“CONGRATULATIONS” – podcast (episode #14) – transcript

Listen to episode number 14   on iTunes

or here  :   http://info40650.podomatic.com/entry/2011-09-08T08_35_48-07_00

Then read the transcript : 

M – This time we’re dealing with a joyful topic ….CONGRATULATIONS!

C – Ok, Marta, congratulations on what?

M – On anything! We need to learn how to express our happiness to people in any situation.

C – You’re right, and how to praise someone for their success or achievement, both in a formal and informal context.

M – Yes, I noticed that Americans are usually very attentive to this, whenever someone takes an important step in their professional or personal life everybody congratulates properly.

C – Isn’t it how it’s supposed to be?

M – Sure, it’s really nice and polite. For example, I remember when flying back home from the States after getting married, the flight attendant said something about me being a newlywed and every American passenger on that plane turned around to congratulate us.

C – Only the American passengers?

M – Yeah. And they were all smiling and truly kind. They had never seen me before and they knew they wouldn’t see me again, still all those strangers felt like sharing a moment with me and it was just…you know, so unexpected to me and so…nice.

C – I see. That’s really sweet.

M – And from that moment on, I thought that if I didn’t congratulate on someone’s special moment in the appropriate way I would seem impolite or rude.

C – Yeah, I think it’s important to spread the joy when you can. I know, speaking a foreign language is so difficult. It’s not only about vocabulary or grammar, it’s about the habits and unwritten codes of a population, of a country. A single sentence said at the right moment in the right way can make the difference between being rude and being lovely.

M – That’s what I meant. Ok, then, let’s start with something easy. A conversation between friends. Mmm, ok. Cindy, yesterday I turned the radio on and one of my songs was on air in that very moment!

C – No!! How cool ! Congrats! I’m so happy for you, you deserve it.

M – Thanks! And do you remember that short musical I wrote for the kids of the summer camp? They performed it last week and the show was amazing!

C – Way to go! Great work, darling! Kudos! I’m so proud of you.

M – Thank you, I appreciate that! Now, let’s pretend that you and your husband have just gotten married, I would say something similar to what I was told by the passengers of that plane : “I wish you both all the happiness in the world!” or “Congratulations to the perfect couple!”

C – Yes, and when sending a card or an e-mail or texting, you could write something like: “Best wishes for your marriage” or “Sincere congratulations on your marriage”, or: “May your new life together bring you the joy you deserve”, or: “I write to send you my very best wishes for your future together.”.

M – Ok, now, a friend of mine is due to have a baby soon. How will I have to congratulate on a newborn?

C – You can say something like: “Congratulations on the birth of your baby boy or baby girl!” “Congratulations on the arrival of the newest member of the family!” or: “Best wishes for you and your beautiful baby!” Or “I wish you a lot of happiness with your little one!”

M – Great, and now let’s talk about Ashley.

C – Ashley?! Is she having a baby too?

M – Hopefully not, she’s just a teen-ager! I’ve heard she passed her driving test.

C – Oh, thank goodness it was just the driving test! Yeah, we mentioned that in episode number one about shopping. So what about it?

M – Well, I’d say something like : “Congratulations on passing your driving test! Good job, Ashley!” is that ok?

C – Sure, you only need to remember that the preposition to be used is ON, to congratulate someone on something.

M – And Ashley will also graduate sooner or later, how will I properly congratulate her on that?

C – Well, her dad would say: “Great, now get a job and move out, I’m not paying for your credit card any more!”

M – True!

C – But you could say something like : “Happy graduation! Wishing you luck and success in all that you do!” or “You did it! Congratulations, graduate. Wishing you the best things in your future to come.”

M – Ok, so I’m gonna say : “Congratulations Ashley, you’ve got a bright future in front of you!” And can you imagine her answer?

C – Mmm, Ashley, well, she’d probably say something like : (Ashley voice) Yeah, whatever, ok, so when are we going shopping?! You tell me you’d take me shopping, Marta, how about that sparkling eye shadow? I would love some new shoes, what do you think about pink? Uh! Pink, I definitely want pink. And I want…I want…I want silver eye shadow, oh my God, it would be so cool, will you take me to the mall, Marta, please???

M – Well, anyways, Ashley, we wish you the best of luck for your graduation

C – Thank you Marta.

M – Whenever it will be!

C – By the way, Marta, do you know any idioms to wish someone good luck?

M – Well, I know that musicians and actors never say “good luck” before going on stage. Because of a superstition. Saying good luck would in fact bring bad luck. They say “break a leg”.

C – Yes, Break a leg! Isn’t that weird?

M – Yeah! I once read that a possible explanation for this strange idiom is that when you break a leg you bend your knee, and that means that you take a bow and of course if you take a bow that’s because the audience is clapping their hands.

C – So when you say “Break a leg” to a performer you’re actually wishing a long applause at the end of their show.

M – Ok, let’s go back to congratulations. Remember when your husband was promoted last year, Cindy?

C – Hurray! Yes, he was really excited about it, his job means so much to him.

M – Ok, right. So let’s imagine that I’m a colleague who congratulates him on his promotion, so let’s keep it formal.

C – Ok, so you could say : “I want to congratulate you on your new position, I couldn’t imagine a more deserving person to be chosen.” or “I was very pleased to learn about your outstanding achievement”, or “Hard work, knowledge, experience and perseverence pay off and you have proved it!” or “I know you’re the right person for this job, you can count on my full support.”

M – Well, listeners, I’m sure now you can perfectly handle both formal and informal congratulations.

C – Keep listening to this podcast and excercising your English in any possible way. We’re sure that you’ll soon deserve a big “Congratulations!” on how much you’ve improved ! We await your comments and suggestions on podomatic.com, martainnocenti.com, iTunes, facebook and twitter.

M – See you soon!

C – Bye bye!

*********************

Let’s sum up:

to CONGRATULATE someone ON something

– Informal :
Congrats!
I’m so happy for you, you deserve it.
How cool !
Way to go!
Great work, darling!
Kudos!
I’m so proud of you.

– Marriage:
“I wish you both all the happiness in the world!”
“Congratulations to the perfect couple!”
“Best wishes for your marriage”
“Sincere congratulations on your marriage”
“May your new life together bring you the joy you deserve”
“I write to send you my very best wishes for your future together.”

– Newborn:
“Congratulations on the birth of your baby boy or baby girl!”
“Congratulations on the arrival of the newest member of the family!”
“Best wishes for you and your beautiful baby!”
“I wish you a lot of happiness with your little one!”

– Driving test:
“Congratulations on passing your driving test! Good job!”

– Graduation:
“Happy graduation! Wishing you luck and success in all that you do!”
“You did it! Congratulations, graduate. Wishing you the best things in your future to come.”
“Congratulations, you’ve got a bright future in front of you!”

– Promotion:
“I want to congratulate you on your new position, I couldn’t imagine a more deserving person to be chosen.”
“I was very pleased to learn about your outstanding achievement”
“Hard work, knowledge, experience and perseverence pay off and you have proved it!”
“I know you’re the right person for this job, you can count on my full support.”

*******

BREAK A LEG (idiom) : good luck for your performance!

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