Be Aware – Lesson 2

This Be Aware Lesson is based on the conversation, Annette 1 – Where are you from?.

Download the pdf for this lesson.

[audio:annette.mp3]
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This lesson has two sections:

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Section A – Grammar Explanations with Examples

Sometimes when you are listening to something in English, you can understand it, but you cannot say it. You are not able to reproduce what you hear with correct grammar. It is important to be aware of grammar and the correct way to use words. It helps you to communicate more clearly. This saves time and prevents misunderstandings.

Let’s look at some examples:

What is your name?
How are you called?

The first one is the normal way to answer the question. The second one is an old way of speaking, which we do not use any more except on stage.

Try this one:

Where are you from?
Where do you come from?
Where do you hail from?
Where are you coming from?

The first two phrases have the same meaning. The third one is a colorful way of speaking. It is old. It is not common. The last one is “present continuous tense.” We use it if we meet a friend who is coming from work or coming from school or coming from home and we want to know where he is coming from now. We do not use it to ask a person we just met where that person comes from.

Look at this one:

Where in America?
What part of America?

If we know somebody comes from America but we want to know what place, there are two ways to ask the question:

Where in America are you from?
What part of America are you from?

If we want to check the location of that place by comparing it with another place nearby, we can say:

that’s near
that’s close to
that’s not far from

They all have about the same meaning.

What do these places have in common?

Denmark
Norway
Sweden
Finland
Scandinavia

The first four are Scandinavian countries. They are all part of the area, which we call Scandinavia. Scandinavia is in northern Europe. Danish, Swedish and Norwegian are very similar languages. People from those countries can understand each other easily.

Finnish is not easy for them to understand. It is very different. Linguists think it is related to Estonian and Hungarian and perhaps Turkish. What family does your language belong to? Write and tell me about your language in the comments section below.

Look at the next pair of phrases:

kind of
sort of

They both mean the same thing. They both mean “about.” In the conversation below the phrase is used in an unusual way. In this conversation it is used to hesitate without saying anything.

Do these phrases mean the same thing?

close to Germany
near Germany
next to Germany

They might mean the same thing but not necessarily. “Next to Germany” is more specific. It means on the border.

Do you know the difference between these phrases?

on the mainland
on an island
it is an island

The first one means on the main part. Some countries have many islands. China has a mainland, which is the main part. Europe also has a mainland, which is the main part.

“On an island” means a city or village, which is on an island. “It is an island” means the whole place is an island.

Look at this group of words and phrases:

Europe
mainland Europe
the European mainland
the European Union.
The European Community.
The EEC
The EU

Europe stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains. We generally say that the UK is in Europe but “mainland Europe” excludes islands like Britain and Ireland. The European Union is the name of the economic and political organization, which we call the EU. The old name was the EEC, which stands for “European Economic Community”.

Finally, look at these ones:

Can you speak _______?
Are you able to speak _______?
Do you know any ______?

If we ask somebody if they can speak a language, we might ask:

Can you speak German?
Are you able to speak German?
Do you know any German?

They all have approximately the same meaning.

If you ask someone if they can speak a language, they might answer with one of the expressions below. They are in descending order of ability. Check your dictionary if you do not know them all.

a lot
quite a lot
a fair bit
some
a bit
a little bit

There are several ways to say “yes”:

yeah
yes
yep

There are also many ways to say “no”:

no
na
naw
nup
nope

There are also many ways to say “thank you”:

thanks
thank you
thanks heaps
thanks a lot
thanks awfully
thank you very much
thank you so much
a thousand thank yous



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Section B: Listening Activities

Now listen to the whole conversation without the transcript. While you are listening go through this list and mark the expression you hear. Have fun!

[audio:annette.mp3]

Mark the phrases you hear while you listen:

What is your name?
How are you called?

Where are you from?
Where do you come from?
Where do you hail from?
Where are you coming from?

Where in Denmark?
What part of Denmark?

That’s near Germany.
That’s close to Germany.
That’s not far from Germany.

Denmark
Norway
Sweden
Finland
Scandinavia

kind of
sort of

close to Germany
next to Germany
near Germany

Europe
mainland Europe
the European mainland
the European Union.
The European Community.
The EEC
The EU

Are you able to speak German?
Can you speak German?
Do you know any German?

a lot
quite a lot
a fair bit
some
a bit
a little bit

yeah
yes
yep

no
na
naw
nup

thanks
thank you
thanks heaps
thanks a lot
thanks awfully
thank you very much
a thousand thank yous

To improve your pronunciation and speaking confidence, listen to the recording many times. Try to repeat each phrase as the speaker speaks it. You can find the transcript here: Annette 1 – Where are you from?.

This is the end of Lesson 2. Did you enjoy it? Do you have any questions? Please leave us a comment below.

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