listen to english(podcast)

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  1. www.listen-to-enghlish.com (podcast) 1 Đây là tài liệu luyện nghe tiếng anh được copy từ trang web listen-to-enghlish.com, mình đã download các file mp3 các bạn có thể vừa nghe và có thể theo dõi theo bài nghe. Các file mp3 mình sẽ upload sau hoặc các bạn có thể ghé thăm trang web để nghe và downlaod về nghe. Chúc các bạn học tốt môn anh văn. Chúng ta cùng chia sẽ tài liệu để học tiếng anh được tốt hơn nhé, email cho mình nếu bạn nào có trang web hay hoặc tài liệu hay muốn chia sẽ. Thanks so much! http://www.listen-to-english.com ngoài ra các bạn có thể tham khảo thêm ở trang để luyện kỹ năng nghe. http://www.world-english.org/listening.htm http://www.abc.net.au/newsradio/ http://www.voanews.com The Longest Name ...................................................................................................................................3 A wet summer, and the Olympic Games ..................................................................................................3 Break up ...................................................................................................................................................4 Better ........................................................................................................................................................5 Stonehenge ...............................................................................................................................................7 How much does the Queen cost? .............................................................................................................8 How much does the Queen cost? - exercise .........................................................................................9 Alfred Brendel Calls Time .....................................................................................................................10 Captain Calamity ....................................................................................................................................11 Getting married ......................................................................................................................................12 Kevin gets cold feet ................................................................................................................................13 Godiva and Peeping Tom .......................................................................................................................14 The Worst Poet .......................................................................................................................................15 Bank Holiday ..........................................................................................................................................16 Bank Holiday - Grammar and Vocabulary Note ................................................................................17 How to stay warm ..................................................................................................................................17 I get my car repaired. You get your hair cut. .........................................................................................18 The Great Smell .....................................................................................................................................20 Lost and Found .......................................................................................................................................21 How to enter the kitchen! .......................................................................................................................22 I could do with a haircut .........................................................................................................................24 I get my car repaired. You get your hair cut. .........................................................................................26 The Great Smell .....................................................................................................................................27 Why the Blues are biting their nails .......................................................................................................28 Folly .......................................................................................................................................................29 Up up up .................................................................................................................................................30 Up up up - grammar and vocabulary note...........................................................................................31 Murdered someone once! .......................................................................................................................31 Murdered someone once - grammar and vocabulary note..................................................................32 Budget ....................................................................................................................................................33 Budget - Vocabulary Note...................................................................................................................34 How many apples? How much sugar? ...................................................................................................35 The Market Rasen Earthquake ...............................................................................................................38 A Gruesome Discovery ..........................................................................................................................39 Painting the Forth Bridge .......................................................................................................................41 Spaghetti Junction ..................................................................................................................................43 Whether the weather is fine ... ................................................................................................................44 Pancake Day ...........................................................................................................................................48 Rhubarb ..................................................................................................................................................50 Languages ...............................................................................................................................................51 Mr Trump's Golf Course ........................................................................................................................53 haiyen36.85@gmail.com
