Unit 18 - Speaking: Transactional dialogues Page 1 - ? Unit 18 - Speaking: Transactional dialogues

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  • Unit 18 - Speaking: Transactional dialogues Page 1

    18 Status at work In this unit you will meet words and expressions about status read an article about power relations at work practise short conversational replies A Do people talk differently to their boss than to their colleagues? At work or at college, how do you speak differently to different people? B What do the following words and expressions mean?

    C Put one item from the vocabulary box into each gap. You may need to adapt the word.

    sensitive, emotional, task-oriented, submissiveness,to share the back seat, to perceive, a power move,an emotionally-loaded question, to be socialised to,to suppress, conversation turn-taking, to gaze, to reassure,docility, a scatterbrain.

    Ruby is not a dominant person and often __1__ with otherunassertive people. She has strong feelings and is __2__ and__3__. Her boss likes her __4__ and he calls her a __5__.She believes she was __6__ to be passive, and she has neverbeen able to __7__ her feelings. Every day in the office she__8__ her boss that he is the best boss in the world.

    D Look quickly at Sara Liebermanns article on the next page. What type of inequality is she most concerned with? E Give each of the paragraphs a title. F Answer the following questions:

    1. How many types of power relation are mentioned in the article? 2. When the researchers videoed the same speech given by men and women, what

    did they find? 3. What did the researchers find out about revealing emotions? 4. What is conversation turn-taking? What did the researchers find out about it? 5. What does the article say about eye contact? 6. How do bosses label subordinates, and what does this cause?

    G You are a member of a trade union which finds such inequalities of power at work unacceptable. Write a report on the situation and make suggestions for dealing with the problem.

    Headings for a simple report Introduction (the reports audience and scope) Findings Recommendations

    Reports real life phrases This report was commissioned by The author was asked to We discovered that. We recommend that .should

    Copyright 2007 Euro Examination Centre.

  • Unit 18 - Speaking: Transactional dialogues Page 2

    Language and power at work Sara Liebermann looks at the language of power and inequality at work

    (1) Warm, sensitive, dependent, passive, emotional, co-operative, supportive and subjective. These adjectives are often used to describe women, but they also describe all those people who dont have power at work. On the other hand, the opposite adjectives aggressive, dynamic, cold, task-oriented, competitive, intellectual, objective, independent are used to describe men and those people who have power.

    (2) Women of course are not the only people who lack power, psychologically or socially. Children and the poor play subordinate roles everywhere, while in America, blacks and certain other ethnic groups have long shared the back seat. Not to be forgotten either are the old, the sick, the unattractive, and the uneducated.

    (3) The powerful speak a special language and subordinate people listen to them in a different way. Men and women who were judged by testers to be equally articulate were videoed making the same factual speeches. The tapes were shown to groups of male and female students, who were instructed to listen carefully. The students were then questioned on the facts delivered by the speakers. Researchers discovered that the students remembered more of, and could answer questions better on, the speeches given by the men than those by the women. The researchers concluded that more attention was paid to what the men were saying simply because our society perceives males as more powerful. The powerless, no matter how well they speak, are often ignored.

    (4) In a recent study, eighteen women and eighteen men answered ten questions each. Five questions had little emotional content, but the other five were emotionally loaded. In answering the ten questions, women consistently used facial expressions indicating emotion. Yet the women were not any more expressive answering the emotional questions than they were in response to the factual questions they were simply showing emotion while responding to the questioners. The men, on the other hand, were controlling their emotions. This was shown by the fact that they revealed some slight facial movement when responding to the factual questions, but when the questions focused on emotional areas, the men's faces became blank. Women are socialised to express emotion (whether it's there or not), while men are conditioned not to do so (even when they feel like it).

    (5) Researchers have found that dominant people suppress emotion, and subordinates express it. A successful poker player doesnt want to show the weakness in his hand. The same is true for the politician and the business executive. They can't afford to let people know that they are scared or confused.

    (6) It is an interesting question to consider who will be the more dominant when two business people meet. Researchers asked fifty male and fifty female business people to hold a seven-minute conversation with a stranger of the same sex, and another with a stranger of the opposite sex. They found that each pair maintained conversation turn- taking, but that the men talked longer than the women, because holding the floor is considered a power move, and the men assumed they were dominant in the malefemale pairs. When facing another male, men talked at even greater length trying to establish themselves as dominant.

    (7) If you gaze at someone while that person is talking, you reassure the speaker. Researchers found that the women performed this reassurance service for the men far more than the men did for the women. The women also looked at the men while they themselves talked, revealing a need for feedback. Similar tests show the same thing happening in all power relations: conversations between workers and management, patients and doctors, and students and teachers.

    (8) Power corrupts, and bosses often encourage employees to believe that they are stupid, clumsy, inefficient and inferior, in order to make it easier to maintain discipline. A boss may even reward employees for submissiveness, passivity, docility, dependence, lack of initiative and lack of mental sharpness (She's so cute such a scatterbrain!). Employees will often come to accept their subordinate role.

    (9) We can say with confidence that power relations exist between people in society, and that these power relations are reflected in behaviour and language. There is no place where these power relations are stronger than at work. Perhaps it is time we started to address them.

    Copyright 2007 Euro Examination Centre.

  • Unit 18 - Speaking: Transactional dialogues Page 3

    Exam skills A Who says each of the following lines the candidate (Ado) or the interlocutor? Put the following dialogue in order. Remember the student speaks first.

    You meet an old work colleague in the street. Greet him/her and ask about his/her new job.

    In this part of the test you must say something that is appropriate to say in a situation. Read each card and follow the instructions. Ado, here is your first card.

    I am your ex-business colleague. Im OK. Im sorry to hear about your problems. Can I help at all?

