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{“en”:”In this American English pronunciation video, youu2019re going to come with me and my parents to Colorado. Youu2019ll get to see some of the natural beauty of this state, and study American English pronunciation in real life. Todayu2019s topics: How to pronounce u2018riveru2019, gorge, the noun and the verb, the idioms u2018to keep your eyes peeledu2019 and u2018keep an eye outu2019. Also, the pronunciation of u2018mooseu2019 and u2018elku2019. >> One neat feature of Colorado is the Colorado river. Now, it might not look like too much here, but this is the river that carved out the Grand Canyon in Arizona. I was lucky enough to visit the Grand Canyon on my Epic Road Trip Across America this summer. >> The word u2018riveru2019 is a two-syllable word with stress on the first syllable. DA-da. River. It begins with an R consonant.

When the R comes at the beginning of a word, the lips to make a tight circle for that, rr, and the tongue is pulled back. For me, the middle part is touching the roof of the mouth about here, rr, the tip isnu2019t touching anything. Then we have the IH vowel, so the jaw will drop just a bit and the tongue will come forward. Riv-. >> Then for the V, the bottom lip will come up and make contact with the bottom of the top front teeth. Riv-er. Then we have the schwa-R ending, so the tongue will come back into position for the R. The jaw doesnu2019t need to drop.

River, river. River. >> Weu2019ve stopped here to take a look at the Byeru2019s Gorge. A gorge is a deep, rocky ravine. And, as you can see, we have these nice, beautiful rock faces going up on either side. And I think itu2019s just beautiful. In this case, the Colorado river is whatu2019s flowing down, uh, in the middle. I suppose it is what has worn the edges of the mountains down. >> Gorge is sort of a tricky word. It starts with the G consonant, then it has the AW as in LAW, but the tongue must pull straight back for the R consonant, gor-, gor-, -ge.

And it ends with the J as in JAR consonant sound. Gorge. Itu2019s gorgeous! >> Well gorge also has the meaning of eating too much food, when you gorge out. >> Thatu2019s true. >> On a bunch of food. >> Thatu2019s true. So this is the noun gorge, and the verb gorge: stuffing your face, basically. >> Thatu2019s right. >> Yeah. >> And itu2019s sort of funny in that, in the one, gorge is hollowing out, cutting away >> Right.

>> u2026this big ravine >> Yeah. >> u2026 in the mountains, and on the other, gorge is filling up. >> Right. Stuffing! >> Way too much. >> Thatu2019s interesting. So, gorge the noun is a narrow valley, like you saw, typically with rock walls and a river or stream running through it. The verb has a completely different meaning, to eat a lot of food, to stuff yourself. The word comes from a word meaning throat. Next we drove to Rocky Mountain national park to see elk and moose. >> Okay, so keep your eyes peeled for both elk and moose. Keep your eyes peeled means to watch for something. We use it with u2018foru2019, which you know we like to reduce. Keep your eyes peeled for moose and elk. >> So keep your eyes peeled for both elk and moose. >> Dad, whatu2019s the other idiom we came up with for this? >> Uh, keep an eye out for elk and moose.

>> Yes. As we drive, weu2019ll keep an eye out for moose and elk. >> Keep an eye out for elk and moose. >> Yes. Keep an eye out is not the same thing as keep an eye on. >> No. Thatu2019s correct. >> If we had some elk here, we could keep an eye on them. But since we donu2019t have any and weu2019re looking for them, weu2019re keeping an eye out for them. Keep an eye on means to watch or pay attention to something. For example, keep an eye on the time so youu2019re not late. >> Elk has the EH as in BED vowel. A lot of jaw drop. Then the Dark L, so the back part of your tongue has to pull back, el-k. Then the K. So lift your tongue to the soft palate, and release. Elk. >> Itu2019s fun being able to get so close. Thereu2019s two here, which brings me to the point that the plural of elk is elk.

You donu2019t add an S or anything. One elk, two elk. We got lots of good views of elk. But I really wanted to see a moose. I only saw them at a distance, sitting down. We had been looking the whole day, and I was starting to think I wouldnu2019t see one. Then, just before it was dark outu2026 >> I feel very luck to be seeing my first moose. Moose is an easy pronunciation. Itu2019s the M consonant sound, the OO as in BOO vowel, and the S consonant sound. Plural, just like u2018elku2019, adds no s. Itu2019s still just moose. One moose, a herd of moose. Isnu2019t it beautiful? This is a female, so it doesnu2019t have the antlers. I hope you enjoyed this study of real life American English in the beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park.

Thatu2019s it, and thanks so much for using Rachelu2019s English.. “}

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{“en”:”Hi, everyone. I’m Jade. What we’re talking about today is some pronunciation tips for British English. Some of them are tips; some of them are observations that you might be interested to know. We’ve got eight of them, so let’s get started. Pronunciation of-ed word endings. This is not specifically a British English issue. If your preference — I don’t know why I can’t speak suddenly in an English pronunciation video, but that’s how it is. If your preference is American English, this also applies to American English. So what I hear a lot at, sort of, around intermediate level — sometimes upper intermediate level if you haven’t had someone to correct you — -ed word endings sound like this.

I can’t even do it because it’s so unnatural for me. “Excite-ed shout-ed, remind-ed.” It’s so unnatural for me. But in fact, it’s not like that. It doesn’t sound like an -ed. It might sound like an /id/; it might sound like a /t/; or it might sound like a /d/. So I’ve got some examples here. This word, even though it’s spelled -ed, makes an /id/ sound. It becomes “excited”. “I’m really excited.” “Shouted.” “He shouted at me.” “Reminded.” “I reminded you to do your homework; didn’t I?” And — yeah.

So now, we can talk about the ones that finish with a t sound. “Finished. Dripped. Laughed.” They don’t have the-ed sound. So that’s an important thing to know about pronunciation. Even if it’s spelled-ed, it doesn’t mean it sounds like that. And what about the ones that end with a d sound, a “duh” sound. “Remembered.” “I remembered what you said to me.” “Called.” “I called you. Didn’t you hear your phone?” “Imagined.” “I imagined a better future for everyone.” So with those, it’s a D sound. How do you know for each one? Go with what feels most natural when you’re saying the word.

The main thing is don’t force the -ed sound at the end of the word because it’s that that gives you an unnatural rhythm when you’re speaking English. So moving on to — this one’s an observation, really. British English pronunciation. We have so many different accents in England. But one of the biggest divisions in our accents is — it’s between the north of the country and the south, and it’s our pronunciation of these words: “bath” and “laugh”, as I say them. I say them in the southern pronunciation. But if I were from the north — if I were from the north of the country, I’d say “bath” and “laugh” because they have a different accent up there. Well, they’ve got loads of different accents, but they don’t speak in the same way as me. So let’s break it down into the actual sound. So if you’re from the North, you say, “a”. But we, in the South, say “au”. So you say “bath”, we say “bauth”. And you say “laf”; we say “laugh”. And you can also hear it in these two words. It doesn’t have to be the first or only a vowel in the word.

In the southern pronunciation, this is “commaund”. But in the northern pronunciation, it’s “command”. And the southern pronunciation of this word is “caust”. The northern pronunciation is “cast”. The cast of Brookside came to London.” “Brookside” was an old soap that’s not on TV anymore, and it was people from Liverpool. And I was just doing the accent. Probably that’s really irrelevant to you.

You will never see that show, but anyway. You know, now. Next tip. I don’t hear this that often, but when I do, it sounds really, really, really wrong. And I think this tip generally — generally a good example of how — just because we write something one way doesn’t mean we say it that way. So in English — American English, too — W sounding words are the same as the “wh” sound in words for spelling. It actually sounds the same. So we’ve got two words here, “wine” and “whine”.

One is spelled with WH, and one is just spelled with I. “Whine” is a kind of moan or a kind of cry. Sometimes, young children whine. Sometimes, women who are upset about something are said to be “whiny”. So we don’t really say that men whine. That’s probably a bit sexist. But, yeah. The point is they sound the same but are spelled differently. So I’ve sometimes heard people try to make the “wh” sound like “hwhine” or something like that or in these words, “which” and “witch” are the same. Some people might say “hwhich”. And that used to be a feature of British English. If you listen to some speakers of British English from a long time ago, like around the 1920s — T.

