Zak Washington's Guide to England - graphic title
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Level: B1+ (Corso di inglese britannico di livello intermedio-avanzato)

 

LEARN real ENGLISH LANGUAGE & CULTURE

World's most comprehensive free, non-profit English language course. 

 

 

A CULTURAL GUIDE TO THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE FOR B1-C2 LEVEL FOREIGN STUDENTS (SP: extranjeros IT: stranieri) ... fun for native speakers too! (SP: hablantes nativos IT: madrelingue)!  (Con traducciones en español /Con traduzione in italiano.) Recommended age: 16 +

 

Learn English with ZakWashington graphic with logo and London skyline and typical English images by Language Unlimited

 

 This is the true story of three days that almost changed the course of history.

This is the truth that the British government tried to ban. (SP: prohibir IT: bandire )

 

 

 

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ZAK WASHINGTON. YOUR ENGLISH TEACHER. Ok. Ok. Calm down! Calm down please! A very good morning to you students! Welcome to London on this sunny day in 1973! I am going to teach you about English culture and the English language.

 

You probably think that you know everything about Britain[1]. You don't. You know nothing. You've probably been to Madame Tussaud's. No British person has ever been to Madam Tussaud's. This is only for tourists. Even Madame Tussaud was a foreigner. Carnaby Street too: tourist only zone. Have you ever laughed at dumb[2] red-faced tourists, lost in your city, taking bad photos and getting over-charged[3] everywhere? Well, now, the stupid tourist is you! 

 

You probably went to the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, that palace where Lady Diana lived... in other words… the dullest[4] places in the country. But how many of you went to The Big Ben Tavern on Baker Street? What? You missed the most colourful pub in the capital. There’s a man in that pub that has sat on the same barstool for forty-seven years. There is a woman with a beard... (Woman: ‘Oh hello love! Do you remember me?) and she's the most attractive girl in the bar… (Woman: ‘I’m not that desperate.’) There is an old sailor with a tattoo of a mermaid[5]… You can study more about England in five minutes in this grotty[6] place, than in a month with a guide.

 

If you want to go and study the language, there are twenty language schools on Oxford Street. The fee[7] is about £1500 pounds a year. Don't go there! Go to The Kebab Delight on the Old Kent Road. Ask for a bag of chips for 90p[8]. (Woman: ‘Chips are £3.50 love.’) You will not leave for two hours because the owner, an Algerian called Abdel, talks so much that he won't let you go home. You can practice speaking English there all day… for free. When you've finished, throw the cold chips away, because like all English food, it’s totally disgusting. (Woman: ‘What are you bloody talking about?’) And like all English food, it's cooked by foreigners. (Woman: ‘Who are you calling a foreigner?’)

 

Anyway, that's enough talk Throw away those guidebooks! (Woman: ‘You’ll get a bloody clip around the ear in a minute.’) I am going to teach you about British culture. We are going on a real tour of the country. (Woman: ‘Go and bloody teach it somewhere else.’) Come on!

 

GLOSSARY and ENGLISH USAGE

 

Here's the VOCABULARY and explanations from the introduction 

[1] Great Britain, United Kingdom, England, British Isles etc. Great Britain is the large island that is north of France, and east of Ireland. It contains three autonomous regions: England, Wales and Scotland. Great Britain and Northern Ireland, together, are called the United Kingdom (The U.K.), which is, officially, the name of the country.

The official title that you can find on a passport is The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Ireland (or Eire) is a separate country altogether. Confused? Us natives are too. 

The British Isles refers to both the large islands, and therefore includes Ireland too, but this expression is used only in relation to geography. This is all according (SP: según IT:  secondo) to the ‘official’ description.

Natives of Britain often think in different ways. If you ask any Englishman, or Welshman where he’s from, he will tell you England, or Wales,  not the United Kingdom. Nobody except tourists say, ‘Are you from the United Kingdom?’ We seldom refer to ourselves as British either, probably because it has political connotations . It is  much less common to see the British flag  (SP: bandera IT: bandiera) the Union Jack-(the red, white, and blue one) hanging  (SP: colgar IT:  appendere) in public places, as it is to see the American flag in the US. This can be a political statement  (SP: declaración IT:  dichiarazione).

