Talking about travel problems, Frida Kahlo, Think of a word beginning with '...', Kazakhstan, 'How green are you?', the word 'like', neutral and informal words

Elementary Podcasts
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Task 1

Section 1 - Conversations in English

I've had a nightmare journey– arriving late

Section 1 is based on the Introduction. This section looks at how to talk about arriving late because of problems when travelling.

Suggestion: One way to do this section is:

  • Download the Support Pack and Transcript.
  • Read the Transcript.
  • Look at the Support Pack, where you can read Tom the Teacher's tips and also find some useful words and phrases for this section.
  • Do the exercises below to help you to learn the common phrases.
  • If possible, practise these common phrases with a friend who speaks English or is also learning English.

Practice materials: Exercise 1

Talking about a nightmare journey: gapfilling activity.


Practice materials: Exercise 2

Please download the Support Pack for more practice materials.

Task 2

Section 2 - I'd like to meet...

Section 2 is based on someone talking about somebody or something they like. It helps you to practise speaking for a little bit longer – for example, when you're explaining something, or telling people something about yourself.

Suggestion: The best way to practise is with a friend who speaks English or is also learning English. However, if you can't find someone, you can send us a paragraph in English.

You listened to Vanessa talking about Frida Kahlo.

Can you think of an artist that you’d like to meet?

If you can think of someone, make some notes to answer the questions that you can find in the Support Pack. Now put your notes together to write a paragraph about that person and add it as a comment below.

Task 3

Section 3 - Quiz

Section 3 is based on the Quiz. This helps you to learn the meaning of new words and how to remember them.

Suggestion: You can write your answers in our Support Pack.

You might want to use a notebook or part of your folder to make your own word lists and maps.

The quiz in this podcast is called ‘Beginning with…’ – for example, ‘think of an animal beginning with "P"’ – the answer could be ‘polar bear’ or ‘pig’ for example – there are lots of possibilities. Playing this game is a good way to revise and learn new vocabulary. 

Practice materials: Exercise 1

To do an activity in which you fill in the names of things beginning with different letters on a diagram you will need to download the Support Pack.

You can play ‘Beginning with…’ by yourself, or with a friend.  To see some ideas, please see the Support Pack.

Task 4

Section 4 - Our Person in...

Section 4 is based on 'Our Person in...'. It helps you to listen to other people speaking for a little longer than they speak in a conversation, like a radio or television news report. When people prepare written reports, they are often a little more formal, and use more complex words and structures.

You listened to Rebecca talking about Kazakhstan.  She talks about the geography of the country and its capital city.  She also talks about a traditional occupation – the berkutchy.
Can you say something about the geography of your country?  And its capital city?  Is there a traditional occupation that you can talk about?

Suggestion: Download the Support Pack and read the notes to help you to think of things to say, and the best order to say them. Make your own notes and then join these together to make a paragraph in the comments section below.

Task 5

Section 5 - Your turn

Section 5 is based on 'Your Turn'. It helps you to listen and understand people giving their opinions.

In Your Turn you heard 5 people answer this question: ‘How green are you?’
What about you?  What do you do to help the environment?  Do you do a lot? Or do you think that you should do more?  Or maybe you think that being green is a waste of time.

Suggestion: Download the Support Pack and look at the phrases that the people use. Sometimes they don't use complete sentences. Write down notes and then say what you think.

Write a list of all the things that you do (or don’t do) to help the environment - and why. Then make your list into a paragraph and send it to us. Do this in the comments section below.

Task 6

Section 6 - Carolina

Section 6 follows Carolina – a girl who has come to the United Kingdom (UK) to live, study, and to have fun exploring a different country and culture. Listening to this can help you if you find yourself in a similar situation. You will see that there is often more than one way of saying the same thing in English.

Suggestion: listen to Carolina's conversations at the 'Societies Bazaar' and then do the exercises.

Practice materials - Exercise 1

Put the phrases in the correct places in the conversation.


Practice materials - Exercise 2

Choose all the phrases that are correct.


Practice materials - Exercise 3

Please download the Support Pack for more practice materials.

