This episode's vocabulary
- Placement (noun) - a temporary position or job in an organization.
- On the fly - if you do something on the fly, you do it quickly, often while you are doing something else, without preparing and without thinking too much about how it should be done.
- Opportune (adj.) - happening at a time that is likely to produce success or is convenient.
- Time sink (noun) - a time sink is a task that takes a long time or wastes someone's time.
- Resentment (noun) - a feeling of anger because you have been forced to accept something that you do not like.
- Commonality (noun) - the fact of sharing interests, experiences, or other characteristics with someone or something.
- Priority (noun) - something that is very important and must be dealt with before other things.
- Interface (noun) - a connection between two pieces of electronic equipment, or between a person and a computer.
- Commonplace (adj.) - happening often or often seen or experienced and so not considered to be special.
- Integration (noun) - the action or process of combining two or more things in an effective way.
- Intrusive (adj.) - affecting someone in a way that annoys them and makes them feel uncomfortable.
- Outright (adverb) - completely or immediately.
Questions and Answers
M: Is it a waste of time to take pictures with mobile phones?
R: I think that will depend on what you're photographing, won't it? In addition to what you're doing the photographing with. I suppose if you take the same picture a million times, then it seems pointless. And if you're photographing with something that doesn't work really well, then it's also not really a great idea. But sometimes you need to photograph something so you won't forget it. I had to do that when I was on placement. And when I was in school and saw something interesting from my file. I imagine other people have similar needs they need to meet on the fly.
M: What's the impact of cell phones?
R: Well, in general, they've expanded communications opportunities to all corners of the globe. Allowed people to keep in touch more regularly. And more recently, we've been given access to the internet, more opportune moments than before. So you could say they've brought us and information closer together.
M: What positive and negative effects do mobile phones have on friendship?
R: Well, I suppose the benefits include being able to stay in contact more often and share information about things more readily. However, I can see how speaking to people all the time would distract you from other friends and tasks and be a time sink that might create resentment.
M: What do you think will happen in the future with mobile phones and friendship?
R: Well, I hope that we'll all get used to it. And so the chances of things going wrong will be vastly reduced.
M: What do you think about people who speak loudly on mobile phones in public places?
R: I don't usually see the need for it. Maybe they have poor volume control and a lack of self-awareness. Or maybe they just love being the centre of attention or don't care about the feelings and personal space of others. Regardless, I do find it something to deal with rather than something I enjoy.
M: Do young people use mobile phones the same way as old people do?
R: Well, I imagine they use different apps, but the purpose will ultimately be the same. I mean, they'll share information with people they consider to be a priority. Despite that commonality, they'll probably have different priorities. I can't imagine many older people use them to communicate with work or for work more broadly. Especially if they've retired. Well, then they won't be working at all, will they? By contrast, young people are far more likely to do so.
M: What kind of mobile phones will become more popular in the future in your country?
R: I'd be surprised if there wasn't more of the same really. Perhaps the interfaces will change with connections between mind, body and device. They'll become more commonplace. You can already see it in some wearable tech like smartwatches and glasses. It doesn't seem like there's much to stop such integration from progressing. So they'll still do what they've done before allowed us to share information at greater rates and then more varied formats.
M: Many people think that's mobile phones can be quite annoying. Can you give any examples?
R: Well, we already talked about people being loud on their phones. So I suppose an extension of that would be phones which are loud with intrusive ringtones and sound effects. On the subject of which they can also cause people to be rude by drawing their attention away from whatever they were supposed to be doing or whoever they were supposed to be talking to.
M: Do you think there should be laws on the use of mobile phones?
R: Well, I think there already are, aren't there? You can't use them in planes or in certain parts of hospitals for the most part. Broadly, though, it would be good if we could agree on social rules for their appropriate use. Maybe, if not outright bans in some places.
M: Can you imagine like, on Mondays we can't use smartphones. So Mondays, smartphones are banned all over the world. So you can't use your smartphone on a Monday. Like Monday, Wednesdays, no smartphone days. Can you imagine that?
R: I can't. I don't see what that would achieve. Like, it doesn't seem like it would accomplish anything.
M: Yeah, true. It just would add annoyance to people's lives. So, that's it, thank you very much, Rory, for your answers, for your well informed, detailed answers.
M: Let's take a look at the vocabulary and grammar, and also some ideas about mobile phones. Interesting that they call them mobile phones or cell phones. Why not smartphones? I wonder.
R: Well, probably because you could talk about more. Not everybody has a smartphone. Not everyone can afford a smartphone.
M: Oh, okay. Really? Do you think like some people still use like a usual mobile phone? Not a smartphone?
R: Yeah. Lot's of people, older people, maybe people with less money?
M: Yeah. So a mobile phone is just this button phone. A smartphone is a smartphone. But now we just say a smartphone to me and I think any phone. So we take a picture, not make a picture, we take a picture using a mobile phone. Or you can say photograph something. So you need to photograph something.
R: Yeah. So it can be used as a verb.
M: And then you say something like, do it on the fly, we do it on the fly.
R: So if you do something on the fly, it's like you're doing something while it's happening. Or while time is progressing at the same pace as the whatever it is you're doing. So like working on something on the fly just means you're working on it while it's supposed to be happening.
