July 11

C1 Speaking Skills: Mastering the Art of Talking About Your Neighbours

Kristian: “Hello, dear listeners, and welcome back to another episode of the ‘C1 Speaking’ podcast. This is your host, Kristian, and today, we’ll be tackling a topic within the broader theme of Home and Accommodation: our relationship with our neighbours. Without any further ado, let’s delve right into it.

Kristian: “Today’s question is: ‘How well do you know your neighbours?’ Now, let’s unpack my own personal thoughts on this.

Kristian: “Actually, it’s quite interesting you ask. Truth be told, I don’t really know my neighbours well. We do share the same building, but our interactions tend to be limited to polite nods or brief greetings in the lift or the hallway.

You see, in today’s world, everyone seems to lead busy lives, leaving little room to build close relationships. It’s a bit of a shame, I reckon. As the proverb goes, ‘Better is a neighbour nearby than a brother far away’.

However, I respect everyone’s need for privacy, including my own. So, yeah, my knowledge of my neighbours is rather superficial, but we do maintain a pleasant and respectful atmosphere, which is good enough for me.”

Kristian: “Now, let’s take a moment to reflect on my response. As always, you can follow along with the transcript available on my website, c1speaking.com. I started off with phrases like “Actually, it’s quite interesting you ask” and “Truth be told,” which are often used to set the tone and initiate a response. They’re part of what we call starters in spoken language. Can you substitute these starters?

“Funny you should ask”, or “I’m glad you brought that up”.

“To tell you the truth”, “to be frank”, “frankly speaking” or “between you and me”.   

Kristian: “Then, you’d notice phrases like “You see,” and “So, yeah,” which are examples of fillers that provide a natural flow and give me time to gather my thoughts.

Kristian: “I’ve also used some common word pairings, or collocations, like ‘polite nods’, ‘brief greetings’, ‘busy lives (hectic schedules)’, ‘close relationships’ (strong ties), and ‘my knowledge of my neighbours is rather superficial’ (I barely know my neighbours). These give the speech a natural fluency.”

Kristian: “Well, there you have it, my friends. We’ve covered starters, fillers, linkers, collocations, and examples of natural spoken language in this conversation. I hope it helps you appreciate the nuances of spoken English and helps you in your learning journey.”

Kristian: “That’s all for today’s episode. As always, thanks for joining us. If you like what we did in this episode, I’ve got some exciting news: I’m going to release a 3-hour audio course to help you excel in your C1 speaking exam. The release date will be on September 1st, but if you want early access to this brand new course, you should pay close attention to the next episode of the podcast.

All right, that’s all for today. Speak soon, my friends. Bye for now!”

About the Author

As a Dutch proficient speaker of English, Kristian not only holds a grade A Cambridge C2 certificate but is also CELTA qualified. His five years of experience as a teacher and ESL exam coach, specialising in Cambridge English C1, C2, and IELTS, has equipped him with a unique blend of skills to guide and support your English learning journey.

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