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PRÁTICA ORAL

EM LÍNGUA INGLESA I

autora
SARAH LUCIA BARBIERI

1ª edição
SESES
rio de janeiro  2015
Conselho editorial  luis claudio dallier; roberto paes; gladis linhares; karen
bortoloti; marilda franco de moura

Autora do original  sarah lucia barbieri

Projeto editorial  roberto paes

Coordenação de produção  gladis linhares

Coordenação de produção EaD  karen fernanda bortoloti

Projeto gráfico  paulo vitor bastos

Diagramação  bfs media

Revisão linguística  amanda carla duarte aguiar

Imagem de capa  caranica nicolae | dreamstime.com

Todos os direitos reservados. Nenhuma parte desta obra pode ser reproduzida ou transmitida
por quaisquer meios (eletrônico ou mecânico, incluindo fotocópia e gravação) ou arquivada em
qualquer sistema ou banco de dados sem permissão escrita da Editora. Copyright seses, 2015.

Dados Internacionais de Catalogação na Publicação (cip)

B228p Barbieri, Sarah


Prática oral em língua inglesa I / Sarah Barbieri.
Rio de Janeiro : SESES, 2015.
128 p. : il.

isbn: 978-85-5548-053-9

1. Speaking skill. 2. Listening skill. 3. Communicative competence.


4. English as a foreign language (EFL). I. SESES. II. Estácio.
cdd 428

Diretoria de Ensino — Fábrica de Conhecimento


Rua do Bispo, 83, bloco F, Campus João Uchôa
Rio Comprido — Rio de Janeiro — rj — cep 20261-063
Sumário

Prefácio 7

1. An Overview of the Speaking Skill and its


Relationship to Listening 9

Objectives 10
1.1  English as a Foreign Language and the Four Skills 11
1.2  The Listening Skill 16
1.2.1  The Bottom-Up and Top-Down Processing 18
1.3  The Speaking Skill 20
1.3.1  The Nature of Speaking 20
1.3.2  Components Underlying Speaking Proficiency 21
1.4  The Relationship between Listening and Speaking 24
1.5  Types of Spoken Language 25
1.6  Factors Hindering Adult EFL Learners’ Speaking Development 28
Activities 30
Reflection 32
Bibliography 32

2. Developing Language Skills through


Interactional Conversations 33

Objectives 34
2.1  Speaking as a Productive Skill 35
2.1.1  Structuring Discourse 35
2.2  Interactional Conversations in Different Styles 36
2.3  Formal versus Informal Conversations 37
2.4  Greetings and Courtesy 38
2.5 Introductions 40
2.6  Introducing people 41
2.7  Making Small Talk 42
2.8  Social Expressions used in Every Day English 44
2.9  Likes and Dislikes 45
2.10  Asking for Information
(Indirect Questions) 47
2.11 Invitations 49
Activities 51
Reflection 53
Bibliography 53

3. Vocabulary, Context, Inference,


Idiomatic Expressions and Slangs 55

Objectives 56
3.1  Lexicogrammar Perspective of English 57
3.2  What does it mean to know a word? 57
3.3  What’s Vocabulary? 59
3.4  The Three Stages of Speech Production 61
3.5  Context and Inference 62
3.6  Aspects of Meaning: Denotation,
Connotation, Appropriateness 66
3.7  Literal or Figurative Meaning? 66
3.7.1  Metaphors, Similes, Idioms, Slangs and Proverbs 69
Activities 75
Reflection 77
Bibliography 78

4. Developing Pronunciation Skills 79

Objectives 80
4.1  Foreign Language Pronunciation Learning 81
4.2  Perfection versus Intelligibility 83
4.3  The Phonemic Alphabet 85
4.3.1  Sounds and Letters 86
4.4  Phonetics and Phonology 87
4.5  English Phonemes 88
4.5.1  Minimal Pairs 90
4.6  Segmental and Suprasegmental Phonology 91
Activities 93
Reflection 97
Bibliography 97

5. Improving Communication Skills 99

Objectives 100
5.1  Learner’s Strategic Investment 101
5.2  Linguistic and Paralinguistic Information 102
5.3  How to Start a Conversation and Keep it Going 106
5.3.1  Making Small Talk 107
5.4  Daily Conversation Topics 109
5.5 Opinions 111
Activities 115
Reflection 117
Bibliography 118

Answer key 118


Prefácio
Prezados(as) alunos(as),

A capacidade de comunicação, característica humana que envolve a lingua-


gem verbal, necessita constantemente de aprimoramento. Entretanto, a comu-
nicação entre os povos surge a partir de diversas necessidades, desde um co-
mum cumprimento pessoal até complexas negociações envolvendo interesses
comerciais ou políticos.
Linguistas têm apontado o estudo de línguas estrangeiras como um bem na
formação de um indivíduo (PCNs, 1998). Neste cenário é que emerge a impor-
tância do estudo de uma língua estrangeira considerada como ‘Língua Global’.
A língua inglesa, compartilhada por quase todos os povos como língua estran-
geira, tornou-se, inegavelmente, instrumento extremamente útil e essencial
para a ascensão profissional e pessoal dos indivíduos do mundo globalizado.
A proficiência na referida língua, além da materna, não é mais discutível, pois
faz parte da formação básica do indivíduo dentro do mercado de trabalho e in-
serido numa sociedade globalizada.
Esta disciplina, Prática Oral em Língua Inglesa I, está mais centrada na ha-
bilidade de produção oral (speaking) e de certa forma também na habilidade de
compreensão oral (listening), pois durante nossas interações orais, essas duas
habilidades estão intrinsicamente relacionadas. Não há como dissociá-las. O
foco principal desta disciplina é revisar e aprofundar conhecimentos relacio-
nados às necessidades sócio discursivas no mundo cada vez mais globalizado
da comunicação, dentro do contexto do processo de ensino e aprendizagem da
língua Inglesa como língua estrangeira.
Apresentando teorias acerca da habilidade de produção oral (speaking),
compreensão oral (listening), expressões de ritos sociais (chunks of language),
conversação e interação, a disciplina procura promover subsídios para desen-
volver a competência e fluência dos aprendizes na prática com mais autonomia.

Bons estudos!

7
1
An Overview of the
Speaking Skill and
its Relationship to
Listening
In language teaching, the four skills are described in terms of their direction.
Language generated by the learner (in speech or writing) is referred to as
productive. Language directed at the learner (in reading and listening) is called
receptive. Thus, speaking fits the productive aural/oral skill. Teaching speaking
is sometimes considered a simple process. Language schools around the globe
hire teachers with no training to teach conversation classes. Although speaking
is totally natural, i.e., a skill we share as human beings, speaking in a language
other than our own is anything but simple. In this first chapter we are going to
understand what learners need to know and be able to do in order to speak a
foreign language.

OBJECTIVES
•  To understand how the four skills are related to each other;
•  To learn the relationship between the listening and speaking skills;
•  To learn what hinders students from developing fluency and accuracy;
•  To understand why speaking a foreign language is a complex task to achieve.

10 • capítulo 1
1.1  English as a Foreign Language and the
Four Skills
©© TRIFON KOLEV | DREAMSTIME.COM

Com o advento da globalização, o inglês adquiriu algum tipo de status em


praticamente todos os países do planeta, mas apresentando diferentes graus
quanto ao domínio e fluência dos falantes: o de língua materna ou primeira
língua (Native Language or Mother Tongue), o de segunda língua (Second
Language - ESL) e o de língua estrangeira (English as a Foreign Language – EFL).
No caso do Brasil, o inglês é considerado língua estrangeira, pois apesar de ser
priorizada no ensino-aprendizagem de línguas, não é considerada língua oficial.
Quando aprendemos um idioma, há quatro habilidades (skills) que
devemos desenvolver para que possamos nos comunicar com eficiência e
clareza. No caso da aquisição da língua materna, primeiro desenvolvemos
nossa habilidade de compreensão oral, depois aprendemos a falar (produção
oral), depois a ler (compreensão escrita) e, finalmente, a escrever (produção
escrita) naquele idioma. Mas, em se tratando de uma língua estrangeira, a
sequência, geralmente, não é a mesma, e pode variar dependendo do método
de ensino adotado.

capítulo 1 • 11
Language skill is the ability to comprehend receptive language and use expressive
language to communicate. The process of learning a skill by means of a course
instruction has been defined as a three-stage process: verbalization, automatization
and autonomy, as shown in the following table:

VERBALIZATION AUTOMATIZATION AUTONOMY


Teacher/professor describes
Teacher suggests exercises;
and demonstrates the skilled Learners continue to use skill
learners practice skill in order
behavior to be learned; on their own, becoming more
to acquire facility, automatize,
learners perceive and proficient and creative.
teacher monitors.
understand.

Entretanto, as quatro habilidades estão relacionadas umas às outras de


duas formas:

•  O direcionamento da comunicação (in – “para dentro” ou out - “para fora”)


•  O meio usado para a comunicação (falado ou escrito)

INPUT OUTPUT
SPOKEN

Listening Speaking
WRITTEN

Reading Writing

12 • capítulo 1
Input, também chamada de reception, são as habilidades relacionadas à recepção
oral ou escrita. Output, ou production, são as habilidades relacionadas à produção de
língua que pode tanto ser oral quanto escrita.
Receptive language skills describe the ability to understand spoken language. They can
also be referred to as ‘verbal comprehension skills’ and are essential for making sense
of what people say or write.
Productive language skill is the ability to formulate ideas into words and sentences, in
accordance with the set of grammatical and semantic rules of language. (adapted from
Cantwell and Baker, 1987)
Note that these four language skills are sometimes called the "macro-skills" in contrast
to the "micro-skills", which refer to grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and spelling

Listening (compreensão oral) é a habilidade de recepção de ondas


sonoras produzidas em um determinado idioma pelo ouvido e concomitante
processamento desses sons da fala em palavras e frases. A habilidade de
recepção oral requer atenção, principalmente quando estamos aprendendo
um novo idioma. Para podermos falar um idioma fluentemente, precisamos,
primeiramente, desenvolver muito nossas listening skills, pois essa habilidade
não só nos ajuda a entender o que as pessoas estão falando, mas também a
falarmos com clareza e exatidão com as pessoas: a correta pronúncia das
palavras, entonação das construções e tonicidade das palavras.
Speaking (produção oral) é a habilidade de produção de língua através do
aparelho fonador (conjunto de órgãos responsáveis pela fonação humana).
Para falar nós criamos sons fazendo uso de vários órgãos tais como pulmões,
traqueia, laringe, lábios, dentes, língua, palato, cordas vocais, etc. Essa forma
vocalizada de língua requer, pelo menos, um ouvinte. Quando duas ou mais
pessoas falam umas com as outras, a conversa é denominada diálogo, que pode
ser também planejado ou ensaiado, no caso de uma palestra ou apresentação
de uma peça de teatro.
Reading (compreensão escrita) é a habilidade de visualizar uma série de
símbolos escritos e processar o significado que eles possuem. Quando lemos,
fazemos uso da visão para a recepção do código escrito (letras, pontuação e
espaços) e do nosso cérebro para converter esses símbolos em palavras, frases
e parágrafos a fim de que façam sentido para nós. A leitura pode ser silenciosa

capítulo 1 • 13
ou em voz alta. Não precisamos aprender a ler para falar outro idioma, mas a
leitura ajuda no desenvolvimento das outras três habilidades, pois ajuda na
aquisição de vocabulário.
Writing (produção escrita) é a habilidade de usar símbolos (letras do
alfabeto, pontuação e espaços) para comunicar nossos pensamentos e ideias
de forma que possam ser lidos. Para escrever com clareza e fluência é essencial
conhecer o sistema de funcionamento da língua, que inclui a gramática, regras
de pontuação e estrutura das frases. A aquisição de vocabulário também é
muito importante, assim como a correta grafia das palavras.
O propósito primeiro de qualquer língua é a comunicação, ou seja, a
transmissão de pensamentos, ideias ou informações de uma pessoa a outra.
Para que a comunicação aconteça, faz-se necessário a participação de, pelo
menos, duas pessoas: um locutor (a person who must put something out)
e um interlocutor (a person who must take something in). É por isso que
denominamos a fala e a escrita de “output” (produção) e a compreensão oral e
escrita de “input”.

•  I speak to you (OUTPUT: my thoughts go OUT of my head).


•  You listen to me (INPUT: my thoughts go INto your head).
•  You write to me (OUTPUT: your thoughts go OUT of your head).
•  I read your words (INPUT: your thoughts go INto my head).

If you have learned a language other than your own, which of the four skills
– listening, speaking, reading or writing – did you find to be the hardest? Many
people feel that speaking in a new language is harder than reading, writing or
listening for two reasons. First, unlike reading or writing, speaking happens in
real time: usually the person you are talking to is waiting for you to speak right
then. Second, when you speak, you cannot edit and revise what you wish to say,
as you can when you are writing.
Besides the labels receptive and productive skills, another important
concept is the channel, which refers to the medium of the message (aural/
oral or written). Thus, speaking is the productive aural/oral skill. It consists of
producing systematic verbal utterances to convey meaning.
According to Van Lier (1995), spoken and written language differ in many
significant ways. Here are some key contrasts:

14 • capítulo 1
SPOKEN LANGUAGE WRITTEN LANGUAGE

Auditory Visual

Temporary; immediate reception Permanent; delayed reception

Prosody (rhythm, stress, intonation) Punctuation

Immediate feedback Delayed or no feedback

Planning and editing limited by channel Unlimited planning, editing, revision

In order to communicate well in another language, we need a lot of input


in that language so that we are able to produce it later. Thus, it means that to
become a fluent speaker in English, you need to develop strong listening skills.
Listening not only helps you understand what people are saying to you. It also
helps you to speak clearly to other people. It helps you learn how to pronounce
words properly, how to use intonation, and where to place stress in words and
sentences. This makes your speech easier for other people listening to you to
understand! That’s why we are going to go deeper into these two oral skills:
Listening and Speaking.

RECEPTIVE PRODUCTIVE

Oral Listening Speaking

Written Reading Writing

capítulo 1 • 15
1.2  The Listening Skill
As mentioned before, listening is a significant and essential skill in language
learning it does not matter the status of the language: native, first, second or
even foreign language. According to Wolvin and Coakley (1985) “Listening is
the process of receiving, attending to, and assigning meaning to aural stimuli”.
Therefore, listening is a complex skill and more than just perception of sound,
which is its foundation. Listening also requires comprehension and cognitive
“manipulation” of meaning. Effective listening sharpens thinking and creates
understanding.
Listening interacts with speaking in the aural-oral communication
feedback system. In normal, daily communication, listening usually occurs
in conjunction with speaking. One person speaks and the other person (or
people), through attending by means of the listening process, answers back.
Since the 1970’s, when linguists started to analyze and describe language
as a system for the expression of meaning, and later on, in the 1980’s, with the
adoption of the Communicative Approach, a much richer conceptualization
of language learning began to emerge. Communicative language learning
involves developing language proficiency through interactions based on
meaningful contexts. The central concept of the Communicative Approach
is communicative competence: the learner’s ability to understand and use
language appropriately to communicate in authentic (rather simulated) social,
learning and working environments. According to Canale and Swain (1980), the
four components underlying the communicative competence are: grammatical
competence, sociolinguistic competence, discourse competence and strategic
competence. The following figure shows the relationship between listening
proficiency and each of the elements of communicative competence.

16 • capítulo 1
Grammatical Competence Grammatical Competence
Grammar – In listening, understanding, and Using any and all
applying the rules of morphology and syntax to clues for guessing
understand what is heard. the meaning
Vocabulary – recognizing words that are heard. (background
Mechanics – using natural pauses, knowledge,
stress, intonation, etc. to help understanding linguistic clues,
meaning etc.)

LISTENING PROFICIENCY

Sociolinguistic Competence Discourse Competence


Knowing social and cultural expectations Knowing how discourse operates on
related to the appropriate use of the new coherence and cohesion, so as to recognize
language, and using these expectations as and understand what is heard in short or
a basis for understanding what is heard extended discourse (above sentence level)

Source: Scarcella & Oxford, 1992.

Learners’ awareness of the processes underlying their own learning is


essential to enable them to take greater and greater responsibility for the
learning. This is important because if learners are aware of what they are doing,
if they are conscious of the processes underlying the learning they are involved
in, they are given opportunities to focus on, and reflect upon, then learning will
be more effective.
In regard to listening, grammatical competence includes increasing
expertise in grammar (morphology and syntax), lexicon or vocabulary, and
mechanics. The term mechanics in this context refers to basic sounds of letters
and syllables, pronunciation of words, intonation, and stress.
Grammatical competence is enhanced by sociolinguistic competence for
EFL learners. Sociolinguistic competence involves knowing what is expected
socially and culturally by users of the target language. The listeners who are
sociolinguistically competent will be able to know when (or if) it is appropriate
to make a comment and ask questions during a conversation or any discourse,
and also how to answer nonverbally.

capítulo 1 • 17
In addition to grammatical and sociolinguistic, EFL learners must develop
discourse competence. Discourse deals with communication above the
sentence level: listeners must be able to anticipate what will be said next and,
therefore, understand how the parts of the speech are related to each other
and to the whole meaning of the communication. It implies that the listener is
active and is always seeking to know how the rules of cohesion and coherence
apply to the discourse.
For developing listening skill, strategic competence is perhaps the most
important of all the communicative competence elements: it means the ability
to use guessing strategies to compensate for missing knowledge while trying to
understand what is heard. Guessing intelligently is one of the crucial strategies
because listening involves both bottom-up (meaning derived from the sum of
all the sounds, syllables, words and phrases) as well as top-down skills (meaning
inferred from broad contextual clues and background knowledge). Bottom-up
and Top-down processing of information will be presented in the next session.

1.2.1  The Bottom-Up and Top-Down Processing

Bottom-up processing of information is a model that assumes that listening


is a process of decoding the sounds that one hears in a linear fashion, from
the smallest meaningful units (called phonemes) to complex texts. According
to this model, phonemic units are decoded and linked together to form words,
words are linked together to form phrases, phrases are linked together to form
utterances, and utterances are linked together to form complete meaningful
texts. To sum up, it is a linear process in which meaning is derived as the last
step in the process. Anderson and Lynch (1988) call it the “listener as tape-
recorder view of listening because it assumes that the listener takes in and
stores messages in much the same way as a tape-recorder, sequentially, one
sound, word, phrase, and utterance at a time.”
Top-down processing of information suggests that the listener actively
constructs, or more accurately, reconstructs the original meaning of the speaker
using incoming sounds as clues. In this reconstruction process, the listener uses
prior knowledge of the context and situation within which the listening takes
place to make sense of what he/she hears. Context of the situation includes such
things as prior knowledge of the topic at hand, the speaker or speakers and their
relationship to the situation and with each other, and prior events.

18 • capítulo 1
The following figure is an outline of bottom-up and top-down processing of
listening recruiting information from various authors on the subject.

