Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Video: How to reduce rush-hour traffic

B1, B2, C1

Rush-hour traffic causes pollution and a lot of stress for car drivers, who find that their journey to work gets a little longer every year. In this video from TED, Jonas Eliasson, a Swedish traffic expert, explains how Stockholm managed to solve its traffic problem. Video time: approximately 6 minutes. Activity time: 20 to 45 minutes

Task: Watch the video from about 02.30 to the end and answer the questions
1  What was the problem in Stockholm?
2  What new measure did they try in 2006?
3  What happened on the first day?
4  What was the situation five years later?
5  What happened at the end of the trial period? And then in 2007?
6  How did public support for the measure change?
7  What happened when they did a study on:
    - changes in people's driving habits?
    - public attitudes to the measures?
       Check your answers here
       You can see the complete text of the talk here.  


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pronunciation: Analysing and practising connected speech

(A2), B1, B2, C1

One way to improve your pronunciation is to listen to short audio sequences and then to analyse how the different words are connected together. In this video from Rachel's English, you will see an example of how to do this.


Task:  Watch the video above and speak when Rachel asks you to repeat. 

For more practice of the different aspects of pronunciation seen in this video, try these other activities from Help Yourself to English:

1 The "schwa" or /ə/ sound - go here or here.  
2 Linking of words in pronunciation: go here or here
3 Stress on individual words: go here.
4 Stressing different words in sentences: go here.
5 Differences between British and American pronunciation: go here


Pronunciation: British vs American English

A2, B1, B2, C1

This video shows some of the main differences in prounciation between American and British pronunciation. You will hear different words spoken by both American and British speakers and practise the different forms.
Video time: 4 minutes 34 seconds. Activity time: 5 to 15 minutes.

Task: Watch the video below and repeat the words as you hear them.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Pronunciation - Linking words in pronunciation 2

A2, B1, B2 (C1)

This activity from Oxford Online English  explains how English native speakers link words together when they speak quickly. We have already looked at the links between consonants and vowels in another post on Help Yourself to English. This video also looks at the links between vowels and other links between consonants. You will also do two exercises to practise the different links. Video time: 5 minutes 14 seconds. Activity time: 10 to 25 minutes.

Task:  Go to the activity page, watch the video, then do the two exercises that follow. Then check your answers at the bottom of the activity page.

Go to the activity page here.

The other post from Help Yourself to English on the same subject is here.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Video: the superlight car project

(A2), B1, B2

You are going to watch a video about a European project to produce a  "superlight car" Video time: 4 minutes and 5 seconds. Activity time: 10 to 30 minutes

Task: Watch the video and answer the questions

1 What are the European Union’s emission goals for 2015? What does this correspond to in terms of fuel consumption?
2  What was the aim of the “Super Light car” project?
3  What did the project achieve?
4  How did the new body perform in virtual crash tests?
5  What’s the weight difference between a VW Golf I and a VW Golf VI ?  Why?
Check your answers here.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Video: "Helping" Africa

(B1), B2, C1, C2

In recent years, "one for one" campaigns have become very popular. Typically, you buy one product and another product (or an equivalent sum of money) is donated to Africa. This spoof video imagines a  new one-for-one campaign. It takes a humorous look at the attitudes of people in the West to people in developing nations. You will learn and have the chance to practise  some new vocabulary and idiomatic expressions.  Video time: 2 minutes 57 seconds. Activity time: 10 to 30 minutes

Task: 1 Watch the video below

2  Do the vocabulary exercises. The worksheet is here.
3  Check your answers here.

Video: Feeling good about our work

B1, B2, C1

In this talk from TED, behavioural economist Dan Ariely talks about what motivates us to work.  He describes the results of interesting experiments he has conducted to test workplace motivation, and talks about the experiences of people working for different companies. Video time: 20 minutes and 26 seconds. Activity time: 40 minutes to 1 hour

Task:  Look at the worksheet (see the link below). There are some questions to answer (1-3, 6, 11-13) and some illustrations to explain (4-5, 7-10). As you watch the video

- answer the questions
- think about how you would explain the illustrations to somebody who has never seen the video

You can see or print the worksheet here

To check your answers, you can see the complete videoscript here (also available in other languages)

To watch the video, click on the "Play" button above
  Dan Ariely.pdf - Google Drive