by Peter Chisholm
Hi I am Peter, the newest member of the Inspire Academy team. I am thrilled to be working with such an awesome, fresh thinking and exciting young company. For my first blog I’d like to tell you some super easy, super basic phrases that will help you when speaking in English wherever you are in the world.
Firstly a little bit about me. My names is Peter, I am British, I grew up in the south west of England in a beautiful place called Cornwall. I have lived in Biarritz, France for nearly a year now AND, I haven’t always been an English teacher (shock!)
In fact some years ago I was a rockstar! Well, perhaps not a fully fledged rockstar, let’s say ‘mini rockstar’!
I was the singer in a rock group called The Sea, over 8 years I toured the world 3 times, playing over 1000 concerts in 20 countries and releasing 3 studio albums…it was a wild ride!
During my travels I experienced many cultures and many languages but one of the most fortunate skills I had was fluency in English. The fact is that English is the world’s second language…or put more simply it is a language that brings us together. So often I’ve arrived in a hotel, concert hall, restaurant or one occasion a police station (I drove a car somewhere I shouldn’t have) and been so thankful that the other person spoke English.
The great thing about English is it can be simple and easy to understand, and, it’s everywhere.
Some of the most useful phrases and sentences you could ever need when talking to another English speaker are also some of the easiest, for example:
1, “Hello my name is…..I come from…..nice to meet you”
2, “Your country is so beautiful, I love English/American/Canadian/Australian (etc) People” – As the old saying goes – flattery will get you everywhere
3, “Yes, please / No, thank you” – the “please” and “thank you” might seem unnecessary to other languages but I promise you that it means a lot, to British people especially, in fact British people will often think you’re rude if you don’t use “please” and “thank you”…. TOP TIP – use them a lot!
4, “Excuse me, can you help me please?” – Fairly obvious but if you use this a precursor to what you’re about to ask for the other person knows that you’re polite, nice and approachable.
5, “Can you tell me how to get to…?” – British and especially Americans love to be helpful to tourists, don’t be surprised if you make new friends with this phrase. It’s also a lot more polite than simply “where is“
6, “Can you recommend a good… (pub, restaurant, museum etc)?” – Again the Brits and Americans will love giving you their suggestions.
7, “This is wrong, I didn’t ask for this” – Very important in pubs, restaurants, hotels
8, “How long does it take to get to…..(by car/by train/by bus/on foot)?”
9, “How much does this cost?”
10, “I feel sick, can you tell me where the nearest hospital is” – Always hope for the best but plan for the worst.
11, “I need help, can you tell me where the police station is” – Same as above.
12, “I am sorry” – We British LOVE saying this word, I know it seems bizarre to other cultures but the British are obsessed with being polite – in fact I have had a 3 minute conversation with someone I walked into on a bus that pretty much just consisted of us both saying sorry over and over again to each other!
OK, so you can now; introduce yourself, be polite, go to the best places, you won’t get lost and you can get help if you need it. I think that’s a good start.
The first really simple one is to use “please” and “thank you” instead of your native language at home…do it everyday until it becomes natural. When I first moved to France I practiced this constantly and it works really well, a very easy, soft way to move into the language.
I think that enough for one blog now, hopefully this will be helpful to you on your travels…hold tight, my next blog will be coming really soon.