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Talking the Talk

50 Useful English Dialogues50 Useful English Dialogues For You and Your Friends
Kuznetsova
2007

Submitter: While weeding in the children’s world languages section of our public library, this book caught my attention because of the mild condition issues and the chicken on the cover who likes to dance.  There are many things rather awful about this book: The uninspiring line illustrations (the awesome chicken is false advertising), the fact that it teaches British English and our library is in the U.S., standard phrasebook quirkiness, and the strange premise of Russian and English children vacationing in Madrid together apparently without any adult supervision.  These could all be overcome if the book was moderately useful for learning English.

Unfortunately, it is full of strangely translated phrases including:
“This is my player.  I like to listen to the music.”
“Chicken or meat?”
“I want to become brown.”

Holly: “I want to become brown”? I guess that means that while vacationing in Madrid one might want to get a tan. They sure use a lot of exclamation points, too. I agree with submitter on all counts.

50 Useful English Dialogues title page

50 Useful English Dialogues Chicken or meat

50 Useful English Dialogues clothes and music

50 Useful English Dialogues tanning

50 Useful English Dialogues snorkelling

14 Responses to Talking the Talk

  • Disco. That clearly dates this. This book has to be from… 2007?
    I understand that these kids wouldn’t be offered alcohol, but do airlines really no longer offer soda as a beverage option? I am willing to believe they’d serve unidentified meat.

  • I am ALL ABOUT that patriotic chicken. LET’S DANCE!

  • Disco disco disco! And sun cream? That’s not for boys!
    Dafuq?

  • Where are you guys seeing “Madrid”? or is that in another part of the book that wasn’t scanned?

    Also, loving the idea of chess on the beach and starting a conversation with “Disco, disco, disco!”

    • Important plot information from pages not shown: Fred is 10, Dima is 9, Nancy is 8, and Masha is 7. There are no responsible adult members of their party in any of the English dialogues or pictures. Apparently, they fly into somewhere in Spain that is not Madrid, meet each other at a hotel called the Tropicana, have their disco, disco, disco time and beach fun, then they take a day trip to Madrid by bus. At the very end, after 92 pages of awkwardly worded adventures, they are reunited with a Mister Bennett who says “Oh, my God! I was worrying! I was worrying!”. -R (the submitter)

  • Hello! Let us count our dresses and list the colors of them!
    Maybe we should not have had all that coffee! And sweets! We seem unable to stop using exclamation points! Disco, disco, disco!

  • DA. CHICKEN IS HEALTHFUL VEGITARIAN OPTION ON AEROFLOT.

    YOU GET SUNBURN, BUT ALSO YOU PLAY CHESS. IS GOOD, TSAR PUTIN APPROVE.

    IN GULAG YOU WATCH BOLSHOI BALLET, READ TURGENYEV, ETC. (Or else).

  • The use of the words ‘mate’ and ‘sweets’ would be fine in a book in a British English speaking nation, but I agree it’s not very useful for a book in a US library.

  • Okay, so sun cream is not for boys (apparently the y-chromosome prevents sunburn), and chess is easily played at the beach (I love chess, but the sand all over the board and pieces would drive me crazy). Awesome! Let’s become brown!

    The other thing I found oddly phrased was “Have you got…” Is this also a more common/proper way of asking in British English? In the US, I tend to think of “Do you have…” as more correct/slightly more formal. “Have you got…” sounds awkward to me…. hm.

    • I have an audio language learning program for Japanese that was made in England, and Crystal–your comment just made me remember it. There’s a whole segment called “Have you got..” (Have you got…a room for one person? etc.) So I expect this is in fact a Britishism.
      Like the other commenters, I had issues with the coffee, the chess at the beach, and the girly “sun cream” as well. : )