Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Small talk, and talking about music

31st July 2020

What is Small Talk? (with pictures)

Small talk

Basic friendly conversations used with work colleagues, people we don’t know very well or people we have just met.

Did you see the news on TV last night ?

How long have you worked here ?

The traffic was so bad this morning.

The weather is very cool for this time of year.

Echo questions 

A continuation of small talk, we use these to show interest in what someone has just said to us. Here, John speaks to his Vietnamese co-worker Ms Tuyen:

John: I can speak German.

Ms Tuyen: Can you ? (What other languages can you speak ?)

John: Ms Nguyen went to Thailand.

Ms Tuyen: Did she ? (Did she go on holiday or for work ?)

Now … your turn. Add the echo question, then try to ask a follow-up question.

He likes K-pop

We are going to the pagoda later.

Ms Thinh has a new job.

T-ara và những lần đến Việt Nam đầy ấn tượng - tintuckpop.net
Thay Paul loves T-ara. Does he ?

Keep conversations going:

Talk about: 

house prices in your city / favourite hobby / your hometown / 

why you have OR don’t have a pet / an interesting program you saw recently

What you want to do in the future.

Small talk language:

I see  / Do you really think so ? 

That’s a good point /  I hadn’t thought of that 

Oh, that’s interesting / May I just add something ?  /

Oh, where is that exactly ? / Yeah, right ! / Sure / OK 

Try some scenarios:

Directions to the city centre (or choose a location in your city).

One student is a tourist, the other is a local 

Ask for help. Other must offer as much help; how to get there, the best way, the price, the dangers.

Body language – distance, expression, intonation, eye contact etc

Also back channeling (expressions such as “Oh, right,” “OK, yeah,” “Really, that’s great.”

Music – What do you like ?

I love it / adore it / enjoy it / I hate it / I can’t stand it 

I’m really into … / I’m keen on //

I’m not into … / I’m not keen on

I quite like / I don’t mind

makes me want to dance // Oh, turn it off !

Vocabulary:

catchy / cheerful / lively / melodic / melancholy (sad music)/ moving / repetitive rhythmic / tuneless / unusual

World Music:

3 clips – which do you like – discuss and answer in full sentences uses opinion expressions:

Denis Aziz ‘A la li la

Rudolpho ‘La Colegiala 

Sainkho Namtchylak

IELTS Speaking Practice: “Lend me your ears,” and take a tip from Thay Paul

16th July 2020

Julius Caesar Quote: “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ...
A quote from Julius Caesar by Shakespeare

Words and expression to use, tips, phrases and idiomatic language

Recap: to pass IELTS with flying colours, you will needs to demonstrate a command of everyday English, the ability to express it with stress and intonation, as well as being able to link your ideas with appropriate discourse markers.

I need to hear nouns described by interesting adjectives, verbs intensified by adverbs and conversation enlivened by low-frequency vocabulary.

Piece of cake, right ?

Low – frequency words (LFW)

Boring: tedious // forgetful: absent-minded // expensive: sky high // what will happen: predict // everywhere: ubiquitous.

Activity 1: Make sentences using the above five LFW

Introduce your answer by:

Let me think // How can I put it // Well, that’s an interesting question

Useful expressions:

In my opinion // From my perspective // For me // Allow me to explain // By which I mean //

Discourse Markers:

as well as // furthermore // additionally // on the other hand // having said that // however // although // despite that

Activity 2: Give each student a discourse marker and they have to use it in a sentence

EXAMPLE ‘in addition’

I have a busy life; I have to study, work my part-time job and help my family. In addition, I go shopping for my neighbour because he is too old to go out.

NOTE: use of ‘because‘ to explain why you do something … and therefore construct a longer sentence.

Idioms:

It’s raining cats and dogs // It costs an arm and a leg // piece of cake // I’m burning the candle at both ends.

Activity 3: Who can use these idioms correctly ?

Relative pronouns – who / which / where / whose

Activity 4: Use the correct relative pronoun:

We arrived at a nice beach ______ we could swim and lie in the sun.

A man ______ mobile phone was ringing did not know how to switch it off.

The patient, ______ had a serious disease, was taken to hospital immediately.

Smithsfield is a small village ______ people live a quiet life.

This dress is made of silk, _____ is a very expensive and delicate material.

Buying time:

Could you repeat that, please // I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that // Would you mind rephrasing the question

Model answer: What do you do in your free time ?

