Tuesday 13 May 2014

What is charm?

You are going to
  • listen to a discussion about "charm"
  • talk about being charming and being polite
  • look at adjectives to describe personality / character

1) Discuss
  • What is "charm"?
  • In what jobs do you need to be charming?
  • Can both women and men be charming?
  • Are people less charming than they used to be?
  • What are the origins of the word?
  • Are charm and charisma the same thing?
  • Can charm be learnt?

2) Listen
Author and critic Stephen Bayley has said the UK is becoming less charming. In this discussion from Radio 4's Today program he debates the subject along with columnist Rowan Pelling.
1) Listen to the clip. How many of the questions above are answered?

Useful vocabulary
You will hear these words. Do you know what they mean?

commodity, acquire, manipulative, sinister, "glass ceiling", detrimental, deprecating, tag, ooze, attribute, disparage, charisma, Machiavellian


2) Listen again and do the quiz

Printable version here

3) Vocabulary
A) Look at these adjectives
  • Do you know what they mean?
  • How many are positive ways to describe someone?
  • How many are negative?
  • How many would you associate with someone who was "charming"

Highlight below to see the positive words
appealing, attractive, bewitching, captivating, charismatic, enchanting, engaging, entrancing, glamorous, magnetic, seductive, spellbinding, exciting, hypnotizing, interesting, pleasant

B) Write
Think of some people you know. Describe them in a sentence. Use the adjectives in the list. Say why he / she is appealing, engaging, glamorous etc

4) Discuss
Look at the postcard
What does it tell you about being polite in English?

  • Do you think being polite or having good manners is the same as being charming?
  • Are being charming and having good manners important?
  • Why are we polite to each other?
  • In what situations is it important to be polite or charming?
  • Are you likely to be more impressed by someone who is polite or charming?
  • In what ways do you show politeness or respect in your language?
  • Does politeness change according to language and culture?
  • How do we show politeness in English? What words or expressions do we use?

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