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56 Listenings British English Lessons

Reading is the easiest way to take in English. Listening is a much harder skill and one that has to be developed as you study the language. There are lots of speech features that arise when native English speakers speak English. These speech features, such as elision, simplification, intonation, stress, and rhythm, and the way in which speakers may miss out sounds or whole words, are important to understand if you are to be able to listen to and fully understand spoken English. These Britlish Library lessons will help you to develop you listening skills.  

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10 of our 56 Listenings British English Lessons

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A Nice Cup of Tea

In 1946, George Orwell wrote an article giving his 11 golden rules for making the perfect cup of tea. This English lesson looks at the following vocabulary from the essay: cauldron, china teapot, silver teapot, enamel teapot, pewter teapot, golden rule, heaped teaspoon, hob, infuse, kettle, misguided, quart, rationing, sickly, sketchy, spout, swill out, teapot, urn, vulgar, and wring out.


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Decline of the English Murder

This lesson uses Orwell's Decline of the English Murder essay to introduce you to the following vocabulary items: Acquit, Armchair, Blissful, Cause célèbre, Cherish, Cleft chin, Culprit, Cunning, Forfeit, Fretful, Hypocrisy, Legacy, Pipe, Re-hash, Scandal, Sofa, Sordid, Spectacles, V1 and V2, and Wanton.


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Alaska

This Alaska joke gets its humour from the pronunciation features of British English. If you understand the rhythm of English and how weak and strong syllables behave when we speak, you will be able to understand the humour of this joke. The Britlish Library lesson explains how and why the joke is funny and gives you plenty of exercises to help you learn, remember, and use these pronunciation features.


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Yacht

The word yacht is a difficult word to spell and to pronounce. In this lesson I’ll tell you what yacht means, show you how to pronounce it with a standard British English accent, and give you some examples of its use. I’ll also look at other vocabulary which is associated with yachts such as boat, craft, cruise, engine, luxury, manage, own, sail, sailing, ship, and trip. You can also practice your knowledge of the IPA symbols and pronunciation with some IPA transcriptions of these words associated with yacht.


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Parrot

I’m not going to write the punchline of the joke here, but the tag line is What’s orange and sounds like a parrot? English humour can be difficult for non-native English speakers. This is why simple English jokes are a very good way of teaching vocabulary, and why I’ve chosen a very simple joke for this lesson. You can listen to the joke here and then do the exercises where you can learn about why it is so funny. You will also learn about how word play and the double meaning of words in English are the basis for much of its humour. There are interactive exercises in this lesson that will help you to see why this joke is funny.        


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Aisle - Hard to Say

The word aisle is a difficult word to spell and to pronounce. In this lesson I’ll tell you what aisle means, show you how to pronounce it with a standard British English accent, and give you some examples of its use. I’ll also look at other vocabulary which rhyme with aisle such as bile, dial, file, isle, mile, pile, smile, style, tile, trial, vile, and while. You can also practice your knowledge of the IPA symbols and pronunciation with some IPA transcriptions of these words which rhyme with aisle.


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Acre - Hard to Say

The word acre is a difficult word to spell and to pronounce. In this lesson I’ll tell you what acre means, show you how to pronounce it with a standard British English accent, and give you some examples of its use. I’ll also look at other vocabulary which is associated with acres such as area, bake, break, fake, furrow, heartache, length, long, make, medieval, narrow, ox, oxen, plough, quake, rule of thumb, shake, soil, support, take, wake, and yard. You can also practice your knowledge of the IPA symbols and pronunciation with some IPA transcriptions of these words associated with acre.  


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Choir - Hard to Say

The word choir is a difficult word to spell and to pronounce. In this lesson I’ll tell you what choir means, show you how to pronounce it with a standard British English accent, and give you some examples of its use. I’ll also look at other vocabulary which begins with CHO but do not necessarily have the same pronunciation such as chocolate, choir, choke, cholesterol, chondrite, choose, choosy, chop, choral, chord, chore, choreographer, chorister, chorizo, chortle, chorus, chosen, chough, chow, and chowder. You can also practice your knowledge of the IPA symbols and pronunciation with some IPA transcriptions of these CHO words.


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Eschew - Hard to Say

The word eschew is a hard word to spell and to pronounce. In this lesson I’ll tell you what eschew means, show you how to pronounce it with a standard British English accent, and give you some examples of its use. I’ll also look at other vocabulary of refusal or acceptance such as abandon, abjure, avoid, disdain, embrace, eschew, forego, forswear, give up, grab, grasp, hold, keep clear of, refrain from, renounce, repudiate, seize, shun, spurn, take hold of, and welcome. You can also practice your knowledge of the IPA symbols and pronunciation with some IPA transcriptions of these verbs of refusal or acceptance.


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The Strawberry Nose

Sit back and listen to this very British look at how an Englishman deals with an unfortunate change of appearance. Simple Stories were written by Arthur Hammond Marshall (1866-1934) who wrote under the pen name of Archibald Marshall. His humorous stories were written for Punch, a satirical magazine published in Britain between 1841 and 1992. The Simple Stories make fun of stereotypical British characteristics such as our stiff upper lip, our sense of duty, our deference to royalty, and our pride in our country to name but a few. Because Simple Stories are short stories intended for an adult audience and are written in a simple style and vocabulary, they are ideal stories for learners of English. There are few words that will confuse even lower-level students.


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10 of our 56 Listenings British English Lessons


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