English Mania

Published: 8.17.2017
Level 4   |   Time: 4:31
Accent: American
Source: TED Talks

Jay Walker explains why two billion people around the world are trying to learn English.


triangle Directions

  1. REVIEW the vocabulary / background.
  2. WATCH the video.
  3. ANSWER the questions.
  4. CHECK your answers. (Show Answers)

triangle Vocabulary

  • mania [n] - extreme enthusiasm for something
  • hysterical [adj] - crazy excited
  • pandemonium [n] - wild and noisy disorder
  • deafening [adj] - super loud
  • rapture [n] - extremely strong emotion
  • weeping [n] - crying uncontrollably
  • visions [n] - dreams, seeing things in your mind
  • alarming [adj] - scary, causing worry or fear
  • worldwide [adj] - all over the world
  • literally [adv] - actually
  • grueling [adj] - very hard, exhausting
  • intensity [n] - strong focus, effort
  • unimaginable [adj] - can't imagine
  • witness [v] - see
  • tsunami [n] - huge wave in the ocean
  • washing away [exp] - destroying
  • poverty [n] - being poor
  • harnessing [v] - controlling or using power

[n] - noun,  [v] - verb,  [phv] - phrasal verb,  [adj] - adjective,  [exp] - expression

triangle Questions

  1. Which manias does Jay Walker mention?
    sports mania
    religious mania
    English mania

  2. How many people are trying to learn English worldwide?

  3. Where are they trying to learn English?
    Latin America
    Southeast Asia

  4. What will China become this year?
    the largest country in the world
    the largest English speaking country in the world
    the country with the most English teachers
    the largest English speaking country in Asia

  5. How many opportunities does Jay mention?
    a better life
    a better school
    a better job
    better food

  6. What did Jay say about 80 million Chinese students?
    They took the test in the past.
    They are currently taking the test.
    They will take the test this year.
    They will take the test in the next 5 years.

  7. Is English going to replace other languages?
    Probably not

  8. What does English help you do?
    talk about science
    talk about music
    talk about math
    talk about problems

  9. What does English represent?
    hope for a better future
    hope for a better life
    loss of culture
    loss of language

triangle Discussion

  1. What do you think of the Chinese teaching techniques shown in the video? Do you think they will be effective? Why?
  2. He says, “English is the language of problem solving.” What do you think he means? Do you agree?
  3. What is the most difficult thing about learning English? What is the easiest thing about learning English?
  4. Do you think Chinese will catch up to or surpass English as a world language? Why?
  5. How do you use the Internet to learn English? What search engine do you use most often when you study? Why?
  6. How can the English language help you advance in your career?
  7. What language skill is most important for you – reading, writing, speaking or listening? Why?
  8. Which English accents have you heard? (American, British, Irish, Australian, Indian?)
  9. Can you hear the difference between American and British English? American and Canadian? British and Australian?
  10. Which English accents are easiest to understand? Which English accents are hardest to understand? Which accent do you want to speak with? Why?

triangle Script

Everyone, please think of your biggest personal goal. For real -- you can take a second. You've got to feel this to learn it. Take a few seconds and think of your personal biggest goal, okay? Imagine deciding right now that you're going to do it. Imagine telling someone that you meet today what you're going to do. Imagine their congratulations, and their high image of you. Doesn't it feel good to say it out loud? Don't you feel one step closer already, like it's already becoming part of your identity?


Let's talk about manias. Let's start with Beatlemania.


Hysterical teenagers, crying, screaming, pandemonium.


Sports mania: deafening crowds, all for one idea -- get the ball in the net. (Recording) Goal! Okay, religious mania: there's rapture, there's weeping, there's visions. Manias can be good. Manias can be alarming.Or manias can be deadly.


The world has a new mania. A mania for learning English. Listen as Chinese students practice their English, by screaming it:


Teacher: ... change my life!


Students: I want to change my life!


T: I don't want to let my parents down!


S: I don't want to let my parents down!


T: I don't ever want to let my country down!


S: I don't ever want to let my country down!


T: Most importantly... S: Most importantly...


T: I don't want to let myself down!


S: I don't want to let myself down!


How many people are trying to learn English worldwide? Two billion of them.


Students: A t-shirt. A dress.


Jay Walker: In Latin America, in India, in Southeast Asia, and most of all, in China. If you're a Chinese student, you start learning English in the third grade, by law. That's why this year, China will become the world's largest English-speaking country.


Why English? In a single word: opportunity. Opportunity for a better life, a job, to be able to pay for school, or put better food on the table.Imagine a student taking a giant test for three full days. Her score on this one test literally determines her future. She studies 12 hours a dayfor three years to prepare. Twenty-five percent of her grade is based on English. It's called the gaokao, and 80 million high school Chinese students have already taken this grueling test. The intensity to learn English is almost unimaginable, unless you witness it.


Teacher: Perfect! Students: Perfect!


T: Perfect! S: Perfect!


T: I want to speak perfect English!


S: I want to speak perfect English!


T: I want to speak ... S: I want to speak ...


T: ... perfect English! S: ... perfect English!


T: (yelling more loudly): I want to change my life!


S: (yelling more loudly): I want to change my life!


JW: So is English mania good or bad? Is English a tsunami, washing away other languages? Not likely. English is the world's second language. Your native language is your life. But with English you can become part of a wider conversation -- a global conversation about global problems, like climate change or poverty, or hunger or disease.The world has other universal languages. Mathematics is the language of science. Music is the language of emotions. And now English is becoming the language of problem-solving. Not because America is pushing it, but because the world is pulling it. So English mania is a turning point.


Like the harnessing of electricity in our cities, or the fall of the Berlin Wall, English represents hope for a better future -- a future where the world has a common language to solve its common problems.


Thank you very much.

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