There is an important subset of English which is hardly ever touched on by teachers, and never by the textbooks. This subset of English is the English which sounds rude. The swearwords and curses, which make up a surprisingly large part of daily speech, are neglected by most teachers because, well, they sound rude. This course aims not to titillate but to teach the vocabulary that other teachers shy away from. If you are not offended by strong language, and would like to learn, remember, and use this "taboo" language, then you should take a look at these Activities. Please do not complain if you are shocked by the contents. You have been warned.
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.
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.
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.
A Sounds Rude lesson for 18+ students that will teach you how to avoid a common pronunciation mistake. If you are easily offended by language that Sounds Rude, go no further. If you would like to learn the vocabulary which every native-born Englishman, or woman for that matter, is very familiar with, then I urge you to read on. Vocabulary is vocabulary and it all makes up the English language. The vocabulary in this lesson is not normally found in textbooks or discussed in the English classroom, yet it is an integral part of the language, and very likely to be regularly encountered in an English speaking country.
beach, n. (biːtʃ)
Forms: 6– beach; also 6 bache, bayche, 7 beatch, 7–8 baich(e, 8 beech.
[Origin unknown: apparently at first a dialect word, meaning, as it still does in Sussex, Kent, and the adjacent counties, the shingle or pebbles worn by the waves. Thence the transference of the term to the place covered by ‘beach,’ was easy for those who heard such phrases as ‘to lie’ or ‘walk on the beach,’ without knowing the exact significance. The Fr. grève shows precisely the same transference. The spelling shows that the pronunciation in 16–18th c. was (beːtʃ). If OE., the type would be *bǽce. A derivation from ON. bakki ‘bank,’ which has been proposed (for sense 3), is not admissible phonologically: (cf. bache). Another conjecture would derive beach from bleach:—OE. blǽce, f. blác white, with loss of l, of which there is however no evidence.]
1.1 (Usually collect., formerly occas. with pl.): The loose water-worn pebbles of the sea-shore; shingle.
c 1535 Art Suruey 28 The smooth hard beach on the Sea⁓shoares burnes to a purer white. 1538 Leland Itin. VII. 143 A Banke of baches throwen up by the Se. 1597 Gerard Herbal xxxvi. §16. 249 Rowling pebble stones, which those that dwell neere the sea do call Bayche. 1598 Hakluyt Voy. I. 355 (R.) We haled your barke ouer a barre of beach or peeble stones. 1627 Capt. Smith Seaman's Gram. xii. 57 As many peeble stones or beatch as can there lie. 1721 Perry Daggenh. Beach 116 The Drift or Rolling of the Beach or Shingle along the Shore. 1875 Parish Sussex Dial. (E.D.S.) s.v. Beach, Shingle brought from the sea⁓coast is always called beach. 1884 Cole Antiq. Hastings 18 All that part between Cambridge Road and the sea is one mass of beach.
†2.2 A ridge or bank of stones or shingle. Obs.
1673 Ray Journ. Low C. 280 The baich or languet of land between the Haven of Messina and the Fretum Siculum. 1692 ― Discourses (1713) 8 Raising up therein a Baich or Bank of Stones as big as Towers.
3. a.3.a The shore of the sea, on which the waves break, the strand; spec. the part of the shore lying between high- and low-water-mark. Also applied to the shore of a lake or large river. In Geol. an ancient sea-margin.
(In early quotations, this sense is often doubtful: it is probably Shakespere's sense in all the five passages in which he uses beach; though, taken by themselves, ‘stand vpon the beach’ Merch. V. iv. i. 71, ‘the Fishermen, that walk'd vpon the beach’ Lear iv. vi. 17, might as well belong to 1.)
