Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Gina: Hello and welcome back to EnglishClass101.com. I’m your host Gina.
Gabriella: And I’m Gabriella.
Gina: This is British English Basic Boot Camp Lesson 3 – Asking Questions in English.
Gabriella: In this lesson, you’ll learn the basics of asking questions in English. The conversation takes place in a classroom and it’s between a teacher and a student.
Gina: Okay, let’s listen to the conversation.
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Gina: We touched on the importance of questions when you first meet someone in our last lesson.
Gabriella: We did. They are very important and can really help a conversation flow, especially if there’re only a couple of people speaking.
Gina: What if it’s a big group though?
Gabriella: Ah, they can get noisy, can’t they?
Gina: Yeah, if everyone starts talking at once or speaking over the top of each other, it can be very difficult to make yourself heard, or hear what everyone else is saying.
Gabriella: It must be especially hard for learners of English if several people are speaking at once.
Gina: If you want to ask a question or offer an opinion, it can be very difficult to make yourself heard, sometimes.
Gabriella: You need to interrupt!
Gina: Isn’t that kind of rude?
Gabriella: It can be, but if you do it correctly it’s usually okay. In informal situations between friends, everyone just interrupts each other anyway.
Gina: How about formal situations?
Gabriella: You should begin by saying either “excuse me” or “pardon me”.
Gina: They’re polite phrases used to apologise for bothering someone, aren’t they?
Gabriella: That’s right. “Pardon me” is the more polite and formal of the two. If you say either of those and sound apologetic for interrupting, people won’t take offense at being interrupted, even in formal situations.
Gina: And as you said, during informal situations with close friends, it’s often a case of who can speak the loudest is the one who gets to speak!
Gabriella: That’s right!
Gina: Okay, let’s check out the vocabulary.
KEY VOCAB AND PHRASES
Gina: Let's have a closer look at the usuage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson. We spoke about our first vocabulary items just briefly, but let’s talk about them in greater detail now. They are “excuse me” and “pardon me”.
Gabriella: These are very useful phrases that can be used in many situations. As we said, they have a degree of apology attached to them, so they can be used whenever you’re interrupting people or causing them trouble.
Gina: Such as interrupting them.
Gabriella: Exactly. You can also use it before you ask a question of someone, or to show that you didn’t hear something that was said.
Gina: If you’re trying to fight through a crowd to get somewhere, you would say “excuse me” as you moved past.
Gabriella: Well hopefully by saying “excuse me” they would move out of your way without the need to push!
Gina: Sometimes… Next is the verb “to spell”.
Gabriella: This means how letters are used to make a word. If I was asked to spell a word, I would then break it down into the individual letters.
Gina: (B name), how do you spell “English”?
Gabriella: E-N-G-L-I-S-H.
Gina: This is an important verb to remember, as English words are often spelt differently to how they are pronounced, aren’t they?
Gabriella: Yes. Just because you know the meaning of a word and how to say it, it doesn’t mean you can spell it, so you may have to ask sometimes.
Gina: Our final item is related to “spell” – it’s “to pronounce”.
Gabriella: This is how a word is said. It’s how the individual letters and syllables are actually spoken.
Gina: This is also important. As we said, words are spelled differently to how they are said, so if you see a word written down, but don’t know how to say it, you can ask someone the question....
Gabriella: “How do you pronounce this?”
Gina: “To spell” and “to pronounce” are linked, aren’t they?
Gabriella: I think so, yes.
Gina: Okay, now it’s time for the grammar.
GRAMMAR POINT
Gina: In this lesson, you’re going to learn how to ask questions, and we’re going to concentrate specifically on asking questions that will help English learners with their learning.
Gabriella: We are. But first, let’s talk about questions in a more general way. The easiest and most common way to ask questions in English, is to start the sentence with a question word. When the sentence is written, it will end in a question mark too.
Gina: When we ask a question we raise the intonation at the end of the sentence to show that it’s a question.
Gabriella: That’s right. Let’s run through some of the most common question words. We use “what” to ask for specific information.
Gina: “What is your name?”
Gabriella: We use “which” to choose between specific and limited things.
Gina: Which country are you from?
Gabriella: “How” is for methods.
Gina: How do you come to school?
Gabriella: “Why” is our question word to ask for reasons.
Gina: Why were you late?
Gabriella: If we need to know about locations, we use “where.”
Gina: Where do you live?
Gabriella: For time, we use “when”.
Gina: When is your birthday?
Gabriella: To check ability, we use “can”.
Gina: Can you play piano?
Gabriella: And to make polite requests of people, we use “could”.
Gina: Could you repeat that for me?
Gabriella: I think you can already see how some of these are useful for English learners.
Gina: I can, but I think we should be more specific now with some examples from the dialogue.
Gabriella: Okay. In the question “How do you say this in English?” You’re asking for the method, the way of saying the word.
Gina: “Could you speak more slowly?” Also “could you repeat that?”
Gabriella: Both of those are making requests of the other person, so “could” is used.
Gina: That makes sense.
Gabriella: I’m glad to hear that!

Outro

Gina: Okay, that’s all for this lesson.
Gabriella: Try and ask some questions before the next lesson!
Gina: Thanks for listening, and see you next time!
Gabriella: Bye!

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Listeners, let's practice asking questions in English here!