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British conversation rules An ethnographic approach to teaching English Simon Parker Sharing One Language.

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Presentation on theme: "British conversation rules An ethnographic approach to teaching English Simon Parker Sharing One Language."— Presentation transcript:

1 British conversation rules An ethnographic approach to teaching English Simon Parker Sharing One Language

2 Cheers!

3 TOP 20 WAYS TO SAY THANK YOU: 1. Cheers 2. Ta 3. That's great 4. Cool 5. OK 6. Brilliant 7. Lovely 8. Nice one 9. Much appreciated 10. You star 11. All right 12. Fab 13. Awesome 14. Wicked 15. Merci 16. Danke 17. Gracias 18. Super 19. Ace 20. Thank you Source: boutthat/ /Britons-abandon-thank-you-in- favour-of-cheers.html

4 Ethnographer? participating...in people’s daily lives watching listening to what is said asking questions collecting whatever data is available M. Hammersley & P. Atkinson

5 A rule: a fact or the statement of a fact, which holds generally; the normal state of things

6 Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour Kate Fox Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing (April 2, 2008) ISBN-10:

7 “The Ultimate Gap Fill” A:“_____ _____ _____ _____ you?” B:“_____ _____ _____ _____ please” A:“_____ _____ _____ _____” B:“_____” what cheers two can that'll I packets be £1.10 of get crisps please

8 Answer A:What can I get you? B:Two packets of crisps, please A:That'll be £1.10, please B:Cheers

9 Weather speak

10 Reciprocity rule: response ALWAYS required from B Form: question, question tag or interrogative intonation. Context rule: simple greeting OR ice breaker (the weather is only an excuse to talk!) Weather - as - family rule: foreigners can not make negative comparisons (“What? You call this cold? I come from Knezha and....”) But you can make positive one – if you say you prefer the weather in the UK. Weather hierarchy rule: “but at least it’s not......” sunny and warm  rainy and cold Agreement rule: positive ‘social response’ required from B – you agree even if you really disagree! A.Oh, it’s cold today, isn’t it? B.Yes, but at least it’s not raining again

11 Female bonding

12 A:Your hair looks great. Mine’s so boring and mousey B:Oh no, it’s terrible! It gets so fizzy – I wish I could have it short like you but I just don’t have the bone structure; you’ve got such good cheekbones A:No way, they’re far too high. I look like Donald Duck especially with my neck. Your neck is so elegant. Counter compliment rule: compliment + self-critical remark Response: self depreciating denial +counter complement 2 nd Response: more self depreciating denial +counter complements Extra ‘social points’ for witty, amusing self depreciating remarks Use in class: (1) show the students this dialogue (2) get them to identify the rules/pattern (3) discuss what it ‘might’ tell you about English people (4) get the students to write their dialogues in pairs which follow this pattern.

13 Male Bonding

14 A:I see your company chose your car again. Not even someone with your bad taste would buy a Kia B:Sod off – it least it won’t spend half its time in the garage like yours. I bet your mechanic’s bought himself a new house with the amount you spent fixing that German pile of rubbish A:He’s been tuning it, you idiot. It’s something you do with performance cars – who the hell would tune a bloody Kia? The ‘Mine’s Better Than Yours Game Start: boast or attack on other person’s ‘theirs’. Topic is immaterial. Response: statement is challenged (even if they agree with it) The ‘no earnestness’ rule: seriousness or zeal are both unmanly and un-British Use in class: Same as female bonding but you will problem need to change some of the words for students in any class lower than XI.

15 Social Class Rules

16 The 7 deadly class sins (1) Find the 7 groups of synonyms (up to 4 words in each group) (2) Decide which word(s) are (a) upper + upper middle class (b) middle middle to working class words

17 1.Pardon, sorry 2.Settee, sofa, couch (US) 3.Living room, lounge, sitting room (not in ex. drawing room (mainly upper class) 4.Sweat, pudding, afters, dessert (American – sort of acceptable!) 5.Tea, dinner, supper 6.Toilet, Lavatory 7.Serviette, Napkin, Red = middle middle to working class, blue = upper middle to upper class Use in class? (1)Discuss class in Bulgaria– is there are class structure here? What are the classes? (2)Ask if the different classes/groups they have identified speak differently? Do they use different words? (3)Do the exercise (4)Wider discussion – is it right to judge people based on their class? Can language/accents be a barrier to a good job in Bulgaria?

18 Teacher Courses in Devon Authentic English Language and culture July 8-18 The Reflective English Teacher July 22 – Aug 2 Devon Unplugged Aug 5 – from £440

19 Student Courses Devon, UK Ethnographic – fieldwork approach Host families Planning support Pre & post course activities £490 per student for 10 days Free teacher places!

20 Thanks for listening! Simon Parker


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