The Pig

The Pig Course Literature | Pronunciation | IPA Symbols | Poetry | Vocabulary | Speaking | Listenings


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 Activities 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 Activities, you will also broaden your understanding of English culture.


No matter how good your English grammar and vocabulary may be, if your pronunciation is so bad that nobody can understand a word you say, then your English won't be much good as a means of communication. You might be good at grammar, have a broad vocabulary, and be able to explain all the aspects and tenses of English, but it's not much good if you can't be understood when you speak. I have designed these Activities to help you to improve your pronunciation, as well as other areas of your English.

IPA Symbols

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation that was devised in the 19th century as a standardised way of representing the sounds of speech in written form. The British English IPA chart consists of 44 symbols representing the pure vowels (monophthongs), the gliding vowels (diphthongs), and the consonant sounds of spoken British English. The Britlish Library contains a wealth of Activities to help you to learn, remember, and use the British English IPA symbols efficiently whether you are a student or a teacher.


Because of their structure, poems are a great way of learning about the rhythm of the English language. In these Activities you will be able to listen to poetry, read it, and then improve your knowledge of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) symbols, thus improving your pronunciation. The Activities also include information about the poets and some background to the writing of the poem. Finally, you will have the chance to test how much you have learned about the vocabulary and other aspects of the poems through some interactive exercises.


Did you know that there are over 600,000 words in English? That's a lot of words, and far more than any human being could ever manage to learn. Even Shakespeare only used around 55,000 different words in all of his works. Mind you, he did actually invent quite a few of them. To get a good mastery of English, you do need to expand your vocabulary as much as possible. The more words you know, the better your English will be. The Activities here will help you to quickly develop your vocabulary.


It's not easy to teaching speaking skills remotely through a website, however good the site is. To really practice your speaking skills, you need someone to speak to who can correct your mistakes as you go. The Activities here will go some way to helping you to improve your speaking skills by helping you to mirror the speech you hear in the lesson. In this way, you can notice how your speech differs from that in the Activities and, by recording your own speech, you can adjust your pronunciation to more accurately match that in the Activities.


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 Activities will help you to develop you listening skills.  

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The poem by Roald Dahl is written with 8 syllables per line, and a rhyming word at the end of a pair of lines. oOoOoOoO is the stress pattern and this is a good poem with which to practice the rhythm of English. You can listen to the poem and match the IPA transcriptions with the original Latin script. There are also exercises to help you practice some of the new vocabulary and expressions from in the poem. Poems are a great way of learning about the rhythm of English, and this poem is particularly amusing. You will also find a Crossword Puzzle and a Wordsearch Game for this lesson in the Britlish Library.      

The Pig Course

The Pig

by Roald Dahl

In England once there lived a big

And wonderfully clever pig.

To everybody it was plain

That Piggy had a massive brain.

He worked out sums inside his head,

There was no book he hadn't read.

He knew what made an airplane fly,

He knew how engines worked and why.

He knew all this, but in the end

One question drove him round the bend:

He simply couldn't puzzle out

What LIFE was really all about.

What was the reason for his birth?

Why was he placed upon this earth?

His giant brain went round and round.

Alas, no answer could be found.

Till suddenly one wondrous night.

All in a flash he saw the light.

He jumped up like a ballet dancer

And yelled, 'By gum, I've got the answer! '

'They want my bacon slice by slice

'To sell at a tremendous price!

'They want my tender juicy chops

'To put in all the butcher's shops!

'They want my pork to make a roast

'And that's the part'll cost the most!

'They want my sausages in strings!

'They even want my chitterlings!

'The butcher's shop! The carving knife!

'That is the reason for my life! '

Such thoughts as these are not designed

To give a pig great peace of mind.

Next morning, in comes Farmer Bland,

A pail of pigswill in his hand,

And piggy with a mighty roar,

Bashes the farmer to the floor…

Now comes the rather grisly bit

So let's not make too much of it,

Except that you must understand

That Piggy did eat Farmer Bland,

He ate him up from head to toe,

Chewing the pieces nice and slow.

It took an hour to reach the feet,

Because there was so much to eat,

And when he finished, Pig, of course,

Felt absolutely no remorse.

Slowly he scratched his brainy head

And with a little smile he said,

'I had a fairly powerful hunch

'That he might have me for his lunch.

'And so, because I feared the worst,

'I thought I'd better eat him first.'

The Pig

Roald Dahl is most famous for his children's stories such as Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryMatildaThe BFG, and James and the Giant Peach. Dahl also wrote adult fiction which examined through black humour the ironies of adult life. His poem, The Pig, is written not for children but for adults and needs to be read with a maturity of mind to appreciate its dark, cynical humour. This lyrical poem is written in rhyming couplets and is a narrative describing the realisation by a pig that his life is nothing more than a one-way trip to the slaughterhouse, as pigs have no value to man besides their capacity to provide meat.

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The Pig Crossword

This crossword puzzle is based on some of the vocabulary from the poem The Pig by Roald Dahl which you can find in an English lesson in the Britlish Library. There are 18 words in the puzzle with the following clues: A cut of pork, A food made from the large intestines of a pig, A sizeable piece of meat that's been cooked in a hot oven, A strong feeling of regret or guilt, A thin piece cut from a larger piece, Arithmetic calculation, Extremely large, Hit with a heavy blow, Hugely excessive, Inspiring a feeling of wonder or delight, Meat from a pig, Meat in a tubular package, Shockingly repellent, Soft and easily chewed, Succulent and tasty – not dry, Suspicion or intuitive feeling, The person who cuts up animals for food, and Waste food fed to pigs.

Categories: Word Games | Vocabulary | Crosswords

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The Pig Word Search

This Word Search puzzle is based on some of the vocabulary from the poem The Pig by Roald Dahl which you can find in an English lesson in the Britlish Library. There are 18 words in the puzzle for you to find: bash, butcher, chitterlings, chop, grisly, hunch, juicy, massive, pigswill, pork, remorse, roast, sausage, slice, sum, tender, tremendous, and wondrous.

Categories: Word Games | Word Search | Vocabulary

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