Podcast 53 - I'm confused
In this week’s Premier Skills English podcast, Rich and Jack talk about the three new teams that will be in the Premier League season. They also discuss different cities in the UK and how to locate them on a map, and the difference between a town and a city. The language focus is on phrases that you can use to talk about maps and location and also phrases we use when something is unclear or confusing.
How much did you understand?
In the podcast, Rich and Jack used some vocabulary that might be new for you. Try the activity below to see how much you understand:
Burnley is a town, not a city, What's the difference?
Language - Locations
North or South
When you talk about the location of a town or city, you can start with the country. In England, we talk about the north, the south, the east and the west. You can be more specific and talk about the north-east or north-west, south-east or south-west.
e.g. Newcastle is in the north-east of England.
You can also use north, south, east and west as adjectives.
e.g. Sunderland is north of Hull.
If you want to compare two places, you should use further or farther instead of more, i.e. you have to say that a place is further north.
e.g. Newcastle is further north than Manchester.
Sometimes, people use capital letters when they write these regions. The rules are not very clear. In general, you should only use a capital letter if the word refers to a definite political or geographical region. E.g. the West Highlands, the North Yorkshire Moor.
Differences between British and American English: In British English, we put a space in north east or north-east. In American English, they say 'the northeast'.
On the coast / river
We use the preposition on to describe the location of a place with a river or the sea. London is on the river Thames.
e.g. It’s on the river Humber.
Next to / near
It can sometimes be useful to use other places or landmarks to describe a location. You can say that a place is next to another town or city or that a place is near another landmark.
e.g. It is next to Blackburn.
e.g. It is near Manchester.
Look at the map of the UK.
Can you match the locations with the descriptions in the activity below?
The whole town seemed to be on the pitch when Middlesbrough won promotion. Can you spot the player?
In the podcast, Rich and I talked about some confusing topics and used different phrases to express confusion.
There are lots of ways to say that you are confused about something, but one of the most common in spoken English is to say that you don’t get something. So you can say:
I don’t get the offside rule.
I don’t get why England’s international squad doesn’t do better.
A nice way to really emphasize that you don’t understand is to use the phrase what I don’t get is ... so:
What I don’t get is why Jamie Vardy wasn’t spotted when he was younger.
Hull City won promotion via the play-offs. Do you know where Hull is on a map?
Rich: Hello my name’s Rich and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast.
Jack: Hi everyone. I’m Jack and every week we talk about football and help you with your English.
Rich: Remember, this week’s podcast is also part of Week 4 of our new course: Leicester City: Champions of England. You can register for week four of the course on this page; following the link on the side or at the bottom of the page if you’re on a mobile.
Jack: This is the final week of our first free course on Premier Skills English, but don’t worry if you missed the course because you can complete it at any time you want.
Rich: Right, in this week’s Premier Skills English podcast we’re talking about the teams that have been promoted to the Premier League. Where are the clubs from? What do we know about these places? The language focus is on describing places and phrases to show that you’re confused or don’t understand.
Jack: But before we start with that, let’s look at what you’ve been talking about on the website.
Rich: We had a new football phrase for you to guess last week. I think it was quite difficult because only Kwesimanifest from Ghana managed to guess correctly last week. The answer was white elephant. A white elephant is a possession that is usually very expensive but not used very much and often seen as useless.
Jack: Buildings are often described as white elephants; especially buildings that are built for sports events like the World Cup or Olympics if they’re not used afterwards.
Rich: A white elephant is an example of an idiom, which you probably know from last week’s podcast is a phrase that has a meaning that is difficult to understand from the words on their own.
Jack: Last week, we also asked you to tell us some idioms that you know.
Rich: Kwesimanifest used the idiom ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ to describe the Leicester team. This idiom means that you shouldn’t judge something’s value or worth from what you see on the outside alone.
Jack: Yes, many experts saw these Leicester players and didn’t see a great team.
Rich: There are lots more idioms for you to guess thanks to Haydi from Tunisia. She’s posted 15 different idioms in the comments section and has set all of you a challenge.
Jack: She’s put the idioms and a little description of a situation and wants you to say what they mean in the comments section.