  2. www.listen-to-enghlish.com (podcast) 2 Mr Trump's Golf Course - Grammar and Vocabulary Note ..............................................................53 A Christmas Story - part 1 ......................................................................................................................54 A Christmas Story - part 2. .....................................................................................................................54 Theres none so queer as folks ................................................................................................................55 Talking. talking ... ..................................................................................................................................56 Talking, talking - vocabulary note .....................................................................................................57 Frustrated ................................................................................................................................................58 Eddie the Eagle .......................................................................................................................................58 Eddie the Eagle - vocabulary note ......................................................................................................59 New Year ................................................................................................................................................61 New Year - vocabulary note ...............................................................................................................62 haiyen36.85@gmail.com
  3. www.listen-to-enghlish.com (podcast) 3 The Longest Name Tuesday 16 September 2008 The name sign on the railway station at Llanfair PG. Once upon a time, there was a village in north Wales called Llanfair. Llanfair means, simply, “the church of St Mary” in the Welsh language, and there are many other places in Wales called Llanfair. The particular Llanfair in this story was called Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll, to distinguish it from the other places called Llanfair. The name Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll means, in English, “the church of St Mary beside the hollow (or little valley) with the white hazel tree”. I think you will agree that Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll is perhaps too long for normal, everyday use. And English speaking people like me often find Welsh names difficult to pronounce. So people shortened the name to Llanfair PG. And people often still call the village Llanfair PG today. In the 1850s, a railway line was built along the coast of north Wales. It ran to Holyhead, which was the main port for ships sailing to Ireland. The railway line was busy and important. But only a few trains stopped at the station at Llanfair PG, and only a few visitors came to the village. How could Llanfair PG attract more visitors? “I know,” said a man who lived near the village. “We need a new name. A special name. A name that people will remember. A name that will make people say ‘That’s interesting. I really want to visit that place’”. So he suggested a new name – the longest place name in Britain. And other people agreed, and so the village was re-named Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. (That was not me speaking, by the way. That was a real Welsh person speaking real Welsh!) What did the new name mean? In English it is: “The church of St Mary beside the hollow with the white hazel tree and the rapid whirlpool and the church of St Tysilio with the red cave”. They put up a new name sign in the railway station, and it was the longest railway name sign in Britain. And they waited for the tourists to come. Changing the name of the village was what today we would call a “publicity stunt” – something which you do to get people to notice you. Many companies, when they want to sell more of their products, find a new name for the product, or they design new packaging, or do something else to attract more customers. Sometimes this works. sometimes it doesn’t. Did the new name work for Llanfair PG? I do not think so. Llanfair is still a quiet little place with about 3,000 inhabitants. Some trains stop there, but many go through without stopping. People arrive in their cars. They park in the station car park. They take a photograph of the the name sign on the station platform. Then they get back in their cars and drive away. Why did the new name not attract more visitors? The answer is easy, I think. Imagine going to a railway ticket office and asking for “a ticket to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, please.” A wet summer, and the Olympic Games Wednesday 10 September 2008 haiyen36.85@gmail.com
  4. www.listen-to-enghlish.com (podcast) 4 A wet summer. This photo was taken in the Netherlands by Aneemiek van der Kuil but Britain in August was like this too! The summer holidays are over. People have returned to work. The children are back at school. And this is my first podcast since July. So, what sort of summer has it been in Britain? Let’s start with the bad news. Our economy is in big difficulties. Prices are rising, especially prices for food. Petrol prices are now so high that people are using their cars less, and trains and buses more. Holidays abroad are now much more expensive, because the British pound has fallen in value. Our economy has stopped growing. Indeed, there may be a recession next year – that is, a period when the economy shrinks, or becomes smaller. Our Chancellor of the Exchequer (that means, our Finance Minister) certainly thinks that things are bad. He recently told a newspaper reporter that the economic position was the worst for 60 years. Many British people own their own homes. They buy their homes with a loan from a bank. The last ten years have been a very nice time to own a house. House prices have risen steadily, and people felt that they were getting richer, so they spent more. In fact, Britain has had its longest period of economic growth for 100 years. But this has now stopped. House prices have fallen, and everyone expects that they will fall further. The fall in house prices has been the fastest for over 25 years. This is bad news if you own your house already; it is good news if you do not own a house but would like to buy one. However, the really awful thing – the thing that makes British people really gloomy – is the weather. It has rained since the end of July. We have had the wettest August for many years. And there has been hardly any sunshine. In many places, August has been the dullest August (that is, the least sunny August) since 1927. It is still raining. And the weather forecast is – yes, more rain. I am glad to say, however, that the summer has had one happy thing for Britain. At the Olympic Games in Beijing, British athletes won 45 medals. That is the highest number of medals since 1908. We even won more medals than the Australians, which is very satisfying. So, while the rain poured down, we could at least watch the Olympic Games on television. The next Olympic Games, in 2012, will take place in London. Will they be the wettest Olympic Games ever? Or will it stop raining before then? Break up Monday 21 July 2008 This car is being broken up in a scrap yard. Photo by Olly Clark/flickr haiyen36.85@gmail.com
