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All 257 Lessons by Date.

There are currently 257 British English lessons in the Britlish Library and I add new lessons regularly. The grid below shows you the 257 lessons available arranged chronologically from newest to oldest. Use the navigation buttons to look through them. If you want to concentrate on a particular area of English, choose the category view instead.


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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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Better than Nothing

There is a group of words in English which I will call the *thing words. These words are anything, something, everything, and nothing. If I’ve learned anything about them, I’ve learned that they cause confusion for students, so I thought I ought to make a lesson to tell you everything about them. Everything you want to know about the *thing words is here in this lesson, so if you do nothing else today at least do something about learning these words with this lesson.

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Faults or Mistakes

If you have ever made a mistake or feel that you have faults, then this lesson is for you. You will learn how to use the words, blunder, error, failing, fault, faux pas, flaw, guilty, mistake, to blame, and weakness, without making any mistakes when you do so.

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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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Parsimonious

Whether you have money or not, there is a lot of vocabulary in English to do with it. This lesson will help you talk about being careful with your money to being miserly with it. Whether you are generous with your money, or a total Scrooge, you will find the vocabulary in this lesson useful.

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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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Unpredictability

Many English multisyllable words are made up of many parts including prefixes and suffixes, and if you learn the most common prefixes and suffixes, you can expand your vocabulary dramatically. The word unpredictability has two secondary stresses as well as the main stress that is found in all English words. It’s unusual for a word to have more than one secondary stress, but this is the result of unpredictability being composed of so many parts. There are several negative prefixes in English. The most common are: de, dis, il, im, in, ir, mis, and un. This lesson will introduce you to some of them as well as helping you to pronounce them. I also look at prominence for effect. 

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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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