M11-U2: It’s just good manners

This week, we’re discussing manners and politeness. If  you couldn’t attend the session, please find below the materials we’ve used:

LISTENING:

Listen to this clip from a BBC radio show discussing the reasons why British politeness rules may be playing a crucial role in the ongoing Brexit negotiations.

WRITING: Download the writing tasks here. You have to choose ONLY ONE of these two options.

EXTRA RESOURCES:

Brits are well-known for their well-established rules of politeness. Watch this ad for Heathrow airport starring Stephen Fry, who is the next best thing to an Academy of the English Language. Watch it without the subtitles first. Then, if you feel you need to read the whole text to help you remember interesting vocabulary, you may click on “CC” to play it with subtitles in English.

Pay attention to his intonation, enunciation and perfect Received Pronunciation (the cultured British standard of pronunciation). You may also concentrate on the many chunks of language that make you look good in an English exam (both for speaking and writing tests) that he uses :

  •  let me be the first to
  • bear in mind
  • if the queue should move
  • we do love

He uses some other interesting expressions (a staggering 91%; in the strongest possible terms; call for desperate measures…), o informal British expressions that do not tend to come up in textbooks, but in everyday usage (bit nippy out).

Together with this video, you may also watch these clips from the British TV show “Very British Problems” (also a book and Twitter account). They discuss different situations British people from all walks of life may encounter, and how they tend to react to them because of their culture and upbringing. Focus on the language they use to express their actual meaning (it will be very useful for you):

“British” to actual meaning dictionary: examples of the “Doublespeak” mentioned in the video (what you say and what you actually mean). Again, the “British” versions might come in extremely handy for you.

 

Even if it’s just to yourself, try to explain aloud using your own words any of the situations described by any of the videos, and how they compare to what an average Spanish person (or people in your country) would do.

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