A2 - Lesson 13

Part 1 : Video Lesson & Transcript

Part : Listening & Reading comprehension

Part 3 : Use of English

Part 4 : Grammar lesson

Part 5 : Writing an essay & corrections

Part 6 : Speaking, interaction, & explanations.


Please make sure you unfold each content for each part of the lesson.  Merci de déplier chaque contenu pour chaque partie de cette leçon.



See instructions beneath the video.


4 reason to learn a new language


4 reason to learn a new language

English is fast becoming the world's universal language, and instant translation technology is improving every year. So why bother learning a foreign language? Linguist and Columbia professor John McWhorter shares four alluring benefits of learning an unfamiliar tongue.




1) Listen to the video without reading the text / transcript

2) Then Listen to the video again reading the transcript as you listen.

3) Then listen to the video again without reading the transcript.



The language I'm speaking right now is on its way to becoming the world's universal language, for better or for worse. Let's face it, it's the language of the internet, it's the language of finance, it's the language of air traffic control, of popular music, diplomacy -- English is everywhere.

Now, Mandarin Chinese is spoken by more people, but more Chinese people are learning English than English speakers are learning Chinese. Last I heard, there are two dozen universities in China right now teaching all in English. English is taking over.

And in addition to that, it's been predicted that at the end of the century almost all of the languages that exist now -- there are about 6,000 -- will no longer be spoken. There will only be some hundreds left. And on top of that, it's at the point where instant translation of live speech is not only possible, but it gets better every year.

The reason I'm reciting those things to you is because I can tell that we're getting to the point where a question is going to start being asked, which is: Why should we learn foreign languages -- other than if English happens to be foreign to one? Why bother to learn another one when it's getting to the point where almost everybody in the world will be able to communicate in one?

I think there are a lot of reasons, but I first want to address the one that you're probably most likely to have heard of, because actually it's more dangerous than you might think. And that is the idea that a language channels your thoughts, that the vocabulary and the grammar of different languages gives everybody a different kind of acid trip, so to speak. That is a marvelously enticing idea, but it's kind of fraught.

So it's not that it's untrue completely. So for example, in French and Spanish the word for table is, for some reason, marked as feminine. So, "la table," "la mesa," you just have to deal with it. It has been shown that if you are a speaker of one of those languages and you happen to be asked how you would imagine a table talking, then much more often than could possibly be an accident, a French or a Spanish speaker says that the table would talk with a high and feminine voice. So if you're French or Spanish, to you, a table is kind of a girl, as opposed to if you are an English speaker.

It's hard not to love data like that, and many people will tell you that that means that there's a worldview that you have if you speak one of those languages. But you have to watch out, because imagine if somebody put us under the microscope, the us being those of us who speak English natively. What is the worldview from English?

So for example, let's take an English speaker. Up on the screen, that is Bono. He speaks English. I presume he has a worldview. Now, that is Donald Trump. In his way, he speaks English as well.

And here is Ms. Kardashian, and she is an English speaker, too. So here are three speakers of the English language. What worldview do those three people have in common? What worldview is shaped through the English language that unites them? It's a highly fraught concept. And so gradual consensus is becoming that language can shape thought, but it tends to be in rather darling, obscure psychological flutters. It's not a matter of giving you a different pair of glasses on the world.

Now, if that's the case, then why learn languages? If it isn't going to change the way you think, what would the other reasons be? There are some. One of them is that if you want to imbibe a culture, if you want to drink it in, if you want to become part of it, then whether or not the language channels the culture -- and that seems doubtful -- if you want to imbibe the culture, you have to control to some degree the language that the culture happens to be conducted in. There's no other way.

There's an interesting illustration of this. I have to go slightly obscure, but really you should seek it out. There's a movie by the Canadian film director Denys Arcand -- read out in English on the page, "Dennis Ar-cand," if you want to look him up. He did a film called "Jesus of Montreal." And many of the characters are vibrant, funny, passionate, interesting French-Canadian, French-speaking women. There's one scene closest to the end, where they have to take a friend to an Anglophone hospital. In the hospital, they have to speak English. Now, they speak English but it's not their native language, they'd rather not speak English. And they speak it more slowly, they have accents, they're not idiomatic. Suddenly these characters that you've fallen in love with become husks of themselves, they're shadows of themselves.

