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  • Hi. This is Gill at www.engvid.com, and today we're going to have a lesson about what to

  • do if someone says something to you and you can't hear them properly, or it's not very

  • clear what they say, and you need to ask them to repeat what it was they said. And this

  • could happen anywhere, anywhere in the world, but especially if you're in maybe a big city

  • where there are people of many different nationalities; cities like London, Toronto, New York, anywhere

  • really in the world. So people with different accents, either because they're from other

  • countries and English is not their first language, or even within one country, like within the

  • UK, we have many different accents from different parts of the country, from different cities,

  • from Scotland, Wales, Ireland. There are all different accents. And if someone has a strong

  • accent, it's more difficult to understand them. So this lesson is about asking people

  • to say again what they said. I have to do it even if someone says something in English,

  • which is my first language, I sometimes have to ask people to say something again. So it

  • happens to everybody.

  • Okay, so let's have a look at some of the words you can use to deal with this situation.

  • All right? So, a very useful single word is just to say: "Sorry?" with a sort of rising

  • in the voice. Question: "Sorry? Sorry?" And also, I've put body language at the bottom

  • here, but it's quite important. You can sort of go like this, and say: "Sorry?" and lean

  • towards them a little bit with your hand by your ear. So especially if they also are not

  • English... If their first language is not English, they will understand from this that

  • you didn't understand what they said. So a little bit of body language helps as well.

  • So: "Sorry?" is very useful and polite, because we need it to be polite as well. So, polite.

  • So: "Sorry?" is a polite way of asking someone to repeat.

  • At one time, there was also the word: "Pardon?" which is a little bit old fashioned now. So,

  • to say: "Pardon?" it's a little... It used to be very polite, and children were taught

  • to say: "Pardon?" but now it's a little bit old fashioned, and people might laugh at you

  • if you use: "Pardon?" So, see what other people say to you, and then you can follow what they

  • say, but "Pardon?" is a little bit old now.

  • Okay, now things not to say which are not polite. You don't just say: "What?" because

  • that is rather rude. So, don't say: "What? What?" Very rude, especially with a loud voice

  • and making a funny face. "What?" Not very nice at all, so don't say: "What?" And don't

  • say things like: "Eh? Eh?" A lot of English people might say: "Eh?" but that's not polite

  • either. So... Or: "Uh?" that's not polite either, just to say: "Uh? Uh?" No.

  • Okay, so the polite way, really, as one word is just to say: "Sorry?" and then the person

  • will probably understand you need them to say it again. But there are longer sentences

  • you can use as well, in addition to: "Sorry?" just to give you a wider range of options.

  • And the three main things about what... The way we all speak is clarity: what we say should

  • be clear. I hope I'm being clear in this lesson. So, that's the adjective "clear", and the

  • noun is "clarity". Clarity of speech. Okay? So it must be clear. The pace of the speed.

  • If people speak very quickly, it's difficult to follow what they're saying; to understand

  • what they're saying. So the pace should be fairly slow and regular. Okay. And the volume,

  • how loud or quiet somebody is. If someone speaks very quietly... You probably can't

  • hear me at the moment. So some people are a bit shy, and they don't speak very loud,

  • loudly. So the volume, how loud people are is important. So sometimes you need to ask

  • somebody to speak more loudly, so we have different sentences for these.

  • Okay, so the first thing you can say if someone says something and you missed a few words,

  • and you're not sure what they're saying, you... Again: "Sorry", is always a useful word to

  • begin with. Like we had "Sorry?" as the single word. "Sorry" is always useful to begin with.

  • "Sorry, I didn't quite catch what you said." Now, the "quite" is optional. You can say:

  • "I didn't catch what you said." or: "I didn't hear what you said.", "I didn't quite hear

  • what you said." The "quite" just adds a little bit more politeness. I didn't quite hear.

  • I nearly heard everything that you said, but not quite, and that suggests that there was

  • just one word that you didn't get. So: "Sorry, I didn't quite catch what you said." To catch

  • something is to... Like catching a ball or something. "I didn't catch what you said",

  • or: "I didn't hear what you said", and then the person will repeat, hopefully. All right.

  • Or, again, to ask them to repeat, you can say: "Sorry, could you say that again, please?"

  • or: "Sorry, could you repeat that, please?" Okay? To say again or to repeat. So: "Could

  • you say that again, please?", "Could you repeat that, please?" Okay? So: "Sorry" at the beginning,

  • "please" at the end is always a good idea to make it polite.

  • Now, if someone wasn't very loud and you want them to say it again with more volume, turning

  • up the volume, you can say: "Sorry, could you speak up, please?" To speak up means to

  • be louder. So, louder. Okay, so: "Sorry, could you speak up, please?" Again, it's a bit...

  • It's not very polite to say: "Sorry, you were too quiet, I didn't hear you. You were too

  • quiet." That sounds a bit like a criticism, so to avoid sounding as if you're criticizing

  • the person... "Oh, your voice is very quiet", it's not a very nice thing to say. So just

  • to say: "Sorry, could you speak up, please?" And maybe they'll think you can't hear very

  • well, and they think it's your fault and not theirs. You're being polite. Okay.

  • If the person uses a word that you don't know, you can just actually say: "Sorry, I don't

  • know that word", and you can ask them: "What does it mean?" What is the meaning of the

  • word? Or: "Could you tell me what it means, please?" Okay, so: "could", not "can", "Can

  • you tell me?" That's less polite. "Could you tell me"-is more polite-"what it means, please?"

  • Again, "please" at the end. And if you're having a conversation, then it helps to keep

  • the conversation going if you ask somebody: "Oh, I don't know that word. What does it

  • mean? Can...? Could you tell me what that word means?" And, you know, it helps you to

  • get to know the person a little bit better if you're asking them to explain something.

  • So don't be afraid of asking for the explanation of a word. Okay.

  • And then if someone speaks very quickly and all the words run together in one single sound,

  • and you want them to say it again... Again, don't say... It's not very polite to say:

  • "Sorry, you said that too quickly", because again, it sounds like a criticism. But if

  • you say: "Sorry, could you speak more slowly, please?" that's less... It sounds less like

  • a criticism. Okay? So: "Could you speak more slowly, please?" So: "Sorry", "please" at

  • the end, at the beginning and at the end. Okay? And then as I said before, body language

  • is always helpful.

  • So, I hope that's been useful to help you solve the problem of not understanding when

  • somebody speaks. And if you'd like to test your knowledge, please go to the website:

  • www.engvid.com where there is a quiz that you can answer.

  • And I hope to see you again soon. Okay? Thank you. Bye.

Hi. This is Gill at www.engvid.com, and today we're going to have a lesson about what to

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A2 UK polite speak repeat pardon hear language

Polite English: How to ask people to repeat themselves

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    VoiceTube posted on 2015/10/08
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