S. Eliot, although he wasn’t British, he did acquire a really strange British accent. And when he spoke English, he would make the “hwhich” sound. And that was a standard feature of the accent then. But if you say it now, it just sounds a bit weird. So don’t be making the “hwh” sound. And here, two commonly spoken words with that “hwh” sound that you shouldn’t say — so you should say “what” without “hwhat, hwhat, hwhat do you want?” That would be awful.

And “hwhere” — don’t say that. Just say it without the H sound. Let’s take a look at the pronunciation of -ing word endings. So in just relaxed, informal speech, I feel that a lot of dialects don’t pronounce the G. So it would be like this. “I was listening to some music.” You don’t hear the G there. But if we’re making an effort to speak properly and with very good enunciation, you would hear the G slightly. It would sound like this, “I was listening to a wonderful lecture yesterday.” And you hear my G. It’s very soft, but it’s there. Something to say about British English pronunciation is — again, this is a north-south difference — is that they, up there, some of the accents ring the G, so it’s, like, “listening, speaking.

I was speaking to him.” And if that’s a feature of your accent, that’s a feature of your accent. But in standard English, you don’t ring it. You don’t make an extra “guh” or “juh” sound at the end. So the standard way to make the G sound, “reading.” But I’m just letting you know that in relaxed and informal speech, many times, we don’t hear the G. So when we come back we’ll look at the other four rules or tips — tips, really. Tips and observations about pronunciation. Tip No. 5, when we’re saying a word with two or more syllables, very often, the second syllable is not stressed, and it’s what we call a “schwa”. So even though all these words have a different spelling for the second syllable, they become a schwa.

So what some people do is they’ll say the word. And a good example is this word. They will say “En-gland”. But actually, it sounds like this “England”. So the vowel changes to a schwa, and then, it’s — another way to look at it is it becomes a softer sound. So let’s say some of the words. “London”, not “Lon-don”. “London, England, together”, not “togeth-er”. “Together”. “Button”, not “butt-on”. “Button”. “Cousin”. So that’s the schwa, and supposedly the most common sound in the English language, and it’s a pretty confusing sound as well because it’s always spelled in different ways, and it doesn’t actually sound exactly the same when it moves around into different words. So not an easy one to get familiar with. So the main thing to take away from it is that don’t put that very big stress on all your syllables in the word. It won’t sound right.

No. 6, tip No. 6, British English is a non-rhotic accent. This is the sound /r/. In your language, maybe you do that thing where you roll your tongue which I can’t do. I just — I so can’t do it. So like how I can’t do that sound, you might find it really hard to make that sound without rolling your tongue. Okay. It’s hard. Pronunciation is not easy. But you can always work at something and train yourself. So when we make the R sound, the position of the tongue is quite far back in the throat. R, R, R. And it doesn’t have that rhotic sound. And in some dialects, for example, in Scottish, you do hear it. So I’m going to say this sentence in a Scottish accent, “The murderer wore red.” Sorry, Scottish people. But they put the R sound in. I kind of did it then. Maybe I can do it after all. But in my accent, I would say, “the murderer wore red.” So we don’t roll our tongues. And that’s something — if you want to speak standard British English, you could work on that R if you do it.

So if you’re Arabic or if you’re Spanish, Italian as well, you could work on that sound. No. 7, now. So this is a hard sound. I’m going to have to be honest with you. It’s a hard sound for me because I’m a Londoner, and I’m from South London, and we’re not very — we don’t like this sound very much. We like to replace it with an F sound. I’m not too bad making this sound at the beginning of a word, “three”, “thought”, “think”. But sometimes, it’s quite hard for me, like in this word. I want to say “birfday” with an F, but it should be “birthday”. It’s really hard for me. But it’s not just hard for me; it’s hard for people all over the world.

Maybe we should just get rid of this sound. We don’t need it anymore. Some people replace it with D. I’ve got an Italian student who replaces it with D. So he would say “dirty dree”. That’s not an Italian restaurant, but — restaurant? Italian restaurant? Why am I thinking about food? It’s not an Italian accent. Because he can’t say “th”, he replaces it with /d/. But other people might replace it with /v/ as well. So a tip for making the “th” sound, you put your tongue between your teeth. And it’s a kind of whisly sound without the /f/. Your lip is more pursed at the top. So you don’t want to do that when you’re making the “th”. Just try it. I’ll say the words for you. “Three”, “thumbs” — thumbs up if you can make that sound — “birthday”, “thought”, “think”, “bath”. It’s hard for me. I’m trying. I’m trying with you.

We’re learning together today. And rule No. 8, “can’t”. Oh, that’s meant to have that there. A lot of people get confused because sometimes they think, “Did you say a negative there, or did you say the positive?” They get really confused. In British English, we don’t always say the T. We don’t always pronounce the T in this word “can’t”. So it might sound like this, “I can’t understand you.” But it might also sound like this, “I can understand you.” And when I said it the second way, you didn’t hear the T. And the reason that happens is speech just become as little bit more fluid, a little bit more easy to say without the T.

But you don’t need to be confused because, actually, the opposite of “can’t” is “can”. And /caen/ is a different vowel. It’s /ae/, whereas this vowel is /a/. So they would sound completely different. It would be, “I can’t understand you.” Very different to “I can’t understand you” or “I can understand you.” So when you’re listening out for that negative sometimes, know that we might say it with or without a T.

So thank you everybody for watching today. You can do a little bit of extra practice on the EngVid site for this lesson. And if you do like my lesson, please do subscribe because I make lots of different lessons, not just about pronunciation but all other things about learning English as well that I think will be very education and very useful for you in your general development as a learner of English or someone who’s just trying to improve your English. And I’m finished now, so I’m going to go. I’m going to go now, okay? I’ll see you later.. “}

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{“en”:”Whatu2019s orange and sounds like parrot? Carrot. A carrot rhymes with parrot. Ha! Come on. Jay, weu2019re trying to work. Whatu2019s red and smells like blue paint? Red paint. Get it? Red paint. Ha! Jay, Iu2019ve got one for you. Yeah? Whatu2019s loud and sounds like shut up? I donu2019t know, what? Shut up.. “}

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{“en”:”Hello. We’re doing the zero conditional today. It’s a useful grammatical structure in English. Perhaps it’s used for, particularly to those who are rules-based people, who like knowing that A is going to result in B. My little nephew is like this. Hi, Alex. So, we’re doing the zero conditional. And this is about something that is generally true, like a scientific fact. If I press the toilet button, it flushes. Okay? “If”, condition, result. “If I do”, “If I play, this happens.” So this is in present simple, and the result also in the present simple. “If you heat ice, it melts.” So it’s like a scientific fact, it’s like something… This always happens in this same way. The condition always has the same result. Now, the result, this bit here, it can also be in the imperative rather than the present simple. So, I’ve put a little example here: “If you do…” “If you visit Devon,” -a place in the southwest of England-“go to Chagford.” Where I was born.

Okay? It’s a great place. So, it’s like “go to”, it’s an imperative. I’m telling you to do that. So this is a structure of command. “If you arrive late to my class again, you”, and then I’m going to need to… “You will have to go to the head master.” Okay? It’s the condition equals the result. It’s always the same. So if you’re late, you have to go to the head master. Okay? Condition, result, always the same relationship between the two. Now, we can have a couple of different, alternative options here. Instead of “if” we could also use “when” or “unless”.

I’ve written that unless… You know when… When’s talking about time, obviously. But “unless” means kind of if not, followed by the condition and result. Condition always in the present. So: “Unless if not he proposes”, obviously that’s quite weird, formal English. The translation would be something like… Or the simplification: “If he does not propose to marry you,”-to propose to marry you. Would you like to marry me?- “refuse to go on holiday with him again.” Okay? So: “refuse to go”, there you’ve got your imperative.