AsianBossG;r)

One of my favourite things to do, if I have some spare time, is to hang out with my closest friends and just catch up on our news, maybe hit a mall because they are air-conditioned and have a wide array of amenities such as shops, cafes and, if I may say, bathroom facilities, as well as services like ATM machines and free wifi. My closest friends are Sheila, who is from Japan and studies here in Sai Gon, and Kerry, who is a gorgeous Thai lady. As we all come from different countries, there can be issues. Allow me to explain; we have to communicate in English, however Kerry is just starting her studies, so we have to use Google translate frequently. Having said that, it’s such tremendous fun to be with my best friends. It helps me forget about the pressure and stress of work.

Use this an a plan – now tell me what YOU do in YOUR free time … DO NOT just copy the above example !

Now … Your turn

Conversation Practice: In pairs or small groups, ask each other these questions. If the answer is too short, ask the person to tell you more, to explain with more details.

How Dialogue Teaches Critical Thinking and Empathy

Family questions

Ask each other about your families

How many siblings do you have ?

[You can give names, ages, jobs, what and where they study, what they look like, what their personality is like, if you have something or nothing in common with them]

Do you live with your parents and grandparents ?

Do you often meet your cousins ?

Who is the youngest member of your family ? 

Who is the oldest ?

Who is your favourite person in your family and why ?

Useful expressions

Can you tell me more ? // In what way ? // Why do you say that ? //

Oh, that’s interesting … // well, // actually // in fact …

on the other hand // having said that // although

Keep the conversation going

Oh, really ? Tell me more Why do you say that ?

Could you explain what you mean ? Why did you do that ?

Three students talking to each other outdoor in a college ...

Final Review:

Coffee shops in Sai Gon are _________________________ .

I always forget my keys, I’m so __________________ .

In an IELTS listening test, we can sometimes _______________ the answer.

We wanted to stay at the Hotel California but the prices were _____________ .

The meeting was so long and extremely _____________________ .

Adult Speaking Class, level 2: Really, that’s interesting, tell me more – small talk practice

8th July 2020

Small Talk

Remember to keep the conversation going by responding with enthusiasm and interest. You could say:

Really ? // That’s interesting // Me too ! // No way ! // Tell me more // Why is that ? // Where is that exactly ? // Are you ? // Do you really think so ?

EXAMPLES:

I work in King Street // Oh, where is that exactly ?

I love listening to K-pop // Really ! Me too. Who are your favourites ?

T-ARA 'SUGAR FREE' Dance Mirror Fancam HD - YouTube
I love listening to K-pop. T-ara are my favourites

I’m studying English // No way ! I’m also studying. Where do you study ?

I want to start my own business // That’s interesting, tell me more.

Starting a Business 101 - How to Start a Business

A chance to review and use recent vocabulary, phrases and idioms.

Make sentences using these words or expressions:

Raining cats and dogs (raining very heavy)

chockablock (traffic jam, no space to move)

Could talk the hind legs off a donkey (talks very, very much)

ubiquitous everywhere

such as to give examples

Budge over move over, make some space

you’ll pick it up you’ll soon understand it or be able to so it

in next to no time very soon, very quickly

Could you repeat that, please ?

How do you spell that ?

Once more, please

How about you ?

For me,

I’m keen on

I’m not so keen on

Dialogue

175 Questions To Ask Your Friends (BFF Deep Personal Questions)

What were you doing last night ? I tried to call.

I was watching TV. Was it important ?

We were having a party. I wanted you to come.

Your parties are such fun ! What did you do ?

We were all looking online for bargains. Anna bought some great shoes.

She was always talking about buying shoes.

I was looking at the clothes from London. So stylish.

13 Ways to Be a Better Co-Worker

Did you see the email from the Manager ?

Oh, that old windbag! He doesn’t know when to stop talking. He could talk the hind legs off a donkey.

Yes, even his emails go on forever hahahah. I’m not so keen on him, I wish the old manager hadn’t left.

Left ? He was given the boot, he was sacked ! Anyway, they were thinking about calling off the meeting.

What a relief, those meeting drag on endlessly

AS Media J.Coe 2055: Film Noir Features

Did you bring your raincoat ? It’s been raining all night.

I know, it’s raining cats and dogs. Better leave soon if we’re going.

Yes, maybe the traffic will be chockablock.

Oh, just a minute … do you know how to use this program ?

