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Communication Skills: How things work

Communication Skills: How things work

In this week's Premier Skills English Podcast, Jack explains to Rich how something works. The language focus is on the type of language we use when explaining how things work. We also focus on linking words and vocabulary connected to the internet. Your task is to explain how something from the worlds of science, technology or sport works. Don't forget to listen to the end of the podcast because we have a new football phrase for you to guess, too. Enjoy!

Transcript

If the listening was a bit difficult, you can listen again and read the transcript at the same time.
Read the transcript and listen at the same time.

Welcome - Communication Skills  - Talking about how things work

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 Spotify or 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: In this week’s podcast, we’re going to be talking about the language you need to explain how something works.

Jack: How something works?

Rich: Yes, I’m going to ask you how something works. The question might be something like ‘What’s the offside rule?’, ‘How do you stop a hot air balloon?’, ‘How does gravity work?’ or ‘Why do we see rainbows?’.

Jack: I might have to do a bit of research.

Rich: Yes, you might. And, after this conversation, we will look at some of the language we generally use when we are explaining how things work.

Jack: This language will include sequencing things or putting things in order; words such as firstly and secondly or after that are some simple examples. And we will also look at a common structure that we use when explaining things: the passive.

Rich: We will also have a task for you to do which is when we ask you to use your English. This week we’re going to ask you to tell us how something works.

Jack: It could be a rule connected to sport, a piece of technology or something scientific. It’s up to you really but we’ll explain this a little later.

Rich: And, don’t forget to listen to the end of the podcast because we have another football phrase for you to guess.

Football Phrase 1 

Jack: But, before we look at all that, let’s look at last week’s football phrase. If you didn’t hear it last week we’ll give you one more chance to guess and give you the correct answer at the end of the show when we give you a new football phrase.

Rich: The phrase was ______ _______. This is a phrase that means that a club has lots of players that can not play because they got hurt in training or in a previous match. If a club’s _____ ______ is really bad they may have to play youth players in the first team or might not have enough players for the substitutes bench.

Jack: Well done if you got the right answer last week - it was quite a difficult one. Did you get it right? Congratulations Ngo Hung from Vietnam, Ahmed Adam from Sudan, Liubomyr from Ukraine, Lakerwang and Fred Zhong from China, and Elghoul from Algeria - all of you wrote the correct answer on the Premier Skills English website.

Rich: We’ll tell you the answer to this football phrase and we’ll have this week’s football phrase at the end of the show. 

Introduction to Roleplay

Jack: As we said at the beginning of the show, in this week’s podcast, we are going to talk about how things work. We are going to do a roleplay and we are going to explain how something works.

Rich: Afterwards, we are going to look at some of the language we use but the first thing we want you to do is to answer two questions while you’re listening.

Jack: The questions are: one - What is being explained? And two - Do you think Rich understood?

Rich: Of course I will understand - I always listen and I always understand.

Jack: It’s a bit like the chicken and the egg, isn’t it? 

Rich: Come on - let’s do the roleplay.

Roleplay 

Jack: Where do you get the football results from, Rich?

Rich: I usually go to premierleague.com

Jack: And then what happens?

Rich: I see that Liverpool have won … hopefully.

Jack: That’s what you see but loads of stuff is going on behind that screen to get you those results.

Rich: So, how does it all work then?

Jack: Well, first of all you type in the web address - you are asking for premierleague.com - this is called a request.

Rich: Well, that’s faster than asking on the telephone!

Jack: Premierleague.com receives the request in something called a packet but first it has to go to a few different places.

Rich: Just like in the old days!

Jack: It’s a virtual packet and has all types of data in it including something called an IP address.

Rich: So, it knows where we all live.

Jack: Yes, kind of. After you have typed in the web address the packet is then sent from your computer to something called an internet hub - there is one of these in most countries - it’s like a big sorting office where all requests get sent to their destinations.

Rich: And my request?

Jack: The IP address is checked and then sent to another hub in the UK because the address is connected to the UK. It is sent through fibre-optic cables.

Rich: Not on a train with normal packets.

Jack: No trains, RIch. Once it’s in the UK the request is then sent to the server which is connected to the website you want to look at - premierleague.com

Rich: Job done.

Jack: Not quite. The website has your request but it now has to send you the information. Premierleague.com is a big website with lots of images and videos. All of this gets broken up into tiny little packets.

Rich: That doesn’t sound very good.

Jack: It is. It means the website gets to you much faster. All the packets go back through fibre optic cables or more traditional wiring until they are all put back together on your computer.

Rich: That sounds like it will take ages.

Jack: Yeah, er .. I think it takes about one second!

Roleplay Questions 

Jack: Before we take a look at the language we used in the roleplay, let’s give you the answers to those two questions we gave you.