Okay? Now, we can change the order and put the result before the condition, and throw in a bit of “if” and “when” and “unless” right there in the middle just to mix things up, mix the bowl up. So, the result here is at the beginning. “The boss, my leader, the person who is in charge is angry” -again, notice present tense-“when I dance on my table.” Obviously, “when” could also be replaced by “if” there. “…if I dance on my table”. So, “when” would imply that I maybe dance on my table quite a lot. But “if”, I’m so scared of my boss that I don’t want to dance on my table. And “unless” would change it, so you’d have to have probably a different condition there. “The boss is angry unless I stay seated.” Okay, so let’s just have another quick recap. Something that’s generally true, like a scientific fact, like: “If I cross the road without looking, I get knocked over.” Sorry, that’s what the traffic’s like in London.

Pay attention. Look to your left, look to your right before it’s safe to go. “If”, condition, result. Present simple, present simple unless we’re using the imperative. “You will go to Chagford if you visit Devon.” And then we can mix in a bit of “when” and “unless”, meaning changing the positive, negative affirmation, so: “Unless he proposes to marry you,” blah, blah, blah, this will be the result. This will always be the result unless you do this. And then you can also have the result here and the condition here. The boss is angry if you don’t do the quiz right now and subscribe to my YouTube channel, and check out Exquisite English. Good night. God bless. See ya next time.. “}

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{“en”:”Hello, folks. So this morning, we’ve come along to a very good language school in London because we want to have a look at what it’s like to be a student in one of these schools. Come, and let’s find out. — Hi, Lee. — Hi, Ben. — So our viewers are learning English on the Internet. What would be an advantage of coming to a language school for a time to learn some English? — I think the key difference is that when you’re at a language school, then you are part of a whole experience. If you’re learning online, it’s great, but it’s for an hour or two, and that’s it.

Whereas if you come to the school, then you have complete immersion in a whole day of English if you like. If you’re staying with a host family, you have English experience before you come to school. All day, you’re speaking English, and if you take part in our social activities in the evening, then you’re carrying on. So it’s constantly learning and taking in and processing of new information. — Sure. So if someone was studying here and staying with a host family, they might share meals with the family. — Yeah. — And I guess there are students coming from many different countries. — Exactly. And of course, then you get this interaction with loads and loads of different students from all over the world, which, again, really challenges you in different ways when you’re learning English, I think. — And do students come here for a couple of weeks? — Some do. Some students come for a couple of weeks. Some students come for a year. It depends on what that student is looking for, what they need, what their plans are. So it can be either-or.

— And I guess it’s very exciting being here in London. You know, we’ve got a lot of English culture around us. — Of course. I mean, the history, the art, the literature, the theatre scene is just really advantageous to learning English. It’s just an amazing city. So to come and study here is a really good thing, I think. — Yeah. I mean, I guess the student can learn more the more they put themselves in an English environment, the more they speak.

— Exactly. If you immerse yourself in something completely, then you’re going to get more out of it, I think. — Cool. Well, is it possible to go and have a look at a class this morning? — Yeah. Absolutely. I think Dan is waiting for you upstairs. — Great. Thank you very much. –You’re welcome. –Let’s go upstairs. So let’s go and have a quick look now at a general English class and what that looks like in a language school. Okay. Come have a look. — Hi, there, Dan. — Hi. — Hi. We’ve just come to have a look at your general English class today. — Hello. — What exactly are you going to be doing in class today? — Today, we’re looking at the difference between literal and non-literal meanings of nine elements of vocabulary.

I was just asking Nir what he thought about the difference between “enough food” and “too much food”. So, sorry. — I think it depends. — Okay. In this meaning, do you think that it’s — if there is “lots of”, is it good or bad? — Yeah. It’s good. — Good? Would you agree, guys? It’s good? — I think it’s bad. — Okay. Hands up if you think it’s good. Nir, you stand alone, my friend. I’m sorry. Hands up if you think it’s bad. — In fact, that’s what I looked like last night at about 10:30. But what other words? Fly. That’s what I’m looking for, “fly”. Read the sentences with your partner.

I want you to decide two things. No. 1, which sentence is the literal meaning? Which sentence is the non-literal meaning. No. 2, what do you think the non-literal meaning means in other languages? Okay. Good. So it’s a word. You can use it, but it doesn’t mean what you think it means here. In this case, you mean “hard”, not “hardly”. — “To question.” “Question” can be a verb? — Yes. Of course. “I question.” Yeah. Good guess. Well done. So that was a great lesson from Dan. They’re really engaging in the teaching, and the students were obviously enjoying it. We’re going to go down to the lunch hall now and grab a bit of lunch. And then, we’ve got a couple of students who we’ll be talking to. They’re from different parts of the world. So I’m hungry. Let’s go and eat. [Crowd chatter] Well, that was a delicious lunch. And we enjoyed having a look at Dan’s class. Now, we’ve got three students at the London School of English here. And firstly, folks, could you tell me what course you’re doing and how long you have learned English for? So starting with Takami.

— I’m taking a Cambridge English examination preparation course. It’s called FCE. So just this course I have studied three weeks. Yeah. I have another five weeks. — Okay. And before, when you were in Japan, how long did you learn? Like, one year, two years learning English? Or — — Honestly, no. Nothing. — Nothing at all? Okay. Wow. Very interesting. Okay. Thanks. And Veronica? — I’ve done the general course for one month, and then I’ve started three weeks ago the CAE course, which is the Cambridge Advanced Exam. And that last — — Why did you choose this course? — The CAE? — Yeah. — Because I needed to get into university, and I’ve also heard that this academy prepares very well students to pass the exams. And I’ve been — — So you’re hoping to study in a university in England? — No, not in England, in Switzerland.

— Okay. — And they are asking for a B in CAE. And yeah. They’ve told me that this academy really will help you to pass the exam successfully. — Good luck to you. — Thank you. — And Francis, tell me, how long have you been learning English, and why did you decide to come and study in England? — I started English in secondary school and some more in university. And I decided to come here because I want to improve my English a lot. But only for pleasure. And for me, the best place to learn English is in London.

— Sure. — So I come here, and I’m learning here in this school. — Cool. Veronica, had you been studying in Spain how to speak English? — I’ve studied English in Spain, but with au pairs. At school as well, but the level in my school was pretty low. So yeah. The au pairs have helped me to get this fluency. — And how do you find the teachers different in London and in a language school compared to in a school where you’re from? — Well, I think that teachers here have more experience, and they do really know which mistakes do students make. Whereas the teachers in Spain, obviously, they are experienced as well, but not as much as a language teacher would be. — So they’re more specific? — Yeah. More specific. They know the mistakes that people from different countries make, and yeah. I think that’s the main reason, I think. — So Takami, do you feel you’re improving your English in a good way? — Yeah.

Just getting better. But of course, I need to more improve. But I feel that day by day getting my English better. — Cool. And so for all of you, it’s been stimulating; it’s been an interesting time being here? You’re obviously making really good friends here. Is it something you’d recommend to people? — Absolutely. You should go. — Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I’ve already spread it all over. — You should come here. It’s a life experience. You have to do it once at least in your life. I enjoy it a lot. I improve my English a lot. I make a lot of friends from different parts of the world.

So it is amazing. I enjoy it a lot. — So guys, I’ve lived in London for six years. And I feel I know it well, but for you coming to London, is it a good place to come to? Is it easy for you to speak to people and practice English being here in London? — Yes. I met some very friendly people in the pubs or wherever you are. And yeah. It’s very easy. For me, as I said, it’s a life experience to be here. So London, for me, it’s the capital of the world. — Wow. — It’s not the United States; it’s not Washington. It’s London. Very cosmopolitan. — London’s on the map. — Yeah. Absolutely. — And are there enough things for you to do? — Definitely. — On the weekends, for example, are there opportunities to do things? — Yeah. You won’t run out of chances or different activities to do.

One weekend, you can go and see a theatre play, a musical, and then visit different areas from the city. It is a very versatile city. You can go to the north of London, and it’s completely different from the south of London. So you won’t ever — — I feel like I’m in a different country in some parts. — Yeah. It’s like a country. So you won’t ever get bored of living here. — Great. So the best way for you guys to learn English, is it from reading? Is it from listening? Is it a mixture? What’s the best way? — I think it’s a mixture because you learn the grammar basics in class. Then, afterwards, you can socialize at lunch. And then afterwards, with the social program, you’re able to talk to everyone and get to know everybody and talk about your country, their country.

