If you think listening is not important to helping you speak English then you are wrong! Listening to native English speakers is one of the most important things you can do to improve your English speaking. If you are not making progress with the English-speaking part of your English language learning, then it is probably because you are not listening to enough English.
Listening to a language has everything to do with the ability to speak a language. If you want to speak English you will need to listen to a lot of English being spoken.
Think about when you learned to speak your own native language, before you could even read or write, as a very young child, you listened and you learned to speak. You trained your brain to recognise sounds and patterns of speech and associated these with images and context until you could mimic what you were hearing and spoke simple words and then sentences in your native language.
This process is universal, it’s how we all learned to speak in our first language. So why would you think you can skip the listening part when learning a second language? You can’t! You need to listen to the new language, many times, to train your brain to recognise where words or sentences start and stop in the new language. You need to listen to the new language to train your brain to recognise how we pronounce words in the new language. You need to listen to the new language being spoken to understand regional accents and so many other subtle differences that only listening can solve.
The good news is listening is easy to do, we do it all the time on our mobile phones or in our cars, so you can listen and learn English throughout your day without having to go to a classroom. All you need is good quality English audio lessons, spoken at a pace you can understand, a regular and familiar voice which is a native British English voice using a desirable everyday English accent from London.
That's what Adept English gives you, we give you all the high quality English listening audio lessons you could ever need. Designed to help you improve your English listening and English comprehension.
Idioms Idiomatic Roundabouts
Hi there and welcome to this Adept English short podcast. Improve your English – you want to learn how? Learn English speaking with Adept English and our ‘learn through listening method! If you want to speak English fluently and confidently, it’s the best way to learn. No translating into your own language, learning instead to think in English! How to learn English speaking at home, on the train, in the shower, going for a run – wherever you like! This is Adept English!
How about we do another of those podcasts on English idioms today? English is full of idioms and they can be very confusing for English language learners. So what about if you heard the phrase ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’? Would you know what that meant?
So as usual, let’s run through the vocabulary first. The word ‘light’, L-I-G-H-T is a pretty common word. And notice that spelling – I-G-H-T at the end, pronounced ‘ite’ That’s quite a common ending in English words. ‘Light’ has lots of uses – you might (and there’s another -IGHT ending word) - you might talk about sunlight, or moonlight, firelight or daylight. So light is what helps you see – without light, it would be dark and you wouldn’t be able to see anything at all! And a tunnel, T-U-N-N-E-L? Well, a tunnel is usually underground, or at least underneath something. Roads sometimes go through tunnels, if the road runs under a hill.
Trains also commonly go through tunnels – where there might be a road running over the top. A famous tunnel – and a very long one, is the tunnel which runs under the English channel, between England and France, from Folkstone on the English side to Coquelles, near Calais in France. Other famous tunnels in the world, the Gotthard Base Tunnel, which runs underneath the Alps in Switzerland. It took 17 years to build and it runs for 57 kilometres –it’s the world’s longest tunnel, but only trains can go through it, rather like the Channel Tunnel. Norway’s Laerdal Tunnel is the world longest road tunnel at 24 kilometres, so that’s a tunnel you can drive through in your car. That sounds like an interesting experience, if you haven’t done it.
Anyway, I think you get the idea of tunnels perhaps? So the light at the end of the tunnel? Well, as you can imagine, inside a tunnel, it’s dark, especially if it’s a long tunnel. There’s no day light. So as you approach the end of a long tunnel, you start to see a tiny point of light, which grows bigger and bigger as you drive towards it. Well, that is ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’. So that’s what we call a literal meaning, so you can use it like that.
A photograph of a long underground tunnel with stone walls and in the distance a bright tunnel exit into the daylight beyond. Used to help explain the English language idiom of light at the end of the tunnel.
But although we use ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’ as a literal meaning, when you hear that phrase, it’s much more likely that it’s being used in an idiomatic way. So just to refresh on idioms – they’re phrases which have another meaning, a symbolic meaning, a figurative meaning, as well as its literal meaning. Often the literal meaning won’t make sense in the context, so that’s a way of recognising that the phrase is being used as an idiom.
So, this one, ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’ is quite an obvious one. You can probably already guess the meaning of this idiom. If you’ve been going through a bad experience, a period of time that is difficult or that’s been hard work. If you’ve been struggling with a problem, then you might say ‘Oh, now I’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel’, when you’re seeing some better possibility in the future, just coming up. Or we’ve seen things are about to get better.
So you might say with the current Brexit negotiations ‘When will we see the light at the end of the tunnel?’ I’m not sure quite what the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ will look like on Brexit. It’s still anyone’s guess, it seems. A newspaper headline in The Times recently was “No 10 has hopes of light at end of tunnel as EU’s verdict on Brexit plan looms” - so there you have it, being used in a real newspaper headline in The Times. ‘No 10’ in that news headline of course refers to number 10 Downing Street – the home of Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
Another use of ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’, might be if you’ve been ill and you’ve been having medical tests. You might say ‘there’s light at the end of the tunnel, because at least now my doctors know what’s wrong with me’.
Or if you’re a student learning English, you might see ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ because you can see that your English is improving and you’re understanding people better!
If you like our podcasts, and in particular if you like idioms then there are many more podcasts on idioms. You can find all of our podcasts available on our website at adeptenglish.com – and they’re available as an easy download. You can download podcasts 50 at a time, onto your phone, so that you can improve your understanding and improve your spoken English as you ‘go about your business’ during the day.
Some podcasts give you English speaking practice, and you’ll learn English conversation simply through listening. But amongst those podcasts, I do cover other idioms, like ‘Swings and Roundabouts’, or ‘to spill the beans’ or ‘to let the cat out of the bag’. I’ve covered ‘fruit idioms’ and ‘cooking idioms’ and many more. So have a look at our website and at our podcast download service – it’s really good! You want to improve English speaking? We’ll show you how. Learn English speaking through listening to our podcasts.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.