Friday, March 09, 2007

Show 310 Friday 9 March

Watch today’s show at YouTube or BlipTV.

Hi I’m Sarah. Welcome to The Daily English Show.

One of my students asked me about making polite requests and when I was looking on the net for some materials I came across an article on this blog.

This blog is written for teachers – but I think it might be interesting for some advanced students too.

One difficulty they talk about with teaching polite requests is:

the more indirect (or tentative) the request is, the longer it becomes and the more likely it is that the request is expressed hypothetically :
Would you mind ...
I wonder if you could ...
I would be grateful if ...

Some students mistakenly think that just by using please it makes their sentence polite. But this isn’t true. And in fact, even if you use please, you can still be rude.
For example, if I was annoyed with my boyfriend I could say: Can you please not do that.
And that’s not polite. It’s kind of whiny and annoying.

Learners tend to see please as the marker of politeness, overestimating its importance and also sometimes its function. They therefore feel that if they have included please in the sentence, they have automatically been polite.

Intonation is also important.
Intonation is the rise and fall of the voice in speaking, especially as this affects the meaning of what is being said.

Native speakers can automatically choose the right intonation. But learners have more difficulty.

So today I just wanted to point out that article. And to give you a few examples of how to make polite requests.

Usually the more indirect it is, the politer it is.
So, for example, if you have lent a book to your friend and you want it back tomorrow.
If you say: please give it back tomorrow. Even though you’ve said please, it’s still kind of rude because it’s too direct.

This would be better:
Do you think you’d be able to give it back tomorrow?

That’s more polite because it’s indirect. And also because my voice is hesitant and slightly higher than normal.

That hesitation: do you ... think ... you’d ... It makes it sound more polite.

Of course you don’t need to speak like this all the time. Usually when you’re talking to close friends then it’s fine to be more direct.


Kia ora, this is Stick News. Reality TV 2.0 hit new trashy highs this week when two popular YouTubers met up in the United States for some hot sex.

The genre of reality TV has existed in some form since the invention of television.
In the last decade reality TV shows have become very popular, including shows such as American Idol, big brother and survivor.
The storylines of reality TV are usually controlled by the show’s staff and editors.
Reality TV 2.0 is a different story. These plotlines are controlled by the participants themselves as they upload their self-produced videos to sites like YouTube.
Last year, two YouTubers met in Australia after falling for each other on the internet. Australian Blunty3000 and American Katz20two even invited audience participation in their story by asking viewers to send in donations to help with travel costs.
And the latest YouTube love is also international – this time an Aussie girl traveled to the States and hooked up with her YouTube crush Boheme. TheHill88 and Boheme appeared together in videos this week announcing to the world they’d met up for hot sex.
Actual evidence of their horizontal line-dancing wasn’t shown and the pair’s joyous appearance in their video lead many to speculate in the comments section as to what exactly they had consumed on set.
Elsewhere on YouTube, Renetto - who often scores high video view counts with themes such as racism and violent threats - this week changed tactics with a tear-jerking story about his wife’s drug addiction.
Meanwhile WilliamSled started hawking T-Shirts, GayGod caused a bit of a stir when he mistakenly said that tomato sauce wasn’t vegan, and Crossmack announced his latest leafy realization: the human race should build a spaceship and fly to another planet.

And that was Stick News for Friday the 9th of March.
Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
#190 Do you like reality TV?

Step 1: Repeat Tom’s lines.
Step 2: Read Tom’s lines and talk to Sarah.

Tom Do you like reality TV?

Sarah Yeah, I used to watch Ainori. I like that.

Tom Have you ever watched any American reality TV?

Sarah Ah, yeah, I have actually. My boyfriend used to have pay TV which had the FOX channel, so he recorded some shows for me.

Tom Which shows?

Sarah Ah, I watched Temptation Island, Joe Millionaire and something else, about being gay, I can’t remember what that was called.

Tom Was everyone gay?

Sarah No. There was one girl and about 10 guys and she had to figure out who was gay and who was ... not.

Tom Was it good?

Sarah Mmm. It was OK. I liked Temptation Island better.