Looking to take your English skills to the next level? Learn English Through Listening latest podcast episode is your ticket to unlocking one of Britain's best-kept secrets: how to talk about the weather like a pro! Engage in conversations with confidence, learn the most essential phrases to navigate weather talk, and understand why this tradition is so beloved by the British. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced English learner, this podcast episode is perfect for improving your listening skills and expanding your vocabulary. Start mastering British English today!
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Vocabulary enables us to interpret and to express. If you have a limited vocabulary, you will also have a limited vision.
⭐ Maya Angelou
Learning British English vocabulary is like carrying an umbrella on a rainy day. It may seem like a burden, but it will keep you prepared and protected from the downpour of confusion in communication.
Talking about the weather is a
quintessentially British tradition. In the UK, conversing about the weather is considered a polite way to engage with others in shops or at work. So, today we'll explore some phrases to help you navigate these interactions, and examine why weather talk is such a common pastime for British people.
Listening to and practicing British English phrases with this lesson will help you become more familiar with the language and better understand what people are saying to you.
Learning and practicing English vocabulary and phrases with this lesson will help you become more confident in your ability to communicate effectively with native speakers.
Making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process, and practicing with this lesson will help you improve your English speaking skills and gain the confidence you need to speak fluently.
Building your vocabulary and practicing your speaking skills will help you feel more confident when communicating in English. Focus on learning useful phrases and expressions related to your interests and work, and practice speaking with native speakers or language exchange partners.
Fluency is a long-term goal that requires consistent effort and practice. Focus on making small improvements every day, whether it's learning a new word or practicing your pronunciation. Celebrate your progress and remember that every step counts towards achieving your goal.
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Quintessential Meteor Meteorological Ocean Gust Breezy Drizzle Blizzard Overcast
Hi there. Today let’s do a very British thing and talk about the weather. If you’re in the UK, and you want to make conversation with people in shops or at work - talking about the weather is regarded as a good conversation starter. So let’s have a look today at some of the phrases you’ll need. And at ‘why do British people like to talk so much about the weather?’
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So why are British people so in the habit of talking about the weather? Well, one reason is that our weather is very variable - that means ‘it changes all the time’. It’s not easy to predict. And it’s hard for the….British Meteorological Office - I find that hard to say! Let’s just call it ‘the Met Office’ for short. That’s where the British weather forecast comes from. We do have seasons - autumn is different to winter and that’s different to spring which is different to summer. But there can be a wide variation in the days within each season. So although our weather forecasts are more accurate than they used to be - thankyou, Met Office - they are still wrong sometimes!
And there are proper meteorological reasons why this is so. Gosh, that’s hard to say! METEOR - like ‘meteor’, ‘ological’ - OLOGICAL. ‘Meteorological’. So there are ‘proper’ scientific reasons why our weather varies so much. Britain is located beneath what we call ‘the jet stream’ - or often ‘the jet stream’ is over the top of us. That’s ‘jet’, JET and ‘stream’, STREAM. The ‘jet stream’ is a wind, high up, about 10km above the earth and the jet stream circles the earth. It flows at around 400 kilometres an hour - so pretty fast sometimes. And the jet stream sits at the junction of the warm air to the south - and the colder air to the north. The jet stream moves around - it flows from west to east - but quite far north or south it is - well that’s what varies. So in the summer in the UK, we may have a period of cool or rainy weather, just because the jet stream is sitting south of us, over France. Or the jet stream could be way north of the UK - meaning that we get warm air or hot air from southern Europe. And in the winter, if the jet stream is south of the UK, then we get the icy arctic air coming down from the north.
We’re also next to a very large piece of water called the Atlantic Ocean. And weather ‘systems’ flow often from West to East. This makes it rainier on the western side of the British Isles and drier in the east. A tip - if you’re thinking of visiting the county of Devon, that’s DEVON in the UK. Nice place for a holiday in the summer. But Devon has a south-facing coast and a west-facing coast. If you want the likelihood of more sunshine and warm weather - then I suggest you visit the south coast of this county. But if you don’t mind a bit of summer mist and drizzle up on Dartmoor, you might enjoy the west-facing coast of Devon. It doesn’t rain there all the time, of course but the two coasts of Devon can be quite different, even on the same day!
