Learning Vocabulary: I don't believe it!
In this week's Premier Skills English Podcast, Rowan talks to two people that believe the Earth is flat. The language focus is on phrases we use when we believe things and don't believe things. In this week's task, we want you to react to three controversial ideas. Don't forget to listen to the end of the podcast because we have a new football phrase for you to guess.
Learning Vocabulary: I don’t believe it!
Jack: Hello my name’s Jack
Rowan: My name’s Rowan
Rich: and I’m Rich and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast
Jack: In the Premier Skills English podcast, we talk about football and help you with your English.
Rich: In this week’s roleplay, we’re going to be talking about controversial ideas.
Rowan: Controversial ideas are things that cause disagreement - things that people argue about. We’re going to be talking about something controversial, something that most people think isn't true.
Jack: Yes, in this week’s roleplay, we have an interview with two flat earthers.
Rich: Flat earthers? What on earth are flat earthers? A new type of gardener?
Rowan: No, Rich. They are people who believe the earth is flat. As flat as a pancake. As flat as a piece of paper.
Rich: As flat as a pancake. Wow! Where have we got these people from? How old are they? Five thousand and two?
Jack: You’d be surprised what people believe and how many people believe it. It’s an interesting interview, Rich. They might convince you that the world really is flat.
Rich: Highly doubtful, but it will give us a chance to look at lots of words and phrases connected to dubious or dodgy ideas.
Rowan: Let’s say that more politely. It will give us the opportunity to look at words and phrases we can use when we don’t believe what another person is saying. We will do this in the language focus after the roleplay.
Jack: Your task this week is tell us what you think about three controversial ideas.
Rich: If you’re listening to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or any other podcast platform, you should also check out our website.
Rowan: That’s because on the Premier Skills English website you’ll also find the transcript, examples and activities to help you understand the language, a task for you to do and a community of friendly listeners to interact with, in our comments section.
Jack: And that includes us - we’re always around to answer questions and join the discussions.
Rich: A lot to get through today! Before we get into all that we need to look back at last week’s football phrase.
Last week’s Football Phrase
Rowan: If you didn’t hear our football phrase last week we’re going to give you one more chance to guess now.
Jack: Last week’s football phrase was ****** ****** *****. I’m hearing and seeing this phrase all the time at the moment. The phrase is used to describe a match that is played without any fans. The stadium is not open. The match is played ****** ****** *****.
Rich: We’ll give you the correct answer at the end of the show when we give you a new football phrase.
Jack: The first listener to get it right last week was Luibomyr from Ukraine. Congratulations Liubomyr.
Rowan: Lots of people got the answer last week. A big well done to Nicolas from Colombia, Sabanoleg from Ukraine, Marco Zapien from Mexico, Johan from Colombia and W. Santa from Argentina.
Rich: And well done to Hayato from Japan, Mario from Mexico, Anet from Myanmar, Elghoul from Algeria, Fabio from Italy, Mohamed Kuma from Sudan and Idzingirai from Zimbabwe who also got the correct answer.
Jack: I think people enjoyed getting answers from our Grammar Genie in the comments section of last week’s podcast that was all about wishes and a magic trophy.
Rowan: That reminds me. Rich has a terrible joke to tell everybody.
Rich: I do, I do... a long time ago I really did find a magic lamp. I rubbed the lamp, and a genie appeared and said,
Jack: What is your first wish?
Rich: I said, “I wish I were rich!” And the genie replied:
Jack: Your wish is granted! What is your second wish, Rich?
Rowan: I know - it’s awful but Rich said he wouldn’t do the podcast if we didn’t let him tell this joke. Sorry, everyone.
Rich: I didn’t say that - all right I might have. I thought it was good. Anyway, if you want to take a look at last week’s podcast and write a few wishes, you’ll get an answer from our grammar genie.
Jack: You can find the podcast on the homepage on the Premier Skills English website.
Introduction to Roleplay
Rowan: In this section, you’re going to hear a roleplay. You’re going to hear an interview between a journalist and two flat earthers
Rich: Remember, a flat earther is someone who believes that the earth is flat.
Jack: While you are listening, we want you to answer a couple of questions:
Rowan: Where is the edge of the earth according to the flat earthers?
Rich: Are the flat earthers happy with the results of the vote?
