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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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Huge - Hard to Say

The word huge is a hard word to spell and to pronounce. In this lesson I’ll tell you what huge 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 size adjectives such as colossal, diddy, diminutive, enormous, gigantic, ginormous, huge, immense, large, lilliputian, mammoth, massive, mega, microscopic, mini, minute, petite, prodigious, puny, teeny, tiddly, tiny, titanic, and vast. You can also practice your knowledge of the IPA symbols and pronunciation with some IPA transcriptions of these size adjectives.


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Aeon - Hard to Say

The word aeon is a hard word to spell and to pronounce. In this lesson I’ll tell you what aeon 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 time duration such as aeon, century, decade, eternity, millennium, month, week, and year. You can also practice your knowledge of the IPA symbols with some IPA transcriptions of these time duration words.


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Romeo and Juliet - Short Version

This short version of the classic Shakespeare play will teach you the basics of the plot. It will also teach you some useful vocabulary such as, banish, break up, bring forward, bump into, cheesed off, chemist, cousin, dagger. duel, fall in love, feuding, friar, gatecrash, get along, get own back, get together, grieve, hatch a plan, hot-headed, in secret, look forward to, love at first sight, mourn for, newlywed, nobleman, nurse, pad, poison, potion, shenanigans, spend the night, squabble, tomb, top, untimely, and wet lettuce.  


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Knackered - Vocabulary Activator

Just as Eskimos have many words for snow, apparently, so, too, do the British, wearied by overwork, have many words for being tired such as drained, exhausted, fatigued, knackered, spent, tired out and worn out. This lesson will help you to learn, remember, and use these words without becoming exhausted in the process.


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Sunny London - Pronunciation Activator

Many students see the letter O and feel that it should be pronounced like the O in on /ɒn/ or clock /ˈklɒk/. This lesson will show you that many common words are not pronounced as you might think. The words in this lesson include: clock, funny, god, honey, London, money, monkey, moth, son, sun, waffle, wag, wallet, wand, wander, want, warrant, warrior, wash, wasp, watch, wax, won, and wonder.   


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Taste of Your Own Medicine

We have many idioms in English. One of them is a taste of your own medicine. This common idiom has its roots in Ancient Rome. Gaius Julius Phaedrus lived in the 1st century and translated the fables of Aesop into Latin. He also wrote many fables of his own in the style of Aesop, one of which is the source of the English idiom we are looking at in this lesson.


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Death - Vocabulary Activator

For the entire duration of the universe you did not exist. Then, one day, you came into existence at the moment of your birth. Now, you are growing older and one day you will die. It’s the one thing in this world that we can be 100% certain about. Is it morbid to think about death? I don’t think so. In fact, I often contemplate my own demise. There is no point in hiding from the fact that we will die. If you accept that death is a natural consequence of life, it will not come as a surprise to you when it inevitably arrives. This lesson will teach you about the language of death and dying.  


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Butterfly - An Experiment in AI

GPT-3 is a neural network created by OpenAI which uses an autoregressive language model and deep learning to produce text that is indistinguishable from that produced by a human being. I decided to pose a question to the GPT-3 AI to test its capabilities. The question I posed to the AI was: What does it feel like to be a butterfly? The answer I got back was interesting, to say the least. I used Amazon Polly, another neural net AI, to read aloud the GPT-3 AI’s answer. I then fed the audio file into an AI animation software package which created a recognisable character that could present the AI generated answer to you on the screen. The following video is the result. Bear in mind that everything you see and hear was created by artificial intelligence. All I did was add some eye-candy in the form of the caterpillar and butterfly videos in the background.


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Affluenza

I have designed this lesson to look at the vocabulary of wealth. Whether you are poor, wealthy, or stinking rich, you will learn much about the words we use to describe people who do have money. You will also learn about some common portmanteau words. If you don’t know what a portmanteau word is, you really do need to do this lesson. The vocabulary of wealth we’ll look at includes: acquisition, affluence, billionaire, capitalist, consumer, flush, impoverished, loaded, made of money, man of means, millionaire, minted, prosperous, rolling in it, stinking rich, trillionaire, wealthy, well-healed, well-off, and well-to-do.


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Teen or Ty Numbers

In this lesson: We will look at how to distinguish between teen and ty numbers. We will look at the stress patterns in words. We will look at stress shifts in English words. We will look at making syllables prominent for effect. Whether it's thirty or thirteen, forty or fourteen, fifty or fifteen, or anywhere up to ninety or nineteen, this lesson will help you to make sure you never make a mistake with these numbers.


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10 of our 56 Listenings British English Lessons


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