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Tom the teacher
Tom: Hello again. I’m Tom. At the end of every programme I’ll talk about some of the language you heard in the programmes and talk about ways to help you learn English. Let’s start by looking at something Carolina said. Listen to how she asked for directions.
Carolina: Oh. Excuse me. Can you tell me where the Lost Luggage Office is please?
Airport worker: It’s over there. That desk over there, near the exit. Tom: When she asked for directions Carolina said “Can you tell me where the Lost Luggage Office is, please?”. But that isn’t the only way to ask for directions. Can you think of other ways?
Carolina could also say “Can you tell me the way to the lost luggage office, please?” or “Can you tell me how to get to the lost luggage office, please?”. There are different ways to ask for directions – you might know some other ways. One thing though that’s very important is that Carolina asked politely.
Carolina: Excuse me. Can you tell me where the Lost Luggage Office is please? Tom: Carolina said “Excuse me” and “please” when she asked. In Britain we say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ a lot. We’re very polite! Some people might not be very happy if you forget to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ so try to remember it.
Now, Carolina used ‘Can you tell me’ to ask for directions but we heard ‘can’ in other parts of the programme too. Listen.
Ravi: Great. Can you dance the tango Tess? Tess: No I can’t. I’d love to learn. Tom: And Tess asked Yasmin… Tess: Can you play any musical instruments? Tom: Ravi said “Can you dance the tango?” and Tess asked “Can you play any musical instruments?” In these questions ‘can’ is used to talk about ability – ‘I can swim’, ‘I can play the piano’.
When Carolina asked for directions – ‘Can you tell me?’, ‘can’ is used as a request – when you ask someone to do something. We use ‘can’ to talk about ability and we also use it to make a request. Let’s listen again to how Ravi introduced the Hot Seat game.
Ravi: OK, great. Now, I’ll explain how to play Hot Seat and then we can start. OK? These cards have all got words on. One of you has to explain the words and the other one has to guess them. Tom: Ravi had a pile of cards and each card had a word on it. Now maybe you don’t have anyone around to play ‘hot seat’ with but writing words on cards can still be useful.
When I learnt Russian I got a pile of cards and I wrote a Russian word on one side of the card and the English translation on the other side. I put the cards in my coat pocket and everyday on the bus to work I read the cards to see how many I remembered.
Every time I learnt a new word in my Russian class I made a card for it – so there were always new cards in my pocket. It really helped me remember new words – you should try it. And ifyou’ve got a friend to play ‘hot seat’ with – that’s even better! OK.
I want to have a quick look at something else. After every podcast I’ll show you something that you can try to use in your own English – an expression or something like that. This week it was something that Carolina heard in the airport. Listen again to Carolina describing her bag to the man. Listen to the questions that the man asks.
Lost luggage clerk: Look at these pictures. Which one looks most like your suitcase? Carolina: Erm, this one, I think. Lost luggage clerk: The biggest one? Carolina: Yes, I think so. Lost luggage clerk: And is it all black? The handle as well? Carolina: Yes, everything. A black suitcase and a black handle. Lost luggage clerk: OK. Anything else?
Carolina: Yes. There was a label on it. With my name. And there’s a little white star on the top, next to the handle. So I can see that it’s mine. Lost luggage clerk: Little .. white … star. OK. Anything else? Carolina: No. I think that’s everything. Lost luggage clerk: OK. Don’t worry. I’m sure we’ll find it.
Tom: When Carolina described her bag the man said “Anything else?” Carolina said “No, that’s everything”. ‘Anything else’ is something you hear quite a lot. You hear it in shops and restaurants – when you ask for something the shop assistant or waiter may say “Anything else?” to check if your order is finished.
You can reply “That’s everything” or, of course, you can ask for something else! That’s why the question is ‘Anything else?’ Try to use ‘Anything else?’ before the next podcast! OK. I’m going to stop there. I’ll talk to you all again next time.
Remember you can send your questions to me at learnenglishpodcastAT britishcouncilDOT org. I’ll be happy to answer them.
In a moment you’ll hear the address for the website where you can read everything you’ve heard in this podcast. Right. That’s all for this time. Bye for now! See you next time.
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