Rich: So, have a look for her comment in last week’s podcast and see if you know any of them. If you do, write your answer in the comments section underneath Haydi’s comment. We’ve put a link in the transcript to her comment.
Jack: What’s been happening in the Premier League this week, Rich?
Rich: Of course, it’s the close season in the Premier League…
Jack: Close season is a pretty difficult expression. But if you think about it I suppose it’s not that difficult. It’s the part of the year when no football is played. So, we have the season or the regular season and we have the close season, I think it’s also called the off season sometimes . We also have pre season; this is the time of year when players are back in training but they haven’t started playing matches or the regular season, yet.
Rich: Yeah so we are in the close season now, I think it’s called the off season in America. You know there is quite a few words that are different in the UK and the US. The seasons for example; we have winter, spring, summer and autumn and in the states they have winter, spring, summer and fall.
Jack: And of course, there’s football. In America, it’s a completely different sport, we call it American football, and Americans call football soccer. I think these differences might be a good topic to look at in a future podcast. So, there’s no Premier League news?
Rich: Yes, there is. I suppose the biggest news is that Jose Mourinho is the new manager of Manchester Utd.
Jack: That’s very exciting. Guardiola at City and Mourinho at Utd. Wow!
Rich: I know. With Klopp at Liverpool and Conte at Chelsea I think the Premier League will have the best coaches in football.
Jack: In other news, we also now know which teams will be taking part in next season’s Premier League.
Rich: Yes, that’s right. Hull City won promotion in the play off final at Wembley stadium. They beat Sheffield Wednesday in front of over 70,000 fans.
Jack: Some people call it the world’s biggest match or even the biggest prize in world football.
Rich: I’ve heard that getting promoted to the Premier League is worth £170 million pounds! It’s definitely a match worth winning!
Jack: Right, so Hull City will join Burnley and Middlesbrough in next season’s Premier League and in this week’s podcast we’re going to find out a bit more about these three teams and places.
Rich: So we have Hull, Middlesbrough, and Burnley. Do you think you could place these places on a map, Jack.
Jack: Place these places? That’s a bit confusing. My geography isn’t perfect, but I think I could, yes. Hull is on the east coast of England, Middlesbrough is in the North East and Burnley is in Lancashire in the North West.
Rich: That’s very good but I think we need to be a bit more specific. I would say that Hull is near the east coast of England but is actually about 20 miles inland. Lots of people think it’s on the coast, next to the sea, because Hull was very famous for its port and things connected to the sea like fishing and shipbuilding.
Jack: Hull is on the River Humber and there is a big bridge there. It’s called the Humber Bridge and it was the world’s longest suspension bridge when it opened.
Rich: It was very expensive to build and became infamous as a white elephant because not many people used it. Hull was on one side of the bridge but there wasn’t another town or city on the other side.
Jack: I wonder why they built it? I don’t get it. OK, what about Middlesborough? You’re not looking at a map, are you?
Rich: No, no, I’m not looking at a map. You’re right that it’s in the North East. Middlesbrough is on the coast, or very close to it. Middlesbrough is also built on a river; the River Tees. It’s further north than Hull. You’d need to drive for about two hours to get there from Hull, so a match between Hull and Middlesbrough is not a local derby.
Jack: Middlesbrough’s local derby matches are against Sunderland and Newcastle, which are both further north. The match between Middlesbrough and Sunderland is called the Tees-Wear Derby and the one involving Newcastle is called the Tyne-Tees Derby.
Rich: All named after the rivers that the cities are built on. Well, Middlesbrough isn’t a city, it’s a town but yes.
Jack: Burnley isn’t a city either. It’s also a town. I’ve always been interested in this distinction between what is a city and what is a town. I’ve never really got it. I used to think it was about the size of population but the title of city is something that is given by the monarch - that is the queen or in the past, the king, in the UK, of course.
Rich: Traditionally, a place needed to have a cathedral to become a city but that’s not the case these days. There are some cities without a cathedral and Hull is one of them.
Jack: That’s strange because its full name is Kingston Upon Hull. The first word means King’s Town. I wonder why the King named Hull a city but they never built a cathedral? And why is it still called King’s Town?
Rich: And Burnley’s local rivals Blackburn is one of the few places in the UK that have a cathedral but isn't a city. It’s a town like Burnley.