SCHEMA
Bottom-up processing focus on sounds, words,
intonation, grammatical sructures.

phonemic units

words
Linear Process
phrases
“Tape recorder”
view of listening.
utterances

texts

TOP-DOWN PROCESSING

Listener's prior
Reconstruction
Original knowledge
of the original
meaning of the context
meaning.
and situation

Understanding a piece of discourse involves much more than just knowing


the language. In order to make sense of any speech or conversation we need
to have prior knowledge about the subject. Such knowledge is often referred
to as schema (plural schemata). Each of us carries in our memory mental
representations of typical situations that we come across. These schemata are
triggered by words, discourse patterns, or contexts and we are able to recognize
what we hear because it fits patterns we already know. Speakers and listeners
draw upon various schematas: genres, topic, discourse patterning, and the use
of specific language features to make sense of what they are hearing. Shared
schemata make spoken communication efficient. Without the right kind of
pre-existing knowledge, comprehension becomes more difficult. And that is

 • 19
capítulo 1
the problem for some foreign language learners who have to work doubly hard
to understand what they hear because they have a different shared knowledge of
cultural reference and discourse patterning in their own language and culture
from that in the English variety they are dealing with.

1.3  The Speaking Skill


Learning to speak a foreign language requires a lot of effort since it involves
knowing its grammatical and semantic rules as well as the pragmatics of the
language, that is, the knowledge of how native speakers use the language
in the context of interpersonal exchange, in which many factors interact.
Thus, it is difficult for EFL students, especially adults, to learn how to speak
the foreign language accurately and fluently. In order to provide effective
guidance in developing efficient speaking skills it is important to go over the
factors which influence adults learners’ oral communication, the components
underlying speaking fluency, as well as specific skills and strategies implicated
in communication. Therefore, explicit instruction in speaking is essential to
help students overcome their fears and anxiety so that they can develop their
abilities to communicate in the target language.

1.3.1  The Nature of Speaking


©© RUDIESTRUMMER | DREAMSTIME.COM

What is it that learners need to know and


be able to do in order to speak a foreign
language? First, it`s important to know
how to articulate the sounds of that
language in a comprehensible way. It`s
also necessary to learn the vocabulary
and the rules of that language to combine
the words to form phrases and sentences
in a proper way. These various elements
are referred to as linguistic competence.
However, linguistic competence is not

20 • capítulo 1
enough for someone who wants or needs to speak a foreign or second language
fluently. Communicative competence includes linguistic competence, but also
includes “a range of other sociolinguistic and conversational skills that enables
the speaker to know how to say what to whom, when” (Nunan, 1998). The term
Communicative Competence was coined by Hymes (1971) and defined as
“knowledge of the rules for understanding and producing both referential and
social meaning of language.” Building on Hymes’ theory, Canale and Swain
(1980) propose that communicative competence consists of the interaction of
grammatical competence, discourse competence, sociolinguistic competence
and strategic competence, which reflect the use of the linguistic system and the
functional aspects of communication, respectively.
According to these authors, interaction involves not only verbal
communication, but also paralinguistic elements of speech such as pitch, stress
and intonation. In addition, nonlinguistic elements such as gestures, body
language and facial expressions may convey messages whether accompanying
speech or not. It is also context-specific, which means that a competent
speaker of the language knows how to make choices specific to the situation.
Furthermore, different cultural assumptions about the purposes of particular
interactions and expected outcomes also affect communication. That’s cultural
pragmatics.

1.3.2  Components Underlying Speaking Proficiency

In the previous section, we have seem that in the framework of Canale and Swain
(1980) the four components of communicative competence are grammatical
competence, sociolinguistic competence, discourse competence and strategic
competence. In this section, we are going to understand how speaking relates
to each of them. The figure below graphically demonstrates the relationship
between speaking proficiency and each of the elements of communicative
competence.

capítulo 1 • 21
Grammatical Competence Strategic Competence
Grammar – In speaking, increasing, expertise in The ability to know when
morphology and syntax, knowledge of words and and how to take the
sentences to convey meaning. floor, how to keep a
Vocabulary - How words are segmented into conversation going, how
various sounds. to end a conversation
Mechanics - Basic sounds of letters and syllables, and how to clear up
pronunciation words, intonation and stress. misunderstandings.

LISTENING PROFICIENCY

Sociolinguistic Competence
Knowing social and cultural expectations Discourse Competence
related to the appropriate timing and Knowing the rules of cohesion and
realization of speech acts as a basis for coherence, which aid in holding the
making comments, asking questions and communication together in a
answering accordingly. meaningful way.

Source: adapted from Scarcella & Oxford, 1992.

Grammatical competence, according to Scarcella and Oxford (1992), is an


umbrella concept that includes increasing expertise in grammar (morphology
and syntax), vocabulary and mechanics. With regard to speaking, the term
mechanics refers to basic sounds of letters and syllables, pronunciation of
words, intonation and stress. In order to convey meaning, EFL students must
have the knowledge of the rules governing words and sentences. In other
words, they must know how words are segmented into various sounds, and
how sentences are stressed in particular ways. To this extent, grammatical
competence enables learners to use and understand the structures and rules of
the English language accurately and fluently. Grammatical competence asks:
Which words should I use in this context? How do I know what attitude the
other person is expressing?
Discourse competence refers to the relationship between and among
sentences, paragraphs and ideas. In discourse, whether formal or informal,
the rules of cohesion and coherence apply, which assist in holding the
communication together in a meaningful way. In communication,
interlocutors must understand, interpret and produce language in both

22 • capítulo 1
previous and following sentences. Therefore, fluent speakers should learn a
large repertoire of vocabulary, structures and discourse markers to express and
understand ideas, time relationship, as well as cause, contrast and emphasis
(Scarcella & Oxford,1992) so that they can take turns in conversation. Discourse
competence asks: How are words, phrases and sentences put together to create
conversations, speeches, email messages, lectures, and the like?
Sociolinguistic competence refers to knowing what is expected socially
and culturally by users of the target language, that is, students must learn the
rules and norms governing the appropriate timing and realization of speech
acts. Understanding the sociolinguistic side of language helps learners to know
what comments are appropriate, how to ask questions during interaction,
and how to answer and behave nonverbally according to the purpose of the
conversation or talk. Therefore, “adult second language learners must acquire
stylistic adaptability in order to be able to encode and decode the discourse
around them correctly” (Brown, 1994). Sociolinguistic competence asks:
Which words and phrases fit into this setting and this topic? How can I express
a specific attitude (courtesy, authority, friendliness, respect)? How do I know
what attitude another person is expressing?
Strategic competence refers to the way speakers manipulate language
to meet communicative goals, that is, to be able to recognize and repair
communication breakdowns, to work around gaps related to the target language
knowledge and to fit into the context or the situation. Simply put, it is the
ability to compensate for lack of linguistic, sociolinguistic and discourse rule
knowledge. With regard to speaking, strategic competence refers to the ability
to know when and how to take the floor, how to keep a conversation going,
how to end a conversation, and how to clear up communication breakdown as
well as comprehension problems. Perhaps it is the most important of all the
communicative competence elements. Strategic competence asks: How do I
know when I have misunderstood or when someone has misunderstood me?
What should I say then? How can I express my ideas if I don’t know the name of
something or the right verb form to use?

capítulo 1 • 23
1.4  The Relationship between Listening and
Speaking

The teaching of speaking and listening skills are closely related since they feed
off each other in many ways.

•  Production and reception: when a student produces a piece of language


(speech) and sees how it turns out, that information is fed back into the
acquisition process. Output becomes input. We modify what we say as we go
along based on how effective we feel we are being. Feedback can come either
from ourselves or from the people we are communicating with. In face-to-face
spoken interaction our listeners tell us in a number of ways whether we are
managing to get our message across. On the telephone, listeners can question
us and/or show through their intonation, tone of voice, or lack of response that
they have not understood us.
•  Texts as models: spoken texts are a vital way of providing models for
students to follow, especially those dealing with genre-focused tasks. One of
the best ways of having students to give spoken directions, for example, is to
hear other people, native speakers preferably, doing it first.
•  Reception as part of the production: in many situations speaking can only
continue in combination with the practice of listening skills. Thus, conversation
between two or more people is a blend of listening and speaking; comprehension
of what has been said is necessary for what the participant says next.

The fact that listening and speaking are so bound up together strongly
suggests that we should practice these skills together as integrated skill
sequences, in which the practice of one skill leads naturally on to another
linked activity. Besides, students can apply the insights they gain from speaking
activities, after having tried to speak within a genre, to understand other people
speaking in the same context.
However, many language learners disregard the importance of the
development of listening skills and regard speaking ability as the measure of
knowing a language. These learners define fluency as the ability to converse
with others, much more than the ability to read, write or comprehend oral
language. They regard speaking as the most important skill they can acquire,

24 • capítulo 1
as they assess their progress in terms of their accomplishments in spoken
communication.
Nevertheless, there is little doubt that listening plays an extremely important
role in the development of speaking abilities. Speaking feeds on listening,
which precedes it. In fact, during interaction, every speaker plays a double role,
both as a listener and as a speaker.

1.5  Types of Spoken Language


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capítulo 1 • 25
According to Brown (1994), teachers and professors devote a lot of their
teaching time and energy to instruction in mastering conversations. However,
there are numerous other forms of spoken language which are also important
to be taught. The figure below shows the types of spoken language that can be
addressed in English courses.

TYPES OF SPOKEN LANGUAGE

Monologue Dialogue

Planned Unplanned Interpersonal Transactional

Unfamiliar Familiar Unfamiliar Familiar

Soucer: adapted from Brown, 1994.

In monologues, in which one speaker makes use of oral language for any
length of time, such as lectures, news broadcasts, readings, speeches, the
stream of speech will continue independently of the listener, that is, if the
listeners understands it or not. There is a considerable difference between
planned and unplanned monologues in terms of discourse structure: planned
monologues contain little redundancy; whereas unplanned monologues
contain more redundancy as well as other hesitations.
Dialogues, which involve two or more speakers, can be divided into
interpersonal and transactional. Interpersonal dialogues promote social
relationships, while transactional dialogues convey factual information, which
is information based on facts, or propositional information, which is something
discussed, proved or explained. The participants of the dialogues may have
some common shared knowledge, which will produce conversations in which
the participants make more assumptions, inferences and other meanings
hidden “between the lines”. Conversations involving interlocutors who are not
familiar with each other have to be more explicit and things have to be clear so
that effective communication takes place.

26 • capítulo 1
The following conversational extracts illustrate these two kinds of dialogues:
Extract 1 (basically transactional in nature)
Attendant: Morning.
Customer: Morning.
Attendant: Nice day.
Customer: Uh-Uh. Can you give me two of those?
Attendant: Sure.
Customer: Thanks.
Extract 2 (interpersonal or interactive)
Father: Morning, darling.
Daughter: Morning.
Father: Sleep well?
Daughter: Uh-Uh. The thunder woke me up.
Father: Loud, wasn’t it. And the lightning…. What are you doing?
Daughter: I’m going to finish watching that…
Father: Well, don’t have it on too loud. Jenny’s still asleep.
(Source: Nunan, 1998)

Another aspect of speaking that is relevant for foreign language speakers


concerns whether or not the speaking is planned or spontaneous. We tend to
assume that all conversations are spontaneous, and so they are to a degree.
However, we all have routines1 , set phrases and expressions that we use to help
us whenever the conversation is spontaneous. In the case of foreign language
learners, having some time to plan what will be said can significantly increase
levels of both fluency and accuracy.
As a result, there are three kinds of speaking situations in which we can take
part: interactive, partially interactive and non-interactive:

•  Interactive situations include face-to-face conversations, telephone calls,


in which the interlocutors are alternately listening and speaking and, therefore,
have the chance to ask for clarification, repetition, or even slower speech from
the other participant.

1  Routines are conventional (and therefore predictable) ways of presenting information. (Nunan, 1998)

capítulo 1 • 27
•  Partially Interactive situations include speeches to a live audience in
which the audience can not interrupt the speaker. Nevertheless, the speaker
can see the audience and judge from people’s facial expressions, reactions and
body language whether he/she is being understood.
•  Non-interactive situations include recording a speech for a radio, internet
or TV broadcast, or even classes for distance learning education, in which the
speaker does not have real-time audience feedback.
To sum up, spoken language has basically
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two functions: interactional and transactional.


The primary intention of the former is to
maintain social relationships, whereas that of
the latter is to convey information and ideas.
In fact, much of our daily communication
remains interactional. Being able to interact in
a language is essential. But, if it is so important,
how can we define interaction?
According to Brown (1994), “Interaction
is the collaborative exchange of thoughts, feelings, or ideas between two or more
people resulting in a reciprocal effect on each other.” It is, in fact, the heart of
communication; it is what communication is all about. We send messages,
receive messages, interpret messages in a context, we negotiate meanings and
we collaborate to accomplish certain purposes. Theories of communicative
competence emphasize the importance of interaction as human beings use
language in various contexts to negotiate meaning or simply stated, “to get one idea
out of you head and into the head of another person and the other way around”.

1.6  Factors Hindering Adult EFL Learners’


Speaking Development
The interactive behavior of EFL learners is influenced by many factors. Burns
and Joyce (1997) identify three sets of factors that may cause hindrance on the
part of students to open up their mouths and take part in interactions. According
to the authors, this reluctance may be due to cultural factors, linguistic factors,
and/or psychological/ affective factors.

28 • capítulo 1
Cultural factors derive form learners’ experiences and the expectations
created by the possible mismatches that can occur between interlocutors from
different cultures or cultural backgrounds. From a pragmatic perspective,
language is a form of social action because interaction occurs in the context of
interpersonal exchange, and, as a consequence, meaning is socially regulated.
In other words, “shared values and beliefs create the traditions and social
structures that bind a community together and are expressed in their language”
(Carrasquillo, 1994). Therefore, to speak a language, one must know how the
language is used in a social context. Each language has its own rules of usage
as to when, how and what the speaker should say in a specific context. Because
of the interference or influence of their own culture, it is difficult for nonnative
speakers to decide which forms are pragmatically acceptable or appropriate in
certain situations.
The linguistic facts that inhibit the use of spoken language include
difficulties in transferring from the learner’s first language to the sounds,
rhythms, and stress patterns of English (e.g., English tenses) and how these
may be different from their own language, difficulties with the native speaker
pronunciation, a lack of familiarity with the cultural or social knowledge
required to process meaning.
Psychological and affective factors include culture shock, previous negative
social experiences, lack of motivation, learners’ anxiety or shyness and even the
fear of making mistakes in front of others or saying something stupid, silly or
incomprehensible especially if their previous learning or social experiences
were negative. Leaners in general are reluctant to be judged by hearers and also
afraid of making fools of themselves in front of other people, especially people
they know well, such as their peers in the classroom or family members. On the
other hand, motivation is a key factor in determining learners’ attitudes toward
communication. Motivation refers to the combination of effort together with
the desire to achieve the goal of learning how to communicate because of the
satisfaction and reward experienced in this activity. The motivated individual
expends effort toward the goal and many attributes of the individual such as
compulsiveness, desire to please someone, or even a high need to achieve
might produce effort, as would social, professional and economic pressures.
Another widely and commonly cited factor as determinant of success or
failure in foreign language learning is age. Krashen, Long and Scarcella (1982)
argue that students who begin their studies in early childhood through natural

capítulo 1 • 29
exposure achieve higher proficiency than those beginning as adults. Scarcella
& Oxford (1992) state that the aging process may affect or limit adult learners’
ability to pronounce the target language fluently with native like pronunciation.
Adult learners do not seem to have the same innate language ability or
propensity as children to develop fluency and unrestraint in spoken language.
Even if they can produce words and sentences with perfect pronunciation,
prosodic features such as intonation, stress and other phonological nuances
still cause misunderstandings.

ACTIVITIES
In this unit you have learned that through listening we internalize linguistic information without
which we cannot produce language, that is, which is essential to speaking. Therefore, the
activities suggested here are focused mainly in developing listening skills. There are a number
of free online sites and links which provide plenty of listening skills practice:

Top Sites
•  ESL/EFL Conversations. Hundreds of conversations under different topics with excellent
audio.
•  Speak English Fast. New conversations on various topics for you to practice speaking.
•  eslfast.com. A free site with hundreds of short stories and conversations for ESL/EFL
learners to practice listening and speaking.
•  ESL Listening Lab. Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab.
•  English Language Listening Online. Listening activities come with transcripts,
quizzes.

For Beginners
•  Easy Conversations. Hundreds of easy conversations, short, interesting, with slow audio.
•  Speaking Is Easy. Choose any topics you are interested in to practice speaking.
•  Short Stories for ESL/EFL Beginners (1). 200 easy stories for ESL/EFL beginners to
practice reading and listening.
•  Short Stories for ESL/EFL Beginners (2). 200 more easy stories for ESL/EFL beginners
to practice reading and listening.
•  American Songs. Learn English through learning traditional American songs.
•  Real English Lessons. The Real English ESL Video Exercises - New & Exciting Lessons.

30 • capítulo 1
Conversations
•  ESL Conversations. More than 1,500 conversations under different topics with high-
quality audio.
•  Easy Conversations. Hundreds of easy conversations, short and interesting, for you to
read and listen.
•  Phrases for Conversations. Commonly used expressions in conversations provided by
ESLgold.
•  Focus English. A conversation site created by John Liang.

Well-known Sites
•  365 Short Stories. Listen to interesting short stories written for ESL learners.
•  Short Stories for ESL Learners. Listen to the 100 short stories, and do the questions &
answers, dictation exercises.
•  English Baby. A new lesson from englishbaby.com each day, including conversations with
audio.
•  Livemocha. The world's largest online language learning community with more than 11
million members.
•  ESL Online Talk Community. Where you can find friends from other countries to
communicate with.

Online Radio News


•  Voice of America Webcasts. Special English for English learners in the world.
•  BBC World News. BBC's international radio. Listen to world news, sport and weather.
•  National Public Radio. Hourly newscast, 24-hour program stream, listen to your favorite
programs every day.
•  China Radio International. Listening to the news and learning about new developments
in China.

Online Videos
•  Learning English Video Lectures. More than 100 short videos on many different topics.
•  America, the Story of US. Excellent American history videos with closed captioning, from
Washington to Obama.
•  CBS Evening News. Watch CBS evening news online.
•  CNN Video News. Watching CNN headline news online.
•  Movie Trailers. New movie trailers are added quickly.
•  Daily Comedy Video Show. Watch TV news in an interesting way.

capítulo 1 • 31
•  History Channel - Video and Speeches. Video and audio of famous speeches in history.
•  Top 100 Speeches. With video, audio, and text.

REFLECTION
In this unit we have talked about the importance of both listening and speaking skills and the
relationship between them. We have also presented the components underlying listening and
speaking proficiency so that you are aware of your improvement needs and plan your actions
to improve your oral communication skills.

