Using persuasive language in interactions

Typically, in exam situations where you have to interact, you will be asked to negotiate: your partner and you will have different (maybe opposing) interests, and you will have to find some common ground, reach an agreement…And one of the strategies you can use to reach that agreement is persuasion– trying to convince your partner that your option is the best one. This is some functional language you can use to persuade your partner(s):

  • Are you saying…? 
  • I’m sure you’ll agree…/I’m sure you’ll recognize…
  • Wouldn’t you say…? 
  • Are you saying that…?
  • It is undeniably the case that …
  • I’m just wondering if …
  • Can I just interrupt you here for a moment (if I may)? [only if you can’t get a word in edgewise]
  • Can I just ask…?
  • Can I just say something here? 
  • Can I point you towards…? 
  • Use question tags/right? 
  • Could we all agree that…/Could we both agree that…

You can find below some examples of persuasive language in negotiations taken from TV shows:

House M.D. ‘Control’: 

Dr. Alison Cameron feels her male colleagues and boss do not take her professional opinions seriously enough, so she has to resort to linguistic resources to try and delude them into thinking that her ideas are actually theirs.

 

Twenty Twelve:

Two senior members of the committee organising the London 2012 Olympics meet two secretaries from Clarence House (The Prince of Wales’s household) to look at ways of linking the 2012 Olympics with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations (the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne). They have to negotiate and reach an agreement that both parties may find satisfactory and that suits their needs.

Watch the video with subtitles in English here

  • I’m going to have to stop you there…
  • I see where you’re going with this
  • Shall I tell you what we’re hoping to achieve here? (Shall I tell you what my main aim is?)
  • Could we all agree that…/Could we both agree that…

*Siobhan (the blonde woman in the blue dress) is not the ideal role model for an interaction: she uses way too many fillers (and too informal for her role, actually-she probably wants to sound young and trendy, but she overdoes it): cool, totally, sure, here’s the thing…Besides, she is not very good at listening (which is something you should also do when interacting- listen to what your partner says and respond to that) or at using turn-taking strategies (she keeps interrupting, and as a result she is frequently interrupted or refused the right to speak in return).

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Listening comprehension: changes to lifestyles due to the coronavirus pandemic

Listen to these three clips. For each question (1-6) choose the best answer (a, b or c). You can listen to each clip twice:

Adele’s appearance: should it be discussed at all?

British singer and megastar Adele posted yesterday a photo on her Instagram account to thank the messages she had received on her birthday. She seemed to have lost a lot of weight since her last public appearances, which has hit the (tabloid) headlines in the UK.

Some journalists and commentators, however, are wondering whether Adele’s appearance should be a matter of discussion at all:

Reading: Why the photo of a new, slimmer Adele makes women like me feel uncomfortable

Click/tap on the screenshot to read the article

Source

Other critical voices have also expressed criticism on social media that Adele’s weight loss should be front-page news at a time like this.

What are your views on this? 

  • Should Adele’s appearance be discussed at all?
  • Should she have been taken as a role model by women of her same build, as the article mentions?
  • What is the message that this being news is sending to readers/female readers?
  • How can perceptions and preconceptions about women’s appearance be altered?

How GCSE and A-level grades are going to be awarded in 2020

England has already announced how GCSE and A-level grades are going to be awarded this year. Listen to this report to find out more:

Transcript:

Click/tap on the screenshot to open the file

Glossary:

Further info:

Exam regulator unveils GCSE and A-level plans for coronavirus crisis

Speaking points: 

  • How do you feel about this decision? Can you weigh the pros and cons? 
  • In your view, how are grades going to be awarded in Spain to primary school pupils? To secondary students? 
  • Could these measures be applied to students sitting the EBAU/EVAU exams this year? 

 

Entertainment while under lockdown- Speaking/mediation activities

These days, plenty of world-famous artists are livestreaming impromptu concerts from home through social media; theatres are streaming older productions for free…Is this going to have a long-lasting effect on the way entertainment is produced and consumed?

Here you can find some speaking activities as well as a mediation activity on the subject:

SPEAKING: 

Click/tap on the screenshot to download file

MEDIATION IN WRITING:

Click/tap on the screenshot to download the file

These are some of the examples mentioned in the activities:

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Mediation: talking about data in graphs and charts- examples

(Updated 4.3.20)

These days lots of figures and data are being used in the media to refer to the scale of the pandemic. If you have to mediate this information for somebody else in English, you may need this vocabulary:

vocabulary to talk about charts, graphs and diagrams

Here are some examples taken from Spanish and British sources:

Download the slides in the video here

You can also read this article:

Click on the screenshot to read the annotated article

Source

Or listen to these clips:

With the number of deaths in the UK rising sharply over the last 24 hours, testing of frontline NHS staff is to start next week. 

  • *frontline staff/workers:
  • *NHS: National Health Service (=Seguridad Social in Spain)
  • *is to start: is going to start
Source

Tests to determine whether frontline NHS staff have coronavirus are expected to begin this weekend, following prolonged criticism from health workers. Staff who are found to be negative will be able to continue working as the number of patients continues to surge

Source

The Government has set out plans to increase significantly the number of tests for coronavirus. The aim is to carry out 100,000 per day by the end of the month. 

Source

Transcript

Screenshot 2020-04-04 at 13.07.08

Two of the most commonly used terms these days are flatten the curve and reach the peak. You have some more information about them here (download the pdf file here).

Remember:

Coronavirus in the news

Sadly, we are surrounded by news related to the coronavirus outbreak, which is having an effect on people’s health, obviously, but also on the economy, on jobs, even on the environment. Instead of writing a blog post every time I find something which might be relevant for students in terms of vocabulary, I thought I had better start a Google site. In it you can find extracts from radio shows with their transcripts as well as annotated articles. I will be updating it as the days (and the lockdown) go on.

[I originally started a Padlet, but in the end, for different reasons, I decided to swap to a Google site]

Click on the picture to visit the site