The easiest and safest way is to refer to each individual country or nationality. Thus England/English, Scotland/Scottish, Wales/Welsh, Northern Ireland/Northern Irish. All of these people could be called Britons, Brits, British, or more unusually, BritishersBritons is uncommon outside of newspapers and formal styles. Brits is a popular word with non-Brits, and is informal; ‘He was running around drunk  (SP: borracho IT:  ubriaco) on the beach like a typical Brit abroad.’  Britisher is an ugly  (SP: feo IT:  brutto) word that is only usually heard outside Britain too.

British is the most universal and acceptable way of  talking about the person’s nationality. It describes the people, but can be used as an adjective for anything else too: ‘British weather is so bad, but when it rains, a lot of British men go out without their umbrellas. Why?’  Also note that there is no adjective for someone from the United Kingdom, which considering this is the official name of the country, is absurd! 

[2] Dumb (adj.)  (SP: tonto IT:  scemo) 1. Stupid, idiotic. 2. Unable to talk.

[3] (to) Over-charge  (SP: cobrar di más IT:  fare pagare molto caro) to ask more money for something than the normal price. Tourist prices!

[4] Dull (adj.)  (SP: aburrido IT:  noioso) boring, tedious, uninteresting.

[5] Mermaid (noun)  (SP: sirena IT: sirena) half topless woman, half fish.

[6] Grotty (adj.)  (SP: cutre, sucio IT:  sporco, sgradevole) describes something that is dirty, ugly and without much charm. If someone told you about a grotty hotel, you definitely wouldn’t want to stay there, as it would be unpleasant and of bad quality. You might enjoy staying at a sleazy  (SP: sórdido IT:  immorale, peccaminoso) hotel a little more, as the meaning of this adjective is more to do with ‘immoral’ or ‘dishonest’ behaviour. There are probably prostitutes, drugs, or some kind of corrupt, illegal activity happening there. Sleazy doesn’t necessarily mean that the sheets  (SP: sabanas IT:  linzuoli) will be dirty. Seedy is a synonym. A tacky  (SP: hortera  IT:  kitsch) hotel is more recommended. This would be of low quality too, but would best be described as ‘in bad taste’  (SP: mal gusto  IT: cattivo gusto) and probably ‘out of fashion’.  (SP: pasasdo de moda  IT: fuori moda ) You should expect lots of gold, silver, and bright colours, flowery wallpaper,  (SP: papel pintado IT: sfondo) plastic palm trees, etc. The word doesn’t imply dirty or illegal. Sleazy, seedy, and tacky are commonly used to describe people too. Other useful negative adjectives for places could be second-rate (below standard) and squalid (extremely dirty, unpleasant and poor), naff (SP: ordinario  IT: pacchiani )  or crappy meaning ‘of disappointingly low or bad quality’.

[7] Fee (noun)  (SP:  tarifa IT:  onorario, tassa, quota, iscrizione) the price to enter or join. Usually for schools, courses or professional services.

[8] As you know, the currency in the United Kingdom is the pound (sterling). What you may not know is that the pound has a nickname; the quid  (SP: pavos  IT: sterline) . Quid always keeps its singular form. How much is ten quid in Euros? The smallest coin is called the penny when it is in its singular form, and pence  (SP: peniques IT: centesimi, soldi) in plural. These are much more frequently known by the letter p; I remember the days when a sandwich cost 25p. 

  

Find all the LEARN ENGLISH WITH ZAK WASHINGTON videos on Youtube.

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PART ONE

Introduction. Adjectives to describe character. Travel. Tourism. English Pronunciation

1. The Betting Shop Verbs + gerunds and infinitives. Gambling.

2. The Dole Office. Conditionals. Inversions. Phrasal verbs. Welfare. Job interviews.

3. The Pub. Modal verbs for deduction & advice. ‘Used to’ + gerund/infinitive. Drinking.

Anja’s guide to speaking perfect English. Part one. Pronunciation.

4. Brighton Beach. Fast food. Globalisation.

5. The Indian. Countable/uncountable nouns. Eating habits. Cookery.

Anja’s guide to speaking perfect English. Part two. Pronunciation.

