Free English Lessons

Meeting a Classmate – Listening Lesson (A1)

If you are reading this, you have probably joined a language class before. Listen to two English speakers who are waiting for their first lesson on a Spanish course. This free English listening lesson from Oxford Online English will teach you about the language we use when we meet people for the first time. This lesson is for beginner and elementary learners.

Listen to the dialogue at normal speed here:

or listen to a slower version here:

Man: Sorry1 … can I … can I sit here?
Woman: Sorry?
Man: This chair … is it free? Can I sit here?
Woman: Oh, sure, that’s fine, let me2 just put my bag on the floor.
Man: Thank you … so, um, er … are you American?
Woman: I am, I’m from California.
Man: Ah, nice! … er, where … whereabouts?3 Which bit?
Woman: San Diego. You’re English?
Man: Well, Welsh, actually4, my family’s from Cardiff, but I live in London now. What about you?5 Do you live here or are you visiting?
Woman: Oh, no, I’m … I’m studying here. I wanted to come and practise my Spanish.
Man: Oh, OK. Do you speak much Spanish?
Woman: Uh, I know a little bit, because there are a lot of Spanish speakers in Southern California, where I live, but not really that much. … You?
Man: No, no … gracias and that’s about it. That’s why I came to Guatemala actually, because I know a lot of people come here to learn Spanish, and … just travelling6 around, so I … I thought I’d, you know, make the most of it7.
Woman: Right. Oh, it looks like we’re going in … I’m Gina, by the way8.
Man: Oh … um … Daniel … pleased to meet you.

1. Sorry has a number of meanings. The man says it to attract the woman’s attention; she probably says it because she didn’t hear what he said.
2. Let me literally means ‘give me permission’, but that’s not the meaning here; the woman says it to indicate what she is going to do.
3. whereabouts = in which specific part of a large place that was previously mentioned
4. actually = ‘in fact’; the man says it to correct the woman.
5. What about you? is a useful question when you meet someone; it’s a way to ask someone to give details similar to what you have just said about yourself.
6. This is a short version of the present continuous – “I’m just travelling” (the word ‘just’ means ‘only’); in informal speech, it’s not uncommon to omit the subject and auxiliary verb (I’m).
7. make the most of it = enjoy all the benefits of being in a situation
8. You can use the expression ‘by the way’ when you change the subject, or add information that’s not related to the previous thing you said.

Meeting a Classmate – exercise 1
Grammar: asking questions

When you meet someone, you will probably want to ask them a lot of questions about their life. There are a number of questions in this dialogue.

Listen to five questions from the dialogue and put the words of the question in the order that you hear.

Meeting a Classmate – exercise 2
Listening skill: thinking language

If you don’t know someone, you might be nervous when you talk to them, or maybe you need time to think of what to say. In this situation, it’s normal to use ‘thinking’ language – words that don’t add meaning to the sentence, but give you time to think.

Listen to five clips from the dialogue and identify the example of thinking language in each clip.

Meeting a Classmate – exercise 3
Vocabulary: prepositions

Prepositions are small words like ‘at’, ‘to’ and ‘for’ that link a noun with other information in the sentence. Sometimes, prepositions indicate physical location – e.g. ‘on the table’ – but other times the prepositions are just part of phrases without their own meaning.

Read five sentences from the dialogue and complete the gaps with the prepositions used by the speakers.

Meeting a Classmate – exercise 4
Comprehension: understanding details

Now that you have studied some of the language in the dialogue, how much do you know about the two people speaking?

Look at seven facts about the speakers – five of them are true and two are not.

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