In this week's Madrid Teacher lesson, Sophia, Vicky, Thomas and Joyce discuss their experience with neighbours. As usual, the video gives us the opportunity to see some native speakers of English in action and the chance to put our listening skills to the test. But more importantly, the clip gives us the chance of focusing on specific aspects of spoken English and the communicative strategies natives speakers use to get their messages across more efficiently.
Just watch the three-minute video and enjoy the conversation of these four teachers.
Watch the video again and try to identify the following aspects of spoken English:
- Fillers: Sometimes words don't come easily and we need them not to stop the flow of our speech: erm, er, you know.
- Repetition of words: At times, we repeat words because we are unsure of what to say next: I, I...
- Showing interest in what the other person is saying by making a comment or letting out an exclamation: wow, oh my God!, that's awful!, oh, no!, oh dear!, At least it’s not Celine Dion., At least the song is good,
Yes, yes. Yeah your story beats mine.
- Involve other people in the conversation: What about you guys, You don't have your story...?
- Vague language: 'like really loud', 'like would wake up', 'he kind of weirded us', 'nurses and that', 'scumbugs or something', 'and all these things'.
- Showing agreement: Yeah.
- Use of so as a connector.
- Use of I mean to explain what you have just said.
- Use of actually to introduce a bit of surprising information or to correct a fact.
Now it's over to you. What's your experience of neighbours? Do you have any stories about neighbours from hell? Try to get together with a friend and hold a conversation about this topic using some of the features of spoken English which have come up on this video.
Sophia: I think I have the worst neighbour in the world. I live in, erm , a split-level masonette, so I’ve got, erm, a house just above, above mine. And my, my neighbour insists on playing ‘I will survive’ on repeat…
Thomas: Oh my God.
Sophia: …at full blast in the middle of the night. I, I take it she’s going through some relationship problems. But it’s really annoying, it’s been going on for a week and… it’s driving me crazy.
Joyce: At least the song is good.
Vicky: At least it’s not Celine Dion.
Sophia: I guess so, but maybe she’ll change it, and it will be Celine Dion next week.
Joyce: Oh, we used to have a neighbour but it was much worse, and I didn’t even know what was, he was playing. We used to have this neighbour that lived downstairs from us, this German guy. This German guy, very suspicious, this German guy who couldn’t go back to Germany, this old guy. Anyways he used to put on Sunday mornings, this song, like, really loud, and it would wake us up. And it was Cara del Sol, which is like, you know, Franco’s Nazi song, like, you know very fascist, very… And I didn’t even know what, and I remember that, you know, my ex-husband, like, would wake up and go, “Oh my God!” Like, and it would bring back these memories of the, you know, dictatorship and all these things, so that was really bad. That’s worse than Greg Ainer!
Thomas: Oh wow! Wow!
Vicky: Oh my God! That’s awful!
Sophia: Yes, yes. Yeah your story beats mine. What about you guys, you have any, do you have awful neighbours?
Thomas: That reminds me actually, erm, I might have been the neighbour from hell because… my first flat actually, er, my next door neighbour tried to welcome me and invited my flatmates and myself over for pancakes. But he kind of weirded us out so we said, “thanks”, and just happened to never be around on Sunday mornings when he made them. And then whenever I would play loud music in the evenings with my friends, before going out, he would come banging on the door in his underwear or something and say, “turn it down!” And I was like, “alright, well now you’re the neighbour from Hell, buddy.”
Sophia: How much, how late were you playing this music?
Thomas: Oh, I don’t know, you know…ten, eleven…
Sophia: Twelve, one.
Vicky: That’s not that late. Ten, eleven’s not that late.
Sophia: That’s not that bad. Yeah.
Joyce: You don’t have your story Sarah, about neighbours from Hell?
Vicky: Er, I think like, er, Thomas, I may have been one of the neighbours from hell. A bit of a… a bit of a mix there. When… In London, I stayed in a flat with a lot of antipodeans. And we were one of those typical households where three people were on the lease but actually, nine of us lived there. It was a really nice house, you know? We had an upstairs/downstairs house [and] the upstairs people… were nice enough at the beginning, but then they just hated the fact that so many people lived there. And although everyone was actually very respectable, nurses and that, they thought we were all… I don’t know what they thought we were doing, scumbags or something. So they used to come complain all the time, especially on a Sunday, for people using the bathroom.
Thomas: Oh, no!
Vicky: So they’d be like, “ we hear the door slam fifteen times in an hour!” And we were sitting there thinking, “the bathroom door never slams.”
Sophia: About the bathroom door though, I mean, if it was taking away your water or something…
Vicky: So then they turned off our gas. And then we had the pipe explode.
Thomas: Oh my God!
Joyce: Oh dear…Well they were the neighbours from hell, I think.
Sophia: …the neighbours, yes!