IELTS Speaking Section Part 1, 2 and 3 - Dictionaries and Foreign Language Studies


IELTS Speaking Section Part 1 - Talking about Familiar Topics


Do you ever use a dictionary?

Yes, I often use dictionary. I was majoring English at the university, and dictionary was an important part of my academic life. In fact, it still is important since I'm now working as a translator and often have to use dictionary once in a while.

What do you use it for?

Now, I use it mostly for translating academic text. But the dictionary that I'm using now is not the one that I used when I was in college. The dictionary that I currently use is more specific, like dictionary that contains legal terms.

Do you prefer paper or electronic dictionaries?

I'd rather use paper dictionaries when translating a written text, like academic journal or books. I know dictionaries are heavy and will eat up much space in your bag or desk, but it is more convenient to use. Sometimes I use online dictionary because the features make it easier for me to find the meaning of a word as well as some examples of how a word is used in a sentence. The festures also allow me to understand how the word is used in certain context. But, I could spend hours translating written texts and my eyes are extremely tired whenever I use the online dictionary, for too long.

Are there a lot of people using dictionaries in your country?

Yes, of course. Dictionary is one of the most sought-after book in my country. Many people are using dictionaries that the publisher always reprint them again and again just to meet the demand. English is a big deal here in Indonesia. It becomes a compulsory course in schools, and becomes one of the most common requirements for job seekers. Google translate is also used by a lot of people in my country, students too. But, students are allowed to use gadget in classes so google translate is mostly used when you learn outside the class.

Do you think dictionaries are useful for learning a language?

Yes, of course it is. One of the most important aspect of learning a language is expanding your vocabulary. When you learn English, for example, some basic words may be found in the textbook. But when it comes to less common words, you may have look them up in the dictionary.

IELTS Speaking Section Part 2 - Self-Presentation (Cue Card)

Foreign Language

Describe a language you would like to learn.

You should say:

What language is it?

Where it is spoken

How do you plan to learn it?

How it will help you

Explain why you want to learn this language.

What language is it?

I always want to learn French. I have learned for quite some time at school and college, but I'm still not very fluent. I'm an English-Indonesian translator, actually. But mastering more than one language is always a plus for people who work in this kind of job.

Where it is spoken

French is spoken not only in France, but also in several countries outside France. If I'm not mistaken, French is an official language in several countries like Canada, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

How do you plan to learn it?

So far, I have learned some grammatical rules, common vocabularies and some basic phrases and sentences. I learn mostly from textbook, so I'm better at written French than the spoken French. It is difficult for me to understand people who speak French too fast, and it is even more difficult for me to give a respond in French. So, the plan is that I will learn to have a real conversation in French. I recently watched a video called le secret poir améliorer votre Français, in which the instructor said that the best way to learn the language is to listen to a native speaker. I will try this method, and let's see if it works.

How it will help you

Listening to a native speaker will really help me with the pronunciation. Pronunciation has always been a challenge for me, because I often pronounce a French word like when I pronounce an English word, and that's why my French may sound odd for many people who are already fluent. For example, I have a problem with the final nasalized sound in the word communication. It will sound more like an English word when I say it, making it weird, especially when the rest of the sentence sounds like an actual French. I feel like I have to work on this problem so that I will sound more natural and easily understandable.

Explain why you want to learn this language.

Well, French was taught in my college although my major was English, and this is because the languages are closely related. Many words in English are of French origin. Since I focused on English linguistics, I think it's also important for me to learn French and German, or at least one of them. The proficiency of French and German is not mandatory actually, but I still feel like I have to do it, learning foreign language other than English.

IELTS Speaking Section Part 3 - Discussion

Learning Foreign Language

Why do people learn foreign language?

On a more personal level, learning foreign language will expand one's view of the world, making them more tolerant and flexible when facing cultural difference. People also learn foreign language for a more practical reason. For example, m
any people learn foreign language because they want to be able to compete in the job market. 

Language often becomes an access to the multicultural world, which means that it also becomes an important part of foreign business and trade, as well as diplomacy.

Is it possible for people to learn a foreign language as an autodidact?

Yes, they can. But it will require a lot more effort, time and commitment. People can learn a foreign language by themselves by reading textbook or online source. But it will only help them with grammar, vocabulary, and some written forms of the language. But, in order to be able to communicate orally, people need to learn the language from a native speaker or a professional teacher, because the actual usage of a language is often different from what we learn from the textbook. People use slang, slash unnecessary grammatical components in a sentence, or even use some cultural terms that can only be learned from real communication with a real person.

What makes it hard to learn a foreign language?

I think the most difficult part of learning a language is learning how to use it in a real conversation. I rarely have any problem with listening or reading comprehension. So, if someone talks to me in French, let's say, I will pretty much understand what they say. But giving a respond is always difficult, because I learn the language mostly from textbook. If I were asked to read an article in French, I would have a little problem understanding what it says. But if I have to write a short article in French, it will definitely take me several hours to do it.

Do you think living in a country where a foreign language is spoken will help you learn it faster?

Yes, it definitely will. There will be a lot of exposure to the language, we will be forced to do our best speaking the language because of the need for communication, and this will cut our learning curve. At first, we may feel a little bit frustrated because it is hard to make people understand what we are trying to say. We have to repeat our sentence just to make them understand. But, repetition can be a good way of learning a foreign language. We will be motivated to pronounce word correctly, or else, people will find it difficult to understand us. Some people may correct our grammar indirectly, or tell us certain word in their language, or how certain word is used in certain context.

Why does foreign language skill become an important these days?

Language becomes more and more crucial because the world is more globalized and people become more connected. We study overseas, we do business with foreign partners, there are more and more government collaborations, several countries rely on tourism and foreign investment, and language plays an important role in all these activities.

Are there a lot of people who speak foreign language in your country?

Yes, especially the young generations. In the past, foreign language was common only among educated individuals. But now, as there is easier access to education and foreign language becomes a compulsory course, more and more people speak foreign language. Technology also plays a crucial role because it provides access to foreign culture, free educational material and the chance for us to communicate with people from different parts of the world.

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