EXPANDING YOUR KOWLEDGE


CARRASQUILLO, A.L. Teaching English as a Second Language: a resource guide. New York:
Garland Publishing, 1994.
GILBERT, J. B. Clear Speech from the Start. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
MARTINEZ, R. Como Dizer Tudo em Inglês. 41ª edição, Rio de Janeiro: Campus (Elsevier), 2000.
OXFORD, R. L. Language Learning Strategies: what every teacher should know. New York:
Newbury House, 1990.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
BROWN, H. D. Teaching by Principles: an interactive approach to language learning. New Jersey:
Prentice Hall Regents, 1994.
CANALE, M.; SWAIN, M. Theoretical Bases of Communicative Approaches to Second Language
Teaching and Testing. Applied Linguistics 1, 1-47, 1980.
NUNAN, D. Second Language Teaching and Learning. Boston: Heinle & Heinle, 1998.
SCARCELLA, R. C.; OXFORD, R. L. The Tapestry of Language Learning: the individual in the
communicative classroom. Boston: Heinle & Heinle, 1992.

32 • capítulo 1
2
Developing
Language
Skills through
Interactional
Conversations
Learners often evaluate their success in language learning as well as the
effectiveness of their English course on the basis of how much they feel they
have improved their spoken language proficiency. In order to provide learners
with the opportunity to develop their spoken language skills we are going to
learn some chunks of language related to routines, and practice using them
in interactional conversations.

OBJECTIVES
•  To realize the importance of routines in the development of spoken fluency;
•  To understand the role of different speech styles (casual and formal) to manage speaking
successfully;
•  To practice speech production to develop fluency in some particular circumstances.

34 • capítulo 2
2.1  Speaking as a Productive Skill
As we have already mentioned in chapter 1, speaking is a productive skill the
same way writing is a productive skill. Despite their differences, speaking and
writing share a number of language production processes which have to be
gone through whichever medium (oral or written) we are working in.

2.1.1  Structuring Discourse

In order for communication to be successful we have to structure our discourse in


such a way that it will be understood by our listeners or readers. In speech this often
involves following conversational patterns and the use of lexical phrases, the pre-
fixed or semi-fixed word strings usually labelled as chunks, which can range from
idioms and collocations till schematic forms like the _____-er, the _____-er and
would you mind ____-ing? in which syntax develops as an emergent phenomenon
(Tomasello, 2003). Although spontaneous speech seems to be considerably more
chaotic and disorganized than many pieces of writing, speakers employ a number
of structuring devices, from language designed to ‘buy time’, to turn taking
language, and quite specific organizing markers such as firstly, secondly, and other
discourse markers that help the listener to follow and understand what the speaker
has in mind, that is, the massage the speaker wants to get through to the listener.
When people with similar cultural and linguistic background get together,
they speak to each other easily because they know the patterns of conversation
in their language and their shared culture. Such rules and conventions are not
written down anywhere, nor are they easy to define. But at some cultural level
our shared schemata (see chapter 1) help us to communicate with each other
successfully. There are two general rules that should be considered:

•  Sociocultural rules: speakers from similar cultural background know how


to adapt to each other in terms of how formal to be, what forms, phrases or even
structures of language they are supposed to use, how close to stand or how loud or
fast they should deliver their speech. Such sociocultural rules, or shared cultural
habits, guide speakers’ behavior in a number of well recognized speech events
such as invitations, socializing moves, negotiations since they determine how
speakers should behave depending on their interlocutor, how conversations are
framed depending on the social or professional status of the participants.

capítulo 2 • 35
•  Turn-taking rules: in any conversation speakers have to feel and decide
when each participant should speak. This is ‘turn-taking’, which refers to the
way each participant should get their chance to speak whenever taking part in
dialogues. It usually happens naturally as speakers of the language recognize
when other conversation participants want to take a speaking turn and when
the speaker him/herself knows how to signal verbally or visually indicating that
(s)he wants the turn to speak.

2.2  Interactional Conversations in Different


Styles

Interactional conversations, as we saw in chapter 1, refer to what we usually


label ‘conversation’ and are related to interaction that serves primarily social
function. When people meet, they exchange greetings, engage in small talk, share
recent experiences, and so on, because they want to be friendly and to establish a
comfortable zone of interaction with others. The focus is primarily on the speakers
and how they wish to present themselves to other people than on the message.
Such exchanges can be either casual (informal) or more formal, depending on the
circumstances and the interlocutors involved in the conversation.
Some of the skills involved in conversation include knowing how to do the
following things within the conversation context, formal or informal, of the
speakers:

•  Using an appropriate style of speaking


•  Opening and closing conversations
•  Choosing topics to talk about
•  Making small talk
•  Turn- taking
•  Reacting to other(s) speaker(s)
•  Interrupting
•  Recounting personal incidents and experiences
•  Using adjacent pairs 1

1  Adjacent pairs: a sequence of two related utterances by two different speakers. The second utterance is always
a response to the first. E.g.: complain – apologize, compliment – accept, invite – accept or decline.

36 • capítulo 2
Mastering the art of conversation interactions is difficult, mainly for EFL
learners, because most of the times they lack the appropriate skills to start or
keep an interaction going and end up feeling awkward and at a loss for words. It
is difficult for them to present a good image of themselves and end up avoiding
situations that call for interactions. Hatch (1978) emphasizes the EFL learners
need a wide range of topics at their disposal in order to manage conversations.
In the beginning, learners may depend on familiar topics to get by. However,
they also need practice in introducing new topics into conversation to move
beyond this stage.

2.3  Formal versus Informal Conversations


Although getting formality and informality really right is a sign of a truly advanced
learner (and is also the last thing native speaker teenagers pick up), even low
level students should be taught the difference in style between “May you…?”/
“Can you…?”/ “Will you…?”, “Hi”/ “Hello”/ “Good morning”, and so on. Even
though native or fluent speakers will probably consider the other interlocutor’s
unsuitable use of a word or phrase as being lack of knowledge instead of
impoliteness, it is unlikely that the offence will be completely taken away.
Besides teaching formality differences among each functional language,
what some authors call routines, such as greetings, invitations, gratitude, there
are also some useful generalizations that should be taught. At formal meetings,
such as business situations, we usually address another person with Mr. or
Mrs./Ms., but introduce ourself leaving out titles: “Hello, I’m Hanna Miller.”
(not Mrs. Miller). If you own a doctor’s degree, you can use it if you want to keep
the relationship very official. In this case, you should introduce yourself as “Dr.
Hanna Miller”, for example. If you don’t care for titles, you can break the ice by
saying “Please, call me Hanna.”
Informal language tends to include shorter words and sentences. The
shorter words, such as verbs, pronouns and particles, are often put together into
phrasal verbs and other idiomatic expressions like ‘hold on’, ‘let me know’, and
give me a ring’. One of the reasons the sentences are shorter is that some words,
such as the subject and auxiliary verbs, are deleted as in “looking forward to
seeing you again soon”. This is also true of informal writing, which in general
is similar to speech.

capítulo 2 • 37
On the other hand, formal language tends to include longer, latinate words,
often with affixes (prefixes and suffixes) “cooperation” rather than “help” and
“inconvenience” rather than “bother”.
According to Richards (2008), teaching talk as interaction is perhaps
the most difficult skill to teach since interactional talk is a very complex and
subtle phenomenon that takes place under the control of unspoken rules.
His suggestion is that it should be taught by providing examples embedded
in authentic dialogs that model features and language used by native speakers
such as opening and closing conversations, making small talk, reacting to what
others say, showing gratitude and so on. And that’s exactly what we are going to
be dealing with in this unit:

•  Introductions: introducing yourself and others


•  Greetings
•  Small talk
•  Expressing likes/ dislikes
•  Saying goodbye
•  Asking for information
•  Expressing gratitude
•  Invitations (formal x informal)
•  Accepting an invitation
•  Declining an invitation

2.4  Greetings and Courtesy


There are many different ways of greeting people you know and people you
don’t know. Here are some examples.

1. Hi
Hello

2. Good morning
Good afternoon
Good evening
Good night

38 • capítulo 2
3. How are you (today)?
How are you doing?
How ya doing (very informal)
How is it going? (informal)
How do you do? (formal)
How are things? / How’s everything? (informal)
What’s up? (informal)

4. Fine. How about you?


Good, how are you?
I’m ok.
I’m fine.
Not (so) bad.
I’m great!

5. Haven’t seen you for ages!


Great to see you again.
Nice to meet you!

6. Thank you (very much)!


Thanks!
I would like to express my gratitude. (formal)
Thanks for your help!
How can I thank you?
I am very grateful to you. (formal)
I can’t thank you enough.
I am very much obliged to you. (very formal)

7. You’re welcome
You bet!

8. Excuse me
Pardon me
(I’m) sorry

capítulo 2 • 39
9. Goodbye. Have a good/ nice weekend!
Bye! See you later/ tomorrow/ next week/ on Friday.
Bye-bye! See you soon!
See ya (very informal)
It was good to see you!/ It was great to see you again!
Have a good day!
Have a safe journey home!
Catch you later. (informal)

2.5  Introductions
Introductions are the first impressions: “Making introductions, being
introduced and introducing yourself are a necessary part of effective
networking in all situations, at network gatherings, business meetings and
social situations.” (Fisher & Vilas, 2000).
©© ASMAKAR | DREAMSTIME.COM

1. Introducing yourself:
A: I’m John.
B: I’m Jackie. (Use first name in informal situations)
A: (It’s) nice meeting you./ (It’s) good to meet you.
B: Nice meeting you too.

A: I’m John Kennedy.


B: I’m Jackie O’Neill. (Use full name in business and formal situations)
A: (It’s) nice to meet you.
B: Nice to meet you too.

40 • capítulo 2
©© RETRO CLIPART | DREAMSTIME.COM
2.6  Introducing people
Susan: Hi, Hanna. This is my cousin,
David.
Hanna: Hi, David. I’m Hanna Miller.
David: Nice meeting you, Hanna. I’m
David Thompson.
Hanna: Nice meeting you too.
A: Have you met each other?/ (Have you
met Hanna?)
B: No, we haven’t./ Not yet./( No, I
haven’t.)
A: Tom, this is Hanna. Hanna, this is
Tom.
B: Nice to meet you Hanna.
C: Nice to meet you too, Tom.
(After you have been introduced to someone, it is polite to ask a few general
questions* to get acquainted)
B: Where are you from, Hanna?
C: I’m from New York State.
B: New York City?
C: No, Albany. How about you, Tom?
B: I’m from Chicago.
C: How do you know Jack?
B: We work together at the UN.

* you may ask general questions about the situation:


How do you know _______ (the person who introduced you)
Do you work/ live around here?/ Are you a student at this university?
Is this your first time in the city/ here?
How long have you been living/ working/ studying here?
What do you do for a living?
DO NOT ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT: the person’s age; salary; weight, marital status;
year of birth.

capítulo 2 • 41
There are a variety of forms to introduce people. Some linguistic forms
are appropriate for casual or informal situations; whereas other formulaic
expressions fit formal situations – it depends on who the speakers are and their
relationship. What is essential here is the fact that learners should know that
even in the same situations, there are also different ways for this function. If,
for example, you want to introduce your friend Betsy to David, you might say:
•  David, this is (my friend) Betsy.
•  I would like you to meet Betsy.
•  Let me present Betsy to you.
•  David, meet Betsy.
•  Allow me to introduce Betsy.

It is essential that learners understand that there are many different ways
(forms) of conveying the same meaning (function) and that each linguistic form
is related to a different functional purpose. The relationship between form and
function must be transparent so that the learner chooses the correct language
and grammar, or even the correct chunk of language to mean what s/he actually
has in mind.

2.7  Making Small Talk


The ability to get along with people in society may be related to how well a
person can engage in brief, casual conversation with others or in an exchange
of pleasantries. Talking about the weather, rush-hour traffic, vocations, sports
events, and other amenities may seem meaningless, but such talks are essential
for English speakers to create a sense of social community. "Small talk" means
conversation about things that aren't really very important, especially with
people we don't meet very often, don’t know very well or even meet for the first
time. You might use them at a party or other situations to introduce yourself
or even start a conversation. So, at the initial stage, adult EFL learners should
develop skills in short, interactional exchanges in which they are required to
make only one or two utterances at a time. For example:

42 • capítulo 2
1. A: I hate rush-hour traffic.
B: Me, too.
2. A: Boy, the weather is lousy today.
B: Yeah. I hope it’ll stop raining.

As you improve your English language skills and get more fluent in the
language, you will be able to use simple exchanges to open conversations and
develop your small talks into short interactions.

Conversation 1
A: Hi, how are you doing?
B: I’m fine. How about yourself?
A: I’m pretty good. Thanks for asking.
B: No problem. So how have you been?
A: I’ve been great. What about you?
B: I’ve been good. I’m in school right now.
A: What school do you go to?
B: I go to UCLA.
A: Do you like it there?
B: It’s ok. It’s a really big campus.
A: Good luck with school.
B: Thank you very much.

Conversation 2
A: How’s it going?
B: I’m doing well. How about you?
A: Never better, thanks.
B: So how have you been lately?
A: I’ve actually been pretty good. You?
B: I’m actually in school right now.
A: Which school do you attend?
B: I’m attending UCLA right now.
A: Are you enjoying it there?
B: It’s not bad. There are a lot of people there.
A: Good luck with that.
B: Thanks.

capítulo 2 • 43
Conversation 3
A: How are you doing today?
B: I’m doing great. What about you?
A: I’m absolutely lovely, thank you.
B: Everything’s been good with you?
A: I haven’t been better. How about yourself?
B: I started school recently.
A: Where are you going to school?
B: I’m going to UCLA.
A: How do you like it so far?
B: I like it so far. My classes are pretty good right now.
A: I wish you luck.
B: Thanks a lot.

2.8  Social Expressions used in Every Day


English

1. A: Good morning!/ Good evening!


B: Good morning! Nice day today./ Good evening! What a pleasant evening!
2. A: See you the day after tomorrow!/ See you on Friday!
B: Yea! About nine, in the library.
3. A: Sorry, I didn’t catch your name.
B: It’s Susan. Susan Parker.
4. A: Excuse me?
B: Yes. Can I help you?
5. A: I’m sorry. I can’t come tonight.
B: That’s ok! Maybe another time.
6. A: Can you help me with this project?
B: Sure. No problem./ Sure! Just a minute!
7. A: Can I help you?
B: No, thanks. I’m just looking.
8. A: Sorry I’m late.
B: Don’t worry. You’re here now.

44 • capítulo 2
Reply + Further Comment
9. A: What a nice weather we’re having!
B: Yes, wonderful, isn’t it? Just like summer!
10. A: What a terrible weather!
B: I know. Really awful, isn’t it? I just hope this rain stops soon.
11. A: Did you have a nice night?
B: Yes. We had a great time. We all went to that new restaurant on Park
Street.
12. A: What a beautiful jacket you’re wearing!
B: Thank you. I’m glad you like it. I got it on sale.
13. A: If you need anything, just ask me.
B: Thanks so much. That’s really nice of you to offer.

2.9  Likes and Dislikes


If we browse through online forum posts, chat page conversations and reviews,
we are going to notice that people in general love talking about their likes
and dislikes. Talking about likes and dislikes is something learners can start
doing very early in language learning because the verbs like/love and dislike/
hate are easily translatable and even low level students can get a lot out of
communicating by asking and answering “Do you like fishing” or even “What
do you like doing in your free/leisure time?”. If you have a higher level English,
there is a whole range of idiomatic expressions whose meaning is similar to
expressing likes and dislikes. Once you have mastered the meaning of like and
dislike, vocabulary and grammar that have milder or more extreme meanings
can be presented. For example:
A: I like ice-cream.
B: Only like it? I love it! But I don’ like vanilla ice cream.
A: Me neither. In fact, I hate it.

Here are some conversations including questions and answers about likes
and dislikes:
Matt: What kind of music do you like, Josh?
Josh: I like rock music.

capítulo 2 • 45
Matt: What are you listening to right now?
Josh: I’m listening to Pearl Jam. They’re awesome!!

Matt: What kind of books do you like?


Liza: I like mystery books.
Matt: What are you reading right now?
Liza: I’m reading The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie. It’s exciting!
Matt: Do you like reading novels?
Liza: No, I don’t. I don’t like novels.

Pronunciation
Sentence stress: we usually stress verbs, nouns and question words:
What kind of music do you like?
I like rock music.
What kind of books do you like?
I like mystery books.

Leisure Time: sports, fun, recreation, leisure activities, food.


Which sports do you like best?
Which food would you like to try?
What kind of food do you prefer?
What’s your favorite dish?
Do you like Japanese food?
Would you rather go bowling or go dancing?

NOTE: when speaking generally, it’s better to use plurals with count nouns:
E.g.:
I like bananas. (count plural)
I don’t like carrots. (count plural)
I don’t like coffee very much. I prefer tea. (noncount noun)
I don’t like dancing. But I love cooking!
There are many different ways that English native speakers have to say that
they like and dislike something. The following ten idiomatic expressions
can be used in speaking or writing :

46 • capítulo 2
Likes
1. I'm a big fan of Indian food.
2. I'm (absolutely) crazy about it.
3. I'm quite partial to spicy things. (a bit more formal)
4. I'm really into it (in a big way). (very informal)
5. You can't beat a good (Indian meal).
6. Give me Thai food any day.
7. I'm particularly fond of hot curries. (formal)
8. There's nothing I like more than...
9. Thai food is what I live for.
10. What I wouldn't give for a Thai curry! (very informal)

Dislikes
1. I'm not too keen on English food. (quite informal, spoken phrase)
2. I'm not a big a fan of English food. (quite informal, spoken phrase)
3. I can't work up any enthusiasm for it. (more formal)
4. I'm not particularly fond of English food. (more formal)
5. I can't stand it / I really hate it.
6. English food: I can take it or leave it. (quite informal)
7. English food leaves me cold. (quite informal)
8. I can't see what all the fuss is about. (quite informal)
9. I'm afraid it doesn't appeal to me. (more formal)
10. I would rather cut off my right arm than… (can be quite impolite if used
at the wrong time)

2.10  Asking for Information


(Indirect Questions)

There is more than one way to ask a question. In English it is not very polite to
start a conversation asking a direct question, especially if you don’t know the
person very well or the person is a complete stranger. We use indirect questions
to make our questions softer or more polite and don’t need a change in word
order in the main question.

capítulo 2 • 47
1. Getting someone’s attention
Excuse me,
Pardon me,
Sorry to bother you, but….

2. Asking for information


Could/ can you tell me….?
Do/ would you (happen to) know…?
Would you mind telling me….?
Have you any idea…?
I wonder/ I was wondering if you could tell me…
I’d like to know…
I’m not sure…
I have no idea…

3. Follow-up
Thanks for your help.
Thank you so much!
Thanks. I really appreciate it.

At the Office (Formal Situation)


Officer: Good morning, Mr. Smith.
Clerk: Good morning, Sir.
Officer: Can you tell me where the purchase records are kept?
Clerk: They are with the Superintendent, Sir.
Officer: I see. Do you know what action was taken on the proposal to buy
computers?
Clerk: The order getting typed, Sir.
Officer: Thanks. I really appreciate it.

In a Railway Station (Formal Situation)


Mr. Miller: Excuse me. Could you tell me what time "Black Hawk Express"
arrives?
Officer: The scheduled time is 8:20 AM. But I’m afraid it’s late by one hour
today.
Mr. Miller: So the train will arrive at 9:20 AM in the afternoon?

