Speaking (Places, Memories & Technology)


Idioms & Expressions:


spot (noun; an informal word for a place that you like to spend time at)

If you come out tonight, I’ll take you to one of my favorite spots for pizza.


photographic memory (noun; this is a perfect memory)

He doesn’t need to study because he has a photographic memory.


memory of a goldfish / elephant (expressions that refer to how short/long your memory is)

I forget everything. I have the memory of a goldfish.


forgetful / scatterbrained (adjectives; these are used to describe people who frequently forget things)

I’m scatterbrained and often forget my keys at home.


slip (someone’s) mind / space it / blank it (verb phrases; they mean you forgot something)

Sorry I didn’t text you last night. It slipped my mind.


obsolete (adjective; used to describe something old or out of date)


cutting edge (adjective; describes technology that is the newest or the latest)

The iPhone 7 is obsolete now that the cutting-edge iPhone X is out.


state-of-the-art / second-to-none (other adjectives that mean something is very advanced and modern)

The hospital is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities.


geek (noun; refers to people who are very knowledgeable about technology or computers)

My brother is sort of a tech geek, so he can help you fix your computer.


light pollution (noun; refers to the lights in cities that make it impossible to see the skies at night)

There is too much light pollution in New York City to see the constellations clearly.


binge / binge watch (verbs; these mean to watch many episodes of a certain TV show in a single day)

I’ve been binge watching Asia’s Next Top Model all week.


glued to the TV (adjective; means you’re unable to stop watching TV)

The new reality shows are so good that I’ve been glued to the TV all weekend.


Part 1: Group Discussion


Describe a place where you and your friends often hang out.

How long have you been hanging out at that place?

Is there anything you don’t like about it?

What are some things people can do there?

There’s a place on Xuan Dieu Road in Hanoi right on the corner of West Lake. It’s a little outdoor seating area in front of a coffee shop, and we call it the “Coffee Corner.” At about 11:00 am or noon every day, a large group of expats meets there and we all have some coffee and banh mi sandwiches. We hang out, enjoy the breeze, and catch up on news and small talk (and gossip too, I guess). It’s a pleasant atmosphere, right underneath some shady trees, and everyone goes there almost every day. The only thing I don’t like about it is that sometimes there isn’t a place to sit, since it’s so popular. I wouldn’t say it’s very popular for native Hanoians, but it’s definitely popular among expats who live in the city.


What kind of things do you always remind yourself to do?

I generally have a pretty good memory. I remember to go to the gym, prepare for my work, and do important chores. I only forget things that don’t really matter that much.

What kind of things are easily forgotten?

The more forgetful you are, the more you’ll forget. So some people forget only minor things and responsibilities, while some people forget hugely important things.

How can you help yourself remember something?

You can just make a to-do list, make a note in your phone, or ask someone to remind you not to forget to do something.

Part II: Individual Presentations

Describe the most expensive piece of technology you own. You should say:

  • what the piece of technology is
  • how much it cost and where you bought it
  • what you use it for and how often you use it

and whether or not you think it was good value for money.

I think the most expensive piece of technology I currently own is my smartphone. It’s a Samsung GS5 and I bought it two years ago when I lived in South Korea. It cost about $900, and I picked it up from the phone store on my street. Of course, the cost of the phone was able to be split up over the course of 24 months on a financing plan, so that was helpful.

I use it every day (as I explained above) because I can listen to podcasts, use language apps, and message and call people. I think it was a good value for my money, since I’ve had it for two and a half years now and I’ve used it every day. If you divide the cost I paid for it over every day I’ve used it so far, then it’s cost me barely more than a dollar a day so far.

Part III: Class Discussion

The Sky

Do you like to look at the sky?

I do whenever I’m outside in a clear area. Usually if I’m camping or driving through an open area, I will stargaze for a bit.

Is it better to look at the sky at night or in the daytime?

Definitely the nighttime. The sky at night is where you can see the constellations, and it can be a wondrous sight.

Where do people usually look at the sky?

Obviously when they’re outside, in an open area, away from light pollution. If you’re in the city, it’s hard to see anything except the light from the skyscrapers.


Do you like watching TV?

I do but there are too many shows to watch, so I get overwhelmed with the options. I only have one show I’m watching right now – “Master of None,” which is on Netflix.

How often do you watch TV?

I’m too busy right now, so I only watch TV about once a week. I’m looking forward to some time off so I can watch more, though.

What kind of TV programmes do you like to watch?

Comedies usually. I haven’t seen a good drama in a while, but I heard “The Wire” is a great show and I should check it out because it’s a class.

Do you like watching TV shows from other countries?

I haven’t really watched any foreign TV except British comedies such as the IT Crowd and some funny shows by Ricky Gervais.

What is your favourite TV show?

Right now, it’s “Master of None.” In the past, it would be “Breaking Bad.”