What's a headless chicken? - 16/17 ep.25
In this week's Premier Skills English podcast, Rich and Jack talk about the latest news from the Premier League as Everton's Romelu Lukaku goes into the lead in the race for this season's Golden Boot. The language focus this week is on animal idioms and how they are used in football. Have you ever heard a midfielder being described as a 'headless chicken'? We also have a new football phrase for you to guess and a Premier League prediction for you to make. Enjoy!
How much did you understand?
In the podcast, Rich and Jack used some words and phrases that might be new for you. You can see two examples here:
Manchester Utd's Zlatan Ibrahimovic was on target as they beat Leicester 3-0 away from home.
Romelu Lukaku hit four goals in Everton's 6-3 demolition of Bournemouth.
There were a few more tricky words in the podcast. Can you remember all of them? Try the activity below, then, listen to the podcast again to hear how we used the words in context. This can really help with understanding.
Language - Idioms
Idioms are expressions with non-literal meanings. This means that the meanings of idioms are different from what you would expect if you just looked at the words that make them. This can make them difficult to understand for people learning English. Idioms normally cannot be modified or the words within them changed. This is a good example of an idiom:
The player lost his head completely when the referee showed him the red card.
'To lose your head' is an idiom which means to get very angry. The literal meaning would be very different!
There are lots of idioms that are used in general English that are connected to football. We looked at some of them in a previous podcast. Some of the most common idioms that are connected to football include 'to keep your eye on the ball' and 'to kick off':
A business person needs to keep his or her eye on the ball so competitors and other businesses don’t take away their customers.
Let’s kick off with what people have been talking about on the website this week.
In the first example above, the meaning of the sentence is connected to business, not football, and the second example is not connected to football either. To keep your eye on the ball means to pay attention to a specific project or item. And, 'to kick off' means to start something such as a conversation or discussion. If you want to learn more idioms, take a look at the activities below.
Language - Animal Idioms
Not all idioms are so difficult to understand. A simile is a type of idiom that compares one thing to another. They often use the word 'like' to compare two different things to say that they are similar or the same. In this week's podcast, Jack and Rich used some similes that compared different things to animals. Some examples from the podcast were
Zlatan has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water.
'To take to something like a duck to water' means to do something very easily when you do something for the first time. This simile compares Zlatan Ibrahimovic's arrival in the Premier League to a duck learning to swim.
Another example was:
Don't talk to him this morning, he's like a bear with a sore head.
'To be like a bear with a sore head' means to be in a bad mood, angry and complain a lot. This simile compares the boss to a bear with a sore head.
In the podcast, Jack and Rich asked you to use some more idioms and similes in the comments section. Here they are again. Can you tell us what they mean and try to give us an example or two?
Like a fish out of water
Like a bull in a china shop
Like a rabbit caught in the headlights
Raining cats and dogs
Hold your horses
And, if you want us to correct your English, just write 'correct me' at the beginning of your message.
Rich: Hello my name’s Rich
Jack: and I’m Jack
Rich: and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast
Jack: Where we talk about football and help you with your English.
Jack: What’s happening this week Rich?
Rich: In this week’s show, we’re going to talk about the latest in the Premier League and we’re going to talk about some animal idioms that we use to talk about actions!
Jack: And we’ve got a new football phrase for you to work out and a football prediction for you to make.
Rich: That’s right. And remember, when you’re listening to the podcast, if you think it’s difficult to understand, you can read the transcript at the same time. After the podcast, there are some language activities on the Premier Skills English website to help you practise and remember the new language, too.
Rich: Leicester City lose again.
Jack: Leicester City are only one point above the relegation zone and have lost their last four Premier League matches. They are the only team in all four English divisions not to have scored a league goal this year! Could they be the first league champions to be relegated since 1938?
Rich: Old man Ibrahimovic is on target again.
Jack: Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic was on target as they beat Leicester 3-0 away from home. Ibrahimovic is the first player over 35 years old to score 15 goals in a Premier League season.