You learn different cultures. You — yeah. You get to socialize. — Is it difficult for you to speak English to someone from Spain? — Well, if we — — It was easy the first day that we met each other, so it’s easy. Yeah. If you met someone and you start speaking English, it’s easy to ongoing with that. — And if both of us want to speak English, then it’s okay. Because I know other Spanish students here that they feel that they want to speak Spanish with me, for example. But don’t do that because we are all here to improve our English, and we are interested in learning English, not in speaking our native language. — It’s true. — And here, you have the possibility to speak 24 hours. — That’s why it’s the best way.

— So after school, you can go to the pub. — No sleep. — Exactly. — We are trying to speak English even with same country people. — That’s cool. — It’s important. — Well, thank you so much for coming in and speaking today. It’s been really useful. And I hope there’s been something for you to learn back home. Thank you, guys. — Thank you.. “}

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IELTS General: Writing Task 1 – 14 Top Tips!

Hi. I’m Rebecca from engVid. If you need to do the IELTS general exam, I’m sure it’s for a very important reason. Perhaps you’re trying to immigrate to another country, or get admission to a college program, or join a professional training program. Whatever your reason, I know you want to get the highest marks possible. Right? Of course. So I’m going to help you to do exactly that in one particular area of the exam, and that’s in your writing section. Now, in the writing section there are two parts, one is a letter and one is an essay. In this lesson we will focus on how you can get the highest marks possible in the letter-writing section.

Okay? The 14 tips that I’m going to give you I promise you, if you apply each one of these things, step by step you’re going to get more and more marks. Okay? So stick with me and we will go through them. Let’s get started. So, the first thing you have to identify when you read the letter-writing task is: What type of letter am I being asked to write? Is it a formal letter, is it a semi-formal letter, or is it an informal letter? Well, how do you know that? Well, you can know it in a few ways and I’m going to explain them, but one of the ways that you can know it is to look at the second point that you need to understand, is to identify the purpose of the letter because some purposes are more formal than other purposes. All right? For example, some formal letters might ask you to request information; or apply for a job; or complain about a product or a service, maybe to an airline, maybe to a store, something like that; or to make a suggestion or a recommendation.

All right? To a shopping mall, to a restaurant, something like that. These are more formal situations. These are when we are writing to people or companies that we don’t know. All right? That’s the clue: You don’t have anybody’s name, you just have the name of the company. All right. Semi-formal letters might include things like this: Complaining to a landlord; or explaining something, a problem or a situation to a neighbour; or asking a professor for permission to miss an exam or to submit your assignment late. Whatever it is. Okay? The details vary. Doesn’t matter. And here, what’s…? What identifies the semi-formal? The semi-formal we know it’s still a kind of a formal situation, but here we usually do know somebody’s name.

You would know the name of your landlord, or your professor, or your neighbour, for example. Right? So that means something in terms of the way that you write the letter, the language, the tone, the style. All of this is affected by whether it’s formal, semi-formal, or informal. And I’ll explain more to you as we go along. Now, examples of informal letters might be where you’re being asked to invite a friend, or thank a friend, or apologize to a friend, or ask for advice from someone that you know. Okay? Here what’s important is that you really know this person well and you’re probably going to call them by first name. So I’m going to explain exactly how all of this translates into the next step, which is how you begin your letter. So the first step was to identify the type of letter. Second step, the purpose. Now the third step is to open and close the letter correctly.

Once you’ve done steps one and two, you will know how to do this step. Because if it’s a formal letter then you start with: “Dear Sir” or “Madam”, and you end with: “Yours faithfully”. Okay? That’s how it is. If it’s a semi-formal letter, you will start with something like: “Dear Mr. Brown” or “Dear Ms. Stone” or “Mrs. Stone”. “Ms.” Is when you don’t know if a woman is married or not, or if she’s just a modern woman. And you end the semi-formal letter with something like: “Yours sincerely”. Okay? What we’re trying to do is to match up the formality of the situation with these terms that we’re using. Okay? The opening and closing salutations they’re called, these are called. All right? Next is the informal one. So here, you know the person really well, it’s your friend or a family member, and so you know… You’re going to call them by first name.

Right? So you might say: “Dear John”, “Dear Susan”, and then because it’s a warm friendship or relationship, you can end in a warmer way by saying: “Best regards” or “Warm wishes”. Now, what makes it a little bit easier for you and this is a clue is that usually in your letter prompt, in the task that the IELTS exam gives you, they will give you the letter situation and then they’ll say: “Start your letter with ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Madam’, or ‘Dear Mr. So-and-so’, or ‘Dear John’.” Now, that helps you a lot because now you know if it’s going to be a formal letter, a semi-formal letter, or an informal letter, and you will know how to end your letter and you’ll also know what to say in your letter and how to say it, which is what we’re going to look at next. Okay, number four: Start the letter appropriately. That means based on whether you decided it was a formal letter, semi-formal, or informal – you need to use appropriate language. Right? Let me give you an example. For formal or informal letters, we could start with something like this: “I am writing to inquire about…” Okay? “I’m writing to inform you that…” whatever the situation is.

Or: “I’m writing in connection with…” Okay? These are some of the standard expressions that we can use when we start formal or semi-formal letters. Look how different that is from the informal ones. Now, what happens in an informal situation? Here we know the people, so first we want to acknowledge the relationship. We don’t start talking about business. Here, these are strangers, we don’t want to waste their time, we don’t want to be friendly here, we just want to get down to business. But here you want to be warm, you want to be friendly because these are people you know.

So you might start with something like this: “I hope you and your family are all well.” Okay? That could be your first sentence. You know what? And in fact in your first paragraph you’re probably just going to talk about nice things, and only in your second paragraph are you going to get down to tell them exactly why you’re writing. Okay? But first you want to say… Tell them… Ask them how they are, and things like that. Another way you could start an informal letter is: “How have you been? It’s been too long since we were last in touch”, and so on.

Okay? This is just to give you some idea. I’m going to later tell you where you can go to refer to sample letters, model letters that you can read so that you really become familiar with the entire format. Okay? All right. Now, number five: Use standard written expressions. What does that mean? Look, the reason it takes you a longer time to write a letter than let’s say someone who has been speaking and writing English all their life is because we have picked up the standard expressions that are used when we write, and you need to try to do that. That will save you a lot of time and it’s very important, of course, on an exam to write as fast as possible.

It’s also important all your life to write email as fast as possible. So, by learning these standard written expressions you will be able to get higher marks and save time and effort. So what are some of these standard expressions? Well, let’s look at one example when we are asked to apologize about something. So if it’s a formal situation, you could say something like: “My sincere apologies for missing the meeting” or “missing the conference”, something like that. Okay? If it was an informal situation and you’re writing to a friend or something like that, you could say: “I’m very sorry for missing your wedding.” Okay? See, you’re still apologizing, but when it’s formal you use certain expressions, and when it’s informal you’re going to use other kinds of expressions.

But these are still expressions which you can learn. And again, you can download a list of these kind of expressions from the resource that I’m going to tell you about. Now, let’s say you are asking for something, you’re making a request, if it’s a formal situation you could say something like: “I’d be grateful” or “I would be grateful if you could please send me the information as soon as possible.” Okay? For example. And if it’s more informal you could say: “Could you please send me the book as fast as you can?” Okay? So you see that the tone varies based on whether it’s formal, informal, or semi-formal. Okay? Let’s look at some other points. Okay, number six: Use correct spelling. Now, you’re going to say to me: “Rebecca, I know that”, and I know you know that, but unfortunately sometimes even on the IELTS students are still making mistakes on words like these which you know you’re very likely to use so you want to make sure that you really know how to spell these words. Of course you can’t know every word you’re going to use, but there are some words you can definitely know will probably be there.

So, for example: “sincerely”, people forget the “e”; “faithfully”, people forget that there’s two l’s; and “connection”, people forget that there are two n’s, that kind of examples. Okay? So just read over… When you read over many sample or model letters you will see and you will find the words which appear very often, and make sure that you know how to spell those words so that you get higher and higher marks which is our goal. Okay, number seven: Divide the letter, your letter into paragraphs.

