martes, 3 de diciembre de 2013

Madrid Teacher: Body language

Four Madrid Teachers discuss body language while talking about American TV series Lie to Me, starred by Timothy Roth.

I think that the speed of delivery is a bit faster than usual. However, once again, we have a great opportunity to hear a number of features of spoken English that native speakers regularly use but that are sometimes neglected in the classroom.

Watch the video through and try and follow the thread of the conversation.

Watch the video again and notice the following features of spoken English that the speakers use:
  • constant use of filler erm to get thinking time while talking.
  • use of like as a conjunction with the meaning of 'as if'.
  • use of I mean to rephrase your ideas.
  • use of you know, to check that listeners are following you.
  • use of thing(s) to express vague language because you can't think of the word you need.
  • listeners keep reacting to what the person talking is saying with expressions like yeah or all right.
  • use of actually to introduce unexpected information.
  • use of 'cos instead of because
  • use of really to express surprise.
  • use of so as a linking word to connect ideas.

How do you feel about body language and the ideas in the video?
Do you know any other famous TV series, films or characters that are well-known for their lies?
Discuss the questions with your friends and try and use some of the features of spoken English we mentioned here.

Yeah, I don’t watch much TV but somebody was telling me about this program with, erm, the actor Tim Roth and, erm, it’s called Lies To Me. The concept of the program seems quite interesting. He plays the part of an expert who can, like he’s like a human lie detector, like he can watch people and he can tell if they’re lying or not, like, just by watching them, like they don’t have to be connected to any sort of machine, and supposedly, although I mean he’s the actor and he’s not really an expert in that but there is or there are different people who are able to do that, you know, they just watch body language and are able to, you know… Do you know any, like there’s supposedly like when people touch their nose , for example, means they’re lying and you know, I don’t know if you any other, like sort of body language things?
Yeah, I’ve heard of, erm, if someone asks you a question and then you look to the left you’re lying…
Oh, all right.
… before you answer, so you never do that in an interview.
Oh, all right.
Except, that, you know, there are probably like things you do like spontaneously and don’t even realise, yeah.
Yeah. Sorry. I think that’s what a Lie to Me is based on. It’s all the subconscious movements that people make. Have you seen the programme? It’s quite good actually. Like, as a series it gets a bit boring but it is interesting. They had one scene where they were actually head-hunting a new employee and she worked at an airport and all they did was, the guy Tim Roth I think, just accidentally, and flashed her a look of worry and, and anger or something like that and she immediately went and called him out and, erm, …
Yeah, so you can just tell by her initial expression. For example, I was reading if people are, erm, for example, if it’s a fake smile, you know somebody like they will smile to you, you can tell it’s a fake smile because if it’s only the lips that move up…
And not the eyes.
And there’s no…
…the upper part of , you know, of your face doesn’t change, that’s how you can tell it’s a fake smile cos if somebody is really smiling your eyes smile, and your cheeks are and everything, you know. So that’s like an example, you know.
The big classic is the crossed arms and so many people do that especially in social situations and I think that it’s because they’re uncomfortable, you know, they’re a bit shy.
Well, it’s a protective thing I guess.
Defence code, yeah.
I don’t like talking to someone who has their arms crossed. I always feel a bit, erm, put at a distance, you know… So, yeah, it has quite a lot of power sometimes these kinds of, this kinds of body language.
And also eye contact like, erm, for example, Japanese people never look at you in the eye but, because they consider…
…it’s intrusive, like, it’s, it’s very intrusive to look at somebody in the eyes whereas we consider that if somebody is not looking in the eyes like…
They’re not interested.
… they’re not interested, or you know, so the interpretation can be different. So, Japanese people look at you, your neck so if you’re wearing a neck tie for example, or if it’s a woman, like, they will look at your neck, you know, if they look a little lower then it’s another story.