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IELTS Preparation Series 2, Episode 16: Glass Artist


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Xem lời thoại bên dưới:

0:13

Hello. I'm Margot Politis. Welcome to Study English, IELTS preparation.

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Today we're going to look at how English users indicate negative meanings. One of the ways

0:24

we can do that is with the word not.

0:28

And we're going to hear a glass artist talk about his craft. The ancient art of hot glassblowing

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dates back 5,000 years to the Egyptians. Listen to Mark Douglass, the artist, talking about

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glassblowing today.

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I think people are fascinated about glass, in a sense, I know my grandmother had a beautiful

0:52

glass vase on her dressing table or whatever, and it was always, "Don't break the vase,"

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you know, it's this precious thing.

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The techniques I use for glassmaking aren't that dissimilar than what has been around

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for, like, centuries.

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When English speakers want to give something a negative meaning, they use negative words

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such as:

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not - She's not coming

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no - There's no music

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nobody - Nobody saw the crash

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nothing - There's nothing to eat

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nowhere - He's nowhere to be seen.

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All these sentences have only one negative. When constructing negative sentences, English

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only allows one negative.

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Using two negative words, such as 'nobody' and 'not' together in a sentence, can give

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the opposite meaning to the one intended.

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So, for example:

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I did not see nobody.

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With this double negative, this literally means:

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I saw somebody.

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However, watch Mark Douglass again, and see how he uses a double negative to give a positive

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meaning.

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The techniques I use for glassmaking aren't that dissimilar than what has been around

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for, like, centuries.

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Mark says:

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The techniques aren't dissimilar.

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Aren't is a contraction of are and not.

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So he uses the negative word form not.

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Dissimilar is made up of the negative prefix dis- and the word similar.

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So he uses not and dis-, both negatives, in one phrase.

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These cancel each other's effect, giving a positive meaning:

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Look what happens when we leave them both out.

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The techniques are not dissimilar.

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The techniques are similar.

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By saying the techniques are not dissimilar, he is drawing attention to the fact that this

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may be surprising, and not what you might expect.

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He's saying that it's surprising that the techniques used today are similar to ancient

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techniques.

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This idea is reinforced by Mark using the negative word unchanged when talking about

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the techniques.

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Listen to how he uses unchanged.

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So the basic techniques of gathering, blowing glass, putting a bubble into some glass, shaping

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it, pretty much have been unchanged for a long time.

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Mark says the basic techniques of blowing glass have been unchanged for a long time.

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He does not say the techniques are the same. He chooses a negative to draw attention or

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emphasise that something has not changed.

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Let's try another example:

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The student was not unhappy with her test score.

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Cancel out the negatives not and un- and you have:

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The student was happy with her test score.

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The two negatives cancel each other out, leaving a positive statement.

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However, not unhappy is not the same as happy.

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The student may not have received an excellent score, but she didn't receive a bad one either.

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The student is not happy, but not unhappy either.

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So this sentence expresses a subtly different perspective and attitude than the simple positive

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statement:

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The student was happy.

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You can practise this construction by adding the prefix dis- or un- to many words:

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not disloyal

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not dishonest

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not uncommon

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not uncomfortable

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not unkind

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Before you know it, it will 'not' be 'unusual' for you to use negative expressions!

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In part 3 of the IELTS Speaking test you'll be discussing something linked to the topic

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you spoke about earlier in the interview.

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Let's focus on the features of a good response to part 3.

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You'll be expected to use more complex language because of the diverse tasks.

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You could be:

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describing something

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speculating

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suggesting

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stating an opinion

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comparing

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contrasting or explaining

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Let's imagine Mark Douglass is participating in the third part of the interview.

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Earlier we heard Mark talking about glassblowing as an art form. As a follow-on question from

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Part 2, the examiner could ask, for example:

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Do you think some countries value glass art differently?

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Let's listen to how Mark answers this question.

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I think Australians' perception of glass is a lot different than European or American.

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Like, Europeans, because they've had you know Venetian glass around for a long time, they

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tend to appreciate how hard it is to make glass or the value of it. Australian people

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tend to look at whether it's mass-produced, then sit it next to a piece of art glass and

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can't really see the difference in it that much.

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It's not as if it's sort of the money of it, I think it's just a psyche of collecting,

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which, I don't think Australian people have that passion as much as European or American

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people.

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In response to this type of question, you'd be expected to state your opinion about people's

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perception and appreciation of glass art.

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Did you notice the words he uses when giving his opinion? He says:

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I think Australians' perception of glass is a lot different.

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I think it's just a psyche of collecting.

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I don't think Australian people have that passion.

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Europeans tend to appreciate how hard it is.

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Australians tend to look at whether it's mass produced.

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It is clear from his word choices that he is expressing his own views.

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You would also be expected to make comparisons, like Mark does when he says:

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Australians' perceptions are a lot different than Europeans'.

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It's important to vary your sentence structure. Mark uses a variety of sentence structures

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that are grammatically correct.

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He makes complex sentences - sentences that have more than one clause.

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He uses the subordinate conjunction because:

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I think Australians' perception of glass is a lot different than European because they've

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had Venetian glass around for a long time.

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He also uses the coordinate conjunction or:

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They tend to appreciate how hard it is to make glass or the value of it.

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Mark's speech flows smoothly because he uses contractions. He says:

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they've had Venetian glass

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it's mass-produced

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can't really see the difference and

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it's just a psyche of collecting

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How would you assess Mark's response to the question? I think his answer was relevant

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and effective.

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He demonstrated good grammatical range and accuracy. He spoke at a good pace, and he

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used clear pronunciation.

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These are all goals you should aim for too!

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To find more information and tips for your IELTS test, just visit our website at abcasiapacific.com/studyenglish.

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That's all for today. I'll see you next time on Study English. Bye bye.

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