/ Aron Thode

Language for a Fame and Publicity Conversation

Fame and publicity is a fun media-centric topic for ESL students. They can connect over their favorite celebrities, sportspeople, and quirky billionaires. As well, aspects like advertising and social media are so pervasive that most people have experience with them.

In the Fame and Publicity Conversation Questions there is a warm-up task which asks students to list the most common ways that people get famous. Instead, an instructor with access to images could show various famous people and elicit who they are and what they’ve done to become known. Make sure students are familiar with the collocation of famous with for:

Famous (adj) - known by many people

He is famous for playing the Terminator.

Although it’s underused in English, it’s also worth introducing infamous (students might assume it means 'not famous' otherwise):

Infamous (adj) - having a bad reputation, famous for doing something bad

She’s infamous for raising taxes.

Your students probably know what an advertisement is, but they may be interested to hear both the American and British pronunciation. I’d also teach the abbreviated forms ad and advert.

Other words from the question set that I suggest pre-teaching unless you’re confident that your students know them:

Stereotype (n) - an idea that people have about a type of person or thing, the idea could be true in general, though isn’t necessarily

It’s a stereotype that men like sports.

Glamorous (adj) - exciting in style, the appearance of wealth and fame

We’re drinking Champagne in a limousine - how glamorous!

Celebrity (n) - a famous person

Natasha Lyonne is the only celebrity that I’ve seen in person.

Publicity (n) - attention from media

He got a lot of bad publicity for his sexist comments.

Sponsor (v, n) - to pay or help pay for something as a way of advertising

Adidas is a big sponsor of football.

A soccer ball with Euro 2016 and Adidas labeling placed in the corner of a soccer pitch.

Endorse (v) - to say that you like and use a product, sometimes for money

George Clooney endorsed Nespresso.

You may also want to help students with the newer/slang meaning of cancel, possibly within a larger conversation about cancel culture.

Be canceled (v) - to become unworthy of support in the eyes of some, often for unacceptable comments or behavior

Roseanne Barr was canceled, wasn’t she?