  5. www.listen-to-enghlish.com (podcast) 5 There is an English phrasal verb “to break up”. It means to break into pieces. Here are some examples of ways in which we can use it. Imagine a storm at sea. The wind and the waves drive a ship onto the rocks. The waves smash the ship into pieces. The ship breaks up. Or, think about the great ice sheets in the Arctic and the Antarctic. Many scientists say that, because the world’s climate is getting warmer, the ice sheets are starting to break up. Or, think about a really old car. You have had it for many years. You and it have had some fine adventures together. But now the engine does not start. And when, eventually, it does start, there are horrible clunking sounds and a cloud of black smoke comes out of the exhaust pipe. The car is finished. You take the car to the scrap yard where they break it up, so that the metal and some of the parts can be re-used. And sometimes we say that a relationship breaks up. For instance, Joe and Mary have been going out together for a few months. They are boyfriend and girlfriend. But then they disagree and argue. Joe starts to think that he really doesn’t like Mary very much. Mary starts to think that Joe is selfish and boring. They break up. They decide that they are not going to be boyfriend and girlfriend any more. You may be thinking that “break up” is a rather sad expression. We use it to talk about shipwrecks, and cars that have reached the end of their lives, and relationships which come to an end. But there is at least one really happy use of “break up”. We can say that a school breaks up. That means, simply, that it is the end of term. It is the beginning of the holidays. There is a primary school behind my house. The school breaks up today. Today is the last day of the school term. The children are very happy. They are making even more noise in the school playground than they usually do. After today, there will be six weeks with no school. Six weeks to stay late in bed. Six weeks to play in the garden. Six weeks to watch rubbish programmes on daytime television and to play on the computer. Six weeks to visit your grandparents, or to go on holiday. Six weeks to argue with your older sister. Six weeks to drive your parents mad. Listen to English is going on holiday too. This will be my last podcast for this term. But don’t worry – I will be back with a new podcast on 10 September. I am going to spend part of the holiday in Wales, so here is some Welsh music for you to listen to. It is played on the Welsh harp by Cheryl Ann Fulton. I will put an extra posting on the website with a flash player where you can listen to more of her music if you like it. Until September, goodbye. Download MP3 (6:59min, 3MB) Better Monday 14 July 2008 Better buses, better service, better catch one I am sorry that there was no podcast last week. I was unwell. But now I am better. That means, I am not unwell any more. I have recovered. I am better. And today’s podcast is about the word “better”. “Better” is of course the comparative form of the adjective “good”. Good – better- best. We can say: “This is a good restaurant. But the restaurant over the road is better. And the restaurant round the corner is the best restaurant in the town.” haiyen36.85@gmail.com
  6. www.listen-to-enghlish.com (podcast) 6 We can use “better” in other ways, too. There is an English expression “I had better” do something. It means “I must” do something, or “it would be a good idea” to do something. Here are some examples: Kevin and Joanne are having breakfast. Joanne looks in the fridge. There is no milk. “I had better buy some milk this morning,” she says. Kevin looks at his watch. It is nearly 7.30am. “I had better go now,” he says. “I have to go to a meeting at 8.30.” “Yes,” says Joanne. “You had better hurry, otherwise you will miss the train. And it is raining. You had better take an umbrella”. In Birmingham, where I live, there is a bus company. Actually, there are lots of bus companies, because our government believes that competition in public transport is a good thing. Our government is wrong. Britain has some of the worst public transport in Europe. But that is different podcast. One of our competing bus companies has a slogan on the side of its buses. It says: “better buses, better service, better catch one”. This is what it means. Better buses… “Better buses” – the company has better buses. But better than what? Better than the buses of the other bus companies? Better than the old buses which it used to have? I suppose that “better buses” is OK as an advertising slogan, but if you want people to understand exactly what you mean, remember to use the word “than” – “better buses than our old buses”, for example. “Better service” – This means more frequent buses, more reliable buses. Perhaps the company means that they now run buses late in the evening and on Sundays. And “better catch one” is short for “you had better catch one”. In other words, it would be a good idea to catch one of our wonderful better buses. Remember that in English, we can take a bus or a train or a plane; or we can catch a bus or a train or a plane. Now you know all about “I had better”. There is a quiz with the podcast today. You can find it on the website. Now it is late. I had better stop now. I had better go to the supermarket. I had better cook supper for the children. I had better say goodbye. Download MP3 (3:57min, 4MB) haiyen36.85@gmail.com
  7. www.listen-to-enghlish.com (podcast) 7 Stonehenge Friday 04 July 2008 A rainbow behind Stonehenge. This remarkable photo was taken by Lucille Pine/flickr In today’s podcast, we talk about some theories. We talk about things which may be true, or may not be true. We use words like “perhaps” and “maybe” and “it could be that..”. See how many examples you can find. We English have not lived in England for long. Our ancestors, the Saxons, came to England from northern Germany in the fifth century. They spoke a language which we call Anglo-Saxon or Old English. Over the centuries, Anglo-Saxon changed to become modern English. Before the Saxon invasions, people called the Celts lived here. The modern Welsh language is descended from the languages of these Celtic people. But the Celts had not lived in Britain for long, either. There were people here before the Celts came. These people had no written language, so they left us no manuscripts or inscriptions to tell us about them. However, they left us plenty of archaeological evidence – burial places, pottery, tools and so on. And they left us a remarkable and mysterious monument called Stonehenge. If you drive by car south-west out of London, along a road with the romantic name A303, you will reach Stonehenge after about an hour and a half. You will see a circle of great stones, with other stones placed carefully on top of them. There are other, smaller stones – called “bluestones”. Around Stonehenge, there are other ancient places – burial places, for instance, and ancient paths. The archaeologists tell us that Stonehenge was not all built at one time. The oldest parts of Stonehenge are about 5,000 years old. The “bluestones” came about 1000 years later, and the great circle of stones a few hundred years after that. The great stones probably came from a place about 40km away. They each weigh about 25 tonnes. Experts say that perhaps 500 men pulled each stone, while 100 more placed logs on the ground for the stone to roll over. The “bluestones” are even more remarkable – they are much smaller, about 4 tonnes each, but they come from Preseli in south Wales, a distance of nearly 400 km. How did they get to Stonehenge? Maybe people carried them on small boats, over the sea and along rivers. The big question is “Why?” Why did these people, four or five thousand years ago, build Stonehenge, and what did they use it for? Here are some of the theories: - Perhaps Stonehenge was a religious temple. Perhaps priests sacrificed animals or even human beings here. - Maybe Stonehenge was a centre of political power, a place built by a great and powerful king. - Possibly, it was a place to celebrate the dead, a place to send them on their way to the next world. haiyen36.85@gmail.com
