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Date: Oct 13 2006


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

say[/def] you are trying to find a classroom on a university campus in California. You don’t know where the building is, and you aren’t sure which way is north. The map you have is useless. You’ll have to ask for help.

Trying to get directions in another language can be intimidating. Even if you can ask the questions, you may not be able to understand the answers.

This is because people have different ways of getting from place to place. One person might tell you how far you need to go up the street, three blocks, or a mile. Others might tell you to head west until you get to the oak tree and then hang a right. As they talk and point, you can get very confused and discouraged.

Don’t worry. There are a few things you can do to make it easier on yourself.

First, if someone is talking too fast, don’t be afraid to ask them to speak more slowly or to repeat what they have said until you get it. It may feel like you’re being impolite, but you’re not. You’re just trying to understand.

Second, after the person has given you directions, repeat them back to make sure you understand.

Finally, if it seems like there are too many steps to the directions, follow the first step, and then ask someone else.

Remember that most people want to help.

But don’t ask Mason for directions. Listen to him tell Erin why.


1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Erin:  Being a guy, do you ever ask for directions… or is that cliche...

Mason:  I ask for the directions all the time. Like, I have no, I have no ego problems…

Erin:  Good.

Mason:  ... ‘cause I don’t… being lost is not fun.

Erin:  Yeah.

Mason:  I can’t even tell you where north and south are in my own city half the time.

Erin:  Uh, yeah, I don’t know which way… actually I do right now ‘cause I know Portland but, um, I think it’s best to just use landmarks, you know? Point to, like, the big statue. Head towards the big statue and then…

Mason:  And then you say, “you go a couple blocks”...

Erin:  ... head to Starbucks…

Mason:  you know…

Erin:  ... there you go.

Mason:  Uh, like, if someone asked me how many miles is it from here to there, I have no idea….just…

Erin:  You can guess though, can’t you?

Mason:  I, I’m horrible with that stuff. It’s just like, I could tell ya it’s six blocks, I could tell ya it’s 20 blocks but my spatial concept is very poor.

Erin:  OK, so note to self: Don’t ask you for directions.

Mason:  Don’t ever ask me for directions.

Erin:  OK.



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When Erin asks Mason whether he asks for directions, she is referring to the stereotype that men won’t ask for directions.

Mason obviously needs directions sometimes, since he doesn’t know which way is which in his own town! That’s why Mason is probably not the best person to ask for directions.

Erin goes more by landmarks than by distances. This can be difficult in a foreign language. For example, if you don’t know what “statue” means, you won’t be able to follow her directions. If that happens, just tell the person you don’t understand.

Remember that many folks are like Mason. They can’t estimate distances. If someone says a mile, it may be difficult to trust that. In this case, a landmark may be helpful. For example, someone might say, “If you get to the bridge, you went too far.”

Do you think you could get directions in English?



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Russian Federation

In city where I'm living, Paris, there're a lot of english speaking tourists. I have difficulties to get directions in English because my English isn't very fluent but I use the language of signs. It works.

When I'm lost I always ask for directions. It's not fun being lostCry

03:22 PM Sep 28 2007 |

1 person likes this



Russian Federation

it was good
as all the times.

09:22 AM Oct 13 2006 |




for me .it is hard to identify diretionbecause i am aways lost myself when i reach in a new plcae.yeah ,you are right ,i mustask them to speak more slowlyor to repeat what they have said

03:03 AM Oct 13 2006 |

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