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Circumlocution game PDF Print E-mail

The main objective of this game is to describe an object, of which one does not know the name. Students are required to overcome the need to know exact words for the objects they meet in daily life. One student is given a familiar item and must convey what it is to the group, using only the target language.

It would be useful for the class to know words for "gizmo", "thingamijig" or "whats-a-ma-call-it" before they start. Questions like "What is it used for?", "Who would probably use it?" and "Is its colour important?" etc will also help the students with this activity. Students should not make use of their hands in their descriptions.

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This activity offers various possibilities:

  1. Students are in groups of 4 or 5. One student from the class is chosen and is shown an object outside the classroom. The student returns and describes the object. The other students may confer within their groups and either write the name of the object in English, or else draw the object.
  2. Use objects that the students are likely to be unfamiliar with (e.g. typewriter eraser with a brush on the end, a bodkin for pulling elastic through a waist seam when sewing etc.). One student is shown the object and then describes it and the other students have to speculate on what it was used for.
  3. One student pulls an object out of a bag and then has to convince other students to buy it.
  4. One person from each of two teams is shown the object and must get their team to say the word in English, or draw it, before the other team works it out.

Here are some possible items to start with: plastic gizmo put in the middle of a large pizza to keep the top of the box from touching the pizza; plastic scoop from large box of laundry detergent; toothbrush handle with the head broken off; empty toilet roll; a house or hotel from a Monopoly game; emery board; refill for a ball-point pen; plastic bread bag closure; plastic loop that attaches the price tag to clothes; funnel; origami bird; plastic container for 35mm roll of film; name-tag from a conference; a plastic toy from a 'Kinder Surprise' chocolate egg; a staple puller/remover; plastic/card inner ring from a roll of sticky tape; styrofoam peanuts used for packaging; carbon paper.

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