Learning Vocabulary: Connection Problems
In this week's Premier Skills English Podcast, Rich and Jack call their boss and have a few technical problems with Skype. Can they get their microphones and cameras to work properly? The language focus is on words and phrases connected to online calls. In this week's task, we want you to tell us about a time you had a technical problem with an online call or a funny story you've heard in the news connected to online calls. Don't forget to listen to the end of the podcast because we have a new football phrase for you to guess.
Learning Vocabulary: Connection Problems
Jack: Hello my name’s Jack
Rich: and I’m Rich and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast
Jack: Where we talk about football and help you with your English.
Rich: This week’s podcast is all about getting connected online. Lots more people are working and studying from home right now which means online meetings and lessons.
Jack: And not everyone is finding it that easy. Microphones not working, cameras pointing up noses, kids running up to the screen when mum or dad is talking to the big boss.
Rich: Yes, things can go wrong sometimes.
Jack: In this week’s roleplay, we have an online meeting with our boss and not everything goes to plan.
Rich: We have a few problems - a few technical issues.
Jack: After the roleplay, we’ll take a look at some of the language that we used connected to online calls and we’ll have a task for you to do.
Rich: If you’re listening to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or any other podcast platform, you should also check out our website.
Jack: That’s because on the Premier Skills English website you’ll also find the transcript, examples and activities to help you understand the language, a task for you to do and a community of friendly listeners to interact with, in our comments section.
Rich: And that includes Jack and me - we’re always around to answer questions and join the discussions.
Jack: A lot to get through today and before we get into all that we need to look back at last week’s football phrase.
Last week’s Football Phrase
Jack: If you didn’t hear our football phrase last week we’re going to give you one more chance to guess now.
Rich: Jack didn’t think anyone would get this phrase right, but lots of you did. The phrase was ***** ****. The phrase describes opponents that you often lose against and rarely play well against even if, on paper, you have better players than them. Many clubs have a ***** **** and it is often difficult to find the reason why they always lose against them.
Jack: We’ll give you the correct answer at the end of the show when we give you a new football phrase.
Rich: The first listener to get it right last week was Sabanoleg from Ukraine. Congratulations Sabanoleg - you’ve got the phrase right many times but I think this is the first time you were first to it!
Jack: A big well done to Marco from Mexico, Luibomyr from Ukraine, Lakerwang from China and Elghoul from Algeria. All of you got the right answer, too.
Rich: Remember we’ll have a new football phrase for you to guess at the end of the show.
Introduction to Roleplay
Jack: In this section, you’re going to hear a roleplay. Jack and Rich need to speak to their boss.
Rich: At the moment, the only way to do that is online so they give her a call on Skype.
Jack: While you listen we have a two questions for you to answer:
Rich: The first question is: Which pieces of technology are not working?
Jack: And the second question is: Who do you think will be most embarrassed about what happens?
Jack: Morning, Rich. How’s it going? Rich? Rich? I can see you but I can’t hear you.
Jack: OK, OK so you can see me. I can see you waving. Can you hear me? What about a joke? Let me see … Why are Norwich City the strongest team in the Premier League?
Jack: You don’t know? You don’t want to know?
Rich: Please, stop - the worst joke ever and probably the oldest!
Jack: Your mic’s working now.
Rich: Yes, just in time. How’s it going?
Jack: Good - well not that good. The website is down.
Rich: Oh no?
Jack: Yes, I just get an error message. A 502 error message. Can you check that it’s the same with you?
Rich: Yes, I’m checking now. Yes, the same here. What shall we do?
Jack: I’ve already told tech support and they’re on it but we probably need to give Bob a ring to let him know. It’s probably just a temporary server issue but he’ll want to know.
Rich: I’ll add him to the call.
Jack: Sure - a group chat. Good idea.
Rich: Bob. It’s Rich and Jack here. Can we have a quick word?
Jack: Bob? Is your mic on? Everyone seems to be having technical problems today.
Rich: I can’t see him or hear him. Can you see us, Bob? I don’t think he can hear us.
Jack: BOB YOUR MIC IS SWITCHED OFF. CAN YOU SWITCH IT ON?
Rich: Shouting won’t help if his speakers aren’t working. He needs to check his audio settings.
Jack: I thought maybe he had his headphones plugged in and had left them on his desk.
Rich: He’s got his camera on now but I can only see the top of his head - not the best view.
Jack: Shhh! He could turn his speakers on at any moment plus that’s not very nice.
