Listen to some short extracts from interviews with world-famous writers. Match each extract (1 – 6) with the best heading (A-H) and write the letter in the appropriate box. ONE of the headings does not correspond to any of the extracts. The first extract is an example. You can listen to the clips twice.
Listen to this extract from the news about the potential impact of the new coronavirus on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games:
Discussions over the coronavirus outbreak dominated the first morning of a scheduled two-day meeting at Olympic headquarters. Japan’s Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto has hinted that the Games could be moved until later in the year. But the IOC president, Thomas Bach, said he was fully committed to staging a successful event, which starts on July the 24th. The IOC is seemingly reluctant to speculate on possible deadlines should the disease continue to spread.
As you will remember, the use of this inversion (should the disease continue to spread) is an alternative to an ordinary second conditional clause (if the disease continued to spread). By using the inversion, the speaker aims to emphasise that remote possibility in the context of the sentence. (More about inversions for emphasis here).
These are some recent British/Irish TV shows I have been watching/re-watching lately, and which I thought were worth recommending:
- The Crown (contemporary history, biopic)
- Years and Years (Science-fiction, dystopian, human rights, global issues)
- A Very English Scandal (biopic, politics)
- Fleabag (comedy/drama, adult themes)
- Derry Girls (comedy set in Ireland during the troubles, teenagers)
- State of the Union (10′ episodes, relationships)
- Breeders (black comedy on the trials of parenthood)
- Trust Me (drama, set in a hospital)
- A Confession (thriller based on real events)
- Good Omens (fantasy, based on the book by the same title by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman)
- Liar (thriller, rape)
- Butterfly (drama, transgender child)
- The Split (drama about a family of female divorce lawyers)
- Deadwater Fell (murder mystery-drama set in a Scottish village)
You may also like these comedies:
You may also be interested in this:
These are some of the speaking voices in English I like the most, and that I somehow consider ‘models’ of good pronunciation, stress, enunciation…At some points in life, when I have had to do public speaking, I have reminded myself of some of them, thinking, for example: ‘you should show the same poise as Audrey Hepburn when you’re speaking’.
To my mind, their voices are a delight to listen to and might prove a model to imitate when speaking English.
Desert Island Discs (BBC Radio 4)
‘Sherlock’ (BBC 2010-2017)
The Imitation Game (2014):
‘Brideshead Revisited’ (Granada TV 1981)
Much Ado About Nothing (1992)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002):
The Others (2001)
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
Notting Hill (1999)
‘A Bit of Fry and Laurie’ (1987-1995)
The Queen (2006)
‘Good Omens’ (Amazon Prime 2019)
‘Coupling’ (BBC 2000-2004)
‘Next of Kin’ (ITV 2018)
Listen to this clip from Woman’s Hour about children and teenagers who refuse to go to school. Then answer the questions on the google form below. You can listen to the clip twice:
Open form in a new tab
Pay attention to the feedback given to both right and wrong answers.
You can finally listen again and read the transcript:
The phonemes /ʒ/, /ʃ/ and /dʒ/ can be tricky to identify and sometimes produce in certain contexts for Spanish speakers of English. The song One Vision by Queen can help students get acquainted with the differences in sounds.
One Vision (Queen) -You can do this interactive exercise: click here or on the screenshot below:
Love Profusion by Madonna also contains plenty of words featuring those sounds (profusion, destruction, illusions…). It also contains examples of yod coalescence (I’ve got you –/ɡɒt juː/ becomes /ɡɒtʃuː/).
This activity is aimed at helping students tell the difference between /s/, /z/ (and /ɪz/) in plural endings (the same as in 3rd person singular present simple endings and possessive ‘s). It uses the song “My Favourite Things” from the film The Sound of Music, which makes a long list of plural things the singer allegedly loves.
Students are provided with the phonemic transcription of the singular word. By applying the rule, they can guess what sound(s)/phoneme(s) would be used to pronounce them in the plural. Then, they can check their answers against Julie Andrews’s performance, by paying special attention to the way she pronounces either /s/ or /z/. Can they tell the difference?