1596 Shakes. (see above). 1607 ― Cor. v. iii. 58 The Pibbles on the hungry beach. 1667 Milton P.L. i. 299 On the Beach Of that inflamed sea, He stood. 1756 in Doc. Hist. State N.Y. (1849) I. 478 Upwards of 1000 French and Indians appeared upon the Beech [of Lake Ontario]. 1762 Falconer Shipwr. iii. 365 In dreadful form the curving beech appears. 1771 Pennant Tour in Scotl. 201 A little isle, in a small loch in Badenoch, was totally reversed and flung on the beach. 1830 Lyell Princ. Geol. xiii. (1850) 178 These strata passing by the name of ‘raised beaches,’ occur at moderate elevations on the coast. 1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. II. i. ii. 13 Like gold-grains in the mud-beach. 1843 N. Boone Jrnl. in L. Pelzer Marches of Dragoons (1917) 189 Captain Boone‥commenced his march from the beach of Grand River opposite Fort Gibson. 1880 Geikie Phys. Geog. iii. xvii. 154 The strip of sand, gravel or mud, which is alternately covered and laid bare by the rise and fall of the tidal undulation is called the beach.
b.3.b Naut. The shore, any part of the coastline off which a ship is at anchor; hence on the beach, ashore; retired (the beach = land, civilian life); to take the beach, to go on shore leave. By extension on the beach is used to mean ‘beachcombing, unemployed’; also (occas.) penniless, ‘broke’.
1903 J. London People of Abyss xi. 127 England is always crowded with sailormen on the beach. 1915 ‘Bartimeus’ Tall Ship iv. 71 The head of the Officer of the Watch appeared.‥ ‘Wake up, you Weary Willies. There's a boat to the beach at seven-bells.’ 1916 ‘Ward-room’ H.M.S. ii. 29 The captain and the commander had ‘taken the beach’ for the afternoon. 1923 Daily Mail 15 May 8 Hundreds of the trawlermen to-day find themselves ‘on the beach’, owing to the distressed condition of the fishing industry. 1925 ‘Bartimeus’ Great Security iii. §2. 181 Hitherto he had been accustomed to view ‘the Beach’ as an incident in his normal life, an environment that asked nothing of him and gave nothing in return. 1925 Wodehouse Let. 11 Jan. in Perf. Flea (1953) 30 The world is full of poor devils on the brink of being chucked out of jobs and put on the beach. 1935 ‘G. Orwell’ Clergyman's Daughter ii. §i. 99 You on the beach, kid?…On the bum?…What I mean to say, kid—have you got any money? 1938 W. S. Churchill Great Contemporaries 336 The somewhat pathetic appeal of a retired officer mouldering on the beach.
4.4 Comb., chiefly attrib., as beach-bag, beach-bird, beach-line, beach-pea, beach-pyjamas, beach-robe, beach-sand, beach sandals, beach shirt, beach-wear, beach-wrap. Also beach-ball, a large inflated ball for use at a beach; beach boy, a male beach attendant; a play-boy on a beach; beach buggy orig. U.S., a low, wide-wheeled motor vehicle designed or adapted for recreational driving on sand: see buggy n. 1 b (c); beach bum slang [bum n.4], an idler or tramp who spends his time on a beach; beach-comber, ‘a long wave rolling in from the ocean’ (Bartlett Dict. Amer.); also a settler on the islands of the Pacific, living by pearl-fishery, etc., and often by less reputable means (whence beach-combing ppl. adj.); beach crab, any crab of a species living on sea-beaches, esp. Ocepoda arenaria; beach cusp, a cusp of gravel or sand found at intervals of about 20 to 30 feet on a beach; beachfront chiefly U.S., the sea front beside a beach; freq. used attrib. to designate property, etc., located on the sea front or facing a beach; beach gown, a bathing-wrap; beach-grass, a reedy grass (Arundo arenaria) growing on the sea-shore; beachhead, also beach-head Mil. [illogically formed after bridge-head], a fortified position of troops landed on a beach; also transf. and fig.; beach-man, (a) one who earns his living on the beach; (b) (see quot. a 1865); beach-master, a superior officer appointed to superintend the disembarkation of troops; beach-plum U.S. (see quots.); beach rest, a chair-back used for sitting against on the beach; beach-rock, a conglomeration of calcareous beach sand cemented by chalk into rock formation, found on coral reefs; beach-wagon, a light open wagon, with two or more seats; a station-wagon.
