What languages do you speak?

Two people discuss the languages they speak or want to learn.

Languages and Nationalities (Lesson Plan)

Beginner ESL students can hear two English speakers talking about languages and nationalities. Recommended study plan:

  • Watch the video
  • Take the quiz
  • Listen again and read the script
  • Learn the grammar with the notes

Todd: So, Abidemi, let's talk about languages.

Abidemi: Sure.

Todd: You are from Nigeria and Nigeria has many languages, correct?

Abidemi: That's true, yes.

Todd: How many languages can you speak?

Abidemi: I would say that I can speak one language very well.

Todd: Me too.

Abidemi: And that would be English. But, I speak other languages fairly well. Yoruba, which is a Nigerian language, French, and a little bit of Japanese as well.

Todd: You are Canadian also, and in Canada, students study French, correct?

Abidemi: That's true, yes.

Todd: Do you speak French often in Canada?

Abidemi: While I was living there I spoke it a lot more, yes.

Todd: Do you like French?

Abidemi: I love French. I love learning languages.

Todd: French, I think, is very hard for some people, myself included, because the pronunciation of some words is very different than the pronunciation of American English. I think it's funny that there are some words in French that look exactly the same as words in English but we pronounce them completely differently. For example, I will say the word in English, and you say the same word in French. Okay?

Abidemi: I will try.

Todd: For example. Impossible.

Abidemi: [French 00:01:46].

Todd: Right, so that is so interesting. Again, impossible.

Abidemi: [French 00:01:49].

Todd: And they're spelled the same, correct?

Abidemi: That's true.

Todd: Yeah, how about reservation?

Abidemi: [French 00:01:56].

Todd: That's so cool.

Abidemi: I have never thought of it like that before, Todd, but you're right. They look the same but the pronunciations are different.

Todd: I think it's a trick because we see the word, and we know how to say it one way, but we have to say it a different way.

Abidemi: That's true.

Todd: We just can't do that well.

Abidemi: That's true.

Todd: So, you can speak Yoruba.

Abidemi: Yoruba, yes.

Todd: Yoruba. How do you say, "How are you?" In Yoruba.

Abidemi: [Yoruba 00:02:33].

Todd: Oh, that's so cool. Again?

Abidemi: [Yoruba 00:02:35].

Todd: [Yoruba 00:02:37]?

Abidemi: [Yoruba 00:02:38].

Todd: Oh wow. That's so cool.

Abidemi: Thank you.

Todd: Have you ever taught that language?

Abidemi: No, never. I don't think too many people want to learn it outside of Nigeria.

Todd: I think, in the future, more people will want to learn unique languages.

Abidemi: I hope you're right.

Todd: Yeah, maybe.

Abidemi: Maybe.

Todd: What language do you want to learn in the future?

Abidemi: I have many that, if I had more time, I would like to learn. I'm interested in Japanese, of course. I live in Japan now, so I would like to speak it better. I would also like to learn Mandarin, Russian, Hausa, another Nigerian language, Spanish, and maybe a couple of others.

Todd: Yeah, there's so many languages I want to learn. I want to learn Spanish too. I can speak some Thai and Japanese because I lived as a teacher in both countries. But, I want to learn a language that has the same alphabet. I can read Thai but not very well. I can read Japanese but not very well. I want to learn a language where it's easy to read and see what the word is. In Thai, you can't do that. In Japanese, you can't do that.

Abidemi: I know what you mean. It would make it easier to learn the language.

Todd: But in Russian, you can't do that.

Abidemi: That's true.

Todd: It's completely different.

Abidemi: That's true, but they have alphabets that are the same. You just have to decode them.

Todd: A little bit, yeah. We have the phrase, it's all Greek to me, which means you have no idea. Anyway, thanks a lot, Abidemi.

Abidemi: Thank you, Todd.

Languages, Nationalities and Countries

Point 1: The names of countries, languages, and people from a country begin with a capital letter.

I am from Germany.
He can speak French.
I love Thai food.

Point 2: The adjective form of a country can be used to describe people, languages, and items.

People speak Spanish in Spain.
She is Italian, but does not speak Italian.
We bought a Japanese car in Japan.


Point 3: There are some patterns in English for nationalities but there are many exceptions. It is best to just remember them case-by-case.
Country Nationality Country Nationality
Japan Japanese Thailand Thai
China Chinese Korea Korean
Sweden Swedish Greece Greek
Germany German Poland Polish
Italy Italian Portugal Portuguese
France French Turkey Turkish
Spain Spanish Finland Finish
Mexico Mexican Colombia Colombian
Canada Canadian Brazil Brazilian


Answer the following questions about the interview.

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