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English for Life in the UK

English for Life in the UK

By Mark Pattison + Christine, Sheena, John
This podcast is for those people who want to improve their English and at the same time learn more about life in the U.K. It is aimed at intermediate level learners of English and is recorded, using everyday conversational English, by a group of volunteer teachers from a charity, the St Augustine’s Centre, based in Halifax, Yorkshire. We work particularly with Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Migrants and we hope this podcast will help those wanting to settle here and eventually become British Citizens. Transcripts of the episodes are available on our website
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How to learn a language
We discuss our personal experiences of what works in learning a language, some of the research on language acquisition, how many people listen to the podcast and where they live and interviews with 2 of our students.
July 25, 2021
Theatre in the U.K. - Northern Broadsides
We interview the Artistic Director of a national touring theatre company about what they do and how they work. We also talk about theatre in the West End and elsewhere.
July 18, 2021
Regional accents and dialects in the U.K.
We discuss and illustrate a number of the regional variations in how English is spoken in different parts of the U.K. including Yorkshire, Lancashire, Liverpool, Birmingham, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. We hear the story of Wilfred Pickles who was used in World War 2 to confuse the Nazis.
July 8, 2021
Soap Operas in the U.K.
A soap opera is a tv or radio drama. We interview one of the writers and ask her to explain what is a ‘soap’, talk about some of the most popular soaps, give examples of story-lines and discuss whether soaps reflect our society.
June 22, 2021
Britain in the world: the G7 and other international organisations
The G7 is meeting in the U.K. this week. This episode explains the G7 and talks briefly about other international organisations including the United Nations, the Commonwealth and NATO. In Language Support we talk about abbreviations and acronyms.
June 15, 2021
Seeking asylum in the U.K.: part 2 local support, the work of the St Augustine’s Centre.
The history and work of our independent charity which specialises in support for asylum seekers and refugees. We hear the voices of some of our asylum seekers and refugees.
June 1, 2021
Seeking asylum in the U.K. - part 1, the asylum process and experiences
The right to asylum. How the process I supposed to work. Some of the challenges. The voices of experience from asylum seekers and refugees.
May 27, 2021
Elections in the U.K.
In May 2021 there were local and mayoral elections in England, national elections in Scotland and Wales. We interview one of the local candidates to find out what it was like.
May 18, 2021
Football in the U.K.
We discuss the recent proposals for a European Super League. The history of some of England’s big clubs including Manchester City and Manchester United. Football related phrases and idioms.
May 4, 2021
We recorded this episode on Shakespeare’s birthday which is also St George’s day. We discuss aspects of Shakespeare’s life and plays. Idioms from Shakespeare.
April 26, 2021
Easter in the U.K.
The importance of Easter to Christians and the Easter story. Easter as a pagan festival. Modern U.K. traditions at Easter. Easter in some other countries. Symbolism and metaphors.
April 4, 2021
The census in the U.K.
What is the census? Historical examples of the census. How the census changes over time. The census 2021 and how it will be used. How to talking about obligation in English including ‘to have to’ and ‘must’.
March 29, 2021
Film and Cinema in the U.K.
History of film. Festivals and award ceremonies, the Oscars. How films get selected and the impact of streaming. Film genres. Film vocabulary.
March 22, 2021
Wildlife in the uk
Wild animals, trees, plants and flowers in different parts of the U.K. How to talk about quantities and amounts in English.
March 15, 2021
The seasons and the weather in the U.K.
The 4 seasons in the U.K. what happens and what the weather is like in each season. Weather vocabulary and phrases.
March 7, 2021
The Victorian Age
British history during the reign of Queen Victoria. The workshop of the world, the British Empire, the extension of the vote, the Great Hunger in Ireland. Queen Victoria and her family.
March 1, 2021
The Industrial Revolution in the U.K.
How Britain became the first country in the world to have an industrial revolution. Inventions, transport, resistance to the changes, urbanisation and trade.
February 22, 2021
What and where is Calderdale?
The St Augustine’s Centre is based in the town of Halifax and the borough of Calderdale. We explain the geography, history, famous places and people of the area. Plus superlative adjectives.
February 14, 2021
Things to do during lockdown
We discuss a range of things which people can do to look after themselves and keep busy and healthy during the lockdown caused by the coronavirus.
January 31, 2021
COVID update January 2021
An update on the COVID-19 virus, what is happening across the world and in the U.K. Ideas for looking after yourself and information about the vaccine in the U.K.
January 25, 2021
The English Civil War
The causes of the Civil War in England. The war itself, events in Scotland and Ireland, Oliver Cromwell. The restoration of the monarchy and the glorious revolution.
January 18, 2021
Tudor England
A brief overview of the life of two of England’s most famous monarchs, King Henry V111 (8th) and Elizabeth I. In a bonus section we cover in more detail the second part of the Tudor period.
January 11, 2021
Christmas in the U.K.
A discussion of aspects of the history and traditions of Christmas in the U.K. and the importance of Christmas to Christians.
December 20, 2020
The Development of the English Language
History of English as a language. English in use today in the U.K. and around the world. The differences between British English and American English
December 13, 2020
Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and Normans arrive in Britain
Anglo-Saxons arrive in Britain. The two St Augustines. The Vikings. The Battle of Hastings and the Norman conquest. How the Normans changed Britain.
December 8, 2020
Early Britain and Roman Britain
The early history of Britain including Stonehenge and the Bronze and Iron ages. Roman Britain including Hadrian’s Wall and Boudicca.
December 2, 2020
The United Kingdom
An overview of the 4 countries that make up the United Kingdom. More information about each of the smaller countries Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
November 24, 2020
British citizenship
Outline and discussion of the process for becoming a British citizen. Freedoms and responsibilities of citizens. The pledge and oath of allegiance to the Queen.