Yes, it’s very easy. It’s a piece of cake! Budge over, I’ll show you, you’ll pick it up in next to no time.

Cat got your tongue ? Time to talk idioms

6th June 2020

We had a number of blogs devoted to idioms, so now it’s time to practice using them as part of your everyday English. Not only will IELTS students earn points, but every student will feel closer to English, and sound more like a REAL native-speaker. You can only learn so much from text books …

So, without further ado, a range of dialogues for you to practice:

Dialogue 1

Hello, how’s it going ?

Great, thanks. What have you been up to ?

Oh, same old, same old. Nothing new. Are you busy ?

A little.

Do you want a hand ? (Dya wanna hand)

That would be wonderful. Can you take over for a moment ?

Absolutely !

I’ll be right back. I need to print out some documents.

Immigrant Latinas get course in leadership – California Health Report

Dialogue 2

What shall I get on with ?

I just need you to finish off the progress reports.

Oh, piece of cake ! (pieceacake)

You’re an angel.

I know…hahaha.

Colleagues at office on coffee break | Free Photo

Dialogue 3

Hello, do you have a minute ?

Sure, what do you need ?

Could we have a little chat ?

OK, let’s go to my office. Have a seat. Now, what’s on your mind?

I’d like an increase in our budget. We desperately need a new photocopier.

Unfortunately, those things cost an arm and a leg. What is the exact price ?

I’ll find out and get back to you. We may have some money in our budget.

Office workers wasting time helping less tech-savvy colleagues

Dialogue 4

How’s the new girl ? Are you showing her the ropes?

She seems to be OK but I still need to keep an eye on her. Are we having a meeting later ?

No, it’s been called off.

Ok, back to work. I need to finish off some expense sheets. 

Yes, time is money.

See you later.

The psychology behind why you fall in love with your colleagues ...

Dialogue 5

What were you doing last night ? I tried to call.

I was watching TV. Was it important ?

We were having a party. I wanted you to come.

Your parties are such fun ! What did you do ?

We were all looking online for bargains. Anna bought some great shoes.

She’s always talking about buying shoes.

I was looking at the clothes from London. So stylish.

The friendship chat

Dialogue 6

Did you see the email from the Manager ?

Oh, that old windbag ! He was talking so much.

Yes, even his emails go on forever hahahah.

Did you bring your raincoat ? It was raining all night.

I know – it was raining cats and dogs.

They were thinking about calling off the meeting because of the rain.

Yes, maybe the traffic will be chockablock.

The life of an Indian in South Korea! 7 Funny Experiences! - Best ...

Dialogue 7

Oh, do you know how to use this Zoom program ?

Yes, it’s very easy. It’s a piece of cake! Have you met Jane’s new boyfriend ?

He seems a real loser. As far as I’m concerned, she can do much better.

What does he do ?

Nothing, the work-shy layabout. I believe he wants her money.

In my experience, guys without jobs are hopeless. A waste of space !

How did she meet him ? She’s such a workaholic ! At the gym ?

Well, not at the gym, he’s no hunk ! It’s obvious to me it won’t last.

I’m convinced it’ll soon be over. She needs a good solid as a rock guy.

Understanding the Impact of Rumors and Gossip

Adult Speaking Class, level 2: Conversation practice

15th May 2020

How to introduce yourself

How to Introduce Yourself to New Neighbors After Moving

Hello, my name is Peter. I am 31. My job is teacher.

Link sentences to make longer, more interesting sentences and use contractions

Hello, my name’s _______, I’m ___ and I work as a _________________ .

[Culture note – in English, we usually say our age only – don’t say ‘years old’ e.g. I’m 25, not I’m 25 years old]

I am = I’m // you are = you’re // he is = he’s // she is = she’s // they are = they’re // we are = we’re

Tell me about the other members of the group or class.

Example – Her name’s Ms Thanh, she’s 22 and works as a nurse.

Grammar note: In the third-person, he add an -s to the verb

1st person I work

2nd person you work

3rd person he / she / it / name works (Ms Thanh works)

Work Dialogue: two friends are at the office

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This is a natural conversation, with expressions, idioms and contractions.

New expressions:

same old, same old = doing the same thing all day, every day.

bear with me = wait for me a very short time

A: Hello, how’s it going ? How are you ?

B: Great, thanks. What have you been up to ? What have you been doing ?

A: Oh, same old, same old. Nothing new. Same as everyday. Are you busy ?

