How to talk clearly about your place of residence

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Talking about your place of residence is a speaking topic of the STANAG 6001 LEVEL 1, 2 and even 3. 
This article focuses on how to talk about where you live. Firstly, it looks at some possible level 2 and 1 questions about your place of residence.  Secondly, it focuses on useful phrases to talk about your place of living. Then, it shows grammar points related to describing places. Finally, it shows a STANAG 6001 LEVEL 3 topic: city vs country. 

QUESTIONS ABOUT WHERE YOU LIVE

LEVEL 2

TALKING ABOUT WHERE YOU LIVE is one of possible warm-up questions that you might be asked during the STANAG 6001 LEVEL 2 SPEAKING exam.
This part of the exam takes up to 2 minutes, so it really is a short warm-up, and the question(s) about your place of residence are only a part of it. So, you want to be precise and to the point on this one.
The basic question that you might be asked is “Where do you live?” and although it is supposed to be short, it is not enough to answer – “I live in Warsaw”.
Here are some questions that you might want to use to form your answer or which might be asked by the examiner as follow-up questions to what you say.
  • Where do you live? 
  • Is it a city/town/village? 
  • How many inhabitants live there? 
  • Are there any tourist attractions? 
  • Do you commute to work? How long does it take you? 
  • How long have you lived there? 
  • When did you move? 
  • Why did you move? 
  • (How long) are you planning to stay there? 
  • Do you live in a house or in a flat? Why? 
  • Where exactly is your flat/house located? 
  • Do you like living there? Why (not)?

LEVEL 1

STANAG 6001 LEVEL 1 Part 1B SPEAKING also involves questions about a place of living, one of the possible topics is a description of a place, for example:
Tell us about your flat or house
  • What does your bedroom look like?
    • What is there in the living room? 
    • Is there a …? 
    • What is your favourite room? Why? 

TALKING ABOUT WHERE YOU LIVE – USEFUL PHRASES

When during the STANAG 6001 LEVEL 2 speaking warm-up, you’re asked about where you live:
  • be precise and to the point,
  • don’t go into too much detail, but
  • give enough information to satisfy the topic without the need to answer too many follow-up questions. 

Here is how you might want to go about it:
I live in a big city/small town/village.
It is located in the … part of … /in the lake district/in the mountains etc.
It is a tourist/industrial/mountainous spot.
It has a population of … inhabitants. 
There are some tourist attractions in my town, such as …
It is an important centre of … industry.
I live there in a house/flat with … 
It is located in the city centre/in the suburbs/out of town/in the countryside.
I like living there because …

DESCRIBING PLACES – GRAMMAR

There are a few grammatical forms to describe places:
THERE IS … (+ singular noun) /THERE ARE … (+ plural noun) to say that something exists.
  • There are some tourist attractions in my town.
  • There is an old town hall in the town centre.
  • There are 50 thousand people living in my town.
PAST SIMPLE to talk about past events connected with the place.
  • I was born in Warsaw, but now I live in Sandomierz.
  • The city was built 200 years ago.
  • I moved to Krakow in 2015.
PRESENT SIMPLE to describe the place as it is and talk about what is generally true.
  • I live in a small town in the south of Poland.
  • The city is a tourist spot.
PRESENT PERFECT to talk about something that started in the past and continues until now.
  • I have lived here for 20 years.
  • I have just moved to this place.
  • I have always wanted to live in the mountains.
PRESENT CONTINUOUS to talk about plans or changes.
  • I am planning to move to the countryside when I retire.
  • I am moving away because of my work obligations.

Read more on grammar in these blog posts:
Grammar for STANAG exams: https://www.stanagexpert.com/grammar-for-stanag-exams/
What do we need grammar for?: https://www.stanagexpert.com/what-about-grammar/

CITY VERSUS COUNTRY – STANAG 6001 LEVEL 3 DISCUSSION

LEVEL 3
One of the discussion topics during the STANAG 6001 level 3 is the comparison of the life in the city with the life in the countryside.
A sample exam task might read like this:
Some people decide to leave the cities and live in the countryside. Look at the list below and discuss the following factors. Decide which factor is the most important in making such a decision. Justify your choice.
cost of living         living closer to nature      people
And here are some sample arguments for and against each of the points:
COSTS OF LIVING
PLUSES
  • cheaper food;
  • no rent to pay;
  • lower price of land.
MINUSES
  • shopping may require travelling long distances;
  • the house maintenance costs;
  • poorer infrastructure.
LIVING CLOSE TO NATURE
PLUSES
  • better air quality, better health, less pollution;
  • healthier food;
  • contact with nature.
MINUSES
  • poorer transport and infrastructure;
  • nature can be unpredictable and dangerous;
  • wild animals can be dangerous or ill.
PEOPLE
PLUSES
  • fewer people, less crowd;
  • more space, privacy and independence;
  • less traffic and noise;
  • quieter and more peaceful life.
MINUSES
  • everyone knows each other, less privacy;
  • more seclusion means you are more prone to criminal activity of e.g. burglars;
  • closed community, fewer social and entertainment opportunities.
More example arguments and exam tasks in other blog posts and in my book:

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