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第2课 A GOOD START

2006-07-29 09:58

  Yesterday, the taxi driver sounded very aggressive when he asked: “Drive up or what?” A good English speaker would make a properly-formed question. In this situation, “Shall I drive up?” would be correct.

  Jane arrives at HotDotCom. Nora, the receptionist, is busy at her computer.

  Nora: Yes? What you want?

  Jane: Good morning, I'm Jane Wheeler. Is Mei Ling here yet?

  Nora: Got appointment?

  Jane: Well……er……She's expecting me, I'm the new Marketing Manager.

  Nora: New Marketing Manager ah? (suddenly realises who Jane is) Oh! Ms……Wheeler. I tell her ……

  Nora calls Mei Ling's extension ……

  Nora: Mei Ling? Our new staff is here.

  Jane: There's only one of me.

  Nora: (into phone) Okay. Okay - lah.

  Nora hangs up.

  Nora: (to Jane) You wait here - ah. She see you in 5 minutes.

  Jane: (Nervously) Er……fine.

  Nora gets back to her computer……

  Jane: How long have you been working here?

  Nora: Start at nine a.m. Where you putting up?

  Jane: Putting up?

  Nora: Where you stay?

  Jane: Sorry?

  The telephone rings. Nora answers it……

  Nora: (into phone) good morning - HotDotCom

  Mei Ling arrives and greets Jane……

  Mei Ling: Jane! How nice to see you!

  Jane: Mei Ling!

  Mei Ling: Welcome to Singapore! How are you coping with the heat?

  Jane: It's better than the English winter!

  Mei Ling: Have you met Nora - our receptionist?

  Jane: Yes - but she didn't seem very pleased to see me.

  Mei Ling: Oh? She's usually so efficient. Perhaps she's feeling a little under the weather today - what with the baby on the way……

  Narrator: Not such a good start for Jane - or Nora. To begin with, Nora's language is too casual, too direct, especially for a first meeting:

  Replay……

  Nora: Yes? What you want?

  Narrator: In good English, we make questions less direct, so they sound more polite. Try saying: 'Good morning - how can I help you?' Try it, Nora:

  Nora: 'Good morning - how can I help you?'

  Replay……

  Jane: Good morning, I'm Jane Wheeler. Is Mei Ling here yet?

  Nora: Got appointment?

  Narrator: Rather than a curt: 'got appointment?', we should use the full form of the question: 'Have you got an appointment?' But something like this would be even better:

  Nora: Could I ask what it's about?

  Jane: Yes - she's expecting me, I'm the new Marketing Manager.

  Nora: 'Mei Ling will be with you in a few minutes. Please take a seat.'

  Jane: Thank you!

  Narrator: So far so good, but do you remember this?

  Replay……

  Nora: Where you putting up?

  Jane: Putting up?

  Narrator: 'Putting up' is not the right term to choose here - think again, Nora!

  Replay……

  Nora: Where you stay?

  Jane: Sorry?

  Narrator: Because Jane's not a visitor and has come to work and live in Singapore, Nora should ask 'Where are you living?' Did you also notice how Nora used the word 'staff' ?

  Replay……

  Nora: Mei Ling? Our new staff is here.

  Jane: There's only one of me.

  Narrator: (Light-heartedly) Jane tried to correct Nora because 'staff' means all the people employed by a company. Jane is just one member of staff.

  And tomorrow we're getting another new member of staff. To find out who he is, call Hot Dot Com tomorrow for lesson number 3!

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