1934 R. Macaulay Going Abroad iv. 40 They gathered up their *beach-bags and went up to the bar.
1940 ‘N. Blake’ Malice in Wonderland i. vi. 73 The combatants were assaulting each other with *beach-balls.
1837 Hawthorne Amer. Note Bks. (1871) I. 187 You are preceded by a flock of twenty or thirty *beach birds.
1939 Time 12 June 87/1 Kilt-style skirt worn over shorts (already fashionable among Florida's rich *beach boys). 1965 ‘W. Haggard’ Hard Sell ii. 20 Penniless Sicilian barons were six a penny among the beach-boys. 1965 N.Z. Listener 17 Dec. 5/2 The Beach Boys are at the front of this wave of frantic surf music.
1961 Webster, *Beach buggy. 1965 Hot Rod Apr. 75 (caption), A duner's delight, this beach buggy will run anywhere ‘wheels up’ in the toughest terrain. 1969 Daily Tel. 11 Oct. 14 The British public is being given its first chance to see an example of America's newest fun car, the Beachbuggy. 1985 Times 3 Jan. 24/6, 50 blacks stoned people in beach-buggies near Port Alfred on the Natal coast.
1962 Austral. Women's Weekly 24 Oct. (Suppl.) 3/1 *Beach bum, a boy who doesn't work or go to school, just hangs around the beach all day and surfs. 1963 Observer 13 Oct. 15/3 He is the reverse of the popular image of a ‘surfie’ as a beach bum. 1986 Guardian Weekly 21 Sept. 8 If city ordinances can keep the condominiums away they can certainly handle a few beach bums.
1840 R. H. Dana Bef. Mast (1841) xix. 46/1 In the twinkling of an eye I was transformed from a sailor into a ‘*beach⁓comber’ and a hide-curer. 1845 E. J. Wakefield Adv. in N.Z. I. xi. 339 Idle, drunken, vagabond‥he wanders about without any fixed object, cannot get employed by the whaler or any one else, as it is out of his power to do a day's work; and he is universally known as the ‘beach-comber’. 1847 Blackw. Mag. LXI. 757 A daring Yankee beach-comber. 1859 A. S. Thomson Story of N.Z. I. ii. iii. 297 The Pakeha Maori must not be confounded with the idlers and beach-combers who loitered about Kororareka. 1880 Athenæum 18 Dec. 809/2 The white scamps who, as ‘Beach-combers,’ have polluted these Edens and debauched their inhabitants. 1919 W. S. Maugham Moon & Sixpence xlvii. 206 The corpse of a nameless beach⁓comber would be fished out of the dirty water of the harbour.
1880 J. S. Cooper Coral Lands I. xx. 242 The *beach-combing pioneers of the Pacific.
1909 Webster, *Beach crab.
1900 J. C. Branner in Jrnl. Geol. VIII. 481 (title) The origin of *beach cusps. 1900 Geogr. Jrnl. Dec. 704 The author comes to the conclusion that beach cusps are produced by the interference of two sets of waves of translation on the beach. 1952 F. P. Shepard in Bull. Amer. Assoc. Petrol. Geol. XXXVI. 1909 Following common practice, these relatively small features are being referred to as ‘beach cusps’.
1921 N.Y. Times 9 Sept. 15/1 It is calculated that £100,000 was spent by the great *beach front hotels, business places and visitors. 1931 Atlantic City News 7 Aug. 4/2 The beachfront here‥and large tracts of land in the most fertile parts of New Jersey‥are all part of the Steelman heritage. 1972 Times 7 Aug. (Jamaica Suppl.) p. vi/3 Luxury hotels stand beside their beach-fronts. 1980 Daily Tel. 14 Jan. 1/8 His beachfront residence in Dar es Salaam.
