Newsletter zum Englisch lernen - Ausgabe November 2014

 Das LbT-languages Newsletter zum Englisch lernen!

Listen and Comprehend

In addition to our article on “whimperatives” in polite discourse, we have included a podcast to help clarify their use. It features a simulated scene between Simon and Sally on their first date. A transcript of the scene has been provided for your convenience, along with a vocabulary list.  Enjoy! 

Klicken Sie auf den "Play"-Button um den Podcast anzuhören.

Dinner for Two
Using „Whimperatives”

Transcript for Podcast
Dinner for Two
Using „Whimperatives”

In the following scene, Sally and Simon have just finished a meal at a fancy restaurant. It is their first date and they are trying to make the best impression. For this reason, they frequently use whimperatives when they want to ask for something. Can you identify these phrases
and would you be able to use them in other situations? 

Listen carefully:

[sounds of a crowded restaurant]

Simon: I hope you’re okay with my choice of restaurant.

Sally: It’s great. The food was absolutely delicious. And the atmosphere is nice and cozy. May I ask how you found it?

Simon: Actually, a colleague of mine recommended it.

Sally: Your colleague has great taste.

Simon: I’m glad you like it. And I’m having a really great time tonight.

Sally: Me, too. [pause] Would you mind pouring me some more wine?

Simon:  Yes, of course. My pleasure. [he pours her another glass] Sally, it might be to soon for this, but could I ask you to do me a favor?

Sally: Sure, why not?

Simon: Well, I know we should probably take the time to get to know each other first, but I didn’t expect to enjoy myself so much with you, and well… [pause]

Sally: What is it?

Simon: This is a bit awkward.

Sally: Why don’t you just ask me?

Simon: Okay… well, maybe this is too much to ask of you, but I was wondering if you might join me for my best friend’s wedding. I mean… it would be great if I could trouble you to be my date.

Sally: Your best friend is getting married! That’s wonderful! When?

Simon: The wedding’s this weekend.  Now I’m aware that it’s really short notice, and you and I have practically just met, but it’s taking place in the Hamptons by the seaside. So even though it’s last minute, it would mean a lot to me if you could come.

Sally: It sounds amazing; except I’d have to cancel my weekend plans first.

Simon: Oh, I see. Of course, please don’t worry about it. I completely understand if you can’t…

Sally: I didn’t say I couldn’t change my plans, though. I think it would be really nice to be your date. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to ask your friend first?

Simon: It’s a big wedding and my friend already said I should feel free to bring a guest. He teases me about being alone all the time. He’ll be impressed you came.

Sally: Wait until he meets me.

Simon: He’ll love you. Great, then if you’re available, maybe you could be ready Saturday morning and I could pick you up… if that’s okay.

Sally: Would it be a problem to wait just another day to confirm? I’ll know for sure if I can come once I cancel my plans.

Simon: No problem at all.

Sally: Why don’t you call me tomorrow afternoon? I should know by then. Anyway, I look forward to meeting your friend.

Simon: I’ve already told him about you. You don’t mind, do you?

Sally: No, I’m flattered.

Simon: I’m flattered you want to come. Oh, there is one other thing.  It’s kind of a long drive, so would it be inconvenient for you to stay the night. I’ll be a perfect gentleman.

Sally: [with a laugh] And I’ll be a perfect lady.

Simon: Then it’s settled. Are you ready for dessert?

Sally: Very tempting, but I’ll save my appetite for your friend’s wedding. And I should probably be getting home soon. It seems like we have a big weekend ahead. Would you mind calling a cab for me?

Simon: Sure, I’ll just just take care of the bill first. [the waiter passes] Excuse me, Sir, may I trouble you for the check?

Waiter: Of course. Right away, Sir.

Sally: Simon, could I ask you to do me a favor, too?

Simon: Whatever you want.
Sally: This feels a bit awkward.

Simon: Why not just ask?

Sally: Would you care to kiss me before we leave?

[sounds fade out]



Vocabulary List

fancy - Deluxe; elegant; lavish
Impression - The first and immediate effect of an experience; Initial perception of a situation
cozy - Comfortable; intimate
recommended - Endorsed; suggested;
have great taste - To have great individual preference
favor - Something done out of goodwill
awkward - Not graceful; lacking skill; causing embarrassment
aware - Knowing what is happening in the world around you
short notice - Warning that something will happen soon before it does
take place - To happen or occur
cancel - To decide that something will not happen
tease - To make fun of someone in a playful way or a mean way
impressed - Feeling admiration and respect for something
confirm - To acknowledge that something will happen
flatter - To compliment and praise someone
settled - To reach an agreement about something
tempting - Appealing; alluring; attractive
cab - Taxi (also an abbreviation of Cabernet Sauvignon) 

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See and Read

In part 2 of our series of articles, „Culture Clash”, we are continuing our discussion on politeness in the English language.  Find out what „whimperatives” are and how to use them.  And don’t forget to use the handy vocabulary list included at the end of the article! 

