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Three More Conversations on Skype with American English Learners And Cellphone Vocabulary

This weekend, I got to speak three more times on Skype with two American English learners. I spoke twice with my friend Alexey from Russia and once for the first time with my friend Dan from Costa Rica. Both of them had to ask me to slow down a bit when I speak because I always forget that I am not speaking with natives. Hehe I need to be more aware of that so I can be a better teacher. At the same time though, it might help their listening comprehension improve since they will have to work at a more natural pace. :)


During my conversation with Dan, my Skype connection kept dropping. I apologized for my cellphone signal dropping comstantly during our conversation and this spawned a whole discussion on words used for talking about cellphones. So I will essentially give you the same vocabulary I gave him here as it may come im handy.


1. If you are talking to someone on a phone and suddenly the call ends due to your service, we say that the call, the signal, the connection, etc. dropped. So you might call back and say "Sorry, my signal dropped.", "Sorry, the call dropped.", "Sorry, my connection dropped.", etc. You can also say "Sorry, I lost service."


2. If your call ends because the Skype program stops running due to an error, we say that Skype crashed. So computers and software running on electronic devices crash when an error occurs that makes them stop working. Anyhow, an informal usage is  "Sorry, I don't know what the hell is wrong with my cellphone. Skype keeps crashing."


3. If your cellphone battery becomes empty and your cellphone shuts off on its own, we say it died. We also say our cellphone died if it shuts off and won't turn back on even after you recharge it. So you could say something like "Sorry. I didn't hang up on you. My cellphone died and I needed to recharge it." or "My cellphone is totally dead. I dropped it on the floor last night and now it won't even turn on."


4. If the software on your phone malfunctions and it aggrevates you, especially when you need to do something on it right away, we say the cellphone is being stupid. Here is an example informal dialog.


Mark: Can you look up movie times on your cellphone?

Steven: I'm trying to but this fricken cellphone is being stupid! It won't let me type in my zipcode!!! Grrrrr!


Oh, and by the way, we call them cellphones or just phones for short in the United States, not mobiles or mobile phones like in the UK. Oh, the joys of using different vocabulary. :)

May 12, 2014 2:06 AM
Comments · 6

Very instructive, thank you. This morning I've had my first skype session with a native Spanisch speaker. It was fun but also in the beginning the connection dropped twice. I'm gonna find out what it's called in Spanisch!

May 15, 2014

You can also say "Sorry. My phone dropped." It means the same as "My signal dropped." / "I lost signal." / "I lost reception.", etc. in #1. :) So many ways to say it. Hahaha

May 12, 2014

We also call them cells for short. So....


My cellphone is being stupid.

=My cell is being stupid.

=My phone is being stupid.



May 12, 2014

hey dude,whats ur skype?


May 15, 2014

You're welcome. If you find out the Spanish word for it, please post it here (maybe with an example sentence using it). That way I will know what it is too and others reading this will learn the corresponding Spanish word too. How do you say it in Dutch? :D

May 15, 2014
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Dutch, English, French, Gaelic (Irish), Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Spanish
Learning Language
Dutch, English, French, Gaelic (Irish), Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Spanish