1928 Sunday Dispatch 8 July 16 When getting a bathing suit, don't forget a *beach-gown, which is now worn with a monk's hood, on the shore.
1681 in Rec. of Town (East Hampton, N.Y.) II. 102 Thomas Bee doth‥maintaine a sofisient three raile fence one the beach‥down so low as any *Beach grass groues. 1852 T. Harris Insects New Eng. 50 note, The advantages to be derived from employing‥beach-grass, in fixing the sands of the shore.
1940 in Amer. Speech (1942) XVII. 122/1 The second theory [of the Germans], to harass communications and airports and *beachheads so effectively that landings could be undertaken. 1941 Time 25 Aug. 22/2 Marines‥trained in the terrible job of establishing a beach-head. 1944 Times 24 Jan. 4/3 A substantial beachhead was seized. This beachhead has been widened and deepened. 1949 Koestler Promise & Fulf. xvi. 176 This commonwealth of immigrants would have become a beachhead of European tradition and democracy in the Levant. 1965 C. Walsh in J. Gibb Light on C. S. Lewis 110 The Screwtape Letters established Lewis's beachhead in America.
a 1865 Smyth Sailor's Word-bk. (1867) 88 *Beach-man, a person on the coast of Africa who acts as interpreter to shipmasters, and assists them in conducting the trade. 1881 Harper's Mag. LXIII. 494 The beachmen put their shoulders to the stern and gunwhale. 1929 F. C. Bowen Sea Slang 9 Beach Men, West African surf men and interpreters.
1875 Bedford Sailor's Pocket Bk. vii. 275 The *Beach Master is to take care that‥all appliances for disembarking troops‥are kept in good order.
1884 Harper's Mag. June 103/2 The *beach pea is found along the North Shore.
1784 in Mem. Amer. Acad. Arts & Sci. (1785) I. 449 The *Beach, or Sea-Side Plumb. 1877 Bartlett Dict. Amer. (ed. 4) 550 Sand-Plum,‥a beach-plum. A plum growing on plum-trees whose habitat is sandy beaches.
1928 Vanity Fair Aug. 74 These *beach pyjamas of figured foulard are slipped on over the bathing suit. 1936 M. Laski in Cherwell 7 Mar., They paint their toenails, stroll down the High in beach pyjamas. 1959 New Statesman 13 June 838/2 A lady visitor to an East Coast resort‥is discovered dead on the shore‥wearing beach-pyjamas at early dawn.
1881 C. M. Yonge Rev. Nieces 167, I see the invalid lady creep out with her *beach-rest.
1952 Manch. Guardian Weekly 21 Feb. 5/1 The Admiral Lord Rodney, got up much like Nero in a cool *beachrobe or toga.
1919 R. A. Daly in Carnegie Inst. Year Bk. 192 Cementation of beach sand by calcium carbonate is very common in‥tropical seas generally. The product may be called ‘*beach-rock’. 1940 Geogr. Jrnl. XCV. 30 On tropical beaches the sands, or even coarse shingle, are commonly cemented into a hard rock, called beach-rock or conglomerate, by carbonate of lime precipitated from sea-water.
1934 W. Plomer Invaders xiv. 262 He was wearing only‥trousers and *beach sandals. 1966 ‘A. York’ Eliminator iii. 49 She‥thrust her feet into gold beach sandals.
1966 G. Lyall Shooting Script viii. 47 There was just one man alone, wearing a vivid *beach shirt.
1868 L. M. Alcott Little Women (1869) II. 35, I shall hire a *beach-wagon. 1935 H. Nicolson Let. 17 July (1966) 209 There was the beach-wagon going down to the village. 1948 Chicago Tribune 9 May 11. 10/4 Use of the parking facilities is restricted to automobiles, beach wagons, and motor cycles.
