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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Here are some random Literature British English lessons taken from the 230 British English lessons currently in the Britlish Library.
In 1843, a man by the name of Samuel Griswold Goodrich wrote and published a book called Famous Men of Ancient Times. In the book, Goodrich looked at the lives of Mohammed, Belisarius, Attila, Nero, Seneca, Virgil, Cicero, Julius Cæsar, Hannibal, Alexander, Aristotle, Demosthenes, Apelles, Diogenes, Plato, Socrates, Alcibiades, Democritus, Pericles, Aristides, Æsop, Solon, Lycurgus, Homer, and Confucius. I chose to make his chapter on Socrates the subject of the video English lesson and Vocabulary Activation Pack here. Socrates - Famous Men of Ancient Times
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.
The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play by Oscar Wilde. The play was first performed on 14 February 1895 at the St James’s Theatre in London. The Importance of Being Earnest is a comedy farce This play marked the moment that Wilde’s homosexuality became publicly known when it was revealed in a court case. Wilde was sentenced to imprisonment and his notoriety forced the play to close after only 86 performances. Wilde later published the play from exile in Paris, but he stopped writing comic and dramatic work. You can listen to the entire script of the play being read in a British English accent by watching the video English lesson above. I have extracted the following 2,114 vocabulary items from the play and have put them in a Vocabulary Activation Pack available from the Britlish Library. The Importance of Being Earnest
The poem 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, then read and listen, then listen while you read the IPA transcription. There is also an English Activator at the end of the pack to give you some practice with some of the new vocabulary and expressions. Poems are a great way of learning about the rhythm of English, and this poem is particularly amusing.
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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