A Conversational English Lesson About Mexican Artist Frida Kahlo
This weeks Thursday English language podcast is a spoken English lesson about a visit to the London V&A Museum. The V&A Museum is holding a Frida Kahlo exhibition, and the discussion focuses on the trip and Frida.
The vocabulary used is everyday English spoken by a British English speaker. Listening to the conversation several times will help English language learners remember common English ‘glue’ words which make up 80% of everyday conversational English language. The lesson has a full transcript available to download as a PDF, which will help you identify and research any vocabulary you are unfamiliar with.
The idea is simple, through listening you will train your brain to automatically recognise and understand much of the English you need to speak fluently. Leaving you with the smaller job of learning specialised vocabulary for specific topics.
Hi, I’m Hilary and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. Well, this is our Thursday podcast, so that it’s shorter and easier to understand than our Monday podcast. But its aim is the same – Adept English is here to help you with your spoken English, with your English comprehension and also to help you move towards speaking English more fluently.
Well, this weekend, I went to visit an exhibition in London. I’m lucky to live close to London, to be able to visit for a day. And the exhibition – that’s a show, if you like, usually of works of art or of other similar things; it happens in a museum or another big venue, depending on what it is that you’re going to see. So the exhibition I went to was at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London – that’s called ‘The V&A’ for short. The V&A is a good museum to visit if you’re in London and you like design. Called of course after Queen Victoria and her husband Albert, the V&A was founded in 1852. This museum is alongside quite a few other London museums. In fact that road in London that it’s situated on is called Exhibition Road.
This is a short Thursday conversational English lesson plans for beginners
So the exhibition I went to was about the Mexican artist – Frida Kahlo. You may have heard of her or you may not, but she was quite a figure, quite influential, certainly in terms of South American art on the world stage. But Frida Kahlo was also quite a style icon. A style icon – means someone whose style everybody knows – like Marilyn Monroe, perhaps or Kate Moss, or Twiggy, even! And Frida Kahlo was an icon for women .
She was very individualistic and in a time where women were very much still seen as the ‘adjuncts’ of men, she was different. An ‘adjunct’, A-D-J-U-N-C-T, means an ‘added on part’, not something that is important for itself. Frida Kahlo liked to challenge people’s views and certainly for example, she challenged ideas of what is beautiful for women.
You may know her for her slight moustache and her unibrow. A moustache is the hair above your lips, your mouth. But a unibrow? If you know the word eyebrow – that’s the line of hair above your eye. Well, a unibrow is the word we use in English, when someone’s eyebrows join in the middle.
‘Uni’ means one – so ‘one eyebrow’. Many women have this, especially when they’re dark haired – and often they change it, because it’s not what people expect of women’s faces. But Frida Kahlo emphasized it, she emphasized her unibrow. She liked to be different and she didn’t want to fit in, with people’s expectations, she didn’t want to conform. She was also a supporter of Communism and was motivated about Mexican politics.
As With All our audio lessons. This audio lesson will have a speaking lesson plan pdf transcript
The exhibition was about her art, her paintings, of course. But it was also more about her home life, her clothes, her personal life – and many contents from her house were in the museum. It was very, very personal, with letters and all kinds of things on show. The exhibition explained a great deal about Frida Kahlo’s life, including the fact that she was ill and in pain.
Frida Kahlo had polio, an illness as a child – which caused problems with her leg, and this got worse as she got older. But she also had an accident on a bus when she was 18 and nearly died. And the injuries affected her health for the rest of her life. She was able only to be in bed for much of her life. She painted a lot of self-portraits – so paintings of herself. And she said ‘I paint myself because I am so often alone’. She died aged only 47 years.
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Frida Kahlo had style – and the exhibition has many of her clothes, obviously influenced by traditional south American and Mexican styles. Frida Kahlo was also very conscious of being a mix – her father was German and her mother Mexican – and some of her work shows her being conscious of coming from two different cultures, two different continents.
So if you’re in London before the middle of November, and you like Frida Kahlo’s work, go along to the V&A and have a look. They also have quite nice cafés there too.
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Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
You may not be interested in museums or art, but that is not the point of this audio spoken English lesson. The lesson is really about providing an interesting lesson topic, which changes every week. A English lesson that you can listen to many times without loosing interest.
Listening many times to the English vocabulary used and the sounds and rhythms of the English sentences spoken will help your brain automatically remember critical aspects of the English language. Such as expecting the start or the end of a sentence. Identifying and remembering ‘glue’ vocabulary, such as ‘the’, ‘and’ which make up 80% of the English spoken in a conversation.
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