speech: - low intermediate
level English .
do British teenagers think about culture? Horizon magazine* talked to
some English sixth-formers to find out their views
Talking about "culture" ...
Simplified from a
definitely culture; but what about cinema, or pop music?
HORIZON: What does the word "culture" mean to you?
HORIZON: Yes, culture!
ERIC: Don't ask him, he doesn't know what the word
SIMON: Shut up, you! Of course I do. I know quite a lot about
ERIC: O.K. then, what?
SIMON: Well it's reading, and music, and the arts, and so on.
ERIC: Yes, it's anything like that.
HORIZON: Right. And do either of you take part in any cultural
SIMON: Yes.... I watch quite a few cultural programmes on
telly. And I
like drawing too.
ERIC: Well I watch quite a lot of films, mainly on the box. That's
cultural, I suppose.
SIMON: It depends on the film really, doesn't it? I mean, some
are cultural, but there's plenty
that aren't. I mean, you couldn't call Jurassic Park culture,
HORIZON: What about Titanic?
Was that culture?
ERIC Oh absolutely! It was really cool!
SIMON: Yeah, I agree. I mean it was a story really, wasn't it?
was history. It made you think about things. It wasn't just action.
HORIZON: And what about other forms of culture? Do you ever go
theatre, or to a concert?
ERIC: I've only ever been to the theatre once, and that was
school; I thought it was a waste of time.
HORIZON: Your parents don't go to the theatre?
ERIC: No, they never go out.... except to the pub.
SIMON: We usually go to the panto
at Christmas; but I've only been to the theatre once apart from that,
as far as I can remember. That was to see the Mousetrap **.
CLARE: I love going to the theatre. I wish I could go more
often, but I
really have to push my mum sometimes. What I like best are musicals....
I saw Evita
in London a couple of years ago. It was fabulous; and I've seen Phantom of the Opera
too. That was absolutely fantastic.
HORIZON: So you enjoy
music, then; do you play an instrument or anything?
CLARE: No. Sometimes I wish I did. I played the recorder when I was
little, but that's all. But I love music, very much. I like all kinds
of music.... well most kinds. I can't say I'm really into jazz
all that much.
HORIZON: What about pop music? Is that culture? What d'you
REBECCA: Yeah, why not? ....... Most of it, anyway. I'm not
sure if you
can call some kinds of rap "culture"; but most of the time, pop's a
sort of culture, isn't it?
SIMON: Oh definitely. It's just different.
REBECCA: Yes, I suppose so; I mean something can be cultural
person, but awful for someone else, can't it?.
ERIC: Like rap....
REBECCA: Well yes.... if you look at it like that.
HORIZON: And reading? Do any of you read books, for your own
CLARE: Oh yes, I read lots. I love reading.
HORIZON: Eric ?
ERIC: Not much. I read Harry Potter, but not normally. I
on the computer. Books are too slow, normally.
HORIZON: And d'you think you get enough culture?
CLARE: Not really....
ERIC: It depends what you mean by culture, doesn't
think it'd be better if they made it more interesting at school. But
they make it boring, so you just switch
CLARE: Don't be ridiculous! It's you that think it's boring,
all. It isn't really! You just don't try to enjoy it.
* Horizon magazine: Original Linguapress printed magazine for low intermediate learners. No longer published.
** The Mousetrap - A very famous detective thriller by Agatha Christie
the box -
television - plenty:
a lot - panto
pantomime, a traditional comedy - enjoy
: appreciate, like - recorder
a simple type of flute - be
: be interested in, like - switch off:
paying attention - -
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Note the use of
tags” in the dialogue. For example:
It depends on
the film, doesn’t it?
Now add the appropriate
tags to these statements..
You’ve already seen the film Titanic,
2. That’s a film by Steven Spielberg,
3. You don’t really believe what he says,
4. They like going to the cinema on Saturdays,
5. Last night you went to the theatre
6. Some people don’t like any kinds of culture,
7. Jurassic park was a very exciting film,
8. They’re going to make a new film about Robin Hood,
Ideas for the
Oral work; Take this dialogue in class, alternating the roles
frequently to involve as many students as possible. Concentrate on
sentence stress and intonation if possible. Note in particular the tag questions
Remind students of the rule for tags: a tag repeats the base
auxiliary that was used or implied, with a negative/affirmative
transformation, as in : You've
done that, haven't you.
of tags depends on the nature of the tag.
Most tags are not
real questions; the speaker is expressing a point of view, and is just
asking for confirmation, as in
You couldn't call Jurassic Park
"Normal" tags such as this, whether they are affirmative or
negative, take a falling stress.
You / couldn't call Jurassic Park \
culture, \ could you?
Occasionally, tags really have an interrogative value; the speaker is
asking a question, as in
It depends what you mean by
culture, doesn't it?
In these cases, the tag takes a rising intonation.
It de/pends what you mean
by \culture, doesn't / it?
EFL teachers: Help develop this resource by contributing extra teaching
materials or exercises.
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