57. Birmingham Accent / 12 Phrasal Verbs with the letter ‘A’


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I’m joined by my old college friend Neil Waters in this episode. First we talk about the Birmingham accent, and then we teach you some useful phrasal verbs.

This is not a full transcript for the conversation with Neil, but below you can read some notes about Neil, Birmingham accent, the phrasal verbs and their definitions.

My friend Neil – he’s an old friend. We’ve known each other for 17 years, we went to college and university together, and we’ve played music in several bands. Neil lives in Birmingham, which is an area in the middle of England, about 200 miles north of London. The area around Birmingham is called The Midlands, although some people in London consider it to be in The North of the country!

The Birmingham accent. In the midlands people tend to speak with a certain accent which is specific to that region. There are a few types of Birmingham accent – someone from Wolverhampton sounds a bit different from someone from Solihull, but most of them share the same basic features.

People often say that the Birmingham accent rises and falls a lot. People in Birmingham also pronounce the “a” sound in words like “grass” “bath” and “laugh” using the short /æ/ sound (like in “cat”), which is typical of accents from areas in the north of England. In the south people pronounce “grass” “glass” “half” etc with a longer /a:/ sound (like in “car” “far”).

The best way to understand what the Birmingham accent sounds like is to listen to people from Birmingham speaking. I will do a podcast with real examples of the Birmingham accent for you soon. In the meantime, you can do searches for famous people with Birmingham accents (Ozzy Osbourne – lead singer of Black Sabbath, Jeff Lynne from ELO, comedian Jasper Carrot and comedian Frank Skinner). Listen to them and they way they speak. Can you hear the accent?

12 Phrasal Verbs:

Here are the phrasal verbs Neil and I talked about. They all come from pages 1 and 2 of the Cambridge Phrasal Verbs Dictionary, which is an excellent and very useful book. All the phrasal verbs begin with the letter ‘a’.

1. to aim to do something – “With this podcast we’re aiming to make something really useful for learners of English” = to try to achieve something

2. to aim at something – “We’re aiming at making a really useful podcast” = to try to achieve something (same as 1. above)

3. to act something out – “we’re going to act out some phrasal verbs for you” = to perform the actions of a word, speech or story / to express your thoughts by performing them

4. to amount to – “What is this podcast going to amount to? This podcast really amounts to a great collection of recordings for learners of English” = to become a particular amount / to become something

5. to allow for something – “The whole journey should take 5 hours, and that’s allowing for delays” = to include something when you’re making a judgement

6. to ache for something – “People are aching for a podcast with such fantastic useful vocabulary!” = to want something or someone very much

7. to account for something – “She was unable to account for the missing $5000 dollars. She couldn’t explain where the money was” = to explain the reason or cause for something

8. to add up to something – “what this podcast really adds up to is a fantastic resource for learners of English” = to become a particular amount / to have a particular result or effect

9. to add something up – “If you add up all the podcast, you’ll see there is a lot of useful content there” = to calculate the total of something , (“the facts don’t add up” = the facts don’t make sense, like a maths equation that doesn’t produce the right number)

10. to agree with someone – “I totally agree with you” = to have the same opinion as someone

11. to allude to something – “I’m not going to explain that, I’m just going to allude to it” “She alluded to the problems she’s having at home” = to mention something in an indirect way

12. to act up – “Neil didn’t act up too much” “The kids acted up all evening, it was a nightmare” = to behave badly

That’s all folks!

If you have any questions about that, send me an email. luketeacher@hotmail.com

One response to “57. Birmingham Accent / 12 Phrasal Verbs with the letter ‘A’

  1. Pingback: Teacher Luke’s lessons | Notes

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