Pronunciation - Podcast 55
In this week's Premier Skills English podcast, Rich and Jack talk about Euro 2016 and the problems they have pronouncing the names of different players correctly. We also have some tips to help you with your pronunciation and you still have a chance to win a Premier League shirt in our great competition!
How much did you understand?
In the podcast, Rich and Jack used some vocabulary that might be new for you. Try the activity below to see how much you understand:
Jack Wilshere is not an easy name to pronounce for some.
Language - Pronunciation
In this week's podcast, we spoke about pronunciation. Some learners have problems with specific sounds. Let's look at some of these sounds in a bit more detail:
/v/ and /w/
Can you say these English sounds? Practise saying words like ‘west’ and 'vest' which contain the consonant sounds /w/ and /v/.
Have a look at the table below. Can you hear the difference between the two sounds when you say these words? Remember, when you say the /v/ sound, your teeth should be above your bottom lip. When you say the /w/ sound, your lips should be forward and make a circle.
|Jamie Vardy||Kyle Walker|
In the podcast, Jack and Rich used some sentences that are difficult to say that include the /v/ and /w/ sounds. Practise your pronunciation by saying these sentences:
When the winter weather’s warm Kyle Walker walks to work.
I’m very worried when Vardy and Walker don’t play.
Now, have a go at this activity, which focusses on the /v/ and /w/ sounds in more detail. If you want to learn more about different sounds, take a look at the British Council's ESOL Nexus website.
Jack and Rich had problems pronouncing Jakub Błaszczykowski, who is playing for Poland at Euro 2016.
/r/ and /l/
Can you say these English sounds? Practise saying words like ‘correct’ and 'collect' which contain the consonant sounds /l/ and /r/.
Have a look at the table below. Can you hear the difference between the two sounds, /l/ and /r/, when you say these words? Remember, when you say the /l/ sound, you put the front part of your tongue behind your teeth. You make the /r/ sound by pushing your lips forward and pulling your tongue back. Practise saying words with these sounds:
|Jack Wilshire||Wayne Rooney|
There are lots of common phrases that use these two sounds in English. Take a look at the list below and practise saying them. Can you spot the difference between the /l/ sound and the /r/ sound?
- Are you alright?
- I'm nearly ready.
- I'm really grateful.
- Do you read a lot?
If you want a sentence that is a little more difficult, have a go at this tongue twister:
Lilian Thuram was a World Cup winner with France and could play on the right or the left flank.
Now, have a go at this activity, which focusses on the /r/ and /l/ sounds in more detail. If you want to practise the /r/ and /l/ sounds more, and other sounds that might be difficult for speakers of your native language, then take a look at the ESOL Nexus website from the British Council.
André-Pierre Gignac is in action for France at Euro 2016. How do you pronounce his name?
Rich: Hello my name’s Rich and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast.
Jack: Hi everyone. I’m Jack and every week we talk about football and help you with your English.
Rich: Euro 2016 is underway in France and the Copa America is already in full swing in the USA and there have already been some great matches involving Premier League players.
Jack: We’ll speak more about that later but let’s look at some of the language you used in that sentence, Rich. The first word is underway, you used this in the podcast last week and it was one of the items in the vocabulary activity as well. I think it’s a tricky word.
Rich: Underway means that something is happening now. So Euro 2016 is underway; it’s started and it’s taking place now. You can also use the phrase ‘get underway’ to mean start or begin. The new Premier League season gets underway on the 13th of August.
Jack: OK, I’ve got it. The other phrase was ‘in full swing’. This is a tricky phrase. It means something like a party or a competition that is at its liveliest or most exciting part. So, you might say ‘when I arrived at the party, it was in full swing’. This would mean that lots of people were having fun and dancing when I arrived.
Rich: I said the Copa America was in full swing because it’s already at the quarter-final stage but Euro 2016 has just got underway; it’s just started. I think the most exciting matches are still to come.
Jack: Right, OK, so later we’re going to speak more about these two tournaments and we’re also going to talk about pronunciation. We’re going to try to help you with the pronunciation of some difficult names in the England team and give you some tips about how to approach words that look difficult to pronounce.
Rich: And, we will also give you an update on our exciting competition that you can still enter. to win a fantastic prize!
Jack: But, before we talk more about that let’s catch up with what you’ve been chatting about on the website this week.
Rich: Our football phrase last week was to make a debut! Which is when you do a performance for the first time. In football, you can make a debut for a new club or make a debut for your country. You make your debut when you play for a club or your country for the first time.
Jack: Manchester Utd’s Marcus Rashford scored on his Manchester Utd debut, his Premier League debut and his international debut.
Rich: That’s a pretty good start! Well done to Kwesimanifest from Ghana, Alex from Ukraine, Elghoul from Algeria and Haydi from Tunisia who all got the right answer. We’ll have a new phrase for you at the end of the podcast.