M: You can also say do it on the go or on the fly. Rory, when you take photos, do you actually look at them?
R: Yes, I have to for my work.
M: But not for your work, just you know, if you take personal photos, selfies or like photos of your friends, do you look at them again? Or you will never look at them again? They're just there.
R: Well, I look at them when I want to talk about them.
M: Because some people take photos and never look at them again.
R: Well, they won't look at them again yet. They'll probably go back to them when they're older. Do you have to look at their photos immediately after they've been taken?
M: Yes, to check if everything's okay. And then retake it?
R: No, there's no need for that.
M: Oh, ladies, you would agree with me. All right, then the impact of cell phones. Why do we use the word impact? Why not effect, influence? Why impact?
R: I suppose because we want to talk about it in stronger terms, maybe?
M: And also something negative, right? Or no? Like, what's the impact of cell phones? Does it imply that it's something negative?
R: Well, here, it's just said, what's the impact? I suppose it could have a negative connotation, but I don't see it.
M: It could also be positive. So you can talk about influence, like cell phones influence something or have an influence on something? Or they affect something? Yeah, so people keep in touch more regularly with each other, they have access to the internet. And also you said that cell phones have brought us and information closer together. So present perfect. Yeah. So they have expanded our communication opportunities. And they have brought people and information closer together. Beautiful. And then about friendship, you said that we stay in contact more often. So these collocations, so we keep in touch, we stay in contact. Very nice synonyms. And then you mentioned to be a time sink.
R: Yeah. So that's like, all of your time goes into it and it's not very productive.
M: So it's when you waste your precious time on Instagram. A time sink?
M: Could you give us an example? Do we say like, cell phones are a time sync?
R: Well, cell phones can be a time sink, certain apps on your phone can be a time sink, like Instagram, for example. So something that makes you waste your time in your way of thinking about it.
M: Some people speak loudly on their mobile phones. And you said that they have poor volume control. So volume control, and lack of self-awareness. And then you edit that they want to be the centre of attention.
R: Yeah. So if you're the centre of attention, then that just means everyone is looking at you. It's not necessarily a good thing either.
M: Do you sometimes do it? Do you speak loudly on your mobile phone?
R: Not really. No, I don't see the point.
R: Unless like it's loud around me. But then that's hardly ever.
M: We use different apps. We share information with people and talking about the differences between how young people and old people use mobile phones. So you talked about apps, right? So maybe older people don't use so many apps as young people do.
R: Well, they might not use the same ones.
M: And you said, like, they have different priorities.
R: Yeah. So for example, well, I already said older people would be less likely to use them for work, just perhaps because they don't know how, whereas young people will, in the same way, they'll be more likely to want to do it so that they can get the job done.
M: Do you think that older people now tend to have a simple mobile phone or a smartphone?
R: I think that will depend entirely on where you are, if we're talking about in the middle of Africa, then they're probably more likely to have a phone. Well, it's not a smartphone. Whereas if you're in Europe, then you're probably more likely to have a smartphone.
M: The second conditional, I'd be surprised if there wasn't more of the same. When you talked about how popular mobile phones will be, or what kind of mobile phones will be popular in the future, I'd be surprised if there wasn't more of the same really. So kind of of the same phones, yeah?
R: Yeah, well, more of the same phones, more of the same functions.
M: You also used interfaces, the interfaces.
R: Yeah. But that's vocabulary.
M: Yeah. Oh, you wanted grammar. We do use the present perfect, have expanded. So cell phones have expanded communication opportunities, have brought us together closer with information. And then for the future, yeah, it's good to use the second conditional. And also like will change or are likely to change. But also in terms of grammar, you've used lots of complex sentences. So you didn't give me just a short sentence. Your sentences tend to be complex, meaning that most of the sentences have two parts. So you are connecting two ideas into one sentence, which is nice.
R: Well, I think so.
M: When we talked about phones being annoying. You said intrusive ring tones. Something intrusive.
R: Oh, yeah, we're back to vocabulary again. Yes. So intrusive just means that it's bothering you. It's invading your personal space.
M: Yeah. Music could be intrusive, or sound effects, like intrusive sound effects. And answering the last question about laws. You go like, I think there already are, aren't there? A tag question.
R: Yeah, isn't it?
M: Yeah, like we should introduce some laws, shouldn't we? Yes. And also here, the second conditional is nice. It will be good if we could agree on social rules, right? So no, mobile phones day. At schools, at some schools, mobile phones are banned?
R: Well, yeah. But that's not a law. That's just a rule.
M: And what's the rule? So kids are not allowed to use any smartphones?
R: Well, yeah, that's just it. Just don't bring your smartphone to class.
M: So no education using smartphones, with technology. Yeah, teaching with technology. Right, dear listener, if you want some more ideas, you can go online and read some articles about mobile phones in the 21st century. And this could add more nice structures and vocabulary. And would make you're more educated, because mobile phones could also be a topic of the essay. So you're gonna kill two birds with one huge stone. Rory, are you on your mobile phone now?
R: Yes, I am.
M: Are you on your smartphone? Okay, thank you very much for listening! Bye!
Make sure to subscribe to our social media to see some of the “behind the scenes” stuff:
Our Instagram: bit.ly/instagramswi
Our Telegram: bit.ly/telegramswi