  8. www.listen-to-enghlish.com (podcast) 8 - Or it could have been a place where sick or injured people came to be cured, like Lourdes in France is today. - Or Stonehenge might have been a place to watch the movement of the sun, moon and stars, and to forecast important events like eclipses. - Or, conceivably, it was all of these things, or it had different purposes at different times. Today, Stonehenge is an important tourist site, and a place for people who like to believe in magic. At the summer solstice (that is June 21st, the longest day of the year) people go to Stonehenge to watch the sun rise. This year, about 30,000 people were there. And, because this is England, it rained How much does the Queen cost? Monday 30 June 2008 Queen Elizabeth II Thank you all for your e-mails, and for your suggestions about subjects for future podcasts. A listener in France has asked, can I make a podcast about the Queen? And several other listeners have said that they would like some help with listening to numbers (which is always one of the most difficult things in any foreign language). I am going to kill two birds with one stone, as we say in English. This podcast is about the Queen, and also about listening to numbers. I have left gaps in the script where there are numbers,. Try to fill in the numbers as you hear them. You can check on the website whether you have heard them correctly. Queen Elizabeth (a)..... came to the throne in (b)....., following the death of her father, King George©...... She is now (d)..... years old, and she has been Queen for (e)..... years. She is the (f)..... monarch (that is, king or queen) since the Norman Conquest of England in the year (g)...... What sort of things does she do? The Queen has all sorts of official engagements in this country – visits to towns and cities, to schools and hospitals, to open new buildings and to attend official dinners. Last year she had (h)..... official engagements, which is (i)..... more than in (j)...... The Queen makes official visits to other countries too. Since she came to the throne, the Queen has made over (k)..... visits to about (l)..... different countries. Last year , she visited the United States, Uganda, Belgium and the Netherlands. The Queen sends messages of congratulations to everyone in Britain who reaches their (m)..... birthday. Since (n)....., she has sent (o)..... of these messages. She has also sent more than (p)..... messages of congratulation to married couples who are celebrating their “diamond wedding”, that is the (q)..... anniversary of their wedding. Last week, her office published the royal accounts for®...... The accounts show that the cost of the Queen’s official duties last year was £(s)...... This was £(t)....., or (u).....% more than in (v)...... However, officials at the palace want everyone to know that in real terms, that is after allowing for inflation, the cost of the Queen has fallen by (w).....% in the last (x)..... years. haiyen36.85@gmail.com
  9. www.listen-to-enghlish.com (podcast) 9 How much is £(y).....? Well, there are about (z)..... people in Britain, so £(aa)..... is about (bb)..... pence for each of us. Palace officials, who try very hard to keep up with new technology and new fashions, have pointed out to the newspapers that (cc)..... pence is about the cost of a download from the iTunes music store. An important part of the cost of the Queen’s official duties is the cost of travel. Travel, in Britain and overseas, cost £(dd)..... pounds last year. The Queen has a special royal train. Our newspapers love to tell us how much the royal train costs. Last year the royal train was used only (ee)..... times. One of these trips was a visit which Prince Charles made to a pub in the town of Penrith – the cost was £ (ff)...... However, palace officials have told the press that there are serious problems because several of the royal palaces need to be repaired. Altogether an extra £(gg)..... is needed for this. The roof at Windsor Castle needs to be replaced – this will cost £(hh)...... Many parts of Buckingham Palace in London have not been redecorated for over (ii).....years, and the electrical wiring is over (jj)..... years old. It will cost £(kk)..... to rewire the palace, and replace the plumbing (that is, the water pipes and the drains), and to remove dangerous asbestos from the building. In fact, Buckingham Palace seems to be such a mess that I am surprised that the Queen still lives there. If you know of somewhere else where she could live temporarily, until Buckingham Palace is repaired, perhaps you could telephone her office and tell them The number is (ll)..... How much does the Queen cost? - exercise Monday 30 June 2008 Here are the missing numbers from the podcast “How much does the Queen cost?” You can download a pdf version of the exercise and the answers by clicking the link at the foot of the page. (a) the second (normally we write Queen Elizabeth II) (b) 1952 (c) the sixth (King George VI) (d) 82 (e) 56 (f) 40th (g) 1066 (h) 440 (i) 60 (j) 2006 (k) 260 (l) 126 (m) 100th (n) 1952 (o) 100,000 (note that in English we use a comma to separate thousands in big numbers) (p) 280,000 (q) 60th (r) 2007 (s) £40,000,000 (generally, in written English we would normally write £40 million) (t) £2 million (u) 6.1% (in English we use a full-stop, not a comma, when we write decimals) (v) 2006 (w) 3.1% (x) 7 (y) £40 million (z) 61 million (aa) £40 million (bb) 66 pence (cc) 66 pence (dd) £6.2 million (ee) 19 haiyen36.85@gmail.com
  10. www.listen-to-enghlish.com (podcast) 10 (ff) £18,916 (gg) £32 million (hh) £16 million (ii) 50 (jj) 60 (kk) £2.4 million (ll) 020 7930 4832 Download Media (0:00min, 0MB) This file has been downloaded 14923 times Podcast # | Posted in exercises Alfred Brendel Calls Time Wednesday 25 June 2008 Alfred Brendel Last November, the Guardian newspaper contained an article. This was the headline. “Alfred Brendel, piano maestro, calls time on concert career.” What does it mean? Well, you may already know about Alfred Brendel. He is a pianist, or a “piano maestro” as the Guardian headline calls him. He is famous for his playing of works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. We shall talk more about him in a minute. But what does “call time” mean? Until about 30 years ago, there were strict laws in Britain about when pubs could open. Generally, all pubs had to close at 10.30 in the evening, and everyone had to stop drinking and leave the pub at that time. Shortly before 10.30pm, the landlord of the pub used to ring a bell, and call out “Time, gentlemen, please!” or something like that. So, “to call time” means to announce that you will soon close something, or soon finish something. Lets go back to the newspaper headline. “Alfred Brendel, piano maestro, calls time on his concert career”. It means that Alfred Brendel has announced that his career as a concert pianist will soon come to an end. In other words, he has said that he is going to retire. There is another idiom with a similar meaning – “to call it a day”. Imagine that you have been working all day on a project for school or college. It is now the evening and you are tired. Yes, there are some more things you could do, but you decide to stop now and go to bed. You “call it a day”. Alfred Brendel has decided, at the age of 77, to “call it a day” too. Alfred Brendel is a remarkable man. He was born in what is now the Czech Republic in 1931. His family were not musical, and he had little formal training on the piano. Nonetheless, he made a successful career as a pianist from the 1950s. Since the 1970s, he has lived in Britain. He is not only a famous pianist, he also writes about music, and writes poetry, both in English and in German. When he retires, at the end of this year, he wants to spend more time writing and teaching. haiyen36.85@gmail.com
