Have you ever been to New York ? Is it on your list of things to do ? Do you like big cites ? Do you live in the USA? What do you think of tourists to your country?
Listen to this podcast in which Laura, a French-British young women talks to Sue about her holiday, or vacation as they say in American English.
If you are learning English listen very carefully to how Laura talks about her trip. She is half way through her holiday so notice how she describes actions/events in the past and then actions/events in the recent past and then actions/ events in the future. This podcast is a great way to see all these grammatical structures.
Notice the use of the Simple Past tense to indicate something that Laura did in the past.
I booked the hotel on line. I bought a Tourist pass before I came
Sue asks Laura; How did you cope with the jet leg when you arrived?
Notice the use of the Present Perfect tense which Laura uses to describe something she has done recently, within the last few days but without mentioning the exact day.
I have been to see the Statue of Liberty. I‘ve done so many things. I have taken a cab. I’ve been to wrong places. I have been to Five Guys. I’ve spoken to quite a few people from new York.
Notice the use of the Present Continuous tense to describe a current situation.
Sue asks Laura: How are you getting around ?
People in the street are all carrying a cup of soda or coffee.
Notice the use of the future tenses.
Sue asks Laura: What are you doing after this diner? When are you heading back ?
I’m going to visit Brooklyn Bridge and the Highline later this afternoon.
To learn more vocabulary don’t forget to do the New York Skyline Quiz… it’s awesome !
The New York Skyline Quiz
The New York skyline is world famous, but how well do you really know it
Spelling place names in English can be difficult, especially if the sounds of the letters are similar to the letters of the alphabet in your own language as this can lead to confusion.
Spelling place names in English is not difficult, but it takes a lot of practice for you to become proficient, especially if you are trying to understand spelling over the phone, for example.
Most people read words more accurately than they spell them. The younger the learners are, the truer this is.
Spelling, however, is a very different matter.
Once learners have learnt more than one way of spelling particular sounds, choosing the right letter or letters depends on their either having made a conscious effort to learn the words or having absorbed them less consciously through their reading.
The problem is generally that learners have not had enough time to learn or absorb the accurate spelling of all the words that they may want to write.
This illustrates the need to fully use the fours skills in language learning ; Listening, Speaking, Reading and writing – it is a little like making a cocktail, too much of one ingredient and not enough of another and the cocktail can taste either delicious or horrible.
In language learning, learners need to use all four skills in a balanced way – reading and writing will ultimately help spelling, but practice is needed to become fully familiar with the sounds of words and letters in order to become skillful in spelling words, which will improve with practice.
The Proust Questionnaire is a questionnaire about one’s personality. Its name and modern popularity as a form of interview is owed to the responses given by the French writer Marcel Proust.
At the end of the nineteenth century, when Proust was still in his teens, he answered a questionnaire in an English-language confession album belonging to his friend Antoinette, daughter of future French President Félix Faure, titled “An Album to Record Thoughts, Feelings, etc.” At that time, it was popular among English families to answer such a list of questions that revealed the tastes and aspirations of the taker.
Proust answered always with enthusiasm. The original manuscript of his answers of 1890, at the time of his volunteer internship or some little time afterwards, titled “by Marcel Proust himself,” was found in 1924. It was auctioned on May 27, 2003 for the sum of €102,000.
The French television host Bernard Pivot, seeing an opportunity for a writer to reveal at the same time aspects of his work and his personality, traditionally subjected his guests to the Proust questionnaire at the end of the French broadcast Apostrophes.
Inspired by Bernard Pivot, James Lipton, the host of the TV program Inside the Actors Studio, gives an adapted version of the Proust Questionnaire to his guests. Lipton has often incorrectly characterized the questionnaire itself as an invention of Pivot.
A similar questionnaire is regularly seen on the back page of Vanity Fair magazine, answered by various celebrities. In October 2009, Vanity Fair launched an interactive version of the questionnaire, that compares individual answers to those of various luminaries.
Another version of the questionnaire, as answered by various Canadian authors, is a regular feature on the radio program The Next Chapter.
For the benefits of this quick-fire question podcast, we have simplified it even further and we make no claims that it reveals the true personality of the person – especially as the questions are asked in English to a non-native person.