B: A little. Bear with me a moment … there, finished. Wait a little, please.

A: Do you want a hand ? (Dya wanna hand ?) Do you need some help ?

B: That would be wonderful. Would you like a coffee ?

A: Absolutely ! Yes, very much !

The weirdest excuses office workers give for the tea round | Daily ...

Conversation practice:

Pretend you are just meeting. Introduce yourself to your partner. Remember to ask:

Name, job, company ? Do they like their job ? Where do they work ?

Are they married ? Children ?

Where do they live ? Do they live alone or with family ?

What do they like to do in their free time ? What are your hobbies ?

Queen’s English

Practice saying the following three sentences as if you were the Queen, or King, of the UK.

My Husband and I are delighted to meet you

The weather is frightfully hot for the time of year

Do give my best to your family

Now listen to the Queen speak:

Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: Review – small talk and clothes

11th May 2020

Speaking Practice: Small Talk

Best 10 Apps for Meeting New People - Last Updated May 10, 2020 ...

Ask about:

Job – // What do you do ? // What line are you in ? // where they work

where they live 

how long they have lived there (present perfect)

are they married ? If so, do they have children ? How old are they ?

the weather- // Do you think it will rain later ?

NOT about money, religion, why NOT married, or don’t have children.

To answer:

Oh, really // You don’t say right ! // That sounds interesting // Tell me more 

Wow, fascinating // Do you like your job ? // How long have you been married ?

How old are your children ? Do you have a photo ? // What are you studying ?

Practice:

In a new class, ask each other some general questions. This is best done in pairs, so students don’t feel embarrassed speaking in front of the class. See how long you can keep the conversation going.

Fell free to add new questions.

Meet Your Family's Future at a Family Meeting | Psychology Today ...

Clothes

Which clothes do you like ?

Express what you feel about these clothes, whether or not you would buy them, or do you know someone who would like them ?

Vocabulary:

I choose the because it’s …

stylish // cool // beautiful // colourful // great quality // chic // really suits me

fashionable // trendy // so modern // really with it // I feel a million dollars //

however, you may feel it is …

expensive // ugly // gaudy // bad taste // not my style // old-fashioned // hideous //

I wouldn’t be caught dead in that !

60s Mod Jacket Mens Fancy Dress British Flag Union Jack Adult ...

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Hotels

8th February 2020

Warm up game:

Image result for hotel london

Word bomb– what do you think of when I say ‘hotel’ ?

Image result for hotel vocabulary

Checking in to a hotel

Vocabulary:

reception / lift or elevator / single or double room / king size bed or twins /

first floor / complimentary breakfast / key deposit / luggage storage / safe / mini bar

What would the conversation be ?

Reception: How may I help you / May I ask your name ? / Can I see your reservation code ? / That’s fine. You stay for three nights ? / May I have your passport, please ? / You’re in room 237. That’s on the second floor / Thank you. Sign here, please / Yes, the lift is just over there. / Naturally, as well as a hair dryer, coffee machine and mini bar. / Enjoy your stay.

Guest: Hello, we have a reservation / We booked a room online / My name’s ….. / Certainly, it’s on my phone. / Yes, that’s right. / Absolutely. / Correct. / Just a second; here you are./ Is there a lift ? / The second floor ? / Is there a safe in the room ? / Perfect. Thanks very much

Make a conversation. One student will be the reception, the other(s) a guest or guests.

Write your own conversation

You are in a hotel bar and you meet another guest. Start a polite conversation, but you have to use your English.

Image result for two people in a hotel bar

Greet each other

Why are you in this city ? (holiday or on business)

Offer to buy a drink (accept or decline – maybe you don’t drink alcohol)

How long are they staying ? What do they think of the hotel ? What can they do in the area around the hotel ?

Small group work

You are two married couples who meet on a tour and are staying at the same hotel OR you are on a business trip and meet some other business people.

Use the following sentences, as well as your own, to make a conversation. try to keep speaking for as long as possible by using small talk techniques (oh, really / that’s interesting / tell me more / what do you do exactly ? / where is that ? / Sounds interesting)

Image result for young people meeting in a hotel
Image result for people meeting in a hotel

My wife and I are delighted to meet you

Shall we go to the bar or cafe ?

Can offer name first (I’m Simon, what’s your name ?)

Would you fancy a drink … ?

Is there anywhere special to do here ?