    Exam Tip: in the transactional dialogues you need to know exactly who says what and when.

    B Look at following conversation starters. Match them with the replies.

    Well, actually, Im not feeling too good. I lost my job last week, and I have loads of debts. How are you?

    Oh, hi, Ben! I havent seen you for ages. How are you? Hows the new job

    going?

    1. Im sorry, would you mind if I opened a window? Its a bit stuffy in here. 2. Could I use your stapler for a second? 3. Id be really grateful if you could close the door after you. 4. Im really not too happy about you smoking right next to the window. 5. Excuse me, do you know the way out of the building? 6. Im looking for Mr Jenner. You wouldnt by any chance know where his office

    Exam tip: in the transactional dialogues you need to be ready to give an answer to something unexpected.

    is, would you?

    7. Let me hold the door open for you. 8. Do you want a hand sorting out your computer?

    a Its all right thank you. Wheelchair users like to be as independent as possible. b I wish I did. Im looking for the exit too. c I would, if I werent carrying so much all the time. d Sorry, but Id be in a terrible draught. e You can, but its empty. f Well, shut it then. Sorry, but Im in a foul mood today. g Well, youve found me/ him. What can I do to help you? h Thanks, but do you really know what youre doing?

    C Look at the above transactional dialogues. Which are- (1) making complaints, (2) requesting information, (3) offering help, (4) asking

    permission? D Underline the functional language for- (1) making complaints, (2) requesting information, (3) offering help, (4) asking

    permission.

    Copyright 2007 Euro Examination Centre.

  • Unit 18 - Speaking: Transactional dialogues Page 4

    Exam Practice: I am the person you meet in the lift A List as many possible business interactions as you can think of in three

    minutes; e.g. manager/secretary, shop assistant/customer. B Mark the relationships to show those between people of equal status (e.g. colleagues) and those of unequal status (boss / worker). Discuss doubtful cases. C In pairs, role-play the transactional dialogues on the cards below. The interlocutor should think of an appropriate response to the candidates reply and

    write it down. For example:

    D In the same pairs, check the interlocutors responses. Then get into new pairs and practise the three-turn conversation. For example:

    YOU SEE A COLLEAGUE DROP A PEN Candidate Excuse me, but heres your pen. You just dropped it. Interlocutor Sorry, but Ive never seen that pen in my life.

    YOU SEE A COLLEAGUE DROP A PEN Candidate Excuse me, but heres your pen. You just dropped it. Interlocutor Sorry, but Ive never seen that pen in my life. Candidate But, I thought you just dropped it.

    E Write your own set of six transactional dialogues and act them out.

    Card 1 You go into the reception of a management consultancy. Ask to speak to Mr Piper.

    Card 2 You are in the lift. You are not sure where in the building the Bibby and Jenner management consultancy is. Ask someone.

    Card 3 You visit your business associate Mr Piper at his office. Greet him and ask about the health of his wife, who has been ill recently.

    Card 4 You are in the office of a business associate. Ask the secretary for either tea or coffee.

    Card 5 You have just left the office of a business associate. You now realise you have left your hat in the office. Explain your problem to the secretary.

    Card 6 You are lost in a large office building and cant find the way out. Ask someone in the corridor for help.

    Copyright 2007 Euro Examination Centre.

  • Unit 18 - Speaking: Transactional dialogues Page 5

    Unit 18: Status at Work (p. 1) C (suggested answers) 1. shares the back seat, 2. sensitive, 3. emotional, 4. submissiveness, 5. scatterbrain, 6. socialised, 7. suppress, 8. reassures. (p. 1) D gender inequality (p.1) E (suggested answers) 1. Adjectives to describe power relations, 2. Different types of power relations, 3. The powerful and the powerless

    speak and are heard differently, 4. Men and women express different levels of emotion in speech, 5. Dominant people suppress emotion, 6. Power and the length of speaking turns,

    7. Power, gaze and a reassurance service, 8. Power corrupts, 9. Power relations at work are reflected in behaviour and language (p. 1) F 1. men/women, adults/children, richer/poorer people, ethnic

    majorities/minorities, not old/the old, the healthy/the sick, the educated/the uneducated,

    attractive/unattractive people, employers/employees, managers/workers, doctors/patients, teachers/students

    2. That people tend to listen more carefully to men than to women, 3. Men, irrespective of topic, suppress emotions; dominant people suppress

    emotions, 4. Taking turns to speak; that generally men and those who want to be dominant

    take longer turns, 5. Maintaining eye contact during speech reassures the speaker; those in a

    subordinate role do this for those in a dominant role, 6. Bosses label them according to the adjectives and nouns in paragraph (8), i.e. as inferior; employees tend to accept this, and their subordinate role. (p. 3) A I=interlocutor, C=candidate

    I: In this part of the test CCC: Oh, hi, Ben! I: Well, actually CCC: Im Ok. Im sorry I: Thank you.

    (p. 3) B 1.d, 2. e, 3. c, 4. f, 5. b, 6. g, 7. a, 8. h. (p. 3) C Complaints: 3, 4. Requesting information: 5, 6. Offering help: 7,

    8. Asking permission: 1, 2 (p.3) D Complaints: Id be really grateful if you could , Im really not too happy

    about Requesting information: Excuse me, do you know You wouldnt by any

    chance know Offering help: Let me Do you want a hand Asking Permission: Im sorry, would you mind if I Could I

    Copyright 2007 Euro Examination Centre.

    18 Status at workSara Liebermann looks at the language of power and inequality at workC Look at the above transactional dialogues. Which are- (1) making complaints, (2) requesting information, (3) offering help, (4) asking permission?

    Exam Practice: I am the person you meet in the lift

    Unit 18: Status at WorkI: Well, actually