Culture Clash!
Part 2: Whimperatives

In our second article of our series, Culture Clash, we would like to share further suggestions on softening direct speech for more polite discourse in English. Among native speakers all over the world, there is a general set of phrases and words that are commonly used to achieve this. In this article, we’ll focus on what is often called a “whimperative”, a command or a request phrased as a polite or indirect question.

Some believe that the word whimperative is a combination of the word „whimper” and the word „imperative”. Others believe that the “wh” stands for any of the words which, who, when, what, etc. In any case, the use of whimperatives is common in the English language and intended to soften a direct request. For example, imagine a dinner party and one of the guests wants the saltshaker on the other end of the table.  The guest will politely ask, “Would you mind passing the salt?”  This sounds much better than simply saying, “Pass the salt.” Sometimes just adding the word “please” isn’t enough.  Below you will see some examples of requests or commands as both an imperative and a whimperative.



Turn down the music. 
Would you mind turning down the music?

Confirm you reservation. 
Would you be so kind as to confirm you reservation?

Go and see a doctor tomorrow. 
Why don’t you go and see a doctor tomorrow?

Call me later. 
It would be great if you could call me later.

Join us for lunch. 
Would you have the time to join us for lunch?

Help me finish the report. 
Would it be inconvenient for you to help me finish the report?

Finish the report on your own. 
I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind finishing the report on your own.

Come to the meeting. 
Would it be possible for you to come to the meeting?

Bring some wine to the party. 
Can I trouble you to bring some wine to the party?

Be quiet.
Could you be quiet?

Tell her you love her.
Why not tell her you love her?

Let me use your phone. 
May I use your phone?

To some of you reading this article, the whimperatives above may appear as weak or subordinate.  Naturally with intimate friends and family, a more casual and direct speech can be used. However, in business situations or less familiar social settings, whimperatives are necessary to establish a better relationship and to show respect. The English language, as you know, does not distinguish between the formal and informal “you”.  We don’t have an extra pronoun to address someone directly in a formal way. So we find other ways of softening our speech in situations that are less intimate. Using whimperatives such as the ones above will help avoid some of the common culture clashes when interacting with native English speakers.

For more suggestions on how to soften direct speech, stay tuned for
our next newsletter with part 3 of our series, Culture Clash!


Vocabulary List

suggestions - Ideas, hints, or proposals. Often said as a possible solution
polite discourse - A courteous or respectful conversation or communication
achieve - To succeed at something; to accomplish a goal
whimper - To moan, complain, fuss, cry softly
imperative - Something that is absolutely necessary or required; unavoidable request
stands for - Represent; symbolize
intended - Proposed; thought of as something to be done
saltshaker - A container for salt with holes on the top to allow salt to be shaken out
weak - Hesitant; lacking force; uncertain
subordinate - Inferior; of less importance
casual - Offhand; informal
establish - Build; create; form; start
distinguish between - Differentiate; recognize a difference; separate
pronoun - A class or words that are used to replace nouns and noun phrases
avoid - keep away from, stay clear of, prevent, keep from happening
stay tuned - "Continue to pay attention to this matter"; "Watch for further developments"

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Learning by Doing

Crossword puzzle

Here are some important keywords you need to know about "Culture Clash"............................................

Fällt Ihnen die gesuchte Vokabel nicht spontan ein, so können Sie sich in der angehängten Vokabelliste für das richtige Wort entscheiden. Bitte berücksichtigen Sie, dass im Crossword Puzzle keine Leerzeichen vorkommen dürfen.

Gesuchte Vokabeln:
suggestion, achieve, whimper, imperative, intended, weak, subordinate, casual, establish

suggestion - der Rat, der Vorschlag
achieve - etw. erreichen, erfolgreich sein
whimper - wimmern
imperative - die Notwendigkeit
intended - gedacht, geplant
weak - charakterschwach, weich
subordinate - untergeordnet, untergeben
casual - locker, informell, lässig
establish - erstellen, errichten

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