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Buying A New Phone – Listening Lesson (A2)

What kind of phone do you have? Do you buy a new mobile phone often? In this free English listening lesson from Oxford Online English, you can learn useful English words and phrases to talk about mobile phones and their features. This is a lesson for pre-intermediate learners.

Listen to the dialogue at normal speed here:

or listen to a slower version here:

Woman: Hello sir, is there anything I can help you with?
Man: Um, yeah, I was just looking at phones.
Woman: What kind of features were you looking for1?
Man: I want a touchscreen smart phone, with a high-res2 screen.
Woman: What do you think of this one?
Man: Looks nice. How’s the battery life3?
Woman: It depends how you use it. It lasts from one to three days.
Man: Hmmm, OK, I think I’ll take it.
Woman: Do you just want the handset4, or do you want a contract5 with it? If you take out a contract, you only pay £50 for the phone.
Man: I don’t really want a contract, but I would like a pay-as-you-go SIM card6. Do you have any?
Woman: Yes. The card’s free, but you have to buy £10 credit.
Man: OK, that’s fine.
Woman: Also, with this deal, if you top up7 every month, you get 50 free minutes and 100 texts.
Man: Sounds good. Where do I pay?
Woman: Right this way, please.

Some of the answers to the exercises below are shown in these vocabulary notes. If you would like to improve your listening, try the exercises first and come back to these notes when you need to.

1. Past continuous makes the question more polite.
2. High-res = high resolution, meaning a very clear screen that can fit many things on at the same time.
3. Battery life = how long the battery can last without needing to be recharged
4. Handset = a mobile phone
5. Contract = a deal you sign with a phone company to pay every month
6. Pay-as-you-go = a deal with the phone company where you add money to your phone as you need it
7. Top up = add money to your phone

Buying a New Phone – exercise 1
Listening skill: identifying exactly what you hear

Many learners find listening difficult because they don’t recognise words they already know. This is because words sound different when someone says them fast in a sentence.

You will hear five sections from the dialogue. Each time, identify which sentence you hear in the clip. Don’t think about meaning for this exercise. Just listen to the sounds.

Buying a New Phone – exercise 2
Vocabulary: mobile phone words

How well do you know the phone-related words in the dialogue? This exercise uses vocabulary from the recording, but in new sentences. There is one mistake every time.

Read the sentences and complete the gaps to re-write them with the correct words, as they are used in the conversation.

Buying a New Phone – exercise 3
Grammar and Vocabulary: being polite

You use some language with your friends that you wouldn’t use with your boss – and vice versa. Adapting what you say depending on who’s listening is called ‘register’. The register in this dialogue is neutral – not too formal, because neither speaker is more senior than the other – but it is very polite.

You can be polite by using fixed words or phrases, or with certain grammatical structures. Listen to five examples from the dialogue and complete the rules about polite language.

Buying a New Phone – exercise 4
Comprehension: following the conversation

Now that you have studied some of the language in the dialogue, can you follow what the speakers are talking about?

Look at some notes about things that the speakers do and decide what order they happen.

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