Sorry, I have to get my head down, it’s been a long flight (I need to sleep).

My colleague and I were going out to eat.

I fancy a beer or something alcoholic 

Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t ask where you are from.

Reasonable (cheaper)

Would you like to join us ?

Peckish (little hungry)

What do you think of these hotel rooms ?

What do you think of the design ?

Would you like to stay in any of these ? Why, or why not ?

How much do you think they cost per night ?

Bangkok

Image result for cheap  hotel Bangkok

Korea

Image result for love hotel seoul

Ice hotel, Sweden

Image result for ice hotel sweden china

Backpacker hostel, Indonesia

Image result for overcrowded hostel

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3, Part 3.

26th January 2020

Contents

Conversation practice: favourite possessions.

Small talk

Vocabulary booster

Small talk

Image result for talk about the weather

This is polite conversation, to pass the time, or to get to know some basic information about people. Do not ask anything too personal; this will differ from culture to culture, but in the UK and the west in general:

DO NOT

Ask why someone is not married or has no children.

Ask how much money they earn, get from their job.

Ask how much something cost. “I like your shirt. How much was it ?”

Talk about politics. “You’re from China ? Chairman Mao was a disaster !”

PLAY IT SAFE – talk about music, football, food or … in the UK … the weather.

Very warm for this time of year.

Did you see …….. last night ? (the football game, the news etc)

How long have you worked here ?

The traffic was so bad this morning.

What team do you support ?

Echo questions 

John: I can speak German. Peter: Can you ?

Bella: Ms Nguyen went to Thailand. Carole: Did she ?

Bill: He likes K-pop. Harry: ______________ ?

We are going to the pagoda later. ______________ ?

Ms Thinh has a new job.______________ ?

Conversation Practice

Talk about: 

house prices in your city / why you have or don’t have a pet 

Image result for strange pets

an interesting program you saw recently

What you want to do in the future. / Somewhere you would love to visit.

Keep conversations going:

I see / Do you really think so ? /

That’s good point / I hadn’t thought of that 

Oh, that’s interesting/ Yeah, right ! / Sure / OK May I just add something ? /

Oh, where is that exactly ?

Speaking Practice – use discourse markers to extend your speaking and to link ideas.

Describe something you own which is very important to you. 

Image result for possessions

You should say: 

where you got it from how long you have had it what you use it for and explain why it is important to you. 

  • You will have to talk about the topic for 1 to 2 minutes. 
  • You have one minute to think about what you’re going to say. 
  • You can make some notes to help you if you wish. 

Rounding off questions 

  • Is it valuable in terms of money? 
  • Would it be easy to replace? 

This could be a physical object, a memento with sentimental value, or an abstract noun such as health, happiness etc 

Image result for possessions

For my Vietnamese students:

How different is Vietnam from other Southeast Asian countries?

What do you think Vietnam will be like 50 years from now?

What do you think Vietnam’s neighbours think of you ?

Image result for vietnam future
The future of Vietnam ?

Vocabulary booster

You have to use these words:

obviously / consequently / notwithstanding / therefore / speculate

We can only (guess) on what will happen in the future

The student did no work __________ he failed the exam.

It rained several days. That fact ____________ (despite), we still had a good holiday.

If you visit Canada in winter, _________ (of course) you will need jumpers, coats and gloves.

Expressions:

cultural differences / one can only imagine / putting myself in their shoes

There are many _____________________ for Asian students who go to study in the USA.

It can be hard learning English. Many students have to work all day. I try ___________________ and seeing what I can do to make the lessons more interesting.

Being a celebratory isn’t always fun; always having your photo taken. ___________________ what it must be like.

Try using these expressions:

There is so much work, I just can’t take it anymore !

A plague on both your houses ! (from ‘Romeo & Juliet’, Shakespeare)

Are you serious ? What possessed you to come up with such a stupid idea ?

I’m speechless … the film was just so moving and emotional; I’m almost in tears.

Image result for speechless
He’s speechless !

Discourse markers: Try to learn new words / expressions here to help you link idea.

Use these words: First, find the meaning for yourself, then use them in a sentence. After, try to use them in your everyday English.

Practice, practice, practice …

For instance / conversely / above all / alternatively / similarly / therefore as revealed by

Image result for for instance
There are many things I enjoy about writing this blog, for instance receiving notes and likes from people all over the world.

For a case in point, I see I have some readers in Nepal, so, just for them:

Image result for hello nepal