Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Speak in English You Can!

This book was published by SCITECH publications, Chennai in 2006.

It begins with an introduction to communicating orally; here you learn briefly but clearly about communication, your relationships with your partners (formal, informal and semiformal) and factors affecting communication.

It then goes on to introduce you to how native speakers of English greet and introduce themselves.

It next moves on to present sixty dialogues in social and business contexts on introductions, greetings, giving directions, helping strangers, meeting people, inviting, taking care of guests, sharing thoughts, purchases, reporting, complaining, banking, travelling, eating out, looking for accommodation, meeting officials.

It also appends to the conversations information on question tags, contracted form, reported speech, impersonal passive,  ‘It’ and ‘there’ sentences, meanings of modals.

It closes with a note on some essential features of spoken English like interjections, words and phrases, a few useful everyday expressions.

Of course there is a CD going with the book, containing 30 and odd dialogues spoken by my students and colleagues.

 A sample or two

¨social : introduction
Dialogue one

 Suman         : Raj, come. I’ll introduce you to Dr Raghuram. 
                         Raghu, this is Prof. Rajasekar. Raj, this is
                        Dr Raghuram.  
 Raj               : How d’you do?                                                                  3.0  oral interaction
 [extending ]                                                                                              3.1  face to face        
 [his hand   ]                                                                                               3.2  formal   
 Raghu         : How d’you do?                                                                   3.3.1 introduction 
 [shaking ]
 [hands    ]         

 [from some]
 [distance    ]: Suman!
 Suman         : Excuse me, I’ll be back in a moment.

dialogue specific expressions:  formal introduction
“I’ll introduce you to+someone”      : This is a standard way of beginning an introduction.
                                                                 “Let me introduce you to+someone” is also used
“This is+someone’s name”
[with proper title going before name]: This is a standard way of introducing someone to
                                                                     another, usually with a hand gesture, the palm
                                                                     pointing to the one being introduced.
                                                                     Handshake is common during introduction.

“How d’you do?”                               : This is a formal recognition expression. It has no    
[ indicates the absence of]                other meaning. Specifically, it does not enquire
[‘o’ because it’s not pronounced]     after someone’s health. So don’t respond with
                                                                 “I’m fine, thank you.”
                                                                The correct response is to repeat the expression.
‘excuse me’                                        : you say this when you wish to leave the group
                                                                for sometime to do something else.                       
Look at these expressions also from the dialogue:
         Group one  :    Suman     Raj      Prof. Rajasekar    Dr Raghuraman
                            :    I       you       me
                            :    hand      distance        moment
         Group two  :    come     introduce      extending     shaking     is       do   ‘ll be
 All these expressions are words. Can you name the classes they belong to? Can we say they are all nouns or verbs?  Yes, they are. Group one contains three subclasses of nouns as they are different from each other: set one contains Proper nouns, two has Pronouns and three mentions Common nouns. And group two lists verbs.
  III More about questions
                 1. You’re Dr Raghuraman?         [dialogue 3]
                 6.  Mr Balaji?                               [dialogue 5]
               10.  Yes?                                  
               11.  What shop?                             [dialogue10]
               14.  A mile?
               16.  You mean near the shop?
Question 10 is already discussed above. Question 1 is a statement used as question. The actual question would be: Are you Dr Raghuraman?  Questions 16 is another example of such use.
Question 6 is an accepted short form of : Am I speaking to Mr Balaji? Question11 is also
An accepted version of : What kind of shop are you referring to? Question 14 is a short form of : Do you mean I have a walk a mile?
Such shortened versions of questions are very common in spoken English.