48 • capítulo 2
Officer: Yes. But please check around 9 AM.
Mr. Miller: OK. I also wanted to know the second class fare from here to New
York.
Officer: Hold on a minute, please. Yes, it is 50 dollars, Sir.
Mr. Miller: Thank you for your help.
Officer: You’re welcome.

Between Friends (Informal Situation)


Liza: Hi, Tina, How are you doing?
Tina: Hi! I’m doing well. How about you?
Liza: I’m good too.
Tina: Any idea what time is the party at Tom’s?
Liza: I think it’s at 7 PM. Shall we meet at my place at six-thirty?
Tina: Okay, see you at six-thirty, then.
Liza: See you.

In indirect questions, we don’t use the auxiliary verbs do/does/did. Therefore, We don’t
need a change in word order in the main question, that is, the main question is going to
have the same word order and the main verb the same form of that used in sentences:
subject + verb.
Where is the restroom? (direct question – auxiliary + subject)
Do you know where the restroom is? (indirect question – subject + auxiliary)
When does the shop open? (direct question )
Have you any idea when the shop opens? (indirect question)
Is there a supermarket near here?
Could you tell me if there is a supermarket near here?
For more details on how to change direct to indirect questions go to: http://www.
espressoenglish.net/direct-and-indirect-questions-in-english/

2.11  Invitations
When inviting someone to do something with you, it is polite to ‘break the ice’
before extending your invitation. Give the person time to ‘prepare’ for your
invitation. For example:

capítulo 2 • 49
A: What are you doing Friday night?
B: I’m not sure yet.
A: There is a new movie playing at the Odeon. Would you like to go with me?
B: Sure, I’d love to!

I. Expressions and phrases to make invitations


Do you want to/ wanna… (wanna= want to) (very informal)
Do you fancy/ fell like Ving …. (fancy = fell like)
Would you like to…
Would you care to…
Will you… (with me)
How about + Ving
How would you like to…
I was wondering if you would (like to)…
I would like to invite you to… (more formal)

II. Accepting and refusing politely depend on what you are asked.
Examples:
Would you like to go see a movie?
Okay. Sounds good.
Sure. I’d love to.
Yeah. Good idea.

No, I’d rather not. (would rather)


I’d better not. (had better)
No, but thanks for offering.

How about going bowling this weekend?


Great. What time?
Sounds like fun.
All right. When and Where?

Sorry, I’m busy this weekend.


I don’t think I can.
How about some other time?

50 • capítulo 2
DINNER INVITATION (Informal and Formal Situations)
Wanna pop over for a quick dinner? (informal)
Why not? When do you want me to be there?
I’m busy tonight. Can I take a raincheck on that?

We’d be delighted to have you over for dinner tonight. (formal)


Thank you! I’d love to. Would you like me to bring anything?
I’d love to, but I already have plans tonight.

ACTIVITIES
Choose your level and write dialogues to simulate the situations provided below.

Beginning Levels
Practice introducing your friends and relatives.
Thank your friend for a gift he/ she gave you on your birthday.
Invite a friend to go bowling.

Intermediate Levels
A: Invite a friend to go fishing or bowling on the weekend.
B: your friend doesn’t like it. He/she politely refuses the invitation.

01. Read the following conversations at a wedding. What are the small talks about?
a) A: Oh, she looks so beautiful. ( )
B: She does, doesn’t she? He’s a lucky, lucky man.
A: He is.
b) A: What a lovely day! ( )
B: Definitely! Sunny and quite warm for this time of year.
A: I know. I don’t think I need my coat.
c) A: This dish is delicious. (
B: It is, isn’t it?
A: What do you think it’s made of ? ( )
B: It tastes like fish, doesn’t it?
d) A: What a lovely dress. ( )
B: Oh, this – I’ve had for ages.
A: Well, blue really suits you!
B: Do you think so? Thank you. I really liked you shoes!

capítulo 2 • 51
Advanced Levels

02. Fill in the blanks with a phrase from the box to complete the invitations.

Do you fancy I’d really love, but I was wondering Are you doing anything
That sounds great What a shame Where do you want to go? Would you like to

a) A: ______________ on Sunday?
B: No, I’m not. Why?
A: ______________ if you’d like to come to the theater.
B: ______________. What’s on?
b) A: _____________ going out for a meal tonight?
B: Yes, good idea. I’d love to.
A: Perfect. ____________.
B: I’d like to try the new French restaurant. I really like French cuisine and wines.
c) A: ____________ go to a music festival next weekend?
B: ____________ I’m afraid I’m busy next weekend. It’s my sister’s wedding.
A: ____________. It sounds really good.
B: Yes, I know, but I’m sorry. How about some other time?

03. In the following dialogues, people are asking for information. Use the cues to fill in the
blanks.
a) A: Excuse me. ________________________ (How can I get to the post office?)
B: No, I’m sorry. I don’t know. I’m from out of town.
A: Excuse me. ________________________ (Where’s the post office? )
C: Sure. It’s not far from here. Walk straight ahead until you get to Main street. Then…
b) A: Sorry to bother you, but ____________________ (How can I get to the airport from
here?)
B: I’m afraid you’ll have to take a cab.
A: ________________________________ ?(How long will it take me to get there?)
B: It’s a twenty minute drive from here.
A: Thank you so much!

52 • capítulo 2
04. Unscramble the sentences to make indirect questions (asking for information). Change
to contracted forms where possible.
a) know/ you/ there/ bank/ Do/ is/ near here/ if/ a/ ?
b) you/ Can/ you/ your shoes/ me/ bought/ tell/ where/ ?
c) happen/ you/what/ it/ know/ is/ time/to/ Do/ ?
d) you/ born/ me/ you/ where/ were/ Could/ tell/ ?

REFLECTION
In this unit we have seem that a marked feature of interactional conversations is the use
of chunks, that is, pre-fixed or semi-fixed word strings, also called routines that often have
specific functions in conversation and provide conversational discourse with the quality
of being natural. We also talked about sociocultural and turn-taking rules and formal and
informal styles of speaking as well.

EXPANDING YOUR KOWLEDGE


LUOMA, S. Assessing Speaking. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
HARMMER, J. The Practice of English Language Teaching. London: Pearson-Longman, 4th
edition, 2007.
THORNBURY, S.; Slade, D. Conversation: From Description to Pedagogy. New York: Cambridge
University Press, 2006.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
BROWN, H. D. Teaching by Principles: an interactive approach to language learning. New Jersey:
Prentice Hall Regents, 1994.
CANALE, M.; SWAIN, M. Theoretical Bases of Communicative Approaches to Second Language
Teaching and Testing. Applied Linguistics 1, 1-47, 1980.
NUNAN, D. Second Language Teaching and Learning. Boston: Heinle & Heinle, 1998.
SCARCELLA, R. C.; OXFORD, R. L. The Tapestry of Language Learning: the individual in the
communicative classroom. Boston: Heinle & Heinle, 1992.

capítulo 2 • 53
54 • capítulo 2
3
Vocabulary, Context,
Inference, Idiomatic
Expressions and
Slangs
Effective language processing and production involves the retrieval of words
and phrases from memory and their combination into syntactically and
propositionally appropriate sequences. The speaker has to have the ability to
process language in his head and put his ideas into coherent order so that it
comes out in forms that are comprehensible and also convey the intended
meanings. Therefore, in this unit we are going to understand the role of
context, multi-words, idioms, literal and figurative meanings, as well as
inference in speech fluency and effectiveness.

OBJECTIVES
•  To understand the role and importance of vocabulary in oral interactions
•  To understand what it means to know a word (lexical unit)
•  To learn the importance of context for the use and meaning of a word
•  To learn some idioms and slangs common in everyday situations.

56 • capítulo 3
3.1  Lexicogrammar Perspective of English
The lexicon of a language is usually defined as a mental inventory of words
and productive word derivational processes, that is, the rules underlying the
processes of new word formation. The view we are going to take is considerably
broader, since we consider it to include not only single words but also word
compounds, such as firework and post-office, and conventionalized multiword
phrases, such as idioms and routines (see chapter 2). Traditionally, grammar
and lexicon were considered two distinct components of the language, and
indeed they still are treated as such in some grammatical theories. From the
pedagogical perspective as well, vocabulary and grammar have usually been
viewed as two different areas of language. Some recent theories, however, have
considered grammar and lexicon as opposite poles of one continuum, and
following Halliday (1994), we are going to take the lexicogrammar perspective
of the language, in which the many multiword lexical units, such as How do you
do? and I’m looking forward to seeing you again soon, for example, conform to
the grammar of the language.

Grammar -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lexicon

When we focus on the extremes at the ends of the continuum, the dichotomy
between grammar and lexicon seems to hold: at the grammatical end we can
include function words such as prepositions, articles and auxiliary verbs; whereas
at the other end we can include content words such as main verbs (e.g., grow)
and nouns (e.g., flowers). Recent work in computer analyses of large corpora of
English texts suggest that many patterned multiword lexical units such as by the
way are basic intermediate units between lexis (words) and grammar: in English
the lexical grammar order is always by the way, not way by the.

3.2  What does it mean to know a word?


A question we might reasonably ask to help us understand what the lexicon
involves is this: What does it mean to know a word? Nation (1990, p. 31) proposes
the following list of the different kinds of knowledge that a person must master
in order to know a word.

capítulo 3 • 57
•  spelling (orthography)
•  phonetic representation (pronunciation, stress)
•  morphological irregularity (where applicable)
•  syntactic features and restrictions (including part of speech)
•  common derivations and collocations (words it co-occurs)
•  semantic features and restrictions
•  pragmatic features and restrictions

These are known as types of word knowledge, and most or all of them are
necessary to be able to use a word in the wide variety of language situations one
comes across. However, the different types of word knowledge are not necessarily
learned at the same time. Being able to use a word in oral discourse does not
necessarily entail being able to spell it. Similarly, a person will probably know at
least one meaning for a word before knowing all of its derivative forms. Each of
the word-knowledge types is likely to be learned in a gradual manner, but some
may develop later than others and at different rates. From this perspective,
vocabulary acquisition must be progressive, as it is clearly impossible to gain
immediate mastery of all these word knowledge simultaneously.
Let’s consider the word child. The word knowledge of this word would
include its spelling (written form) c-h-i-l-d, and its pronunciation (spoken
form) / tʃaɪld/. With respect to grammatical behavior, the speaker would need
to know that the noun child has an irregular and idiosyncratic plural, children
/ˈtʃɪldrən/, which is not generated by the regular rules for forming plurals in
English. Another kind of information related to grammatical behavior would
include syntactic features and restrictions, such as the word’s part of speech –
noun – and more specifically that child is a common countable noun and which
determiners are appropriate: this child (not *these child), these children (not
*this children), many children (not *much children), for example. Common
derivatives include childlike, childish and childhood. The associations of the
word would include common collocations, such as child’s play, child labor and
child psychology.
Concerning the meaning of child would include semantic information, such
as the concept human and also knowledge that the word is neutral regarding
gender distinction. It would contrast the term child with similar terms for
younger humans, such as infant and baby, and it would also contrast the word
with parallel items denoting older humans, such as adolescent and adult.

58 • capítulo 3
Finally, from a pragmatic or use perspective (the register of the word), the
word knowledge would include being able to contrast child with other words
with the same meaning – for example, an informal counterpart, kid. Pragmatic
information is useful when we try to be sensitive to the appropriateness of the
register of our lexical choices. It also helps to identify patterns of words that
collocate, or go together. Notice that there is a pragmatic restriction on the
form kid: while many native speakers are quite comfortable using the plural
form of this informal form, kids, they find that its singular form has a certain
pejorative connotation:

•  Our kids are already registered for school in September. (acceptable)


•  Our kid is already registered for school in September. (questionable)

Many English native speakers would prefer to use son or daughter when
referring to one child.
Semantic information is used when we accept a lexical item in certain
contexts as meaningful, but reject it in other contexts as nonsensical:

•  The child slept for many hours in the afternoon.


•  *The child evaporated in the afternoon.

3.3  What’s Vocabulary?


Vocabulary can be generally defined as the words a person knows in a language.
As we have already seen, learning vocabulary is a complex process, especially in
a foreign language. After all, we have to take into consideration that even native
speakers of a language can understand many more words than they can actually
use in sentences. According to Read (2000), vocabulary knowledge is usually
divided into productive knowledge (active vocabulary) and receptive knowledge
(passive vocabulary):
Active vocabulary: the words the speakers of a language, being it native,
second or even foreign language, are able to both understand and use in
speaking and writing.
Passive vocabulary: the words the speakers of a language are able only to
recognize in listening and reading, but not use (Schmitt, 2000).

capítulo 3 • 59
Therefore, there are words which we have more control over and others which
we can only recognize and guess the meaning from the context. Apart from real
beginners, each individual speaker has some degree of linguistic knowledge and
ability with words in a language. Spoken foreign language fluency and accuracy
is not reduced to vocabulary acquisition, but according to McCarthy (1990) “no
matter how well the student learns grammar, no matter how successfully the
sounds of L2 are mastered, without words to express a wide range of meanings,
communication in an L2 cannot happen in any meaningful way.”
According to Taylor (1990), there are other kinds of knowledge, which seem
to be language universals, that also influence the acquisition of vocabulary:
knowledge of style, register and dialect, which refer to being able to adapt to
different levels of formality, the effect of different contexts and topics, as well
as differences in geographical variation.
In a broad sense, style refers to the level of language formality required or
allowed in a specific conversation situation, such as the use of slang, which
formulaic structures (routines) are appropriate in that case, how to address the
interlocutor. For example:

•  “Would you like a ride to work?” (neutral style, appropriate in most


contexts)
•  “Fancy a spin?” (colloquial; considered rude if made to a stranger)
•  “Would you mind passing the sugar?” (formal; appropriate with strangers)

Register, on the other hand, in a more specific sense, refers to the language
used by a group of people who share similar work or interests, such as doctors,
lawyers. E.g.:

•  To fold in – cooking term for mix


•  Cephalogia – medical term for headache
•  Insolvent – banking term for penniless

Dialect refers to differences in geographical variation, such as the vocabulary


used in American and the vocabulary used in British English. E.g.:

•  elevator (Brit.) x lift (Am.)


•  loch (Scottish) x lake (Brit. /Am.)
•  G’day (Australian) x hello (Brit. /Am.)

60 • capítulo 3
As a conclusion, vocabulary acquisition and improvement is an essential
component to the development of speaking skills in language learning. At
intermediate levels, having a wide range of receptive vocabulary, that is, words
learners can recognise and fairly understand the meaning, but a limited range of
productive vocabulary, that is, words they can actually use in sentences, means
that this teaching area needs greater attention. At intermediate levels, students
should not only be able to understand the meaning of the words, but also to use
them appropriately in spoken and written English.

3.4  The Three Stages of Speech Production


©© ALEXANDER LIMBACH | DREAMSTIME.COM

From a psycholinguistic perspective, according to Levelt (1989, 1993), there


are three stages involved in speech production: conceptualization, formulation
and articulation. The first level refers to the stage in which messages are
conceptually or mentally formed. In the second level, in which the speaker
actually formulates the utterances, the lexicon plays a crucial role since it is the
component of language which contains the meaningful units, the vocabulary
words. After the formulation stage, vocabulary and grammar rules give rise

capítulo 3 • 61
to the sentences and morphological and phonological rules apply so that the
speaker produces the speech. This is the third stage, the articulation of the
message in which the speaker expresses his ideas using the language. Levelt’s
theory suggests that vocabulary is required since the formulation stage and that
no speech can be produced without vocabulary.
Based on many studies and researches on the topic, vocabulary seems to be
an essential component to the speaking ability, especially at beginning levels
in which the learner does not have enough grammar knowledge and has to
rely basically or mostly on words and chunks of language to convey meaning.
Proponents of comprehension-based approaches to language learning argue
that the early development of an extensive vocabulary can enable learners to
understand spoken language much better, even though they do not know much
about grammar. Besides, the most significant difference between intermediate
and advanced proficiency levels is vocabulary knowledge and range.

3.5  Context and Inference


One of the features of oral interactions is that spoken texts are often context-
dependent and personal, assuming shared background knowledge. But what
does context mean? According to Halliday (1998), in its origin, the word context
referred to the accompanying text, the words that came before or after whatever
was said or written, that is, whatever was under attention. In the 19th century,
the use of the word context was extended to things other than language, both
concrete and abstract, such as cultural context, psychological context, non-
linguistic context and the like, but the original meaning was also used. Later
on, the word co-text was proposed by Catford to refer explicitly to the linguistic
environment. Therefore, nowadays there are different kinds of contexts which
have to be taken into consideration when communication comes into play:

refers to the environment in which the discourse has been


CONTEXT OF USE: produced; it includes the co-text, that is, the linguistic text,
as well as the situation in which it occurred.

62 • capítulo 3
refers to psychosocial aspects, that is, it takes into
consideration the place where the oral interaction takes
CONTEXT OF place: a conversation in a restaurant is not the same as
SITUATION: a conversation in a business corporation, even though
businesspeople can do business in both places.

refers to the behavior and social rules which interfere


CULTURAL in the oral interaction: a Brazilian and an American do
CONTEXT: not have the same behavior during a conversation (eye
contact, distance from interlocutors, etc).

refers to who the interlocutors are and what they bring to


PSYCHOLOGICAL the interaction, such as interests, necessities, principles,
CONTEXT: personality, etc.

RELATIONAL refers to one’s reactions to the interlocutor’s utterances.


CONTEXT:

LINGUISTIC refers to the morphosyntactic clues of the lexical unit, such


CONTEXT: as if the word is a verb, a noun, an adjective, and so on.

NON-LINGUISTIC refers to all non-verbal information, such as body language,


CONTEXT: visual cues, facial expressions, tone of voice, etc.

When reading a text, even in your native language, you sometimes come
across a lexical unit (word) whose meaning you do not know, but you are able
to work out roughly what it means because of the surrounding language, that
is, the linguistic context. We use this skill in a lot of everyday reading and
interactions when we guess what a word must mean approximately – otherwise
we would be running to a dictionary all the time.

capítulo 3 • 63
Other times, speakers do not say exactly what they mean: they do not provide
information explicitly, but just give clues, and leave the listener to deduce or
infer their real message from all the contexts mentioned above. Consider, for
example, the following conversation:

A: “Where’s Melissa?”
B: “The rehearsals started tonight.”
A: “Oh, Ok.”

A: “I have two tickets to the play tonight.”


B: “My examination is tomorrow.”
A: “Pity.”

