martes, 5 de noviembre de 2013

Madrid Teacher series: Dog phobia

In this week's Madrid Teacher series, the teachers are discussing dog phobia.

Just listen to the conversation and find out about the problem with dogs one of the girls has. Do you have a similar problem with dogs? Does anyone you know have a similar problem? If you love dogs, do you find it difficult to understand the fact that some people suffer from dog phobia?

Now, the girl on the left seems to be genuinely surprised with her friend's fear of dogs. She expresses her surprise by using really? Other expressions we can use to show surprise are:
Oh my goodness!
That’s awful.
That’s a shame.
That’s incredible.

Another interesting feature of spoken English that is used in the dialogue is the particle so. So is used in a variety of ways in English, but many times English speakers use so in conversation as a linking word that brings two ideas together. Let's pay attention to some of the remarks in the dialogue:

So, Sofia, are you afraid of anything?  [to introduce the topic of conversation].
there’re dogs everywhere in Spain so I’m constantly... [to show result or consequence]
I think because my mom’s afraid of dogs,(...) so, I inherited that phobia. [to show result or consequence]
But, I’m indoors usually so I’m safe. [to show result or consequence]
But I don’t want them to be scared, so I’ll probably say, “go near the dog,” [to show result or consequence]
I’ve heard. So it’s something that I’d like to do in the future because... [to introduce a new idea]

We shouldn't confuse these different usages of so as a linking word, with its use as an intensifier, some examples of which can also be seen in the dialogue:
So many dogs there
so often

Now, let's try to put into practice the above-mentioned features of spoken English. Get together with some English-speaking friends and discuss these phobia-related questions. As you listen to your friends, react to what they say if they come up with a surprising piece of information, and don't forget to use 'so' to introduce a new idea or to show a result.

Do you have any phobias or irrational fears?
How did the phobia start?
In what situations is the phobia triggered?
Do you have any strategies to help you mitigate the effects of the phobia?
What could you do to overcome your phobia?

So, Sofia, are you afraid of anything?
Yes, I am. I’m afraid of animals in general, but especially dogs.
Big dogs?
All dogs.
All dogs?
Tiny, tiny Chihuahuas?
From puppies to, yes.
Yeah, it’s a, it’s a really serious phobia actually because there’re dogs everywhere in Spain so I’m constantly like . . .
And when did this start? Have you always been afraid of dogs?
I think because my mom’s afraid of dogs, and she passed that on to me. Because we’d be walking through a park, and she’d sort of grab my hand and pull me away from the dogs so, I inherited that phobia.
OK. But do you know, do you know why you’re afraid of, do you know what you’re afraid of when you see a dog?
That they’re going to bite me.
But have you ever been bitten by a dog?
No, because I never . . . I never get close enough for a dog to bite me.
So no, I’ve never been bitten.
And have you ever done anything to try and overcome this fear?
No. I’ve been thinking about hypnotherapy though.
It’s supposed to work.
Yeah, I’ve heard. I’ve heard. So it’s something that I’d like to do in the future because it’s a little bit difficult going through the park.
I can imagine.
So many dogs there.
I mean, if you’re afraid of spiders or crocodiles…
. . . Yeah.
…things that you don’t see so often, but dogs are everywhere.
Yeah. Yeah, it’s pretty difficult at times.
And does it affect your…, does it affect what you can do, what kind of jobs you can get? I suppose it would.
I can’t be a vet.
No, clearly.
Outdoor things wouldn’t work for me either, outdoor occupations wouldn’t work for me then. But, I’m indoors usually so I’m safe.
But what do you think you’ll do if your, I, I don’t know. Do you have children?
No, not yet. And if you do, what do you plan to do when you see a dog in the park?
I don’t know, I don’t know. But I don’t want them to be scared, so I’ll probably say, “go near the dog,” and I’ll be there sort of scared in the corner.
Maybe you can overcome your fears and then you can get a family puppy.
Yeah, further down the line. Uh-huh.