Now, I know you know that, but let’s just review it. So of course you will have an introduction and you will have a conclusion, and usually IELTS letters in the 20 minutes that you have and in the situation that they’ve asked you to write about, usually IELTS letters have about four paragraphs. Okay? So, introduction, then a second paragraph will be describing the problem or the situation, the third paragraph will move into the solution or what action you’re asking someone to take, and the last one is the conclusion, just the ending. Okay? So make sure you divide your paragraphs… Your letter into paragraphs. Now, when you do that there are two ways to do it. One way is to indent to show that you’re starting a new paragraph.

What does it mean to indent? To start a little bit from the left side. Okay? So don’t start here, start inside. Or you can start every paragraph from the left, what we call flush left, but then you have to leave a line in between to show that this is in fact a different paragraph. Otherwise they… The examiner will think that you’ve written one solid piece of writing in your letter instead of writing in paragraphs. Okay? So make sure you do that. Next: Use clear, legible handwriting. Now, on the IELTS in case you didn’t know, you have to actually write by hand. You can’t use a computer. So you have to make sure that your handwriting is clear and legible. “Legible” means that someone can read it. Don’t write like a doctor, even if you’re a doctor because then the examiner will not be able to understand and won’t be able to give you all the high marks that you want.

So, make sure… Also some people when they’re cursive… For example, when you write with cursive writing-okay?-handwriting which is joined. Right? Some people have difficulty with some of the letters, like “n” and “r”. For example, an “n” or an “r”, if you don’t make it properly it could look like another letter, and then to the examiner that could look like a spelling mistake and then you would lose marks. So make sure your handwriting is clear for this reason that you don’t want the examiner to consider it a spelling mistake, because then they have to reduce your marks.

Okay. Next, you are asked to write and you should write 150 words. How do you know what 150 words is? By practicing and checking lots of times, so practice writing letters. If I had an IELTS exam coming up, I would write a letter and an essay every single day so that I’d feel completely comfortable and confident, I know exactly what I’m going to do, and that’s what you go ahead and do.

And then you will have a feeling and a knowledge of what 150 words is. Okay? Make sure you know. Because if you write less than 150 words, you will lose marks. If you write more than 150 words, you will not lose marks. Okay? So make sure you write at least 150 words. But what’s also important, I said here that if you write more you’ll get… You’ll still be fine, you won’t lose any marks, but you don’t want to spend too much time because you need to finish in about 20 minutes. As I mentioned at the beginning, there are two tasks in your writing section, the letter plus the essay.

The essay is worth twice as many marks, so you want to make sure that you leave enough time, about 40 minutes for your essay. Right? This is also very important. All the marks count. They check… They give you marks separately for the letter and they give you marks separately for your essay, and then they give you a separate score for that, and finally they combine everything. So everything matters, but make sure you finish this part, the letter in 20 minutes. And again, the way to be able to do that is to practice. Practice and practice and practice. So you will write 150 words in 20 minutes and so on.

Okay? With the paragraphs and all the other rules that I told you about. Okay. Now, number 11 tells you to include all three bulleted points. What do I mean by that? If you have looked at some sample letter tasks that appear on the IELTS exam, they give you the situation and then they give you a second section which says: “Include this information in your letter”, and they tell you three points. They’re usually bulleted points. Okay? When they have a little dot like this it means it’s a bullet. And you must do those things. If you don’t do one of these you will definitely lose a lot of marks. So, for example, suppose it was a letter that you’re being asked to write to a landlord. It might say… Or, sorry. You want to write a letter, let’s suppose, to your landlord because the neighbour is making a lot of noise every night and you’re having a lot of problems. So they will say: “In your letter explain the situation”, so you have to make sure you do that. Next: “Describe why it bothers you.” Tell them you’re a student.

I mean, you need to make up a lot of information here. They don’t tell you exactly what to write. Everyone on that… In that examination hall is going to write a different letter, but you have to include certain points. And third, maybe suggest a solution. What are you going to do? So if you leave out one of these, you will lose marks. So don’t do that. Always make sure whatever they have asked you to include, you include, and then include whatever else you have time for that makes sense according to the task you have been given. Okay? And a few more important points which we will cover next. Okay, the last three points, which are also very important for you to get that really high score.

Here we go. We’re going to start from here and go upwards. Okay? There is a reason behind this. Okay, number 12: Understand the scoring criteria. What does that mean? You’re going to get your points, or mark, or grade based on certain things that the IELTS examiners want you to do in this task. So let’s understand what those four things are. Number one is task achievement. That’s a big word which simply means they want you to do everything you’re supposed to do in the letter. Do all. Give a full response. Remember those three points and everything? Make sure you include all the bulleted points, you do what they ask you to do. And that you should write at least 150 words. You will see that in their criteria a lot of the details of it is what I have covered also for you in these 14 points.

All right. Coherence and cohesion. “Coherence” means that you present your ideas logically, it makes sense, you used paragraphs that are structured. Okay? And “cohesion” means that it all goes together in a way that makes sense. For example, your ideas should make sense, they should sort of stick together. And you should use standard expressions that we talked about for apologizing, for thanking, for making a request and so on. Okay? The third point is Lexical resource they call it. What does that mean? That means they want to make sure that you’re using your vocabulary correctly, naturally, fluently. Okay? Lots of varied vocabulary. Not the same words again and again. The last one, they also want to make sure that you use correct spelling. They do minus marks if you get… Make spelling mistakes. Okay? So be careful of that. We’ve talked about it before. And the last one is grammar range and accuracy.

They want you to use varied grammar structures. All right? To write different kinds of sentences; simple sentences, complex sentences, compound sentences. All right? Don’t just write the same kind of sentences. And use correct punctuation and capitalization, which goes with proper English writing. Okay. Now, let’s go upwards. What’s the other really, really important thing that you need to do to get very high marks in this letter-writing section? Write a letter every day. Practice and practice this letter writing. But there’s a second part to that. Practice and get your letters or letter checked by an IELTS teacher. Ideally, an IELTS teacher. Not only an English teacher because not every English teacher has IELTS experience or understands this exam, or the demands of this exam. So the best… Always try to get the best teacher you can get who really knows what you need to do. So, try to get your letters checked by an IELTS teacher because if you keep practicing every day and nobody checks it, that’s tricky. Okay? There are two sections of this exam which you can really cannot prepare for by yourself according to me, and I’ve been teaching for a long time, so they are speaking and writing.

Somebody has to give you feedback. When you get that feedback you will know what you need to improve and correct to get that higher score and also to improve your English. So make sure you get some feedback somewhere along the way so that you know what’s strong and what’s weak. Okay? And last: Read model letters from reliable sources, but don’t memorize them.

Okay? Don’t memorize. Don’t try to memorize the entire letter because you don’t know exactly what you’re going to get. But it will help you a lot to read sample letters and only from reliable sources. For example, I wrote a website called www.goodluckielts.com and there, there are many sample letters, sample letter topics, and you can be sure that the English there is perfect. Unfortunately there are a lot of websites today, and not all of them have perfect English even in their so-called model essays or model letters.

Okay? So make sure whenever you go to a site that it is a site that you can be sure of so that you learn the right things and don’t do any of the wrong things. Okay? So, what do you do now? Well, I suggest these things: Go to our website at www.engvid.com. Why? Because there you can download for free a resource which will contain all 14 of these points-okay?-for you. So in case you didn’t write them down, don’t worry, I’ve written them all down for you clearly. Plus you will get those expressions, those standard expressions that I mentioned you need to use to make your letter writing easier. You also will get sample letter topics so that you get some idea of what is a formal question look like, a semi-formal, an informal. And also sample letters, which I’ve written for you. Okay? So please grab that resource. It’s free and it’s available for you, for anyone who wants to download it.

Okay? And while you’re there also check out our website because we have lots and lots of other resources which can help you, and lots of videos and lessons which can help you do better on your IELTS. And subscribe to my YouTube channel because that will really help you improve your grade in terms of very many aspects that go into making a really good English speaker and English writer. All right? I wish you all the best with your IELTS and with your English. Thanks very much for watching. I know you’re a serious student, and I’m sure you’re going to do well. All the best. Bye..