Although the conversational fragments do not contain any cohesive devices


(reference, substitution, ellipsis, conjunction or lexical cohesion), fluent or
competent English speakers must agree that they make sense. They illustrate
the active, constructive nature of the inferential process, in which the listener
has to work to interpret what the speaker had in mind, meant. They make
sense because it is possible to create a context in which the pieces of coherent
discourse fit together. As competent users of the language we use the linguistic
and relational contexts in which a request (where’s Melissa?) or an implicit
invitation (I have two tickets to the play tonight) should be followed by an
explanation (the rehearsals started tonight) and an acceptance/refusal (my
examination is tomorrow) and the missing bits of conversation can be restored
by our background knowledge:

Textual
Information

Inference

Background
knowledge

64 • capítulo 3
Inference is essential to listening comprehension during a conversation. It
refers to drawing conclusions based on information that has been implied rather
than directly stated. Most of the time, in our everyday interactions, we make
inferences and do not even notice that we are listening or reading “between the
lines”. It is so automatic that we do not realize that the information was not
included in the oral or written communication text.
In order to make inferences, learners should relate what they hear or read,
that is, the oral or written text, with what they already know, to reach into their
own personal knowledge and apply it to the discourse. It means that when
learners use clues from the oral or written text and their background knowledge
(schema), they create new meanings based on the vocabulary used, the context
of the conversation and their own experiences. We make inferences when we
want or need to make sense of important ideas or information.
The greatest difficulty learners have in developing speaking skills is in the
interactive nature of most communication. Dialogues are collaborative since the
interlocutors are engaged in the process of meaning negotiation. In this sense, for the
EFL learner the matter of what to say is often obscured by conventions of how to say
something. Cases of misunderstandings and meaning negotiation failure abound:

Context: at the end of a shift in a factory


Native speaker: “See you later.”
Non-native speaker: “What time?”
Native speaker: “What do you mean?”

Context: during a coffee break at work


A: “I have two tickets for a concert tonight.”
B: “Good for you. What’s the band?”
A: “Maroom 5.”
B: “Hope you enjoy it!”
A: “Oh, so you’re busy tonight.”

The miscommunication in the conversations above occurs at the level of discourse


and not the linguistic context. In the first fragment, speaker B interprets “see you late”
as an invitation. In many contexts it would be, but in this specific cultural context,
however, it is a formulaic way of saying “good-bye”. In the other fragment, speaker B
takes A’s utterance as a statement of fact, rather than an invitation.

capítulo 3 • 65
3.6  Aspects of Meaning: Denotation,
Connotation, Appropriateness

The meaning of a word is primarily what it refers to in the real world, its
denotation, also known as literal meaning. This is often the sort of definition
that is provided in a dictionary. For example, dog denotes a kind of animal,
more specifically, a common, domestic carnivorous mammal, considered a
pet; and the words moist and dank both mean slightly wet.
A less obvious component of the meaning of a lexical unit is its connotation:
the associations, either positive or negative feelings it evokes, which may or may
not be included in a dictionary definition. The word dog, for example, has positive
connotations of friendship and loyalty in English; whereas the equivalent
word for dog in Arabic has negative associations of dirt and inferiority. Within
the English language, moist has favorable connotations; whereas dank has
unfavorable, so the correct collocation, that is a word or phrase which is
frequently used with another word or phrase, in a way that sounds appropriate
or correct to native people, to describe something would be ‘pleasantly moist’
but ‘pleasantly dank’ would sound absurd.
Therefore, collocation is a subtle aspect of meaning that must be learned
by students since it is a factor that causes a particular combination of words
to sound right or wrong in a given context. Thus, it is useful for EFL learners
to know that a certain word is very common, relatively rare or ‘taboo’ in polite
conversation, or tends to be used in writing but not in speech, or is more
suitable for formal than informal discourse.

3.7  Literal or Figurative Meaning?


As we have seen in the previous session, there are semantic co-occurrence
restrictions in the lexicon, and if the EFL learner does not know the word
connotations in the foreign language, (s)he will probably make mistakes
because words can have different connotations depending on the contexts
they occur. However, it is the deliberate violation of semantic restrictions that
results in the rich imagery of poetic language. In sentences such as:

66 • capítulo 3
•  The wind whispered (instead of the wind blow)
•  Her home is a prison.

The words whispered and prison are not used literally, but figuratively. A
great many word meanings are figurative or metaphorical rather than (or in
addition to) being literal.
Figure also means image, picture, and figurative language has the power
of creating figures, pictures, images in the mind of the listener or reader. The
main purpose of the pictures is to convey meaning faster and more vividly than
ordinary words.
Figurative language adds color and interest, it awakens the imagination.
Figurative language is widespread, we can find it everywhere: from TV
commercials and advertisements to Shakespeare work or even the Bible, from
everyday conversations to rock music. It makes the reader or listener use their
imagination and understand much more than ordinary, obvious words.
Figurative language is the opposite of literal language. Literal language
means exactly what it says. Figurative language means something different to
(and usually more than) what it says on the surface:

•  He ran fast. (literal)


•  He ran like the wind. (figurative)

In the above example "like the wind" is a figure of speech (in this case, a
simile). Such figurative use of words allows us to go beyond their purely
denotational use, in which a word describes a thing, an action rather than the
feelings or ideas it suggests.
Compare the following pair of sentences:

•  Josh ate his lunch quickly. X Josh ate like a pig.


•  Sophia talks a lot! X Sophia talks a mile a minute.
•  Allan is not an intelligent boy. X Allan is not the brightest crayon in the box.

The first sentences of the pairs are literal; while the second ones are
figurative. Figurative language helps us extend our range of expression and
interpretation, allowing us the opportunity to explain our feelings about things
or events in a way that creates readily available images. A metaphor is a subset
of figurative language.

capítulo 3 • 67
The word metaphor derives from the Greek metapherein, which means
“transfer” and can be defined by several different, although related meanings.
It has two major senses: (a) figure of speech that says that one thing is another
different thing. This allows us to use fewer words and forces the reader or
listener to find the similarities. (b) a form of conceptual representation: “a
thing is considered as representative of some other (usually abstract) thing – a
symbol.”
Some metaphors become fixed into phrases which competent speakers
recognize at once: we all know that to kick the bucket means to die and that to
have bitten off more than one’s can chew means to try to do something that is
too hard or difficult. These fixed phrases are labeled idiomatic expressions or
idioms.
Idioms are a subset of the fixed expressions in a language community.
However, what sets idioms apart from most other fixed expressions is their
nonlogical nature, that is, the absence of any discernable relation between their
linguistic meanings an their idiomatic meanings. Indeed, this characteristic
of many (but not all) idioms motivates the usual definition of an idiom: a
construction whose meaning cannot be derived from the meanings of its
individual words.
Sometimes the same expression has both literal and figurative meaning,
and the connection between literal and figurative use is not as obvious as in the
previous examples. The nonobvious interpretation then becomes an idiom, a
notoriously difficult type of multiword for foreign language learners:

•  "Did you get your cell phone, Ann?"


©© OLGA LUPOL | DREAMSTIME.COM

68 • capítulo 3
"It’s in the bag." (the object is located in the bag)
•  “What about the elections?”
“It’s in the bag. Trust me!” (it is a reality)

Some recent research has looked at the role of familiarity in people’s immediate
comprehension of idioms. Highly familiar idioms are generally understood more
rapidly than less familiar phrases. Some idioms, such as “It’s in the bag”, have both
literal and figurative uses. However, in this group, there are idioms, such as “pull
your leg”, which are predominantly seen in figurative contexts (to joke or tease),
whereas others, such as “take one’s medicine”, have literal and figurative (learn
one’s lesson) uses that are roughly equal in frequency and familiarity.

3.7.1  Metaphors, Similes, Idioms, Slangs and Proverbs

Metaphor: is a figure of speech that describes one thing in terms of another


different thing. This allows us to use fewer words and forces the reader or
listener to find the similarities.
Some examples of metaphors with sample sentences and meanings are:

METAPHOR METAPHORICAL ORIGINAL SENSE


EXAMPLE SENSE

place where different


a container in which
peoples, styles and
America is a melting pot. metals or other materials
cultures are mixed
are melted and mixed
together

Jack is a real pig when a four-legged animal


greedy person
he eats. kept for meat (pork)

very strong or reliable a hard, mineral material


My mother is a rock.
person made of stone

capítulo 3 • 69
METAPHOR METAPHORICAL ORIGINAL SENSE
EXAMPLE SENSE

How could he marry a a long, limbless reptile


traitor
snake like that! (e.g. cobra, python, viper)

(in soccer) a yellow card


The policeman let him off that the referee shows to
warning
with a yellow card. players when cautioning
them

(available at: https://www.englishclub.com/vocabulary/


figures-metaphor.htm)

Simile: figure of speech that says that one thing is like another different
thing. We often use the words as...as and like with similes.
Example of similes:

•  (to be) AS adjective AS sth else


His face was as white as ice.
It felt as hard as rock.
My neighbor looked as gentle as a lamb.

•  (to be) LIKE sth else


My love is like a red rose.
These cookies taste like garbage.
Ann has a temper (that is) like a volcano.

•  (to do something) LIKE sth else


John eats like a pig.
Peter smokes like a chimney.
They fought like cats and dogs.

70 • capítulo 3
Idiom: a set phrase of two or more words that means something different
from the literal meaning of the individual words. Examples: To change one’s
tune has nothing to do with music, but means “to alter one’s attitude”. Similarly,
to hit the nail on the head often has nothing to do with carpentry but means
simply “to be absolutely right.
Idioms are the idiosyncrasies of a language. Often defying the rules of logic,
they pose great difficulties for non-native speakers. The test of an idiom is
whether it changes meaning when rendered word for word in another language.

Formal Idioms
a fait accompli – certain to happen.
quid pro quo – to do sth on the understanding that something will be done
for you in return.
vis-à-vis – you can say vis-a-vis instead of saying "in relation to".
an act of God – something like an earthquake or a tornado can be called an
act of God.
carte blanche – to give someone freedom to do whatever they want in a
situation.
raison d'être – reason for living, or the most important thing in your life.
a volte-face – to change your opinion or decision about sth to the exact
opposite of what it was.

Informal Idioms
No way! (Am.) – You can say "No way!" when you want to strongly reject an
offer, a request, or a suggestion.
call it a day – If you call it a day, you stop doing something that's usually
related to work.
behind the eight ball (Am.) – If you're behind the eight ball, you're in a
difficult or dangerous position.
get away from it all – If you get away from it all, you go somewhere to escape
from your usual daily routine.
give it a shot | give it a whirl – If you give something a shot, or give it a whirl,
you try doing something for the first time, usually for fun.
Mind your own business! – If you say "Mind your own business!" to someone,
you're telling them to stop interfering in things that don't concern them, or to
stop asking personal questions.

capítulo 3 • 71
over the moon – if you're over the moon about something, you're extremely
happy and excited about it.
pay through the nose – If you pay through the nose for something, you pay
more than the usual price for it.
a quick fix – If something is a quick fix, it's a quick and easy, but usually
short-term, solution to a problem.
rock the boat – If you rock the boat, you do or say something that will upset
people by changing a situation that they don't want changed.
ring a bell – If something rings a bell, it sounds familiar or you think you've
heard it before.
rub it in – If you rub it in, you keep talking about something that embarrasses
or upsets someone.
up to no good – If someone is up to no good, they are doing something bad,
or something wrong.
verbal diarrhea – If someone has verbal diarrhoea, they can't stop talking.
wet behind the ears – If someone is wet behind the ears, they don't have
much experience of life.
Your guess is as good as mine. – You can say "your guess is as good as mine"
when you don't know the answer to a question.
You can say that again! – If someone says "You can say that again!", it shows
they strongly agree with what was just said.
a bad hair day – If you're having a bad hair day, everything seems to be going
wrong for you.
bark up the wrong tree – If you're barking up the wrong tree, you're looking
for sth in the wrong place or going about something in the wrong way.
can of worms – If you say a situation or an issue is a can of worms, you think
that getting involved in it could lead to problems.
cut to the chase – If you tell someone to cut to the chase, you want them to
get straight to the main point of what they are saying.
dead to the world – If you're dead to the world, you are sound asleep.

(Souce: https://www.englishclub.com/ref/Idioms/index.htm)

Slangs: often associated with idioms, sometimes it is difficult to distinguish


slangs from idioms. Slangs are usually seen as having a shorter life span within
a language than idioms have and are used only by certain groups of individuals

72 • capítulo 3
or specific communities and restricted to a particular context (Spears, 1982).
Slangs often convey certain attitudes or feelings of the speaker’s that idiomatic
expressions do not. For example, the slang He’s on trip (meaning “He’s taking
drugs”) can suggest that the speaker is aware of certain social norms and
attitudes about drugs and the drug culture. In general, slangs are considered
very informal, and more commonly used in speech than in writing.

•  Offensive slangs – insulting


airhead (Am.): a silly, stupid person
crap: sth worthless (n.) | worthless (adj.)
dork (Am.): a socially awkward person
dweeb (Am.): a studious but socially inept person
geezer: an old person
jerk: a stupid person
nerd: a studious person with few social skills
pissed (1) (Am.): angry, annoyed
pissed (2): drunk
prat (Brit.): a fool
queer: homosexual, gay
redneck (Am.): a lower-class white person from a rural background
pissed off (Brit. and Aust.): angry, annoyed
Piss off! : Go away!
fart: to release gas from the anus (v.) | a release of gas from the anus (n.)
klutz (Am. and Aust.): a clumsy or foolish person
lez | lezzy | lezzo: lesbian, gay woman
pig (1): an unattractive and unpleasant person
pig (2): a police officer
Yankee | Yank: an American, a person from the United States of America
yob | yobbo (Brit.): an aggressive, impolite, crude person
yokel : a simple, poorly-educated person from the countryside
alky | alkie | alchy: an alcoholic
bastard: an unpleasant, despicable person
shit: an exclamation that can express annoyance, unpleasant surprise,
frustration, pain, etc.

capítulo 3 • 73
•  Vulgar slangs – can be shocking
To check on vulgar slangs go to: https://www.englishclub.com/cgi-bin/ref/
search.cgi?SlangRegister=Vulgar&catid=124
•  Taboo slangs – should be avoided because they can cause extreme
resentment and anger. To check on taboo slangs go to: https://www.englishclub.
com/cgi-bin/ref/search.cgi?SlangRegister=Taboo&catid=124

Proverbs: concise saying that express social norms or moral concerns, often
metaphorical or alliterative in form, a proverb is a piece of common-sense
wisdom expressed in practical, homely terms. According to the Concise Oxford
Dictionary of Proverbs, before the 18th century, the term proverb was also used
for metaphorical phrases, similes and was used much more loosely than today.
©© PIXELLIEBE | DREAMSTIME.COM

Nowadays, the term proverb applies to sentences which offers advice and
presents a moral. Proverbs can be divided into three categories:
•  Abstract statements expressing general truths, such as:
Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Out of sight, out of mind.
Actions speak louder than words.

74 • capítulo 3
•  Specific observations from everyday experience to make a point which is
general:
Don’ put all the eggs in one basket.
You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.
Practice makes perfect.

•  Sayings from particular areas of traditional wisdom and folklore:


After dinner rest a while, after supper walk a mile.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

As proverbs refer to experiences and wisdom, sometimes they reflect


contradictory situations, such as:
Too many cooks spoil the broth. / Many hands make light work.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. / You’re never too old to learn.
Haste makes waste. / Time waits for no man.
It’s better to be safe than sorry. / Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

CONNECTION
To know more English Proverbs and their meanings go to:
http://homepage.smc.edu/reading_lab/american_english_proverbs.htm

ACTIVITIES
Literal and Metaphorical Meanings
Some words and phrases can have both literal and metaphorical meanings. For example:
The murderer pulled the trigger of the gun and killed the security guard. (Here, trigger is
used literally: the trigger is the part of the gun that you press with your finger to fire it.)
“I was psychologically scarred watching my best friend get shot in the head as a young
teen. That scene in the movie where they shot the hostages triggered unpleasant memories,
and I felt myself reliving those horrible experiences again.” (Here, trigger is a term used to
describe sensations, images, or experiences that trigger a traumatic memory. Related to post-
traumatic stress disorder.)

capítulo 3 • 75
01. Look at the list of metaphors, and place the expressions into their appropriate categories
in the chart below.

a social epidemic float an idea a ripple effect


viral marketing make a splash Band-Aid solution
be immune to an idea a flood of ideas terrorism wave
contagious idea the tide is turning that idea infected us
swim against the tide a hail of bullets foggy memory

METAPHORS RELATED TO METAPHORS RELATED TO


ILLNESS WATER/ WEATHER

02. Complete the dialogues using the appropriate idioms.

to break up with (broke up with) - double date - blind date - to go dutch

Anna: Hi Meg, how’s it going?


Meg: Pretty good and you?
Anna: Great. So, how’s your love life?
Meg: Not so hot, why?
Anna: Because I know a great guy. He’s Mike’s friend and he just ________________ his
girlfriend. I want to arrange a date for the two of you.
Meg: Do you mean a _________________? I don’t know him.
Anna: Don’t worry. How about we go on a ________________? I’ll invite Mike.
Meg: Sure, that sounds like fun, but please tell him that I want ________________. I’d
rather pay for myself since I don’t even know him.
Anna: Okay, it’s a date.

76 • capítulo 3
03. Fill in the blanks with the correct emotions and feelings.
a) I used to be so ________, but now I worry about everything.
carefree - nervous - sleepy
b) I am so ________ about starting university this year! I can't wait!
depressed – enthusiastic - smart
c) I've been pretty ________ with my job, so I'm looking for a new one.
unhappy - satisfied - happy
d) I was ________ with the architecture in Tokyo. It was amazing.
content - excited - impressed
e) Katie is very ________ for all the help you have given her.
unhappy - great - grateful
f) After we saw that horror movie, I felt ________ all night.
frightened - sympathetic - convinced
g) Hey, stop yelling! Why are you so ________?
convinced - upset - flattered
h) I was so ________ watching that movie that I fell asleep twice.
excited - bored - impressed
i) When John saw his ex-girlfriend talking to another boy, he became very ________.
afraid - exhausted - jealous
j) I got drunk and made a fool of myself at the party. Now I feel ________.
surprised - embarrassed - insulted

REFLECTION
In this unit you learned about the role of the lexicon in the English language and the importance
of vocabulary enhancement to develop fluency in speech as well as your language skills as
a whole. The topics approached were related to the different contexts that are brought into
play in oral interactions, the importance of inference to the accuracy of communication and
all the different aspects underlying word knowledge.

capítulo 3 • 77
EXPANDING YOUR KOWLEDGE
CARTER, R.; McCARTHY, M. Vocabulary and Language Teaching. London: Longman, 1988.
COADY, J.; HUCKIN, T. (eds) Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition: A Rationale for Pedagogy.
Cambridge University Press, 1997.
McCARTHY, M. Vocabulary. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
BROWN, H. D. Teaching by Principles: an interactive approach to language learning. New Jersey:
Prentice Hall Regents, 1994.
CANALE, M.; SWAIN, M. Theoretical Bases of Communicative Approaches to Second Language
Teaching and Testing. Applied Linguistics 1, 1-47, 1980.
NUNAN, D. Second Language Teaching and Learning. Boston: Heinle & Heinle, 1998.
SCARCELLA, R. C.; OXFORD, R. L. The Tapestry of Language Learning: the individual in the
communicative classroom. Boston: Heinle & Heinle, 1992.

