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29 Literature British English Lessons

Some students like to sit back and listen to some interesting English. It doesn't get much more interesting than some of the old classics from English literature. These lessons have been created to help you get the best from the vocabulary found in some of the old classics. As you listen and read your way through these lessons, you also broaden your understanding of English culture.

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10 of our 29 Literature British English Lessons

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If-

The poem, If-, by Rudyard Kipling was written around 1895, shortly after the birth of Kipling’s son, John. The poem is an example of Victorian stoicism and takes the form of the author’s paternal advice to his son. John Kipling was reported as wounded and missing in 1915 while serving as a Lieutenant during World War I, a post his father had secured him thanks to his social connections and despite his son’s severe myopia. His grave was not identified until 1992. You can read this poem in Latin script and in IPA script as well as listen to me read it for you.


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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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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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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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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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My Biggest Fear

We all seem to be worried these days. We're worried about the coronavirus. We are worried about the effects of the virus on the economy. We are worried about our futures. Worries are a natural human response to circumstances which arise because, unlike most other animals, we are capable not only of agonising over the past, but also of looking into the future and thinking about how things might be. This human curse has a rich vocabulary enabling us to talk about our fears, worries, and concerns with others for, after all, a worry shared is a worry two people have got, and troubles are easier to bear if you know you are not alone in facing them. This lesson aims to help you with some of the vocabulary concerning worries and fears.


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Flowers of the Grass

A short lesson using a video I made of a beautiful haiku poem some years ago. The lesson will help you to learn, remember, and use some vocabulary and expressions in English. I hope you enjoy both the poem and the lesson, as well as the video, as much as I enjoyed making them for you.


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The Ant and the Grasshopper

This is my retelling of Aesop’s fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper. It tells the tale of the hardworking ant and the apparently lazy grasshopper and presents the moral message that we ought to enjoy our lives while we can. The lesson is also packed with vocabulary which you can test yourself on in the two activators in the lesson. There are lots of useful vocabulary items to learn, as well as phrasal verbs and common expressions.  


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The Fisherman and the Little Fish

The Fisherman and the Little Fish tells the moral that it's better to accept what you have than to gamble on what you might not get. I have rewritten the Aesop's fable using as many phrasal verbs as I could come up with. If you are interested in learning some new phrasal verbs, this video is not to be sniffed at. Don't let your interest fizzle out and see what phrasal verbs I have come up with. If you want to improve your knowledge of phrasal verbs, it's time to check out this lesson.  


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10 of our 29 Literature British English Lessons


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