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Learning Languages for Life

Category: Speaking

Government UBI money for everyone!

What is Universal Basic Income? (UBI)

Universal Basic Income = is a form of social security[3] in which all citizens or residents of a country receive a regular, unconditional sum of money, either from a government or some other public institution, independent of any other income.[4

i.e. you get this money even if you have a job!

What is the difference between UBI and traditional unemployment benefits / welfare?

With traditional unemployment / welfare benefits you receive money if you do not have a job, but if you get a job you lose the benefits.


Does UBI sound crazy? Think again…


Reading 1

Pre-reading ideas / language activation:

  1. Guess the author’s linguistic choice (LC) for this sentence: Robot-to-worker  ratios are rising gradually / constantly / rapidly.
  2. Which country has the highest robot-worker ratio?
  3. Author’s Linguistic Choice (LC) :The cost of robot implementation is shrinking / decreasing / plummeting.
  4. True / False: When it comes to jobs at risk, the developing world is not much better-off that the developed world.
  5. True / False: Some believe UBI could be given as a lump sum when people turn 18
  6. Author’s LC: You could make exclusions for households / people / families earning $100,000  a year or more
  7. LC: The greatest / most substantial / key benefit of UBI would be the elimination of people living below the povery line
  8. True / False: Trial projects are currently being undertaken in Kenya and Switzerland


Now read the infogaph here

Post -reading discussion:

  1. What do you think about the arguments for and against?
  2. Of the two case studies, Namibia and  Alaska, which is more interesting for you?
  3. Why do you think that those countries mentioned are undertaking experiments but others like Australia are not?
  4. Which proponent quote did you
  • like the most
  • find the strangest
  • disagree with

Reading 2

Pre-reading ideas / language activation:

Author’s linguistic choice (LC): Finland’s pilot UBI scheme is radical / groundbreaking / unprecedented

True / False: The scheme sees people receiving 500 Euros a month

Author’s LC: The scheme is addressing / combating / tackling poverty

True / False: Under the current social welfare, claimants are afraid of losing out if they find a job.

LC: Finland has generous social security. As a result people refuse work because they feel better off with social benefits. This problem is growing / acute/ inevitable

Now read the article here


Post -reading discussion:

  • Do you agree that generous benefits can lead to an acute problem in terms of people turning down work?
  • The article references one person’s quote concerning “reduced stress”. What was the situation? How representative do you think it is?
  • How much do you agree with the listed benefits?


Video 1

Pre-reading ideas / language activation:

Elon Musk believes large-scale unemployment will happen. In the video he talks about UBI, and mentions a “much harder challenge” than how to deal with income for those without jobs. What do you think this challenge is?

Now watch..


Post -reading discussion:

To what extent do you agree that:

goods and services will be in abundance due to automation?

a lot of people derive their meaning from their employment?

finding a replacement for “meaning” will / would be much more difficult than implementing a UBI sloution



Video 2

Pre-reading ideas / language activation:

  1. In this talk,  Professor Peterson mentions the connection between computational (computer) power and concentration of wealth. What is the connection?
  2. When asked about the feasability of UBI,  he introduces sled dogs as a metaphor. Why do you think he does this?
  3. How do you think unemployment affects conscientious people as opposed to unconscientious people?


Post -video discussion:

  • To what extent are computational and cognitive skills important for making money in your country?
  • According to the speaker, people on the right believe that everyone can find a job, whereas those on the left believe everyone is equal. Do you agree with this?
  • Do you agree that people are pack animals?
  • To what extent does a person’s personality effect how the react to unemployment?
  • Do you also doubt that people with “enforced” leisure will / would figure out what to do with their lives?









Exam speaking with LC Langauges: Daily routine:

The student you will hear is answering the question “Was your daily routine different before?”

Before listening, think about your own answer. Record yourself answering if possible, and make a note of the language you use.


Video Exercise One: Accuracy

A – Listen to a native speaker answer the question then do the gapped worksheet at the link here (question 2!!!)

B – Look at this list of correct lexical and grammar structures

  1. to go snowboarding
  2. to play computer games
  3. for hours on end
  4. I’m (always) flat out
  5. I don’t have much time
  6. to have a rest and unwind
  7. I wish I had been able to play dolls more than I did

Now watch the answer, the student makes mistakes with the above structures. Can you spot the mistakes she makes?


Check the answers at the end.

Video Exercise Two: Range of Lexical and Grammar Structures

A – These are less common or more complex lexical (vocab) / grammar structures from the LC Languages listening example answer (the link is in exercise one) . If it is a lexical structure, put L, if it is a grammar structure,put G.

  1. Completely different
  2. back when I was at school
  3. as late as possible
  4. to wolf down (some breakfast)
  5. to head off (for school / for work)
  6. I would hang out with friends / we would go over to someone’s place
  7. to go over
  8. (to do something) for hours on end
  9. I should have studied
  10. instead of
  11. If I had been…. I would have gotten
  12. be studious
  13. I (don’t) regret (spending / doing)

Check the answers at the end.


B – Can you remember which of the above expressions she uses? Try and remember and then watch the video above again. Whe you’ve finished check the answers at the end


Speaking Exercise One: Activation

  1. What would you do to unwind back when you were at school?
  2. What time did / do you head off for school? What about now (re-activate the expression)
  3. How often do you have people over? (=invite people to visit your place)
  4. Do you have them over for dinner, or drinks or to watch a movie?
  5. What’s something you do for hours on end?
  6. What’s something you should have done back when you were at school or when you were younger but you didn’t?
  7. If you had been more studious, would your life have changed a lot?
  8. Do you regret doing any of the things you have done in the last two or three years?






Video One: B:

Correct 🙂

Incorrect 🙁

to lay in the sun

on the sun (from Russian)

to go snowboarding

To ride snowboarding

to play computer games

To play in computer games (from Russian)

for hours on end

for hour on end

I’m (always) flat out

I’m a flat -out person (not wrong, but we usually say “I’m always flat out.” and finish

I don’t have much time to + verb

I don’t have many time for + verb

to have a rest and unwind

To get unwind*

I wish I had been able to play dolls more than I did

I wish I could… (I wish I could (II)= I’m sad I can’t do something now.)

* pronunciation is incorrect as well

Video 2 B:


completely different

back when I was at school

as late as possible

to wolf down (some breakfast)

to head off (for school / for work)

I would hang out with friends / we would go over to someone’s place

to go over (to someone’s place)

(to do something) for hours on end

I should have studied

instead of

If I had been…. I would have gotten

be studious

I (don’t) regret (spending / doing)



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