2 - We Are What We Say - English and Identity
In this lesson the class compares variations in spoken English in India and Chile.
This lesson plan has links to Curriculum aims and programmes of study in English and Geography.
To compare the variations in spoken English in India and Chile and consider how these differences affect the way we look at people from these countries.
Students will gain an awareness of the ways in which spoken language contributes to identity.
In pairs students think of different words and phrases used to greet people (e.g. Hello, Hi, How’s things? Good Morning, What’s up?, Alright (or alreet? in the North) Eh up! What’s the craic?)
• Are there any which are specific to the part of the country where the school is based? Do the class know any other greetings specific to other parts of the UK?
• They all mean the same thing, so how are they different?
- They’re used to address different people: friends, older people, teachers etc
- They’re used in different situations – formal/informal contexts
- They’re used in different places – 'Alright/Awreet' used to be more associated with the North of England than the south, 'What’s the craic?' is an Irish greeting)
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Explain to the class that 750 million people speak English as a first or second language across the world. An additional 750 million people are believed to speak English as a foreign language. 80% of the world’s electronically stored information is in the English language (Source: British Council website).
Look back at the different words and phrases the class thought of at the beginning of the class, particularly at those specific to different parts of the UK. If there are so many different greetings in the UK, think of the number of variations across the globe. 75 countries use English as their official language.
People coming from different cultures use the English language in a slightly different way to express their opinions or emotions. Sometimes the way they express themselves can seem odd because we don’t expect it, but the words people use tell us not only about the subject, but about the people themselves.
Explain that students are going to explore how Fairtrade has impacted on people from two different countries by examining the interviews given by different producers in Chile and India. They will consider what the language used by the producers tells us about them.
Give half the class the 'We are what we say' India worksheet and the other half the 'We are what we say' Chile worksheet. Working in pairs students read the quotes and complete the task.
Students pair up with someone who has completed the other worksheet. They answer the following questions:
• Do you think the English used by the Chileans/Indians is the same as the English spoken in the UK?
• Identify one difference and one similarity.
• Choose one phrase used by a producer in India and one by a producer in Chile which you find memorable or interesting.
- Why is the phrase interesting?
- What does it tell you about the speaker?
• Decide with your partner how you would put these phrases to a friend so that they convey the same meaning. Would you use the same words? Share your new phrases with another pair. What do they think the phrases say about you?
Using post-its students think of one thing they have learnt today and one thing they would like to know more about.