Meet your Meat

Vocabulary | IPA Symbols | Pronunciation


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.

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.


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.

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In this look at the meat industry, I make extensive use of the passive voice. In this lesson you will be looking at the vocabulary of meat production and livestock such as, baa, beef, bull, butcher, cluck, cow, ewe, hog, lamb, lanolin, leather, milking, moo, mutton, pig, pluck, pork, queen, ram, shear, skin, slaughter, squeal, swine, tan, tom, wool, and woollen. Whenever we learn something new, there is always room for improvement. Here is the Room for Improvement that you have been looking for in your British English studies.

Female cattle are called cows while male cattle are called bulls. Globally, more than 300 million cattle are slaughtered every year. Cows are milked to make dairy products. Cattle’s flesh is butchered to make beef products. Cattle’s skins are tanned to make leather products. In the time it’s taken you to learn these facts, some 300 cattle will moo no more. Female pigs are called sows while male pigs are called hogs. Globally, around one-and-a-half billion swine are slaughtered every year. Swine’s flesh is butchered to make pork products. Swine’s skins are tanned to make leather products. In the time it takes to learn these facts, some 1,400 pigs will squeal no more. Female sheep are called ewes while male sheep are called rams. Globally, around 574 million sheep are slaughtered every year. Sheep’s wool is sheared to make woollen products. Sheep’s lanolin, an oil, is washed out of the wool to make cosmetics. Sheep are milked to make dairy products. Young sheep’s flesh is butchered to make lamb products. Older sheep’s flesh is butchered to make mutton products. Sheep’s skins are tanned to make leather products. In the time it takes to learn these facts, some 800 sheep will baa no more. Female chickens are called hens while male chickens are called roosters or cockerels. Globally, around 67 billion chickens are slaughtered every year. Chicken’s eggs are collected to make egg products. Chicken’s flesh is butchered to make chicken products. Chicken’s feathers are plucked to make feather products. In the time it takes to learn these facts, some 64,000 chickens will cluck no more. Female dogs are called bitches while male dogs are called dogs. Globally, 30 million dogs are slaughtered every year. Dog’s flesh is taken to make dog meat. The world’s dog lovers get upset because dogs are, after all, man’s best friend. Governments are persuaded to ban the practice of eating dogs. Nevertheless, in the time it takes to learn these facts, some 30 dogs will bark no more. Female cats are called queens and male cats are called toms. Globally, it’s hard to say how many cats are slaughtered every year but it’s probably between 2 and 4 million. Cat’s flesh is taken to make cat meat. In most, but not all, countries, the killing of cats for food is illegal. Nonetheless, in the time it takes to learn these facts, at least a couple of cats will miaow no more. Perhaps in the future all animals will be treated with the same compassion as cats and dogs are today. Perhaps we will come to be as disgusted by the slaughter of cattle, sheep, swine, and fowl, as we are disgusted by the slaughter of cats and dogs. After all, the eating of a carrot has never disgusted anyone.

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