78 • capítulo 3
4
Developing
Pronunciation Skills
In this chapter we look at aspects of the phonological system of the English
language. From a language teaching perspective, the phonological system
has tended to be considered somewhat differently from the grammatical
and lexical systems. This is probably due to the fact that the influence of the
first language seems to be more apparent in the case of pronunciation than
for grammar or vocabulary. There is also the fact that learners who begin
studying another language after the critical period will face more difficulties
to achieve high levels of fluency. However, pronunciation learning is crucial
to make students aware of different sounds and sounds features as well as to
improve their speaking skills immeasurably. Let’s give it a try?

OBJECTIVES
•  To learn the English Phonemic Alphabet;
•  To understand the difference between Phonetics and Phonology and their importance to
the development of English speaking skills;
•  To learn and practice the different English vowel and consonant sounds;
•  To learn and practice stress and intonation in English utterances.

80 • capítulo 4
©© IQONCEPT | DREAMSTIME.COM
4.1  Foreign Language Pronunciation Learning

Many learners of foreign languages feel that their most important goal in oral
production should be ‘accent free’ pronunciation, which means a speech that is
undistinguishable from that of a native speaker. Such a goal is not only almost
virtually impossible in the case of an adult learner, but also not necessary in
a multilingual, multicultural world in which accents are quite acceptable. As
English has already been established as an International Language worldwide,
a native accent is extremely difficult to define, and even English native speakers
are often mistakenly identified as “foreigners”. Therefore, students should be
more realistically focused on clear, comprehensible, effective pronunciation.
At the beginning levels, learners must overcome the pronunciation barriers
which prevent them from communicating in the foreign language. At the
advanced levels, pronunciation goals can be focused on elements that enhance
their accuracy and fluency, such as stress, rhythm and intonation features that
go beyond basic patterns, phonetic distinction between registers and other
major oral communication aspects.

capítulo 4 • 81
According to Brown (1994), there are some factors that affect learners’
pronunciation:

Learners have to be aware that their native language is


NATIVE the most influential factor in EFL pronunciation effects so
LANGUAGE: that they will be better able to focus their effort to deal with
their difficulties.

Children under the “critical age” (puberty) are more likely to


reach a native-like accent than adults if they are exposed
AGE: continually to authentic contexts and materials. Adults, on
the other hand, will almost surely have a foreign accent.

Research shows that the quality and intensity of exposure


to the foreign language is more effective than the mere
EXPOSURE: length of time. If learners focus their attention and interest
on pronunciation demands, they have high chances of
reaching their goals.

Some learners have a better ‘ear’ for language and show


a phonetic coding ability than others. Foreign language
exposure during childhood whether dormant or not,
INNATE PHONETIC remains present somewhere in memory. The good news
ABILITY: is that “if pronunciation seems to be naturally difficult for
some students, they should not despair; with some effort
and concentration, they can improve their competence”
(Brown, 1994, p. 261).

Whenever learning another language, learners’ attitude


toward the speakers and culture of that language is
IDENTITY AND crucial to develop positive feelings and attitudes toward
LANGUAGE EGO: the second identity that will probably emerge within them
as a consequence of the EFL learning process.

82 • capítulo 4
This is probably the most important factor from this list.
MOTIVATION Some learners have such strong intrinsic motivation that
AND CONCERN they will make all the necessary effort to reach their goals.
FOR GOOD However, learners must be aware that clarity of speech
PRONUNCIATION: and good sound articulation is essential to shaping their
self-image and developing comprehensible pronunciation.

Current approaches to pronunciation put all aspects of English


pronunciation into the perspective of a communicative, interactive, whole-
language view of human speech. Rather than trying to build only the learner’s
articulatory competence, the most relevant features of pronunciation – stress,
rhythm and intonation – are given high priority.

4.2  Perfection versus Intelligibility


How good should EFL learners’ pronunciation be? Should they sound like
native speakers that just by listening to them we would assume that they
were American or British or Canadian or Australian? Or perhaps should it be
considered satisfactory if they could at least make themselves understood and
able to communicate in the foreign language?
The degree to which students acquire ‘perfect’ pronunciation seems to
depend very much on their attitude to how they speak and how well they
hear. According to Brown (1994), in the case of attitude there are a number of
psychological issues which may well affect how ‘foreign’ a person sounds when
they speak. For example, many students do not especially mind sounding like
native speakers. Frequently foreign language speakers want to keep their own
accent when they speak the foreign language because it is part of their identity.
Taking it into consideration, intelligibility must be considered the
main pronunciation goal, which means that learners should be able to use
pronunciation which is good enough for them to be understood and get their
message across. If their pronunciation is not up to this standard, then there is
a serious danger that they will fail to communicate effectively. If intelligibility
is the goal, then we take for granted that some pronunciation features are more
important than others. Some sounds, for example, have to be well pronounced:

capítulo 4 • 83
/ n / as in /sɪnɪŋ/ versus / ŋ / as in /sɪŋɪŋ/; whereas others, such as /ɵ// and /ð/,
may not cause a lack of intelligibility if they are confused. Stressing words and
phrases correctly is crucial if emphasis is to be given to the important parts
of messages and if words are to be understood correctly. Intonation, which is
the ability to vary the pitch and tune of speech, is also extremely important to
convey meaning.
Two particular problems may occur in pronunciation practice.
(1) Some students have great difficulty distinguishing different sounds or
sound features (and what they mean). If learners cannot distinguish them,
they will find it almost impossible to produce these sounds. Another common
pronunciation problem derives from the fact that a particular sound may not
exist in the learners’ native language, so that they are not used to forming it
and therefore tends to substitute the nearest equivalent sound they are familiar
with. To solve this problem, students should be taught how sounds are made
through demonstration, diagrams, and explanation. According to Ur (1996),
“For sound formation it may help actually to use a sketch of the mouth, and
to describe the pronunciation of the sound in terms of lips, tongue, teeth,
etc.” The following diagram of the mouth should help students see where the
sounds are made. According to Harmer (2001), this kind of exercise can be done
whether or not the students work with phonemic symbols.
Place Adjective
Lips Labial
Teeth Dental
Alveolar
Ridge Alveolar
Palate Palatal
Velum Velar
Uvula Uvular
Larynx Laryngeal
Glotis Glottal

Nasal cavity

Palate
Alveolar ridge Velum
Teeth
Uvula
Tongue
(raised)

Epiglottis
Lip Larynx

Tongue Glotis
tip (space between
Tongue
Trachea vocal folds)
(rest position)

84 • capítulo 4
(2) For some students the most difficult feature of pronunciation is intonation.
Some learners find it extremely difficult to hear ‘tunes’ or to identify the different
patterns of rising and falling tones. However, most of them can recognize when
someone is enthusiastic or bored, or even surprised, or when someone is really
asking a question rather than just checking something they already know. Teachers
then should give students the opportunity to identify such moods and intentions
and get students to imitate the ways these moods are articulated and, if possible, let
them record their voices to compare their oral production to the model they heard.
At the beginning levels, during the pre-production stage, the key to
successful pronunciation skill development, however, is not so much getting
learners to produce correct sound features or intonation tunes, but rather to
have them listen and notice how English is spoken. The more aware they are,
the greater the chance that their own intelligibility skills will improve. Later on
during the early production stage, when they try to speak some words and are
able to use short language chunks that have been memorized (in their receptive
vocabulary), it may be helpful to provide learners with some instruction and
practice on identifying sounds differences and words that differ only in a single
contrasting sound, known as minimal pairs. Learners should be aware from
the beginning levels the main differences in sound articulation and production
between their native language and the foreign language they are learning.

4.3  The Phonemic Alphabet


It is well known that the English language is harassed by problems of sound and
spelling correspondence: the very same sound can be represented by different
combinations of letters or even the same combination of letters can be spelt
differently. According to the British linguist David Crystal, the underlined letters
of the following words have the same pronunciation: see, be, sheaf, seize, brief,
kiwi, people, phoenix. He encloses the pronunciation in brackets to show they
are written in a special alphabet [see, bee, sheef, seez, breef, keewee, peepl,
feeniks]. It shows that concerning the English language, one can never tell the
pronunciation of an unknown word for sure before looking it up in the dictionary.
Consequently, if learners are taught the different phonemic symbols, they will be
able to read the phonetic transcriptions of words in dictionaries and be able to
know its correct pronunciation even without having to hear it.

capítulo 4 • 85
On the other hand, some teachers argue that learning the phonetic alphabet
places an unnecessary burden on students. However, in our specific case, as
this material is designed for English teachers and prospective English teachers
and professors, the strain is worth it. Therefore, we assume that the knowledge
of Phonetic Transcription, Phonetics, Phonology and Phonemes is of benefit to
EFL students.

4.3.1  Sounds and Letters

As we have learned, there are 26 letters in the English alphabet but there are
many more sounds in the English language. It means that the number of
sounds in a word is not always the same as the number of letters. For example,
the word ‘cat’ has three letters and three sounds, but the word ‘catch’ has five
letters but still only three sounds:
CAT - /kæ t/
CATCH - /k æ tʃ/
The sounds of English are organized into the following different groups:
International Phonetic Association and Alphabet

Short vowels

Long vowels

Diphthongs (double vowel sounds)

Voiceless consonants

Voiced consonants

Other consonants

86 • capítulo 4
The International Phonetic Association was established in 1886 as a forum
for teachers who were inspired by the idea of using phonetics to improve
the teaching of the spoken language to foreign learners. As well as laying
the foundations for the modern science of phonetics, the Association had
a revolutionary impact on the language classroom in the early decades of its
existence, where previously the concentration had been on proficiency in the
written form of the language being learned.
Since its beginning, the Association has taken the responsibility for
maintaining a standard set of phonetic symbols for use in practical phonetics,
presented in the form of a chart (the chart of English Phonetics and Phonology).
The set of symbols is usually known as the International Phonetic Alphabet
(IPA). The alphabet is revised from time to time to take account of new
discoveries and changes in phonetic theory.
As we have been talking about phonetic symbols, let’s understand the
difference between Phonetics and Phonology, two branches of Linguistics,
which can lend us a big hand in the pursuit of improving learner’s pronunciation
skills.

4.4  Phonetics and Phonology


Phonetics is the scientific study of speech. It has a long history, going back
certainly to well over two thousand years ago. The central concerns in phonetics
are the discovery of how speech sounds are produced, how they are used in
spoken language, how we can record speech sounds with written symbols and
how we hear and recognize different sounds. In the first of these areas, when
we study the production of speech sounds we can observe what speakers do
(articulatory observation) and we can try to feel what is going on inside our vocal
tract (kinesthetic observation). The second area is where phonetics overlaps with
phonology: usually in phonetics we are only interested in sounds that are used
in meaningful speech, and phoneticians are interested in discovering the range
and variety of sounds used in this way in all the known languages of the world.
This is sometimes known as linguistic phonetics. Thirdly, there has always
been a need for agreed conventions for using phonetic symbols that represent
speech sounds; the International Phonetic Association has played a very
important role in this. Finally, the auditory aspect of speech is very important:

capítulo 4 • 87
the ear is capable of making fine discrimination between different sounds,
and sometimes it is not possible to define in articulatory terms precisely what
the difference is. A good example of this is in vowel classification: while it is
important to know the position and shape of the tongue and lips, it is often very
important to have been trained in an agreed set of standard auditory qualities
that vowels can be reliably related to.
Phonology - The most basic activity in phonology is phonemic analysis,
in which the objective is to establish what the phonemes are and arrive at the
phonemic inventory of the language. Very few phonologists have ever believed
that this would be an adequate analysis of the sound system of a language: it
is necessary to go beyond this. One can look at suprasegmental phonology –
the study of stress, rhythm and intonation, which has led in recent years to
new approaches to phonology such as metrical and autosegmental theory; one
can go beyond the phoneme and look into the detailed characteristics of each
unit in terms of distinctive features; the way in which sounds can combine in
a language is studied in phonotactics and in the analysis of syllable structure.
For some phonologists the most important area is the relationships between
the different phonemes – how they form groups, the nature of the oppositions
between them and how those oppositions may be neutralized.

4.5  English Phonemes


Phoneme - this is the fundamental unit of phonology, which has been defined
and used in many different ways. Virtually all theories of phonology hold that
spoken language can be broken down into a string of sound units (phonemes),
and that each language has a small, relatively fixed set of these phonemes. Most
phonemes can be put into groups; for example, in English we can identify a
group of plosive phonemes p, t, k, b, d, g, a group of voiceless fricatives f, θ, s,
ʃ, h, and so on. An important question in phoneme theory is how the analyst
can establish what the phonemes of a language are. The most widely accepted
view is that phonemes are contrastive and one must find cases where the
difference between two words is dependent on the difference between two
phonemes: for example, we can prove that the difference between ‘pin’ and
‘pan’ depends on the vowel, and that ɪ and ᴂ are different phonemes. Pairs
of words that differ in just one phoneme are known as minimal pairs. We can

88 • capítulo 4
establish the same fact about p and b by citing ‘pin’ and ‘bin’. Of course, you can
only start doing commutation tests like this when you have a provisional list of
possible phonemes to test, so some basic phonetic analysis must precede this
stage. Other fundamental concepts used in phonemic analysis of this sort are
complementary distribution, free variation, distinctive feature and allophone.
Different analyses of a language are possible: in the case of English some
phonologists claim that there are only six vowel phonemes, others that there
are twenty or more (it depends on whether you count diphthongs and long
vowels as single phonemes or as combinations of two phonemes).
There are 44 phonemes in the English language: 20 vowel sounds divided
into 12 monophthongs (3 long and 7 short) and 8 diphthongs plus 24 consonant
sounds.
Learners can get started working on all the individual phonemes of the language
separately. This allows students to learn how each sound is produced and how it can be

see his put too ear say

ten ago her saw pure boy so

hat but car hot air buy now

pen book tea hay chair jam key go

four very thin that sun zoo she vision

man no sing hat look red want yes

Vowels Long sounds Short sounds Dipthongs


Consonants Voiced consonants Unvoiced consonants

capítulo 4 • 89
spelt – a major concern with English since there is far less one-to-one correspondence
between sound and spelling than there is in our native language, Portuguese, and
all the Romance languages. After working on the individual phonemes, learners can
focus on contrasting phoneme pairs, and can be introduced to the minimal pairs.

4.5.1  Minimal Pairs

Minimal Pairs - "A minimal pair is a pair of words that differ in a single phoneme.
Minimal pairs are often used to show that two sounds contrast in a language.”
Let’s come back to the concept of phoneme. Since the substitution of /h/
for /ʃ/ changes ‘she’ into ‘he’, /h/ and /ʃ/ belong necessarily to two different
phonemes. Whereas /: / and / r / as in /h ɔ: s/ and /h ɔ r s/ (different pronunciations
of ‘horse’), which under no circumstances change the information given, are
said to belong to the same phoneme /r/. In the discussion of phonological
versus phonetic differences, what matters is whether the substitution of one
sound for another brings about a change in meaning or not; the description of
this change does not enter the field of phonology.
Generally, when we wish to decide whether two segments belong to the same
phoneme or, on the contrary, are realizations of two different phonemes, we put
them in an identical context, that is, the same string of sounds. When there is a
difference between two otherwise identical strings of sound and this difference
results in a change of meaning, these two strings are said to constitute a minimal
pair. If we substitute one segment for another and this results in a change in
meaning the two segments belong to two different phonemes. Thus, [t] and [p] are
realizations of two different phonemes /t/ and /p / because substituting one for the
other as the last element of the string [kæ-] gives two different words: /kæt/ (cap)
and /kæp/ (cat).
Minimal pairs are a great way to help EFL and ESL students become aware of
their problems with pronunciation. For example, Brazilian students often struggle
with the pronunciation of English vowels (listed below), such as the pairs ‘sheep’ and
‘ship’, or ‘man’ and ‘men’. There are sounds in English that do not exist in Portuguese
and the tendency is to produce the closest sound we have in our language, as in the
case of ‘those’ and ‘thin’. So, the sounds that Brazilian students should be trained to
recognize and produce in the first stages of their English learning process are:

90 • capítulo 4
3: ɔ: æ eI a: ɔ:
Work Walk Hat Hate Far Four
Bird Bored Mad Made Tart Taught
Fur For Lack Lake Part Port
Shirt Short Back Bake Farm Form
Sir Saw Cap Cape Barm Bom

ʃ s s θ ʃ tʃ
Ship Sip Sin Thin Shoes Choope
She Sea Sun Thamb Sheep Cheap
Sure Sore Sank Thank Wash Watch
Shoot Suit Sink Think Mash Match
Shy Sigh Saw Taw Cast Catch

T θ s z d ð
Tin Thin Sip Zip Doze Those
ThereTrue Through Sue Zoo Day They
Tree Three Place Plays Dare There
TTaught Thought Rice Rice Den Then
Boat Both Ice Eyes Dough Tought

Ŋk Ŋ
Think Thing
Sank Sang
Bank Bang
Rink Ring
Sunk Sung

Available at:< http://www.tinyteflteacher.co.uk/teacher/pronunciation/


minimal-pairs-list.html>

4.6  Segmental and Suprasegmental Phonology


Books on phonetics and phonology typically distinguish between segmental
and suprasegmental features of language. Segmental phonology is related to the
isolated, individual sounds of the language. Tasks at this level are designed to help
learners discriminate and produce words which contain different phonemes of the
language as well as minimal pairs which differ only in a single contrasting sound.
The purpose of these tasks is to make learners aware of the relationship between
phonemes and phonemic distinction, and how these signal semantic differences.

capítulo 4 • 91
Suprasegmental phonology, on the other hand, is related to stress, rhythm and
intonation patterns of the language. Tasks at the suprasegmental level are designed to
teach differences in meaning based on the ways in which stress, rhythm and intonation
signal aspects of meaning, such as the speaker’s attitude, mood and information focus
within the text. In spoken language, these features are particularly important because
they help learners identify aspects of language that often go unnoticed.
Rhythm and Stress: English speech rhythm is characterized by tone-units,
that is, a group of words which carries one central stressed syllable (if there
are other syllables, they are lightened. The sentence Jack and Jill, come here,
please!, for example, would be divided into two tone-units: Jack and Jill and
come here, please!, with the two main stresses on the first syllable of Jack, and
the word here. Stress can also be indicated in writing using capital letters to
indicate the stressed syllables: JAck and jill, come HERE, please!
Intonation: refers to the rising and falling in the voice tone that make the
‘tune’ of an utterance. It is an important aspect of English pronunciation, often
making a difference to meaning or implication. Stress, for example, is most
commonly indicated not by increased volume but a slight rise in intonation.
When it comes to utterances, English has some specific types of intonation
used with the pronunciation of questions and sentences:
•  SENTENCES: the voice usually falls at the end of sentences. If the statement is
short, the intonation can rise or fall depending on the speaker’s mood or attitude.
Examples:
The cake is delicious!
That’s great!
The cake fell on the floor!
That’s great….