  11. www.listen-to-enghlish.com (podcast) 11 For the last 15 years, Alfred Brendel has come regularly to Birmingham to play in Symphony Hall. Last night, I attended his last concert here. Every ticket was sold, every seat in the hall was occupied. When he played, the audience was completely silent. As we say in English, you could have heard a pin drop. Alfred Brendel’s playing is very personal and very direct. It is as if he was in your sitting room, playing specially for you. At the end of the concert, we gave him a standing ovation, and he gave us two encores. It was a memorable occasion, though also a rather sad occasion. To end the podcast, here is Alfred Brendel playing some music by Schubert. May he have a long and happy retirement. Download MP3 (5:20min, 3MB) Captain Calamity Friday 20 June 2008 I could not find a picture or Forwick, but here is one of another part of the Shetlands, so that you can see what the landscape looks like. It was taken by tigernuts/flickr In the past year, we have had two podcasts about English people who have gone to Scotland to do slightly crazy things. We had Andy Strangeway, who has spent a night on every island in Scotland. Then we had Steve Feltham, who has spent the last 17 years looking for the Loch Ness monster. Today we meet Stuart Hill. He lives on a tiny island in Shetland (a group of islands to the north of Scotland), and he has just declared his island to be an independent state. This is not the first time that Stuart Hill has been in the news. He has a nickname, “Captain Calamity”. (A “calamity” is another word for a “disaster”). This is why. He comes from Essex in eastern England. Several years ago he bought himself a small boat. His boat became his main interest. He took a sail from a wind-surfing board and fixed it to his boat. He started to go for sailing trips. Then, in 2001, he decided to sail his boat single-handed all the way round Britain. His wife and his children thought he was mad. The distance around Britain is over 3,000 kilometers, and there are dangerous rocks and currents, and the waves and the weather are often dangerous too. Stuart Hill set off. Within minutes, he hit another boat, and his sail collapsed into the water. He found he had forgotten some important equipment, and a friend had to swim out to his boat with it. Over the next few weeks, he had more problems with his boat, and he had to be rescued five times by lifeboats and twice by helicopter. Finally, in August 2001, his boat turned over in a storm near the Shetland islands. He was rescued again, but he had lost everything – he had no boat, and no money and nothing but the clothes he stood up in. So he stayed in Shetland, and got a job there, working in a fish- processing factory. This week, Stuart Hill was in the news again. He now lives on a tiny Shetland island called Forewick Holm, where he is the only inhabitant (apart from lots of sheep and sea-birds). He is 65 years old, which means that he is able to get a state old-age pension. Most pensioners want a quiet life, but not Stuart. He has declared that Forwick is now an independent state, and that it is no longer part of Britain haiyen36.85@gmail.com
  12. www.listen-to-enghlish.com (podcast) 12 or of the European Union. There will be no taxes in Forwick, he says, and his state will soon issue its own currency. Why is he doing this? He wants to draw attention to an argument that Shetland is legally not part of Scotland (and therefore not part of Britain). Many centuries ago, Shetland was ruled by the king of Norway. But in 1469, the king of Norway needed some money in a hurry, so he gave Shetland to the king of Scotland in return for a loan. So, says Stuart Hill, Shetland is not part of Scotland. It should be an independent state, able in particular to control oil production from the oil fields around its coast and to collect revenues from the oil companies. Some Shetlanders probably agree with him, though I doubt if they want Captain Calamity as their ruler. Stuart Hill has spent much of the week being interviewed by the newspapers. “It’s all jolly good fun,” he says. “Every pensioner should do something like this.” Download MP3 (4:54min, 2MB) This audio file has been downloaded 37993 times Getting married Tuesday 17 June 2008 While I was searching Flickr, I found this wonderful picture of a wedding cake. By princess of Ilyr/flickr who likes taking photos of food! Our podcast today is about weddings. I hope you will learn some new English words. There is a quiz attached to the podcast today so that you can test how much you know. In England, you can get married in a church, or you can have a civil wedding (that is, a non-religious wedding) . Until about 10 years ago, civil weddings always took place at a Registry Office. Nowdays, however, you can get married in all sorts of places – in hotels, in country houses, and in many mosques and Hindu temples, for example. A wedding can be very expensive. One website that I have seen says that the average cost of a wedding in Britain is over £11,000. Here are some of the things that many couples will want for their wedding: • a wedding-dress for the bride, and dresses for her bridesmaids; • wedding rings for the bride and the bridegroom; • flowers for the church or the place where the wedding is held; • a reception (that is, a party or a formal meal) for the wedding guests after the wedding ceremony; • a wedding cake; • a professional photographer, to take pictures or videos of the wedding; • a honeymoon (a holiday) for the newly-married couple after the wedding. And there are lots more things to spend money on if you want to. Some couples want to hire a beautiful horse-drawn carriage, or a vintage Rolls Royce car to take them away after the wedding. haiyen36.85@gmail.com
  13. www.listen-to-enghlish.com (podcast) 13 Some people even fly to holiday resorts in Mexico or Thailand to get married, and their families and friends fly there too. There is no such thing as a “typical wedding”. Every couple getting married has to decide for themselves what sort of wedding they want – a religious wedding, or a civil wedding; a big wedding with lots of guests; or a small, simple wedding. I went to a wedding last weekend. It was definitely not a typical wedding, but you might be interested in it. It was a Quaker wedding. There was no priest or minister to conduct the wedding, and no music or singing. The bride and groom and the wedding guests all sat silently together. After about 10 minutes, the bride and groom stood up and said that they took each other as man and wife and made their promises to each other. After that, some of their friends and relatives spoke about love and marriage, or read a poem or a passage from the Bible, or simply wished the couple every happiness together. The wedding lasted for about an hour. At the end, everyone who was there – about 80 of us – signed the wedding certificate as witnesses to the marriage. And then – because we are British – we all drank cups of tea and chatted to friends and family members whom we had not seen for a long time. We went out into the garden of the Quaker Meeting House to take photos of the bride and groom. In the evening, we