RUTH: Hello and welcome to another in the series 'Say It Again'. My name is
Ruth Lowton and each week in the programme, you can learn more about the
English language. I have a student here with me each week and they're here to
help you 'say it again.' Last week, I introduced you to a new friend, Bela. Bela is
here with me again this week. She comes from India and has been living here in
England for the last five years. This week, we'll be continuing our look at friendly
discussions. Last week, we practiced the sentence, "I see what you mean, but..."
Today, we're looking at some other polite ways of having a friendly discussion.
RUTH: Bela, do you remember the drama we heard last week?
BELA: Yes Ruth, I do. It was between Grace and her younger brother Paul,
RUTH: That's right. It had in it all the sentences we practiced last week - "I
sometimes think...", "Well I've heard that...", and the one I mentioned a minute or
two ago, "I see what you mean, but..." Let's listen to the drama again. Listen out
for the sentences I've just mentioned and also listen for some different ones as well.
RUTH: Did you manage to hear all those sentences I mentioned, Bela?
BELA: Yes Ruth, I did. Grace and Paul do like to disagree, don't they?
RUTH: Yes they do. It must be difficult for Grace having two brothers to disagree
with! Before we listened to that drama, I asked you to listen out for some different
sentences. Did you notice another sentence that Grace used? Let me help you.
One was, "I don't quite see what you mean, I'm afraid."
BELA: Yes, I did hear that sentence. I thought that it was a very funny ending.
What was Grace afraid of? Was she frightened?
RUTH: Oh no, she wasn't frightened. It was just a very polite expression she used.
Let me explain. If you're interrupting someone at work, perhaps in the office, you
can say, "I'm afraid I must use your telephone, mine's out of order." That means
that maybe your telephone is broken. Or you could say, "I'll have to use your
telephone now, I'm afraid."
BELA: I'm still not quite sure what you mean, Ruth, when you put 'I'm afraid' on
the end of that last sentence.
RUTH: It's so difficult to explain. It's just a very polite expression. It can just
BELA: Oh, I see now. It means 'sorry.' "I don't quite see what you mean..." and
"I don't quite see what you mean, sorry!"
RUTH: Yes! And even putting in the word 'quite' is another polite way of
softening the question. If you say, "I don't see what you mean", it could turn into
an argument. But if you say, "I don't quite see what you mean", it means that you
just want the other person to explain more to you. Another phrase with the same
meaning is, "I don't quite see what you're getting at." This means the same as "I
don't quite see what you mean."
BELA: "I don't quite see what you're getting at." "What you're getting at?" - What
does this mean?
RUTH: It means what you're trying to explain in your argument! If I say, "I
sometimes think that modern music is too heavy." You can then say, "I don't quite
see what you're getting at." Say that sentence again, Bela.
BELA: "I don't quite see what you're getting at."
RUTH: Well, let me go on to explain. Bela, would you agree that the noisy beat of
the music is 'heavy' on your ears?
BELA: Maybe. Oh, now I see what's happening. All the sentences we've been
saying have been helping us to have a friendly discussion.
RUTH: That's right. I think we've done well, don't you? We'll repeat all those
sentences again at the end of the programme.
RUTH: I hope that you've managed to follow the friendly discussion that Bela and I
have just had. At the end of the programme, there will be a chance for you to say
those sentences again with Bela.
RUTH: Last week, we began the true story of Hui Chan Hop. We heard how
Hui began to smuggle drugs to Europe from Thailand. This week, we continue
with his story. His marriage breaks up and Hui eventually goes back to Thailand.
Dick is reading Hui's story.
When he was rich, Hui was very proud. Now he had spent all his money, he was
dirty and alone, and had no friends. He desperately wanted to buy drugs, but he had
no money. Neither did he have a way of getting any. Then he thought: "My father
died and left me some money in his will. I will go and get that." So he went to his
mother and demanded his share of the money. She refused; and he became very
angry. He got drunk and shouted at her "I am the eldest son! Give me my share of
the family money. I want what's mine." Again she said no. Time after time, he went
back, drunk and angry. "I will kill you if you don't give me the money!" he
screamed at his mother.
At last she gave in, and started to give him the money, in small amounts. He then
went out and spent all of it on drink and gambling. He left his beautiful wife and
two children because of this. His wife didn't want to have anything more to do with
him, as he would come home drunk and beat her. His children were scared of him.
Hui thought back to when his father was alive. He was a good man, strict but fair.
He worked hard to be a good teacher, to bring home the money, and look after the
family. Then Hui thought about how he treated his own family; he was ashamed.
He thought "What kind of a father am I?" But he didn't change; he became angry and
got drunk to forget. He wanted to escape the responsibilities and worries of being a
father. So a little while later, he went back to Thailand.
RUTH: I hope you can stay with us for the next four weeks to hear what eventually
happens to Hui. We have been practicing over the last two weeks, different
sentences you can use when having a friendly discussion with a friend. Before we
finish the programme today, Bela and I will give you a chance to practice each
sentence. Let me first repeat the three we used last week. "I sometimes think...",
"Well, I've heard that...", "I see what you mean, but..." Why don't you say the
ones we've been using today with Bela after me? "I don't quite see what you
BELA: "I don't quite see what you mean..."
RUTH: "I don't quite see what you mean, I'm afraid."
BELA: "I don't quite see what you mean, I'm afraid."
RUTH: "I don't quite see what you're getting at."
BELA: "I don't quite see what you're getting at."
RUTH: Remember that saying 'I'm afraid' is really saying 'sorry' or 'excuse me'.
When you have a friendly discussion with someone, you really do want to be polite.
It is good to discuss things and ideas with friends. It is definitely better to still be
friends at the end of the discussion.
RUTH: We have almost finished today's programme. Bela and I hope that you'll
join us again next week. We will continue our true story series, learning what
happened next to Hui Chan Hop. And our English lesson will be all about giving
opinions and making suggestions. I hope I can make a suggestion now, that
youˇll join us next week for another in the series, 'Say It Again'. From Bela and