6. The Police Station. Tenses. Modal verbs of obligation. Pronunciation. Crime school.

7. The Greasy Spoon Café. Phrasal verbs. Contractions. ‘Ain’t’. Pronunciation dictation.

8. The Squat. Dependant prepositions. Squatting. Homelessness.

9. The Bus and Underground. Phrasal verbs. Directions. Transport.

10. The Royal Revue Strip Bar. Reported Speech. Short Answers. Question tags. Sex Industry. Censorship.

11. The Royal Revue Strip Bar. Can. Could. Be able to, Manage to. Adjectives. Physical appearance.

12. The Newsagent’s. Describing appearance. Passive tenses. Do or make? Shops. Newspapers. Media. Magazines. Celebrities.

13. The Jumble Sale. ‘Used to’ + gerund/infinitive. ‘Got to’, ‘Need to’. Adjectives –ED and –ING endings. Bric-a-brac. Clothes. Fashion. Names.

14. Speakers Corner. Future tenses. Freedom of speech. Heckling. Arms. Weapons. Crimes.

15. The Old Bailey. Gerund and infinitive with a change of meaning. Revision. Law and Order. Languages and Dialects.

16. Her Majesty’s Prison Woodworm Shrubs. Revision. Swearwords. Insults. X-cert  English. 

 

PART THREE

CLICK WHERE YOU SEE THIS BUTTON FOR PART THREE WITH ANSWER KEY, SOLUTIONS, DISCUSSION POINTS and ADDITIONAL READING MATERIAL

(HAGA CLIC DONDE VE ESTE BOTÓN PARA LA CLAVE DE RESPUESTA.

 

FARE CLIC SU DOVE VEDERE QUESTO PULSANTE PER LE RISPOSTE.) 

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introduction English lesson graphic - typical British high street with English teacher ZakWashington by Language Unlimited
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ZakWashington English language course introduction graphic - Carnaby Street scene and London tourist montage by Language Unlimited
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How to say 'Hello' in 10 fun ways - Part 1. Infographic by Language Unlimited

 

CLICK below for the latest FREE copy of ZAKMAG Magazine for Learning English)

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READ PART 1 & PART 2. DO THE EXERCISES. DISCUSS WITH YOUR TEACHER AND FRIENDS. PLAY THE GAMES & ACTIVITIES. GO TO PART 3. FIND ALL THE ANSWERS, EXPLANATIONS AND VOCABULARY. 

 

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LEARN ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION WITH ZAK WASHINGTON

 

 

WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION?

and we also answer the question

WHAT CAN I LEARN THAT WILL IMPROVE MY ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION WITH LITTLE OR NO EFFORT?

 

Our first video explains about the schwa which is the #1 sound in English.

It is a weak, unstressed sound and it occurs in many words. It is usually the sound in function words (grammar words) like articles (the, a and an) and prepositions (of, for, to, etc.)

 

Pronouncing the schwa sound correctly is the real secret of making your pronunciation sound more accurate and natural.

The phonemic symbol for this sound is /ə/ .

Now watch the video and listen to the examples:

THE #1 SOUND IN ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION: VIDEO TUTORIAL (Part 1)

 

Unstressed syllables

Any vowel letter (A E I O U) can be pronounced as the schwa. It just depends if it is the UNIMPORTANT or UNSTRESSED part.

 

In the word 'man' the letter 'a' has its full sound - represented by the symbol /æ/.

In 'postman' the syllable 'man' is not stressed and the letter 'a' is pronounced as schwa, represented by the symbol .

 

Now practice these words that include the schwa sound /ə/

about

- taken

- memory

 -supply

- emphasize

- vitamin

- celebrate

- president

occur

- campus

- cut

- love

- sun

- truck

- stuff

- salad

- balance

assume

agree

- problem

 

ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION: VIDEO TUTORIAL (Part 2)

 

ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION: VIDEO TUTORIAL (Part 3)

Exercise Now practice saying these words out loud:

DOCTOR     BANANA     TOMORROW     DIFFICULT     SUMMER     LEVEL     PROTECT     SURVIVE     PUPIL    THEATRE     MEASURE     WIZARD

 

ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION: VIDEO TUTORIAL (Part 4)

 

 

These are the sounds in English.