•  QUESTIONS: there are two intonation patterns for questions: (1) if it


is a yes/ no question, the voice rises at the end of the question; (2) if it is an
information question, that is, if you are asking a question with who, what,
where, when, why, how, etc, the voice falls at the end of the question:
Examples:
Who has just called you at the office?
Did John call you at the office this morning?
How are you feeling today?
Are you feeling better today?

92 • capítulo 4
While it is important for learners to master both segmental and
suprasegmental features of the language, suprasegmental features are
inherently more interesting because they focus on aspects of language, such as
speakers attitude, mood, emphasis or particular meanings, which learners can
grasp communicatively.

ACTIVITIES
01. Let’s practice the English vowels? The sounds are separated into minimal pairs. Copy and
passtthe link, then listen and repeat. You can do the exercises as many times as you feel necessary.

•  Minimal Pairs /ɪ/ and /i:/ - http://quizlet.com/17817433/flashcards


ship x sheep / sit x seat / bit x beat / chip x cheap / filled x field / fit x feet / hill x heel
/ ill x eel / is x ease / itch x each / knit x neat / list x least / rich x reach / risen x reason /
six x seeks.

•  Minimal Pairs /e/ and /ɪ/ - http://quizlet.com/29840167/flashcards


dead x did / desk x disk / belt x built / fell x fill / head x hid / left x lift / mess x miss /
bed x bid / beg x big / bell x bill / bet x bit / check x chick / gem x gym / hell x hill / let x
lit / pet x pit

•  Minimal Pairs /e/ and /eɪ/ - http://quizlet.com/29840796/flashcards


bed x bade / bread x braid / get x gate / kecks x cakes / L x ale / M x aim / pet x pate
/ tech x take / well x whale / wet x wait / when x wane

•  Minimal Pairs /æ/ and /e/ - http://quizlet.com/33305758/flashcards


bad x bed / bag x beg/ can x ken / man x men / and x end / had x head/ sad x said/
dad x dead / land x lend/ shall x shell

•  Minimal Pairs /æ/ and /ʌ/ - http://quizlet.com/29842129/flashcards


bat x but / cap x cup/ cat x cut / match x much / bad x bud/ began x begun/ drank x
drunk/ fan x fun/ hat x hut/ ran x run/ sang x sung/ swam x swum/ ankle x uncle/ hang x
hung / mad x mud / rang x rung / track x truck

•  Minimal Pairs /ɑ:/ and /ɜ:/ - http://quizlet.com/29916483/flashcards


fast x first / hard x heard / hard x herd / heart x hurt/ bath x birth / far x fur/ farm x firm

capítulo 4 • 93
•  Minimal Pairs /ɒ/ and /əʊ/ - http://quizlet.com/29844572/flashcards
not x note / want x won't / got x goat / hop x hope/ on x own / cost x coast / non x
known / odd x owed/ rod x road/ rot x wrote/

•  Minimal Pairs /əʊ/ and /ɔ:/ - http://quizlet.com/29843703/flashcards


bowl x ball / for x four / know x no / mow x more / O x or / so x saw/ boat x bought /
bone x born / close x claws / doze x doors / flow x floor/ folk x fork / note x nought / so x
saw / show x sure / snow x snore /

02. Read the sentences below and choose the correct answer. Then, write the phonetic
transcription of the words in parenthesis .
Example: Please try not to (waste, waist) paper. /weɪst/
1. Can I go to the party (to, too, two)?
2. This is my favorite (pare, pair, pear) of jeans.
3. I (sent, scent, cent) a letter to my aunt in Vietnam.
4. The children got (bored, board) during the lecture.
5. Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez like to work in (there, they’re, their) garden.
6. Alec is going to (wear, ware) his work boots today.
7. Do you think it is going to (rein, rain, reign) this afternoon?
8. I saw a restaurant just off the (rode, road) about a mile back.
9. David’s brother is in a (band, banned) which plays Russian music.
10. Juana wants her socks because her (tows, toes) are cold.
11. The teacher walked down the (aisle, isle) between the rows of desks.
12. Hanna has a (pane, pain) in her shoulder.
13. The school (principal, principle) spoke to a group of parents.
14. The clerk wants to (sell, cell) as many TVs as possible.
15. I don’t want to talk about the (passed, past) anymore.
16. Nobody (knows, nose) what you are thinking.
17. I have (for, four, fore) dollars in my pocket.
18. I need to take a (break, brake) from this exercise!
19. Humans have hands. Dogs have (paws, pause).
20. (He’ll, Heel, Heal) be here in a few minutes.

Available at: http://englishforeveryone.org/PDFs/Homonyms,%20


Homographs,%20Homophones.pdf

94 • capítulo 4
03. Read the utterances below and check the correct intonation to differentiate between
questions and statements.
1. How are you doing today?

a. rising b. falling

2. Where’s the post office?


a. rising b. falling

3. Is there an ATM near here?


a. rising b. falling

4. How long does it take from here to the airport?


a. rising b. falling

5. Are you coming with us?


a. rising b. falling

6. I don’t like this very much.


a. rising b. falling

7. My niece has seen the Titanic a thousand times!


a. rising b. falling

8. That’ terrific!
a. rising b. falling

9. The film was terrible!


a. rising b. falling

10. That’s too bad…


a. rising b. falling

capítulo 4 • 95
04. Listening for pitch changing: mark the words for either a rise or fall in pitch. Then try to
pronounce each word and understand the conversations formed by only single words. Do
they make sense to you? What are the speakers talking about?
Conversation A
A: Ready?
B: No.
A: Problems?
B: yes…
A: Babysitter?
B: no.

Conversation B
A: Single?
B: Double
A: Double?
B: Yes.
A: Cone?
B: Cup.

Conversation C
A: Coffee?
B: Pardon?
A: Cup of coffee?
B: Sure.
A: Milk?
B: No. Black, please.

CONNECTION
For extra practice on pronunciation:
1. BBC Learning English. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/
learningenglish/grammar/pron/
2. English Club. Available at: http://www.englishclub.com/pronunciation/minimal-pairs.htm
3. Quizlet (minimal pairs). Available at: http://quizlet.com/subject/minimal-pairs/
4. VIDEO: Advanced English Phrases 1 - Pronunciation - English Fluency Bits - Master
Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4n_mcqz9XY

96 • capítulo 4
5. VIDEO: How to improve your English speaking skills
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sc4gh5gP1AE

REFLECTION
In this unit you learned that the spelling of a word is not always an accurate guide to how it
is pronounced. Similarly the pronunciation of a word is not always helpful when working out
how that word should be spelt. As regarding pronunciation, native speakers have different
accents depending on the region where they were born and live. So why should non-native
speakers of an international language not be allowed to do the same? What matters in terms
of pronunciation is to learn the sounds and features of British/American English sounds that
are essential for intelligible pronunciation in order to keep a clear communication. And in this
sense, Phonetics and Phonology, two branches of Linguistics, can be of great help for us.

EXPANDING YOUR KOWLEDGE


CRYSTAL, David. English as a Global Language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997
CRYSTAL, David. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. Cambridge, UK:
Cambridge University Press, 1999
GILBERT, J. B. Clear Speech from the Start. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
GRADDOLL, David. English Next. Access on: < http://www.britishcouncil.org/br/brasil-education-elt-
english-next.htm>
GRADDOLL, David . The future of English. Access on: <http://www.britishcouncil.org/learning-elt-
future.pdf>

BIBLIOGRAPHY
BROWN, H. D. Teaching by Principles: an interactive approach to language learning. New Jersey:
Prentice Hall Regents, 1994.
NUNAN, D. Second Language Teaching and Learning. Boston: Heinle & Heinle, 1998.
UR, P. A Course in Language Teaching: Practice and Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1996.

capítulo 4 • 97
98 • capítulo 4
5
Improving
Communication
Skills
In this chapter we are going to look at ways of encouraging, motivating and
helping EFL learners who feel reluctant and insecure to start a conversation
in English and keep it going. To do so, first, we are going to talk about the
importance of investing a good amount of time and effort into the English
learning process and the role of linguistic and paralinguistic information in
conversations. Then, we provide some sample everyday conversation topics
so that you learn the chunks of language typically used by native speakers in
each of these daily situations and some formulaic expressions employed to
give and ask for opinions by heart to feel more comfortable and self-confident
to take part in interactions using the English language.

OBJECTIVES
•  To understand the definition and importance of learner’s strategic investment
•  To be aware of some hints based on research on what to do to be a successful language
learner
•  To learn some chunks of language related to daily conversation topics
•  To learn how to ask for and give opinions

100 • capítulo 5
5.1  Learner’s Strategic Investment
The learning of any skill be it listening, speaking, reading or writing, demands
a certain degree of dedication from the learner. That is what Brown (1994) calls
“strategic investment”, which means that the person who is really willing to
succeed, must invest a good amount of time and effort into the learning process.
Every complex set of skills, such as learning how to play a musical instrument or
even a sport, is conquered through an investment of considerable observation,
focus, practice, monitoring, correction and redirection. In doing so, the learner
develops strategies for perceiving other people and for choosing or even
distinguishing relevant elements for reaching the maximum level of expertise.
A language is probably the most complex set of skills a person could ever try
to acquire or learn; therefore, a reasonable investment is necessary to develop
multiple layers of strategies for grasping that language and getting it into the
brain.
Research in foreign and second language learning shows that successful
learners (BROWN, 1994):

(1) find their own way, taking charge of their learning


(2) organize information about language
(3) are creative and develop a “feeling” for the language by experimenting
with its grammar and vocabulary
(4) make their own opportunities for practice in using the language
(5) learn to live with uncertainty and not necessarily have to understand
every word
(6) make errors work for them and not against them
(7) use linguistic knowledge, including their first language knowledge to
learn the foreign language
(8) use contextual clues to help them in comprehension
(9) learn to make intelligent guesses
(10) learn chunks of language to help them perform “beyond their
competence”
(11) learn certain tricks that help to keep the conversation going
(12) learn different styles of speech and writing and learn to adapt their
language according to the formality of the situation.

capítulo 5 • 101
As a conclusion, effective learners are aware of the process underlying
their own learning and seek to use appropriate learning strategies to control,
through reflection and articulation, their own learning process. In addition,
more effective learners use strategies more frequently and use a greater variety
of strategies. Learning strategies are the mental and communicative procedure
learners use in order to learn and use language. Thus, if you are really willing
to improve your English speaking abilities, you must take your share of the
responsibility for the learning process and do your best to reach your goals.

5.2  Linguistic and Paralinguistic Information


Conversation is a truly communicative event; it is “a dynamic exchange in which
linguistic competence must adapt itself to the total information input, both
linguistic and paralinguistic” (Savingnon, 1971, apud Tsang & Wong, 2002).
According to the Merriam- Webster Online Dictionary, the definition of
conversation is:

con•ver•sa•tion \,kän-vər-'sā-shən\
1 obsolete : conduct, behavior
2 a (1) : oral exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions, or ideas (2) : an instance
of such exchange : talk <a quietconversation > b : an informal discussion of an issue
by representatives of governments, institutions, or groups c : an exchange similar to
conversation
— con•ver•sa•tion•al adjective
— con•ver•sa•tion•al•ly adverb
Origin of CONVERSATION
Middle English conversacioun, from Anglo-French conversacion, from Latin conversation-,
conversatio, from conversari to associate with, frequentative of convertere to turn around
First Known Use: 14th century

Source: <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conversation>

102 • capítulo 5
It is only through language that we can communicate with each other, share
our ideas, tell people what we have experienced, express our wishes and desires,
solve complex problems by drawing on information we read or hear, and, above all,
communicate in the workplace and across cultures with people from other countries.
To achieve these objectives, however, we need to learn language as communication,
not just as a list of facts to be memorized or a set of symbols to be manipulated. In
order to carry on a conversation we need not only knowledge of words and knowledge
of the grammar of the target language but also conversation strategies so that we are
able to engage in conversation, which means to be able to negotiate meaning and
exchange and share thoughts, feelings, information and so on.
Communication is used for many different purposes, and each purpose
involves different skills. When we use casual conversation or small talk, for
example, our purposes may be to make social contact with people, to establish
rapport, or to engage in the harmless chats that take place when we meet friends.
When we engage in a discussion, on the other hand, the purpose may be to seek or
express opinions, to persuade someone about something, or to clarify information.
We may use conversations to describe things, to complain about people’s behavior,
to get things done, to make polite requests or to even entertain people with jokes
and anecdotes. Each of these different purposes implies knowledge of the rules
that account for how spoken language reflects the context or situation in which
the conversation occurs, the participants involved and their specific roles and
relationships, and the kind of activity the speakers are involved in.
Discourse analysis allows us to make statements about typical everyday
conversation structures. But we can go even further than this, and due to corpora
analysis, it is possible to identify typical patterns of language, that is; stretches of
typical discourse which almost always behave in the same way. Thus, learners can
be shown how typical exchanges take place at post office counters, supermarkets,
doctor’s appointments as well as on phone conversations or even be provided
with social introductions and polite closings. Learners who have been helped to
perceive these patterns will be in a much better position not only to understand
what they hear, but also to produce their own spoken language.
Interactional conversations are to some extent a matter of learning
conversational formulae of courtesy: how to greet people in different contexts
and situations, take leave, begin and end conversations, apologize, thank, give
opinions, agree and disagree politely, and so on. But even more than this it is
culture-linked: how the interactional function of speech is realized in different

capítulo 5 • 103
languages depends as much on cultural convention as on knowledge of the
words and grammar of the language.
Even though the content is not previously specified, knowing some chunks of
the language associated with particular communicative contexts by heart provides
learners with a rich and reliable vocabulary or ready-made expressions which
contribute significantly to their overall mastery of the language (Widdowson, 1989).
If we analyze many different conversation transcripts of informal
interactions, we will easily notice interruptions, fillers, pauses, repetitions. The
grammar of oral interactions has its own constructional principles (Biber et al,
1999); it is organized differently from writing and all the rules we have learned
about standard language use. Some examples of the discourse markers used in
spoken English are (Harmer, 2001):

•  Frequent non-clausal units (Mmm, Uh Huh, Yeah)


•  Interjections (ah, oh, wow, cor (BrE))
•  Hesitations (er, umm, erm)
•  Condensed questions (More milk? Any luck?)
•  Echo questions (Oh, did you say Boston? White chocolate hot cocoa?)
•  Direct response forms (yeah or sure; nope)
•  Fixed polite speech formulae (Congrats! Have a safe trip! Good luck!)
•  Reduced forms of words and phrases (wanna, gonna)

Authentic conversations differ in certain ways to authentic texts. Spoken


English usually contains linguistic features and strategic devices such as pauses,
fillers, hesitations, false starts, self-correction, backtracking to enhance the
clarity of the message and guide the other conversation participant(s) to follow
the speaker’s flow of ideas and thoughts.
As far as paralinguistic features are concerned, Crystal (1995) gives five examples
of ‘tones of voice’ which, while perhaps not central to meaning as the sound features
presented in chapter 4, may nevertheless convey attitude or intention in some way:

•  whispering, which indicates secrecy


•  breathness, which indicates deep emotion, anxiety or sexual desire
•  huskiness, which indicates unimportance or disparagement
•  nasality, which indicates anxiety
•  extra lip rounding, which expresses greater intimacy (with babies, for example)

104 • capítulo 5
©© LEREMY | DREAMSTIME.COM
In addition, we can convey a
number of different messages
and meanings through the way in
which we use our bodies. Our facial
expression, our gestures, and even
proximity or the way we sit may send
powerful messages about how we
feel, who we are or what we mean.

Body Language Conventions:

SMILING: It helps establish a positive climate.

OPEN It communicates interest.


POSTURE:

SHAKING It establishes physical contact, facilitating involvement.


HANDS:

It can communicate many things, including interest, affection,


EYE attention or even hostility. It is also important to keep the flow of
CONTACT: conversation and to measure the other person’s response.

The distance you keep from the person you are talking to is also
a matter of culture. Brazilians tend to stand too close and even to
DISTANCE: touch the person they are talking to. Depending on the culture,
closeness is related to intimacy and even invasion of space.

It conveys attention and signals understanding on what the


NODDING: other person is saying.

capítulo 5 • 105
Paralinguistic features such as tone of voice, gesture, posture and facial
expressions are all part of the way we communicate with each other in face-to-face
conversations. Non-verbal communication, that is, body language, is a powerful
tool that can assist speakers connect with the other speakers, express what they
actually mean and build better relationships.

5.3  How to Start a Conversation and Keep it


Going

It can be quite difficult for people learning a foreign language to find a way to start a
conversation with a complete stranger. Even when traveling to an English speaking
country, such as the US, Canada, England or Australia, many travelers feel insecure
to start a conversation with a native speaker. Why? The answers include: they don’t
know how to start a conversation; they are shy or nervous about their English; they are
afraid of making mistakes and more. However, talking to new people is important
- not only is it the best way to make new friends, but also a great way to learn and
practice your English! One of the hardest steps in learning a foreign language is
finding enough confidence to start a conversation. This is especially difficult when
the other person is a native speaker. Here are some tips to help you break the ice.

Opening lines
The first step is to break the ice (start the conversation). You can introduce yourself
with: "Hello, my name is..." or try a more relaxed approach like "Hi, I'm..." You can
follow up your greeting with a simple question like “Where do you come from?” or
a comment on the weather, e.g. “It's really stuffy in here, isn't it?”. It's a good idea to
start with something simple, easy and impersonal to help you build your confidence.
The subject of weather, the place (city or hotel you are staying) or even the event (party,
conference, wedding) is an easy one that everyone in the world is able to talk about!

Keep the Conversation Going


A good way to keep a conversation going is to talk about something you have
got in common. For example if you meet someone at a party, you could ask them
how they know the host. Or if you are standing in line for the bus, you could sigh
and say "Don't you just hate waiting in line!"

106 • capítulo 5
After that, the best thing to do is to ask your new friend about him or herself:
"Where do you work?" or "What do you like to do in your leisure time?" are
good questions when getting to know someone. Keep in mind that people just
love to talk about themselves and their likes and dislikes!

Appropriate Responses
To keep a conversation going it is important to respond to what people say,
for instance “That sounds great!” or “Really? I've never tried that.” Another
possibility is paraphrasing, that is, repeating what the person has said and
asking a follow-up question, “You worked for Microsoft? For how long?”,for
example. Take a look at the following conversation.

5.3.1  Making Small Talk


©© WAVEBREAKMEDIA LTD | DREAMSTIME.COM

Two people, Hanna and Davi, meet at a bar and start talking. Read their
conversation and pay attention on the chunks of language they use to start the
conversation and keep it going.

Hanna: This place is really crowded!


