How to become more confident when you speak English? If you want to learn to speak the English Language, you need to listen to it being spoken by native English speakers. You need to listen and be able to understand what is being said, this needs to be a smooth operation, fast, fluid and automatic with no translation.
When you first speak using a new language, you face a lot of challenges. You can spend as much time as you like on writing and reading English, working on vocabulary and grammar none of that will help you speak fluently.
Speaking in a new language requires that you can follow what’s happening around you, for example, a conversation, you need to hear what’s being said, listen to and understand and follow the flow of words without slowing down to translate from your native language to English. Once your listening and understanding of what's going on around you is solid, then you find that you can speak more easily, you will be more confident. Your options in how to respond open up.
This happens because communicating with people in a new language like English is actually the easy part, even if you have a limited English vocabulary, your pronunciation is awkward and your grammar is not great, a native English speaker will still understand what you are saying. They will fill in the vocabulary gaps, be able to solve poor pronunciation by using the context of the conversation.
The one thing an English speaker cannot do for you is help you understand what they are saying, this part is your responsibility, you need to hear what is being said, understand it and know which of your small English vocabulary is the best set of words to use.
So by being able to listen and understand a new language like English you buy yourself the time to start, in a simple way at first, to talk in that language and stand a good chance of being understood by native speakers regardless of how limited your vocabulary is. This then becomes the starting place to add more vocabulary, improve your pronunciation and fix any grammar issues.
Kew Chandelier Chandeliers
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Hi there and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English, helping you to learn English online. If you want to learn English language comprehension, Adept English can help with this. So let’s do some practice at that today. English language comprehension is a test to check how good your listening and understanding is. So you’ll hear some English language spoken, then you have to answer questions on the meaning. So there are 101 ways to learn English but to learn English language comprehension is good, if you want to pass tests, exams in English. So here goes, with some material – and then I’ll ask you questions on it at the end!
Well, if you listen to Adept English podcasts regularly, you’ll know that I like art and I do like an art exhibition. I’m quite traditional in my taste, so ‘exhibitions’ to me usually means visiting a gallery. The word ‘gallery’, G-A-L-L-E-R-Y, with the word ‘art’ in front of it, ‘art gallery’ – is a building where we view paintings and sculpture, traditional art, in other words. So famous art galleries in the world are the Tate and the National in the UK, the Museum Of Modert Art in New York, the Prado in Madrid or the Louvre in Paris, for example. However, it’s good to get out and view art of a different kind. And that’s what I did last weeked – at Kew Gardens. Now there is a podcast from a while back, where I ran through the difference between Queue, cue, Q and Kew! If that sounds all the same to you, then perhaps go and find that podcast – it’s number 166 Article 166 Kew, Queue and Q, if you’re interested! So there are various spellings of the word Kew, which all sound the same, but the Kew I’m talking about here, is the K-E-W Kew, which is an area of south west London – famous for its botanical gardens. So they’re known as Kew Gardens.
And all summer in Kew Gardens in South West London, there’s been an exhibition on, much of it outdoors – so outside – but some of it inside the glass buildings at Kew. And the exhibition is called ‘Reflections on Nature’ by an American artist, a glass specialist called Dale Chihuly. What he’s done in this exhibition is display glass sculptures in nature. So many of the glass sculptures sit within the gardens – and complement the plants – there’s a word from last week’s podcast, ‘to complement’! The glass sculptures and the plants in the gardens complement each other. So when you look at them, it’s as though some strange, other-worldly plants have started to grow alongside the natural plants in the gardens. ‘Other worldly’ - is a phrase we sometimes use in English to mean that something looks as though it’s come from ‘another world’, not from this world!
A photograph of one of Dale Chihuly Kew 2019 garden exhibits, a huge alien blue and white spikey flower set against the green of the gardens.
It’s not the first time that Dale Chihuly has exhibited at Kew – he was there in 2005 – and it looks as though the ideas were similar, but also as though the 2019 exhibition is more extensive. Some of the pieces in the garden look as though they’re growing with the plants – and are spread around the garden amongst the plants. They are brightly coloured and all made of blown glass. There are also glass balls sited around, especially in the Zen Garden – which somehow look like the planets in the solar system. Inside the glass houses at Kew – which are worth looking at in their own right, there are more Chihuly pieces, which look as though they’re growing amongst the plants, but there are also fantastic chandeliers, hanging down from the glass rooves. A ‘chandelier’ - words you need to know here – C-H-A-N-D-E-L-I-E-R – a chandelier really means a light fitting, but a big one, made of glass, usually lots of glass pieces which hang down. I haven’t got a chandelier in my house – and I don’t expect you have either, but that’s what a chandelier is! Dale Chihuly’s chandeliers look like extra-terrestrial plants growing out of the ceiling! Also in the exhibition at Kew are some vases and more regular pieces, for which the artist is known. So it was a bit like going on a treasure hunt last Sunday – or an Easter egg hunt even, trying to find all the pieces. We didn’t manage to find all of them – Kew gardens is quite big! But we did see most of them.
Chihuly himself is an American born artist, who’s been working in glass for a long time. He lost an eye in a car accident many years ago, so he doesn’t blow the glass himself, but has assistants to do that for him. Another similar and famous exhibition of Dale Chihuly was in Jerusalem in the year 2000 Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem, 2000. You can find photographs of that online.
The exhibition at Kew is over at the end of October and the pieces will all be removed. However, it’s worth having a look at the photographs online of the exhibition. And if you’re in London and you’d like to see some Dale Chihuly, then if you go to the V&A Museum – that’s the Victoria & Albert Museum Victoria and Albert Museum, which is great for a visit anyway, you will find a massive blue and green chandelier in the entrance hall. So that’s by Dale Chihuly too – it’s a slightly crazy chandelier.
So OK, you’ve heard all about Dale Chihuly’s exhibition at Kew. In a minute, I’ll ask you some questions so you can test your understanding! First of all just a reminder to have a look at our course pages Adept EnglishCourses Page on the Adept English website. One thing I don’t do much in the podcasts is English conversation between two people. Getting used to conversation is the next step, once you’re beyond basic English learning. If you would like more practice listening to English speaking, with, but with the Adept English way of learning, then buy our English language course ‘Course One, Activate your Listening’ Activate Your Listening Course. There are lots of things to learn in this course, but it introduces you to real English conversations – and explains the meanings of words and phrases used. You’ll also be learning English grammar without realising it, as you go. It’s really good – try it!
Anyway, now you’ve listened to the information about Dale Chihuly’s exhibition at Kew Gardens in London, how about we do a little test to help you learn English language comprehension? Here are the questions – see how you do!
- How do you spell Kew as in Kew Gardens?
- What country does the artist Dale Chihuly come from?
- In what year did Dale Chihuly last exhibit at Kew Gardens?
- Where else in London can you see Dale Chihuly’s work as a permanent structure?
- What disability does the artist Dale Chihuly have?
OK. If you’d like to see the answers to those questions, then you can go to the transcript on our website at adeptenglish.com – and you’ll find them at the end of the transcript. If you can’t answer the questions straight away, then listen a couple more times to see if you can get the answers. Learning English can be fun!
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
- Kew is spelt K-E-W
- Dale Chihuly is from America
- Dale Chihuly last exhibited at Kew in 2005.
- You can see a chandelier by Dale Chihuly in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
- Dale Chihuly has only one eye.