Rich: I don’t think he’s even noticed that we’re calling him. He’s still eating his breakfast in his pyjamas.
Jack: Perhaps he meant to decline our call instead of accepting it?
Rich: Maybe. Bob seems to be eating coco-pops for breakfast. I’d always thought of him as more of a porridge man.
Jack: I’m going to send a message in the chat.
Rich: Type how are the coco-pops?
Jack: No! Hi Bob. Can you hear us?
Rich: He’s just nearly choked on his coco pops.
Jack: He can see us now. I don’t think he can hear us.
Rich: Morning, Bob. We can’t hear you.
Jack: Hang on, he’s typing something. He can hear us now - he’s got his headphones on.
Rich: Can you go to your audio settings, Bob?
Jack: Click on the three little dots in the top left corner - next to your name.
Rich: OK Bob, yeah, sure - we’ll call back in a few minutes.
Jack: He’s gone but he hasn’t hung up. Where’s he going?
Rich: I think he’s getting changed. Bob! Oh no - quick, turn it off.
Jack: Before the roleplay, we asked you two questions. Did you manage to answer them?
Rich: The first question was: Which pieces of technology are not working?
Jack: Well, it wasn’t that the tech wasn’t working it was that Rich and Bob were having problems making them work.
Rich: Yes, I was having problems with my microphone at first but I got there in the end.
Jack: And Bob was having problems with everything. His microphone wasn’t working so he couldn’t speak to us, his speakers weren’t working so he couldn’t hear us and his camera, well that was working but it was in the wrong place and he forgot to turn it off.
Rich: It wasn’t an ideal online call. The second question was Who do you think will be the most embarrassed?
Jack: Well, we all sometimes have technical problems but I don’t think I’ve ever left my camera on by accident - I think Bob would be the most embarrassed.
Rich: But we will never tell him about it, will we?
Jack: No, never.
Rich: Let’s take a look at some of the language we used in the roleplay.
Jack: Let’s start by thinking about how we could help someone who is having technical problems.
Rich: I sometimes have to help my dad with Skype when I call him because he can’t get things to work properly. I have to tell him how to go to his audio settings by clicking on this button or that icon.
Jack: Yes, I sometimes need to help older relatives, too. I also sometimes say things like press this button but these aren’t the correct words. We should be saying click on the icon.
Rich: On a computer, we click on things. We click on links and icons. An icon is a small symbol that represents a programme, an app or another page.
Jack: We might click on icons to open up a programme. On mobile phones, we tap on icons to open up an app. We tap on something with our fingers.
Rich: Click on or tap on an icon. Let’s look at a few more actions we used in the roleplay. You can add someone to a call.
Jack: To add is to put something together with something else. We added Bob to our group chat. There were two of us on the call and we added Bob to make three.
Rich: Some other examples are: Can I add your name to the list? Can you add a bit more salt to this? Could I just add a little more to what you are saying here?
Jack: We can accept or decline an online call. When we accept a call we want to speak to the person calling and we might click or tap on a green icon of a telephone.
Rich: When we decline a call we don’t want to speak to someone and we might click or tap on a red icon of a telephone.
Jack: We might decline a call because we are busy and call them back later. Call back is a useful phrasal verb - it means to phone someone again.
Rich: In the roleplay, we said that we’d call back in a few minutes because Bob was busy.
Jack: We used another phrasal verb in the roleplay - to hang up.
Rich: To hang up means to end a call. Bob forgot to hang up at the end of our Skype call but we hung up before anything embarrassing happened!
Jack: Hang is both a regular verb and an irregular verb. We can use hung or hanged in the past but I think it is more common to use hung when we use this phrasal verb.
Rich: I hanged up the phone - I hung up the phone. Yes, I would say hung up.
Jack: Let’s take a quick look at a few other words we used in the roleplay. We had quite a few mic problems in the roleplay.
Rich: The mic is the microphone. In the roleplay, we were saying things like your mic is off and can you turn your mic on?
Jack: We spoke about headphones and speakers. You listen through these. Your headphones go on your head - earphones go in your ear.
Rich: Speakers are either in your computer - internal speakers - or you have some external speakers on your desk or maybe you have other speakers to listen to music on.
Jack: Let’s look at one last phrasal verb - to plug in. I think it’s a useful one. In the roleplay, I said Bob might have his headphones plugged in.
Rich: To plug something in or to plug something into something means to connect a piece of electrical equipment to the main electricity supply or to another piece of electrical equipment.
