Unit 22: Beyond the planets
Present and past passive
Select a unit
- 1 Nice to meet you!
- 2 What to wear
- 3 Like this, like that
- 4 The daily grind
- 5 Christmas every day
- 6 Great achievers
- 7 The Titanic
- 8 Travel
- 9 The big wedding
- 10 Sunny's job hunt
- 11 The bucket list
- 12 Moving and migration
- 13 Welcome to BBC Broadcasting House
- 14 New Year, New Project
- 15 From Handel to Hendrix
- 16 What's the weather like?
- 17 The Digital Revolution
- 18 A detective story
- 19 A place to live
- 20 The Cult of Celebrity
- 21 Welcome to your new job
- 22 Beyond the planets
- 23 Great expectations!
- 24 Eco-tourism
- 25 Moving house
- 26 It must be love
- 27 Job hunting success... and failure
- 28 Speeding into the future
- 29 Lost arts
- 30 Tales of survival
Do you ever look up at the night sky and wonder about the stars? In Unit 22 you are going to learn about the mysteries of space and space travel. You will also learn to use present and past passives. But how much do you already know about space? Do the quizzes and find out.
Poor Oliver hates the city. There are too many cars zooming around and honking their horns, music blaring in shops, machines buzzing and bleeping… even at night.
These are example of onomatopoeia: words that sound like the thing they describe.
There are lots of onomatopoeic words in English and they are fun to learn. Join Rob and Catherine as they help you understand what Oliver is complaining about.
Listen to the audio
Hi! I'm Rob…
...and I'm Catherine. Hello! Welcome to 6 Minute Vocabulary.
Our subject for today is onomatopoeia. That means, words that sound like the thing they mean. And Catherine and I will be trying to demonstrate some of these words today.
Yes, like that sound most people's phones make when you get a text messages. We call that sound a beep.
That's it Rob, yeah. That's onomatopoeia: the word sounds like the thing it means. Beep!
Beep beep! Yes, have I got a message? Hold on. Right, OK. There are lots of examples of onomatopoeia in the English language, and we'll take a look at some of them on today's show.
So let's start with a clip of Oliver. And he's talking about living in the city.
While you listen, try to answer this question: How does Oliver feel about city life?
It's too noisy for me! All the cars zooming around and honking their horns, music blaring in shops, machines buzzing and bleeping… even at night, it isn't quiet, you can still hear the fridge humming, and the rumble of the traffic outside. Then I wish I was far away from the city, sleeping in a tent, with no sound except the rustle of the wind in the trees.
So that's Oliver. And we asked you how he feels about city life.
And Oliver said it's too noisy for him.
I know how he feels – London: same. Anyway, here's another question: what words did Oliver use to talk about the sounds of the city in the daytime? Listen again.
INSERT 1 CLIP 1
All the cars zooming around and honking their horns, music blaring in shops, machines buzzing and bleeping.
Lots of lovely vocabulary there! Oliver talked about cars zooming around. Zoom, spelt z - o – o – m - is a verb, which means 'to move very quickly, making a zooming sound'.
Then he mentioned the cars honking their horns. A honk – spelt h – o – n – k - is a short, loud sound – like a car horn makes. Honk honk!
OK, next, Oliver talked about music blaring. The verb to blare: that's b – l – a – r – e, means 'to make a loud, unpleasant sound' – like music that's much too loud. Blaring!!!
You got teenage kids Rob?
Not yet, no.
They'll be blaring their music soon enough. OK, and Oliver also mentioned machines bleeping and buzzing. Now a bleep…
That's one b – l – double e – p - is a short, high sound, which electronic devices make. Something like this: Bleep, bleep, bleep. That sounds like a heart monitor.
And a buzz - that's b – u – z – z - is a low, continuing sound, like machines and insects make.
That's it Rob.
Like that, yes?
Well done. Perfect.
Is there a bee in here? Now, the sounds of the city don't stop, even at night. Here's Oliver.
INSERT 1 CLIP 2
… you can still hear the fridge humming, and the rumble of the traffic outside.
So he can hear the fridge humming. The word hum – h – u – m - describes a low, continuous sound. And a hum [HUMMMMMMMM] is different from a buzz [BUZZZZZZZZ]! Can we listen to your hum and your buzz, Rob?
OK, why not? Here we go. [HUMMM] and [BUZZZ].
Is that your fridge and your bee?
That's right, yes, in that order.
Oliver also spoke about the rumble of the traffic out in the street. Now, a rumble – r – u – m – b – l – e - is a bit like a buzz, but there's a difference – a buzz [BUZZZZZZZZZ] continues without changing, but a rumble goes up and down, like the wheels of a truck on rough ground going rumble, rumble, rumble, rumble, rumble.
Rumble. You carry on rumbling.
Finally, Oliver spoke about the sound of the wind in the trees. Listen out for the word he used.
INSERT 1 CLIP 3
Then I wish I was far away from the city, sleeping in a tent, with no sound except the rustle of the wind in the trees.
Rustle describes the sound of the wind, A rustle is a soft, dry, moving sound. It's spelt r – u – s – t – l – e. And in pronunciation, the t is silent, so it's rustle. Rustle, rustle, rustle…
Quite a nice sound really.
You're listening to BBC Learning English.
And our subject today is onomatopoeia – words that sound like the thing they describe. And it's time for a quiz! Question one. Rob, what sound does a car horn make?
Easy, it's a honk! Question two: what sound does a fridge make?
And it's hum. And the last question: what sound does the wind make in the trees?
The correct answer is rustle. And that's the end of today's quiz. Well done to you at home if you got them all right.
And before we go, here's an idea to help you remember new vocabulary: choose one of your favourite songs in your first language, and write some new words for it, in English.
Yes, and then, practise singing your song! It will help you to remember the new words.
There's more about this at bbclearningenglish.com. Join us again for more 6 Minute Vocabulary.
End of Session 1
You've reached the end of Session 1. Coming up in Session 2, we'll study the grammar of passive sentences.
Noun - Example
a honk - I heard a honk, then a car came around the corner.
a buzz - There was a buzz of conversation in the audience
a bleep - That bleep means that my battery is dying.
a hum - There's a problem with my TV. It's making a loud hum.
a rumble - We saw the lightning, then we heard the rumble of thunder in the distance.
a rustle - There was a rustle in the bushes, then the fox appeared.
Verb - Example
to zoom - The motorbike zoomed down the road.
to honk - Don't honk at me! I'm driving safely!
to blare - I can't sleep because of the music blaring next door.
to buzz - There was a mosquito buzzing around the room.
to bleep - My phone bleeps whenever I get a text message.
to hum - I can hear something humming in the kitchen. Did you leave the dishwasher on?
to rumble - The train rumbled down the track.
to rustle - He rustled the pages of the newspaper.