Learning Vocabulary: Nicknames & Mascots
Jack: Hello my name’s Jack
Rich: and I’m Rich and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast
Jack: Where we talk about football and help you with your English.
Rich: We recommend that you listen to this podcast on the Premier Skills English website because that is where we have the transcript, language examples, activities, quizzes and a discussion page to help you understand everything we talk about.
Jack: However, if you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, you can leave answers to our questions in the review section. We do read all the reviews and would love to hear from you.
Rich: We are also looking for more people to interview in our podcasts.
Rich: Don’t forget that we have our football English podcast called This Week that you can listen to at the start of every week. This week’s episode is about the New Year matches in the Premier League and the FA Cup.
Jack: Some of the football words and phrases we look at include to taste defeat, a hangover and a cupset.
Rich: It’s on the Premier Skills English homepage, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and lots of other places right now!
Jack: In last week’s podcast, we spoke about New Year’s resolutions. I shared three of my New Year’s resolutions and many of you shared your New Year’s resolutions in the comments section on the Premier Skills English website.
Rich: My favourite was Hubertoo from Poland. One of his New Year’s resolutions is to guess every football phrase on the Premier Skills English website.
Jack: That’s a great resolution but my favourite was wsanta from Argentina. His New Year’s resolution is to sleep more!
Rich: Come on! That’s just lazy! If you want to go back and complete our lesson on New Year’s resolutions, tell us your New Year’s resolutions and join in the discussion, where will people find the lesson, Jack?
Jack: You need to go to the Premier Skills English website, click skills, click listen and click podcasts. You will see it there along with over 200 other podcasts. It’s called Understanding Grammar: New Year’s resolutions.
Rich: In this week’s podcast, we’re going to talk about football club nicknames and mascots.
Jack: What? Like Arsenal’s nickname is the Gunners, Norwich’s nickname is the Canaries and Manchester United are called the Red Devils.
Rich: Yes, but you might not know that Arsenal’s mascot is a dinosaur called Gunnersaurus, Norwich’s mascot is called Captain Canary and Manchester United’s mascot is called Fred the Red.
Jack: In this week’s roleplay, we’re going to be talking about a new mascot and nickname for the football club in my town.
Rich: And after the roleplay, we’ll look at some vocabulary connected to giving reasons and making your point.
Jack: Before all that though, we need to look at last week’s football phrase.
Last week’s Football Phrase
Rich: If you didn’t hear our football phrase last week we’re going to give you one more chance to guess now. We’ll give you the correct answer at the end of the show when we give you a new football phrase.
Jack: Well done if you got it right last week and congratulations to those of you who wrote the correct answer on the Premier Skills English website.
Rich: Liubomyr from Ukraine was the first to get the phrase right last week. Well done, Liubomyr. And well done to Ahmed Adam from Sudan, Milos from Serbia, Fred Zhong and Lakerwang from China, Idzingirai from Zimbabwe, Elghoul from Algeria and finally Hubertoo from Poland who also got the right answer.
Jack: Remember you can also write your answers in the review section on Apple Podcasts if that’s where you listen to us.
Rich: Let’s hear last week’s phrase one more time. Do you know what the phrase is?
Jack: The football phrase was the ******* ******* ******. The New Year is a busy time for football clubs because on the first day of the year the ******* ******** ****** opens. This gives a chance to clubs to buy and sell players. They have to be quick though because the ******* ******** ****** is only open for a month.
Rich: We’ll give you the answer at the end of the show and we’ll have a new football phrase for you to guess.
Introduction to Roleplay
Jack: In this week’s roleplay, you are going to hear us talking about a new nickname and a new mascot for my local football team.
Rich: While you are listening, we want you to answer two questions.
Jack: Question number one: What do I think the new nickname and mascot for the football club should be?
Rich: Question number two: What do I think the new nickname and mascot for the football club should be?
Rich: So I hear your two local football teams are merging.
Jack: Yes, the Ludlow Colts and Ludlow Athletic will be no more. They are joining forces to become one big super club.
Rich: I imagine Manchester United and Liverpool are quaking in their boots because of this new super club!
Jack: Well, some of the other teams in the West Midlands Regional Football League might be a bit worried because we’ll be a much bigger team.
Rich: Right. But what are they going to be called? They can’t be called the Colts and they can’t be called Athletic anymore.
