Train kept a-rollin’: Train videos for listening and vocabulary.

12th September 2020

A compilation of train-related videos to help you improve your listening skills and to increase your vocabulary.

Contents:

Trans-Siberian Railway:

Listening skills. Native and non-native speakers talking in English. English subtitles.

Shinkansen – 10 cool facts:

Listening to native and non-native speakers.

High-speed trains in China:

Listening skills. English pronunciation & vocabulary.

London Tube at rush hour:

A glimpse of London life.

Why trains can’t go uphill:

Listening skills. English pronunciation. Science vocabulary.

Kindergarten song – Choo Choo Train

Vocabulary for very young learners.

Travelling – The Trans-Siberian Railway

Write down new expressions / vocabulary.

Do you understand the gist (the main points / keywords)

Would this appeal to you ? Why or why not ?

What would you need to bring ?

Shinkansen: Bullet Train – top ten facts:

This is as much as listening exercise as an engineering one. How much can you understand ? Which presenter is easier to understand, the young lady or the man from USA ?

High-speed trains in China:

London Tube at rush hour:

James May – why can’t trains go uphills ?

What do you think of James’ pronunciation – can you understand all ? Try to copy him.

What is the problem with trains and going up gradients ?

What do they struggle to do ?

What are the scientific reasons for this ?

Image result for steepest railroad in uk

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 – ‘sweatily’ shows how words can be made into adverbs by adding –ly to the end

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.

Kindergarten song – Choo Choo Train:

Adult Speaking Class, level 3, Part 2.

26th January 2020

Contents

Sentence order – exercises for you to practice rearranging the words in a sentence to make your English more interesting. This is especially useful for IELTS students.

Vocabulary – a feature just on boosting your command of the English language, and finding higher, or better, low-frequency words for basic English.

Vocabulary

Image result for asian girl with thesaurus

Objectives:

Increase vocabulary. The average native-speaker uses about 2 000 words. You can boost your vocabulary by learning verbs, adverbs and adjectives which can be easily found by a Google search. Also, use an online thesaurus.

Speak in longer sentences. Say what you want to say (make your point), then elaborate by giving examples, adding reasons and maybe an anecdote. Along with this, give the opposite view by using conjunctions such as ‘however’, ‘on the other hand’ etc.

Pronunciation. Many native speakers have a problem understanding English learners, so we will practise slow and careful enunciation, intonation and stress.

New vocabulary:

Look up any words you don’t know.

demonstrate / protest / gripping / predictable/ disappointing / media / 

excessive/ biased / appropriate / opponent / in opposition to / beat / currently / not my cup of tea 

hold your horses / debate / borrow / lend / expect / lease / terrible

Which words would you employ / use ?

Brazil beating Costa Rica was ……..

This film is extremely violent, it’s not ………. for children.

The politicians are ………. the issue of land-………. to the Chinese.

You can ……. money from a bank, but they …… it at a high interest rate.

The match was so ………… However, Spain – Portugal was ………

The man said Ha Noi was the best city, but he is from there so he is ……….

People were on the streets ………. and ………… against higher taxes.

The man went to prison for forty years just for littering. That was ………….

I haven’t finished yet, ……………………..

TV, radio, internet news and newspapers are called the ……..

Image result for uk sunday papers

New vocabulary:

aggravate – to make worse

tensions – bad feelings

keep a lid on it – stop something getting worse, or not to tell someone. We’ve got a new boss coming, but keep a lid on it (don’t tell anyone).

set up – start to do something. Fred is going to set up a new business.

knock out – (from boxing) to hit someone so they fall and stay down for 10 seconds

  • to eliminate someone / thing
Image result for henry cooper knocks out ali

Historically (adverb from history) – something that has happened over a long time.

They are currently ——– between China and Vietnam. This is nothing new as —— the two countries have had conflicts.

The government are introducing policies to ———— on inflation (prices rising).

President Trump visited North Korea to ease ——- between the two countries. He must be careful what he says or he may ———— the situation.

Image result for president trump in north korea

England have ———– Colombia so I am ———(a great word for happy). However, the greatest shock was Germany being ———— at the group stage.

Image result for england colombia world cup

The coverage in the Chinese media is not impartial, it is unbelievably ——— . However, this is nothing new; the media is the USA is also ———- towards either the left or right.

Image result for biased chinese news
Image result for fox news meme

Project: Look at these headlines from the UK media. Could they happen in your country ?

Image result for prince andrew headline

A story about the Queen’s second son, Prince Andrew, and a sex scandal.

Image result for worst sun headline

A left-wing paper writing about a right-wing Prime Minister.

Image result for worst sun headline

Calling the England football manager a ‘turnip-head’.

Changing sentence order:

John read comic books as a boy. As a boy, John read comic books.

Mary sent two emails then went home. Mary went home after sending two emails.

Try changing these:

Watt worked as a maker of mathematical instruments but later found himself working with steam engines.

If we had to give credit to one inventor, it would probably be Karl Benz from Germany. Many suggest that he created the first true automobile in 1885/1886.

Sherlock Holmes is a fictional private detective created by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Japan’s high speed bullet trains, also known as Shinkansen trains, offer visitors an experience like no other with speeds reaching up to 320 km/hr !

Image result for shinkansen
Image result for james watt steam engine

James Watt and the steam engine.