Davi: Definitely! And it’s also very stuffy in here, isn’t it?
Hanna: I couldn’t agree with you more! Are you here by yourself?
Davi: Actually, I’m with some friends, but we split up…
Hanna: Interesting! By the way, I’m Hanna.
Davi: Hi, Hanna, I’m Davi.

capítulo 5 • 107
Hanna: By your accent, you’re not from here. How did you like San Francisco
so far, Davi?
Davi: It’s really interesting. Frisco is such a great city. There are some
beautiful buildings, and the people are so friendly!
Hanna: Definitely! When did you get here?
Davi: Two days ago. I took a flight from LA.
Hanna: And, where are you staying?
Davi: At a friend’s house. I’m sharing a room with a Canadian guy, but that’s ok.
Hanna: I see. By the way, where are you from?
Davi: Brazil. I was born in São Paulo, but I live in a suburb of Rio de Janeiro.
It’s a beautiful place, and it’s not far from the sea.
Hanna: Really? It sounds pretty. Your English is very good! Where did you
learn it?
Davi: That’s very kind of you, but I know I make a lot of mistakes. I studied
English for years, and I’ve been to the US many times.
Hanna: Oh, have you? How interesting! And what are you doing here in Frisco, Davi?
Davi: I’m attending a conference. I’m here for six days. I’m going home on the
17th.
Hanna: Oh, so soon! And have you managed to get around our city yet?
Davi: I haven’t seen very much. I’ve been to the Golden Gate Bridge and have
taken a walk at the Fisherman Wharf, but I haven’t been to Lombard Street yet.
Hanna: Well, I hope you enjoy it. Don’t work too hard.
Davi: I’ll try to enjoy myself! Bye. It was nice to talk to you!

There is a difference between the questions:


How long are you here for?
Just a week. I arrived last Monday and I leave tomorrow (Sunday).
This question refers to a period around now (past and future ).
How long have you been here?
I’ve been here for a week already. I arrived last Saturday.
This question refers to past up to the present.(Present Perfect)
When did you get here?
Two days ago.
This question refers to an action that started and finished in the past: I got here two
days ago. (Simple Past)

108 • capítulo 5
5.4  Daily Conversation Topics
Native language is the one you use to fight, pray and recite the multiplication
tables. On the other hand, everyday life, according to Bargh (1996), “is what a
person does, feels, and thinks every day. Much of everyday life is automatic in
that it is driven by current features of the environment as mediated by automatic
cognitive processing of those features, without any mediation by conscious
choice”

3. HOW DO YOU GET TO SCHOOL/ WORK?


A: Hi Susan! How are you doing today?
B: Hey, Niko. Not bad. What’s up?
A: How do you usually get to school?
B: By bus or by car. (not “I GO either by bus or by car.”)
A: And what time do you leave home?
B: Humm… about 7am. (notice that the answer doesn’t follow
the pattern: “I GO TO SCHOOL AT 7 am.”)
A: Could you give me a ride, I mean, whenever you go by car?
B: Of course! (not “YES, I COULD.”)
A: Where do you live?

4. DECIDING WHAT TO DO
A. What do you wanna do today? (not “what do you WANT TO do today?)
B. I don’t know.
A. We could play volleyball.
B. No, it’s too hot. (not “No, WE COULDN’T.”)
A. We could play soccer.
B. No, it’s too hot for that too.
A. Do you want to go swimming?
B. That’s a cool idea. (not “YES, I DO.”)

5. AT THE MOVIE THEATER


Adam: We’d like two tickets for the 8:30 show, please.
TICKET SALES: Here you go. Enjoy the movie!

capítulo 5 • 109
[Inside the theater]
Adam: Would you mind moving over one, so my friend and I can sit together?
Man: No, not at all.
Adam: Thanks a lot!

6. TRANSPORTATION
Jill: Should we take a taxi or a bus to the mall?
Bob: Let’s take a bus. It’s impossible to get a taxi during rush hour.
Jill: Isn’t that a bus stop over there?
Bob: Yes ... Oh! There’s a bus now. We’ll have to run to catch it.
Jill: Oh, no! We just missed it.
Bob: No problem. There’ll be another one in 10 minutes.

7. RUNNING ERRANDS
Hotel Receptionist: Hi, there. How can I help you?
Sheila: Well, I’m in town visiting for a few days, and I need to run some
errands while I’m here.
Hotel Receptionist: Sure. What do you need?
Sheila: I need to have my nails done and get my hair cut.
Hotel Receptionist: OK. Here’s a map of the city. There’s a good hair dresser
here, which is just a block away. Is there anything else?
Sheila: Yes. I’ll need to have my car serviced before my long drive home!
Hotel Receptionist: No problem. There’s a good mechanic a few blocks
away.

8. PHONE CALL
Jorge: Hi, Amanda, it’s Jorge. How are you doing?
Amanda: Oh, hi, Jorge! I was just thinking about you.
Jorge: That’s nice. I was wondering if you’d like to go to a movie tonight.
Amanda: Sure, I’d love to! What’s playing?
Jorge: I was thinking about that new comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel.
What do you think?
Amanda: Sounds great!
Jorge: OK, I’ll pick you up around 8:15. The movie starts at 8:45.
Amanda: See you then. Bye!

110 • capítulo 5
For extra practice on daily conversation topics go to:
1. Learn English - Asking About Hobbies, What do you do for fun?
https://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=nMFrC3UGtek&list=PL4C632FCF5FCB9C21&index=3
2. Learn English - English in Three Minutes - Getting Contact Details
https://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=qWMhzm1Ruf4&list=PL4C632FCF5FCB9C21&index=6
3. Learn English - Asking About Occupations, What is your Job?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnQ2iCIpOmE
4. At the Doctor’s Office | Everyday conversations
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArHh7Wo76EA
5. Can You Say That Again ? | Everyday conversations
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ao4FN3uW4yA
6. Weather Report | Everyday conversations
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyOc1uAMlWs
7. Ordering a Meal | Everyday conversations
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD4rWfimCJU
8. Asking Directions | Everyday conversation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzaqpreqDwM
9. Calling for Help | Everyday conversations
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DowJgAnAb44
10. At the Post Office | Everyday conversations
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHr7jO4D140

5.5  Opinions
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

Opinion \ə-ˈpin-yən\
1: is a belief, judgment, or way of thinking about something : what someone thinks
about a particular thing
2: advice from someone with special knowledge : advice from an expert

capítulo 5 • 111
An opinion is usually a belief or feeling that might not be founded on
empirical data or that others could plausibly take issue with. Just about
everybody seems to have an opinion formed about almost everything. We are
often asking for people’s opinions all the time: a friend’s opinion about a
restaurant, a new product on the market, a movie you are planning to see or
even a job-related issue you need some advice on.
Opinions are difficult for EFL learners to deal with especially at the beginning
levels of proficiency, but by the intermediate level, certain techniques can
effectively include the exchange of various opinions. There are several chunks of
language or formulaic utterances that if memorized can be used in a wide range
of contexts and situations when asking someone’s opinion. Let’s take a look.

•  Giving opinions
My take is… ( = I think (that)) . . .
I don't think (that) . . .
As far as I’m concerned …
In my opinion . . .
Well, if you ask me…

•  Asking for an Opinion


What’s your take on…? (= What do you think?)
What’s your view on …?
Would you agree …?

•  Agreeing
Yes, exactly. There’s no doubt in my mind that…
We are exactly on the same page.
I couldn’t agree with you more.

•  Disagreeing Politely
Yes, but don’t you think that…
Perhaps, but I can’t help thinking that…
I take your point, but I see it differently. I think…

112 • capítulo 5
•  Asking for support or details
Why do you think that?
Could you elaborate on that?
Could you give (me) an example?
Can you illustrate that?
What evidence do you have?
Could you explain it in more detail?
Could you provide some details?
Can you be more specific?

•  Supporting opinions
Let me illustrate,
For example,
For instance,
To give you an example,
Let me give you an example,
First, second, etc.

Dialog 1: Informal Situation (direct)


Andy: Where should we take a vacation this year? Let’s decide soon.
Jessica: Well, in my opinion, we should go somewhere warm. How about the
beach? Or we could rent a cabin on the lake.
Andy: You want to go to the beach again? I’d rather to ski this winter. How
about a compromise1 ? What about traveling to the Alps in Europe next April?
We can find a ski resort on a lake.
Jessica: Oh, we’ve never been to Europe before! But I don’t know if it will be sunny
and warm then. I need to do some research first. That will help me make up my mind.

Adapted from: <https://share.america.gov/everyday-conversations-giving-


your-opinion/>

The idiom to “make up my mind” also means to decide/to express choice) E.g: “There
are so many choices on this menu. It’s going to take a while to make up my mind/decide.”
The chunk “How about” is used to give an alternative. It can be followed by a subject

1  Compromisse: a settlement of diferences reached by mutual concessions; also the agreement thus made.

capítulo 5 • 113
plus a verb or by a noun: How about we go swimming? / How about a movie tonight?
We can use many verbs to express opinions: to think / to believe / to suppose / to
assume. They are not all synonymous. For example, “to suppose” and “to assume”
express that the speaker has a preconceived idea: He came back late from work, so I
assumed that traffic was bad. / I suppose that may not have been the case, and that he
might just have had a lot of work.

Dialog 2: Formal Situation (careful)


Claire: So, let’s move on to the topic of release2 date. Gentlemen, when do
you think we will be able to launch the new version of our software? Adam?
Adam: Well, I tend to feel that... we should probably be able to start testing
the product in June. That means that if all goes well, we can have a first release
in July or August.
Claire: I see. Thank you Adam. What’s your reaction to that Charles?
Charles: June or July...Well, from my point of view...that sounds about right.
Matthew: Excuse me, may I come in here? I wonder if I could say something?
Claire: Go on, Matthew. What would you like to add?
Matthew: Well, it seems to me that June is much, much too early. Actually,
we are still having some pretty major problems with bugs3 in the update engine,
so we’ll have to do a slight redesign. I just don’t see how we will be able to...

Adapted from < http://www.businessenglishpod.com/FREEsamples/


BEP202/BEP202TRS1.html>

Let’s move on to the topic of … refers to a formal and careful way of changing to
another topic.
I tend to feel that... / from my point of view it seems to me that are chunks of
language used to express opinions in a formal and careful way.
What’s your reaction to that? Refers to a formal way to encourage others to express
their opinion to something.
I wonder if I could say something? Refers to a formal way to interrupt someone.
Another expression with similar meaning is May I come in here?

2  The same as launch – to put a new product onto the market


3  Problem with the computer software.

114 • capítulo 5
CONNECTION
For extra practice on asking for and giving opinions go to:
SHC English Enrichment Course
https://sites.google.com/site/shceecourse/speaking-focus-semester-2/lesson-2
Expressing opinions (B2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYRWSHK3yOc
Giving / expressing opinion in English - Learn English Online on Skype
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEZhRFk7ECk
English Grammar Lesson Giving your Opinion in English
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YftB9rhHp-I

ACTIVITIES
01. Right after the meeting Adam, Charles and Matthew walk into the break room. Their
supervisor, Claire, is not there, so they are more relaxed and this is a more informal situation.

Matthew: Hey, guys, did you see the Liverpool x Chelsea game last night?
__________________, Adam? Quite a game, huh? Chelsea looked pretty good!
Adam: You always have to rub it in, don’t you Matthew? You know I’m a Liverpool fan.
Charles: ___________, Matthew?
Matthew: Actually, that was _________________ I’ve ever seen. But the way you guys
keep telling the supervisor we can release the new software by June, none of us are going
to have time to watch any more football games. We’re all going to be working overtime every
single night, burning the midnight oil!!

02. Practice asking for and expressing opinions – Formal Context (careful).

1. What’s your ________ on this, Ricky?


2. What’s your ________ to that Charles?
3. Any ________ Sarah?
4. Hanna, How do you ________ about that?
5. Could you please _________ your thoughts on that, Emily?
6. From my ________ of view, ……
7. My ________ is that ……

capítulo 5 • 115
8. It would ________ to me that...
9. .________ you think that that’s a little early?
10. I _______ to feel it’s a bit too early to start?
11. I have the ________ that...he didn’t really want to come.

03. Practice stating your opinions – Informal Context (direct)

1. ________, I thought it was great.


2. ________, there’s only one choice
3. I think we ________ have two options.
4. The ________ I see it, we’re heading for trouble.
5. The _________ is...we’re doing very well in this market.
6. _________, I think this is a complete waste of time.

04. Unscramble the dialog:

A: What does he do?


B: Sure! Come with me!!
A: Oh, ok! And who is that talking on her phone?
B: He’s the managing director. He’s the man in charge.
A: And Anna is the….?
B: Uh, well, that’s Simon. He’s sitting at the head of the table reading a magazine.
A: Gosh! I don’t know anybody here! Can you help me? Who are all these people?
B: She’s the accountant. Money, money, money. Very bright, very quick.
A: Can you introduce us?
B: Yeah, that’s him.
A: He’s the one wearing a sweater, right?
B: In the blue skirt? That’s Jenny, the Human Resource Manager. She deals with all the
personnel. She’s a sweetheart. Everyone loves her.

05. Match the letters to the numbers. Where could you hear the following lines of
conversation?

1. I need to make an appointment. It’s pretty urgent. I’ve lost a filling.


2. A medium latte and a muffin, please.
3. I can’t make the meeting. I’m stuck in traffic.

116 • capítulo 5
4. Can you put in your PIN number and press “enter”?
5. Bottled or tap? And do you want ice and lemon in it?
6. How many bags are you checking in?
7. The lift is on your right. Would you like the bell boy to help you with your luggage?
8. Please hold. Your call is important to us. All our operators are busy at the moment, but
one of them will be with you shortly (music)….
9. There are still tickets for the 5:45 performance, but the 8:45 is sold out, I’m afraid.

a) ( ) Just the one.


b) ( ) Don’t worry. We’ll start without you and brief you later.
c) ( ) No, thank you. I’ll manage.
d) ( ) That’s fine. We’ll have two, please, one adult, one child.
e) ( ) For here or to go?
f) ( ) Oh, no! I can’t remember the number for this card. Oh, what is it?
g) ( ) If I have to listen to that again, I’ll go crazy!
h) ( ) Bottled, please. Ice but no lemon.
i) ( ) We have a cancellation this afternoon. 2:45, if that’s OK?

REFLECTION
In this unit we talked about the importance of learner’s strategic investment and some hints
based on research about what successful learners usually do to achieve English speaking
accuracy and fluency. Then, we talked about linguistic and paralinguistic information and
some strategies on how to start a conversation and keep it going. We wrapped up the unit
providing you with some daily conversation examples and some chunks of language used to
give and ask for opinions. We really hope to have raised your interest in the topic, helped you
feel more self-confident to take part and express your opinions in English conversations as
well as inspired you to learn more!!

EXPANDING YOUR KOWLEDGE


McCARTHY, M.; McCARTEN, J.; SANDIFORD, H. Touchstone 2 – student book. Hong Kong:
Cambridge University Press, 2005.
McCARTHY, M.; McCARTEN, J.; SANDIFORD, H. Touchstone 3 – student book. Hong Kong:
Cambridge University Press, 2005.

capítulo 5 • 117
PAVLIK, C. Hot Topics 2 - student book. Editora:Thomson Heinle, 2006.
PAVLIK, C. Hot Topics 3 - student book. Editora:Thomson Heinle, 2006.
SOARS, L.; SOARS, J. New Headway English Course – Intermediate: student book. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2003.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
BROWN, H. D. Teaching by Principles: an interactive approach to language learning. New Jersey:
Prentice Hall Regents, 1994.
NUNAN, D. Second Language Teaching and Learning. Boston: Heinle & Heinle, 1998.
UR, P. A Course in Language Teaching: Practice and Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1996.
HARMER, J. The Practice of English Language Teaching. Pearson- Longman, 4th ed., 2007.

ANSWER KEY
Capítulo 2

Intermediate Levels
Read the following conversations at a wedding. What are the small talks about?
1. (the bride and groom )
2. (the weather )
3. (the food)
4. (each other’s clothes )

Advanced Levels
A:
1. A: Are you doing anything on Sunday?
B: No, I’m not. Why?

118 • capítulo 5
A: I was wondering if you’d like to come to the theater.
B: That sounds great. What’s on?

2. A: Do you fancy going out for a meal tonight?


B: Yes, good idea. I’d love to.
A: Perfect. Where do you want to go?
B: I’d like to try the new French restaurant. I really like French cuisine and wines.

3. A: Would you like to go to a music festival next weekend?


B: I’d really love to, but I’m afraid I’m busy next weekend. It’s my sister’s wedding.
A: What a shame. It sounds really good.
B: Yes, I know, but I’m sorry. How about some other time?

B:
1. A: Excuse me. Can you tell me how to get to the post office?
B: No, I’m sorry. I don’t know. I’m from out of town.
A: Excuse me. Do you know where the post office is?
C: Sure. It’s not far from here. Walk straight ahead until you get to Main street. Then…

2. A: Sorry to bother you, but I’d like to know how I can get to the airport from here.
B: I’m afraid you’ll have to take a cab.
A: Do you have any idea how long it will take me to get there?
B: It’s a twenty minute drive from here.
A: Thank you so much!

C:
1. Do you know if there is a bank near here?
2. Can you tell me where you bought your shoes ?
3. Do you happen to know what time it is?
4. Could you tell me where you were born?

capítulo 5 • 119
Capítulo 3

01.

METAPHORS RELATED TO METAPHORS RELATED TO


ILLNESS WATER/ WEATHER

swim against the tide


float an idea
a social epidemic
make a splash
viral marketing
a flood of ideas
be immune to an idea
the tide is turning
contagious idea
a hail of bullets
Band-Aid solution
a ripple effect
that idea infected us
terrorism wave
foggy memory

02. broke up with/ blind date/ double date/ to go dutch

03.
1. carefree
2. enthusiastic
3. unhappy
4. impressed
5. grateful
6. frightened
7. flattered
8. bored
9. jealous
10. embarrassed

Capítulo 4

02.
1. too
2. pair

120 • capítulo 5
3. sent
4. bored
5. their
6. wear
7. rain
8. road
9. band
10. toes
11. aisle
12. pain)
13. principal
14. sell
15. past
16. knows
17. four
18. break
19. paws
20. He’ll

03.
1. b. falling
2. b. falling
3. a. rising
4. b. falling
5. a. rising
6. b. falling
7. b. falling

04. Conversation A
A: Ready?
B: No.
A: Problems?
B: yes…
A: Babysitter?
B: no.

capítulo 5 • 121
Conversation B
A: Single?
B: Double
A: Double?
B: Yes.
A: Cone?
B: Cup.

Conversation C
A: Coffee?
B: Pardon?
A: Cup of coffee?
B: Sure.
A: Milk?
B: No. Black, please.

Capítulo 5

01. What did you think/ How about you/ was one of the greatest games
02.
1. view
2. reaction
3. comments
4. feel
5. share
6. point
7. impression
8. seem
9. Don’t
10. tend
11. impression

03.
1. Actually
2. Obviously
3. basically

122 • capítulo 5
4. way
5. point
6. Personally

05.
a) ( 6 )
b) ( 3 )
c) ( 7 )
d) ( 9 )
e) ( 2 )
f) (4)
g) ( 8 )
h) ( 5 )
i) (1)

capítulo 5 • 123
ANNOTATIONS

124 • capítulo 5
ANNOTATIONS

capítulo 5 • 125
ANNOTATIONS

126 • capítulo 5
ANNOTATIONS

capítulo 5 • 127
ANNOTATIONS

128 • capítulo 5