Jack: That’s true. That’s why the Ludlow Express - our local newspaper - is running a competition to choose a new nickname and mascot for the club.
Rich: What a great idea! The colts - that’s a young horse, right? I’ve never liked that nickname and Athletic is really boring probably because loads of teams have that name. It doesn’t really stand for anything.
Jack: The winning idea will be on the club’s badge so it’s got to be good. And er … I’m not really sure I should tell you this but I’ve been asked by the club to dress up as the mascot on the opening day of the season.
Rich: Really? Really? Are they paying you?
Jack: No, but I’ll be collecting money for charity.
Rich: That’s hilarious … let me think seriously about this mascot idea.
Jack: Yes, I could really do with some help. I don’t want to be dressed up as something too silly.
Rich: I’m sure that won’t happen! There are some really weird mascots out there you know. Southend United’s mascot is Elvis the Eel. How can an eel be a mascot? It hasn’t got any legs! Can it kick a ball? It’d probably scare the kids! Does it sing?
Jack: No idea but Southend don’t have a great record on mascots. Elvis the Eel replaced Sammy the Shrimp!
Rich: You’re joking!
Jack: No, I’m not. Anyway, Ludlow is nowhere near the sea so no fish or random sea creatures.
Rich: Right, OK so we need a mascot that can kick a ball. What about a lion or a leopard. The Ludlow Lions or the Ludlow Leopards sounds good. It symbolises strength and you want the team to be strong.
Jack: Yeah, but there’s not much connection with the local community or countryside there. Not many lions or leopards in Ludlow.
Rich: OK, something that represents the local community. What about the Ludlow Ladybirds?
Jack: I don’t think so. Let’s get away from this ‘l’ thing. The nickname and town don’t have to begin with the same letter.
Rich: OK, great. What about the Ludlow bulls? Lots of cows around here.
Jack: Well, that would work, cows could symbolise the farming community, except you’d probably need two people in the costume and who’d want to be the back part of a bull or cow on matchday?
Rich: True. You wouldn’t be able to watch the match.
Jack: And just down the road there’s the Hereford Bulls.
Rich: Hmmm. They wouldn’t be happy.
Jack: Do you want to hear my idea?
Rich: Go on then.
Jack: We’d be called the Ludlow Badgers and the mascot would be Brian the Badger.
Rich: Badgers? Go on.
Jack: Well, there are lots of badgers that live in this part of England. So it would be representing us. They’re strong but also cute with their black and white striped noses.
Rich: I like it. It’s a bit like the Wolves or the Foxes. I could see the Badgers in the Premier League.
Jack: And the team could play in black and white stripes.
Rich: Yes, like badgers. But the mascot - Brian the badger. Brian? Why do you want to be called Brian?
Jack: You don’t like it? It’s only going to be me for one match you know!
Rich: I like the ‘b’ thing but maybe another name. What about Becks or Bobby or Benji?
Jack: Benji Badger ... Maybe. So, have you come up with an idea then?
Rich: Yep, my idea is your team will be known as the Ludlow Chickens and the mascot, you, will be Charlie Chicken.
Jack: Are you serious?
Rich: Yeah, I can imagine it now. You running up and down the touchline clucking, I mean cheering and shouting come on you chickens! I’m going to write to the newspaper now.
Jack: Did you get the answers to our questions about the roleplay?
Rich: We asked you for the nicknames and mascots we chose for Jack’s local football team.
Jack: My choice of nickname was the Ludlow Badgers and my mascot will be called Brian the Badger.
Rich: My choice of nickname was the Ludlow Chickens and my mascot will be called Jack, sorry, my mascot will be called Charlie Chicken.
Jack: Right, let’s look at some of the language we used in the roleplay.
Rich: Jack was looking for a nickname that represents his local community. Where he lives, there are lots of farms so we spoke about bulls representing the farming community.
Jack: To represent something here means to be a symbol of the community. Choosing a cow or bull or another farm animal as a nickname would represent this community.
Rich: This happens a lot. In the Premier League, Brighton’s nickname is the Seagulls which represents the sea as Brighton is next to the coast or West Ham are called the Irons because it represents the team’s industrial past.
Jack: We could use symbolises in a similar way. The nickname ‘the Irons’ symbolises West Ham’s industrial past.
Rich: I mentioned we could have Ludlow lions as a nickname because it symbolises strength.