As found on Youtube

IELTS Success – Studying Academic English at a School

Hi, there. We get a lot of questions on the site about all the different exams you can do with English. So we’ve decided to come along to a very good English school this morning to ask Shirley, who’s in charge of exams and qualifications at the London School of English, about the different exams you can take, and Monica, who is a successful candidate of the IELTS exam.

So Shirley, there are so many different qualifications. Why is the IELTS, in particular, one that many people try and do? Because it’s the gateway to university. IELTS is the exam that you need to get into university and for further study. There are other exams that you can take, but IELTS is by far the most popular. And if you have a level of or 7, you can go on to do whatever it is you want to do in your life. So getting that exam can be very tricky. So I think probably one of the reasons you get so many questions is because people are constantly looking for ideas and help and tips on how to get the best out of their exam.

Sure. Monica, how did you find doing the IELTS? Did it take you a long time? Did you have to study very hard to do this exam? And how did you find it easier by coming here to the school? I study almost six months IELTS in Japan. But I couldn’t get my IELTS score in my country. So that’s why I decided to come here. And then — yes. I can say my English skill was improved a lot in this school. So — and then, this experience has contributed to getting into university. And did I get it right, Shirley, that there are two different kinds of IELTS? There’s academic and general. General, yes. By far, the most popular one is the academic one. But if you want to — if you need an exam for visa purposes or for immigration purposes, you can use a general IELTS, which is a slightly different exam.

Actually, the writing paper is different, and the reading paper is different. But the speaking and the listening are the same. On the general English exam, the writing is much more about the kind of writing that you would have to do if you were living in a country, so it’s letters. And the reading is more about understanding life around you. The type of IELTS that you probably get questions about is academic. And the writing is a sample of the kind of writing you can expect to produce in university and the same with the reading. It’s the kind of text that you will need to access. And they are very difficult. But they’re designed so that they can test every level from a beginner right through to advanced.

So you really need to understand how to tackle the text because there will always be a question — if you’re a level 6 or a level 7, there will always be a question that you can’t answer because only a level 9 can answer everything. And if you don’t know how to tackle these texts, it can really feel like an impossible task. But it’s not. You just need to know what you’re doing. It starts from — well, you’ve got — a level 1 would be a beginner. And a level 9 is native speaker competence, so somebody who’s completely comfortable with the language, and everywhere in between. So if you’re looking at what you want for university, it will generally start around a level 6.

And a level 6 will get you into a lot of universities. But you’ll find your course quite stressful because it’s pretty low. Actually, it will get you in the door, but if you want to really succeed, you need more than a 6. And I would say you aim for a or a 7 to feel really comfortable. And it’s not always IELTS that will get you there because often, you need more general English.

You need to understand more about English in general before you can understand the academic side. If you study purely IELTS, you’ll never get anywhere. You have to study IELTS and general English side by side. Yeah. So you’ve studied at this school for a while now. You’ve obviously become much better in your language skills. But are there other things that you’ve learned? Maybe you’ve learned thinking skills, analytical skills that have helped you? What I improved the most in this school and in London is the communication skills with people. So now, I have a much more confidence to communicate with native speakers because my English is not perfect. But I guess a lot of native speakers don’t expect to speak a perfect English. But I can communicate with people. And I enjoy my university a lot. Of course, it’s sometimes stressful, but it’s very, very good experience for me. I just passed the first year of master’s this June.

And we’re very proud. Thank you very much, Shirley and Monica. Thank you very much. I hope you found that useful about the IELTS examination. Now, I’m here with Rosie. And she is the university — what was the actual title? University relations manager. That’s right. Now, your role here is to help students — you have an actual course for people who are applying for universities in London and the UK, and you help them actually get into those courses if that’s suitable for them.

That’s right. Yeah. We’ve got a university preparation course called “English for University”, which is academic English. So we have a separate IELTS preparation course. That doesn’t cover the skills that you need for university, really, so extended essay writing skills, research skills, note taking in lectures, reading skills — extensive reading skills, things like that. It sounds like a really exciting course. The students actually go out into the university to see what they’re like because you do need to actually see a university before you know it’s the right place, don’t you? Yeah. Exactly. That’s part of every four-week course. We go to visit a university, a London one. And as part of that, they get a campus tour. They go to the student cafeteria. They’re often shown around by a student there. And they have a taste of a lecture. So they actually sit in a lecture. They listen to it. Whatever subject is on the course that month, they have a lecture associated with it. They take the notes and experience the real thing.

So I think it really helps to have a clear idea of what university is like. Do you think that it’s a good bridging process between someone living in, say, Japan, and then university life in England is going to be very different? Do you think this helps prepare them socially and in terms of what life living is going to be like in the UK as well? Yeah. It certainly helps. We actually developed the course with that in mind because we had students who were with us to do IELTS and then went straight to university.

And they came back and said, “This is so different from what we expected.” So — yeah. This is actually one of our main aims. I mean, it’s always going to be a shock to them when they actually start university in terms of the workload and the expectations of them because it’s often very different from their own country. But — yeah. Just constantly addressing all those issues. And like you said, social issues of being in university. How you address your tutor — you know, it’s not acceptable to be asking a million questions after every lecture. And the fact that they are, you know — they have to settle into accommodation, open bank accounts, and all the rest of it.

They have to be quite independent. And in terms of actually being accepted by a UK university, obviously the personal statement is very important on the UCAS application. How do you think this will help the students get the right message out there with that? Well, my role is — I go in, and I support the English university course very strongly. But my role is independent from that. So students come to see me at break times or at lunchtime with questions about their application. So it might be, “Where can I study this course?” Or it might be, “What qualifications do I need?” Or, “Are my qualifications sufficient?” It’s also very much, “Will you check my application.” And a big part of that is the personal statement. They often don’t realize just how important the personal statement is because if an admissions chief is looking at two very similar academic backgrounds, it will come down to the personal statement.

So it’s something that needs to be written and written again. Exactly. Yeah. It’s draft, re-draft. Draft, re-draft. So it is a backwards and forwards process, which I help them with as much as they need. And have you been getting some good feedback on your recent courses. Yes. We actually have an alumni group, which enables us to stay in touch with students who are studying in the UK, especially London. So we hear back from them regularly. And actually, we’ve started organizing reunions. So — yeah. We do hear back. We manage to keep in touch with the students. And the feedback we get is really positive. They do find it quite difficult to adapt to a university — or some do. But they’re always eternally grateful for the courses. They always say that without them, they wouldn’t have got into university or they wouldn’t have survived.

Great. And a little bird told me that there is a bit of a reunion party going on tonight. That’s right. Tonight’s the night. There’ll be good few of them coming back. Some of the teachers are coming along as well because it’s them that the students want to see. So — yeah. Cool. Should be good. See you at the party. [Crowd chatter] So I came down at the party, and I found a couple of guys. So we’ve got José here and Joe. José, where are you from? From Colombia. From Colombia. And we’ve also got Joe. And you’re from — I’m from Taiwan. Great. So I just met these guys. And these people were in the same class together.

Now, José, you’re now doing an M.A.; is that right? That’s right. And what’s the subject? The subject is record production. So it’s all the music part of the record production and how you create records and how you record. All the studio-related stuff. And your classmate Joe — it’s interesting because Joe is actually doing A levels now in quite scientific subjects. What subjects are you A levels again? I’m doing math – further math, physics, and chemistry. Cool. And is that someone near here in Central London? Yes. My college is near Fulham Broadway Tube station. Okay. And how are you finding being a student in the UK? Is it exciting? Scary? At first, I thought the subjects would be the same as Asian subjects. But actually, it’s not. Here, they demand you to think about more deeply, and you require lots of English. Sure. So you found it quite helpful studying here before you did — Yeah. Because I did academic English here, so I found this quite useful. Okay. And just because my students here are learning some English at the moment on the Internet, why would you encourage them to come to London or an English-speaking country and immerse themselves in the life and possibly a language skill? Why would you say it’s important? Well, I think London as a city — it’s a city that offers you everything you can find in the world.

