What’s the AmE word for a (BrE) socket? Watch this video to find out. It comes from an episode of the 1960s Lucy show. It’s in the public domain so I’m expecting Youtube will let me keep it up. (Fingers crossed, eh?)
If you’re teaching technical English, you may be hunting for ‘troubleshooting’ conversations. This one marries well with several others that I’ve written in Oxford University Press’s ‘Tech Talk’ series. I’ve edited out some of the more obscure language but a lot of it was timeless – e.g. Did you plug it in?
I think it has a sort of period charm to it. Ask your students to guess when it was made. Clues: electric typewriters were ‘brand new’, the fashions, the terms of address (Mr. Mrs. Sir). Answer = 1967.
Click here to download the tapescript in pdf format. If you hover your cursor over the up arrow (bottom right on the video player) it allows you to turn the closed captions (cc) on and off. And below is another version of the video with some comprehension questions and a task inserted. Hope you and your students find it useful. If you get a moment, please click the red ‘Comments’ link below and let me know.
For more information on sockets and outlets and other ‘electrical’ differences between the US and UK, please see the comments on this post.
And something else I forgot to mention in the original posting: there’s often so much lexis to work on in technical English classes that I think it’s easy to skip over pragmatics. But relationships matter and for some techies, failure to pay attention to the feelings of others when communicating can even become critical in life and death situations.
There’s some pragmaticky stuff going on in the video that teachers might want to draw attention to, particularly with higher level students. Mr Mooney irritates Mrs Carmichael at various points. Where, how do we know, and why? (Body language and tone of voice are tell tale signs. He’s getting up her nose by talking down to her, being condescending, stating the blindingly obvious, not listening to her) Also what’s Mrs Carmichael thinking when she says ‘Oh plug it in! You must think I’m a perfect idiot’? Does she mean it or is she being sarcastic? What clues do we have?