread awareness about this issue.  Nothing more than that.

What could be done to encourage people to live in a healthy way?
The best way to encourage people to live in a healthy way is to spread awareness about the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle.  This can be done through the media like television and newspapers.  At an early age, children should be given education about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.  It should also be included in the curriculum.  Moreover, sports should be made compulsory in schools.  Another effective way is to give gym and sports facilities in factories and offices. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Speaking 001 (Someone in your family)

Part 1


Do you enjoy dancing? (Why/Why not)

(You need to react to the question, first.)
Yes I do, I really love (like) dancing. No, I don’t love….
Definitely, I am very fond of dancing. Not really, I am not very fond of…
Certainly, I am very interested in dancing. No, I don’t think I am interested in…
Of course, I am very passionate about dancing.
Yes, I enjoy dancing.
I am very excited about dancing.

(Then elaborate on the answer)

It is a time that you can forget about yourself and relax your mind and body. It also gives you a great deal of inner satisfaction. I think it is a great way to release your stress.

I think it’s the best way to enjoy your time with your friends. You can get close to them and strengthen your friendship.

I believe, dancing is a wonderful way to exercise your body. It involves vigorous physical activity and burns a lot of calories. The only way I exercise is by dancing, and that keeps my body fit.

This is a very good way to show your talent before others. I am quiet a good dancer and I get a lot of appreciation from people. That gives me great confidence and enhances my personality.

I don’t think I have the talent to dance. I look very awkward when I dance and it gives me very little satisfaction.

I don’t have an opportunity to dance. In fact, I live in a very orthodox culture and dancing is not very popular here. The only people who dance are the professional dancers and it is not very common among ordinary people. However, I love watching other people dance.

Has anyone every taught you how to dance? (Why/Why not)
Not in the recent past. But when I was a small girl, I went to a dance school in my village, where I learned some classical dance. I also learned folk dance from a teacher in my regular school during that time.

No, no one has ever taught me how to dance. I learned dancing by watching videos and dancing with my friends. It is not very difficult to learn simple dancing and I learned it in a very informal way.

Tell me about any traditional dancing in your country?

We have a number of traditional dances in my country, both classical and folk. A very popular classical dance form in my country is Bharathanatyam. You need many years of training to master this dance. It is usually staged during festivals and cultural programmes. It has a very ancient origin and was patronised  by kings in the olden times. Dancers perform with graceful and rhythmic movements and in rich and colourful costumes.

A very popular dancing in my country is a folk dance called ‘Thiruvathira’. This is very a special dance from my state of Kerala. It is usually performed during the festival season of Onam. Women in groups of eight or ten, dance in a circle, around a lighted traditional lamp. The movements are simple and graceful and the costumes are also very simple.

Do you think that traditional dancing will be popular in the future? (Why/Why not)

I think so. Traditional dancing will be very popular in the future. A lot of parents now send their children to learn traditional dancing and children automatically develop a liking for this type of dancing. Apart from that, there are a lot of competitions in schools and colleges in traditional dancing. Again, foreign tourists show a lot of interest in traditional dancing. So there is great possibility that traditional dancing will be popular in the future.

No I don’t think so. In the future more and more people will be interested in modern dancing, both western and Indian. So traditional dancing will lose its charm for people. Moreover, traditional dancing requires many years of training and dedication and many people don’t have time for that. It is also an expensive affair. Again, traditional dancing has a very small audience. So I think traditional dancing will become less popular in the future.

Part 2

Describe someone in your family who you like.

You should say:
How this person is related to you
What this person looks like
What kind of person he/she is
And explain why you like this person

The person whom I like the most in family is my brother who is just younger to me. We are eight children, I am the second and he is the third.

He doesn’t look like me at all. He rather looks like my mother and is the most handsome person in the family. He is closer to me than any other member of the family, more than even my parents.

He is not very good at his studies or in any arts and music, but is very good at heart. He is very good humoured, and you know, makes everybody laugh with his witty conversation. He has a special way of attracting people towards him.

He is a very just person, and if there is a misunderstanding in the family, he is the first person to find a solution to it. When he does something important, he comes to me and talks about it, and he usually he accepts my advice. He is also quite daring and enterprising. Although he is not very educated he runs a very successful business and lives a happy life.

I like him very much, mainly because he understands me more than any other member of my family. He has also supported me and stood with me whenever I had a serious problem or trouble.

So I would say that he is someone I like in my family.

Part 3

Discussion Topics

Family similarities

In what ways can people in a family be similar to each other?

People in a family can be similar to each other in many ways. They usually resemble each other in their physical appearance. For example, children look like their parents, in their facial feature, colour, type of hair and so on. They can also be alike, in their character and behaviour.

Do you think daughters are always more similar to mothers than to male relatives?
Not always! There are many daughters who look more like their fathers or other male members of the family than mothers. That includes their colour, face, hair and so on. But I do think that most daughters look like their mothers in physical features.

What about sons and fathers?
I think it is the same with them as well. There are many sons who resemble their mothers more than their fathers or other male members of the family.

In terms of personality, are people more influenced by their family or friends? In what ways?
People are usually more influenced by their family than friends, because as children, most people live with their families. And that is when an individual’s personality is developed. Even after that, people spend more time with their family members and interact with them more closely than their friends. This intimacy with the family members has a great influence in their character formation. On the other hand, friends also have a significant influence in one’s personality, but not as much as family members.

Genetic Research

Where can people in your country get information about genetic research?
There are many sources in my country, where people can get information about genetic research. I think the most common source is books. You can find books on genetic research in public libraries or in bookshops. Apart from that, there are a number of universities and institutes that does research in genetic studies. There are a lot a lot scientist and professors, who can give information about this subject. I think, the internet is a wonderful source to get information about genetic research. If you search Google, you will come across many websites that will give you, at least, the primary information about genetic research.

How do people in your country feel about genetic research?

In general, I think people in my country have a positive attitude towards genetic research. They know it has a lot of benefits in terms of better agricultural production and prevention of many genetic diseases. However, some people are worried about genetically modified foods. They fear that it can be dangerous to human health.

Should this research be funded by governments or private companies?
I think both government and private companies should jointly or separately fund genetic research. It should not be the monopoly of either of the parties. If private companies alone fund genetic research the benefits of the research may not reach the common man, because of their profit motive. So government also has the responsibility to fund it, so that every body enjoys the benefits.