Skip to main content

Learn English: Tips for talking about events and celebrations

Aboriginal flag
NAIDOC week is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, achievements and knowledge across Australia.

1233 ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue

ADVERTISEMENT

In this lesson, let's find out how to talk about an event or celebration like NAIDOC Week: a celebration of Indigenous Australian culture, history and achievements that takes place during the first week of July in Australia. Talking about events or celebrations is a common requirement in English tests, so pick up some handy tips below on how to structure your thoughts.

When you are talking about an event or celebration, a good place to start is to introduce the name of the event and what it's about.

"This week we are celebrating NAIDOC Week in Australia. NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples."

An opening statement like this helps the listener understand what you are saying and what to expect.

'NAIDOC' is an 'acronym'. An acronym is a word formed from the first letters of the words that make up the name of something. Acronyms are often used for events and companies.

If you are using an acronym that is specific to your part of the world, explain what it stands for.

"'NAIDOC' stands for National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee."

The next step is to expand on your statement and explain further. Is there a theme for this event? What are the key aspects of this celebration?

An event usually has a 'theme' that is the main focus of the event. It's useful to the listener if you mention that.

"The 2017 theme for NAIDOC Week is 'our languages matter'."

You can provide explanations that answer questions like: What does this theme mean? What is its significance?

'Significance' is a noun and 'significant' is the adjective form. A 'significant' event means a very important event.

"The significance of this year's theme is its focus on raising awareness of Indigenous languages."

More information can be given to the listener by using specific vocabulary related to this event like 'Indigenous languages', 'Indigenous rights' and 'Indigenous Australians'.

'Indigenous languages' are languages spoken by Indigenous communities in Australia. They can also be called 'first languages'.

Some examples of Indigenous languages are: the Woiworung language, the Gangulu language and Yagara language.

"The Woiworung language is one of the many Indigenous languages of Australia. 'Wominjeka' means 'welcome' in the Woiworung language."

A number of words from Indigenous languages have become part of Australian English. Some well-known words are 'kangaroo', 'boomerang' and 'barramundi'.

'Indigenous' means native, or being from a particular place. 'Indigenous Australians' include Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have lived in Australia for thousands of years.

If we are talking about historical facts, it's a good idea to talk about them in a chronological order.

To talk about something in 'chronological order' means to talk about events in the order in which they happened.

"Let me share this fact sheet on NAIDOC Week. It contains some historical facts in chronological order."

Don't forget to mention when the event happens and if it's a regular occurrence.

"Every year, the first week of July is set aside to celebrate NAIDOC Week in Australia."

You can use some useful time phrases like:

  • Every year
  • The first week of July
  • In recent years

Finally, you can end with your personal experience of taking part in the event or with a general conclusion.

It is very important to have a good structure when you are talking about an event or celebration in your country. The person you are telling it to may not have experienced it before, so you will have to be clear when you are explaining things and use the right vocabulary to help you get your point across.

For daily English language lessons and tips like our Learn English Facebook page