Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Notes

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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Eric: Hi everybody! Eric here!
Becky: Hello everyone! Becky here. This is Hospitality English for Hotels, Season 2, Lesson 20 - Talking to Guests Who don’t speak English.
Eric: In this lesson you will learn about how not all foreign guests are native English speakers, and how to talk to them.
Becky: This conversation takes place in the late afternoon at the front desk.
Eric: It’s between a hotel staff member and a guest.
Becky: The speakers are in a professional relationship, so they’ll be using formal English. Let’s listen to the conversation.

Lesson conversation

Staff Hello sir. How may I assist you?
Guest I... Want... room.
Staff Okay. Do you have your ID card?
Guest Uh...
Staff Your ID card? An (slowly) identification card? With your photo?
Guest Uh...passport?
Staff Yes. That would be just fine, thank you. Everything looks in order. What kind of room would you like?
Guest Uh...Room at the ocean.
Staff Do you mean a room that looks to the ocean?
Guest Yes! Please!
Staff Certainly, sir. One moment please....Ok, your room is 5-1-5. How long do you plan on staying with us?
Guest All night.
Staff So, you're planning to check out tomorrow?
Guest Ah, yes.
Staff Okay then. Check out... is two.
Becky: Let’s hear the conversation one time slowly.
Staff Hello sir. How may I assist you?
Guest I... Want... room.
Staff Okay. Do you have your ID card?
Guest Uh...
Staff Your ID card? An (slowly) identification card? With your photo?
Guest Uh...passport?
Staff Yes. That would be just fine, thank you. Everything looks in order. What kind of room would you like?
Guest Uh...Room at the ocean.
Staff Do you mean a room that looks to the ocean?
Guest Yes! Please!
Staff Certainly, sir. One moment please....Ok, your room is 5-1-5. How long do you plan on staying with us?
Guest All night.
Staff So, you're planning to check out tomorrow?
Guest Ah, yes.
Staff Okay then. Check out... is 2
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Eric: Sometimes it can be easy to forget that not all foreign guests will be proficient English speakers. In other words, they may not speak the local language, and they may not speak English either.
Becky: In fact, they may only speak one language, which you cannot speak yourself. In these situations, there are two important things to remember.
Eric: That’s right. First, that you should write things down, particularly important things like room numbers and telephone numbers. The second thing to remember is to use hand gestures. So point to the guest’s room, or to the total bill amount on the paper.
Becky: As a matter of fact, that’s one of the reasons why most hotels still have analog clocks near the front desk, so that guests can look at the clock and staff members can simply point to it. Okay, now let’s take a look at the vocabulary.
VOCAB LIST
Becky: Let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
The first phrase is...
Eric: Your room is 5-1-5 [natural native speed]
Becky: the guest’s room is 515
Eric: Your room is 5-1-5 [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Eric: Your room is 5-1-5 [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have...
Eric: Okay then [natural native speed]
Becky: okay, sure, yes
Eric: Okay then [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Eric: Okay then [natural native speed]
Becky: Last we have...
Eric: toward [natural native speed]
Becky: in the direction of
Eric: toward [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Eric: toward [natural native speed]
KEY VOCAB AND PHRASES
Becky: Let’s take a closer look at some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Eric: The first phrase we’re going to look at is "Okay then."
Becky: This phrase means "yes" or "okay." The key here is your tone of voice.
Eric: That’s right. In casual situations, your tone of voice could make this phrase sound sarcastic and, in certain contexts, funny.
Becky: However, as a hotel staff member, you shouldn’t use it this way, because your guests might be offended. Always use this phrase with a positive, happy tone of voice. For example, "Okay then, ma’am! Everything seems to be in order."
Eric: The next phrase we are going to look at is "your room is 5-1-5."
Becky: So in this phrase, the staff member tells the guest their room number in single digits. Why?
Eric: Good question. The staff member did that to make it easier for the guest to understand. When speaking to proficient English speakers, you should say numbers in a natural native way.
Becky: Exactly. Which would be, in this case, "five fifteen" or "five hundred fifteen."
Eric: However, it was obvious to the staff member that this guest didn’t have an advanced grasp of English. In these situations, having "native-like pronunciation" can actually make it more difficult to communicate with the guest.
Becky: Exactly. That’s why the staff member only used numbers from one to ten. If people know anything about English, that is usually the thing they know.
Eric: For example, "Your room is seven three nine" or "The room service number is nine three one."
Becky: Okay, now onto the grammar.

Lesson focus

Eric: In this lesson, you'll learn how to communicate with non-proficient English speakers.
Becky: In the dialogue, this was done with phrases like, "Your ID card? An identification card? With your photo?"
Eric: Our first tip is to "speak clearly and slowly."
Becky: When speaking to non-proficient English speakers, pronunciation needs to be slow, clear, and exact. It’s usually best to pronounce each word separately, rather than connecting them as you would in a regular native-like conversation.
Eric: That’s right. For example, saying something like "Would you like to make a reservation?" would be difficult for them to understand. Instead, you should separate the words a little more than usual.
Becky: You can do that by saying something like "Would | you | like | to | make | a | reservation?|"
Eric: The next tip we have is to "speak at a regular pace." This goes along with speaking clearly and slowly. However, speaking at a regular pace means that you keep the same rhythm. In English, you usually do this with syllables.
Becky: That’s right. For example, "My name is Au-stin." Here, each word receives a single syllable pronunciation, with the word "Austin” broken up into two sections, as it is made up of two syllables.
Eric: This is particularly important with longer words like "May I have your in-for-ma-tion?"
Becky: Next, always remember to use simple and correct grammar. For example, "Here is your room key" is better than "This is gonna be your room key." Not that you should use sloppy English with native speakers, but it’s extra important to be simple and correct with low-level English speakers.
Eric: You should also be careful to use simple vocabulary, especially when dealing with numbers. So instead of "five-fifteen" you should say "five-one-five."
Becky: Next, you should always pause after important parts. For example, "Your room number is three one seven – check out is at two o’clock – have a wonderful day."
Eric: Yes, that is important. Also, use your hands when possible. For example, point with an open hand as you say "The elevator is right behind you."

Outro

Eric: and that's all for this lesson. Thanks for listening!
Becky: See ya next time, bye!

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