Essential Technology Vocabulary in English: Advanced Vocabulary Lesson
Vanessa: Hi, I'm Vanessa from SpeakEnglishWithVanessa.com. Do you have some technology? Let's talk about it. Do you have a smartphone? Do you look at your smartphone every day, five times a day, 20 times a day, 200 times a day? Today, we're going to be talking about some important words to describe technology in your life, but not only these items, we'll also be talking about some important phrases and expressions or idioms that you can use to talk about your relationship to technology.
To help you with this, I have created a free PDF that you can download in the link below this video. This PDF includes all of the phrases, sample sentences and proverbs that we are talking about today. You can review it, download it, print it, study it, put it under your pillow to sleep on. I hope it will be a helpful tool to you.
All right, let's get started by talking about some common technology that you might have in your life, in your house. Maybe you're using it right now. Let's start. A computer. I do a lot of work on the computer.
This is a desktop computer. Actually, my husband, Dan, built this desktop computer and we have a screen to go with it. Or maybe you have a laptop, a laptop.
We usually don't call this a notebook. I think this can be a common mistake a lot of English learners make is they say, "I need to get my notebook," or, "Let me write that on my notebook." But really a notebook is with paper in English, this is a laptop, a laptop. Sometimes I take my laptop to a coffee shop to do some work. A tablet. I don't have a tablet, but a lot of people like to play games on their tablet.
What about this? This is a phone, a cell phone or a smartphone. Sometimes the opposite of this, we call a dumb phone. Do you remember those days? Maybe you still have a dumb phone.
It's like a flip phone. It can't access the internet. All it can do is call and maybe send a text message. But a smartphone can do almost everything.
So, you might say I rely on my smartphone a little too much sometimes. A TV. Sometimes we call this a smart TV. I guess the other old TVs were dumb TVs, I don't know.
But we could say that I use a smart TV to stream TV shows and movies, this can be a very useful feature for learning English. You can stream some English movies or TV shows on a smart TV. Do you have a smartwatch? I don't, I have a dumb watch.
It just tells me the time. But you might track your physical activity and other important notifications on your smartwatch. What about a game console? Do you have a game console? I don't, otherwise I would show you, but we might say that the teenager thinks he needs the latest game console to play the latest video games.
So here we have a game console and video games. All right, let's move on to our next category, which are some specific words dealing with the phone. If you want to talk about something that is always around us in English, it's important to be able to describe your phone. So, let's start. If you are going into a meeting, it's important to turn off your phone. So, we say to turn off or to turn on your phone, it makes the screen turn on and you can start to get some sounds, which maybe is not good for a meeting or if you're watching a movie, it's a good idea to turn off your phone during the movie, and then you can turn it on later.
Let's talk about some of the different buttons. To turn off or turn on your phone, you need to push the power button, the power button, usually it's on the side. The other buttons you might have are a volume button to make the volume higher or lower. And your phone might have a charging port. What do you put into the charging port? This, you put your charger in the charging port, the charging port. So, this is my charger and I put it in the charging port.
You might also have some other things here. Like this is a headphone jack. Let me show you how it works. I have my headphones here. Can you hear me? I plug in my headphones to the headphone jack.
Some people call this an auxiliary cord or an auxiliary port, but I think most people just say headphone jack, that's the hole and you put your headphones into the headphone jack. You could say I put it in or I plug it in. I plug in my headphones and now the music is coming into my headphones. It's a very useful feature so that you don't annoy other people with whatever you're listening to. It can be private.
You can plug in your headphones and listen to it privately. If you don't have those fancy noise-canceling headphones, you might have just simple earbuds, earbuds. These earbuds have a wire, but nowadays a lot of people have wireless earbuds to listen to music.
I think that's a lot more convenient. You don't have to have a cord dangling around everywhere, but I just have the old-fashioned ones with a cord. These are ear buds for listening to music or whatever you'd like. Some other features of my phone is that I have a screen protector on my phone. Right now, it looks like there are some scratches on my phone, but actually it's the screen protector.
The screen protector did its job, it protected my screen from getting a scratch. Also, my phone case protects my phone, so we could call this just the case, my phone's case, or we could say the case, the phone's case, this is for protecting my phone. It's the case and the screen protector. In my opinion, this is essential for every phone, because you are going to drop it, someone else is going to drop it, something's going to happen. And no one wants to pay a crazy amount to have their screen fixed.
Just get a screen protector, simple, easy way to protect your phone. I guess this would be a good time if I was sponsored by a special screen protector company, but I'm not. I just think it's a good idea to get a screen protector. All right, let's talk about some other features.
