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Most Britons Know No Foreign Words (19th November, 2011)

Around two-thirds of British people cannot say anything in a foreign language. This means they are among the world’s worst language learners. A report from Hotels.com showed that one-fifth of Britons were unsure of what ‘bonjour’ meant. Over 60 per cent could not guess what the Dutch word ‘goedemorgen’ meant, even though it sounds similar to ‘good morning’. One of the few phrases people in the report understood was 'Una cerveza por favor' – ‘One beer please’.

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Britons have an image of being very bad at trying to speak the local language when they travel. The findings in this report seem to prove this. Only a third said they would try to say a few foreign words when they go abroad. Most of those questioned said they expected people to speak English when they went overseas. All British students have to study a foreign language up to the age of 14. However, only one in ten young people said they could speak one.

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PHRASE MATCH

Match the following phrases from the article.
Paragraph 1


1.

Around two-

a.

similar

2

among the world’s worst

b.

were unsure

3.

A report

c.

thirds of British people

4.

one-fifth of Britons

d.

language learners

5.

even though it sounds

e.

phrases

6.

One of the few

f.

from Hotels.com

Paragraph 2


1.

an image of being

a.

in this report

2

trying to speak the local

b.

to speak English

3.

The findings

c.

ten

4.

try to say

d.

very bad

5.

they expected people

e.

a few foreign words

6.

one in

f.

language


LISTENING GAP FILL


______________________ British people cannot say anything in a foreign language. This means ______________________ world’s worst language learners. A report from Hotels.com showed that one-fifth of Britons ______________________ ‘bonjour’ meant. Over 60 per cent ______________________ the Dutch word ‘goedemorgen’ meant, ______________________ similar to ‘good morning’. One ______________________ people in the report understood was 'Una cerveza por favor' – ‘One beer please’.
Britons ______________________ being very bad at trying to speak the local language when they travel. The findings in this report ______________________. Only a third said they would try to say a few foreign words ______________________. Most of those questioned ______________________ people to speak English when ______________________. All British students have to study a foreign language up to the age of 14. However, ______________________ people said they could speak one.


MULTIPLE CHOICE


Around two-(1) ____ of British people cannot say anything in a foreign language. This (2) ____ they are among the world’s worst language learners. A report from Hotels.com showed that one-(3) ____ of Britons were (4) ____ of what ‘bonjour’ meant. Over 60 per cent could not guess what the Dutch word ‘goedemorgen’ meant, even (5) ____ it sounds similar to ‘good morning’. One of the (6) ____ phrases people in the report understood was 'Una cerveza por favor' – ‘One beer please’.
Britons have an (7) ____ of being very bad at trying to speak the local language when they travel. The findings in this report (8) ____ to prove this. Only a third said they would (9) ____ to say a few foreign words when they go abroad. Most of those questioned said they expected people (10) ____ speak English when they went overseas. All British students have to study a foreign language (11) ____ to the age of 14. However, only one (12) ____ ten young people said they could speak one.
Put the correct words from this table into the article.


1.

(a)

thirds

(b)

third

(c)

thirdly

2.

(a)

meaning

(b)

mean

(c)

means

3.

(a)

five

(b)

fifty

(c)

fifth

4.

(a)

surely

(b)

unsure

(c)

insure

5.

(a)

though

(b)

thought

(c)

through

6.

(a)

much

(b)

some

(c)

few

7.

(a)

picture

(b)

image

(c)

drawing

8.

(a)

seem

(b)

seems

(c)

seam

9.

(a)

trying

(b)

try

(c)

tries

10.

(a)

at

(b)

of

(c)

to

11.

(a)

down

(b)

up

(c)

along

12

(a)

in

(b)

up

(c)

at


SPELLING


Spell the jumbled words (from the text) correctly.


Paragraph 1

1.

udrnoA two-thirds

2.

cannot say natgnihy

3.

language esranrle

4.

Britons were seunur

5.

it sounds amlsrii

6.

One of the few hrssepa

 

Paragraph 2

7.

an aegim of being very bad

8.

speak the laloc language

9.

ovper this

10.

when they go abodra

11.

when they went aveesosr

12.

one in ten oguyn people


PUT THE TEXT BACK TOGETHER


Number these lines in the correct order.


(    )

though it sounds similar to ‘good morning’. One of the few phrases people

(    )

that one-fifth of Britons were unsure of what ‘bonjour’ meant. Over

(    )

questioned said they expected people to speak English when they went

(    )

try to say a few foreign words when they go abroad. Most of those

(    )

they are among the world’s worst language learners. A report from Hotels.com showed

(    )

language when they travel. The findings in this report seem to prove this. Only a third said they would

(    )

60 per cent could not guess what the Dutch word ‘goedemorgen’ meant, even

1  )

Around two-thirds of British people cannot say anything in a foreign language. This means

(    )

Britons have an image of being very bad at trying to speak the local

(    )

overseas. All British students have to study a foreign language up

(    )

to the age of 14. However, only one in ten young people said they could speak one.

(    )

in the report understood was 'Una cerveza por favor' – ‘One beer please’.


THE READING / TAPESCRIPT


With a partner, put the words back into the correct order.


1.

thirds     people     anything    -    British     say     Two     of     cannot.    

2.

Among     world’s     language     the     worst     learners.    

3.

-     One     unsure     were     Britons     of     fifth.    

4.

though     similar     “good     Even     sounds     it     to     morning”.    

5.

people     in     The     the     few     report     phrases     understood.    

6.

of     very     .     an     Britons     bad     being     image     have

7.

this     this     report     seem     Findings     to     in     prove.    

8.

They     to     few     try     a     words     would     say     foreign.    

9.

expected     They     to     people     .     speak     English

10.

young     they     ten     said     speak     in     people     could     One.    


DISCUSSION (Write your own questions)

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

1.

________________________________________________________

2.

________________________________________________________

3.

________________________________________________________

4.

________________________________________________________

5.

________________________________________________________

6.

________________________________________________________


------------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

1.

________________________________________________________

2.

________________________________________________________

3.

________________________________________________________

4.

________________________________________________________

5.

________________________________________________________

6.

________________________________________________________


WRITING


Write about foreign words for 10 minutes. Show your partner your paper. Correct each other’s work.
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________


HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.
2. FOREIGN WORDS: Search the Internet and find more information about foreign words. Talk about what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.
3. MAGAZINE ARTICLE: Write a magazine article about foreign words. Include an imaginary interview with a Briton abroad. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.
4. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? Write a newspaper article about the next stage in this news story. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.
5. LETTER: Write a letter to a language learning expert. Ask him/her three questions about foreign words. Give him/her three of your opinions on English words. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Your partner will answer the questions you asked.

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