Rowan: As we said before the break, we’re going to be joined today by two flat earthers. Just before we start - a reminder of today’s poll. The question is simple: Is the Earth round or is the Earth flat? The voting details are at the bottom of the screen. We’ll reveal your answers at the end of the interview.
Rowan: Good morning Frank. Good morning Mark. So, you guys truly believe the earth is flat. Why?
Mark: The evidence that we've seen doesn't suggest that what we've been told is true.
Rowan: What evidence have you seen?
Mark: Well, I personally, have been to Lake Balaton in Hungary where we've actually done some laser tests.
Rowan: Laser tests? That’s a bit sci-fi.
Mark: It’s a huge lake and we had people on both sides of the lake. 12 kilometres. The laser was straight as an arrow. No curve or bend at all. You can’t deny that kind of evidence.
Rowan: So these guys with a laser - this debunks all the pictures of the Earth we’ve ever seen?
Mark: No, it's not the only thing, it's just an example of some of the experiments we’ve been doing.
Rowan: Frank. You were sceptical at first, weren’t you?
Frank: Yeah, I think it's right to be sceptical about alternative views, but the problem is we’re never sceptical about the mainstream view; what we are told since we were children over and over again. It's programmed into us.
Rowan: Like that the Earth is a globe? Mmm ... So what finally convinced you that the Earth is actually flat?
Frank: Well, it took me six months. Like I say, I was sceptical at first but now I’m totally convinced. There are a couple of main things; one is that water is always level - like when you have a cup of tea or in a swimming pool or a lake - water is level …
Rowan: That’s because tea is in a cup, right?
Frank: Exactly, we're led to believe that the earth is seventy percent water and water curves around a ball or a globe if you prefer and just sticks to the surface.
Rowan: That’s gravity for you.
Frank: There’s the magic word - gravity. The magic of gravity. Now, I believe gravity exists but only as an effect, not as a cause ...
Rowan: So what is happening here? When I drop this football to the floor.
Frank: That's what I'm saying, we don't know, and science has never proven that .... Obviously they have proven it is observable science but ....
Rowan: And we’re all stuck to the ground!
Frank: Nobody knows what is actually causing it and scientists themselves don’t know.
Rowan: Sir Isaac Newton got that wrong did he? He just got that completely wrong. Gravity.
Mark: Well, I don't think he got it wrong exactly. I think we're told a lot of truths but possibly not full truths. Maybe half-truths.
Rowan: What about someone like Brian Cox - the UK scientist. Is Brian Cox a liar?
Mark: I'd never call somebody a liar outright, but is he mistaken? Absolutely! But, so are most people in the world. 99% percent of people are mistaken.
Rowan: Well, for what it’s worth; here is what Brian Cox had to say about the Flat Earth theory …
Rowan: You can see things move behind the horizon or in front of the horizon depending on the height that you choose to look at the things. Yeah, I am lost for words, the world being flat is probably the most nonsensical suggestion that a thinking human being could possibly make. It's complete drivel.
Rowan: So, that's from a scientist. He said he was lost for words. He said it was complete drivel.
Frank: And he said something very interesting there. He said it's nonsensical, but that’s not true. Our own senses tell us that the earth is stationary - we don’t see or feel the earth moving. That has sense - our own senses. The earth is not moving.
Rowan: But nobody's fallen off the edge of the Earth?
Mark: Ahh! That’s because the edge of the Earth is in the Antarctic. Nobody can go there because of the Antarctic treaty. Access is blocked by all governments.
Rowan: Is that not a conspiracy theory? You don’t think it’s just because it’s too cold? And what about astronauts? What about the international space station? Are you telling me that’s not there?
Mark: I don’t know where it is but it isn’t in space.
Rowan: And the photos of the earth from space? Are you saying they aren’t real?
Frank: They may look convincing but they are probably made in a Hollywood studio or something.
Rowan: I have to say, I’m still not convinced and to be honest and you’ll have to excuse me but I think much of what you say is utter codswallop but thanks for joining us today. The poll from our audience is now in. Thanks for voting everyone. It seems that 94% of our viewers believe the earth is round - what a relief. You’ve got a few people to convince with your theories yet!
Mark: Good to see that 6% of your viewers don’t believe everything they are told.
Rowan: Before the roleplay, we asked you two questions.
