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Everyday English 1
Everyday English 1

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1.1 Speaking

Whether you consider yourself to be quiet and shy or bubbly and chatty, you have to do some speaking from day to day. It is a basic part of your life.

Activity 1 The people you talk to

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Take a few minutes to think about a typical day – yesterday, for example – and make a list of the people you talked to.

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Discussion

You may have thought of some of these:

  • Children
  • Partner
  • Pets
  • Boss
  • Colleagues
  • Mum
  • Dad
  • Shop assistant
  • Teacher.

Now think about what you said to the people you have named.

Go back to your list and note down what you talked to each person about and how long you spoke to them.

Discussion

Did you find this difficult? If so, it’s not surprising – speaking is so embedded into your daily life and you do it so much that it can be hard to remember the detail of what you actually say.

When you speak it is usually important that you are understood. You usually do many things to make sure this happens. Most of these things you do without really thinking about them, but if you can identify how you make yourself clear and understood, you can get better at them and reduce the likelihood of being misunderstood.

Activity 2 Misunderstandings

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Try to think of a time when someone did not understand what you said. Why was that? Were you clear? What did you do about it?

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Discussion

If you’re a teacher and your students don’t understand what you’re saying, you might repeat it or reword it – or say it more loudly!

Generally, there are a number of things you might do when you are not understood. You might speak more loudly or more slowly; you might try repeating or rewording what you said; you might ask your listener if they understood you. Sometimes you might even try writing it down.

Activity 3 Speaking clearly

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Take a few minutes to think of things that might affect how clearly you speak. Note them down in the box.

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Discussion

You may have thought of some of these:

  • Distance
  • Having something in or over your mouth
  • Being too loud or too quiet
  • Other noises around you
  • Being distracted.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you are understood completely, but at other times, such as in an emergency, it is vital.

To be understood completely, what you say has to be heard. But how do you ensure that?