Jack: Last week, we had lots of interesting comments on the website. IhorV from Ukraine, who has taken our course about Leicester City, said that he had never heard of Leicester before this season. But, he now says that he would love to visit Leicester.
Rich: I think we’re doing a good job of marketing Leicester to our international audience.
Jack: We now have the final week of the Leicester City: Champions of England course up on the website. This week’s course materials include a discussion about visiting cities in the UK. Register on the course and tell us which city in the UK you would like to visit or, if you’ve visited the UK before, tell us about a city that you like.
Rich: So, as we mentioned earlier, the Copa America is in full swing and Euro 2016 is underway and it’s been a great start for some Premier League stars.
Jack: At the Copa America in the USA Ecuador have reached the quarterfinals and the two Valencia’s helped them get there. Manchester Utd’s Antonio Valencia and West Ham United's Enner Valencia have both been on the score sheet in the group stages.
Rich: And West Brom’s Salomon Rondon helped Venezuela reach the quarter-final with a winner against Uruguay. Rondon has become the first Venezuelan to score at three different Copa Americas. But the big story is that Brazil are going home!
Jack: Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho scored a hat-trick against Haiti but a shock defeat against Peru means Brazil are going home early to prepare for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Rich: It’s the first time Peru have beaten Brazil in 31 years so well done to them!
Jack: Moving to Euro2016 there have been plenty of Premier League players in action. France opened the tournament with a 2-1 win against Romania. Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud scored and West Ham’s Dimitri Payet got a fantastic last-minute winner for the French.
Rich: The World Champions, Germany got off to a good start, too. Manchester Utd’s Bastian Schweinsteiger got on the scoresheet after a great assist from Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil.
Jack: Eric Dier scored a great goal for England and Gareth Bale scored for Wales who went on to beat Slovakia 2-1. There have also been wins for Croatia, Poland and Switzerland in the first few days of the tournament.
Rich: Remember we are running a competition to give you the opportunity to win a new Premier League shirt for the start of the season.
Jack: And it’s very easy to enter. All you have to do is: decide which group at Euro 2016 will have most goals by Premier League players.
Rich: At the moment group A has the most after France’s win against Romania but that can all change in the next week or so.
Jack: The vote is on the podcast page on the Premier Skills English website. If you are listening to this on the Premier Skills English website you just need to go down the page a bit to where it says Euro2016 competition.
Rich: Remember, you have to register on the website to win. We’ve already had lots of votes from anonymous listeners. You can’t win if you are anonymous because we won’t be able to send you the prize!
Jack: We’ve seen lots of the matches at Euro2016 and we’ve heard the commentators having a few problems.
Rich: Yes, there are lots of new names to learn and some commentators are having a few difficulties when they try to pronounce the names of players.
Jack: I see that you have some information about different players at Euro2016.
Rich: Yes, I’ve been reading an article about the pronunciation of players from different countries at Euro2016. Shall I give you a little test?
Jack: Go on then, I’m sure I’ll be awful at the names.
Rich: Right my first player. Do you know the french striker who plays in Mexico? Can you pronounce his name?
Jack: Ah yes, that’s André-Pierre Gignac.
Rich: Not sure that’s how you say it. Good try though I think it’s more like Andre-pee-air Jin-yack.Here, take a look. The next one is a defender for Iceland.
Jack: OK, I’m not that good at Icelandic but I think you would say Haukur Heidar Hauksson.
Rich: The information I’m looking at says you say it like this: How-koor Hey-thar Howk-son. A little bit different from what you said! OK, last one. He’s a midfielder for Poland, here you go.
Jack: This looks really difficult. I’m going to say Jakub Błaszczykowski.
Rich: Good effort. It says here that it’s Ya-koob Blash-chi-kov-ski but I’m not sure I’m pronouncing it well either.
Jack: We’re no experts on players names from different countries but we can help you with the English names.
Rich: We thought in this week’s podcast, we’ll help you pronounce a few of the England player’s names. The sounds that we use will help you with your pronunciation more generally, too.
Jack: OK, which player shall we start with.
Rich: We’ll start with Eric Dier, who scored England’s goal against Russia at the weekend. There are two syllables in his surname and it sounds a bit like a person who dies! Die-er so you can have a builder, a baker, and a dier!
Jack: The word dire; spelt D I R E actually means something that is very bad but his performance for England was excellent. But, it shows that the connection between spelling and pronunciation can cause problems.
Rich: Some words that rhyme with Eric Dier are: tyre, higher, fire and buyer.
Jack: We got a message on the Premier Skills English Facebook page from a follower in Vietnam who was having problems pronouncing Jack Wilshere. The /w/ and /l/ sounds can often cause problems. The name sounds like ‘will’ followed by a /sh/ sound like when we say ‘shell’ or ‘shut up’. So we have: Will-sh, Jack Wilshere, Jack Wilshere plays for Arsenal and England.