1928 Men's Wear (U.S.) Oct. 10 (caption) Fantastic *Beach Wear at Juan les Pins. 1952 Vogue June 6 (Advt.), Our gay, new beachwear.
1927 Star 30 May 8/1 Women's *Beach Wraps, made of‥coloured towelling.
bitch, n.1 (bɪtʃ)
Forms: 1 bicce, bicge, 3–4 bicche, 4 bycche, biche, 5 bych(e, (begch), 5–6 bytch(e, 9 Sc. bich, 6– bitch.
[OE. bicce, elsewhere in Teutonic only in ON. bikkja: it is altogether uncertain what is the relation of the two words, whether they are cognate, or if not, which is adopted from the other. If the ON. bikkja was the original, it may, as shown by Grimm, be ad. Lapp. pittja: but the converse is equally possible. Ger. betze, petze (only modern), if related at all, must be a germanized form of bitch. The history of the F. biche bitch, and biche fawn, and their relation, if any, to the Eng. word, are unknown. There is a Sc. form bick sometimes affected in the pronunciation of sense 1, to avoid association with sense 2.]
1. a.1.a The female of the dog.
c 1000 Ælfric Gloss. in Wr.-Wülcker Voc. 120 Canicula, bicᴁe. c 1000 Sax. Leechd. I. 362 Biccean meolc. c 1300 K. Alis. 5394 Comen tigres many hundre; Graye bicchen als it waren. 1387 Trevisa Higden Rolls Ser. III. 141 He fonde a bicche ȝeue þe childe souke. 1398 ― Barth. De P.R. xviii. i. (1495) 742 The bytche bringeth forth blynde whelpes. 1542 Brinklow Complaynt xxiv. (1874) 63 As chast as a sawt bytch. 1598 Shakes. Merry W. iii. v. 11 A blinde bitches Puppies, fifteene i'th litter. a 1680 Butler Rem. xvii. (1759) 12. 1842 Lever Handy Andy ii. 14 All the dogs are well, I hope, and my favourite bitch.
b.1.b The female of the fox, wolf, and occasionally of other beasts; usually in combination with the name of the species. (Also as in sense 2.)
1555 Eden Decades W. Ind. iii. ii. (Arb.) 144 The dogge tiger beynge thus kylled they‥came to the denne where the bytche remayned with her twoo younge suckynge whelpes. 1569 Spenser Sonn. vii. a 1687 Cotton Aeneid Burlesqued (1692) 70 I saw Mischievous bitchfox Helena. 1749 Fielding Tom Jones x. vii, We have got the dog fox, I warrant the bitch is not far off. 1820 Scott Monast. xxxvi, As if ye had been littered of bitch-wolves, not born of women. 1825 Bro. Jonathan III. 265 The whelp of a bitch-catamount.
2. a.2.a Applied opprobriously to a woman; strictly, a lewd or sensual woman. Not now in decent use; but formerly common in literature. In mod. use, esp. a malicious or treacherous woman; of things: something outstandingly difficult or unpleasant. (See also son of a bitch.)
