Friday, 3 January 2014

Speakout Advanced p 95. Senses. Speaking

1. How can you define the senses? Can you remember the names of the five senses? 
2. What do you call…
  • ...the inability to see?
  • ...the inability to hear?
  • ...a person who cannot hear or speak?

3.  In the West, experts traditionally identified four taste sensations. Which ones?

4. Some neurologists say that there is a sense of balance, a sense of heat, a sense of pain. Would you qualify any other thing as a sense? Which one(s)?

5. Would you be able to live without any of the senses you mentioned before? Which one(s)? What is the most important sense? How would your life be different if you could not use one of our five senses? Why is that sense important?

6. Sight: do you think sight is the strongest sense when it comes to memory? If not, which is, in your opinion, the strongest sense? What visual information have you retained from your childhood and adolescence? What have you recently seen that has brought back vivid memories?

7. Smell: do smells trigger memories? What smells evoke memories of your childhood? What odours rekindle bitter-sweet memories?

8. Taste: another strong sense when it comes to memory is taste. Family recipes, even if not used in years, will prompt memories of past home-cooking. What taste-related memories can you revive? What evocative tastes can you think of?

9. Hearing: does any piece of music / do any songs remind you of your childhood? What sounds take you back in time?

10. Touch: may the sense of touch stir up any distant memories? Have you ever been carried back in time by something you have touched?

Student A
1. Tell us about the last time you experienced:
  • The stale smell of cigarette smoke and sweaty bodies
  • The mouth-watering aroma of freshly brewed coffee and sizzling bacon.
  • A faint smell of perfume.
  • A musty smell of old books.
  • An overpowering smell of fish.
  • Flowers that gave off a fragrant perfume.
  • The stink of ​rotting ​seaweed along the seashore. 
  • A boat that reeked of fish.  
Student B
1. Tell us about the last time you experienced:
  • The acrid odour of burning rubber and petrol fumes.
  • The rancid smell of sour milk and butter that has long since passed its sell-by date.
  • The pungent aroma of herbs and spices and ripe tropical fruit
  • The unmistakable smell of holidays.
  • A sickly sweet smell
  • A sour smell.
  • Whiffy sportswear.  
  • The overpowering stench of a dead animal.
Useful language:
The pictures illustrate the topic of the five senses. On the one hand, we have the first picture, which depicts the five senses, that is, sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. We could say that the five senses are displayed by overlapping photographs of the five senses and combining them into one single snapshot. In one of these photographs we can see a palm of a hand spread open and an eye and mouth wide-open. The latter shows the tip of the tongue to convey the sense of taste. Finally, there is also a well-rounded nose and a well-proportioned ear.
Next, we have the second picture, which shows how a girl is using some of her senses, in particular the sense of smell, to enjoy the flowers around her. It would be interesting to point out the contrast between the child's discovery of flowers and the adults' unawareness. The little girl seems to be lying across her mother's arms trying to smell the sea of flowers in front of her. The face of the woman behind them shows that she is not interested in the smell of flowers any more, as if she's been there and done that.
As for the third image, it shows the effects of a refuse collectors' strike. The woman in the picture seems to struggle to cope with the stench given off by the vast amount of uncollected rubbish that is piling up and which seems to be reaching epic proportions. Furthermore, it is patently obvious that the minimum services are not being met. I would even take a stab in the dark and say that this rubbish heap must be one among hundreds across the city. It is highly likely that if this situation persists, it may prompt concerns over public health. 


