Talking about pets, Didier Drogba, Think of a word beginning with '...', New Zealand, cats or dogs, joke, regular and irregular verb forms

Elementary Podcasts: Tess & Ravi
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Task 1

Section 1 - Conversations in English

I didn't know you had a dog!– talking about pets

Section 1 is based on the Introduction. This section looks at how to talk about your pets or ask questions about other people’s.

Suggestion: One way to do this section is:

  • Download the Support Pack and Transcript (above).
  • 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 pets - a gap filling activity.

Exercise

Practice materials: Exercise 2

There are more practice materials in the Support Pack.

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 Olu talking about Didier Drogba.

Is there a famous sportsperson that you can write about?

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 Graham talking about New Zealand and the places that were used in the film ‘Lord of the Rings’.
Is there a beautiful place (or places) in your country that you’d like to tell people about? It could be an area of mountains, or a natural park, or a forest – or even a beautiful village or town. Or you could tell us about a beautiful place that you’ve visited in another country.

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: ‘Which do you prefer – cats or dogs?’
What do you think?

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.

Which ones do you agree with? Which do you prefer – cats or dogs? You can send us your opinions if you want. 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 conversation with her new flatmates and then do the exercises.

Practice materials - Exercise 1

Put the phrases in the correct places in the conversation.

Exercise

Practice materials - Exercise 2

Choose all the phrases that are correct.

Exercise

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.

Exercise

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

Decide if the verbs are 'regular' or 'irregular'.

Exercise

Practice materials - Exercise 2

Fill in the gaps with different tenses of verbs.

Exercise

Practice materials - Exercise 3

Complete sentences with the correct forms of verbs.

Exercise

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Comments

Hi everyone

Today I want to write something about how to learn vocabulary more effective.

In podcast number 5 they recommend a notebook.

A notebook has several disadvantages:

1) You have always the same word order. If the sequence is different you may be not able to remember the words.
2) There are always some words/phrases on a page which you know very well and
some which are difficult for you to remember. If you want to learn the difficult
words you always repeat the easy ones - which is boring and ineffective.
3) If you know a word very well you mustn't repeat it every day. You can repeat it in
this way: - every day - every three days - every two weeks - and so on.

A better way to learn vocabulary is flash cards. You can use a box with five compartments which you can buy in every larger stationery shop in Germany. There is information how to use a box on youtube and on wikipedia (in German). I haven't seen any good descriptions in English though.

There are also computer programs available which are helping you to repeat vocabulary more effective.

When I read the transcript to the podcast I mark the words which I don't know. Then I
look up the words on an online dictionary which also tells me how frequent the word is.
I learn only words or phrases which are among the top 7500 entries.

Thank you very much for your time :)

Hi everyone

I've downloaded the support pack and I'm posting three question about it:

Support Pack; Section 6 Exercise 2

1) Question number. 2 a is correct: I got the train from London.
I've never seen a sentence like this. We give here the starting place ("from London"). I've only seen sentences so far where we give the destination place.

2) Question number. 2 b is false: I went to Newcastle by train.
I've typed "went by train" into the google search page and this phrase does exist. So maybe the word order is incorrect.
The word order is:
WHO -> WHAT -> WHERE -> WHEN -> HOW -> WHY
to Newcastle (=where); by train (= how)
Maybe we write "went by train" together but I've seen example sentences in which they weren't written together.
3) Question number. 4 d is correct: it's seven in the evening
I would expect seven o'clock or seven hundred hours
I can't remember that a number alone is enough to tell the time.

Thank you very much for your time

Hi User_User,

1) Question number. 2 a is correct: I got the train from London.
I've never seen a sentence like this. We give here the starting place ("from London"). I've only seen sentences so far where we give the destination place.

It's perfectly fine to use 'from' with the starting point or 'to' with the destination. It really depends what information is relevant in any particular context. For example, if a person is meeting you at the station then they already know where you are going, but may not know where you are travelling from, and this information may be useful to them in finding the correct platform.

 

2) Question number. 2 b is false: I went to Newcastle by train.
I've typed "went by train" into the google search page and this phrase does exist. So maybe the word order is incorrect.
The word order is:
WHO -> WHAT -> WHERE -> WHEN -> HOW -> WHY
to Newcastle (=where); by train (= how)
Maybe we write "went by train" together but I've seen example sentences in which they weren't written together.

Word order in English can be quite flexible. Both of these are correct sentences:

I went to Newcastle by train.

I went by train to Newcastle.

Of these, the first is the most common.

For particular rhetorical effect you can even put the by-phrase at the beginning:

By train I went to Newcastle, and by car to Edinburgh.

You would be unlikely to see this outside of literary or rhetorical contexts.

3) Question number. 4 d is correct: it's seven in the evening
I would expect seven o'clock or seven hundred hours
I can't remember that a number alone is enough to tell the time.

This is quite common in spoken English when the context makes it clear that we are talking about the time and there is no confusion about am/pm:

Let's meet at eight.

The meeting started at eleven. We're late!

We would only say 'seven hundred hours' in very particular usage such as in military contexts or public announcements (railway stations and so on).

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hi!
In "I’d like to meet" part Ravi said:
You do know I’m from Manchester, don’t you, Olu?
Is that correctly phrase? I thought that the verb "do" must be on the first position.
Perhaps these two questions have different meanings and I don't understand the difference?
Thanks!

Hello chunya,

This is a special use of the auxiliary verb 'do'. When it is used like this, it adds emphasis to the verb -- Ravi seems to think that Olu doesn't realise that Ravi is from Manchester, even though this seems obvious to Ravi. By saying 'you do know' instead of 'you know', Ravi shows this. You can read more about this on this archived BBC page.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

 

Sorry , now when I've reiterated myself my questions I just wrote down below , I noticed that I've made some mistakes: ''a chicken runs'' not ''a chickens runs'' and the second ''chicken'' not ''chiken''. Sorry again about these. I didn't pay attention as much as I needed.

Hello again,
Task 7- Joke.
'' A man is driving slowly down a
country road when he sees a chicken run in front of his car.''
Why didn't you use instead the present form of verb ''run'' , the gerund form : running ? For me it sounds better '' he sees a chicken running...''
And, on the other hand if you think that the verb'' run'' is more correct why didn't you use '' runs'' ? ...a chikens runs...
Thank you so much for your answer

Hello Last biker,

After verbs of perception in these constructions we use either the -ing form or a bare infinitive. You can see the difference clearly in these examples:

  1. I saw a man kiss his wife.
  2. I saw a man kissing his wife.

The difference here is that in the first sentence the speaker sees the whole action (the kiss from start to finish) as one event. In the second sentence the speaker sees the action in progress (when the speaker looks they are already kissing. You can see the same distinction in your example.

We do not use the present simple in this construction, so 'kisses' ('runs') is not correct.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi my friends,
In Task 6 - Carolina , in Practice materials Exercise 1 there is a double mistake for word : tomorrow. It is write down in two different places but in the same exercise ( 1, as I said) , tommorow. Just take a look. Thanks

Hi Last biker,

Thank you for spotting this and pointing it out to us. We try as hard as possible to ensure that our exercises do not have errors like this but some inevitably creep through and then we rely on our users to spot them. I have corrected the spelling in the task.

Thanks again,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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