Rich: The first question was: What is being explained? Well, the answer, and I’m sure you got it was … the internet.

Jack: And the second questions was: Do you think Rich understood? I’m not so sure … did you RIch?

Rich: Of course, I did. I’m a real techy me. Totally tech savvy!

Jack: Sure you are. Right. Let’s look at some of the language we used in the roleplay.

Language Focus

Jack: The main language focus we are going to look at are words we use to link things together. 

Rich: These words are called linkers. There are many types of linkers.

Jack: When we are explaining how something works we usually use linkers to show the sequence or order of events. We used quite a few of them in the roleplay.

Rich: One thing I noticed was how we link different steps together. To begin you said: ‘First of all you type in the web address’ but you can also say things like ‘the first thing you do is’, ‘firstly’ or ‘to start with’.

Jack: To link different steps together we use linking words like: ‘next’, ‘then’, ‘after this’. We might say ‘firstly’ at the beginning but we don’t usually say ‘secondly’ or ‘thirdly’ it doesn’t sound very natural. It’s better to say something like ‘then what you do is’ or ‘when you’ve done this’.

Rich: In the roleplay you said: the packet is then sent from your computer to something called an internet hub. Your use of then is telling me that this is the next step in the process. It sounds very natural.

Jack: Yes, these linking words don’t always have to go right at the beginning of a sentence.

Rich:  The other thing I noticed is that we often use the passive when we are talking about how something works. 

Jack: Some examples you heard in the roleplay were ‘the IP address is checked’ and ‘the data is sent through fibre optic cables’.

Rich: We use the passive because we want to focus attention on the process of how the internet works. In these examples, it’s not important who checks the IP addresses or who sends the data through the cables.

Jack: If you want to look at this type of language in more detail we have lots more examples, the transcript and activities on the Premier Skills English Podcast page on the website.

Task

Jack: This week’s task is to tell us how something works.

Rich: In the roleplay, we spoke about how the internet works and we would like you to do something similar.

Jack: You could use one of the ideas we gave at the beginning of the podcast: ‘What’s the offside rule?’, ‘How do you stop a hot air balloon?’, ‘How does gravity work?’ or ‘Why do we see rainbows?’

Rich: Or it could be something entirely different it’s up to you. Some possible areas to think about could be technology, science, or sport.

Jack: We want you to tell us how this object, rule or process works. When you are giving your answer try to use the passive and linkers that are used for putting things in order.

Rich: OK, so that’s your task this week. Write your answers in the comments section at the bottom of the page on the Premier Skills English website or in the review section on Apple Podcasts.

This week’s football phrase:

Jack: The final section this week is this week’s football phrase. 

Rich: The football phrase is just a word this time and the word is ********. In football, the word is used to describe a team that is unlikely to win because the team they are playing are stronger, better or are in much better form. We often use the term ******* when we are describing a team that are in a low position playing a team who are in a high position. 

Jack: Manchester United were massive ********* against PSG but they beat them in the Champions League!

Rich: Good example. Let’s see who can get it right! If you know the answer, write your answer in the comments section at the bottom of the page. We will announce your name in next week’s podcast if you get it right.

Jack: We also need to give you the answer to the football phrase we set at the beginning of the show. The answer as many of you know already was injury crisis.

Rich: Right, that’s all we have time for this week. Bye for now and enjoy your football!

Vocabulary

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?

Where do you get the football results from, Rich?

Just like in the old days!

What’s the offside rule?

I’m a real techy me. Totally tech savvy!

There were a few more tricky words and phrases 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. This can really help your understanding.

Activity 1

Activity 1: In this activity, try to match the words and phrases to their definitions. All of the words were in this week's podcast.
Can you match the words to the definitions?

Can you explain why rainbows appear in the sky?

Language

Explaining things: Linkers

In this week's podcast, Jack was explaining to Rich how the internet works. When he was speaking about the process, he used quite a few linking words or linkers. Linkers have many uses and one use is to help us put things in order or sequence. This can be very useful when we are explaining processes and how things work. Here are some of the linkers that you heard in the roleplay:

Well, first of all you type in the web address.

After you have typed in the web address the packet is then sent from your computer to something called an internet hub.

The IP address is checked and after that sent to another hub in the UK.

All the packets go back through fibre optic cables or more traditional wiring and finally they are all put back together on your computer.

There are lots of other linking words that you can use. Take a look at the table below and try to use some of the linking words in the task at the end of this lesson.

Linkers to use at the beginning Linkers to use to signal the next step Linkers to use at the end
first of all the next thing to do is lastly
firstly after (that) finally 
to start with afterwards in the end
the first thing to do is then the last thing to do is

Explaining things: The Passive

When Jack was explaining how the internet worked you heard a few examples of the passive. Here are a couple of examples:

After you have typed in the web address the packet is then sent

The IP address is checked and after that sent to another hub in the UK.

