martes, 16 de diciembre de 2014

Madrid Teacher: Horrible weather

In this week's Madrid Teacher video four teachers talk about horrible weather conditions they have witnesses. As usual, we'll be using their conversation as a springboard to go over some of the features of spoken English they use.

First of all, watch the video through to get the gist of what they are talking about.

Now watch the video more carefully paying attention to the following:
  • Showing surprise and reacting to what you hear: Really?; Oh yeah; Wow; Oh, lord; OK, right, yeah
  • Conversation fillers to gain thinking time: Well, you know, like
  • Use of reallypretty  and quite to emphasize the adjective
  • Use of vague language: like an hour; and everything; like the sky opens
  • Use of I mean to paraphrase what you have just said and make yourself clear.
  • Use of actually to introduce a bit of surprising information
  • Showing agreement: Yeah; Of course!; Exactly!

Now it's over to you. If possible, get together with a friend or relative and talk about any weather anecdotes you have gone through or heard about. Don't forget to use some of the features of spoken English we have revised in this post.

I was once in a, in a tornado.
On one side it demolished a church, and on the other side, it destroyed a . . . a truck stop. Then a little bit further on it, it just demolished a little town.
So it just went around you?
Well, no, it went, like, over me. It, it . . . you know these bounce sometimes
Oh yeah!
There was, this was a little tornado, it was small, but really destructive.
I’ve seen videos of that tornado bounce . . .
…that you’re talking about.
That type of, yeah. That, that can be pretty destructive…
That’s wild.
The interesting thing is that it crossed an entire city and only destroyed one church . . .
In the whole city, but then - was it - at the edge of the city it destroyed a truck stop, and then went on to destroy . . .
Was it a wooden, a wooden church, or just a . . .
It was a wooden church, just like a big quonset hut, you know just a rounded building. So it’s just asking for problems.
Were you, were you personally frightened, or . . .
Yeah, because it . . . it was, it was frightening.
And was anybody injured?
Yeah, it killed people. It killed people in the truck stop, then it killed . . . it’s like, near a highway. And that was about . . . maybe a mile from me, half a mile to a mile.
Well, my, my most frightening weather experience was, I was skiing once and got to the top of the mountain and suddenly just went completely white, complete white-out. And it was like a snowstorm . . . couldn’t see anything, and started skiing down, stupidly, I mean, we should have just stayed. And suddenly, just like, not knowing exact…, not knowing where, where I was and, just like, it was, like, quite frightening because it was like an hour, just being stuck on the top of a mountain…
It’s risky, too. You never know if you’re going to ski off the edge of something, or . . .
It was snowing. . Couldn’t see a thing . . .  Yeah that’s why I stopped because you can’t even, you couldn’t even see where the ski run was, and it was… It was in Switzerland right on the top of a mountain. You know, when you’re in the mountains in Switzerland, you can, you can go on for six hundred kilometers and not see another house.
Wow! Were you really cold?
No, I was, I, I had some good, you know, some good clothing and everything.
That’s good.
It was just, like a snowstorm. It was just the thing of not being able to see where you were . . .
Of course!
…and just like snow everywhere .
But the encroaching freeze could really add to the fear.
Yeah. Well, there was that fear of, you know, you could get trapped up there at night…
Yeah, yeah.
…don’t get out.
Oh, lord.
So you’ve been . . .
Oh yeah, actually, I was, I was driving from the north of Spain into Madrid. And we were driving up the mountain and there was a little sign for a snowflake. And my father looked at me and said, “snow?” And I said, “of course, we’re in the mountains!” I was teasing . . . until a few went by the window, a few snowflakes, and I looked at him and he looked at me and we’re like, “are we really seeing this?” And then, boom – another whiteout, like you were talking about.
Just like mine, yeah?
…could not see anything. This was at the end of, like, and eighteen hour drive and I was determined to get to Madrid and stop. And we ended up just going for about two hours at about six kilometers an hour, driving by while lines of cars followed plows and skidding along the road yelling at each other: “stop! I’m doing this!” I had never seen weather like that in Spain.
That’s incredible. You don’t expect it here.
Exactly! I was totally unprepared. We were in a Peugeot.
I’m from a hot place so I haven’t got any snow stories, but . . . I, I used to live in Southeast Asia and there you have the most incredible monsoon rain. I mean, all day long you sit and you sweat. And it’s, and the heat builds up and builds up and builds up and then three o’clock in the afternoon it’s like the sky opens . . .
And these rain, raindrops, I mean, huge raindrops . . . fifteen minutes of the heaviest rain you could possibly imagine, and then it stops.
And that’s every day?
Every day.
And it’s only fifteen minutes?
Usually fifteen minutes to twenty minutes, sometimes only five minutes. It’s like the sky just can’t hold any more water and it just, it just drops down.
Do you go, do people go out and like, you know, use it as a shower, because it’s so hot? Or no, everyone just stays inside?
It’s funny, everybody tries to stay out of it actually.
OK, right, yeah.
All the cars, all the motorbikes, everyone pulls off the road and tries to find shelter and . . .
Yeah. OK.