BBC Learning English: The English We Speak – Interjections: Expressing pleasant surprise: Wow! sudden pain: Ouch! positive relief: Phew! negative reaction to unpleasant sensations of sight, touch, smell or taste: Ugh!
Finn accepts a challenge by Feifei to speak using only interjections. Does he manage to do this? Listen to the programme to find out.
Feifei: Hello, Finn. You are very talkative so I want to make a bet with you.
Finn: Hi, Feifei. OK. What’s the bet then?
Feifei: Well, we’re going to have a chat for the next few minutes and I bet you can’t express your feelings without using proper words.
Finn: Mmmm… OK, so no proper words. But I can use interjections, can’t I?
Finn: Yes. These are mostly sounds we make to express sudden emotions such as surprise, delight, displeasure, disappointment, pain, things like that. We use them more when we speak than when we write.
Feifei: OK. Here we go. I have just bought this dress…
Feifei: Yes. I know you’re pleasantly surprised. It’s by a very famous designer. It was the last one in the shop and cost a lot of money. There was this woman in the shop who wanted the dress too. She tried to snatch it from me and she pinched my arm like this… I’ll do it to you…
Feifei: You felt a sudden pain, didn’t you? She did that to me. It was really painful. Look at my bruise. Look!
Feifei: It’s not a pretty sight, is it? It’s unpleasant to look at. And… well, I think you won the bet, Finn.
Feifei: You’re obviously delighted – happy with the outcome of our bet. You can speak normally now. I know you’re bursting to use proper words!
Feifei: An expression of relief. Come on, Finn. Talk to me. I miss hearing you speak.
Finn: And I miss speaking in full sentences. Interjections are the focus of today’s The English We Speak. Let’s remember the ones I used.
- Expressing pleasant surprise: Wow!
- Expressing sudden pain: Ouch!
- Expressing a negative reaction to unpleasant sensations of sight, touch, smell or taste: Ugh!
- Expressing delight with an outcome: Yippee!
- Expressing positive relief: Phew!
Feifei: I must say you are very good at expressing things. Interjections are very useful indeed!
Finn: Though they might sound different in other languages – people might make a sound for a sudden pain other than ‘ouch!’, but I think the meaning would be very clear.
(A cup of coffee on the desk was knocked over by accident)
Feifei: There’s only one thing I’m not happy about, Finn. You’ve just spilt your coffee over my new dress!
Feifei: An interjection expressing a negative reaction to having done something wrong by accident. I’ll forgive you, though.
Finn: I’m sorry, Feifei. Thanks. Time to go. Bye.
The English We Speak – Interjections Transcript Video
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