Unit 28: Speeding into the future
The future (predictions)
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
Technology's a good thing, right? It helps us stay in touch with friends and family wherever we are. But do we use it too much? In this session we do a fun quiz about how we use technology, and also learn the vocabulary for the unit.
British and American English
What's the difference between a mobile phone and a cellphone? Not much, except the first term is used by speakers of British English, and the second term is used by speakers of American English. What other differences are there? Listen to 6 Minute Vocabulary.
Listen to the audio
Hello and welcome to 6 Minute Vocabulary. My name is Catherine, and I'm here today with our special guest presenter Doug. Welcome to the show Doug.
Hi Catherine, how are you?
I'm fine thank you. How are you Doug?
Tell us a bit about yourself Doug - you're originally from Canada, right?
Yes, I'm from Vancouver, which is in western Canada, but I moved here a long, long time ago.
But you've still got an American English accent I noticed.
Yes, I haven't lost that.
And that's cool, because this show is all about the differences between British English and American English vocabulary. So, tell me Doug, do Canadians like you speak American English?
I don't think Canadians would say that. Let's say they speak North American English. But it is very similar.
Fantastic. So American English and British English aren't really that different; I'm British and me and Doug can understand each other perfectly - yes?
Yes, usually. No, of course we can. Of course we understand you.
We can. But there are a few vocabulary differences between American and British English that it's very helpful to learn. And today, with Doug's help, we're going to take you through some of them. So, over to you Doug...
OK, thanks Catherine. Let's start with some examples. This is John, from the US, talking about his recent visit to Britain. Here's a question for you while you’re listening: Did John enjoy his visit? Here's John.
I went to Britain for two weeks last fall. Actually, British people don't say fall, they say autumn. In the States we pay the check, but in Britain they pay the bill... we mail a letter, but the British post a letter... we go to a store to buy candy and cookies, but the British go to a shop to buy sweets and biscuits. But I had a great time there.
So, the question was: according to John, did he enjoy his visit?
And the answer is: yes, he did. He said he had a great time. Well done if you got that right at home. Now, let's have a closer look at some of the vocabulary John used. Here's a clip, and another question for you: what's the name of the season after summer?
INSERT 1 CLIP 1
Actually British people don't say fall, they say autumn...
So, in Britain the season after summer is called autumn.
Yes, but in American English it's called fall because the leaves fall.
Next question: when you're in a restaurant, and you've finished the meal, what do you ask for, what do you pay? Listen again:
INSERT 1 CLIP 2
In the States we pay the check, but in Britain they pay the bill...
In America, the word is check. You pay the check at the end of a meal.
You pay the check. But in Britain, we pay the bill.
Here's another difference between British and American English: what do we do when we 'send a letter'? Can you remember the British word, or the American word, or both? Listen again:
INSERT 1 CLIP 3
...we mail a letter, but the British post a letter...
So, in Britain we post a letter, but Doug, North Americans say...?
Mail a letter. OK, now, John said that British people go to a shop to buy sweets and biscuits. Well, where do Americans go, and what do they buy there? Listen one more time:
INSERT 1 CLIP 5
...we go to a store to buy candy and cookies...
The British say shop...
...but the Americans say store...
...the British say sweets...
...but the Americans say candy...
...the British say biscuits...
...and in North America, that's cookies.
6 Minute Vocabulary, from bbclearningenglish.com.
And our topic for today is British and American vocabulary.
Doug - a question for you: A lot of learners of English want to know which one is better - is it British English or American English? What do you think?
To be honest, there's no difference - just use the one you like.
And now it's time for a quiz. Doug is going to say an American English word, and you have to say the British English word with the same meaning.
OK, so, the first American English word is check. What's the British word for check?
And the answer is: bill.
Next word: candy. What do British people say instead of candy?
And the British word for candy is sweets.
Good, and the last American word is mail. What's the British word for mail?
The British word for mail is post. And that's all our questions for today. Before we go, here's a tip to help you with your vocabulary studies.
Yes - people speak English with many different accents: Australian, Indian, Nigerian, Singaporean, West Indian... so, it's a good idea to practice listening to lots of accents, not only British accents or American English! It's easy to find examples of many different accents, just go online!
Top tip Doug, thanks very much and thanks for being with us us today. Well, that's the end of the programme, but there's lots more about this at bbclearningenglish.com. Join us again soon for more 6 Minute Vocabulary.
End of Session 1
That's it for Session 1. Join us again in Session 2 where we look at the future of technology and practise this unit's grammar: talking about the future with will, going to, might and be likely to. See you there!