Video:Learn ESL: How to Ask Others to Speak Slowly on the Phonewith Patricia Jagt
If you're learning English as a second language, speaking on the phone can be difficult at first. This ESL video from About.com will offer advice on asking others to speak slowly while on the phone.See Transcript
Transcript:Learn ESL: How to Ask Others to Speak Slowly on the Phone
Hi, I'm Patricia Jagt in Vancouver, B.C. for About.com. In this video, you will learn how to ask others to speak slowly on the phone as an ESL student.
Asking Someone to Speak Slower
The best way to start a telephone conversation is to explain that you are not a native English speaker. I recommend you saying, "I'm still learning the language." Or, "English is not my first language." After the person is aware that English is not your first language, it is important to ask them to speak slowly. The question could sound like this: "Could you please speak slowly?"
If they need more clarification, you could say, "I don't understand. Would you speak more slowly please?" If you are still having trouble, further clarify with this: "I'm still having trouble understanding. Would you repeat that in a different way?" This question will give you time to carefully listen to the speaker repeat the ideas he or she is communicating to you.
Try Speaking in Your First Language
If the conversation has progressed and the speaker speeds up again, you can remind the speaker to slow down. Remind the speaker to slow down by saying: "You'll have to speak slowly. I'm still learning English." If the person has not responded to any of your requests to speak slowly, I recommend that you start speaking in your first language. This will make it very clear to the speaker that you do not understand.
Ask to Speak to Someone Else
Another option is to ask to speak to someone different, particularly if you are calling a business or location with other employees. If your desire is to speak to another person, you could politely explain, "I'm really struggling to understand you. Would there be a better time to call back to speak to somebody else?"
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