? a 1400 Chester Pl. (1843) 181 Whom calleste thou queine, skabde biche? 1575 J. Still Gamm. Gurton ii. ii, Come out, thou hungry needy bitch. 1675 Hobbes Odyssey xviii. 310 Ulysses looking sourly answered, You Bitch. 1712 Arbuthnot John Bull (1755) 9 An extravagant bitch of a wife. 1790 Wolcott (P. Pindar) Adv. Fut. Laureat Wks. 1812 II. 337 Call her Prostitute, Bawd, dirty Bitch. 1814 Byron Let. 15 Oct. (1830) I. 586 It is well that one of us is of such fame, since there is a sad deficit in the morale of that article upon my part,—all owing to my ‘bitch of a star’, as Captain Tranchemont says of his planet. 1833 Marryat P. Simple (1834) 446 You are a‥son of a bitch. 1904 Kipling Traffics & Discov. 165 After eight years, my father, cheated by your bitch of a country, he found out who was the upper dog in South Africa. 1913 D. H. Lawrence Sons & Lovers I. iv. 60 ‘Look at the children, you nasty little bitch!’ he sneered. 1931 T. E. Lawrence Let. 10 June (1938) 722 ‘She’ says the incarnate sailor, stroking the gangway of the Iron Duke, ‘can be a perfect bitch in a cross-sea.’ 1931 R. Aldington Colonel's Daughter i. 50 What a preposterous old bitch that woman is. 1944 Wyndham Lewis Let. 20 Aug. (1963) 378 For it may be a bitch of a Peace. 1956 S. Beckett Godot i. p. 37 That's how it is on this bitch of an earth.
b.2.b Applied to a man (less opprobrious, and somewhat whimsical, having the modern sense of ‘dog’). Not now in decent use.
a 1500 E.E. Misc. (1855) 54 He is a schrewed byche, In fayth, I trow, he be a wyche. 1749 Fielding Tom Jones xvii. iii, Landlord is a vast comical bitch. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xi. 123 Ay, Davie, ye're a queer character‥a queer bitch after a', and I have no mind of meeting with the like of ye. 1916 Joyce Portrait of Artist v. 203 Is your lazy bitch of a brother gone yet?
c.2.c A primitive form of lamp used in Alaska and Canada.
1904 E. Robins Magnetic North i. 233 ‘I'll light a piece of fat pine,’ shouted the Boy.‥ ‘Where's your bitch?’ said Dillon.‥ ‘Haven't you got a condensed milk can with some bacon grease in it, and a rag wick?’ 1927 C. M. Russell Trails plowed Under 159 In the long winter nights their light was coal oil lamps or candles—sometimes they were forced to use a ‘bitch’, which was a tin cup filled with bacon grease and a twisted rag wick. 1961 Canadian Geogr. Jrnl. Jan. 14/2 ‘Office’ work was done by candlelight and sometimes by nothing better than a ‘bitch’—a wick in a shallow tin of tallow.
3.3 Comb. and attrib., as (sense 1) bitch-puppy, bitch-whelp; (sense 2) bitch-baby, bitch-clout, bitch-daughter, bitch-hunter, bitch-son; †bitch-daughter (obs.), the nightmare; bitch-fou a. (Sc.), as drunk and sick as a bitch, ‘beastly’ drunk; bitch-goddess, in William James's phr. (see quot. 1906); cf. success n. 3.
a 1400 Cov. Myst. 218 Come fforthe, thou hore, and stynkynge *byche-clowte.
1483 Cath. Angl. 31 Þe *Bych-doghter, epialta, noxa.
1786 Burns Interv. Ld. Dare, I've been‥*bitch-fou 'mang godly priests.
1906 W. James Let. 11 Sept. (1920) II. 260 A symptom of the moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the *bitch-goddess success. 1928 D. H. Lawrence Lady Chatterley ix. 125 He realized now that the bitch-goddess of success had two main appetites: one for flattery, adulation, stroking and tickling such as writers and artists gave her; but the other a grimmer appetite for meat and bones. 1960 Cambr. Mag. 21 May 554/2 The pursuit, in our time, in the University and outside, of the Bitch Goddess Success, of a ‘better living’ without quality.
1787 Hunter in Phil. Trans. LXXVII. 255 My Lord Clanbrassil purchased a *Bitch-puppy.
c 1330 Arth. & Merl. 8487 *Biche sone! thou drawest amis.
c 1480 Gloss. in Wright Voc. 251 Hec catula, a *byche qwelpe.
1601 Holland Pliny I. 220 The *bitch-whelpe that commeth of the first litter.
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