Telephone Voice Mail Messages

Posted by Nancy Callan on 2 August 2013 | 0 Comments

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Many new immigrants answer the phone in their own language. A Korean immigrant might answer, "Yabusayo?" A Chinese immigrant might answer, "Wei?" Often their thinking is that most people who call them speak their language anyway and those who don't will understand that they are simply answering in their own language.

What often surprises them is that native English speakers might be just as likely to assume Yabusayo is the name of the restaurant they have just called. Alternatively, they might assume that Wei is the last name of the person who has just answered, that they are calling the Wei residence.  

I've always made a case for "hello" being a fairly universally understood telephone greeting. 

Even if your students do not plan to answer the phone in English or ever record a voice mail message in English, it is worthwhile practicing voice mail messages to gain familiarity with them. Here is a simple exercise below. Feel free to click on it to view it large on your computer and download it for use in your own classroom. You can also download the audio that follows to play on your computer for a little listening exercise


Download the audio by clicking here:



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