I love this country and relish the opportunity to touch the stones and buildings that have seen so much history, but whenever I visit, I have a hard time getting past the reality of the city I see before me. Each time I want it to be the way I’ve imagined it: grand yet quaint, bustling but without the tourists, and entirely old.
For the more adventurous: I went, on several recommendations, to Roast in Borough Market, which, on a Friday, is a wonderful experience. The bustling market is just waking up and delicious food is sold all around as you enter.
Useful vocabulary for advanced learners:
TO BUNDLE UP => (PHRASAL VERB) If you bundle up, you wear a lot of clothes, usually because of cold weather.
ICICLE => a long pointed piece of ice hanging down from a surface.
In the picture, you can see a SNOWPLOUGH (in American English SNOWPLOW), a vehicle used to push snow off roads, called also just PLOUGH. This is also the name of a farming tool:
The following listening activity is based on an ABS News video. If you are preparing for IELTS or CAE this will be a great exercise to test not only your listening comprehension but your vocabulary knowledge too. The video is about the frigid conditions in the US at the end of December.
Before watching the video, read the following words and try to guess their meaning if you don’t know it yet.
SKIN – THREATENING – BUNDLED – PLOUGH – FORECAST – TO DIG – COLD SNAP – SNOW BLOWER – ICICLES – DANGEROUS CHILL – TO TURN – DEADLY – UNBEARABLE – TO DUMP – OVERFLOWING – TO DROP
After that, try to fill in the gaps (you have to conjugate the verbs), even not knowing the meaning of all the words. Think if the missing word is a verb, a noun, an adverb, or an adjective, this will help you.
The following step will be watching the video. This isn’t an easy one, they all speak really fast, so probably you won’t be able to fill in the gaps while watching the first time.
You can find the answers in the PDF file.
SKIN – THREATENING – BUNDLED – PLOUGH – FORECAST – TO DIG – COLD SNAP – SNOW BLOWER – ICICLES – DANGEROUS CHILL – TO TURN – DEADLY – UNBEARABLE – TO DUMP – OVERFLOWING – DROP
- We begin with that ___________________________ taking hold of half the country tonight.
- Part of Pennsylvania and New York still _____________________ out from under five feet.
- And now the Arctic invasion across most of the lower 48 states. This fountain you
see right there behind New York Public Library, mostly ___________________ to ice.
- And take a look at the _____________________ for New Year’s Eve, the coldest in more than 50 years.
- When the ball ___________________ in Time Square the wind chill could meet minus 4 and for millions feeling the cold there’s much worse snow in the forecast as well.
- Tonight the 200 million Americans _____________________ from head to toe.
- That dangerous ________________________gripping more than half the country.
- The cold could be __________________, especially for the very young and the very old.
- Extreme weather is more than an inconvenience, it remains a serious and
potentially life _________________________
- Shelters __________________________ with people trying to escape the frigid temperatures.
- And in Cotton, Minnesota, an _______________________ 41° below 0.
- It feels like your __________________ is gonna be on fire.
- Dave S. had to hire a ___________________ to unbury his car.
- Heavy snow packed on rooftops, ______________________ nearly everywhere you look.
- N. today pushing his _________________________ clearing his home.
- All day truck after truck, we’ve seen them coming here, ______________________ their loads. Some of these piles are 12 feet high.
Downloadable PDF version (without answers): Listening activity – weather vocabulary – Free English Materials For You
Downloadable PDF version (answers): Listening activity – weather vocabulary – Free English Materials For You – answers
- The splinter already hurts more than pulling it out.
- They did pull over 50 glass splinters from her hands.
- I landed on the glass. I’ve got splinters.
- Steve had to concede the rival another victory.
- The company was forced to concede that items of private data had been illegally stored.
- I don’t concede that I’m being unreasonable for merely trying to be rational about our living arrangement.
Visual thesaurus (source: http://www.visualthesaurus.com)
In the news:
I’m currently teaching English to a 15-year-old girl and she is fond of gymnastics. This is why I’m teaching her English with Make it or Break it, an American television drama series set in the world of competitive gymnastics. Usually I make a vocabulary list for her, than we watch 15 minutes of one episode without subtitles. While we’re watching I ask her questions in order to check if she’s understanding everything. Then I give her 10-15 sentences with some gaps she’s to fill in and two sentences to translate from Italian into English. After learning English with this method for one year she got a B2 certification, so I must say I’m proud of her and I verified this is actually an effective method. Of course, I’m not just teaching her English with this TV series. Sometimes, we read newspaper articles or we watch a TED-Ed video, etc. but in my opinion, teaching with TV series is the most effective way to get teenagers focusing on learning English without getting stressed. She is not getting bored and she’s learning kind of easily.
Season 2, episode 8:
TO BE ON THE FENCE => unable to decide about something.
Another example sentence: I was on the fence till you showed up, but thanks for helping me decide.
Season 2, episode 9:
To get hold of somebody: to contact or find somebody.
Another example sentence: I got hold of the father, and he said the boy wasn’t there, and he doesn’t know about this yet.
Other words you may not know:
- Item: an individual thing.
Ex. An item of clothing.
An item of furniture.
- To resettle: to begin to live in a new area after leaving an old one; to settle again.
Ex. The only way to resettle a Mexican family here is by granting them political asylum.
Watch the video, then try to fill in the gaps in the following sentences:
- We give them as much ______________ as we can that they need, depending on how many people are in the house.
- We give them ______________, and stoves if they are needed.
- We’d been able to work with these _________________.
- They come ___________ to our houses, meet our parents, meet our kids.
- They feel that they have a sense of family _____________ because most of these families have been _________________.
Downloadable PDF file: Michigan Resident Helps Syrian Refugees Settle In – Listening Activity
Downloadable PDF file: Michigan Resident Helps Syrian Refugees Settle In – Listening Activity – answers