Jack: Lots of teams go down this route, too. Chelsea’s nickname is the Lions and Wolverhampton Wanderers are obviously called Wolves.
Rich: This is even more common in American Sports. Think the Chicago Bulls, Dallas Cowboys or the New York Giants.
Jack: We can use a couple of different words to replace represent or symbolise. We can say that the nickname expresses strength or shows a connection between the team and the local community.
Rich: Another useful phrase is to stand for. What do you want a team to stand for, what values do you want something to represent?
Jack: In the roleplay, Rich said that the team name ‘Athletic’ doesn’t stand for anything because the name is so common but maybe the Lions might stand for strength and courage.
Rich: Let’s look at a bit of language we use to give reasons.
Jack: Rich said that my local football club needed to change its name and I replied by saying ‘that’s why the newspaper is running a competition’.
Rich: ‘That’s why’ is a very common way to give a reason for something. Listen to these:
Jack: You’re Spanish is not that good.
Rich: That’s why I go to classes.
Jack: My car broke down that’s why I had to walk.
Jack: It’s raining.
Rich: That’s why I’m taking an umbrella.
Jack: It’s also common to use ‘that’s why’ when you are being a bit sarcastic. A student might ask a teacher why they have to do something and the teacher might reply ‘because I’m the teacher. That’s why’.
Rich: We usually say ‘that’s why’ instead of saying ‘that’s the reason why’ as it’s not usually important to say the full form.
Jack: The most common word to give a reason is probably the word ‘because’ and you can probably use it without any problems but there is one thing that is worth looking at.
Rich: That’s the difference between ‘because’ and ‘because of’. The main difference between the two is the form or the structure. We use the words in a different way but the meaning is often the same.
Jack: Let’s look at an example. Rich said that ‘Manchester United and Liverpool are quaking in their boots because of this new super club! ‘Because of’ is a preposition and needs to be followed by a noun phrase; so Rich said the teams were scared ‘because of this new super club’.
Rich: Then Jack responded by saying ‘because we’ll be a much bigger team’. He used ‘because’ not ‘because of’. Because is a conjunction which links two parts of a sentence together and is followed by the subject and a verb phrase. So, he said ‘because we will be much bigger’.
Jack: So, ‘because’ is followed by a verb phrase and ‘because of’ is usually followed by a noun phrase. Let’s look at some simple examples:
Rich: I’m staying in because it’s raining.
Jack: I’m staying in because of the rain.
Rich: We didn’t win because their goalkeeper was so good.
Jack: We didn’t win because of the goalkeeper’s amazing performance.
Rich: We want to see you using some of this language in this week’s task but don’t forget to look at the explanations and activities on the website page for more useful words and phrases.
Rich: This week’s task is to decide on a nickname and mascot for Jack’s new football team.
Jack: You can choose my idea - the Ludlow Badgers and Brian the Badger.
Rich: Or my idea - the Ludlow Chickens and Charlie the Chicken.
Jack: Or you may want to share your own idea.
Rich: The most important thing is to give reasons why you haven’t chosen one idea or ideas and why you have chosen what you have chosen.
Jack: Write all your ideas for nicknames and mascots at the bottom of the page on the Premier Skills English website.
Rich: And don’t forget to reply to other listeners and say what you think about their ideas.
Rich: OK, it’s time for this week’s football phrase. It’s your turn this week, Jack.
Jack: This week’s football phrase is *****-*******. This phrase is used when a team from a lower division beats a team from a higher division in a cup competition. Last week, Wayne Rooney’s Derby County knocked out Premier League Crystal Palace in the FA Cup. It was a *****-*******. Another good example of a *****-******* is when Bradford City from the third division knocked Chelsea out of the cup in 2015.
Rich: You could probably give everyone a bit more help here.
Jack: OK, well, if you know a famous children’s story about a boy called Jack it will help you guess the answer. Jack climbs a big plant and finds someone who is really big. The big bloke dies in an unfortunate accident.
Rich: That should help. I think. Before we leave you we need to tell you last week’s football phrase. The answer was the January transfer window.
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. If you get it right, we’ll announce your name on next week’s show.
: 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 facebook or twitter, on apple podcasts or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jack: Remember you can also email us if you want to practise your English skills and answer a few questions for a future podcast.
Rich: Bye for now and enjoy your football!