1. Sense is a faculty by which outside stimuli are perceived. The traditional five senses are sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste.
2. Blindness, 
Dumbness used in this meaning is old-fashioned and can be offensive. It is better to use speech impairment instead.
dumb: unable to speak: She was born deaf and dumb. Dumb used in this meaning is old-fashioned and can be offensive. It is better to use speech-impaired instead. Dumb is used to mean stupid. 
a deaf mute noun (sometimes offensive) a person who is unable to hear or speak.
impairmentthe state of having a physical or mental condition which means that part of your body or brain does not work correctly; a particular condition of this sort. E.g. impairment of the functions of the kidney. Speech/visual/hearing impairments.
-impaired: having the type of physical or mental problem mentioned. E.g. hearing-impaired children. Nowadays we say someone is ‘speech-impaired’, not dumb. The problems faced by people who are visually/hearing impaired
3. sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. 
6. bring back: to make somebody remember something or think about it again. E.g. The photographs brought back many pleasant memories.
7. trigger: to make something happen suddenly. E.g. Nuts can trigger off a violent allergic reaction.
evoke: /ɪˈvəʊk/ to bring a feeling, a memory or an image into your mind. E.g. The music evoked memories of her youth. His case is unlikely to evoke public sympathy.
rekindle something  to make you start feeling or thinking about something that you have not felt or thought about for a long time. E.g. This journey has rekindled some old memories for me.
bittersweet: bringing pleasure mixed with sadness. E.g. bittersweet memories.
8. prompt: /prɒmpt/ to make somebody decide to do something; to cause something to happen. Sp. provocar. E.g. The discovery of the bomb prompted an increase in security. His speech prompted an angry outburst from a man in the crowd. The thought of her daughter's wedding day prompted her to lose some weight.  
evocative: making you think of or remember a strong image or feeling, in a pleasant way. E.g. evocative smells/sounds/music. Evocative of something Her new book is wonderfully evocative of village life.  
10. stir or stir up: to make someone think about something. E.g. Seeing George again stirred old memories in me. The sight of the school stirred up a lot of memories. 

Student A
Stale: no longer fresh and therefore unpleasant to eat or smelling unpleasant. Sp. Pasado. E.g. stale cigarette smoke.
Brew: /bruː/ to make a hot drink of tea or coffee. E.g. freshly brewed coffee.
Sizzle: to make the sound of food frying in hot oil. E.g. sizzling sausages.

Faint: that cannot be clearly seen, heard or smelt. Sp. Débil. E.g. a faint smell of perfume.
Musty: smelling damp and unpleasant because of a lack of fresh air. Sp. Rancio. E.g. a musty room. A musty smell of old books. These clothes smell musty.  
Overpowering: /ˌəʊvəˈpaʊərɪŋ/ very strong or powerful. Sp. Abrumador, opresor, opresivo, sofocante. E.g. an overpowering smell of fish. An overpowering personality. The heat was overpowering. 
Give off something: to produce something such as a smell, heat, light, etc. Sp. Desprender. E.g. The flowers gave off a fragrant perfume. The fire doesn't seem to be giving off much heat.  
Fragrant: /ˈfreɪɡrənt/ having a pleasant smell. E.g. fragrant herbs/flowers/oils. 
Stink: (N) a very unpleasant smell. E.g. the stink of sweat and urine.
stink (of something): (V) to have a strong, unpleasant smell. E.g.  Her breath stank of garlic. It stinks of smoke in here.
reek (of something) to smell very strongly of something unpleasant. E.g. His breath reeked of tobacco. 
reek: (N) a strong unpleasant smell. E.g. the reek of cigarettes and beer 
Student B
Acrid: / ˈækrɪd/ having a strong, bitter smell or taste that is unpleasant. Pungent. Sp. Acre, fuerte. E.g. acrid smoke from burning tyres. 

Fumes: strong, unpleasant and sometimes dangerous gas or smoke.
Rancid: /ˈrænsɪd/ if food containing fat is rancid, it tastes or smells unpleasant because it is no longer fresh. Sp. Rancio. E.g. rancid butter. Butter soon goes/turns (= becomes) rancid in this heat. There was a rancid smell coming from the kitchen.
sell-by date: the date printed on food packages, etc. after which the food must not be sold. E.g. This milk is past its sell-by date.  
Pungent: /ˈpʌndʒənt/ having a strong taste or smell. Sp. Olor acre. E.g. the pungent smell of burning rubber. The air was pungent with the smell of spices.
Unmistakable: that cannot be mistaken for somebody/something else. Sp. Inconfundible. E.g. Her accent was unmistakable. The unmistakable sound of gunfire.
Everyone loves the unmistakable smell of fresh air.

Sickly: that makes you feel sick, especially because it is too sweet. Sp. Empalagoso. E.g. a sickly sweet smell. I detected the sickly sweet smell of maple syrup. The sickly sweet smell of rotting fruit.

Sour: having a sharp, sometimes unpleasant, taste or smell, like a lemon, and not sweet. Sp. acre. E.g. the sour smell of vinegar.
whiffy: /ˈwɪfi/ Having an unpleasant smell. E.g. whiffy socks. 
Stench: a strong, very unpleasant smell. E.g. an overpowering stench of rotting fish.

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