Understanding real English
Try out your listening skills with a short section of a conversation with Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest human. He comes from Jamaica, so his accent will be a little different than you are used to. AFP photo
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Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest human, comes from the island of Jamaica in the Caribbean Sea near Cuba. Jamaica is a former British colony and English is widely spoken there. Usain Bolt, speaks English as his first language, but his accent will be a bit different from what you are used to. AFP photo
Listening to the stars, part 2
Listen to part 1 here: http://bit.ly/RoBJ40
This short one-minute passage comes from a conversation Bolt had last year with a group of young British athletes. He is speaking very informally, and not everything he says clear, but you should understand much of what he says.
One of the young athletes wanted to know about the series of strange movements Bolt likes to make while waiting for the start of the race. Listen to how he responds.
colony – a country or an area that is governed by people from another, more powerful, country ประเทศอาณานิคม, เมืองขึ้น
accent – a way of saying words that shows what country, region, or social class someone comes from สำเนียง
athlete – someone who is good at sports and takes part in sports competitions นักกีฬา
informal – relaxed and friendly กันเอง, ไม่เป็นทางการ, ไม่เคร่งครัด
Listen at least once before you read the text below. Here is some vocabulary to help you:
nervous – anxious about something or afraid of something กระวนกระวาย
personality – the part of a person that makes them behave in a particular way in social situations, e.g., in friendly or unfriendly way, or in a confident or shy way บุคลิกลักษณะ ลักษณะเฉพาะตน
majority of the time – most of the time
throw you off – to confuse or upset you for a short time
bound to – certain; for sure แน่นอน
mess up – to make a mistake, or to do something badly ทำให้สับสน, ทำให้ว้าวุ่น
random – happening, done or chosen by chance rather than according to a plan ซึ่งไม่มีแบบแผน
on your marks – at the starting line, ready to start a race
command – an order คำสั่ง
--------------Listen before you read---------------
Do you actually feel nervous?
No, that’s my way of relaxing. That’s my personality but it helps me relax and not think about the race. I think about something else at the time so I don’t get nervous worrying about the race. The majority of the time, we either stand here looking down the track; all you can think about is like
“oh, he we go. Let’s not mess up my start; I need to drive..”
You start remembering everything your coach says, says to you and you wonder if you’re going to get it right, and these things will throw you off because you’re thinking so much of so many different things, then you’re bound to mess up one, so I try to think of random stuff in my mind.
Even when you’re on your marks?
No, when you get on your marks, then you start listening. Then it’s all about listening. You can really think about anything when you’re on your marks, ‘cause then you’ve got to listen for the gun and for the starter’s commands.
For much more practice is speaking and understanding real English, check out the book, Speak English Clearly by Terry Fredrickson. It can be found in major bookstores around the country: http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/books/230498/speak-english-clearly