Learning Vocabulary: Halloween
In this week's Premier Skills English podcast, Jack and Rich talk about the language of fear. They look at some Halloween vocabulary and also look at words that we use to describe things that are frightening and phrases we use when we are scared. The language focus is on extreme and gradable adjectives and when to use -ed and when to use -ing with an adjective. In the lesson below, there are lots of different language explanations, some activities for you to do, an end of lesson quiz and a discussion to join. Don't forget to listen until the end of the podcast because we have a special scary football phrase for you too. Enjoy!
Learning Vocabulary - The language of fear - Halloween
Jack: Wooah! What are you doing?
Rich: Ha ha! I made you jump! It’s only me. What are you afraid of?
Jack: Why are you hiding behind a door? You …
Rich: It’s Halloween this week. Ghosts, witches, zombies all that kind of stuff. I love it.
Jack: I don’t really believe in all that nonsense, but it can be fun I suppose.
Rich: Yes, it is, and it’s not really that scary.
Jack: Not like Liverpool’s defending … that is absolutely terrifying!
Rich: Very funny.
Welcome - Halloween
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 podcast, we are going to talk about Halloween and the language of fear.
Jack: That’s right we’re not only going to talk about words like ghost and zombie. We’re going to look at the language we use when you feel frightened, scared or afraid and the words we use to describe things that are frightening, scary or absolutely terrifying.
Rich: So, this week’s language focus is on vocabulary and the language of fear. We’ve also got a little story for you that might be a little bit scary, so I hope that you are not alone when listening to this podcast!
Jack: That sounds a bit creepy Rich.
Rich: It’s not that scary just a little frightening :)
Jack: Your task is to tell us about five things that scare you or five things that you are afraid of using vocabulary that we introduce in this podcast.
Rich: But more about that later.
Jack: Don’t forget, there is more information about the language we use on the page below and activities to help you understand.
Rich: Make sure you listen to the end of the podcast because we’ve got a special Halloween football phrase for you to guess as well.
Jack: Do you like ghost stories, Rich?
Rich: Not usually but once many years ago I was travelling on an overnight train through Transylvania in Romania and I was reading …
Rich: Yes! I know it’s a bit of a cliché … a bit stereotypical, but I bought Bram Stoker’s Dracula for the journey and read it on the train. I remember it being a full moon too. It definitely added a bit of atmosphere. I was really scared.
Jack: Vampires are cool. There have been lots of films about them in the last few years. When I was younger I watched a few horror movies. Some of them were absolutely petrifying and I couldn’t sleep for days. But these days I’m more afraid of what happens in real life than in horror movies.
Rich: That’s the thing, Jack. Sometimes real life and horror stories or ghost stories are the same thing. Let me tell you something that happened to me a couple of years ago.
Jack: A story?
Rich: It’s not a story. Well, it is, it’s a true story.
Jack: OK, but let’s give our listeners a task while they are listening to your ‘true’ story. While you are listening, we want you to try to answer these questions:
Number 1: Where had Rich been?
Number 2: Why did Rich stop the car?
Number 3: Who is in the car with Rich?
Jack: Are you ready?
Rich: Yes, I’m ready.
Rich: I was driving home from a Liverpool match a couple of years ago. On my way home, I have to drive through the countryside along a difficult part of road where there are lots of bends and big drops on either side of the road.
It’s often quite foggy and it can be a bit scary driving alone because you’re worried that you might not see the edge of the road. Anyway, driving home on this night was one of those foggy nights and it was difficult to see in front of me.
Rich: Then on the edge of the road I saw someone waving on the side of the road. I thought why is someone out here on their own. I saw that he was wearing a Liverpool scarf so I stopped the car.
Jack: You wouldn’t have stopped if he had been wearing a Manchester Utd or an Arsenal scarf?
Rich: No way! I mean, yes of course. Anyway, I stopped the car and he jumped in. I asked him what he was doing all the way out here. He looked a bit sad and said it was a long story and he didn’t want to talk about it.
Jack: Then what happened?
Rich: Well, I asked him where he needed to go and he gave me his family address. It actually wasn’t that far from where I lived so I said that I’d take him home. He said that he had been to the match, so we spoke about football and Liverpool.
Rich: The fog started to clear as we came into the city. We stopped at some traffic lights and I turned to ask him the way to his house, but he had disappeared.
Jack: What? He’d jumped out of the car when you stopped? How strange?
Rich: That was my explanation.
Jack: Is that the end?
Rich: No. The next day I decided to go to his house. I knocked on the door and an old man answered. I explained what had happened and asked if his son had got home OK.
Rich: The old man looked sad and told me that his son had died in a traffic accident when he was coming home from a Liverpool match nearly ten years ago.
Jack: Wow! Really? How creepy!
Rich: That’s for you to work out! Let’s move on to this week’s language focus.
Jack: In the last section, Rich told you a ghost story. We’re now going to look at some of the vocabulary that Rich used in the story and that we’ve used in this week’s podcast.
Rich: Let’s start with some adjectives. You said my story was creepy. Creepy is a word we hear a lot at Halloween.
Jack: It’s a word that describes feelings of fear; of being frightened. You can say that a story is creepy, or you could say there is a creepy old house down the road. It is something or someone that makes you feel frightened or nervous in a strange way.
Rich: There are lots of other adjectives that we could use to describe a ghost story or a horror film. The most common adjectives to use are frightening and scary. The film was very frightening or the story was very scary.
Jack: Both of these words describe something that created an emotion. The film was frightening so I was frightened. The story was scary so I was scared.
Rich: To describe how you feel you can use the same adjective with an -ed ending. I’m scared. I’m frightened.