were all invited to a ceilidh. “Ceilidh” is a Scottish Gaelic word, which has become part of the English language in recent years. It means an evening of dancing, singing, story telling and poetry. The bride and groom cut their wedding cake, and we danced traditional English and Scottish dances until late in the evening. And then all the wedding guests, and the bride and groom too, did the washing up and helped to put the chairs and tables back in their proper places. We had a wonderful time. Is this the sort of wedding you would like? Download MP3 (5:06min, 2MB) Kevin gets cold feet Tuesday 10 June 2008 Parachute. Photo by John Shappell/flickr Today, we meet the expression “to have cold feet” about something. It means …well, I will tell you a story, and you will see what it means. About 3 months ago, Kevin went to the pub with his friend George. At the pub they met some friends who were talking about parachute jumping (or “skydiving”). They were planning to go on a course to learn how to jump out of an aeroplane with a parachute. They thought it would be a really interesting thing to do. Maybe people would agree to sponsor their first jump so that they could raise money for a charity. By the end of the evening, Kevin and George had agreed that they too would go on the parachute jumping course. It sounded good fun. And Kevin would be able to tell everyone at work about his parachute jump, and they would be impressed. Today is the last day of the parachute jumping course. For the first few days, Kevin, George and the other course participants learned how parachutes work, and how to open the parachute in the air, and how to land on the ground safely. But today, the instructors will take them up in a small aeroplane, and they will make their first real parachute jump. haiyen36.85@gmail.com
  14. www.listen-to-enghlish.com (podcast) 14 Kevin feels ill. Three months ago, in the pub, jumping out of an aeroplane with a parachute was a great idea. Now Kevin thinks, “Why did I say that I would do this?” Jumping out of an aeroplane is a crazy thing to do. Suppose he cannot make the parachute work. He would fall hundreds of meters and be killed. Or maybe his parachute will work, but he will land in a river, or in a tree, or on the roof of a house, or in a field with a mad bull. He imagines himself, lying on the ground with a broken ankle, with the mad bull snorting angrily at him. In other words, Kevin has cold feet. Three months ago, he was enthusiastic about the parachute jump. Now he thinks it is a stupid idea. Perhaps he could pretend to be ill, or that his aunt has just died and he needs to go to her funeral. Yes – Kevin has cold feet. Kevin arrives at the little airfield where the course is taking place The other course participants all seem a little quiet this morning. Perhaps they have cold feet too. Then the instructor comes out of his office. “Bad news, I am afraid,” he says. “There is a mechanical problem with the aircraft, and it will take two or three days to fix it. So – I’m sorry – but we won’t be able to do the parachute jump today.” And everyone on the course says how disappointed they are, and how they had really been looking forward to the parachute jump, and what bad luck it is that the aeroplane cannot fly. And Kevin says all these things too. But secretly, inside, he is relieved. And he thinks that some of the other people on the course look relieved too. Godiva and Peeping Tom Thursday 05 June 2008 Maureen O Hara starred as Godiva in a 1955 Holywood film. Do you know the English word “to peep”? If I “peep” at something, it means that I look at it quickly and secretly, and I hope that no-one notices. For example, I buy a birthday present for my daughter. She wants to know what the present is. But it is not her birthday yet, so I do not tell her. Quietly she goes upstairs and peeps into the bag, to see what the present is. Or, I hear someone walking up the path to my house. Is it the postman? I peep out of the window to see who it is. However, peeping can be bad for you, as we hear in today’s podcast. Not far from Birmingham, where I live, is a town called Coventry. My grandmother was born in Coventry, and she lived there until she was married. Coventry is an industrial town, but it is also an old haiyen36.85@gmail.com
  15. www.listen-to-enghlish.com (podcast) 15 town, much older than Birmingham. In the 11th century, the powerful Earl Leofric imposed taxes on the people of Coventry and on the market which took place there. The people complained that the taxes were too high. The wife of Leofric, whose name was Godiva, agreed with the people. She went to her husband and begged him to reduce the taxes. Leofric refused. Godiva continued to plead with him. Eventually, Leofric said that he would reduce the taxes if Godiva would ride naked on a horse through the town and market place of Coventry. Godiva was astonished. But she was a woman of strong character, and she agreed. So Godiva called for her servants to bring her horse, and she rode naked through Coventry. The people of Coventry all went into their houses and closed the doors and the shutters on their windows so that they should not see her. All the people? Well, no, there was a man called Tom, who peeped through a hole in the window-shutters when he heard Godiva’s horse coming. And because he peeped, he was struck blind – that means, he became blind immediately. According to the story, Leofric did indeed reduce the taxes. To this day, the people of Coventry celebrate Godiva’s ride through the town. And, in English, we have a special name for someone who spies secretly on other people. We call him a “Peeping Tom”. So if you think that taxes are too high in your country, you know what to do. Find a horse, and take your clothes off. But don’t peep! The Worst Poet Tuesday 20 May 2008 William McGonagall We stay in Scotland for today’s podcast. We are going to meet a man called William Topaz McGonagall. Most people agree that he was the worst poet ever in the English language. He was born in 1825. His father was a cotton weaver, who had to move from town to town in Scotland to find work. Young William spent only 18 months at school before he too had to go and work in the mills and factories. He became a jute weaver in Dundee, a town on the east coast of Scotland. (Jute is a fibre which is used to make sacks. In the 19th century, Dundee was the centre of the jute industry in Britain). It was in 1877, when William was 52 years old, that he suddenly discovered that he was a poet. Not just a poet – a great poet – possibly the finest poet since Shakespeare. Over the next 25 years, Willam McGonagall wrote a large number of poems. He wrote about the great public events of the day, like the attempt to assassinate Queen Victoria, and the funeral of the Emperor of Germany. He was particularly fond of disasters, like shipwrecks and railway accidents. He wrote about famous battles, and about people and places that he knew. And his poetry was bad. It was so bad that it almost became good, if you see what I mean. It was like someone playing a musical instrument, loudly and confidently, but completely out of tune and without any sense of rhythm. It was like a newspaper report turned into poetry. Here are some examples. In 1878, a railway bridge was built over the river Tay near Dundee. At the time, it was the longest bridge in the world. It was a triumph of British engineering, and the nation felt proud. Naturally, William McGonagall wrote a poem about it. It began: haiyen36.85@gmail.com