Rich: Lukaku leads in the race for the golden boot.
Jack: We have a new top scorer in the Premier League. Everton’s Romelu Lukaku hit four goals in their 6-3 demolition of Bournemouth. Will Lukaku win this season’s Golden Boot?
Rich: I’m not sure if Zlatan would be too happy with us calling him old!
Jack: No, possibly not. Maybe we should have said experienced or mature. Or we could call him a veteran.
Rich: But it makes you think, doesn’t it. We should still be getting our boots on Jack!
Jack: Ha ha! Maybe I should, but you’re much older than me. I think you’re better off with a pair of slippers and watching on TV.
Rich: Very funny. Well, Zlatan has certainly taken to the Premier League like a duck to water.
Jack: Nice idiom. To take to something like a duck to water means to do something very easily especially when you are doing something for the first time.
Rich: Like when a tiny little baby duckling learns to swim.
Jack: Yes, Rich. That’s why we say like a duck to water. There are quite a lot of these idioms that compare actions to animals and follow the same pattern. We’ll look at some more of them later on.
Player of the Week
Jack: There have been some great performances in the Premier League this week.
Rich: Gabriel Jesus continued his fantastic start at Manchester City. He got both goals for City as they beat Swansea 2-1. He scored the winner in the last minute and he’s keeping Sergio Aguero out of the team!
Jack: Yes, he’s doing brilliantly. Jermain Defoe scored two for Sunderland. They beat Crystal Palace 4-0 away from home. I don’t understand Sunderland. They can never win in the first half of the season and then suddenly start winning. I’m sure they will stay up.
Rich: Yes, you’re probably right. They might finish above Leicester. Our player of the week this week, however, is Everton’s Romelu Lukaku. He scored four times last weekend!
Jack: Yes, a great performance. I think his first goal was the best. Check out the Romelu Lukaku article on our homepage. In the article, we ask you who will win the Golden Boot this season. It’s very close at the top of the goalscoring charts.
Rich: I’m going for Diego Costa.
Jack: Yeah maybe, but I think it will be Ibrahimovic. Let us know what you think in this week’s Player of the Week article.
Jack: In this week’s language focus, we’re going to take a look at some of those idioms like the one we used about Zlatan Ibrahimovic. What was that again?
Rich: Like a duck to water. Ibrahimovic has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water.
Jack: That was it. It means when you do something for the first time you find it very easy and you’re very good at it.
Rich: You said before, Jack, that there are quite a lot of these types of idioms.
Jack: Yes, there are and I can think of one that is very famous in football. It’s like a headless chicken.
Rich: Ahh, yes very good. I know this one.
Jack: It’s a bit gruesome to imagine.
Rich: Wait. Gruesome is a difficult word. It describes something that is horrible or shocking. It’s often used to talk about an injury when there’s lots of blood.
Jack: Yes, you could say gruesome or horrific or grisly. They are all quite difficult words. It’s a bit gruesome to imagine a chicken with its head cut off.
Rich: I’ve heard that if you cut off a chicken’s head, it will keep on running about.
Jack: But because it’s got no head, it runs in circles and crashes into things.
Rich: And that’s why this idiom is used in football. It describes a midfielder who runs around a lot but doesn’t really know what he’s doing.
Jack: Yes, I’ve heard this one a lot from fans. They say, we need to change this player - he’s running around like a headless chicken.
Rich: Another idiom that follows this pattern is like a bear with a sore head.
Jack: Yes, it describes someone who is in a very bad mood and is nasty to other people and often complains a lot.
Rich: Yes, you might talk about your boss in the office and say to a colleague ‘don’t talk to him this morning, he’s like a bear with a sore head’.
Jack: I can imagine this one in football, too. After a bad result, the players might say this about the manager at training. He’s like a bear with a sore head this morning.
Rich: Yes, definitely. So that’s three that follow the same pattern. Like a duck to water, like a headless chicken and like a bear with a sore head. There are lots more, too.