Rich: Why don’t you try saying it at home? Repeat after me: Will-sh, Jack Wilshere, Jack Wilshere plays for Arsenal and England.
Jack: Like we saw with Eric Dier’s name, one problem with English is that the pronunciation and spelling of a word doesn’t follow the same rules. Regions in the UK often end with -shire, we have Yorkshire and Lancashire that are large regions in the north of England, Leicestershire and Warwickshire in the middle and Hampshire and Wiltshire in the south of England.
Rich: These are pronounced in exactly the same way as the England player, Jack Wilshere. Listen: Yorkshire - Wilshere, Leicestershire - Wilshere, Hampshire - Wilshere.
Jack: Differences between spelling and pronunciation can often cause problems. What other England players have problematic names?
Rich: Jamie Vardy might cause some people some problems. The /v/ sound at the beginning of Vardy can be difficult. When you make the /v/ sound you put your teeth over your bottom lip. So, you say Jamie Vardy, Vardy.
Jack: Let’s try saying this, repeat after me: Vardy, Jamie Vardy. Have you watched the Jamie Vardy movie?
Rich: Kyle Walker plays right back for England and his surname can cause some problems, too. When you make the /w/ sound your lips need to be forward and rounded like in a circle.
Jack: Try repeating these words: when, weather, winter, warm, work, walk, Kyle Walker. Try repeating this sentence: When the winter weather’s warm Kyle Walker walks to work.
Rich: That’s a difficult sentence. The difference between /v/ and /w/ can sometimes be confusing. Practise the examples above. Can you hear and feel the differences.
Jack: Let’s try this sentence. I’m very worried when Vardy and Walker don’t play.
Rich: I think if you can say that sentence, you’re doing very well. Very well another tricky phrase to pronounce.
Jack: When you see a word that is difficult to pronounce, what can we do? These are our tips on what to do when you come across a tricky looking word in English.
Rich: First, just have a go with what you know. You already have a good idea about English pronunciation so what you say will probably be quite good.
Jack: Another idea is to go to an online dictionary. If you know the phonetic script, you will see the word written in phonetic script. Alternatively, there is often a button to click so you can hear the word, which will help you pronounce it yourself.
Rich: But, names can be more difficult. You don’t normally find names in a dictionary. One way to find out how to pronounce a name is to search on youtube for examples. If you can find an interview with a footballer or other famous person with that name, you will often hear the name in the introduction.
Jack: I think the most important thing is practice. It doesn’t matter if you pronounce a name wrong. Many English people have strange names that are difficult to pronounce.
Rich: There used to be a TV series on the BBC about a woman called Mrs Bucket. She insisted on people calling her Mrs. Bouquet because she thought it sounded more posh/ posher!
Jack: The BBC has done some great TV shows but that wasn’t one of them!
Rich: Right, that brings us to this week’s questions and we’re focussing on pronunciation. Question 1: Are there any players names that you have difficulty saying?
Jack: Question 2: Different languages have different pronunciation problems. What are some of the sounds that you have difficulties with in English? Can you give us some examples?
Rich: Question 3: Is pronunciation something that you’d like to improve? Is pronunciation important? What do you do to improve your pronunciation in English?
Rich: Have you got a football phrase for us this week?
Jack: Yes, I have. This week’s football phrase is the **** ** *****. This phrase is used to describe groups at football world European Championships or Champions League groups that have four strong teams in them. It is called the ***** ** ***** because it’s a very difficult group and nobody knows who will survive. I’m not sure there is a ***** ** ***** at Euro2016. If I had to choose one I would say it’s group d with Spain, Croatia, Turkey and the Czech Republic.
Rich: A nice cheerful way to end this week’s podcast!
Jack: That’s it for today - we’ve run out of time! Thanks for listening. And don’t forget to write your answers to our questions, and anything you want to say about the website or football English in the comments below.
Rich: And don’t forget to enter the competition to win a football shirt at the bottom of this page!
Jack: If you sign in, you can win our competition but you can also score points to see if you can get your club, your country and your name to the top of our leaderboard.
Rich: Bye for now and enjoy your football!
Which group will have the most goals by Premier League players in the group stages?
A winner will be chosen, at random, from the correct answers. You need to register on the website to win and you are only allowed to vote once. The vote will be open until Saturday 18th June at 2400. The prize is a Premier League shirt of your choice.
What do you think?
In this week’s podcast, we spoke about Euro 2016 and pronunciation. Can you answer these questions in the comment section below?
Are there any players names that you have difficulty saying? Are there any names or sounds, in your language, that foreigners have a lot of difficulty pronouncing?
Different languages have different pronunciation problems. What are some of the sounds that you have difficulties with in English? Can you give us some examples?
Is pronunciation something that you’d like to improve? Is pronunciation important? What do you do to improve your pronunciation in English?