Speaking (Your Home Country / Fame)


Idioms & Expressions:

flyover states / provinces (noun; parts of a country that are rural, and where not many people live – so everyone just “flies over” them in planes)


the big city (noun; is used to describe the most major city in an area, where many people move in order to pursue jobs)

She moved from a flyover state to the big city in order to work at a law firm.


15 minutes of fame (noun; refers to a short period of fame that a person achieves)

The firefighter got fifteen minutes of fame when he saved a child from a burning house.


claim to fame (noun; refers to the reason why someone is famous)

Her claim to fame is a detective novel that was published last year.


overnight celebrity (noun; a person who becomes famous very quickly)

Lady Gaga became an overnight celebrity when her song “Just Dance” came out.


brush with fame (noun; refers to a time when you encounter someone famous)

He had a brief brush with fame when he met President Obama last week.


has-been (noun; refers to a person who used to be famous or accomplished, but no longer is today)

The athlete won a basketball championship in 1986, but now he’s a has-been.


one-hit wonder (noun; an artist who only has one successful song)

“Gangnam Style” made Psy the most famous one-hit wonder of 2012.


multi-hyphenate (noun; this is a person who is famous for several reasons)

Every year, all the entertainment industry’s multi-hyphenates appear at the awards show.


idol (noun; refers to someone who is a role model or a hero to someone else)

Kanye West is an idol to many young hip-hop fans.


Part I: Group Discussion

  1. Which part of your country do most people live in?

I’m from the USA, and in that country, most people are concentrated in cities on the coasts. The middle of the country is massive, but not as many people live there.

  1. Tell me about the main industries there.

On the coasts, you have all the professional and business industries. Everything that has to do with finance, government and talent is based in the coastal cities.

  1. How easy is it to travel around your country?

We don’t have a good public train system, really. Ours is very slow. You can take a bus, plane or car to get around (most people drive cars) but that problem is that America is a massive country. It’s 3,000 miles across, and it can take four or five full days of driving to get across it.

  1. Has your country changed much since you were a child?

Not really – and that is the problem. Besides the proliferation of computers and cell phones, everything pretty much stays the same. The reason that this is a problem is that our infrastructure is very old, and it needs a lot of maintenance.

Part II: Individual Presentations

Describe a well-known person you like or admire. You should say:

  • Who this person is
  • What this person has done
  • Why this person is well-known
  • and explain why you admire this person.

There’s an American comedian named Bill Burr, who tours all over the world. He has a bunch of standup specials that I watch very often. Also, he hosts a weekly podcasts where he discusses current events, and I find that pretty funny. I never miss an episode. In addition to this, he has a show on Netflix called “F is for Family.” As time goes on, he gets more and more popular as more people discover who he is and recommend him to other people. Other people know him because he frequently has supporting roles in movies.

I admire him because he seems to always have a great sense of humor and has an interesting take on many issues.

Part III: Class Discussion

  1. What kind of people become famous these days?

I think right now you either have to be a talented singer or actor, or you have to be a politician. Failing those, you can become famous on social media.

  1. Is this different from the kind of achievement that made people famous in the past? In what way?

I think certain paths to fame are never going to change. But right now, it’s easier for average people to get famous. There are simply more famous people who became well-known for doing ridiculous things online, such as posting a viral video.

  1. How do you think people will become famous in the future?

I think it will remain the same it is currently – people will get famous by using social media.

  1. What are the good things about being famous? Are there any disadvantages?

Well, if you’re famous then you probably have a little bit of money, which helps you maneuver and accomplish things that you really want to do. But you also lose your privacy. Ordinary people think they’re entitled to you, or to a part of your life, which I’m sure can get annoying.

  1. How does the media in your country treat famous people?

The media adores them and promotes them – but they also subject them to constant scrutiny. Also, because people like to watch other people fail, the media will closely follow a scandal that develops around a famous person.