To go into a culture and to only ever process people through that kind of skrim curtain is to never truly get the culture. And so to the extent that hundreds of languages will be left, one reason to learn them is because they are tickets to being able to participate in the culture of the people who speak them, just by virtue of the fact that it is their code. So that's one reason.

Second reason: it's been shown that if you speak two languages, dementia is less likely to set in, and that you are probably a better multitasker. And these are factors that set in early, and so that ought to give you some sense of when to give junior or juniorette lessons in another language. Bilingualism is healthy.

And then, third -- languages are just an awful lot of fun. Much more fun than we're often told. So for example, Arabic: "kataba," he wrote, "yaktubu," he writes, she writes. "Uktub," write, in the imperative. What do those things have in common? All those things have in common the consonants sitting in the middle like pillars. They stay still, and the vowels dance around the consonants. Who wouldn't want to roll that around in their mouths? You can get that from Hebrew, you can get that from Ethiopia's main language, Amharic. That's fun.

Or languages have different word orders. Learning how to speak with different word order is like driving on the different side of a street if you go to certain country, or the feeling that you get when you put Witch Hazel around your eyes and you feel the tingle. A language can do that to you.

So for example, "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back," a book that I'm sure we all often return to, like "Moby Dick." One phrase in it is, "Do you know where I found him? Do you know where he was? He was eating cake in the tub, Yes he was!" Fine. Now, if you learn that in Mandarin Chinese, then you have to master, "You can know, I did where him find? He was tub inside gorging cake, No mistake gorging chewing!" That just feels good. Imagine being able to do that for years and years at a time.

Or, have you ever learned any Cambodian? Me either, but if I did, I would get to roll around in my mouth not some baker's dozen of vowels like English has, but a good 30 different vowels scooching and oozing around in the Cambodian mouth like bees in a hive. That is what a language can get you.

And more to the point, we live in an era when it's never been easier to teach yourself another language. It used to be that you had to go to a classroom, and there would be some diligent teacher -- some genius teacher in there -- but that person was only in there at certain times and you had to go then, and then was not most times. You had to go to class. If you didn't have that, you had something called a record. I cut my teeth on those. There was only so much data on a record, or a cassette, or even that antique object known as a CD. Other than that you had books that didn't work, that's just the way it was.

Today you can lay down -- lie on your living room floor, sipping bourbon, and teach yourself any language that you want to with wonderful sets such as Rosetta Stone. I highly recommend the lesser known Glossika as well. You can do it any time, therefore you can do it more and better. You can give yourself your morning pleasures in various languages. I take some "Dilbert" in various languages every single morning; it can increase your skills. Couldn't have done it 20 years ago when the idea of having any language you wanted in your pocket, coming from your phone, would have sounded like science fiction to very sophisticated people.

So I highly recommend that you teach yourself languages other than the one that I'm speaking, because there's never been a better time to do it. It's an awful lot of fun. It won't change your mind, but it will most certainly blow your mind.

Thank you very much.


  1. Listen to the video and answer all questions below  without reading the transcript /text of the video.
  2. Then read the transcript of the video and check your answers, before looking at the corrections.



According to the speaker, are these statements true or false?

  1. Native speakers of Mandarin outnumber native speakers of English.
  2. There will still be about 6,000 languages spoken by 2100.
  3. The language that you speak controls how you think
  4. To truly understand a culture you need to understand the language
  5. Speaking a language can help with the prevention or delay of a disease
  6. The language in Cambodia has more vowels than English
  7. It isn’t any easier now to learn a language than it used to be




  1. T
  2. F
  3. F
  4. T
  5. T
  6. T
  7. F




Present Simple Vs Present continuous

1). In the text we can see many examples of these two tenses. Identify the tenses used in the sentences below as present simple or present continuous.


  • The language I'm speaking right now
  • but more Chinese people are learning English
  • English is taking over
  • it's the language of the internet
  • a language channels your thoughts
  • Do you know…?





Present simple

I am happy

She is not happy

Is she happy?


She knows

We don’t know

Do we know?


We work

He doesn’t work

Does it work?

Present continuous

I am working

I’m not working

Am I working?


She is playing

She isn’t playing

Is she playing?


We are watching

We aren’t watching

Are we watching?