  16. www.listen-to-enghlish.com (podcast) 16 Beautiful railway bridge over the silvery Tay! With your numerous arches and pillars in so grand array, And your central girders, which seem to the eye To be almost towering to the sky. Less than two years later, the Tay bridge collapsed in a storm while a train was passing over it. Many people were killed. McGonagall wrote: Beautiful railway bridge over the silvery Tay! Alas! I am very sorry to say That ninety lives have been taken away On the last Sabbath day of 1879 Which will be remembered for a very long time. A new Tay Bridge was completed in 1887, and of course William wrote a poem for the occasion. I think you can guess how it began. Beautiful new railway bridge over the silvery Tay! With your strong brick piers and buttresses in so grand array, And your thirteen central girders, which seem to my eye, Strong enough all windy storms to defy. Portrait of William McGonagall by W B Lamond William McGonagall organised public events where he would read his poetry. They were very popular. People came to laugh at his poems, and throw rotten fruit and vegetables at him. (Obviously, in those days, there was not much to do in Dundee in the evenings). But McGonagall continued to believe that he had a special gift as a poet. His fame as a bad poet spread throughout Scotland, and then in the rest of Britain and in the British empire. But his poetry did not make him rich, and he died penniless in Edinburgh in 1902. He has never been forgotten however. His books of poetry have been reprinted regularly. Last week, a manuscript of some of his poems was sold at auction for thousands of pounds. People still read his poems today and smile. Download MP3 (5:27min, 3MB) Bank Holiday Sunday 04 May 2008 We go to the seaside. We sit on the sand and eat ice-cream…. Photo by crunchcandy/flickr Irene, who lives in Germany, is a regular listener to these podcasts. She has sent me an e-mail to suggest that I make a podcast about “bank holidays” in England and the way that we celebrate them. haiyen36.85@gmail.com
  17. www.listen-to-enghlish.com (podcast) 17 Most countries have public holidays at various times of the year – that means, days when schools, offices and many businesses are closed, so that most people do not have to go to work. In England, our public holidays have the rather strange name “bank holidays”. The name comes from an Act of Parliament in 1871, which required the Bank of England to close on certain days during the year. The idea was that, if the Bank of England was closed, many other businesses would close as well, and that their employees could have a day off work. And that is in fact what has happened – the “bank holidays” have become general public holidays. Some of the “bank holidays” are at the times of the important traditional Christian festivals at Easter and Christmas. But the other holidays are not religious, they are secular. Unlike public holidays in many other countries, they are not on a fixed date every year. Instead they are all on Mondays, so that people can take a long weekend break if they wish. Tomorrow, for example, is the May Day Bank Holiday, which is on the first Monday in May every year. We have another bank holiday, the Spring Bank Holiday, on the last Monday in May; and another bank holiday on the last Monday in August. In Scotland and Ireland they have bank holidays on the feast days of their patron saints – St Andrew’s Day (30 November) in Scotland, and St Patrick’s Day (17 March) in Ireland. But although we poor English have a patron saint, St George, we do not get a holiday on St George’s Day on 23 April. This is not fair. So, what do we English do on our bank holidays? We visit friends and relatives. Or perhaps we stay in bed until lunch-time. We dig our gardens and we mow our lawns. We go to football or cricket matches. We go to huge out-of-town superstores to buy curtains and things for the kitchen. We do DIY jobs around the house, like painting the bedroom or putting up a new shelf in the bathroom. And if the weather is good, we get in our cars and we go to the seaside. There we sit on the sand and eat ice- creams. At the end of the day, we get back into our cars and drive home. We get stuck in enormous traffic jams on the motorways. The children argue and fight in the back of the car. We arrive home tired but happy late in the evening. A perfect bank holiday! It’s such a pity we have to get up in the morning and go to work. Download MP3 (3:59min, 2MB) Bank Holiday - Grammar and Vocabulary Note Sunday 04 May 2008 “DIY” means “do it yourself”. A “DIY job” is something like decorating a room, or installing a new shower. At one time, people generally employed a professional decorator, or a plumber, to do these things. Nowdays many people do these jobs for themselves. A “DIY” store is a store which sells paint, wallpaper, wood, tools, and everything else you need if you want to “do it yourself”. “A day off work” – a day when you don’t go to work eg because you have a holiday, or because you are sick. You can ask your boss, “Please can I have a day off tomorrow”. “A long weekend” is when you take a day off on Friday, or on Monday, or even on both Friday and Monday, in order to have three or four consecutive days when you do not have to work. We can say, for example, “I am going to take a long weekend and go and visit my brother in Scotland”. “A break” means a short holiday. “A weekend break” is when you go away just for the weekend. “It is [such] a pity that…” or “It is [such] a shame that …” These expressions mean “unfortunately”. Here are some examples: “It is my birthday tomorrow. It is such a shame that my sister cannot come to my party.” “I enjoyed my holiday in France. But it is a pity that I forgot to take my camera.” “The football was great fun. It’s a pity our team lost!” “It is a shame that we arrived too late to see the film.” Podcast # | Posted in notes | Comments » (3) How to stay warm Thursday 01 May 2008 haiyen36.85@gmail.com
  18. www.listen-to-enghlish.com (podcast) 18 Sheep on the road in North Yorkshire. Photo by Julia Parsons/flickr If you visit upland areas of Britain – places like the mountains of Scotland, or Wales, or the Pennine Hills in northern England – you will see a lot of sheep. Many of the sheep are in places where there are no walls or hedges to keep them in their fields. So the sheep can wander where they like, over the hills, and of course on the roads as well. Sheep do not take much notice of cars. So, imagine you are driving along a little road in northern England. The sun is shining. You look at the beautiful views across the hills and the valleys. You turn a corner. And you find a flock of sheep on the road. The sheep look at you. You look at the sheep. You toot your car horn. The sheep look at you some more. Then slowly, they move and let you past. The sheep particularly like the road in the evening, because it is warm. During the day, the sun shines on the road. If you try to walk across a sunny road in bare feet, you will know how hot the road can be. When evening comes, the road is a nice warm place for the sheep to go to sleep. And the sheep do not want to move, just because a car comes round the corner. Well, you would not like getting out of bed to let a car come past. What is the point of this little story about sheep? It is that roads are very good at absorbing heat from the sun. A laboratory in England wants to