Thursday, 20 November 2014

Telephone tip

There's no need to panic anymore on the phone. It's true that removing non-verbal communication makes it more difficult to transfer and receive a verbal message but you can turn it to your advantage. By simple saying, 'hold on, please' you give yourself time to collect your thoughts and your interlocutor has no idea that's your reason!

Simple but very effective. Try it next time!

Monday, 28 April 2014

you are the apple of my eye

Meaning you are 'the most beloved', this expression goes back a long way - as far back as the old testament. Translated as 'prunelle de mes yeux' in French I was wondering how it translates into other
languages. Can you help?
Food, one of the necessities of life, figures often in traditional expressions. Fruits and vegetables, specifically, account for some of the most familiar.

Some other expressions with apples:

Don't upset the apple cart
Compare apples and oranges
As easy as apple pie
Bad apple
Rotten to the core

Friday, 25 April 2014

travel v journey

Remember the word travel is a verb. Use journey to talk about the act of travelling from one place to another e.g.

Have a safe journey.
Did you have a good journey?
How long was your journey?

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Conversation gambits

These are words or phrases that help us to express what we are trying to say e.g. actually, in other words, right, etc. They carry little to no meaning on their own but without them our language can appear abrupt, direct and even rude. I have a number of these gambits that I have started to introduce to our chit-chats which I hope to add to over the next few sessions. Here is an example of the first batch.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Lovely weather we're having for this time of the year!

A cliché if ever there was one, but the topic of weather always comes up in our conversation sessions. Last time it led to a discussion on nature and the effects of a mild winter on our gardens or potted plants on our balconies/terraces. The words 'to bud' 'to bloom' 'to water' 'to prune' 'to have green fingers' 'to grow' cropped up. And then the difference between 'to grow' and 'to grow up' which led to a topic on children and 'to bring up'. So small talk serves its purpose in leading us onto other topics. What other topics of small talk do you come across regularly?

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Eat up!

There is no equivalent to the civilised 'Bon appetit' in English! As a waiter in a restaurant you might say 'Enjoy your meal' but that is the only situation. It's a shame. I wonder if there are any other cultures in the world that ignore this pleasantry too? 

Sunday, 9 February 2014

It's been a long time since I rock and rolled

I often find myself singing songs in my head when teaching a language point! Today was a good example when I tried to explain the infinitely difficult sentence starting with, 'It's been a long time since.....' I found the track by Led Zeppelin (1971) running through my head and consequently I'm still humming it at the end of the day. 

What tune is in your head today?

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

A gnome delving into his subconscious

This will only make sense to today's chit-chatters! Apparently the garden gnome did originate from Germany, and the oldest surviving English one, 'Lampy' goes back to the 1840s. It's insured at £1m. Now that's an expensive birthday present!

Monday, 3 February 2014

City dweller or country bumpkin?

During our conversation on Sunday we struggled to find a single word to describe a person who lives in the countryside. Most terms we came up with were slightly pejorative, harking back to the times when most people who lived there often worked off the land too and did not have a formal education. The Guardian newspaper refers to rural residents as opposed to urban residents which doesn't sound very cosy! Shall we invent a word? What do you propose?

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Getting on with each other

Which expression is the odd one out and why?

We hit it off.
We were like chalk and cheese.
We got on like a house on fire.

I don't want your germs!

Here is a simple explanation about the difference between microbes and bacteria

The word 'germs' is very common in explaining daily hygiene and health issues.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

How have you been?

This is a very common question to ask someone when you haven't seen them for a while and you want to know what they have been doing and how they are. Another alternative is, "What have you been up to?"

So, what have you been up to?

Monday, 20 January 2014

Where do I know you from?

Sometimes you can spend a lot of time trying to remember where you met that person you've just been introduced you.

Try phrases like this:

Haven't we met before?
Don't I know you from somewhere?
You look familiar....

What do you do when you can't remember someone's name?