We use present simple for:

  1. Things that are generally true, without reference to time
  2. To state the frequency of something
  3. To say what usually happens
  4. With state verbs (such as know, have, feel, seem, understand) – verbs that don’t refer to actions that can start or finish

We us present continuous for:

  1. Things that are in the process of happening in the present moment
  2. Things that are currently changing, taking place over this time period
  3. Things that are currently happening, developing, but not necessarily in the present moment
  4. For future arrangements
  5. Things happening temporarily
  6. Things that are happening in a stated present time period

 2). For each sentence in exercise 1, match it to the uses of the tenses above.


3). Are the tenses used in these sentences correct or not? If they aren’t correct, make them correct


  1. We aren’t knowing the time
  2. I speak on the phone, I will help you later
  3. We need your help now
  4. I work in Paris this year
  5. I am living in Lyon





  • The language I'm speaking right now (p.c) - 1
  • but more Chinese people are learning English (p.c) - 3
  • English is taking over (p.c) - 2
  • it's the language of the internet (p.s) -1
  • a language channels your thoughts (p.s) - 2
  • Do you know…? (p.s) - 4




  1. We aren’t knowing the time (incorrect – We don’t know the time)
  2. I speak on the phone, I will help you later (incorrect – I am speaking on the phone…)
  3. We need your help now (correct)
  4. I work in Paris this year (incorrect – I am working in Paris this year)
  5. I am living in Lyon (correct)





Traduire les phrases suivantes en anglais, issues du texte, puis retrouver ces phrases dans le texte en anglais:

1.Soyons franc, c'est la langue d'internet, la langue de la finance, la langue du traffic aérien, de la music populaire, de la diplomacie - l'Anglais est partout.


2. Aux dernieres nouvelles, il y a deux douzaines d'univerité en Chine qui enseignent l'anglais.









Essential Grammar in use p 232-233

Unit 112  If I had ...     if we went .... etc




Complete the sentences.

  1. I don't know the answer. If I .......  the answer I'd tell you.
  2. I have a car. I couldn't travel very much if I ......... a car.
  3. I don't want to go out. If I .......... to go out, I'd go out.
  4. We haven't got a key. If we .............. a key, we could get into the house.
  5. I'm not hungry. I would have something to eat if I ..... hungry.
  6. Sue enjoys her hard work. She wouldn't do it if she ..... it.
  7. You can't drive. If you  ......... drive, I would lend you my car.
  8. He speaks too fast. I could understand him better if he ....... more slowly.
  9. I have a lot to do today. If I ....... so much to do, we could go out.


  1. knew
  2. didn't have
  3. wanted
  4. had
  5. was/were
  6. didn't enjoy
  7. could
  8. spoke
  9. didn't have




To take over – (ph. v) to start to control or dominate something

To bother – (v.) to make the effort to do something

Acid trip – (comp n.) a hallucination experienced as a result of LSD consumption

Enticing – (adj.) very attractive

Fraught – (adj.) with a lot of danger contained

Flutter – (v. / n.) the action of a butterfly, a light and uneven movement

Imbibe – (v.) to consume something

Husk – (n.) tough, dry shell of a plant or seed

To set in – (v.) to embed, to become a permanent feature

Multi-tasker (n.) someone who can do more than one thing at once

Tingle – (v. / n.) a slight stinging or electric sensation

Baker’s dozen – (comp n.) 13

To cut your teeth on something – (phrase) to learn something

Sip – (v. / n.) a small, quick drink of something



Peseshet is a doctor and a teacher. The video describes a typical day of her life.

Now it is you turn. Write a text :

- Present yourself.

- Describe your profession.

- Tell what you did to get this job.

- Describe a typical day of your life : what usually happens when you are at work?




You can book a one to one class with a teacher who will correct your writing exercise.  One to one classes can be online, with a video call, anytime of the day. 

This gives you full flexibility for your timetable.

Please send us an email at afterschool at afterschoollyon.com.




You can book a one to one class with a teacher for the speaking.  One to one classes can be online, with a video call, anytime of the day. 

This gives you full flexibility for your timetable.

Please send us an email at afterschool at afterschoollyon.com.

Our online classes range from A1 to C2 levels, including specific class contents and online video classes.  They are designed to improve communication of spoken and written English with learner-centred lessons which help build students’ confidence, accuracy and fluency.

Our online learning classes offer an extensive level of flexibility for individual students, with comprehensive syllabus and content.