        Pavithra               : Excuse me, madam. Is this slip of paper
                                        yours by any chance?
         The woman         : Oh yes, it is. Thank you, young lady. It’s
         Pavithra               :  Please don’t mention it. If I
                                       may ask you, I haven’t seen you around
                                       here…..are you looking for some address?    
         The woman         : Yes, yes. I’ve been trying to locate an                                          3.0 oral interaction
                                        address. Isn’t this the Second Cross Street,                                  3.1  face to face
                                        Vishal Nagar?                                                                                      3.2  formal  
         Pavithra               : Yes.                                                                                                      3.3.1 helping
         The woman         : But there’s no 23 in this Street.
         Pavithra               : No, there isn’t. 21 is the last number.
         The woman         : But….I was given 23 Second Cross Street.
                                       Let me show you the address slip.[looks for
                                       it in the purse] Oh dear, no! Can’t find it?
                                        Only a little while ago, I thought I’d put it back in my
                                       in my purse. What do I do now?     
         Pavithra              : Perhaps I can help if I know who you are
                                       looking for. I live in the Third Cross Street.
         The woman         : The Johnsons.
         Pavithra               : The Johnsons? Not in this Street, I’m afraid.
         The woman         :  It can’t be. My brother…., that is Mr Johnson,
                                        had said he had bought a house in Second
                                        Cross Street?
          Pavithra              : Is he a doctor, by any chance?
          The woman        : He is. You know them?
          Pavithra              : I’ve heard of them. Did they arrive here recently?                       
          The woman        : Yes, yes. About a month ago, I guess.
          Pavithra              : They live in the next Street, Third Cross Street,
                                         that is.
          The woman         : How could I have made that mistake?
          Pavithra               : You probably wrote down the Roman letter
                                         II instead of III.
          The woman         : How silly of me! If you hadn’t come to my
                                        rescue , the trip would have been a waste.
                                       By the way, I’m Mrs Fairbrother, Alice Fairbrother.
          Pavithra               : My name is Pavithra. We live at 21, this Street.
                                       Please do drop in, Mrs fairbtother, before you leave.
          Mrs Fairbrother   : You’re so nice. I’ll have you to tea at my
                                         brother’s before I leave. Do you work?
          Pavithra               :  I’m a research scholar.
          Mrs Firbrother     :  I’ll come personally to invite your family.
                                          Will your parents be home , say, 8 o’clock today?
          Pavithra                : Yes. But really there’s no need….
          Mrs Fairbrother    : No buts, Pavithra. See you, soon.
          Pavithra                : Bye, Mrs Fairbrother.                                                            

dialogue specific expressions:

‘……..madam’                   : You address a woman stranger this way and
                                              a man stranger as ‘…….,sir’[see dialogue thirteen].
‘by any chance’                  : You use this in questions to ask if something
                                              is true, possible etc.
‘thank you, young lady’     : You thank someone for doing something for you.
                                              Use of ‘young lady’ is formal. ‘thank you, dear’
                                              is also used.
‘please don’t mention it’    : This is how you respond when someone thanks you.
                                              ‘you’re welcome’ and ‘not at all’ are two other responses
                                              you can use in formal situations.
‘if I may ask you’               : This is polite way of asking a stranger for information
                                              when you feel that the person needs help.
‘no, there isn’t.’                  : ‘No’ is the normal response to a negative statement   
                                              made by another : ‘But there is no 23 in this Street.’
                                              Some may be tempted to respond with a ‘yes’. If at all
                                              you say ‘yes’ make sure you say ‘yes, you’re right.’
‘The Johnsons’                   : The proper noun ‘Johnson’ is in plural with ‘the’ going
                                              before it. The phrase refers to a family going by the name
                                              of ‘Johnson’: Mr and Mrs Johnson and their children.
                                              This is how a family is referred to in the West, among the
                                              Christians and in certain families in North India.
‘how silly of me!’               : I feel embarrassed at the thought of making such a mistake.
‘please do drop in…..’        : ‘drop in’ means ‘pay a visit to us’. The use of ‘do’ before
                                              a verb emphasises the action meant by the verb.
 ‘invite you to[for a cup of] tea’: An invitation can be for ‘breakfast’, ‘lunch’, ‘supper’ or
                                                 ‘tea’[with biscuits or snacks]. ‘dinner’ means ‘ a main
                                                 meal’ which can be at lunch time or supper time.
‘at my brother’s’                 : ‘at my brother’s house’            
No buts, Pavithra’               : This is how Mrs Fairbrother responds to Paithra’s
                                              ‘but really there is no need…[to invite my family]’.
                                              ‘no buts’ indicates that Mrs Fairbrother does not wish to
                                              accept any reason or excuse for not accepting the
                                              invitation to tea.
‘see you, soon’                     : You say this at the end of the conversation before leaving.
                                               ‘bye’ is another expression you can use.

See if you can recognise some features common to this dialogue and the previous ones.