Jack: The first question was: Where is the edge of the earth according to the flat earthers?
Rich: They had a strange answer. They said the edge of the earth was in Antarctica.
Rowan: They think it’s a global conspiracy and all governments control access to the edge of the world. I think they believe cold weather is controlled by them as well to stop people going there.
Jack: It’s a real conspiracy theory.
Rich: Indeed. OK, the second question was: Are the flat earthers happy with the results of the vote?
Rowan: Well, 94% of voters didn’t believe them but they were strangely happy that 6% of voters did believe them.
Jack: I imagine at least half of them pressed the wrong button!
Rich: Right, let’s look at some of the language connected to believing and not believing things that we used in the roleplay.
Rowan: Let’s start by looking at some words and phrases we can use when we believe something. The simplest thing to say is ‘I believe’; I believe the world is a globe. He believes the world is flat’.
Jack: In the roleplay we used some other phrases to do this, the interviewer said ‘So, you guys truly believe the earth is flat.’
Rich: We add truly to emphasise that our feelings are sincere. Flat earthers really do believe that the earth is flat. They truly believe it. We could also say strongly believe or really believe.
Rowan: Another useful word to use when we believe something to be true is convinced. In the roleplay, one of the flat earthers was unsure at first but he now says he’s totally convinced.
Jack: To be convinced means to be sure of something and to add extra emphasis we might be totally convinced. Someone might be totally convinced that aliens exist.
Rich: Some people might even be convinced that they are living among us now.
Rowan: There are some other useful phrases we can use when we believe something to be true. We might use phrases such as I’m absolutely certain or I’m positive. Here is an example sentence for each phrase:
Jack: They are absolutely certain the earth is flat.
Rich: Yes, he seemed positive that there is some kind of government conspiracy.
Rowan: Let’s now look at some words and phrases we can use when we don’t believe something to be true.
Jack: Well, the easiest way to do this is to say ‘I don’t believe’. I don’t believe the earth is flat.
Rich: And there are some other relatively easy phrases we can use such as that can’t be true or I don’t believe that for one minute. We can also say I’m not convinced about something.
Rowan: Some of these phrases are stronger than others. I’m not convinced is saying that you are not sure - you are not certain about something. Saying something can’t be true or saying that you don’t believe something for one minute are much stronger phrases.
Jack: When we use stronger phrases we often have stronger opinions but we might not want to hurt the feelings of the person we are speaking to.
Rich: So,we might make what we say softer by using words such as personally or in my opinion.
Jack: Personally, I’m not convinced aliens, ghosts, or fairies exist.
Rowan: So you are sceptical?
Jack: Yes, I’m highly sceptical. This is a word we used in the roleplay a few times. The interviewer was sceptical and even one of the flat earthers said he was sceptical at first.
Rich: To be sceptical means to have doubts that something is true.
Jack: I need reasons to believe something is true. I need evidence. This is another word we used a few times in the roleplay.
Rowan: Evidence is the thing that makes you believe that something is true.
Jack: If there is no evidence, there is no proof that something happens or exists.
Rowan: Proof is similar to evidence - the facts or things which make you believe something to be true.
Rich: When we give reasons for not believing something we might say there is no proof or there is no evidence.
Jack: We might also say a theory has been debunked. To debunk is used to talk about a theory that has been shown to be false.
Rich: The flat earth theory was debunked thousands of years ago but some people still believe.
Rowan: You can’t stop people believing even if you believe it to be utter nonsense.
Jack: Now, this is where we get to some more interesting language. Words and phrases we use to describe things we believe are a bit silly.
Rich: That’s exactly what nonsense is - something that is not true and a bit silly. We can add words like utter or total to make it stronger. That’s total nonsense. That’s utter rubbish.
Rowan: There were a few similar phrases to utter nonsense that we used in the roleplay. These include that’s complete drivel and that’s utter codswallop.
Jack: We have to be very careful with these types of phrases though as they are very strong and we don’t want to offend other people when using them.
Rich: OK, so there are some examples of words and phrases we use when we believe things and don’t believe things.
Rowan: We have more examples and activities for you to look at on the Premier Skills English website. Just look for this lesson on the homepage or in the listen section. It’s called: Learning Vocabulary: I don’t believe it.