You might hear this sound. What's that mean? It means that you have a notification. Personally, I hate notifications.
I have every single notification turned off on my phone. Every sound turned off and I have to look at my phone to see if my family has messaged me, that is the only notification that appears on my phone. For every other, Facebook, social media notification, I have to go to the desktop computer because, personally, I think that's one of the negatives, we'll talk about that in a minute, of social media and of phones is that it's always disrupting our moment. It's disrupting where we really are in life and making us go somewhere else in the phone. So, for me, I like to turn off my notifications. What about you? Let me know in the comments.
All right, now let's go on and talk about some computer words. These words also apply to a laptop, but we're going to be just looking at the computer here. This is the screen, the screen. Your laptop has a screen. Your tablet also has a screen.
Hey, your phone has a screen too. This is the screen. And here I have the keyboard, the keyboard. Because my husband Dan and I share an office, it's a little secret, we actually have two keyboards, a little bit embarrassing to say, I guess, because I prefer one keyboard and he prefers the other. So, this is his keyboard.
When he's doing work on this computer, he uses this keyboard. I think that the keys are too clunky and make too much noise. So, I have a different keyboard that I like to use and I plug it in and use that one.
A little bit silly, but... Oh, well, you got to make some concessions, right? So, we have our screen, the keyboard, we have some speakers. You can see the speakers here.
And in order to navigate around, you're going to need a mouse. This is a mouse. There are a couple of buttons on the mouse. We call these the left click and the right click. So, in the middle, you scroll. So, you might see some directions when you're downloading a program, for example, it might say, "Open the program and left click on start, or right click on start."
And that's what it's talking about. Left click or right click. So, if you know your left and your right, that would help.
But this is the mouse. And we have a mouse pad, helpful for using the mouse. If you are in the technological field, you might have a microphone, or this is an external microphone.
You might just use the built-in microphone. So, on your laptop, for example, there is a built in microphone. You don't need to plug in a microphone for someone to hear you. On your phone, there's a built-in microphone. On your tablet, there's a built-in microphone.
On this desktop, there is not. So, I need an external microphone and also for my job to make some beautiful sound recordings for you. But there is a built-in microphone or an external microphone. All right, let's go on to some TV words.
Like we have a computer screen, a phone screen, we have the TV screen, a TV screen. And to turn on the TV screen, you need a remote. Now, some people in the US call this a clicker, I think this might be a Southern word, but I say remote. In my opinion, the majority of people say remote, go get the remote.
And this word comes from distance. So, if you live in a remote area, it means that you live far away from everyone else, far away from a big city, you're in a remote area. And when you use a remote, you are far away from the TV. So, not too long ago, maybe some of you remember, this was before I was born, but you needed to walk up to the TV and click the power button to turn it on. You couldn't just sit on the couch and use the remote. But now with the remote, you don't even have to leave your couch, how convenient.
When you turn on your TV, you can either watch certain apps like Netflix or Hulu, or if you pay for a TV service, you might have channels. So, channel one, channel two, channel three, channel four. There's certain numbers that are associated with different channels.
This is also sometimes called stations, but usually it's called a channel. On channel four, there's the news, channel four news is a pretty common thing in the US and we call that the channel. Sometimes you can access a channel without paying for a service, like a monthly TV service, but most channels you have to pay for in a package. In my opinion, this is becoming less common, because of services like Netflix and Hulu. A lot of people are stopping paying for a monthly TV service and instead they're paying monthly for Netflix or Hulu, because they have a smart TV. So, I'm curious in your country, do people pay for a TV service to have access to 1,000 channels or do they just pay for Netflix and Hulu and these types of subscriptions that can be shown on their smart TV? I'm curious what it's like in your part of the world.
All right. Let's go to some common idioms that are great for talking about our positive and negative relationship with technology. Tech-savvy, I'm going to be giving you a sample sentence, and I want you to kind of guess based on the context what you think it means. Take a look at the sentence, sometimes I think that my seven-year-old niece is more tech-savvy than me. This means she is very knowledgeable about technology. Are you tech-savvy? You might say, "I am not tech savvy, but somehow I figured out how to download some programs onto my phone, it was amazing."
Or, "My seven-year-old niece is quite tech-savvy, and she helped me to get a new phone and figure out how to get it working." To be tech-savvy. Notice that this word has two Vs. This is very unusual in English, but it is essential for spelling this word correctly, savvy.
Screen time, screen time. I'm trying to limit my screen time and spend more time in nature and with my family. Screen time, this means time that you spend looking at a screen. It might be a computer, a phone, a TV, anything that is a screen, screen time. So, often parents will use this expression and say, "My children are allowed to have one hour of screen time per day."