Jack: You plug headphones into a computer or your mobile for example. You probably plug your laptop into the socket in a wall. If you forget to plug something in, it won’t work or will run out of battery.
Rich: OK, that’s enough language for now. There are more examples and activities to check your understanding of all these words and phrases on the Premier Skills English website.
Jack: To find this lesson, go to the homepage or click on skills, then click on podcasts and finally click on Learning Vocabulary: Connection Problems.
Rich: Your task this week is to tell us about a problem you have had or someone else has had when making calls online.
Jack: Tell us who you were calling and what problems you had.
Rich: Was it a problem with your audio or video settings? Did someone forget to plug in their headphones? Was the camera in the wrong place? Did you fix the problem? How?
Jack: Many people are getting used to using online calls for the first time right now and there have been a few funny stories related to online meetings in the news. Can you tell us about a funny story you’ve heard about?
Rich: Try to experiment with some of the language we introduced in the roleplay.
Jack: Write all your answers in the comments section on the Premier Skills English website or on Apple Podcasts if that’s where you listen to us.
Rich: It’s your turn with this week’s football phrase, Jack.
Jack: I’ve got a more straight forward phrase this week. Well, I think it’s straight forward. This week’s football phrase is *** ** ***. When a match is described as *** ** *** it means that both teams are attacking a lot and the play is moving from one side of the pitch to the other a lot. *** ** *** matches are usually exciting to watch, have lots of attacking play and lots of goals.
Rich: Let’s see who can get it right. Before we leave you we also need to tell you last week’s football phrase. The answer was bogey team.
Jack: Right, that’s all we have time for this week! Don’t forget to write your answers to our questions and make a guess at our football phrase in the comments below. If you get it right, we’ll announce your name on next week’s show.
Rich: If you have any questions or comments or suggestions for the podcast or anything football or English related, you can leave them on the website in the comments section, on social media, on apple podcasts or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rich: Bye for now and enjoy your football!
How much did you understand?
Here is the vocabulary you saw at the top of this page and how Rich and Jack used it in the roleplay. Do you know the words in bold?
OK, OK so you can see me. I can see you waving.
Good - well not that good. The website is down.
I’ve already told tech support and they’re on it.
We probably need to give Bob a ring to let him know.
He’s still eating his breakfast in his pyjamas.
I’d always thought of him as more of a porridge man.
Hang on, he’s typing something. He can hear us now - he’s got his headphones on.
Listen to the roleplay again to hear how Rich and Jack used these words and phrases.
Online Calls - Hardware
In the roleplay, Rich and Jack tried to speak to their boss online but Rich and his boss had a few hardware problems. Hardware is the word that is used to describe the physical objects connected to computers such as a mouse or a keyboard. Have a look at the sentences below and check you understand all the words in bold.
Bob? Is your mic on? We can't hear you. Everyone seems to be having technical problems today.
Shouting won’t help if his speakers aren’t working. He needs to check his audio settings.
I thought maybe he had his headphones plugged in and had left them on his desk.
He’s got his camera on now but I can only see the top of his head - not the best view.
Online Calls - Actions
In the roleplay, Rich and Jack also used a few words and phrases to describe the actions that often take place during online calls. Have a look at the sentences below and check you understand all the words in bold. If you're not sure, have a listen to Jack and Rich's explanation in the language focus ().
I’ll add him to the call.
He needs to check his audio settings.
I thought maybe he had his headphones plugged in and had left them on his desk.
He could turn his speakers on at any moment.
Perhaps he meant to decline our call instead of accepting it?
I’m going to send a message in the chat.
Click on the three little dots in the top left corner - next to your name.
OK Bob, yeah, sure - we’ll call back in a few minutes.
He’s gone but he hasn’t hung up. Where’s he going?
This week’s task is to tell us about a problem you have had or someone else has had when making calls online.
Tell us who you were calling and what problems you had:
- Was it a problem with your audio or video settings?
- Did someone forget to plug in their headphones?
- Was the camera in the wrong place?
- Did you fix the problem? How?
Many people are getting used to using online calls for the first time right now and there have been a few funny stories related to online meetings in the news.
Can you tell us about a funny story you’ve heard about?
Try to use some of the language that we have introduced in this podcast and do you know the punchline (answer) to the 'bad' joke Jack told at the beginning of the roleplay?
Write all your answers in the comments section below and don't forget to make a guess at this week's football phrase!