Listening To News In English
Summary: Listening to news in English
Today we have an English lesson which takes some funny English news stories and turn them into an English listening exercises to help you practice common English vocabulary words spoken by a native British English speaker.
Listening to news in English is not as simple as watching the BBC news. You might think you can just watch any old English news on TV, YouTube or listen to some radio broadcasts and that will help you learn.
Listening to the news directly in English might help advanced language learners a little, but it will be a lot harder to learn like this. The BBC and other news broadcasters do not design news broadcasts on TV or radio to help English language learners.
TV and radio broadcast presenters will speak quickly, often with multiple people speaking and can use difficult vocabulary or grammar far too advanced for a learner.
What you really want is a news story, read at the right pace, with only one clear British voice. A transcript of the story with keywords explained and spelled out for you where you can pause, rewind and listen again. That is why millions of English language learners are listening to Adept English podcasts.
Audio Transcript: Listening To News In English
Hi there and welcome to this short podcast from Adept English.
Sometimes when I’m looking for inspiration for podcasts, I go onto the news websites and look for funny stories. So here’s two, two funny stories I found this week! Listen to this podcast to practise your understanding of spoken English. Funny news stories – so you’ve no idea what I’m going to say, you don’t know what I’m going to talk about. So see how much of this podcast you can understand the first time through, then listen again a few more times, to see how much more you can understand on the 2nd or the 3rd or the 4th listen. And that’s before you reach for the dictionary or use google translate. If after several listens, you do find you need to look up some words or there are sentences that you just don’t understand, then you can go to our website at adeptenglish.com and look at the transcript. Every podcast has with it a written document, which you can read as you listen. But using the podcast this way, where you listen and see how much you can understand is good practice for real English language situations. It means that you get used to not understanding everything. You get used to not understanding every word – but you keep listening and you try to work it out. That is a really important skill as a language learner.
Learn English with Traffic News
Anyway, funny story number one from this week. If you’re a regular listener, you will have heard me complain before about how the motorways in the UK are often blocked up with traffic. Sometimes it takes ages to go anywhere, because there are just so many cars on the roads. Especially when I travel up to the north of the country to see my family. The M6 is the motorway which takes you up the north western side of England. I hate the M6! Anyway this week, a traffic jam on the M6 with a difference. At 5.30pm on Wednesday 4th September, a lorry crashed on the M6, into another lorry and as a result 32,000 litres of gin were spilt on the road. Oh my goodness – 32,000 litres of gin! What a waste! Can you imagine the smell? All those lovely herbals and juniper berry aromas drifting over the M6 motorway? Anyway, that probably wasn’t what the drivers were thinking about who were stuck in the resulting traffic jam. Nobody was hurt or injured in the accident, but there must have been a lot of frustration. The M6 is horrible at the best of times – just too many cars. But on this occasion, when the lorry crashed and spilt its load between junction 19 at Knutsford and 20, Lymm – what a lot of commotion! I know that area well, it’s just south of Manchester and I’ve been stuck myself there many times. Apparently the strength of the gin, the alcohol content was double what it would normally be – so double-strength gin – 80% alcohol!
The road was closed for 11 hours, from 5:30pm until 4:30am the following morning. Queues of traffic stretched for miles and miles, while the police tried to dry up the gin, by putting sand down on the road – or at least the fire brigade, I suspect that would be. The motorway was closed in both directions, and there was concern for a while that the gin might ignite, might set on fire, so the fire brigade were on standby.
One driver, Rachel Sargeant wrote on Twitter ‘Been sat on the M6 for two hours so far. [I am] 200 yards away from the 32,000 litres of spilt gin. Heartbreaking that I don’t have a straw.’
Eventually, the gin was successfully made safe by covering it with foam in time to open the motorway again - just before ‘rush hour’ the following day. ‘Rush hour’ means the period of time when it’s busy in the morning or in the afternoon, because people are going to or from work. And here’s some typical British humour – Cheshire Police referred to the whole thing as a ‘gincident’! Get it? Oh dear….!
Learn English with Viral Videos
And the second funny story today – and I was shown this online by one of my daughters, before I read the news story. The second funny story is about someone called Jacob Pina from Massachusetts in the USA. He’s had a busy week too. After showing off his extremely long five-inch thumb – five inches is nearly 13 cm - Jacob Pina has been called ‘thumb boy’. People were shocked by his very, very long thumb and it does look very strange indeed. A thumb, T-H-U-M-B? Well on your hands, you have eight fingers and two thumbs. And notice that thumb is one of those words with a silent letter on the end. ‘Thum’, not ‘thumB’. 20-year-old Jacob Pina said he doesn’t know why his thumb is so long and out of proportion with the rest of his hand. But his long thumbs (I assume that it’s both of them, not just one of them – that would be even weirder!), his long thumbs have given him a big online following. Since last Saturday, Jacob Pina has now more than 2.5 million hearts – that on TikTok, the app he used is like a ‘like’ on Facebook. His videos have ‘gone viral’ - that means a crazy number of people have watched them now. What a thing to be famous for – but go and have a look! It is weird!
Download The Lesson PDF Transcript & MP3 Audio
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Anyway, if you like what we’re doing on the podcasts and you want to go further and faster with your English language learning, then have a look at our courses page on the website. Our Course One: Activate Your Listening will help you go much further than the podcasts, because it gives you practice at English conversation – two voices, two people speaking. Much more complicated than just me!
Anyway enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
PS: The News Has Changed
While doing my research for this lesson I noticed that many of the contemporary news articles I considered including in this lesson were too controversial. We all have views on things and many of us have different views, which is fine, but for an English lesson you just want to find something that is interesting and the right level of challenge for a new English language learner.
What I started looking for was news that would be about something happening in the UK which was mostly interesting facts. I found it hard to find a simple article that wasn’t controversial where the reporter or news organisation were not pushing their own agendas.
It used to be that reporters of the news didn’t pick a side; they were unbiased and reported facts and tried to represent both sides of the argument. In today's news it seems an independent way of reporting happens less and less in the UK.
Maybe it was just this week’s UK news (heavily dominated by the BREXIT saga) or maybe I looked in the wrong places (BBC, SkyNews) anyway I went for a funny news story everyone likes a funny story 🙂