So it’s like a melting pot of things and cultures. So as I said before, every neighborhood has its own characteristics and its own personality. So here, you’ll find everything. So you’ll find all the cultural differences you want to find. Lovely. I’m going to ask one last question to Joe. So just a little summary. What did you learn on your four-week course? You said it was academic English. It’s a really quite tough subject. So you need to write a lot of essays. Okay. So it’s essay writing as well. It’s like, for example, for chemistry and physics, they require you have, kind of, critical thinking. You need to write a little bit — very short essay — to express your thoughts. So you learned to have better written English. Yes. Great. Well, thank you so much for coming in and speaking. I don’t want to hold you any longer. So you know, enjoy the party. And thank you very much for watching this video.

Hope this helps..

As found on Youtube

English Pronunciation Study: What did you do Today?

In this American English pronunciation exercise, we’re going to study some conversation. Today it’s going to be a Ben Franklin exercise, where we analyze the speech together. Today’s topic: what did you do today? Great. Let’s get started. >> Tom, what did you do today? Tom, what did you do today? Lots of interesting things happening here. I noticed first of all that I’ve dropped the T here: what did, what did, what did you do? I’m also noticing I’m getting more of a J sound here, j-ou, j-ou.

Whuh-dih-jou, dih-jou. So the D and the Y here are combining to make the J sound. So we have wuh-dih-jou, what did you [3x]. Tom, what did you do today? The other thing I notice is that the T here is really more of a flap sound, a D, do duh-, do duh-, do today, this is most definitely a schwa, so we’re reducing this unstressed syllable to be the schwa. Today, today, do today, to today. Tom, what did you do today? >> Tom, what did you do today? >> Today? >> Today. >> Today I woke up… Now here we have ‘today’ three times. Always, the first syllable is reduced to the schwa sound, but I’m noticing that these T’s are all True T’s, and not Flap T’s. That’s because they are beginning sentences. So, we’re not going to reduce that to a Flap T. In the case up here, ‘do today’, it came, the T in ‘today’, came in between a vowel, ‘do’, the OO vowel, and the schwa sound. And that’s why we made this a flap sound. But here we’re beginning a sentence, so we’re going to go ahead and give it the True T sound—though we will most definitely reduce to the schwa.

Today. >> Today? >> Today. [3x] >> Tom, what did you do today? >> Today? >> Today. >> Today I woke up… Everything was very connected there, and I know that when we have something ending in a vowel or diphthong sound, and the next word beginning in a vowel or diphthong sound, that we want that to really glide together, today I [3x]. And anytime we have a word that begins with a vowel, we want to say, hmm, does the word before end in a consonant sound? It does.

It ends in the K consonant sound, woke up, woke up. So, to help us link, we can almost think of it as beginning the next word, wo-kup, woke up. Today I woke up. >> Today? >> Today. >> Today I woke up, and I went for a run. And I went for a run. Tom dropped the D here, connected this word ‘and’ to ‘I’, ‘and I’ [3x] This was the schwa sound, so he’s reduced ‘and’. And I, and I, and I went for a run. For a, for a. Tom reduced the vowel in the word ‘for’ to the schwa. And we’ve connected these two function words together, for a, for a, for a, this is also a schwa. For a, for a, for a run, for a run, and I went for a run. Can you pick out the two stressed words here? Went, run. Those are the words that have the most shape in the voice. The most length: and I went for a run.

And I went for a run. Again, he’s got the intonation going up here at the end, because, comma, he’s giving us a list here. And there’s more information about to come. >> Today I woke up, and I went for a run. [3x] And, um, then I just worked. And, um… Now here, Tom did pronounce the D, he linked it to the next word, beginning with a vowel, which is just this thought-word that we say when we’re thinking, and um, and um. Again, the intonation of the voice is going up at the end, and um, signaling, comma, not a period, more information coming. And, um, [3x] then I just worked. Worked, worked, then I just worked. Here, finally, we have the intonation of the voice going down at the end. So we know, period, end of the sentence, end of the thought. Then I: he connected this ending consonant to the beginning vowel, the diphthong ‘ai’, I, to smooth that out. Then I, then I, then I just worked. Did you notice? Tom dropped the T here.

We did not get ‘just worked’, ‘just worked’. He didn’t release it. This happens often when we have a word that ends in a cluster with a T when the next word also begins with a consonant. In these cases, often, the T will get dropped. I just worked. [3x] Do you notice that the -ed ending is pronounced as a T sound. That’s because the sound before, the K, is unvoiced. So this ending will also be unvoiced. Worked, worked. …and I went for a run. And, um, then I just worked. [3x] >> So, where do you run? So, where do you run? Now, this is a question, but did you notice the intonation went down at the end? Run, run. That’s because it’s a question that cannot be answered with just ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Yes/no questions go up in pitch at the end. All other questions tend to go down in pitch at the end. Where do you run? Do you hear the stressed words in that question? Where, run. So, where do you run? Longer words, more up/down shape of the voice.

Where, run. So where do you run? >> So, where do you run? [3x] >> I run in Fort Greene Park. What do you hear as being the stressed syllables there? >> I run in Fort Greene Park. [3x] I run in Fort Greene Park. I hear da-da-da-DAA-DAA-DAA. Definitely I hear ‘Fort’, ‘Greene’, and ‘Park’ all being longer, all having that shape in the voice. I run in Fort Greene Park. Also, ‘I’ is a little more stressed than ‘run in’. I, I, DA-da-da, DA-da-da, I run in, I run in, run in, run in. So those two words are really linked together because we have and ending consonant and a beginning vowel. Run in, run in, I run in, I run in Fort Greene Park.

>> I run in Fort Greene Park. [3x] In Brooklyn. In Brooklyn. Brooklyn, a two syllable word. One of the syllables will be stressed. What do you hear as being stressed? Brooklyn, Brooklyn. Definitely it’s that first syllable. Brook-, Brook-, Brooklyn, Brooklyn. >> In Brooklyn. [3x] >> So, what are you doing after this? So, what are you doing after this? How was I able to say so many words quickly, but still be clear? First of all, I’m dramatically reducing the word ‘are’ to the schwa-R sound, er, er.

That means the T here is now coming between two vowel sounds, and I’m making that a flap T sound, which sounds like the D between vowels. What are [3x]. Also the word ‘you’ is unstressed, so it’s going to be in that same line, what are you [4x], very fast, quite flat, lower in volume. What are you doing? Now here we have a stressed word, do-, doing. Doing, what are you doing? Do you hear how the syllable ‘do’ sticks out of that phrase more than anything else? What are you doing? [2x] After this. Another stressed word here. >> So, what are you doing after this? [5x] >> After this, nothing. Tom’s speaking a little bit more slowly than I am here. After this, nothing. We have two 2-syllable words here. Which syllable is stressed? Let’s take first the word ‘after’. If you think you hear the first syllable as being stressed, you’re right. Af-, after, -ter, -ter, -ter. The second syllable: very low in pitch, flat, and quick.

After. What about the word ‘nothing’? Again, it’s the first syllable. ING endings, even though this isn’t an ING verb, will be unstressed. Nothing, no-, no-, nothing. >> After this, nothing. [3x] >> No plans. >> No plans. Nothing reduces in this phrase. I’m really hearing this as two different stressed words. They’re both one syllable, no plans. No plans. >> No plans. >> No plans. [3x] >> Should we get dinner? >> Yeah. Should we get dinner? One of the things that I notice is that I’m dropping the D sound: should we, should we. Should we get [3x]. That’s helping me say this less-important word even faster. Should we get dinner? >> Should we get dinner? [3x] I notice that the T here is a Stop T, I don’t release it.

It’s not ‘get dinner’, it’s get, get, get, get dinner, get dinner. Should we get dinner? >> Should we get dinner? [3x] Do you notice, in this question my voice does go up in pitch at the end. Dinner, dinner. That’s because this is a yes/no question. Pitch goes up. Should we get dinner? Yeah. As you probably know, a more casual way to say ‘yes’.

Should we get dinner? Yeah. >> Should we get dinner? >> Yeah. Working this way with any video or audio clip can help improve your listening comprehension and your pronunciation. That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English..

