In this week's podcast, Jack talks about the Premier League and speculates about the chances of the top five clubs. The language focus is predictions and certainty and we have our latest riddle in our 'What's my Team?' competition!
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Language - Predictions
"although Liverpool are not in the top five, they could surprise us and win the league...""I'm not certain, but I think City are going to win the league."
Hello my name’s Jack and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast.
Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you all enjoyed the holidays, that is, if you celebrate them and want to wish you all the best for 2016. This week, the podcast is going to sound a little different because Rich is still on holiday. That’s right… I am on my own and recording a podcast solo is a little strange, but I’m going to do my best and hope I don’t let you down.
This week, I’m going to talk about the state of the season and the language of predictions and later, you can listen to another what’s my team riddle for the chance to win a fantastic prize.
But, before I start, I’ve got two winners to announce. Yes… we’ve had two competitions running over Christmas. As well as ‘What’s my team?’, we had a prediction competition on the Christmas in the Premier League page.
Over 40 of you joined in the competition and made predictions about a selection of matches that were played between the 26th of December and 3rd of January.
I didn’t do very well – I got three results. I only scored 3 points. Rich did a little better and scored 5 points. He got three results and one exact score. In joint third place, with 7 points are Fofo2015 from Saudi Arabia and Ana1 from Serbia. In joint second place, with 8 points are Alex_from_Ukraine and Michelterzikhan from Armenia... and in first place with an amazing 10 points is the outstanding Mugemanyi from Rwanda. Congratulations Mugemanyi – I think that Rich should have sent you a message about your prize.
The What’s my team? competition was too easy again this time – so many of you got it right and were able to work out who Debbie supports. And so… the answer to the competition was Everton. As usual, I selected a winner at random from all the correct entries and the winner this time is M S Aboelsafa from Egypt. Congratulations to you! I’ll be in touch today and we’ll have your prize on its way.
We had an interesting question a couple of days ago from a learner from Vietnam. Tonucatien asked about the word spectator. The word spectator is used to describe a person who watches an event – the word is in the football vocabulary section on fans and in that case, it means someone who watches a football match. I like the word because it’s related to the word spectacle which means an exciting or dramatic event that is performed or put on for people to watch and this leads to another related word that I really like: spectacular. This is an adjective and it’s used to say that something is very exciting to look at. For example, an I know that it wasn’t a Premier League goal, but on Sunday, Fulham were playing Sheffield Wednesday and Ross Wallace scored a spectacular goal. There you go – spectacular – to me it’s a very expressive adjective.
So this week, I want to talk about the state of the season; you see, we’re over halfway through and by now, you’d usually have an idea about which team is going to finish on top. Even if you don’t know who is going to win, there are usually only one or two teams that look like they will lift the trophy. However, this year, the league is much closer and it’s really tough to predict. Arsenal are at the top of the table at the moment and have been playing really well. However, they lost 4-0 at Southampton not long ago so nothing is certain. Obviously I hope that they win, but there is so much competition. If they don’t win, then I would like to see 2nd place Leicester City win it. The Foxes have been doing so well this season, but to continue, Vardy and Mahrez will need to stay on form and as the season draws on, the pressure on those two will be enormous.
In third place we have Manchester City. City are seen by many as the most likely to win the league. They have such a strong squad and Aguero has been spectacular.
Then we have Tottenham Hotspur. It would be great to see Spurs lift the trophy. They are always strong and have given the league some of the greatest players and characters, but they haven’t won the Premier League and were last crowned kings of English football in 1961.
Manchester United are in fifth place. The newspapers in England have been full of tales of Manchester United’s troubles, but they are still in the top five and could yet win the league.
At this stage of the season, you would normally expect the winner to be in the top five. Arsenal is the only team that ever managed to win the league after being out of the top five at this stage – that was back in 1998. But as the league is so close, there may be a dark horse lurking in the league, about to surprise us all. What do you think? Do you think it will be one of the top 5? Which team do you think will win the league?
Now, as this is an English podcast as well as a football podcast, let’s have a look at some language. When you’re making predictions, you are expressing your ideas about the future. Now sometimes, you are certain about these ideas. You know for sure, 100% that what you say is going to happen and other times, you are less certain. In English, we use different forms depending on how certain we are. So here are 5 phrases ranked in certainty… starting in 5th, for times when you really aren’t sure, we use the modal verb ‘could’. For me, this expresses a 50% certainty or less. Here’s an example, although Liverpool aren’t in the top 5 , they could surprise us and win the league. It’s unlikely, but it’s possible. In 4th place, we have the modal verbs may and might. Often, these are used in the same way as could, but for me, they express a 50% certainty or slightly more. Manchester United is in 5th place so they might win. They may win more matches than their rivals and lift the trophy… again.
In 3rd place, we’re getting a lot more confident. There are two phrases that we can use to express a 70-80% certainty; these are: “I think they will” and “I think they are going to”. The words “I think” leaves a bit of room for doubt, but not much. So, you might say, “I’m not certain, but I think City are going to win the league.” Or “It would be nice, but I don’t think Spurs will win this season.”
Now, in 2nd place, we’re really quite sure. This phrase is used when we make a prediction based on the evidence. So, I’d say that we are 90-95% certain when we use this phrase. The phrase is ‘going to’. So you might say something like: “Have you seen the way that Vardy and Mahrez are playing this season? Leicester are going to win the league.” Or Manchester City is going to try to buy Vardy and Mahrez.
In first place, the strongest prediction you can make is also the simplest. We use this when we are absolutely sure of something; no need to look at the evidence, it’s clear… 100%. The word we use to express 100% certainty is ‘will’. Despite the wobble at Southampton, there are many Arsenal fans that feel in their hearts that this season is theirs… Arsenal will win the league. Sadly, I am not as confident in the Gunners or my powers of prediction to ever say such a thing, but I live in hope.
Ok – so now, it’s time for our What’s my team riddle. This week, you’re going to listen to Jimmy. So listen and try to work out what’s his team.
Jimmy: We live and breathe football in the North-East. They call us Geordies up here and almost all of us follow the Toon or the Magpies. We’ve had some really famous players over the years, but the most famous must be Alan Shearer. He’s the Premier League’s all-time top scorer and he’s a Geordie, too. The biggest match of the season is the Tyne-Wear Derby where we play Sunderland. It’s a must-win game.
I think that was quite an easy one; great to hear Jimmy’s accent though. If you know who Jimmy supports, leave a comment with his club and you might win a Samsung Galaxy tablet.
Well that’s all for now. Thanks for listening. Rich will be back next week with a Premier League Prediction so be sure to leave any questions or comments for me or Rich and we’ll do our best to answer you in next week’s podcast.
If you’re listening to this on itunes or elsewhere, come back to Premier Skills English for some language activities, a quiz and lots more. You can find us at www.britishcouncil.org/premierskillsenglish
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Bye for now and enjoy your football.