E017 Smart ‘n’ Casual

Welcome to English with Kimberley.

In this episode, I want to talk about how being a bit informal is much better than being formal if you want to communicate more effectively.

For example, do you say or write, ‘I’ve been decorating my apartment’ (quite formal), or ‘I’ve been doing up my apartment’ (a bit less formal)?

Before we continue, let’s have our usual quiz.

Australians are often known to be ‘laidback’. What does ‘laidback’ mean in this context?

a) Someone who likes their sofa.

b) Someone who is always late.

c) Someone who doesn’t like to exercise.

or d) Someone who is generally quite relaxed about things.

So, let me repeat the question. Australians are often known to be ‘laidback’. What does ‘laidback’ mean in this context?

a) Someone who likes their sofa.

b) Someone who is always late.

c) Someone who doesn’t like to exercise.

or d) Someone who is generally quite relaxed about things.

Well! Australians are often thought to be very relaxed about things which often comes over as quite strange or uncomfortable for many non-Australians. So, the answer is d) ‘Someone who is generally relaxed about something’.

But it doesn’t matter whether you are Australian or not. Being a little less formal in your communication can often help you because it makes you sound friendlier and open.

Often people get a bit upset if you use formal language with them because they think you are trying to make yourself better than them, even if you’re not. For example, if I say, ‘Can I remind you that it’s your turn to wash the dishes?’ I’m likely to get a very funny look back. But if I say, ‘Isn’t it your turn to do the dishes?’ I’m likely to get a smile!

How do you become less formal? Well that’s difficult, but some ways that we can do this is to use:

  • short forms like ‘I’m’, ‘would’ve’ and ‘You’ll’
  • relaxed speech like ‘wouldya’, ‘couldy’ and ‘whachawant’
  • or, some slang terms and idioms like ‘back on your feet’ for ‘recovered from an illness’ and ‘wrap this up’ for ‘we need to finish this now’

OK, as always, at the end of our podcast, we have our fun quiz.

Sometimes when we make our language formal we often make it difficult for others to understand. So, it is always best to use what?

a) Simply English

b) Plain English

c) Uncomplicated English

or d) Basic English

And again…

Sometimes when we make out language formal we often make it difficult for others to understand. So, it is always best to use what?

a) Simply English

b) Plain English

c) Uncomplicated English

or d) Basic English

Did you get b) ‘Plain English’? Well, well done!

By the way, “plain English’ will be a topic of another podcast, but if you want to do some more study why don’t you type ‘informal and formal English’ into your browser and see what comes up. You can also type ‘plain English’.

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You can also find a script of this podcast at www.goaustralia.biz

– or Apple Podcasts.

I hope you have enjoyed this podcast and you’ll join me again.