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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Vietnamese
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      • Vietnam
      • Current Location:
      • Vietnam

    • Join Date: Jan 2006
    • Posts: 43
    #1

    How to Begin a Conversation

    Hi!

    At school we were taught to use the following polite expressions when we want to attract someone's attention and begin a conversation:

    Formally: "Excuse me, Sir/Madam/Mr. ...", "Sorry to interrupt, but may I ask ..."
    Informally, but still very politely: "Excuse me, John/Marie, do you know where ...", "Hi! John/Marie, could you kindly..."

    In another social setting, where politeness is not necessarily required, (e.g., when we have to talk to bad guys at a night club, members of a gang of drug dealers, or pickpockets), what should we say? Can we say something like "Hey, you!", "Hey, guys!"? What should we say in order to be socio-linguistically appropriate?

    This is just for my knowledge. I'm a non-native speaker of English, and I'd appreciate very much your kind help.

    AnneTrinh
    Last edited by AnneTrinh; 28-Feb-2006 at 02:40.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
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      • UK
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      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,864
    #2

    Re: How to Begin a Conversation

    It depends on what you want to say to them. If you want them to leave, then something like 'Oi' would work- it attracts attention and lacks social graces. If you wanted to trade with them, then something like 'Hi' would be more suitable.

    • Member Info
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      • Vietnamese
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    #3

    Re: How to Begin a Conversation

    Thanks a lot, tdol. Still, could you give some more options? Would "Oi, you!", or "Hey, guy!" be ok, if we want to address to a particular guy or member of the gang?

    Anne

  1. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,552
    #4

    Re: How to Begin a Conversation

    "Oi, you!" is British and can be quite rude. It often expresses impatience or anger, as in:

    "Oi, you! Follow that car!" (to a taxi driver in a moment of high drama in an action movie)

    "Oi, you! Come back!" (to a pickpocket who's just run off with your money)

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Vietnamese
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      • Vietnam
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    • Join Date: Jan 2006
    • Posts: 43
    #5

    Re: How to Begin a Conversation

    Thanks a lot, rewboss. Have a nice day!

    Anne
    Last edited by AnneTrinh; 28-Feb-2006 at 02:39.

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