B1 Dialog #104 Talking about the Alphabet

Today we are going to talk about the alphabet. As always you can read the text in the PDF which you can find in the description. Follow our podcasts on iTunes and Yandex Music. For more new dialogs subscribe to our channel.

How to work with the dialog?

  1. Listen to the dialog and read the PDF transcript. Turn on subtitles if necessary.
  2. Listen to the dialog again, repeating the questions and answers aloud (!!!).
  3. Come up with your own answers to the questions. Use PDF vocabulary if needed.
  4. Listen to the questions and answer them aloud (!!!), with a correct intonation, pronunciation and rhythm.
  5. Come back to the video from time to time and repeat the exercise.

Talking about Alphabet

(1) Are there twenty six letters in the alphabet of your language?

No, the Russian alphabet has 33 letters. 10 of them are vowels and 21 consonants!

(2) Does your language have an alphabet?

Sure! Each language has an alphabet. Letters are the bricks, which we use to build the words.

(3) What are the differences between the English alphabet and your language’s writing system?

The Russian language is more difficult. We have more letters. They are hard to pronounce. We also have two additional signs, a soft sign and a solid one. They make our writing system more confusing.

(4) What is the most frequently used letter of the alphabet?

It’s definitely the letter A. A lot of words contain this letter.

(5) Which letters of the English alphabet do you not like or have problems with?

In general, all English letters are not difficult. But the pronunciation of English words can be tricky sometimes. Especially for Russian people, because our language is absolutely different. 

(6) Do you think English spelling is confusing?

Sometimes it does. There are specific rules that can confuse learners. For example words such as a knife, a ghost, a light. They are really confusing to spell. 

(7) Are the letters of the alphabet pronounced the same in British, American and Australian English?

It’s a well known fact that British, American and Australian pronunciations are different. British and Australians speak pure and very understandable English, whereas American or Canadian English is not so clear. 

(8) Did you have any problems learning the letters of the alphabet?

No, it was easy and a lot of fun!

(9) What is the difference between consonants and vowels?

A vowel is a speech sound made with your mouth fairly open. A consonant is a sound made with your mouth fairly closed.

(10) Do you know the English alphabet?


Anya —> Rinat

(1) Do you like the English alphabet?

Yes I do. The alphabet of any language is a fundamental thing. It’s important to know it.

(2) How did you learn the alphabet?

I don’t think I focused a lot on learning the English alphabet. When we learn to speak English we learn the alphabet anyway. 

(3) What do you think of other alphabets (Russian, German, etc)?

Russian and German alphabets are more difficult. By the way I still don’t know the German alphabet, but I speak this language pretty well. It’s interesting.

(4) Who invented the English alphabet?

I think a lot of European nations influenced the English alphabet. It’s hard to say now who exactly invented it.

(5) Why do you think each letter has so many different pronunciations and uses?

There are a variety of reasons. In some languages a lot of words are borrowed from other languages. For example German has a lot of words borrowed from French. Also defferent nations influence the language in different ways. That’s why the sound A for example is pronounced so differently in different languages.

(6) How do you think the alphabet could be made easier to use and understand?

There is no way to make it easier I think. People have spent thousands of years making the alphabet as it is today.

(7) Would you like to learn a character-based system like Chinese?

Yeah! Learning Chinese is one of my goals for the future.

(8) When is the best age to introduce children to the alphabet?

The earlier the better! That’s for sure. Children learn languages much faster than adults.

(9) What does “the ABCs of” mean?

To know the ABCs of something means to know the most basic things (about something). For example:

He doesn’t even know the ABC’s of engineering.