This episode's vocabulary
- Censorship (noun) - a system in which an authority limits the ideas that people are allowed to express and prevents books, films, works of art, documents, or other kinds of communication from being seen or made available to the public, because they include or support certain ideas.
- To break (verb) - to fail to keep a law, rule, or promise.
- To subvert (verb) - to try to destroy or damage something, especially an established political system.
- To resolve (verb) - to solve or end a problem or difficulty.
- To muzzle (verb) - to stop a person or organization from expressing independent opinions.
- Pay lip service to sth - to say that you agree with something but do nothing to support it.
- To enforce (verb) - to make people obey a law, or to make a particular situation happen or be accepted.
- Whiner (noun) - a person, especially a child, who complains or expresses disappointment or unhappiness repeatedly.
- Vote with your feet (idiom) - to show your opinion by leaving an organization or by no longer supporting, using, or buying something.
- To conform (verb) - to behave according to the usual standards of behaviour that are expected by a group or society.
- Regulation (noun) - an official rule or the act of controlling something.
Questions and Answers
M: Rory, are you all ready?
R: I am ready to go.
M: Rock and roll.
R: So probably like everyone else at this stage, I can't stand the censorship rules various platforms and institutions have. And when I can get away with it, I try to break or subvert such rules regardless of what I'm doing. The reasons for this should be obvious to everyone by now, they don't work. And they might actually make things worse. Pretty much everything about them either is or feels wrong. And I suspect that everyone knows that. In more detail, you need to be able to have open conversations about problems in order to resolve them. So if you just muzzle someone's speech or everyone's speech, then you're actively preventing that. Even worse, some places and services just pay lip service to the rules. And they only enforce them when it comes to people who are disliked by large groups of whiners. So, if you're popular, you can get away with breaking them, which is hardly fair. As if that wasn't bad enough, these rules might actually damage platforms themselves. Once people find out a rule isn't being enforced consistently, or prevents them from learning things, then they vote with their feet, and their wallets, taking their money and time with them. For all the places with these rules go on about caring about freedom of speech, they obviously aren't worried enough to make sure their rules are actually fair or workable for them or the people using their platforms. So for all these reasons, I either don't follow them, or I tried to get around them when I can. Everyone else might be thrilled with conforming to these silly regulations and filtering their information by what they prefer, rather than by what's real, but I am never going along with it.
M: Right. Well done you. Dear listener, do you feel the mood of this speech? Of this powerful Scotland Freedom speech? Yes.
R: Freedom, indeed, freedom of speech.
M: Yes, and a follow up question the examiner can ask you. And what about your friends?
R: My friends are just as sick of it as I am.
M: Oh, good. Alright. Cool. Okay, so dear listener, you can talk about different kinds of rules that you don't like. Maybe you don't like anti smoking rule, or don't drink alcohol in public places this kinda rule. So think about a rule that you don't like, maybe something connected with traffic.
R: I don't like the speed limit.
M: Yeah, the speed limit is like for fools. But again, you should think overall, that you can talk about.
M: Right? So it should be something easy. So please make your choices now. Rory talked about censorship. Rory, tell us what, what is censorship.
R: That's when you stop people from saying things or creating media about things that you don't like. It's done by the government, mostly. But it can be done by companies, or it can be done by individuals, which is self-censorship.
M: So for example, if I work for Google, and I say like, oh, you should use Yandex. Hey, or you should use some other services. And I write about it. So Google company could censor what I'm writing.
R: Yeah, they could just cut it out.
M: Yeah. So they just don't let me publish it. And this is because of this censorship rule.
R: While we're talking about rules, we should maybe mention different ways of saying it. So it could be rules, regulations, instructions, laws.
M: Yep. Yeah. Good. And different verbs that we use with rules. So Rory said, I can't stand this rule. I can't stand, I hate, I dislike and then you follow a rule or you break a rule.
R: Or you subvert the rules.
M: Oh, subvert. Yeah. What does it mean to subvert?
R: So, follow the rule means you do what you're told. Break the rule means you don't do it. And subvert the rules means that you... It's like, how best to say... It's like you follow them but you don't really follow them. So you just like pretend and then you do your own thing anyway. Like, like people who don't pay their taxes. They say they are but they're really not.
M: Or they reduce the taxes, they pay very little.
R: Yeah, they hire accountants to avoid paying them, which is quite sensible as you can get away with it. And, phrasal verbs. We've already said... Now, can't stand isn't a phrasal verb is it? But it's still quite, it's quite a good expression to use, isn't it? What is can't stand?
M: I think it's just a collocation. It's not a phrasal verb. It's just, you know, a collocation, expression, a phrase, a set phrase, just I can't stand, I dislike. You also said I tried to get around the rules. So to get around them. That's a phrasal verb.
R: Yes. So that's like to avoid observing them or to avoid conforming to the rules, which just is like another way of saying follow them.
M: But if I get around a rule, do I subvert a rule? Or to get around a rule means to follow a rule?
R: No, no, to get around means you avoid it.
M: Avoid it, okay, okay. But subvert rules, like you kind of follow, but you don't avoid them.