At the top there are

12 VOWEL SOUNDS (top left) and

8 DYPTHONGS (top right).

Below are the CONSONANTS.

International Phonetics Alphabet - IPA phonetic chart of English pronunciation by Language Unlimited
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GRAMMAR & VOCABULARY EXERCISE.

 

1. CHOOSE (SP: elegir IT: scegliere) THE CORRECT ANSWER (SP: respuesta IT: risposta)

2. LISTEN (SP: escuchar IT: sentire) TO THE AUDIO FOR THE ANSWERS.   

3. CLICK ANSWER BUTTON FOR THE EXPLANATION

 

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Dear Raji Fred,

 

Hello darling! How do you do?/How have you been? This is your favourite little Queenie here. It’s been so long/so long time since I last saw you. I’m absolutely dying to get my hands on you again, and pass/spend some time together. Being/to be a monarch can be so boring sometimes. I get tired with/of/from all those stupid diplomats and tedious European royals. Yesterday, I must have/had to spend all day long with the Danish royal family. What bored/boring people! Then my usual meeting with the prime minister; I wish he’d brush his teeth occasionally. Anyway/By the way, enough of this nonsense.

 

Why don't you come up to my palace in Balmoral next week to talk around/talk over some of the plans for the royal wedding? What a splendid event it is going to be! I hope it’ll be even more successful than Charles and Diana’s. Between you and me, I never did care much for that Diana. My nephew/niece Lady Sara Winthorpe is so excited and nervous. The press are following her everywhere. I’m really so glad that she is getting married to your son Ali. Ali is such a charming, handsome gentleman. He’s yet/already become very popular with the British public. The only thing that really worries me is his English. He hasn’t spent much time living in this country and I’m worried about him not understanding our language and culture. Therefore/Moreover, I’ve arranged for some special classes for him, to prepare him correctly for the wedding. He will have his own particular/personal teacher, a very competent professional called Zak Washington. Ali starts studying with him tomorrow. The sooner, the better, eh?

 

Write me/write to me soon, and tell/say me if you want to come and see your little Queenie in Balmoral Palace. I might have to punish you for not having kept in contact for so long! Naughty little boy!

                The Queen of England.

             

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Listen to the ANSWERS on the audio:

 

0.3 VOCABULARY PRACTICE ACTIVITY 

 

1. CHOOSE (SP: elegir IT: scegliere) THE CORRECT ANSWER (SP: respuesta IT: risposta)

2. LISTEN (SP: escuchar IT: sentire) TO THE AUDIO FOR THE ANSWERS.

3. CLICK ANSWER BUTTON FOR THE EXPLANATION

 

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Listen to the ANSWERS on the audio:

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Listen to the ANSWERS on the audio:

Zak Washington's Guide to England. Language methodology. Answer key
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Information about the teachers on this course
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DESK SERGEANT REYNOLDS, a respectable police officer who likes sleazy (SP: sórdida IT: immorale) Soho nightspots (SP: lugares nocturnos IT: locali notturni).

photo of course English teacher

THE TICKET INSPECTOR(SP: inspector de boletos IT: controllore) (London Underground). 2,000,000,000 people speak English. It takes a very special talent to speak it worse (SP: peor IT: peggio) than all of them. Meet the man.

photo of course English teacher

DAVE THE PICKPOCKET (SP: carterista IT: borsaiolo) Be careful!


photo of course English teacher

ABDEL, the proprietor of the Kebab Delight Restaurant, quite possible the capital’s most horrible and disgusting (SP: asqueroso IT: schifoso) restaurant. Learn English free there. 

photo of course English teacher

CHRISTOPER OFF, a lovely gentlemen with a phrasal verbs fixation.


ZakWashington in front of vintage London skyline with St Paul's Cathedral - British culture course by Language Unlimited
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Essential English language vocabulary infographic. Irregular plurals. Plurals of nouns
British culture montage. English teacher Zak Washington with Tower of London and St Pauls and London skyline
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