In this podcast we talk about surnames in The UK, especially including some famous names and where they originate from – so we are looking at what is in a name.
Everyone has one, no matter where you are from (with a few notable exceptions) and they are what make us, ‘us’.
Your surname, or family name, links you to thousands of people around the world, and the development of surnames, and their unique qualities are something that has interested people from all over the world for many years.
Your surname is your last name, your family name, and gives you a sense of belonging to that group of people with the same name as you.
Surnames originated in places where highly concentrated populations meant that first names were not sufficient enough to differentiate between people, some were from physical appearances, some from family, some from geographical features and some were from trades and jobs.
The variation in the meaning behind a surname is wide and far reaching.
In some areas around the world, the surname is written first, but the aim of the surname is still for the same common goal, to differentiate people from other groups.
Some surnames originated in far off lands and were changed slightly to fit into the country where people emigrated to and some are composite names, made from both the mother’s and fathers family to make what we call a double-barrelled name.
During the reign of King Richard 1, known as “The Lionheart”, 1189 – 1199 surnames became necessary when governments introduced taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to “develop” often leading to some unusual variants of the original spelling.
Let us know your surname and if you know the origins, then please share it with our listeners in the comments below.
Before listening, do you know what bucket lists are?
1. Does Sue want to swim with dolphins?
2. Where does Chris want to go for his bucket list?
3. Where does Sue say she thinks the Northern Lights are?
Listen to the podcast and try the following :
First relax, sit down, close your eyes then listen to the podcast all the way through.
Note down some ideas of what you expect the Podcast will be about. If needed have a look on the Internet for the keyword, ‘Bucket Lists’ to prepare yourself for the listening. Here is a link HERE and HERE to start you off.
Listen to JUST Sue, ignoring Chris and try to work out globally what her questions and comments are. (you won’t understand everything, so there is no point trying at this point.)
Listen to just Chris as above.
Now go back and listen to Sue – take a sheet of paper, draw a line down the middle, on the left of the paper, write any ideas that you have of what Sue was talking about.
Now do the same for Chris.
Now listen to the podcast all the way through THEN write down any more ideas that you have about the podcast.
Leave the podcast for a day or two, then come back and listen.
Do you understand any more than from the first session of listening you did?
How do you rate the difficulty level for you? (Too difficult at the moment / A challenge / I understand enough).
When will you return to this podcast to check your listening progress?
You won’t understand everything you hear.
There is a lot of regular work to do to tune your ear into Real English – you need to work on listening regularly.
NEVER write notes at the same time that you are listening.
ALWAYS – try to set yourself realistic objectives.
REMEMBER – this is just a part of your learning and you need to be able to connect this work with your other work.
This is REAL English – we don’t believe that slow, over-articulated speech prepares learners for the real world – you may be able to understand an audio extract that is spoken slowly, but what good is that if you don’t understand real people in real situations.
At english-podcasts.com we want to help you to be ready for the real world – it will be difficult at first, but later you will feel the benefit – it is just pure, common sense.
Numbers can be a difficult part of learning a new language.
New learners often confuse “hundreds” and “thousands”, “fifteen” and “fifty”, “half past six” with “six and a half hours” etc etc etc.
The only way to improve your number skills is with practice.
Start by learning important numbers for you: your age, your address, your phone number.
Then practice well known expressions such as “fifty-fifty”, “One Hundred and One Dalmatians”.
Also try this podcast in which Sue asks Chris 10 questions about numbers in sport.
You will need to listen several times; the first time you listen your main objective should be to focus on the numbers that Chris gives. Are you clear about 100s and 1000s ? Can you recognize times ? Can you identity money quantities? What about dates ?
For the second time of listening, focus on the questions and for the third time, just enjoy the conversation !
TRY THIS QUIZ IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE PODCAST: you will hear the same questions in the podcast as in the quiz. How many numbers can you recognize ? Practice saying all the numbers in the quiz and then listen again to the podcast. Your progress will be AMAZING !
Numbers in sport
After listening to the podcast try this quiz to consolidate your number
skills. You can check your own answers with Chris' attempts.