Why film stars?
Before the dictation
- Ask students to listen and decide who they think the film stars are – if you think they are likely to know these people (it was impossible for my students).
- Write the names of the actors on the board and ask students to match to the audio as they listen. You could write the nationality of each person on the board as well if you think they need extra help (or elicit the nationalities before listening).
- Write at the top of the board “Who is talking about….?” and then list the six descriptions as follows:
- breaking into the American market (answer: Jackie Chan)
- a time when he / she fell seriously ill (Amitabh Bachchan)
- the difference between Hollywood blockbuster movies and small, low budget movies (Shah Rukh Khan)
- his / her free time (Jet Li)
- why he / she became an actress (Penelope Cruz)
- why he / she loves being an actress (Monica Bellucci)
- speaking English (Audrey Tautou)
Obviously don’t play the recordings in this order! If you’ve given students the names of the actors already, then they can write the name on a piece of paper next to each number. Otherwise, just ask students to label them speaker A-G.
You could do one, some, or all of these exercises, depending how much support you think your students need before the dictation. But once you’re ready to start the dictation…
Film star dictations
- Ask students to take out a piece of paper and write down exactly what they hear.
- Play the recording as many times as students need, or just a part of it – even focusing on a single word if necessary.
- Then give students the transcripts (see below) to compare with what they wrote. Encourage discussion of any differences between what they thought they heard and what was actually said, to raise awareness of differences in pronunciation compared to the students’ own pronunciation. Highlight to students that being aware of these differences might help them to better understand people in an ELF context.
- If students have written down everything correctly, then it’s the ideal opportunity to point out that even variety of pronunciation doesn’t necessarily stop people being understood.
As a follow-up, you might like to ask students to discuss some follow-up questions in pairs, such as:
- Does your country have a big film industry, or do people mostly watch Hollywood films?
- Are Hollywood films mostly dubbed or sub-titled in your country?
- Have you watched many sub-titled films made in languages you don’t speak?
- Have you ever seen a Bollywood film? (if this question is appropriate for your class)
- Would you like to be an actor? Why / why not?
Jackie Chan (Chinese):
This market they don’t like violence. This market they don’t like kill police. This market they don’t like because at that time I never think my movie can release in America or Europe. Only for Asian market.
Amitabh Bachchan (Indian):
I was climbing up to my room, and I just collapsed because I couldn’t walk and I was wondering what was happening to me, and I called my doctor, and he says just drop everything and come back to Bombay.
Shah Rukh Khan (Indian):
The small, maybe interesting, different, serious films we never get to see, unless you are a film perso. I am a film person, so it’s my job to see. But local people, normal people don’t get to see.
Jet Li (Chinese):
I just stay at home, watch some tapes, read some Buddhist book, or go to theatre to watch movie. My personality is a little bit bored.
Audrey Tautou (French):
Don’t forget I’m French so I may not understand your super English accent, as you may not understand my super French accent. So, you know, don’t be upset if I don’t laugh if you make a joke.
Penelope Cruz (Spanish):
Everyone in my family loved, love cinema, and I think that had a lot to do with the fact of, you know, me wanting to try to become an actress and explore that.
Monica Bellucci (Italian):
And to have the chance to work with different directors all over the world, and through my work I can get in touch with cultures and reality that is so far from mine.
How to extract audio from Youtube videos
This sounds more complicated than it is. It took me about an hour to work it all out and download what I needed, but once it was set up, I could turn my Youtube link into an Audioboo audio file in 4.46 minutes!
- Go to www.youtube-mp3.org and copy and paste the URL of the Youtube clip you want into the box. Click ‘convert’ in order to turn it into an MP3 file.
- The website just takes a few seconds to convert, and then it gives you the option to ‘download’.
- Download the free Audacity editing programme. Then click on ‘import’ and then ‘audio’, and find the MP3 you just converted wherever it is on your computer.
- Use the editing tools on Audacity, which are really user-friendly, to crop the audio as you want.
- If you just click ‘save’, you can only play the file through Audacity. So you probably want to click ‘export’. I chose not to export it as MP3 as this requires another programme. So I used one of the other file types recognised by the Audioboo website.
- Create an Audioboo account for free, and follow the upload instructions to store your file on there – and share it with others!