As found on Youtube

Learn English Vocabulary: The Dark Side of Politics

A warm welcome back to engVid. Today I’m presenting a series of vocab and phrases to help you understand what is happening in the news. It’s important to know what’s going on in the world, and if you can read a newspaper in English then you will develop an enormous sense of satisfaction because that will show that your level of English is right up there. Okay, let’s start with “unethical”. So, we can see a shorter word within the longer word: “ethic”. Now, a person’s ethics are the ideas that they live by. So we say: “A code of ethics”. For example, to say please and thank you. If you want to know more about this, then perhaps watch my lesson on social etiquette. Okay? It’s to do with the kind of ideas and beliefs a person has. If something is unethical, then basically it means it’s wrong, it’s bad.

Evil’s quite a strong word, but it’s along those lines. “Illicit” is something banned, something not allowed. So if a politician took some illicit substances, then that would show that they had been taking some drugs that are not legal in the country they are in. Okay? “Illegal”, “illicit”, a synonym would be: “illegal”, “banned”. “Allegation”, so we have a noun here. An allegation-I’ll just write in that that’s the noun-is something that someone said about something else. For example, an allegation that Boris Johnson has had an affair. Someone is saying that Boris Johnson has had an affair. It doesn’t mean that they have had an affair, it just means that someone is saying they have had an affair. “An affair” is when you cheat on someone. Okay? “Alleged”, okay? To allege, you are saying the rumour, you are saying what you think happened. “Alleged”, so that is the past tense version of the verb. “To allege” is the present tense. But it’s most often seen in the past tense. “Journalists alleged that”… “Allegedly”, okay? So here’s the adverb.

“Allegedly Boris Johnson has done this.” It’s not saying definitely. It’s saying it might have happened. Okay, “a disclosure”. This is making a secret public. Okay? So, Boris Johnson tells a friend that he has been putting lots of money in a bank account in Switzerland or in an offshore bank account. The friend then is quite nasty to Boris, because he makes the secret public. He discloses some information. Okay? “Disclosure”, the noun; the verb, “to disclose”. And if we look a little bit more carefully there, your prefix “dis” and the main part of the word “close”, so something is close and now it is open.

So we had a secret and now we don’t have a secret. “Libel”. “Libel” is a published fake statement that damages someone’s reputation. Okay? So, who says “fake” a lot? Donald Trump. “Fake news! That’s fake news. Don’t listen to him, that’s fake news.” Okay? So, “fake” means made up. So, libel, you can accuse someone of libel if they write something about you that is not true. “To be embroiled in a scandal”. So, “a scandal” is something regarded, something thought of as wrong which causes a public outrage. “Outrage” is when we are angry. So the politician… Let’s just explain this word, sorry. “Embroiled” means caught up in. I’ll write that there. “To be embroiled in a scandal”, you’re surrounded by something that is making the public very angry. And I’ve got quite a few examples of those just to come in a moment. A “P.R. disaster”. So, the P stands for “public”, the R stands for “relations”. If you work in P… If you work in PR, then you are promoting people all the time and you are saying: “This person is fantastic dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah”. But a P.R. disaster is when it goes into the newspapers some bad press.

“Bad press” is something written that makes that politician look bad. Not necessarily politician, can apply to someone else. Okay, “an abuse of power”, “abuses of power”. So, our politicians have… We have voted for them to make decisions to help run the country. If they abuse, that means if they do something bad with that power, then they are using power for the wrong reason. Let’s think of an example. They… It would have been an abuse of power if they were using their position to make money on the side. So, if they were taking deals from businesses against the public good, that would be an abuse of power. This is about relationships: “to two-time”.

Okay? So, generally in our society it’s a monogamous one, that means you’re meant to kind of be with one person. “Mono” meaning one. But if you’re two-timing, then the politician or whoever it is, is seeing two at the same time and maybe one is very upset about that. So if a politician two-timed, that would be a P.R. disaster. Not in France where the press seem to sort of celebrate that kind of naughtiness. In Britain it wouldn’t go down very well. “Clandestine affair”. So, a “clandestine affair”, “clandestine” means secret. “An affair” is cheating.

Okay? What are other things that would result in a P.R. disaster, that would be bad press for the politician? Expenses fraud. So, “expenses”, your expense… Prefix “ex” meaning out. You can… “Pence” is kind of money, so what you’re spending out. Now, politicians are allowed to claim on expenses. What that means is if they spend money doing their job they can get some of that money back. But if they… What fraud is, deception for financial gain. Deception for financial gain, so what they’re doing is they are being… They are cheating. They’re saying: “I spent this to do my job”, but actually they didn’t need to spend that and they are fiddling the books. We talk about “the books” is like a record of money, if they are fiddling, they are making a mess of, they are…

They’re playing a game to get more money. “An offshore hedge fund”. So, “offshore” means, you know, we’ve got the edge of Britain. Any one of you who watched my video on food of Britain knows that I’m not great at drawing maps of the UK. So, “offshore”, here’s the shore, it means the coast. If it’s off the shore then it’s somewhere else. A hedge fund, now, I’m no economist, but “a hedge fund” is like some people working for you to make more money. An offshore hedge fund is not strictly legal because it avoids tax being paid in this country. So, that’s not going to go down very well with our people, so that’s P.R. disaster. “Cash for honours”, now, at the end of David Cameron’s reign as Prime Minster of the United Kingdom there was quite a lot of controversy… Running out of space on my board. “Controversy”, when someone thinks it’s bad. So David Cameron’s at the end of his… His time as Prime Minister and he starts giving knighthoods: “Hello, you are now Sir So-and-so, you are now Lord So-and-so, you are now…” Okay? And he gives these titles because those people have given his party money.

So that was called the “cash for honours scandal”. Okay? It’s not very fair that he’s just giving these titles because they have gave the Conservative Party money. Now, from across the pond, over in America we had the “Watergate scandal” which was to do with President Nixon and there was an attempted theft of his party headquarters that then unwrapped this whole saga, which you can read about in your own time. But it was called the “Watergate”. Now, if anything goes slightly badly wrong, if anything’s controversial… Controversial, then we can add this suffix to the end, we call it “something-gate”.

Something else that happened to David Cameron was “pig-gate”. Now, someone wrote a biography about David Cameron, alleging that he had performed something strange with a pig, therefore we call that pig-gate, because it was bad press for David Cameron. Okay. “Corruption”, this is quite similar to the idea of an abuse of power. If you are corrupt then maybe you’re taking money to do something for someone else. So, “corruption” is your noun, “corrupt” is your adjective. “Tyranny”. Now, a “tyrant” is someone who has lots and lots of power, and they don’t really listen to anyone else, so we’re thinking sort of Robert Mugabe, Idi Amin, they’re people who rule and kill and do anything they want to maintain power. Okay? So that’s your… A reign of tyranny, and a tyrant is the person.

So, tyranny is kind of like the action, that’s the person. “Nepotism”. Now, this is where you keep it in the family. So there’s plenty of examples of this all across the world, from the film business, to politics, to business. This is just where you have a family here, like: “Right, now I pass it on to my son, now my son can do this, now the daughter can do this, now the grandson can do this.” Up to you where you see those examples. Now, if something goes really badly wrong in politics then that politician will have to stop working and go out of the limelight. I’ll write that down. Why is it called “limelight”? I’ve no idea, but lots of attention is on them, and then suddenly they have to go and live out in the countryside and put slippers on and smoke a pipe.

Now, in America, the President could be “impeached”, there could be an “impeachment” where the president stops being the president, but hopefully it’s… The politician works out that they should stop and they decide before the people decide. So, if they decide then they can “resign”, there can be a “resignation”. So let’s just break up this word. Okay? So you can see the word, so “signature”, they’re taking back their signature. They did say: “Yes, hello, I was President”, and now that has been taken away. Do hope you have learnt some new words from today’s lesson. I think this would be an excellent lesson for you to have a go on the quiz to try and ground these words into your everyday usage. And why not start picking up an English newspaper, reading them? And some fantastic ones out there, not just UK newspapers; America, The Times of India, plenty of them around. And you can read them online as well. Thank you for watching today’s video, and there are other videos like this on this YouTube channel, so do check them out.

Thank you. See you next time..

As found on Youtube