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Unit 44. Ehm...

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Showing that You Want to Continue

Unit 44; Part A

Listen to this short conversation. The lines of six dots (:::) means that the speaker is making the word before the dots longer.
                  A: What did you think of the music?
                  B: Well, it was::: interesting.


В needs time to think of the best word to describe the music. She makes the word was longer to show A that she is still in the conversation. If she paused for all that time, A might think she was not going to answer.

Unit 44; Part B

We often say noises like ehm to keep our speaking turn while we are thinking of what to say or doing something else. In the example below, В says it to keep his speaking turn while he looks at his watch.
                A: What's the time?
                B: Let's see, it's ehm::: nearly seven.


note.jpgNote: You can use noises like ehm to 'buy time" when you are speaking English and you need time to think of a word. If you are silent, the other person may think you have finished and start talking.

Unit 44; Part C

Listen to this conversation. A and В have started a web site and they are thinking of having some music on it. They are trying to decide what kind of music to have. Both speakers use (:::) often to keep their speaking turns. Notice how they keep their voices on the same level when they say the word before the pause (:::} but their voices go down at the end of their speaking turns (shown with a full stop below).
44.2.jpg
note.jpg Note: It is very common for speakers to start their speaking turn by agreeing with what the other person said. Look in the conversation above, for example. At the start of their turns, the speakers use expressions like: Yeah, I know what you mean    Yeah, right     Absolutely        Well, OK.

 



Exercises

flag.jpgIn all of these conversations, В is doing something else at the same time as speaking. Guess which of these things В is doing and write it Then listen and check.
Key.1 В is looking in a business appointments book.
2 В is doing a mental calculation.
3 В is checking in a personal diary.
4 В is looking in a wallet.

 
doing a mental calculation        looking in a wallet        writing the numbers down           checking in a personal diary          looking in a business appointments book
 

Example:    A: My phone number's 067 3786.
                   B: Just a moment, so that's::: 0::: 6::: 7::: 3::: 7::: 9:::
                   A: No, 8. It's 3786.
                   B:  Ah, OK, 8::: 6.        В is    writing the numbers down.   

1    A: Hi! I have an appointment to see Ms Jones.
      B: Yes, so you must be Mr::: Mr Gleason?  
      A: Yeah, that's right.         В is  __________________________
2    A: It's just over fifty pounds.
      B: Right, so that's ehm::: about 70 dollars?   В is  __________________________
3    A: Let's meet on Thursday.
      B: Let's see, Thursday::: Thursday::: Yes,
          Thursday, that's fine,    В is  __________________________
4    A: Can you change this ten for two fives?
      B: I think so, let's see, ehm::: yeah, sure.
          Here you are.    В is  __________________________

Follow up: Listen and repeat B's lines (inducing the long sounds).


flag.jpgListen to these sentences. Does the person want to keep the speaking turn (write ...) or has he/she finished (write .)?
Key.1 .
2 ...
3 ...
4 .
5 .

Example:  
      I like all kinds of music really, you know, ehm::: rock and roll ...
1    I don't really have much time to ehm::: to listen to music
2    Yeah, I love Brazilian music, people like Gal Costa
3    She plays quite a lot of instruments, piano, guitar
4    Dad's really into classical music, you know, specially Mozart
5    I started the piano when I was, let's see, ehm::: fifteen
flag.jpgYou will hear a girl telling a story. She uses ehm a lot. Write down what she says without the ehms.
Key.I didn't go to the concert because I lost my ticket. Weil no, I didn't actually lose it, it was in my jeans pocket, you see, and I put it in the washing machine. So anyway, I went to the door of the theatre and they said it was no good.

I didn't go to the concert because_______________
_____________________________________________
_____________________________________________
_____________________________________________
_____________________________________________ 
 
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