Free English Lessons

Talking About Names – Listening Lesson (B1-B2)

How do names work in your language? Does the family name go first, or at the end? Do you have middle names, or anything similar? Listen to a conversation about this topic and learn useful new vocabulary in this free English listening lesson from Oxford Online English. This lesson is for intermediate and upper intermediate learners.

Listen to the dialogue at normal speed here:

or listen to a slower version here:

Woman: I’m sorry, I get confused with western names sometimes. Which is your surname?
Man: Barry is my surname. Craig’s my first name.
Woman: You know, in my country, we always write the family name first. That’s why I mix them up sometimes.
Man: No problem. I can see how that could be confusing!
Woman: Around the office, people often call you something else. What is it… Monty?
Man: Oh, that! That’s just a nickname.
Woman: How did you get it?
Man: Ah, well, that’s a conversation for another time.
Woman: Is it something rude?
Man: No, not exactly, but…
Woman: I see! Do you have a middle name?
Man: I don’t, no. What about you?
Woman: Kind of. In my country we have a first name and a surname, same as here. Then, you get a second name which is based on your father’s first name. I don’t know the word in English.
Man: It’s called a patronym, I think.
Woman: Is that the same as a middle name?
Man: Not really, although I think a lot of people use their relatives’ names as middle names. You know, you might use your uncle’s first name, or your grandmother’s first name as a middle name for your child. Everyone’s different, though!
Woman: So why don’t you have one?
Man: I dunno. You’d have to ask my parents!

Talking about Names – exercise 1
Vocabulary: family members and names

Complete the sentences with one word from the dialogue.

Each missing word is a member of the family or a type of name.

Talking about Names – exercise 2
Listening comprehension: hearing details that are stated

This is a very common type of listening exercise, which you need to do in official English exams.

Answer four questions about details that are explained in the dialogue.

Talking about Names – exercise 3
Listening comprehension: understanding things that aren’t stated

Another challenge when you are listening is to make assumptions from the context and work out what people mean, even though they might not state it explicitly. You might have to do this in official exams, but it is also very common in real life.

For each question, choose one statement that is true.

Talking about Names – exercise 4
Vocabulary: get

‘Get’ is one of the most common verbs in English. It has many different meanings, and learners often avoid using it because it doesn’t translate well into their language.

Listen to examples of ‘get’ from this dialogue and decide what ‘get’ means in each case.

Talking about Names – exercise 5
Pronunciation: disappearing sounds

In fast, connected speech, it’s common for sounds to disappear. One common situation where this happens is when a word finishes with /t/ and the next word starts with another consonant; the /t/ is either dropped completely or gets reduced to almost nothing. This is called elision, and it happens a lot with the word ‘get’.

Listen to four sentences from the dialogue and write the missing words.

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