Jack: We’re going to say five more idioms and we want you to try to work out what they mean.
Rich: And then tell us in the comments section and also try to give us an example. This can be a personal example or maybe using football like we did with the examples we spoke about.
Jack: OK: We’ve got five for you they are: like a fish out of water, like a bull in a china shop, like a rabbit caught in the headlights, and two that are a bit different: raining cats and dogs and hold your horses.
Rich: Let me just repeat them in case you didn’t get them: like a fish out of water, like a bull in a china shop, like a rabbit caught in the headlights, raining cats and dogs and hold your horses.
Jack: So in the comments section below just give us a definition and an example. You can write about all of them or just one if you prefer.
Rich: And, if you want us to correct your English, just write ‘correct me’ at the start of your message.
Can you work out this week’s football phrase?
Rich: Have you got a football phrase for us this week?
Jack: Yes, I have, but first, last week’s football phrase. The phrase was ‘transfer deadline day’. It is the day the transfer window closes. Transfer Deadline Day was the 31st of January.
Rich: Wait a minute. I’ve got a joke.
Jack: Really, oh no.
Rich: Leicester City bought Wilfrid Ndidi during the transfer window.
Jack: Yes, that’s right. Do you think he can make a difference for Leicester?
Rich: Ndidi can!
Jack: Sorry, oh no. Rich please that’s an awful joke. Is it really a joke? Anyway, well done to Kwesimanifest from Ghana, Alex from Ukraine, MES from Armenia and Shobonenok from Russia. All of you correctly said the answer was ‘transfer deadline day’.
Rich: Let me see if I can get this right this week. Congratulations to Shobonenok from Russia. Let me know if that was any better, Shobonenok.
Jack: The football phrase this time is to **** **. It’s a phrasal verb and it means to remain in the division and not be relegated. Sunderland and Leicester City are two teams who are fighting to **** ** this season.
Rich: I think Leicester will **** ** but I think Sunderland will go down.
Jack: Yeah, but your predictions are not always correct speaking of which it’s time for this week’s prediction.
Premier League Prediction
Rich: Last week’s prediction was Chelsea- Arsenal and I got top marks last week. I predicted 3-1 and that was the final score. Jack went for an Arsenal win and our listeners also went with a 3-1 win to Chelsea.
Jack: I think we were a bit late last week, but anyway that means Rich and our listeners are looking good at the top of our Prediction League. What’s your prediction this week?
Rich: This week’s Premier League prediction is Liverpool against Spurs. Liverpool are on a terrible run and haven’t won in the Premier League this year. Spurs are up to second and are Chelsea’s main challengers at the top. I know this doesn’t make sense but I think Liverpool will win on Saturday. Final score Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham.
Jack: You can’t just follow your team Rich, you’ve got to go with the formbook. I think Spurs will win 2-0.
RIch: Right, that’s all we have time for this week.
Jack: Don’t forget to write your answers to our questions and make a guess at our football phrase in the comments below. And remember to make your Premier League prediction in the vote.
Rich: Bye for now and enjoy your football!
Last week's featured match was a 3-1 win for Chelsea against Arsenal. Rich and our listeners predicted a win, and a 3-1 win for Chelsea! Jack thought Arsenal would win. Those three points take Rich and our listeners clear at the top of the Prediction League with 15 points. Remember, it's one point for the correct result and two additional points for the correct score. The big match in Gameweek 25 is - Liverpool v Tottenham. Can you predict the right score?
|Gameweek 24||Total Points||Liverpool v Spurs|
Make your prediction now!
What do you think?
In this week’s podcast, Jack and Rich used some different idioms and similes.
Did you hear the five idioms that Jack and Rich asked you to find out about? Can you tell us what they mean?
Can you use some of the idioms in an example sentence? The sentence can be about football or more general!
Can you translate an idiom or simile from your own language into English? Let's see if it works in English, too!
Remember to write your guess at this week's football phrase and the questions above in the comments section below.