One way Adept English differs from more traditional English language lessons is that we like to keep the lesson interesting in and of itself. Every one of our lessons helps you with learning to speak English, but each lesson should also give you a little insight into how we live here in Britain.
Today we have a listening exercise which talks about a traditional British cake. Given most people like cake it’s a sneaky way to keep you listening :) So now you have no excuses not to listen to this lesson several times, which is important if you want to store what you learn in your longer term memory.
We spend a lot of time producing English listening material so you can improve your English speaking. If you are new to our podcasts, welcome, and if you don’t get why listening can be useful for learning to speak English, then we explain it all in our free 7 rules of Adept English course, which you can get here.
We put a lot of learning and modern educational ‘science’ into our lessons and we have come up with a “Listen & learn” system of learning that works well for English language students who want to focus on the speaking part of learning English.
Let's face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me.
⭐ Audrey Hepburn, Belgian, Actress
So no excuses. Jump in and listen. At the very least you will learn about cake mmm… cake.
Spencers Thankyou Sultanas
Hi there and welcome to Adept English. If your understanding of English means that you struggle with the podcasts, you find them difficult, then it’s good idea to listen to the shorter podcast, the free English classes that we put out on a Thursday. Often this podcast is easier to understand, because it covers less serious or in depth subjects than does the Monday podcast. If you find the podcasts really difficult, then you would benefit from the Most Common Five Hundred Words Course.
This course gives you opportunity to learn the most commonly used,the most frequently used 500 words in English, through listening to podcast-like recordings and conversations. On the course, the recordings only use these 500 words – no others. So this course will give you the words, the vocabulary that makes up a large part of spoken English conversation. So learning in this way saves you time – and if you want to know how to learn English speaking, and move to speak English fluently, doing the Adept English 500 Most Common Words Course will help you along the way. How to speak English easily or more easily? How to learn English speaking step by step. Well, go to our website where you can buy this course at adeptenglish.com today.
There are certain seasons and certain traditions which are specific to the UK – and which involve certain types of food. Surprise surprise! Some come from religious festivals, which people tend to celebrate and enjoy the food, even if they’re not religious.
So for me, certain seasons, certain times of the year mean that you eat certain things. And I notice when I’ve had the first one of the season. So when it comes summer, I’ll notice – ‘Oh, I’ve just had my first ice cream of the summer’. It’s not that I don’t eat ice cream at all in the house, but the ice creams of summer are different. You buy and eat them outside the house. You eat them outside because the weather’s hot or at least warm. And then when it’s coming to Christmas time, I’ll notice – ‘Ah, I’ve eaten my first minced pie of the season’. So that’s an indicator that Christmas is coming – even though it might be October! Supermarkets in the UK always have everything in, months before, so that they can sell more of them, of course. So as soon as Christmas is finished, in come the Easter Eggs! How to learn English speaking – what better way than to talk about food?
So for me, in the run up to Easter, that’s E-A-S-T-E-R then it’s the Hot Cross Bun. ‘Ah, but it’s only February...’ you might say – ‘...And Easter isn’t until April this year’. Well, you’re right, but as I said, shops have everything early. And as I particularly like hot cross buns, the first one has already been eaten. Now you may have Hot Cross Buns in your country too. Or you may know them from visiting the UK. In fact, most English speaking countries have the Hot Cross Bun – so they’re in the UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, some parts of America and even India, I believe. If you don’t know the word ‘bun’, B-U-N, then it’s a small cake. You can have currant buns, iced buns, Chelsea Buns, Bath Buns, and of course Hot Cross Buns. If you get chance to try them, then make sure that you slice your Hot Cross Buns in half horizontally – that means across in two halves. Then toast them – that means put them into the toaster to brown. Then finally some butter and some jam – raspberry is my favourite. Delicious! They have dried fruit and spices in them – though the one I tried today had apples – thankyou Marks & Spencers!
A photograph of some nice hot cross buns because learning to speak English is more fun with cake.
So traditionally Hot Cross Buns were eaten on Good Friday and that’s the Friday of Easter week. Of course, the cross on the top represents the crucifixion – the death of Christ – in the Christian tradition. And Hot Cross Buns were eaten at the end of Lent. Lent, L-E-N-T in the Christian calendar is the period of time before Easter, when traditionally you ‘go without’ or you give things up. So that means you might stop eating chocolate, or stop eating meat for example, for Lent. So Hot Cross Buns in February - not really tradition – they’re meant to be after Lent. But actually, technically Lent doesn’t begin until after Ash Wednesday – that’s 26th February, so…. I’m not really a big observer of Lent, anyway….but maybe my Hot Cross Bun was OK!
It seems that the Hot Cross Bun is actually even older than Christianity in this country and in fact dates from Pagan or pre-Christian times. Pagan is P-A-G-A-N. The word ‘Easter’ comes from Eastre the festival, Pagan festival that celebrated the goddess Eostre. I don’t know how to say these things – that’s E-O-S-T-R-E, if you want to look it up. And Eostre was the Pagan goddess of the dawn , new life and spring. And the cross on the top of the bun, in pre-Christian times represents the four phases of the moon. But like many other things, it became associated with Christianity, after the church had tried to ban Hot Cross Buns, of course!
What’s the cross on the top of a Hot Cross Bun made from? Well, it’s usually just flour and water. And what’s inside the bun is what makes it taste good. It has dried fruit – so currants and raisins – they’re dried grapes. And Hot Cross Buns contain ‘mixed peel’. This is the peel or the skin, if you like of oranges or similar fruit, which has been preserved in sugar. ‘Candied’ is another word for this, C-A-N-D-I-E-D. But the spice which makes Hot Cross Buns taste good – is cinnamon, C-I-N-N-A-M-O-N. Cinnamon spice comes from the bark of the cinnamon tree. And most cinnamon in the world is produced in China and Indonesia. Of course all kinds of things, all kinds of ingredients, can be added to Hot Cross Buns. Stem ginger, cranberries, lemon, apricot jam, sultanas. There’s some food vocabulary for you! But more traditional Hot Cross Buns have just currants and raisins.
At this point, I’m reminded of a joke that I used to know as a child – so please forgive me! ‘What do you get if you pour hot water down a rabbit hole?’. The answer of course is ‘Hot Cross Bunnies’. To appreciate that joke, you need to know that a ‘bunny’ B-U-N-N-Y is a child’s name for a rabbit – and that ‘cross’ is another word for angry. Well, it amused me as a child, anyway. Speak English – conversation with jokes thrown in!
So there you have it – how to learn English speaking, improve your pronunciation and accent with another British Tradition – the Hot Cross Bun. What a good thing they are!
Anyway, enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.