Hello, how are you?
Fine thanks, and you?
How are you?
Peachy keen!
Flying high
Fair to middling
Old enough to know better
Even better than the real thing
Not so dusty
Fine and dandy
Super Duper!!
Just happy to be above ground.
Pretty nifty
Still among the living!
Not so hot
Pretty decent
Better than yesterday!
Couldn’t be better
A better question would be, "Why are you?"
Hopefully not as good as I'll ever be
Not my usual self
Couldn't be better
Absolutely knackered
Can't complain
I'm in tip top shape
I was OK until I saw you
Still keeping up with the kids!
From what I hear, I’m very good.
Our obsession with method
Why look at language?
• Purpose
• Language itself
• Geography
• English as a lingua franca (ELF) can be defined as “an
additionally acquired language system which serves as a
common means of communication for speakers of
different first languages”. ELF is also “defined functionally
by its use in intercultural communication rather than
formally by its reference to native-speaker norms.
• What makes ELF a novel phenomenon is the extent to
which it is used – both functionally and geographically. A
typical ELF conversation may involve an Italian and a
Dane chatting at a coffee break of an international
conference held in Brussels or a Spanish tourist asking a
local for the way in Berlin.
Whose English?
• In a world in which more than three-quarters of all English
speakers are non-native, ownership of the English language
has clearly shifted from the UK the USA.
• Most communication in English today is between non-native
speakers, who usually accept non-standard grammar and
pronunciation as long as communication remains clear.
• Many nonnative English speakers report easier
communication in English with other non-native speakers
than with native speakers who are less tolerant of errors,
differences in pronunciation, and non-standard grammar.
They are also less skilled in achieving successful
communication because of these obstacles.
Which English?
Language and culture 1
A Canadian manager has been posted to the
Athens office of his organization. He is assigned
a Greek secretary. On a daily basis, he assigns
work to her. One day, she complains to a
'I wish he would just tell me what to do instead
of asking me. After all, he's the boss and I'm
here to do what he wants.'
Sociopragmatic Competence
allowing options (or giving the
appearance of allowing options)
is absolutely central to Western
notions of politeness....
In the Canadian-Greek case, the
two parties have not yet negotiated a shared set of
norms. To her, the Canadian boss seems insincere - why
pretend that she has a choice? Why not simply tell her
to do the typing?
In short, she does not interpret her boss’s requests as
acts of politeness.
Language and culture 2
On a visit to Seoul, I found that the telephone in my
room wasn't working properly. Since I couldn't
phone anyone for assistance, I went down to the
hotel concierge to request her to ask housekeeping
to send someone to collect a bag of laundry from
my room and to arrange for a technician to come
and fix the telephone. The concierge immediately
acted upon my request, and having called
housekeeping, she said to me:
'I think you had better wait in your room.'
Pragmalinguistic competence
• In the Korean example, when the concierge said 'I think you had better
wait in your room', she was using a form of words which, as far as her
guest was concerned, did not quite match her intentions. The speaker
could have used a tentatively expressed suggestion, such as:
' If you'd like to wait in your room, someone
will be along shortly.'
'Perhaps you could wait in your room until
someone comes from housekeeping.'
'Someone will come to your room shortly.'
• By using such conventionally polite suggestions,
the speaker would not have given the impression of
imposing on the hearer. In this way, the speaker's
language would have matched her intentions.
Anecdote - Martin Parrott
New language
Which do you
already know?
Which can you
It’s not what we say!
• Where shall we meet?
___________ the cinema.
• Is there any milk in the fridge?
No, __________________
• I met John in the pub a couple of days ago,
and he ______________ (tell) me about Dave
and Mary.
Rules? What rules?
Estuary English
football becomes ["fU?bO:o] ('foo'baw')
take i' off
Happoi, valloi
Choosday, choon
Fink, muvver
Should of
Spoken Grammar
The teaching of grammar is based on written examples
and on a proscriptive approach to ‘correct’ English.
Consideration by teachers of spoken English shows that
learners need to be given choices between written and
spoken grammar, that the interpersonal
implications of spoken grammar are
important, and that methodologically
inductive learning is more appropriate
than the Presentation-Practice-Production
approaches adopted in books.