Jack: I tell you what I don’t get. I don’t understand that St.David’s in south west Wales is a city but it has a population of less than 2,000 people. In my mind I would describe it as a village.
Rich: St.David’s is the smallest city in the UK but I’m probably going to blow everybody’s mind here. The smallest city in England is the City of London!
Jack: What?! You’ve got to be joking?
Rich: No, I’m not joking. The City of London has a population of just over 7,000 people.
Jack: Now I am confused. This is doing my head in. Can you explain?
Rich: Well, the City of London is a very small area within London where the Romans settled over 2000 years ago and this area didn’t change much for a thousand years. The City of London is now where most of the financial and banking area of London is. It is often just called The City.
Jack: So the City of London is a city in London. Ah ... I get it now. Hang on. The City of London is sometimes just called The City! Nope ... I don’t get it.
Rich: Burnley isn’t a city either. It’s a town like Middlesbrough. Burnley is in the North West. There are lots of clubs in the region. As well as the Manchester and the Liverpool clubs, there are Burnley’s main rival Blackburn Rovers, who won the Premier League in 1996, and Wigan Athletic who won the FA Cup a few years ago.
Jack: In fact, it’s the town or city with the smallest population to ever reach the Premier League - only 73,000 people live in Burnley and Burnley’s stadium has a capacity of 21,000.
Rich: The shopping centre is probably quiet on match days!
Jack: Yes, I imagine that there’s hardly anybody in the rest of the town. Right, in this section we’ve been talking about the difference between a town and a city in the UK. The differences between the two things are very confusing and sometimes unclear.
Rich: And we’ve also been speaking about the location of a city and where to find it on the map.
Jack: This brings us to this week’s questions. Question one: Rich and I described the location of some cities in the UK earlier. Can you describe where a city is? You can describe a city in your country or maybe choose a Premier League team and find out where it is using Google maps and let us know!
Rich: We’d like you to think about things in the world of football and outside the world of football that you find confusing and/or unclear. Can you try to use some of the phrases that you can see in the language section below or take a look at the transcript and look for the phrases in bold.
Jack: Question two: Which football rules don’t you get and find unclear or confusing and why? Deliberate handball? The offside rule; there are lots to choose from!
Rich: Question three: There are many things that are confusing and unclear. Language is often unclear. I said earlier ‘place the places on the map’. Things in society are another; the difference between a city and a town is very unclear and confusing in the UK. Can you think of something else that confuses you and the people around you?
Jack: And remember, if you want us to correct your comments just write ‘correct me’ at the beginning of your message.
Rich: Right, do you have a new football phrase for our listeners to guess, Jack?
Jack: This week’s football phrase is one of my favourites on the football pitch. If a player gets it right, it can really confuse the defender and make him look a bit silly. The phrase is to ****** or a ****** so it can be a noun or a verb. If you are a regular listener to our podcast you might remember we did a lesson on the history of this word a couple of months ago. This noun or verb means to kick the ball between another player’s legs. To give you another clue it is also a spice that comes from Indonesia and is used in cooking, especially cakes.
Rich: I like it. It’s great to see players when they’re totally disorientated by a ******. They’re like ‘where’s the ball gone?’ ‘where’s the player gone?’ Totally confused!
Jack: Right, anyway that’s it for today - we’ve run out of time! Thanks for listening. And don’t forget to write your answers to our questions, your predictions and anything you want to say about the website or football English in the comments below.
Rich: Don’t forget if you sign in, you can score points to see if you can get your club, your country and your name to the top of our leaderboard.
Jack: Bye for now and enjoy your football!
What do you think?
In this week’s podcast, we spoke about the location of a city and where to find it on the map. We also spoke about things in the world of football and outside the world of football that you find confusing and/or unclear.
Rich and Jack described the location of some cities in the UK earlier. Can you describe where a city is? You can describe a city in your country or maybe choose a Premier League team and find out where it is using Google maps and let us know!
Which football rules do you find unclear or confusing and why? Deliberate handball? The offside rule; there are lots to choose from!
There are many things that are confusing and unclear. Language is often unclear. Rich said; ‘place the places on the map’. Things in society are also often unclear; the difference between a city and a town is very unclear and confusing. Can you think of something else that confuses you and/or the people around you?