Fluent English Speaking Practice For Tennis And Tall People
Dutch men and women are the tallest people in Europe. Discover who the tallest person in the world is and just how tall some tennis players are. Learn much more about tennis and some interesting English vocabulary when listening to this English listening lesson designed to help you learn to speak English.
Hi there, I’m Hilary and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. We’re here to help you become fluent in English, to help you understand and speak English easily. To get maximum benefit, listen to each podcast a number of times, until you understand every word. And if you look on our website, you’ll find a written transcript to help you. Everything is written down, so that if there are words you don’t understand, you can have a look at them.
Do you like tennis? If you’re like me, you’ll have been watching the football, rather than the tennis recently – though I’m a bit sad now that it’s all finished! But it’s also the season for tennis. And one of the famous tournaments in the world is Wimbledon – or more correctly the Wimbledon Championship. The tournament or competition, if you know that word better, is held at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club. So the word Club, you know probably – it means a group of people who come together to do something they enjoy. I would imagine the word Tennis is perhaps the same in your language? And Wimbledon is a place – so an area of south west London. And Lawn, L-A-W-N in case you don’t know that word – it means it’s on grass. Grass is green and grows and is eaten by cows and sheep – and a lawn is an area of grass. You might have this in front of your house, if you live in the UK. Grass is also what you have on a football pitch. But in tennis, the grassy area is not called a pitch like in football, it’s called a court. So a football pitch and a tennis court. So the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club is the place, the venue, where Wimbledon is held.
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So the tennis at Wimbledon finished last week. But did you see the men’s semi-final matches? One of the matches went on for 6 hours and 35 minutes. That’s a remarkably long time for a tennis match. The two players were John Isner of the USA and Kevin Anderson of South Africa. Well at the end of the 6 hours and 35 minutes, it was Kevin Anderson of South Africa who won. But it was close – and one set took a whole three hours to play! But another remarkable fact – what tall men they are! Kevin Anderson is 2m 3cm tall – in imperial measurements that’s 6 foot and 8 inches. And John Isner is even taller - 2m 8cm tall – again in imperial measurements that’s 6 foot 10! I think the tallest person I’ve ever met was 6 foot 7 inches and people would stare at him in the street. That’s the kind of height where it’s difficult to come through a normal door – or perhaps you need to buy a special bed.
I can see how being tall and having long arms is an advantage for a tennis player. But apparently John Isner is not even the tallest tennis player around. No, there is another tennis player, who is Croatian called Ivo Karlovic, who is 2m 11cm tall – that’s 6 feet 11 inches. And he has size 16 feet. I wonder where he buys his shoes? I think he must have to have them specially made.
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That made me wonder – how tall is the tallest living person? A quick bit of research told me that it is a Turkish man called Sultan Kösen, who is 2m 51 cm tall – that’s 8 feet 2 inches. Apparently his feet are 36cm long. I had to get the ruler out and have a look at that – my goodness!
So who are the tallest people in the world as a nation, I mean, as a country? Well the countries in Northern Europe are the ones we tend to think of as being particularly tall. In fact, it’s the Dutch, people from Holland or the Netherlands as we also call it, who are the tallest nation of people. The average height for adults, so that’s the average for men and women in the Netherlands is 6 feet 1 inch – or 1m 85 cm. Average! And people from Denmark, the Danes are just slightly shorter with an average height for men and woman of 6 feet. That’s amazing for an average height – I consider myself average at 5 feet 5 inches – or 165cm, but I would feel very small there, I think!
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So if you’re a goalkeeper, like the Belgian Thibaut Courtois or a tennis player, like Isner or Anderson, then obviously your height and the length of your arms is an advantage. It’s helpful in your sport. We had a family friend who was very tall and worked in a library. And my father used to say that he thought the library only employed this person, because he could reach the books on the top shelf! I’m sure it’s also an advantage if you are decorating your house, of course! But there are problems if you are extra tall.
There are adjustments that you have to make. It can be anything from needing a longer bed, to not being able to get underneath the shower because it’s too low or having to be careful which car you choose to buy. That’s if you want to have enough headroom. Headroom means the amount of space above your head. It’s the same with seats in the cinema or on a train, or on board a plane. If you’re tall, it can be a problem. Legroom as well as headroom can be a problem. So headroom means the amount of space above your head and legroom means the amount of space you have for your legs. If you’ve got a long journey, it can be very uncomfortable if there’s not enough space.
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Clothing can also be a problem if you’re tall. So finding things to fit long legs and arms or simply finding sizes that are big enough can be a problem. There are companies who sell products especially for tall people. You can buy desks and chairs for tall people, bicycles for tall people. Also kitchen and garden equipment for tall people. And a tip for you, if you’re a tall woman – there is a British shop which sells clothes especially for tall women. It’s called Long Tall Sally and you can buy clothes online and they’ll send them to wherever you live in the world. Hopefully that’s helpful information for anyone listening who’s tall! And don’t worry, I’m not on commission. Long Tall Sally is just a shop I know – they’re not paying me to say that!
So, there you are – a podcast about tall people. Human beings are amazing, aren’t they? From the very tiny to the very large. And even all the average people in the middle too! It would be very boring if we were all the same! So don’t forget to have a look at our courses on our website – these will help you progress even faster with your English language learning. And don’t forget also – we have a 30 day money back guarantee. So you can try out our courses and we are so sure that you’ll like them that we offer this guarantee.
Anyway, enough for now, have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
It's difficult to imagine having to look up to a whole country full of people who are taller than me, especially when I'm an average hight for the UK.
This weeks English listening practice was not really about the tennis or how tall people are, they just made it a bit more interesting. No, the real value of this audio lesson was in the British English phrases used, listen to them many times, and you will improve your English speaking.