see if it can use this fact to keep roads free of ice and snow in the winter. It wants to place pipes filled with water underneath the road. When the sun shines, the road will become hot and the water in the pipes will become hot too. A small pump will pump the hot water into a tank buried in the ground at the side of the road. The tank will be heavily insulated. That means that the heat will not be able to escape, and the water will stay warm for a long time. And on cold winter nights, the pump will pump the warm water back into the pipes underneath the road. The warm water will heat the road surface and keep it free of ice. The scientists and technologists call this technology “Interseasonal Heat Transfer”, or IHT. It is of course a very simple technology, but many people think that intelligent use of simple technology will be very important in the future. Climate change and the rising prices of fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil make it urgent to find new ways of doing things which will not damage the environment. If we can store heat from roads, car parks, airport runways, roofs, school playgrounds etc in summer, we could use the heat during the winter – not just for keeping roads free of ice, but for heating buildings and providing hot water. In the last podcast, I asked you to imagine that you were very rich, and had lots of servants. Naturally, you have a tennis court and a swimming pool – probably you have three tennis courts and two swimming pools. How will you keep your swimming pools warm in winter? Easy – place pipes filled with water under the tennis courts to collect heat from the sun in summer. Store the hot water in insulated tanks and use it to heat the swimming pools in winter. Download MP3 (4:38min, 2MB) I get my car repaired. You get your hair cut. Friday 25 April 2008 haiyen36.85@gmail.com
  19. www.listen-to-enghlish.com (podcast) 19 We get our milk delivered. Photo of a milkman with his milk float by Hembo Pagi/flickr My car does not go. I don’t know what is wrong with it. The engine won’t start. The car will not move. What shall I do? I will get the car repaired. That means – I will not repair the car myself. I will ask someone else to do it, and they will repair the car for me. Look at the way we can talk about this in English. I will get my car repaired. I will have my car repaired. I will get the garage to repair my car. I will have the garage repair my car. Now here is something which we all need, but which we cannot do for ourselves – cutting our hair. (What? You cut your own hair? How? Would you like to send me a photo so I can put it on the website?) So what do you do? You get your hair cut. You have your hair cut. You get the hairdresser to cut your hair. You have the hairdresser cut your hair. Do you know what a milkman is? In England you can have your milk delivered to your home. Our milkman comes at about 3am. He leaves two bottles of milk and one bottle of orange juice outside our door. He drives a little electric van (we call it a “milk float” in English), so he makes hardly any noise. The milk bottles are made of glass, and when they are empty, we leave them outside the door for the milkman to collect. So : We get our milk delivered. We have our milk delivered. We get the milkman to deliver our milk. We have the milkman deliver our milk. Now imagine that you are very rich. No, not very rich – very, very rich indeed. You do not have a luxury sports car. You have three luxury sports cars, and a yacht, and a private aeroplane, and a home in Monte Carlo where your friends are all very rich too. And you have servants – people to do things for you. Here are some of the things you get your servants to do: You get your food cooked. You have your finger nails polished. You get your butler to pour your champagne. You have your gardener mow the lawn. If you like, think of other things which your servants can do for you. Use the expressions we have used in this podcast -“I get something done”, “I have something done” etc – and put them on the Listen to English website as comments. Or perhaps you can get someone to put them on the website for you. Download MP3 (3:46min, 2MB) haiyen36.85@gmail.com
  20. www.listen-to-enghlish.com (podcast) 20 The Great Smell Sunday 20 April 2008 The Stink! Photo by whizchickenonabun/flickr In the last podcast, I said that I would tell you how Birmingham did in their match against Aston Villa. Well, they lost 5-1. Sorry, Birmingham! Birmingham could still stay in the Premiership next season, but things are not looking good. The nail-biting continues. Now for our story today. It started on Thursday evening last week. People in the south-east of England noticed a strange smell in the air. It was not a pleasant smell. Rather, it was the smell of rotten things, of manure and sewage, mixed with the smell of traffic fumes. People started to complain – to the newspapers and TV stations, and to the weather forecasters at the Meteorological Office. What was it? Well, said the Meteorological Office, the cause of the Great Smell was this. There was a mass of cold, still air over northern Europe. There was low cloud and no wind. All sorts of smells and fumes – from industry and from farms, from traffic and from everyday life – had become trapped under the cloud. Then on Thursday, the cold air, and its smells, had moved westwards over southern England. “What?” said our newspapers. “You mean, it isn’t a good, healthy English smell. It’s a nasty foreign smell.” And the newspapers started to run stories about how the smell was all the fault of the French, because we English always blame the French first whenever anything bad happens. However, it then became clear that the smell was coming, not from France, but from further north and east. So we started to blame the Germans and the Dutch, because we English always blame the Germans and the Dutch second whenever anything bad happens. The Meteorological Office tried to explain that the smell was not a threat to health, and that it would blow away in the next few days. But the newspapers did not want to listen. They were having too much fun blaming foreigners. The truth, of course, is this: 1. there was nothing more interesting for the newspapers to report; 2. people who live in towns get used to town smells, like traffic fumes and fast-food restaurants. They forget that there are country smells too, like the smell of manure being spread on fields. 3. many newspapers forget that England too has serious pollution problems. Normally, the westerly winds carry our pollution over to other countries, so maybe it is fair that occasionally other countries’ polluted air comes to us. And what can you learn from this story? First, remember that “smell” in English is a neutral word. We can talk about nice smells and unpleasant smells. You can tell your girlfriend that her new perfume smells lovely; and you can say that a pile of rotten rubbish smells horrible. Second, there are lots of other words that you can use instead of “smell”. A delicate, pleasant smell, like the smell of a flower, can be called a “scent”. “Aroma” is a neutral word like “smell” – there are pleasant aromas (like dinner cooking in the kitchen) and unpleasant aromas. And a really nasty smell like the smell of sewage can be called a “stink” or a “stench”. So now you know lots of words to use if you ever want to talk about the smelly English. haiyen36.85@gmail.com
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