What You Should Have Asked Your Teachers About BBC UK Weather Discussion
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Hi there I’m Hilary and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. Adept English has the goal, the aim of helping you improve the level of your understanding and speaking in English. If you have just found us via this podcast – go and visit our website at www.adeptenglish.com, where you will find lots more material to help your learning. We’ve got lots of free material – more podcasts, but we also have courses on sale, which will really help you improve your English language.
Now today I wanted to show you, give you a little demonstration of how our vocabulary sections work on Course One and the courses which follow. This is a really important part of the Adept English method. And it helps address the problem that many language learners face. What’s the problem? It’s this. In the classroom, you learn new vocabulary, you speak with other students and your teacher – and you can understand each other. But then – you come out into the real world, you listen to real English speakers – and oh! It’s just so much more difficult. Even if you try to listen to things in English on television – and this is a really good way to improve your understanding – it’s so much more difficult than in the classroom. So one of the things which the Adept English method is really good at is helping you to make this step – between the classroom and real English conversation.
So let’s take something, which all of you will have learned in your English classes – words and phrases for the weather. So it’s sunny, it’s going to rain. There are clouds in the sky today. It’s foggy. It’s windy. You probably remember this type of vocabulary from your English classes. So this means that you can understand the weather forecast in English, right? Well, maybe, but maybe not. If you listen to the weather forecast in English – it can be a lot more difficult to understand than this. So I’m going to use parts of a BBC weather forecast by Helen Willetts here as my example. So I’ll play you a weather forecast, in bits, in pieces, in parts – and then for each part, I’ll explain the vocabulary bit by bit. You’ll need to listen a few times to this, and each time you play it again, you’ll understand more because you’ll have heard me explain in English. What’s really important about this method? It helps you to stop using the dictionary, stop translating. If you can understand me explaining the meanings of the vocabulary in English, you brain will stay in English. That’s really important – it means no translating. You start to think in English. If you have a look at the written version, I’ve underlined the words in the weather report that I’m going to explain. I haven’t done a complete transcript this time, but you’ll have the explanations of the words written down to help you. Here goes – this is the weather forecast for the UK for 23rd September. She’s quite a fast talker too!
Hello there. Last weekend we had that cold northerly wind blowing. This weekend it’s a warmer southerly. And there’ll still be some very usable weather around for the rest of today and indeed tomorrow, although for western areas, we will have some rain around, at some point during the day. Now we’ve had a little bit of drizzle around this morning as well.
northerly, southerly – wind blowing from the north, wind blowing from the south
usable – you can use it
western – in the west
at some point during the day – at a time in the day, but we don’t yet know when
drizzle – very light rain, tiny drops which hang in the air
OK, let’s hear a bit more.
Low cloud and hill fog is what we’ve seen across northern and western fringes of the UK this morning, but we’ll find the bright skies, the winds strengthening will tend to lift the cloud as well. So it will improve, if you like, in terms of sunshine amounts and how warm it feels out there – 19-20C in the sunshine. The winds are escalating a little bit, particularly across the Irish sea coasts. Close to gale force for the coasts of Northern Ireland and western Scotland. So although it brightens for Northern Ireland this afternoon, obviously the temperatures will be tempered a little bit by the strength of the wind. There’ll be more cloud across northern England, Scotland this afternoon but the central Lowlands and the north of Scotland should fare quite well – 19C in the sunshine here. And through the overnight period, we’ll still see a little bit of patchy drizzle around.
OK, so let’s unpack this bit.
low cloud and hill fog – cloud which is low, fog which is on the hills
fringes – edges of the UK
bright skies – lighter skies are brighter, not as much cloud
strengthening – getting stronger
in terms of sunshine amounts – e.g. of an English speaker using an awkward expression – here she means – it’ll get more sunny
escalating – increasing, becoming more intense, getting stronger
gale force – a measure of wind – very strong winds are gale force
brightens – become more light. Of weather, we say a lot ‘It brightened up’ meaning usually it was cloudy, but then the sun came out.
tempered by – reduced the effect of – so here temperatures are getting warmer, but this is tempered by the wind – so actually it won’t get as warm because of the wind. Tempered by.
Lowlands of Scotland – an area in Scotland – a proper noun
fare – verb ‘to fare’, get along, to go (well or badly). ‘How did you fare in the interview?’ means how did you do, how did it go?
patchy drizzle – light rain in some areas, not others. Patchy is ‘in patches’ – e.g. a Friesian Cow is white with black patches! Patchy means therefore that it’s in patches.
That warm air is still around on Monday, but some fog could be a real issue for the likes of Northern Ireland Monday morning. A weather front stagnating elsewhere – so a lot of cloud and just by that stage, a lot of rain fizzling out, so patchy rain and drizzle for the most part. But stubborn fog could be a real issue as we go through Tuesday and Wednesday as well, the high pressure keeping largely the rain at bay until much later in the week.
A real issue – a problem, a real problem
the likes of – here the likes of means ‘places like’. You could be talking about countries in Europe and say ‘the likes of Norway, Sweden, Denmark’ – so ‘the likes of’ here would mean countries like these examples.
weather front – bands of weather which come across the UK, usually from the Atlantic side
stagnating – not flowing, not moving. From the verb ‘to stagnate’ – to stay still, to not move. Slightly unpleasant meaning – stagnating water might smell bad. Here stagnating weather – just means it stays there, it doesn’t move.
fizzling out – ‘to fizzle out’ means it stops gradually, it comes slowly to an end. So it might start strongly, but then it slows and slows until it stops without anyone noticing. So here the rain will stop very gradually, stop bit by bit.
stubborn – usually of a person – someone who refuses to move, refuses to change. Here it’s the fog – it’s refusing to move – so she says it’s stubborn. Hard to get rid of.
high pressure – in weather high pressure means sunshine, low pressure tends to mean cloud and rain – measured in isobars. I’m sure it’s the same in your country and on your weather forecast.
keeping the rain at bay – if you keep something at bay, you hold it back, you keep it at a distance, you don’t allow it to come close. So here high pressure is keeping the rain at a distance. It’s keeping the rain at bay.
OK. So that’s the end of this podcast. Listen to it a number of times so that eventually you should be able to listen to this weather forecast and understand every word. And along the way, you’ll have learned a few more terms for weather in English.