November 16, 2020
U.S. Presidential election
Why the US Presidential election is important to the U.K. How the US election system works. What has happened in this year’s election and the possible implications for the U.K.
November 9, 2020
Values and principles of British society
The Government handbook identifies 5 principles - democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, tolerance, participation. We discuss each of these and suggest some others
November 3, 2020
Series 2 preview
What is this podcast? What have we done so far and what are our plans for series 2? How to use this podcast to improve your English and learn more about life in the U.K.
October 26, 2020
Fashion and design in the U.K.
What we mean by fashion and design. Some famous British designers, including fashion designers. Nouns and adjectives for materials
September 27, 2020
Literature in the U.K. part 2: Poets and poetry
Famous British poets. Personal choice of poetry by Robert Burns, Wilfred Owen and Lemn Sissay. Similes and metaphors.
September 15, 2020
Literature in the U.K. part 1
Famous British authors and novels past and present. Favourite books of the presenters. The use of 1st, 2nd and 3rd person narratives in literature.
September 6, 2020
Gardens and gardening
Famous British landscape gardeners and gardens. Gardening as a pastime in the U.K. including allotments. How to start and continue a conversation.
September 1, 2020
Architecture and buildings in the U.K.
Some of the famous architects and the buildings they designed. Our own favourite buildings. Adjectives in English and in particular the word order we use.
August 23, 2020
Driving in the U.K.
Driving requirements, the driving test, examples of driving incidents, recognising and using modal verbs
July 28, 2020
Food in the U.K.
Traditional British food, how our tastes have changed, recipe for shortbread, the use of the imperative tense
July 23, 2020
Land use and farming in the U.K.
What the land is used for. Types of farming. Animal and plant based farming and food. Vegetarianism and veganism.
July 19, 2020
Climate change and the green agenda in the uk
What we mean by climate change, the policies for the environment of the main political parties in the U.K. and what we, as individuals, can do to help tackle climate change
July 3, 2020
Coronavirus and the Economy in the U.K.
Examining the possible impact of the coronavirus on the U.K. economy, including looking at the impact on retail and tourism and the challenges ahead for the Government
June 22, 2020
Black Lives Matter
Discussion of the events in the USA and around the world following the death of a black man at the hands of the police. Why this matters in the U.K. Protest and demonstrations against racism.
June 16, 2020
VE Day in the U.K.
Victory in Europe Day. The events leading up to it, the celebrations and the final end to the 2nd world war and what happened immediately after.
June 10, 2020
Eid in the U.K.
Interviews with 3 Muslims living in the U.K. about their experiences of Eid in normal times and under lock down.
June 3, 2020
Welfare State and the benefit system
What is the welfare state in the U.K. A brief history. The current benefit system including universal credit. Interview with one of our advisers.
May 20, 2020
Health in the U.K.
History of the National Health Service. How the health service works and what to do if you are ill.
May 10, 2020
Everyday life and customs
Including greetings, neighbours, queuing and shopping, eating and meal times, and family life.
May 3, 2020
A special episode looking at the Coronavirus. We cover the main government advice, support that is available locally and ideas about how to look after yourself in these difficult times.
April 24, 2020
Mass Media in the U.K.
We talk about newspapers, television and radio in the uk
April 23, 2020
The Law in the uk
This episode includes how laws are made, the role of the courts and the role of the police. We also do a quiz about what age people are allowed to do different things.
April 6, 2020
Local Government
The structure of local government in England, the services provided by one local Council, in this case Calderdale, and how that Council is run.
March 28, 2020
The economy
A look at the British economy. This includes the public sector and the money the government spends in different areas. Then we look at the different parts of the private sector of the economy and how this has changed.
March 14, 2020
Government and the British Constitution
Systems of government. Democracy and constitution. The U.K. constitution and monarchy.
March 1, 2020
Leisure in the U.K.
In this episode we discuss different types of leisure activity and we focus in particular on cycling, including the Tour De Yorkshire, and walking and hiking.
February 14, 2020
Religion in the U.K.
This episode includes some information about the roles and organisation of the Church of England, the patron saints, religious festivals and other traditions.
February 10, 2020
Art and culture in the U.K.
In this episode we discuss a number of famous works of art and pieces if music.
February 3, 2020
Education in the U.K.
The different stages of the education system in the U.K. including schools and colleges. Private and state schools. The role of parents and of OFSTED. Vocational and academic education.
January 28, 2020
Sport in the U.K.
A short episode about some of the sports which originated in Britain with a particular focus on football, including women’s football.
January 28, 2020
Review of 2019 and Preview of 2020
Looking back at the last year and forward to the next. This episode uses a variety of past and future tenses.
January 28, 2020
Britain and Europe
We look at the recent history of the relationship between Britain and Europe and in particular our membership of the European Union and the recent decision to leave the EU, known as BREXIT. We also discuss ‘what is a referendum?’and the arguments for and against using them.
December 24, 2019
The history of democracy in the U.K.
Recorded on the day of the general Election, we cover part of the development of democracy and particularly the right to vote.
December 15, 2019
Episode 3. The British Empire
A brief history of the British Empire from the age of exploration through to the end of empire and the legacy of the empire today.
November 30, 2019
Medieval Britain
In the episode we cover some key events from this period including the Magna Carta, the Black Death and the Peasants Revolt. We also look at how the English language has developed from other languages including Norman French.
November 22, 2019
English for Life in the U.K. Episode 1. The history of migration.
An introduction to this podcast and a summary of our first session on the history of migration into the U.K.
November 14, 2019