R: Yeah. Ah, it's an idiom. Can't stand.
M: It's an idiom. I can't stand. Oh, idiomatic language.
R: It is idiomatic language. That's super easy. You learn that at like, intermediate level, don't you?
M: I think so.
M: Yeah, intermediate. Yeah. Because, like, I can't stand like literally like, what, you can't stand? Can you sit? Can you lie? Can you run? So yeah, it's used idiomatically I can't stand all the rules and laws. Alright, then you said, I can get away with it.
R: Which is another idiomatic expression. So to get away with something is like, well, you do something, usually something wrong. And you don't get any trouble for doing that. Or you don't get in any trouble for doing it.
M: Yeah, for example, you break this rule, you break the speed limit, and then nothing happens for some reason. They don't find you. So you're free to go. So you got away with it. Yeah, so you broke the rule, but nothing happened. Usually, this doesn't happen. Usually you have to pay a fine for breaking the speed limit. But well... Another good one is you muzzle someone speech.
R: Yeah, so if your muzzle someone usually you stop them from speaking. But to be honest with you, muzzling is also about controlling people, which is also what rules are about, so you could probably use it for that purpose too.
M: If I muzzle your speech, it means that I control your speech.
R: Yeah. Or you stop me from saying something.
M: Ah, okay. Interesting. And we've talked about it before, to pay lip service to the rules.
R: Yes, that just means you say you're following them, but you're really not. So there are lots of companies that do this. They allow people to spread certain kinds of misinformation, but because they believe the same things as the company, then they're allowed to do this.
R: It is interesting how that happens. Not thinking of any company in particular.
M: Okay, you're devil.
R: Let's just say it would be difficult to spot them, if you didn't know, who we were talking about.
M: Okay, listener, how are you, how are you? Just don't pay attention to Rory. He says strange things sometimes.
R: Are you censoring me?
M: Yes, I'm censoring you. I'm muzzling your speech. You can get away with breaking some rules. You can say that that's a good thing to say using this idiomatic language. So some people get away with breaking the rules. I don't like the rule so I can get away when I break it. Something like that. Yeah. And another good verb is to conform. So to conform to regulations to conform to silly regulations to conform to silly rules. What does it mean? Tell us.
R: Well, if you conform, you do as you're told, so it's like following things.
M: Yep. Yeah. Can I conform to laws?
R: Conforming is more about what society does. So it's not like things are written down. It's not formal. It's like informal rules that you conform to.
R: So conform to a social standard.
M: Yeah. Yeah. What kind of society tells you to do.
R: Yes, we don't do that though. We are unique. We are rebels.
M: No, no. Yeah, rebels. Scotland... You know the second word that you should say after Scotland. Don't you? Yes.
R: It begins with F.
M: Ends with M. Freedom. I just had to say. Okay. Yeah. So I think it's a pretty difficult topic, a rule. And now you need to choose what rule you're gonna dislike for the purposes of IELTS speaking exam. Rory, tell us about the organization, how did you structure your rebel kind of answer?
R: Well, what did we have to do? We had to say what the rule was, why I don't like it, how other people feel about the rule and explain whether I followed the rule. And actually, I think I did all of these basically, within the first, like the first two, what's the word. Utterances, sentences. And I was just like, probably like everyone else at this stage. So already talking about how other people feel, I can't stand and also, like, if you're talking about yourself in relation to other people, you're involving them too. And then censorship rules, what the rule is. In this case, I've talked about a set of rules. I don't think it matters, because I'm breaking this rule as well. And then explain whether I followed the rule. Well, I tried to break it or subvert it. And then I just went on a massive rant, which is much easier to do.
M: Yeah. And then you say the reasons for this. Remember, for, the reason for something, not of. The reason for this is that that... In more detail, and then you go into more detail about the rule.
R: As if that wasn't bad enough.
R: To add more information about why it's an awful idea.
M: And why you dislike the rule.
M: Or can't stand the rule. Ends in the end, for all these reasons. I don't follow such rules. And I tried to get around them. Yeah. So can our listener talk about for example, wearing a uniform at school as a rule?
R: Yeah, in fact, someone I know did that.
M: Yeah. Or, for example, if you have dress code at work, or you can imagine that you have dress code at work, and you hate this rule, and you can talk about it. Something you know, I think easier to talk about. They have to follow a dress code. You have to wear a shirt, and trousers, no high heels, perhaps for ladies. All right, cool. Lovely. Rory, do you have a rule that you like? Or kind of because you're Scottish, you just hate all the rules? It's in your blood.
R: No. Do you know what the funny thing is? Scottish people just love following rules. We're not really big fans of freedom as much as people think. Which is always very sad. I think the only rule I really like is like, the only rule is that there are no rules that you can't break.
M: Oh, okay. The only rule I like is that you can break all the rules. Lovely. On such a bright note. Thank you very much for listening! We are with you, you are with us! How lovely it is. Take care!
R: Break the rules!
M: We'll see you and hear in the next episode speaking part three. Bye!
R: Tell us how you like to break the rules on social media. Bye!
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