Jack: In this week’s task, we want you to listen to three things we’ve heard recently and decide whether they are true or false.
Rich: We were talking about flat earthers and the earth being flat. Most people would say this theory has been disproven as the earth is not flat, it's a globe.
Rowan: We want you to listen to three things some people believe. Tell us what you think of them in the comments section. Try to use this week’s vocabulary where you can.
Jack: Number one: A UFO crash-landed in Brazil on Tuesday.
Rich: Number two: We have five senses.
Rowan: Number three: Human beings evolved from apes.
Jack: Write your ideas in the comments section at the bottom of the page on the Premier Skills English website.
Rich: Who’s got this week’s football phrase? I did it last week.
Jack: I’ve got it this week. Here we go. This week’s football phrase is to ** *** ****** ****. This is a phrase we use when one team beats another team twice in the league in the same season - once at home and once away. Liverpool have **** *** ****** **** Tottenham this season.
Rowan: Let’s see who can get it right? Before we leave you we also need to tell you last week’s football phrase. The answer was behind closed doors.
Rich: 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. If you get it right, we’ll announce your name on next week’s show.
Jack: If you have any questions or comments or suggestions for the podcast or anything football or English related, you can leave them on the website in the comments section, on social media, on apple podcasts or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rowan: Bye for now and enjoy your football!
How much did you understand?
Here is the vocabulary you saw at the top of this page and how Rowan, Rich and Jack used it in the roleplay. Do you know the words in bold?
The problem is we’re never sceptical about the mainstream view.
There’s the magic word - gravity. The magic of gravity. Now, I believe gravity exists but ...
I think we're told a lot of truths but possibly not full truths. Maybe half-truths.
I'd never call somebody a liar, but is he mistaken? Absolutely!
You can see things move behind the horizon or in front of the horizon depending on where you look at things from.
Ahh! That’s because the edge of the Earth is in the Antarctic.
Is that not a conspiracy theory? You don’t think it’s just because it’s too cold?
Those videos may look convincing but they are probably made in a Hollywood studio or something.
Listen to the roleplay again to hear how Rich, Rowan and Jack used these words and phrases.
Let’s start by looking at some words and phrases we can use when we believe something. The simplest thing to say is I believe:
I believe the world is a globe.
He believes the world is flat.
In the roleplay, we used some other phrases to do this. Have a look at the following sentences and think about the phrases in bold:
So, you guys truly believe the earth is flat.
They really do believe it!
I was unsure at first but now I'm totally convinced that aliens exist.
I'm absolutely certain that ghosts exist.
I'm positive that there is life on another planet somewhere.
Not believing things
Let’s now look at some words and phrases we can use when we don’t believe something to be true. The simplest thing to say is I don't believe:
I don't believe the world is flat.
He doesn't believe the world is a globe.
In the roleplay, we used some other phrases to do this. Have a look at the following sentences and think about the phrases in bold. Which phrases are used to show stronger feelings and emotions?
The moon landing images are fake? That can't be true!
Government control the weather in Antarctica? I don't believe that for one minute!
Personally, I’m not convinced aliens, ghosts, or fairies exist.
I'm highly sceptical of anything these people say, to be honest.
You can’t stop people believing even if you believe it to be utter nonsense.
The world being flat is probably the most nonsensical suggestion that a thinking human being could possibly make. It's complete drivel!
You’ll have to excuse me but I think much of what you say is a load of codswallop.
In the roleplay, we also used some phrases to give explanations or reasons. Many of these phrases are used to say why we don't believe things. Have a look at the following sentences and think about the phrases in bold:
The evidence suggests that what we've been told is not true.
The laser was straight as an arrow. No curve or bend at all. You can’t deny that kind of evidence.
If there is no evidence or proof then how do we know that something happens or exists.
The flat earth theory was debunked thousands of years ago but some people still believe.
I don't believe it!
In this week’s task, we want you to react to three things and decide whether they are true or false. Rowan, Jack and Rich were talking about flat earthers and the earth being flat in the roleplay. Most people don't believe this. Look at three things some people believe. Tell us what you think of them in the comments section. Try to use this week’s vocabulary where you can.
- A UFO crash-landed in Brazil on Tuesday.
- We have five senses.
- Human beings evolved from apes.
Write all your answers in the comments section below and don't forget to make a guess at this week's football phrase!