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Lesson Transcript

Kellie: Are You a Fan of English Football?
John: In this lesson, you’ll learn about prepositional phrases.
Kellie: This conversation takes place at a football stadium
John: And the characters are boyfriend and girlfriend, so they’ll be speaking informally.
Kellie: Let’s listen to the conversation!
John: Did you enjoy your first football match?
Lucy: It was… entertaining. I particularly liked how inventive the crowd were with their chants, and how many swear words they could fit into such short sentences.
John: Yeah, it was a good match and you were lucky to see so much happen on the pitch! Seven goals, a sending off, a penalty…
Lucy: All of that was boring. My favourite part was the fight.
John: (laughs) That doesn’t usually happen in football. It’s usually just a lot of shouting; real handbags at ten paces stuff.
Lucy: Shame. It was more interesting than seeing twenty-two men chase after a ball for ninety minutes.
John: Ah. You really weren’t impressed then?
Lucy: Not really. I was impressed during the fight though, so maybe we can go to a boxing match next time. Cut out all of the football and just have the violence.
John: Then I bet you won’t want to watch the match highlights on telly with me later?
Lucy: Not really, no. Isn’t it a bit pointless to watch highlights when you’ve already seen the whole game?
Kellie: I didn’t think a football match would be a good place for a romantic date.
John: After listening to the conversation, I think Lucy agrees with you!
Kellie: Why did John take her there?
John: Football is very popular in Britain and is really big business. People of all ages and backgrounds love football, so it’s a good conversation topic when you’re just first getting to know someone. Not everyone loves it of course, like Lucy, but it’s so high profile that I’m sure she could still name some players.
Kellie: Can you explain a bit more about it being big business?
John: There’s a lot of money in football. A lot of the owners of the clubs are millionaire businessmen. It’s not unusual for companies to sponsor football teams or matches. They get their name displayed in front of thousands of people and if they can, invite other companies to watch the game as a way of impressing them.
Kellie: It didn’t impress Lucy though.
John: No, it didn’t! There’s a lot of people who hate football and think footballers are all overpaid and badly behaved. There are always stories in the newspapers about footballers breaking the law or cheating on their wives.
Kellie: That’s classed as news?
John: There’s a thin line between news and gossip sometimes!
Kellie: You told us about football and its uses for businesses, but how about socially? Dates may not be a good idea…
John: I know a few couples who love going to the football together! It can be a big social event though, especially for bigger games such as cup finals or international games. Getting tickets can be difficult but a lot of pubs show the games so you can watch them there. It’s a great atmosphere usually.
Kellie: Ok. Let’s move onto the vocab.
John: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
The first word we shall see is:
Kellie: inventive [natural native speed]
John: creative and original
Kellie: inventive [slowly - broken down by syllable] inventive [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: lucky [natural native speed]
John: to have good luck, to have something happen by chance
Kellie: lucky [slowly - broken down by syllable] lucky [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: sending off [natural native speed]
John: if a player breaks the rules in football, he can be dismissed from the game
Kellie: sending off [slowly - broken down by syllable] sending off [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: penalty [natural native speed]
John: if a player is fouled in the area in front of the goal, then a free kick at the goal can be awarded. The free kick is called a penalty.
Kellie: penalty [slowly - broken down by syllable] penalty [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: handbags at ten paces [natural native speed]
John: used for fights that are aggressive but don’t resort to violence
Kellie: handbags at ten paces [slowly - broken down by syllable] handbags at ten paces [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: to chase [natural native speed]
John: to follow quickly
Kellie: to chase [slowly - broken down by syllable] to chase [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: to bet [natural native speed]
John: to be sure of something
Kellie: to bet [slowly - broken down by syllable] to bet [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: pointless [natural native speed]
John: serves no purpose
Kellie: pointless [slowly - broken down by syllable] pointless [natural native speed]
Kellie: I thought that this phrase of John’s was very interesting and it’s our first vocab item for this lesson – “handbags at ten paces”.
John: Yeah, I’ve always liked that one too! It’s used for fights that aren’t really fights. There might be a lot of aggression and anger, but there will be no punches thrown. There’s sometimes an element of being overly dramatic in the anger too, that the people arguing are getting more heated than the situation needs.
Kellie: John used it to describe an argument between two football players.
John: That’s a perfect example of its usage. The footballers can’t physically fight each other, because the punishment for that is too severe, so they shout and gesture and it all looks a bit silly, really.
Kellie: It’s a very interesting phrase. Do you know anything about the background of it?
John: There’s another variation of it, “handbags at dawn”, and they’re both thought to come from the Old West. When the cowboys would have their duels, it would be at dawn, and they’d walk ten paces each, and from that we got the phrase “pistols at dawn”. This is a play on that.
Kellie: Ahh, I see! Our next vocab item is “to bet”. We’re not talking about casinos here, are we?
John: Not at all! It means ‘to be sure of something’. In the dialogue, John says “I bet you won’t want to watch the match highlights on telly”. All that he means is that he’s sure Lucy won’t want to watch because she didn’t enjoy the match.
Kellie: It marks certainty?
John: Yes. You can turn it into a question as John did to make it a little bit more unsure, or to seek confirmation, but if you use “bet” in this way then you’re pretty sure of what you’re saying.
Kellie: I bet you are! Let’s move onto the grammar now.

Lesson focus

Kellie: In this lesson, you’ll learn about prepositional phrases. So, can you tell the listeners what a prepositional phrase is?
John: It consists of a preposition, such as “above”, “behind” or “until” and then an object – either a noun or pronoun. There are no verbs in prepositional phrases. It’s used to describe the relation of one thing to another.
Kellie: Any examples from the dialogue?
John: “I was impressed during the fight”. The prepositional phrase is “during the fight”. During is the preposition, and “fight” in this case is a noun and is the object of the sentence. Another example is “seeing twenty-two men chase after a ball”. In this case, the phrase is “after a ball.”
Kellie: So the preposition would be “after” and the object “ball”?
John: That’s right! There has to be an object.
Kellie: Seems pretty straightforward and easy to recognise.
John: How about the sentence “we ran up the bill?”
Kellie: The prepositional phrase is “up the bill”.
John: (laughs) This isn’t a prepositional phrase! Although “up” is a preposition, in this sentence it is being used a particle.
Kellie: Can you explain that a bit further? How do we tell the difference between a preposition and a particle?
John: It’s quite simple, and involves channelling your inner Yoda. You need to change the order of the sentence – if it still makes sense, then it’s a preposition.
Kellie: How would we change “we ran up the bill?”
John: Put the phrase before the verb – “up the bill we ran”.
Kellie: Ah, that makes no sense. So, it’s not a prepositional phrase?
John: No, it isn’t. Try “we ran up the street.”
Kellie: “Up the street we ran.” That still makes sense.
John: Yes, so in that sentence, “up the street” is a prepositional phrase.
Kellie: If we’re in doubt on whether it’s a prepositional phrase or not, we need to think like Yoda and change the sentence order.
John: Yes. After this lesson, we should watch the Star Wars movies for practise.
Kellie: Ahh, “after this lesson” is another prepositional phrase!
John: Yep! You’re learning quickly!


Kellie: Okay, that’s all for this lesson, so thanks for listening, and we’ll see you again next time.
John: Bye!