We use the passive because we want to focus attention on the process of how the internet works. In these examples, it’s not important who checks the IP addresses or who sends the data through the cables.

Can you explain the offside rule?

Vocabulary

Words and phrases connected to the internet

In the podcast, we used lots of words and phrases connected to the internet. Have a look at the sentences in bold. Do you understand all of them?

First of all, you type in the web address.

 It’s a virtual packet and has all types of data in it including something called an IP address.

 The data is sent through fibre-optic cables.

The request is then sent to the server which hosts the website you want to look at.

In the activity below, put 10 words that are connected to the internet in the correct place in the dialogue.

Activity 2

Rich checks the football results on premierleague.com

Quiz

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Manchester United are in the middle of an i _ _ _ _ _  c _ _ _ _ _ and they were massive u _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ against PSG but they came out on top!

Task

Explaining how something works

This week’s task is to tell us how something works. This could be a process or an object. Think of something that you would like to explain from these three areas: 

Technology: How do you edit a photograph? How do you change a lightbulb?  

Transport: How do you stop a hot air balloon? How to change a car tyre? 

Sport: What’s the offside rule? How does the FIFA ranking system work? How do you play cricket?

Science: How does gravity work? Why do we see rainbows? How does sea water become fresh water?

Use the language in this week's podcast to help you. Write your answers in the comments section below and don't forget to make a guess at our football phrase.

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Comments

vanmanh's picture
vanmanh
18/03/2019
VN
123
points

To change a lightbuld, Before, we need to turn off the power Then we use another lightbuld to replace.


vanmanh's picture
vanmanh
18/03/2019 16:22
Vietnam
Liverpool
123

To change a lightbuld, Before, we need to turn off the power Then we use another lightbuld to replace.

Shehab A. Morsi's picture
Shehab A. Morsi
17/03/2019
EG
13
points

The football phrase is " ********".


Shehab A. Morsi's picture
Shehab A. Morsi
17/03/2019 20:52
Egypt
Liverpool
13

The football phrase is " ********".

tavoalejo's picture
tavoalejo
15/03/2019
CO
1
points

Football phrase is *********. :)


tavoalejo's picture
tavoalejo
15/03/2019 04:26
Colombia
Tottenham Hotspur
1

Football phrase is *********. :)

Rafael Robson's picture
Rafael Robson
13/03/2019
BR
339
points

How does gravity work? This is a question firstly solved by Sir Isaac Newton. Firstly, he taught us that two bodies interact with each other through a gravitational force, which is proportional to their masses. Then, massive objects like planets exert a considerable force on bodies near their surfaces. Regardless of its mass, the body is pulled into the center of the planet with a acceleration g (in Earth, g~9.8 m/s^2). Finally, the more massive the planet, the greater the gravitational acceleration. This explains why walking on Moon is so different for the astronauts. And the same principles govern the movement of our solar system.
By completeness, a hundred year ago Einstein also taught us with his general relativity that gravity is a effect of the curvature of the spacetime. But Newtonian mechanics is already enough to understand how does gravity work on Earth.


Rafael Robson's picture
Rafael Robson
13/03/2019 02:13
Brazil
Tottenham Hotspur
339

How does gravity work? This is a question firstly solved by Sir Isaac Newton. Firstly, he taught us that two bodies interact with each other through a gravitational force, which is proportional to their masses. Then, massive objects like planets exert a considerable force on bodies near their surfaces. Regardless of its mass, the body is pulled into the center of the planet with a acceleration g (in Earth, g~9.8 m/s^2). Finally, the more massive the planet, the greater the gravitational acceleration. This explains why walking on Moon is so different for the astronauts. And the same principles govern the movement of our solar system.
By completeness, a hundred year ago Einstein also taught us with his general relativity that gravity is a effect of the curvature of the spacetime. But Newtonian mechanics is already enough to understand how does gravity work on Earth.

lakerwang
12/03/2019
CN
283
points

A rainbow is a spectrum of sunlight appearing in the sky. First, when sunlight enters a droplet of water, it is refracted at the surface of the droplet. Then this light refracted meets the the back of the droplet and some of it is reflected off the back. In the end, the light reflected inside reaches the surface again, and some of it is refracted as it leaves the droplet. The sunlight eventually disperses into a seven-coloursed arc which is seen by us as a rainbow.