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In the summer in Britain, there can be what we call ‘a heatwave’ - 30C, 35C perhaps on occasion. But ‘the British summer’ can also mean 12C and rain. If you’re trying to organise a picnic or a barbecue or a day out, you just hope that luck is on your side. The weather is generally better in the south rather than the north and as I said, drier in the south and east, wetter in the north and west. The Lake District or Cumbria is the wettest part of England and Kent, right down at the bottom, near France is the driest part.
We also have very different lengths of day, depending upon the time of year. In the winter, it can be dark by 4pm in the afternoon. And daylight until 11pm in the evening in May and June is quite normal in the north. So as you can imagine, the weather affects what we do so much - and the weather can be surprising, not what we expect, not what we hope for. So all of that makes it worth a conversation. It’s just a polite way to start to talk to somebody, especially somebody you don’t know!
Here are some phrases that you might want to use to talk about the weather.
If it’s windy, you might hear…...
‘It’s blowing a gale’ - that’s a ‘gale’, GALE. If there’s a ‘gale’ that means ‘very strong winds’. Or you might talk about ‘strong gusts of wind’. That’s a ‘gust’, GUST. Or you might even hear ‘It’s gusty’ - that means that there are sudden strong winds, which then drop again. Another adjective for this type of wind, which suddenly blows strongly - it’s ‘blustery’, that’s BLUSTERY, ‘blustery’. And you can just say ‘It’s blowy’, BLOWY - from the verb ‘to blow’.
If the wind is less strong, you might hear people say ‘It’s ‘breezy’, BREEZY. Or even ‘There’s a gentle breeze’, which means just a little movement of air.
If it’s rainy, we say….
‘It’s raining cats and dogs’! We don’t usually say that unless it’s really heavy rain. That’s a proper idiom, isn’t it? We also say ‘It’s pouring down’. That’s the verb ‘to pour’, POUR which we also use for when you’re ‘pouring’ water from a jug. Or ‘pouring a cup of tea from your teapot’, perhaps? If it’s a proper storm, you might get ‘thunder and lightning’.
If the rain isn’t so heavy, we might call it ‘light rain’ or if it’s on and off, ‘patchy rain’. That’s PATCHY. If the rain is hanging in the air, rather than falling in droplets, we might call that ‘drizzle’, DRIZZLE. ‘Drizzle’ is often what you get on the top of a hill or high ground - where you’re partly in the clouds and the weather is wet. We also say ‘mist’, when it’s a bit more like a cloud.
And if it’s hardly raining at all, just a tiny bit - this one’s my favourite - we say ‘It’s spitting’. That’s a particular use of the verb ‘to spit’, SPIT. ‘Spitting’ - not very nice - that’s usually when you eject whatever is in your mouth, possibly just saliva - a bad habit that footballers have! But of very light rain, we say ‘It’s spitting’.
What about when the weather is icy and cold?
Well, ‘It’s snowing’ might be an obvious phrase sometimes. And if the snow is coming down really heavily, we might call it ‘a blizzard’ - that’s BLIZZARD. And if you really can’t see, a ‘white out’.
And if it’s not snowed, but it’s very cold and everything is white in the morning, we would say ‘it’s frosty’. Frost, FROST is when the water covering grass, pavements, tree branches etc. freezes and makes everything look white. And if there’s a lot of frost, we’d say there was a ‘heavy frost’.
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Often in the UK, it’s just plain ‘cloudy’ - especially in spring and autumn. A grey sky, no sun, but no rain. So that’s ‘cloudy’, CLOUDY - or if you’re being a bit more formal, like on the weather forecast, you might say ‘It’s overcast’, OVERCAST.
What about when it’s hot?
‘It’s baking’ or ‘it’s scorching’ or just ‘It’s very hot’! Or even ‘Oh, what beautiful weather!’ ‘Hot’ doesn’t happen for us all the time, so people are often very enthusiastic about a bit of hot weather and we rush out and try to fit all kinds of summer activities in when the sun shines. As it just might be raining tomorrow. Who knows? Those are just a few weather phrases to get you started. Listen this podcast a number of times until you start to remember them. And then you can be ‘all British’ and talk about the weather with people that you don’t know!
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
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