Listening Exercise: a phone call from Manchester.

Phone Call Listening Exercise

Here is a phone call to listen to.    The phone call is being made from Manchester Picadilly Train station which is one of the main train stations in the centre of the city.   It is very noisy in the background.

1   First listening – can you work out what is happening?    Why is she phoning?   What is happening?   Listen to the whole thing once or twice.

2   Now use the phone call as a mini dictation and listen in 10 or 20 second chunks and write down everything you can hear.    You might need to listen to each 20 seconds a few times to hear everything that is said.

Hi Paul,  it’s me….I’m on my way home from work. Don’t you remember I’m only working until lunchtime today?  Yea…I finished just before one.  Where do you think I am?   I’m at the station, I’m waiting for the train.   OK.

….anyway, how’s your morning been?  what are you up to tonight?  are you working tonight? No, great … Are you doing owt this afternoon?

No, well, I’ve got nowt planned,  So I was wondering if you want to meet, meet me in about half an hour or so? Have you eaten yet?  No, well neither have I.  Well I know we’ve got nowt in the fridge and I can’t be bothered to go to the supermarket on my afternoon off…….and I bet you haven’t been and bought anything for tea have you?   Have you been shopping while you’re at home?   No I didn’t think so…..

So why don’t we go out for something to eat?  We’ve got nowt in the house to eat,………come on..let’s use my afternoon off and do something…..why don’t you meet me when I get off the train…… let’s treat ourselves….. yea…there’s a new place in town…….it’s got special offers on…. you know for the first week it’s opened…it’s got a special offer half price menu…… You know where I mean? …..that place that used to be a bank on the High Street, it used to be, oh was it  the Nat West bank….yes yes, that one…yes, it’s opened up this week, as some sort of bar, restaurant, cocktail bar type place…I’m not sure exactly what it’s like……No I don’t know what sort of food it sells.   No I just saw it advertised and it said fifty per cent off for, for the first two weeks.  They want you to go in and try the menu…..Well if there’s nowt we fancy on the menu we can always just have a drink and then walk round the corner to that Italian place that you like…..


…Anyway, I’m sure the menu will be fine …… like most things…. you’ll eat owt…yes…I’m starving, I’m starving…. I’ll eat owt as long as I don’t have to cook it myself….I don’t mind what I eat……. Oh come on, let’s eat out…. .  It’s ages since we had an afternoon out  ……   and we went out for, for lunch….

OK well, the train’s due in a minute or two……yes, no, that’s not my train…….mine’s the next one at the platform….. yes my train will get in in about thirty minutes…… So meet me outside the station and we can walk up to this new place……Yes, leave the car at home…..yes, walk into town…. yes, come on….we’ve not done this for ages, been out in the afternoon…

come on so text the kids and tell them that we’ve gone out for lunch…and err yes why don’t you suggest they go the cinema… they can go the cinema after school….OK OK well check they’ve got the key with them in case they do want to come in…..ok well my train’s going to be here in a sec.  so I’ve got to go…OK OK right I will see you in half an hour…bye….

Expressions and vocabulary

Are you doing owt this afternoon?

This means:  Are you doing anything this afternoon?       Owt means Anything.   It is used throughout the North of England in particular in Lancashire and Yorkshire.   You will hear it a lot in informal spoken English.

 I’ve got nowt planned,

this means:  I’ve got nothing planned.    Nowt means Nothing.  Again it used throughout the North of England as the shortened, reduced form of Nothing.

You don’t need to use these words, but you do need to recognise them.

bought anything for tea

this means:  bought anything for the evening meal.          In the North of England the evening meal is usually called “tea” and the meal eaten midday at home is usually called dinner.

Nat West bank

this is the name of a British Bank that has recently closed a lot of local High Street branches.

 if there’s nowt we fancy on the menu

this means:   if there is nothing we want on the menu.      Nowt means nothing.    To fancy  means to want.   Again this verb – to fancy – is used a lot in the North of England, it’s informal and used a lot to talk about food and drink and activities.

Listen Again and notice all the contractions.

Native speakers use contractions all the time in natural speech.    Listen again and notice which contractions you found difficult to hear.

Which words did you find difficult to hear?   Was anything pronounced in a way you did not expect?

If you want to discuss any of this then please come over to my facebook group to discuss this phone call in more detail.

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