This episode's vocabulary
- Assess (verb) - to decide the quality or importance of something.
- Recall (verb) - to bring the memory of a past event into your mind, and often to give a description of what you remember.
- Prompt (noun) - words that are spoken to an actor who has forgotten what he or she is going to say during the performance of a play.
- Cue card (noun) - a card, unseen by the audience, carrying dialogue, lyrics, etc. as an aid to a television performer.
- Stammer (noun) - to speak or say something with unusual pauses or repeated sounds, either because of speech problems or because of fear or nervousness.
- Stutter (noun) - to speak or say something, especially the first part of a word, with difficulty, for example pausing before it or repeating it several times.
- Extraordinarily (adj.) - very; more than usual.
- Nerve-wracking (adj.) - something that is nerve-racking is difficult to do and causes a lot of worry for the person involved in it.
Questions and Answers
M: Rory will describe a time when he had to learn the words of something, like a poem or a song and then he had to sing it or say it from memory. He will say where he was, who was listening to him, what he had to say or sing, and explain how he felt about saying or singing something he has learned. Rory, how are you?
R: I'm fine.
M: Are you ready?
M: Yes, fire away.
R: Well, this is actually quite the coincidence because I found some certificates for this the other day when I was going through some papers. I usually organize my documents fairly regularly. So I was at this manor house outside of my hometown for what's called a Trinity drama exam. This is something that you can do if you study drama at this particular school. And part of the exam involved memorizing a section of a performance. And this was done for a pair of examiners who came to the school. It was based in this manner to assess us. And I had to recall an act out part of a play for them with no prompts or cue cards. And while I was doing that, their job was to take notes about how well I did, and that formed the basis of part of my certification. There were two other parts, I think one of them involved... I think I had to speak and have a discussion about a topic. Anyway, this was back in the day before I did public speaking regularly. I think I was about 11 or 12 years old. So I was actually really nervous and I spoke with stammers and stutters back then. So it was actually extraordinarily difficult for me. But I practiced, and practiced, and practiced, and I pulled through. I actually think I got a pretty high mark for it. If memory serves, even though it was a bit of a nerve-wracking experience. I'm still really glad I did it. It sort of helped lay the foundations for me becoming a better speaker. And well, you can see the end results of that now because I'm doing this sort of two minute task here. Um, but yeah, I can't actually remember what the name of the performance was, but I remember I had to do it and I remember it was successful. So I'm really pleased about that.
M: Yay. Well done you. I'm so proud of you.
R: Follow up question. Follow up question.
M: Do you often have to remember things?
R: Yes, I keep track of them in my diary.
M: Well done you. Rory, I'm so proud of you. Wow, that's a story. And that's a question like describe a time you had to learn the words of something. Now, dear listener, I need you to focus now and remember something from your life. What did you have to learn? Did you have to learn a song or a poem? You can talk about all the times when you went to primary school, for example.
R: Yeah, I think most people have to memorize songs in primary school. It could be something as simple as like remembering the words to baby shark.
M: Yeah. And we memorize things. So we remember a song or lyrics from a song. Memorize. You've used the word recall. I had to recall.
R: Yes. So recall, memorize. Recall from memory.
M: Committed to memory. I had to commit it to memory. I had to commit the whole point to memory and then recite a poem. Right?
R: Yes. And you could also talk about the things that helped you remember things. So I didn't have any of these but you could use cue cards or prompt.
M: Yeah. The cards that you write some notes on and then you use them to remember this poem or song. So prompt, a prompt to help you out with your song or a poem or a cue card. You can say I didn't have any help inside of that. You say I didn't have any prompts or cue cards. And actually the cards that the examiner gives to you is called a cue card.
R: Yes, so that's helpful.
M: And then you had to recall a part of a play and then you acted out part of a play. Right?
R: Exactly. But then you could talk about how you felt about it. And I used phrases like extraordinarily difficult, nerve wracking experience, but also pulling through is a nice phrasal verb for being successful after a lot of effort.
M: So it was really difficult. But then I pulled through, which means like, OK, I was successful. So it was difficult, but he pulled through. He was successful. And you said like it was extraordinarily. Extraordinarily.
R: Yes, extraordinarily difficult.
M: Yeah. It was like really difficult. You can say I was very nervous. I was really nervous. What else? How did you feel when you were like...
R: Well, stammering and stuttering, for example, is a sign of nerves in people.
M: When you stammer, how do you do it? Stutter is a synonym, right? So stammer or stutter.
R: Yeah, well, they are treated like synonyms, but they're actually very different things. Um, however, let's treat them like the same thing. And they usually appear together, stammer and stutter. We should also talk about how to structure this and some of the phrases I used to do that because obviously my story is quite unique and other people might not have similar stories, but they can use similar phrases to structure what they say. So, for example, I started off by saying this is actually quite the coincidence. Now, it doesn't have to be a coincidence. But this is just like a really long phrase that you can use at the beginning to help buy time while you organize your ideas in your head.
M: It's a time buyer.
R: It is. Yes. You can say this is actually quite the coincidence because. And then I described where I was and then I said what we had to do, um, and then what I went into the second part of the talk, I said this was back in the day to talk about time.
M: Very nice. Yeah.
R: So, again, if you're talking about a time in the past, you can always just say this was back in the day instead of saying this was.
M: Yeah, and you did use past tense is. Like when I was going through some papers we had, I had to, they would take notes. So only past tenses or future in the past, like would. Or past perfect, for example.
R: And then I summarized by saying, even though it was a bit of a nerve wracking experience, I'm still glad I did it.
M: Yeah. Yeah. A complex sentence. A complex sentence meaning that it has two parts. So even though blah I blah. A nerve wracking experience, that's a good one. Pretty much like a nerve wracking experience, an experience where you got really nervous, like it wrecked your nerves. And IELTS exam could be a nerve wracking experience or it was nerve racking. So you can now choose a poem or a song which you had to say out loud and which you had to remember and say or sing it from memory. Thank you very much for listening. Please make sure that you do have some poem or a song that you had to say or sing it from memory. Rory, can our listener talk about our podcast? Oh, by the way, I memorized the whole episode of a podcast.
R: That would be OK. If that's what they want to do with their time.
M: Yeah, you can go ahead and memorize one of our episodes and then tell the examiner, oh, you know, I memorized and learned the whole episode where Rory talks about whisky and Scotland.
R: That's every episode.
M: That's in every episode.
R: Scotland Freedom, band nine score.
R: Along the way.
M: Yeah. Thank you very much for listening and we'll see you in our next episode about children, and learning, and learning at school, and the value of knowledge.
R: That's deep, man.
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