Or, "We really need to limit screen time." Or, "During the pandemic, we just threw out all screen time rules and they were allowed to watch more TV than normal, because it was a tough time." So, this screen time word can be used to talk about the limits or the amount of time that you spend looking at a screen. If you work on the computer for your job, and then you come home and also look at a screen, you probably have a lot of screen time in your life. I recommend downloading some apps that can tell you, they track how much time you spend on certain apps on your phone. And it can give you a report at the end of the week, you spent 10 hours on social media, and then you go, "Oh my goodness.
I didn't realize it." It's a good way to kind of put it into perspective how much screen time you have. Maybe it's necessary, maybe it's not, maybe you're wondering, "I have no time for English. What am I going to do?" Maybe you can track your screen time for the week and see if you can find any extra time when you look at that report. All right, let's go to the next phrase, to be addicted, or you can't live without your smartphone maybe.
You might say, "I think that I am addicted to my smartphone. I can't stop looking at it. I look at it every five minutes."
Or you might say, "I can't live without my smartphone." A lot of us have said this at one point or another, maybe we were joking, maybe it was an exaggeration or maybe not. It means that maybe you need to step back a little bit and reconsider how much time you spend on your phone. Are you addicted? Maybe take a moment to think about it. To scroll on social media, or you might say to scroll on Facebook or scroll on Instagram. I spent two hours scrolling on Instagram looking at cat videos, what am I doing with my life? Have you ever thought that? So here, we're talking about mindlessly, not consciously, I am wanting to look at these things.
No, you're just mindlessly scrolling through social media. You're just looking at one post after another post after another post. You're scrolling through Facebook or Instagram or TikTok or whatever the latest thing might be. And usually it's not necessarily a good thing, maybe a lot of these are not really a good thing, or that might just be my perspective, that it's a mindless activity. So, if you scroll on Facebook for five minutes and you can limit yourself, good for you.
Good idea. A double-edged sword. I feel like this expression perfectly describes technology.
When you use the internet, it's really a double-edged sword. It can be super helpful to help you learn, to help you find information that's useful, to help you connect with other people. But at the same time, it can bring you further away from people. It can distract you. It can make you a worst version of yourself.
So, it's a double-edged sword. There's lots of things that are a double-edged sword. So, let me know in the comments, what do you think are some other things that are a double-edged sword? They have lots of benefits, but they also bring with that a lot of negativity.
Binge-watching. You might say, "I binge-watched the entire show in one night." This is a common expression that kind of came into popularity with Netflix. Because with the previous system, you would just get one new show every Wednesday, and then you had to wait a week and then you'd get the next show on Wednesday. But with Netflix, you could watch the entire show whenever you wanted, you got access to the entire thing. So, with it came, the idea of binge-watching.
That means watching the entire thing. Usually it's not a very healthy thing, you need to take a break, not stay up till 5:00 AM. But because of this type of information at our fingertips, we can binge-watch something, watch a lot of something at one time.
All right, for our last two expressions, we have a little guest here. My baby woke up from his nap. So, he's going to join us.
Welcome, Freddie. Hey, he's eating a piece of coconut. So, the next expression is to unplug or disconnect. And you can imagine when you unplug your device, it doesn't work anymore. So, you can also unplug. We might say one of my favorite things about camping is just unplugging and disconnecting.
That means you are not looking at your phone. You're not keeping up with the news. You're not looking at your notifications. You are unplugging.
You're disconnecting from all of the chaos that happens online or on the internet. The last expression is quite similar and it is to go off the grid. The grid is this technological electricity that connects everything. If the grid goes down, that means the grid doesn't work anymore.
It means all of the electricity for your entire city, maybe your whole country, stops working. Not really a good thing, but if you personally go off the grid, you might say, "I'm going to go camping this weekend so that I can go off the grid." It means that you are disconnecting. You're unplugging from all of the hubbub that is happening online. So, sometimes it's a good thing to disconnect, to just go off the grid and unplug for a bit of time. Maybe if you're feeling a lot of anxiety, this could be a good first step is to try to unplug and really disconnect yourself from all of the other world problems and just focus on some calm moments with your family, with your baby, who's trying to pet a cat, one of those lovely things in life.
But there you have it, some wonderful expressions that you can use to talk about technology and your relationship to technology. Don't forget to check out the link below this video and download the free PDF to go with this lesson. You can download all of the expressions that we talked about, the sample sentences, and really review them and use them yourself. This type of document is an excellent way to level up your English. I can't wait to share it with you and thank you so much for learning English with me.
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