The football phrase is "********", which I think has been given away by Jack.


lakerwang
12/03/2019 16:33
China
Chelsea
283

A rainbow is a spectrum of sunlight appearing in the sky. First, when sunlight enters a droplet of water, it is refracted at the surface of the droplet. Then this light refracted meets the the back of the droplet and some of it is reflected off the back. In the end, the light reflected inside reaches the surface again, and some of it is refracted as it leaves the droplet. The sunlight eventually disperses into a seven-coloursed arc which is seen by us as a rainbow.

The football phrase is "********", which I think has been given away by Jack.

admin's picture
admin
12/03/2019
GB
334
points

Oops - sorry everyone.


admin's picture
admin
12/03/2019 17:29
United Kingdom
Arsenal
334

Oops - sorry everyone.

naturibe
12/03/2019
CO
18
points

Football phrase is *********


naturibe
12/03/2019 12:57
Colombia
Manchester United
18

Football phrase is *********

elghoul's picture
elghoul
12/03/2019
DZ
3242
points

The offside rule was set to deny players from scoring when they are in front of last defender as they receive the ball from their team-mates. The first version fixed the right moment for the referee to considere which is when the ball arrives to the player himself. Then the nowadays applied version fixes the right time at the exact moment the player who passes the ball to the scorer hits the ball. Finally we can add that the VAR technology helps the referee to review the sequences before making decisions in some competitions like the Champions League.


elghoul's picture
elghoul
12/03/2019 12:02
Algeria
Manchester City
3242

The offside rule was set to deny players from scoring when they are in front of last defender as they receive the ball from their team-mates. The first version fixed the right moment for the referee to considere which is when the ball arrives to the player himself. Then the nowadays applied version fixes the right time at the exact moment the player who passes the ball to the scorer hits the ball. Finally we can add that the VAR technology helps the referee to review the sequences before making decisions in some competitions like the Champions League.

elghoul's picture
elghoul
12/03/2019
DZ
3242
points

The football phrase is ******** like it was said in the podcast.


elghoul's picture
elghoul
12/03/2019 11:43
Algeria
Manchester City
3242

The football phrase is ******** like it was said in the podcast.

Ahmed Adam Mamado's picture
Ahmed Adam Mamado
12/03/2019
SD
2868
points

Football phrase is '********'


Ahmed Adam Mamado's picture
Ahmed Adam Mamado
12/03/2019 07:39
Sudan
Liverpool
2868

Football phrase is '********'

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
11/03/2019
UA
2952
points

Manchester United were massive UNDERDOGS  against PSG but they beat them in the Champions League!


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
11/03/2019 21:13
Ukraine
Liverpool
2952

Manchester United were massive UNDERDOGS  against PSG but they beat them in the Champions League!

DanielAgger
11/03/2019
CO
6
points

*********


DanielAgger
11/03/2019 17:07
Colombia
Liverpool
6

*********

Liubomyr's picture
Liubomyr
11/03/2019
UA
3570
points

It seems that the football world has not been bleeped at 11.12 of the audio version of the podcast


Liubomyr's picture
Liubomyr
11/03/2019 16:15
Ukraine
Watford
3570

It seems that the football world has not been bleeped at 11.12 of the audio version of the podcast

milos
11/03/2019
RS
2327
points

I think that football phrase for this week is ********.


milos
11/03/2019 05:44
Serbia
Manchester United
2327

I think that football phrase for this week is ********.

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
10/03/2019
UA
2952
points

The football phrase is UNDERDOGS.


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
10/03/2019 18:10
Ukraine
Liverpool
2952

The football phrase is UNDERDOGS.

ldzingirai's picture
ldzingirai
10/03/2019
ZW
1439
points

An ******** is a team which is unlikely to win such as when Southampton plays against Tottenham FC.


ldzingirai's picture
ldzingirai
10/03/2019 13:24
Zimbabwe
Chelsea
1439

An ******** is a team which is unlikely to win such as when Southampton plays against Tottenham FC.

Leaderboard

Top Scorers
RankNameScore
1kwesimanifest4731
2assemjuve3705
3Liubomyr3570
4aragorn19863557
5elghoul3242
6haydi3189
7Alex_from_Ukraine2952
8Ahmed Adam Mamado2868
9wsanta2804
10Buchiy2505
Country ranking
RankNameScore
1Colombia66422
2Ukraine27958
3Serbia26594
4Albania20439
5Spain19369
6Macedonia19058
7Bosnia and Herzegovina16248
8Armenia13611
9Vietnam13149
10Kosovo13125
Club ranking
RankNameScore
1Manchester United120100
2Liverpool77714
3Chelsea69568
4Arsenal67521
5Manchester City38104
6Leicester City10890
7Tottenham Hotspur8225
8Newcastle United7241
9West Ham United4599
10Watford4226

Level

3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Goals

Skills: Listening

Language: Vocabulary connected to the internet

Language: Sequencing ideas

Task: Explain a process or how something works