There are so many English learning opportunities that many students aren’t taking advantage of (*aren’t using*), are you one of these students? I want you to think about the times that you are getting ready for work or bed, commuting to work or school, cooking dinner, and cleaning. Are you including English practice or review into any of these situations? Is there any English around you during these times?
If you’re not including English and there is no English around you, then you are not taking the full advantage of your learning opportunities! But don’t worry, today we will fix that problem! So what should you be doing while getting ready for work, brushing your teeth, commuting in your car or public transport, cooking and cleaning?
Listening to English Podcasts
Why English podcasts? Well, they’re so easy to access and you can play these audio files ANYWHERE you have your mobile phone. I know you have your phone everywhere too, am I right? English podcasts will introduce you to so much more than listening comprehension practice (even though this is a great skill to practice!), it can help build vocabulary, improve your overall grammar, and depending on the podcast’s style, give so much more support for your English journey.
I wrote a full blog lesson with a 5 Minute English video last month about using podcasts to improve your English skills, so I invite you to read that article now if you haven’t. Read the lesson here. This article gives some general tips and advice about what a podcast is, how to use it, and more about improving each of the specific skills in English (reading, speaking, writing, etc..).
Today’s lesson is a little different, because today you’ll hear (and see) a sample episode of English Across the Pond, an ESL podcast dedicated to teaching you everyday English through fun conversations with me (an American) and my co-host Dan, from the UK! Every episode of English Across the Pond includes natural dialogue, idioms, phrasal verbs, vocabulary, and a special language focus to help you with grammar, fluency, and/or building confidence in English.
How amazing does that sound?
You are about to get a glimpse (*small look*) into an episode and learn some new vocabulary and grammar points. When you finish the video, scroll down and continue reading this lesson to see a sample of the episode’s worksheet as well.
Without further ado.. (*without waiting anymore..*) here is your 5 Minute English video lesson for this week:
English Across the Pond: an ESL Podcast
Celebrating our 10th episode anniversary!
Available on iTunes, Stitcher, or directly from our website. Subscribe and listen to episodes 1-10 now!
Let’s take some time to review what you heard in that very small sample of English Across the Pond’s episode and language focus.
As you heard, the topic of the conversation was “regrets”. Each episode focuses on a topic to give you the necessary language to communicate about these subjects in the “real world”.
By listening to our questions, answers, and conversation, you can learn how to start and maintain a conversation in English on your own!
Additionally, that natural conversation you heard can allow you to improve your listening skills and review important areas of pronunciation. What are the differences and similarities you hear with my American accent and Dan’s British accent? What can you learn from these differences and similarities? Pay special attention to the way we speak, specifically our rhythm, intonation, linking, etc.. This is definitely something more advanced listeners can do to improve their English skills.
Did you know that each episode has a supporting guide with more information to help you learn? You can download the episode guides for all of the episodes by clicking here!
These episode guides include detailed explanations of the language focus, vocabulary definitions, example sentences, and more! This lesson will include a sample of those episode guides with the information below:
VOCABULARY & IDIOM FOCUS
wuss out | chicken out [phrasal verb]: to be too afraid to do something
- Jennifer wussed out/chickened out, and couldn’t talk to George Clooney.
wuss | chicken [noun]: a person who is afraid to do something
- Jennifer was a wuss/chicken, and didn’t talk to George Clooney.
distinctive [adjective]: appealing; having a qualities that makes something different from the rest
- David Hockney wears distinctive glasses
In this [short] episode we talked about regrets and used the grammar similar to the 3rd conditional result clause. A regret is a feeling of sadness because of something you did or didn’t do in the past. To express regrets in English, and talk about how the past could/might/would have been different, we use the following structure:
subject + modal [should/would/could/might] + have + past participle
Examples you heard in the conversation:
- I should have talked to him.
- I could have become famous.
- We could have been best friends.
- You would have made his life better as well.
- I could have spoken to him
- I should have spoken to him
The modal should expresses advisability, what was advisable to do. So, Dan and I both should have talked to these people, it was advisable to do.
The modal could expresses possibility. If the situation had been different (If I had talked to George Clooney), I could have become famous or we could have been best friends. This means that being famous and being best friends was a possibility (if I had talked to him).
The modal would expresses certainty. So Dan said that I would have made his (George’s) life better if we had talked. He was certain that this would be true.
Alright, so about you, do you have any regrets? Practice what you’ve learned in this 5 Minute English video lesson and sample English Across the Pond episode by commenting below, or writing some answers in your study notebook.
Current Skype Students: Upload your practice sentences, the answers to the following questions, or a paragraph about your past regrets in our online document for review in our next class.
- Is there something you regret?
- What should you have done differently?
- What could have been different?
- Have you ever chickened out of doing something?
- When was the last time you were a wuss?