Task 7

Section 7 - Joke

Section 7 is a joke. A joke is normally a funny story you hear and tell someone else. But you can also describe funny things that happen to you. The most important thing is to watch your friends to see if they are enjoying the story or not – then you can make it longer or shorter.

Suggestion: We suggest you do this:

  • Listen to the joke.
  • Do Exercise 1, in which you put the lines in the right order.
  • Do Exercise 2, in which you tell the joke.
  • Think of a funny story that you know. Write down the most important words in English (use a dictionary?). Then try telling the joke.

Practice materials - Exercise 1

Read sentences and put them in the right order to tell the joke.


Practice materials - Exercise 2

Download the Support Pack. Look at the notes and tell the story without looking at the script.

Task 8

Section 8 - Tom the Teacher

Section 8 is Tom the Teacher. These are more traditional exercises. They look at being accurate in English, and often use the type of exercises you may find in English tests and exams.

Practice materials - Exercise 1

Read the questions and decide if the word 'like' is a verb or a preposition.


Practice materials - Exercise 2

Choose the best sentences to complete short dialogues.


Practice materials - Exercise 3

Match neutral words to informal words.





Hi Tom,

Would you please explain me, the difference between word *Being* and *Been* with the example, this would be very helpful for me

Hi Learn English team,
I'm wondering about a matter of pronunciation that I have distinguished several times throughout these podcasts. That is about a short "r". For example when Tess says "... it’s time to join Carolina again in Newcastle ..." in fact she says "... Carolinar again...." Is that a matter of accent or something else?
I look forward to hearing from you.


Hello RezAref,

This is an example of an intrusive sound, which is a sound that comes between words to make them easier to say. It is a feature of connected speech and such sounds occur in all dialects of English. There are three such sounds in English:

/r/ as in red. For example: Carolina [r]always works hard.


/j/ as in yes. For example: Three [j]apples are on the table. [note this is the sound /j/, not the letter J]


/w/ as in wind. For example: I'll do [w]it for you.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Your turn
actually I do not do much to help in building green environment, & I do not believe that I have more to do,
I only do not throw trashes or cans in street garden or water sources, I do not waste the electrical power "Electrical power production entails pollution emissions to the environment" so by saving the electrical power we can indirectly act in saving the environment.
But about recycling of different plastic types & patterns, I think it is not my role; It should be managed, executed throw the government & other environmental organizations, they should legislate the roles & laws to force the factories & hypermarkets to act towards the green environment .

our person in;
I'm from Egypt, where the Nile river is longitudinally divide the country to two sides, the population is concentrated around the river banks from the past & till nowadays. I Egypt we depend mainly on the river water for drinking & other human utilities of course after purifying it from different impurities & suspended particles.
Also the Nile river is used for tourism purposes where many people from the country & tourists is hiring boats & yachts to sail the Nile to see many natural prospects & man- made fabulous building.

Brazil is localizated in the South America. It borders a lot of countries, such as, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Venezuela, and others. Brazil is one of the biggest countries in the world, with an area roughly 8,6 million kilometers. The population is around 200 million inhabitants. Its coastline is full of mountains, like the Serra do Mar in the states of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. There are a lot of navigable rivers, like the São Franscisco River and the Amazonas River. The Caatinga in the North East part of the country is pretty much a desert. We produce oil by the Petrobras state company, mainly with which is extracted from our seas. We produce metals by the Great Carajás Project.

Our capital city is called Brasília. It is set in the middle part of the country. Although it is a young city (compared with London, Paris, for exemple), built in the 1960s, it is very importante for the brazilian public life.

For n factors, the informal occupation, called here "camelôs" is very traditional. Most of the streets of the big cities are full of this "camelôs", who sell a large variety of things, from pens to umbrellas.

About what do I do to save the planet, well, I don’t do very much. Like Ravi said it’s quite difficult. I think if there was a possibility to use organic bags instead of plastic ones I think I would use but the Ecological politics is my country is so weak that we almost don’t use organic bags.

Hi LearnEnglish team, I think there is missing a word in Section 5, page 3 when Ravi says: “… Like ‘I’ use public transport”. So the ‘I’ is missing. Thank you.