Jack: Let’s look at a couple more words that you can use to show how frightened or scared you are. The words we’re going to look at are terrified and petrified.
Rich: Sometimes we are just a little bit scared and sometimes we’re very, very frightened.
Jack: When we use frightened or scared we can use the word ‘very’ to make them stronger or ‘a little’ to make them weaker.
Rich: These types of adjectives are called gradable adjectives because we can change how strong they are.
Jack: But adjectives such as ‘terrified’ and ‘petrified’ are called absolute adjectives - they already have the word ‘very’ in their meaning. Terrified is stronger than very, very, very, very frightened.
Rich: But if you want to make absolute adjectives even stronger there are a couple of useful adverbs you can use. These are completely and absolutely.
Jack: You can say I was completely terrified or absolutely petrified. These are really strong and powerful phrases.
Rich: Earlier I asked me what Jack was afraid of and he also said that he doesn’t believe in ghosts. Here are two collocations that are useful to practise - 'believe in' and 'afraid of'.
Jack: What are you afraid of Rich?
Rich: Good question. I’m afraid of heights and spiders - big spiders! What about you?
Jack: I’m afraid of people with guns and being tackled by Manchester Utd’s Fellaini.
Rich: Sensible fears. Do you believe in vampires?
Jack: No, I don’t believe in vampires. But I do believe in lots of things. I believe in fairies living at the bottom of my garden. I believe in zombies roaming the streets of London and I still believe in Santa Claus.
Jack: No, not really.
Rich: On the page below, we’ve got more about the language of fear and some activities for you to do.
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 in with a shout. The phrase means that you have a chance of winning. The manager of a small team might say we’re in with a shout. This would mean they have a chance but are not expected to win.
Rich: It was really difficult so a special well done to Ahmed Adam from Sudan and Sabanoleg from Ukraine!
Jack: We said last week that we would try to get anyone who got the answer right into our podcast. We’ll be in touch with you in the next few weeks about appearing in the podcast!
Rich: What’s this week’s phrase, Jack?
Jack: This week’s football phrase has a Halloween feel to it. The phrase is *-***** ******. It is a challenge on the pitch that is horrible to watch that often results in an injury to another player. The first part of the phrase is also used to describe films that only adults can watch, for example, because they have lots of violence in them.
Rich: Not something that is nice to see on the pitch.
Jack: Right, that’s all we have time for this week! Don’t forget to write your answers to our questions and make a guess at our football phrase in the comments below.
Rich: And don’t forget to listen to our round-up show called ‘This Week’. All the action from Matchweek 10 will be on the Premier Skills homepage on Monday.
Jack: Bye for now and enjoy your football!
How much did you understand?
In the podcast, Rich and Jack used some words and phrases that might be new for you. Do you know the words in bold?
I made you jump! What are you afraid of?
I don't believe in all that nonsense!
There were a few more tricky words in the podcast. Do you know what they all mean? Try the activity below, then, listen to the podcast again to hear how we used the words.
The Language of Fear
In this podcast, Jack and Rich spoke about the language of fear, words and phrases that we use to show that we are frightened or scared. Let's look at some examples:
Halloween is not that scary.
Liverpool's defending is absolutely terrifying.
Some horror films are absolutely petrifying.
Wow! Really? How creepy?
There are lots of words we can use to describe something that is frightening but you can use these words in different ways.
Gradable and extreme adjectives
Some adjectives are gradable which means that you can change how strong they are by using 'very' or 'a bit'. Look at these examples:
The house down the road is a bit creepy. Nobody has lived there for years.
The film was very frightening. I hid behind the sofa for most of the scary bits!
Extreme adjectives are not gradable. The only adverbs you can use are ones such as: 'completely' and 'absolutely'.
Some horror film are absolutely petrifying.
When my friends made me jump I was completely terrified.
In this activity, take a look at the sentences and decide if you should use a gradable adjective or an extreme adjective.
Should I use -ed or -ing?
There are many adjectives which can end with -ed and -ing adjectives. But, when do we use -ed and when do we use -ing? Look at these example from the podcast:
I was reading Dracula on a train in Romania and I was really scared.
Some horror films are absolutely terrifying.
You can see that the first example uses an -ed adjective but the second example uses an -ing adjective. We use -ing adjectives to describe something that causes an emotion and we use -ed adjectives to describe the emotion we feel. So, horror films are terrifying and the horror story made me feel scared. Let's look at another example:
I wasn't interested in football when I was younger, but my dad took me to a match when I was 9 years old and it was really exciting. The players were amazing!
In the example above there are three more adjectives. The first is 'interested' and describes how I was feeling. We use -ed for this. The second is 'exciting' and describes how the match made me feel excited. We use -ing for this. The final adjective is 'amazing' and this describes the players. I was amazed by the players. We also use -ing for this. In the activity below, practise this area by looking at some more examples and choosing the right answer.
What are you afraid of?
In this week's podcast, Jack and Rich spoke a lot about the language of fear and things that are frightening and things that scare them. Your task is to think of five things that you are frightened or scared of and write your answers in the comments section. You can complete the sentences below with a noun phrase (I'm afraid of spiders) or a verb phrase (I'm afraid of going to the dentist). It would be great if you could respond to other listeners and tell them if you share the same fears or not.
I'm afraid of ...
I'm scared of ...
I'm terrified of ...
I'm really, really frightened of ...
I'm absolutely petrified of ...
What do you think?
In this week’s podcast, Jack and Rich spoke about Halloween and the language of fear.
Do you celebrate Halloween in your country? What do people do?
Do you believe in ghosts? What are you afraid of?
Look at the task above and write your answers. Don't forget to reply to other listeners too.
Remember to write your guess for this week's scary football phrase, too!