Friday 3 January 2014

Real English - Popular UK Slang

You are going to 
  • look at and practise some very common British slang expressions.
  • try and guess the meanings of words from visual context
  • do some matching and gap fill exercises

Teacher's note
I have seen many students come to the UK thinking they had a good level of English, FCE for example, but still struggle at doing basic things like talking to bus drivers or shop assistants. It's sometimes quite important to teach students "real" English instead of that boring, artificial and antiseptic textbook stuff.

Here is an example. How often do your students come into class with the odd and imperative sounding "Hello! How are you?" instead of the more natural sounding and (in the UK) now ubiquitous "Hiya! Y'alright?"
How many of us actually teach them to use "Hiya!", "Alright?" or "Cheers!" or "See ya!"?
Yet, informally, this is how most people in the UK actually speak to each other.

So, anyway, here are some informal expressions you won't find in many coursebooks or in any exams  but you will definitely hear when you come to the UK.

Warning. Be careful when you use some of these expressions. They are informal and a few may not be suitable for use in class, to your teacher or boss.

1) Discuss
1. How many of these very common expressions do you know?

2. Look at the presentation.
  • How many of the words do you know? 
  • Can you guess the meanings from the photos?

Adapted from 17 British Slang Terms Americans Should Start Using Immediately

2) Practise
1. Try these matching exercises. 
Match the meaning on the right with the slang word on the left. One is done for you.

2. Now try this gap fill

Download printable worksheet (with answers) here

3) Write
Write some short dialogues using as many of the expressions as you can

1. One Direction explain some British vocabulary and slang.
How many of the expressions above do they talk about? 

2. English and American slang is different.
Hugh Laurie in The Ellen DeGeneres Show playing a game of American slang VS English slang.
How many of the expressions above do they talk about?

Slang links

Of course there is a lot of UK slang and new expressions come into the language all the time. How many of these do you know?
Maybe we'll look at these next time.
See ya!


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