Making contact – social language

Airport conversation

Social conversation is important to help get to know people and to build relationships.

Part 1

Listen

Listen to this conversation and answer these questions.

  • Do these two people know each other?
  • Where are they?

Questions and answers

We use questions and answers to move a social conversation. Can you match the questions and answers? Listen to the conversation again if you need.

Questions Answers
Is this the first time you’ve been to one of these conferences? That sounds great, thanks.
Have you been before? I’m a technical manager for IWB.
What do you do? No, I haven’t.
Why don’t we have a bite to eat and talk about it over lunch? No, I came last year when it was in Budapest.

Listen again

Listen again and follow the transcript.

A: Hi, I’m Julie. Is this the first time you’ve been to one of these conferences?

B: No, I came last year when it was in Budapest. I’m Susan by the way. Have you been before?

A: No, I haven’t. I’ve just started working in medical technology.

B: What do you do?

A: I’m a technical manager for IWB. I’m responsible for technical support in Eastern Europe. What about you?

B: Oh, I’m with BTC. I was in technical support, but I’ve moved into project management.

A: Maybe you could suggest a couple of useful sessions for me?

B: Yeah, sure. Why don’t we have a bite to eat and talk about it over lunch?

A: That sounds great, thanks.

Phrases

Let’s focus on the section of the transcript highlighted in yellow.

There are three parts:

  • I’m with BTC. = this says what the present situation is
  • I was in technical support, = this says what the past situation was
  • but I’ve moved into project management. = this says what has changed

Now, use this structure to write a sentence about you that says;

  • what your present situation is
  • what your past situation was
  • what has changed.

 

Part 2

Listen

Listen to this second conversation and answer these questions.

  • Do these two people know each other?
  • Where are they?

Questions and answers

We use questions and answers to move a social conversation. Can you match the questions and answers? Listen to the conversation again if you need.

Questions Answers
Did you have a good flight? Paul hasn’t.
When was that? He’s only been there for 3 or 4 months.
Has everyone else arrived for the meeting? Not too bad.
How long has he lived there? It was last year.

Listen again

Listen again and follow the transcript.

A: Hi Brian. Did you have a good flight?

B: Not too bad, Peter. At least it was on time.

A: That’s good. I’ve had problems with RiteFlite in the past.

B: Oh? When was that?

A: It was last year, on a trip to Buenos Aires.

B: Really? I’ve always wanted to go there.

A: Well, we had a fantastic time apart from the flight.

B: Anyway, has everyone else arrived for the meeting?

A: Paul hasn’t. He called 20 minutes ago to say his train was delayed! It’s typical, isn’t it? The person who lives closest is the one who’s late!

B: Oh really? I thought he lived in Norwich.

A: Not any more. He’s moved to Richmond.

B: Ah. How long has he lived there

A: He’s only been there for 3 or 4 months. He moved because he wanted a shorter commute to work!

Phrases

Let’s focus on the section of the transcript highlighted in yellow.

There’s a question about an unfinished time:

  • How long has he lived there?

The answer has two parts:

  • He’s only been there for 3 or 4 month. = an unfinished time = the time he’s lived in Richmond
  • He moved because he wanted a shorter commute to work! = a finished time = the time he moved

Here are two questions with the same structure:

  • How long have you lived here?
  • How long have you worked there?

Write answers about you.


Answers

Part 1

Julie and Susan don’t know each other. They are meeting for the first time.

They are at a conference.

Part 2

Peter and Brian know each other. They are colleagues.

They are at an airport.

 

By Louise and Barney

Do you know the rules of making small talk? Watch our video.

 

If you have any questions or comments, leave a reply below.

Do you need practise social language in English? Send us a message.

 

The Sounds of English – Part 2

Here is the second part of our presentation on the sounds of English pronunciation.

The presentation covers:

  • Using mouth diagrams to help you put your mouth in the right position.
  • Two ideas for practising linking words together.

Make sure you use the full-screen button and turn up the sound on your computer so you can hear Louise and Barney say the example words and sentences.

Click on the picture to go to the presentation.

Sounds of English - Part 2

Watch The Sounds of English – Part 1 and our Introduction to English Pronunciation.

By Barney and Louise

 

If you have any questions about this or suggestions, leave a comment below.

If you are interested in improving your pronunciation with Stratford Teachers, send us a message.

You can also watch our other videos on pronunciation and look at the list of our Specialist Pronunciation lessons.

 

Agreeing and Disagreeing

Do you go to a lot of meetings and listen to people giving their opinions about different topics?

Do you agree or disagree with those opinions?

Watch our latest video for advice on the clearest and easiest way of agreeing or disagreeing in English.

By Barney, Eileen, Louise and Simon

 

Was this video useful? Watch our video on the difference between facts and opinions.

 

If you have any questions about this video, leave a comment below.

If you are interested in English for business meetings, send us a message.

 

Stratford Teachers Pub Quiz

The Old Thatch Tavern pub in Stratford upon Avon – drawing by Barney Barrett

Pubs are an important part of British culture.

How much do you know about the language of pubs?

Test yourself by watching our new video.

There are six questions. Use the comment box at the bottom of this page to tell us how many you got right.

Of course, the most important thing we do in the pub is make conversation. Watch our video on the rules of small talk for advice on how to start and keep a conversation going.

Video by Barney with  Joy, Louise, Simon, and Stephen. Cheers to Emily and Stephen for also adding their voices.

 

If you have any questions about this, leave a comment below.

If you are interested in learning more about British culture and the English language, send us a message.

 

Dealing with presentation questions

Dealing with presentation questions video

Do you need to give presentations in English?

Do people in the audience often want to ask questions?

Our latest video shows some ways of dealing with audience questions.

If this was interesting, why not look at Starting a presentation, and Describing upward and downward trends?

 

Video by Barney with the voices of Joy, Simon and Stephen.

 

If you have any questions or comments, leave a reply below.

Do you need help to prepare and give a presentation in English? Send us a message.

 

The Rules of Small Talk

The Rules of Making Small talk in English video

Making small talk in a foreign language can be a challenge.

Our video has five simple rules you can follow. These will help you start and develop conversations in social situations.

Video by Barney with the voices of Linda, Joy and Simon.

 

If you have any questions or comments, leave a reply below.

Do you need practise making small talk in English? Send us a message.

 

Saying small numbers

SAying small numbers in English video

After last week’s video about saying large numbers, we now have a video that focuses on saying small numbers.

Did you know there is more than one way to say the number 0? What are the important pronunciation points to consider when you say fractions like 3/4? Watch the video to find out.

by Barney

 

If you have any questions about this, leave a comment below.

If you are interested in learning and practising English vocabulary, send us a message.