A common question we get from new language learners, especially those who are new to our way of acquiring a language through listening, is so what about learning English grammar? The good news is that the more you listen, the better your English grammar will get.
Most people associate the grammar of a language with writing in a language. It’s not obvious at first that to speak a language well you need to form the correct sentences, using grammar, well before you being to speak out loud. This is in part because of the way traditional language schools teach most second languages.
The traditional approach to learning a new language focuses on reading and writing, builds up to comprehension and listening, then right at the end works on speaking. You end up focusing on a lot (and English has a lot of strange grammar!) of lists of rules which can be confusing. Listening makes this process a lot simpler.
So why does listening work? It works through example. If you listen to a native English speaker, you will almost certainly be listening to the correct grammatical use of the English language. This is certainly the case with Adept English lessons.
Grammar is a piano I play by ear.
⭐ Joan Didion
So listening to someone speaking English correctly, repeatedly will help you learn English grammar. Not only will it help you, but it will be much more efficient in giving you the most common English grammar needed to hold an everyday English conversation. You won’t be learning strange and rarely used English grammar rules, You will focus only on useful grammar.
Repeat listening will drill into your brain the correct English language usage patterns, which is just another way of saying grammar. Your brain is an amazing pattern recognition machine. Once your brain stores the correct (grammar), because you’ve listened to the correct pronunciation and use from a native English speaker, you will hear grammar mistakes made by yourself and others, it will feel wrong.
Recognition Traditional Transmissable Observing Flout
|In The UK||3|
|That You Can||2|
|The Two Women||2|
|For A Walk||2|
Hi there and welcome to this short podcast from Adept English. This is a podcast to help you with your English. Learn grammar through listening, so that you get to know it automatically – and move towards being more fluent in English. If you find the podcasts a bit difficult, then you may like our 500 Most Common Words Course – it will help you improve English grammar and vocabulary so that it becomes automatic for you and so that the podcasts become easier. You’ll be really pleased you bought this course! So go and check it out on our website at adeptenglish.com.
I’ve tried to stay away from discussing the current pandemic for a while, especially over Christmas, but a couple of news stories recently seem to really have got people talking this week. In the UK, where of course we now have the more transmissable ‘UK variant’ of the virus, or as the French are calling it ‘le virus Britannique’ – thankyou very much – we’re being urged to lock down even more. More ‘transmissable’ means that you can catch it more easily.
And there was a case this week of two women, who live in the county of Leicestershire in the UK. They drove a short distance in separate cars to a reservoir to have a walk. Vocabulary here – a ‘reservoir’, R-E-S-E-R-V-O-I-R - it’s like a lake, but it’s man-made usually. And its the purpose is to collect drinking water.
Anyway, believing that they were within the UK government’s pandemic guidelines, the two women set off for a walk together, observing ‘social distance’ of 2 metres and carrying cups of tea, which they’d brought with them from home. Partway through their walk, the two women were ‘surrounded by police officers’ and told that they were going against the pandemic restrictions. And they were subsequently told that each of them would be fined £200.
That’s a lot of money for going for a walk, especially when you’ve taken care to do it within the guidelines. They were told that they shouldn’t have cups of tea – because picnics are banned!
So what’s going on here? Well, from 4th January 2021 in the UK, we’ve all been in lockdown again, as is the case in many countries of the world. And with the new, more transmissable variant of the virus, most people accept the need for these measures and are mostly staying at home. The government rules say that you can leave your home, but only for certain reasons.
Those reasons are shopping for food or medicine, meeting your support bubble or your childcare bubble. A support bubble means that if you live alone, you can meet up with people from one other household. And a childcare bubble – means a restricted number of people you need to have contact with to have your children looked after.
The word ‘household’, H-O-U-S-E-H-O-L-D means people who live together, in the same house. So you’re allowed out anytime with members of your household, but only with one other person from a different household. Other reasons to be allowed out – children of separated parents can move between the households of their parents. If your work cannot be done from home, then you can go out to work – so for example someone who has a domestic cleaning business can still go to other people’s houses to clean.
You can also leave your house to do medical appointments, education and training – or in an emergency or for religious worship – and you can move house, from one house to another. But crucially, you can go out to do exercise once a day – with one other person only, who is not a member of your household, but the advice is that you must ‘stay local’ and stay 2 metres apart at all times.
So for most people, most of the time, they’re going out to buy food and they’re going out for exercise. Those are the only times we get to go out at the moment!
So it’s not clear what these two women from Leicestershire had done wrong, but this felt like the police being what we call ‘heavy-handed’ with the rules. ‘Heavy-handed’ means being too forceful, applying the rules too strictly. The women had driven only a short distance from their homes in Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire, to the reservoir.
A photograph of a forest path as is passes a lovely old British tree. An English listening practice lesson.
That’s a good town name, isn’t it, Ashby-de-la-Zouch?! So the problem with saying ‘stay local’ for your exercise is that it’s open to interpretation. I noticed last week that Prime Minister, Boris Johnson was criticised also for being seen out on his bike, in a park 7 miles from Downing Street. However, I do feel some sympathy for the Prime Minister – 7 miles isn’t that far on a bike – and he is quite keen on exercise, despite his rather rotund appearance. But perhaps unwise of Boris to be seen like this – perhaps better to ride round in a circle near Downing Street and avoid the bad press!
Anyway, the other criticism which the police made of the two Leicestershire women was that they were drinking cups of tea – and this was said to constitute ‘a picnic’. Well, I can understand that the lockdown restrictions prohibit people from meeting with others outside and enjoying a picnic. But I hardly think bringing a cup of tea out with you, which you’ve made in your own home is the same as a picnic.
So it’s a matter of interpretation. When I went out for a walk last week, I got a stone in my shoe and I sat down momentarily to remove it. Was I going against the rules, because I sat on a bench for a few seconds to get a stone out of my shoe?! Fortunately, no one saw me do it, but you take my point?
The point is, it’s really about interpreting the rules sensibly. I know that there have been parties and raves, complete flouting of the rules. ‘To flout’, F-L-O-U-T means ‘to go against completely’, ‘to ignore’ the rules. And of course, I think in the current situation, people doing that kind of thing should be fined, should be punished – it’s irresponsible. But giving fines to two women who are following the rules seems ridiculous. And in fact the police did withdraw the fines in the end – and they apologised to the women after a public outcry.
So the case in Leicestershire was resolved but there has been talk this week of the government tightening the restrictions still further. I think that would be damaging and a bad idea. Of course, the transmission of the virus needs to be slowed as much as possible – so the government measures are sensible. But please – to keep us mentally well and sane, we do need to be allowed out sometimes.
And it’s really important to be able to have some interaction with people that we don’t live with and not on Zoom or Facetime! It’s important for our mental well-being to be able to go outdoors and get exercise, especially when it’s dark in January, like it is in the UK at the moment! Most of us are sensible and do pay attention to the rules. Just fine those people who are purposefully flouting and going against!
Anyway, let us know what you think. And let us know what’s happening in your country too. So there’s a discussion topic for you – in English. Learn grammar and vocabulary by listening to interesting, current and topical material – that’s what we’re hoping to provide you with! How to improve English grammar and vocabulary through listening? Well, listen to this podcast a number of times until you understand it all!
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.