12th February 2020
Why trains can’t go uphill
Have you heard of film director Stanley Kubrick ?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oR_e9y-bka0
Did we REALLY go to the Moon ?
Are there ALIENS ?
DID the Wright Brothers actually invent the airplane ?https://www.businessinsider.com/10-items-not-invented-by-who-you-think-2011-8
Which of these surprised you ?
Which ones impressed you most ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFbug8as10U
James May – why can’t trains go uphills ?
What do you think of James’ pronunciation – can you understand all ? Try to copy him: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbUsKWbOqUU
What is the problem with trains and going up gradients ?
What do they struggle to do ?
What are the scientific reasons for this ?
What was the problem with James May speaking ?
James normally speaks quite clearly, but there were problems. This was due, I feel, to the speed and the amount of language. Look at this conversation analysis: (0. 10 – 0.42):
And now, ‘Why can’t trains go uphills ?’ Well, the smarter ones amongst you will have recognised already, especially if you’re a qualified railway engineer, this is a bit of a trick question because of course, train can go uphills … they’re just not very good at it.
If you think about the topography of most of the world, this is clearly a bit of a problem. Human being can … albeit rather sweatily, motivate themselves up a gradient of around eighty degrees, or one in a quarter.
Listen again– hear how James:
- links words
- uses expressions (bit of a)
- adds addition information / commentary in supporting clauses.
- Creative use of adverbs – sweatilyshows how many words can be made adverbs
Think – does James need to add the clauses ? What is the purpose ? Consider the medium (TV, internet, blog etc) and the target audience.
James is speaking to a fluent, English-speaking audience, probably native speakers, or people who have lived in the UK for a long time. Therefore, they will be more used to this natural way of speaking.
This is why I recommend student put their text books down and read real English books, watch English-speaking films and TV shows and sing English songs. It really helps.
He does make allowances for non-British audiences by showing two fifty-pence coins, but his language isn’t downgraded.
Intonation – SO important to assist in conveying meaning.