Angielski dla Wymagających

From Our Own Correspondent

You often ask me about things you could listen to on the Internet that could improve your English comprehension. If you are eager to get the lowdown on what's going on in the world but at the same time you're not really into business or economy (forget even politics ;), then this could be the post for you. 

I wanted to show you one of my favourite webpages that can give you a lot of listening practice. I'm talking about one of the BBC's programmes, of course ;) The programme is called "From Our Own Correspondent" and this is what it's all about:

About From Our Own Correspondent

For over 50 years, From Our Own Correspondent (FooC) has been one of BBC Radio's flagship programmes.
Every week correspondents, journalists and writers from around the world report on the stories behind the headlines, often bringing a personal perspective to them.
There are few countries and subjects which have not featured on the programme - places as diverse as the Faroes, Moldova in Eastern Europe, the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan and one of Africa's smallest countries - Sao Tome and Principe.
Correspondents have always enjoyed writing for FooC, as they call it, because after a busy day in the field covering a big news story, it can often be cathartic for the correspondent to sit down, compose his or her thoughts, and start writing.
So many of the outlets they work for demand little more than writing to television pictures or covering the day's events in one report of perhaps only a minute's duration.
In From Our Own Correspondent, the reporter can tell us so much more: a bit of context, some relevant history, one or two of the characters encountered en route, some description of a foreign country or capital.
This is a programme where the correspondents will often relate the unexpected: the day they visited the town that is crazy about trout fishing, attended a 40-course Chinese banquet, or swam with sharks, experienced zero gravity on a flight with Russian cosmonauts, went mud wrestling in Turkey or ballroom dancing in Cameroon.
The Radio 4 edition is presented by Kate Adie and is broadcast every Saturday morning and on Thursday mornings 26 weeks a year in three runs. The World Service edition is presented by Pascale Harter.
retrieved from 

I can only add that the language used by the correspondents is clear British English, really accessible for upper-intermediate students.
What is more, BBC transcribes some of the programmes, which means we can first read the article to get us into the topic and than have a go at the listening.

For example:
First read this: Article The Love Hunters
Than listen to this programme: Listening The Love Hunters MINUTE 16:35
The programme is about 30 minutes long, "the Love Hunters" starts at 16:35 minute of it and lasts till about 22:18 minute.



What's the lowdown on the new guy?

I heard such a sentence somewhere a while ago: 'What's the lowdown on the new guy?' But what's 'the lowdown'?


All Along The Watchtower

I have always listened to music and studied lyrics, and that has been one of my favourite ways of learning languages. I'm rather an auditory learner, so I always intuitively selected audio material to learn. (HERE I have written about auditory learners and HERE about the visual ones, there was also a post on kinesthetic learners some time ago). Sometimes I hear something on the radio and I immediately know that I have to 'teach it'. This is a tribute to one of the songs that is an evergreen in the overwhelming garden of rock music. This is a tribute to his Majesty Jimi Hendrix... and Bob Dylan who originally wrote and recorded the song.

All Along The Watchtower
Naokoło Strażnicy

"There must be some kinda way out of here"
"Stąd musi być jakieś wyjście"
Said the joker to the thief
Powiedział błazen do złodzieja
"There's too much confusion
Jest za dużo zamieszania
I can't get no relief"
nie mogę znaleźć ukojenia

"Businessmen, they, they drink my wine
Biznesmeni piją moje wino
Plowmen dig my earth
Oracze kopią w mojej ziemi
None will level on the line
Żaden z nich nie ma pojęcia 
Nobody of it is worth", hey
ile jest wart

"No reason to get excited"
"Nie ma powodu do uniesienia"
The thief, he kindly spoke
Uprzejmie zauważył złodziej
"There are many here among us
"Jest tu wielu między nami
Who feel that life is but a joke"
Którzy uważają, że życie to taki żart"

"But you and I, we've been through that
"Ale ty i ja, my przez to przeszliśmy
And this is not our fate
i to nie jest nasz los
So let us not talk falsely now
więc nie zwódźmy nikogo
The hour is getting late", hey
Robi sie juz późno", hej


All along the watchtower
Na około strażnicy
Princes kept the view
Spoglądali książęta
While all the women came and went
podczas gdy wszystkie kobiety przychodziły i odchodziły
Barefoot servants too
Bosonodzy słudzy też

Outside in the cold distance
Na zewnątrz w sinej dali
A wildcat did growl
Zawył dziki kot
Two riders were approaching
Dwaj jeźdźcy się zbliżali
And the wind began to howl, hey
I zaczął wiać wiatr

All along the watchtower
All along the watchtower

and Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) performing the classic...


'Konsekwentny' a 'consequent'

Dzisiaj będzie o pewnym bardzo popularnym błędzie leksykalnym, który na pewno niejedno z nas popełniło chcąc powiedzieć, że jest 'konsekwentnym'.

Konsekwentny to po angielsku CONSISTENT /kənˈsɪs.tənt/ z definicji - 'always behaving or happening in a similar, especially positive, way':

Her work is sometimes good, but the problem is she's not consistent.
(Jej praca jest często dobra. Problem w tym, że ona nie jest konsekwentna.)

CONSISTENT adjective, czyli przymiotnik

INCONSISTENT to 'niekonsekwentny' 

CONSISTENTLY to adverb, czyli przysłówek

The president has consistently denied the rumours.
(Prezydent konsekwentnie zaprzecza tym plotkom.)

Problem w tym, że najczęściej kusi nas żeby powiedzieć CONSEQUENT zamiast CONSISTENT:

CONSEQUENT /ˈkɒn.sɪ.kwənt 'będący skutkiem' 'następujący w rezultacie' ('happening as a result of something'):

Our use of harmful chemicals and the consequent damage to the environment is a very serious matter.
(Nasze zastosowanie chemikaljów i będąca tego skutkiem szkoda wyrządzana środowisku naturalnemu  to bardzo poważna sprawa.)


A blessing in disguise

What about learning a new idiom today instead of having a cup of coffee in the morning? If it becomes habitual, you could learn as many as even 30 idioms per month! That's impressive! Let's see...

Imagine a situation like that:

"You know, I had my car stolen three months ago. Brand new, can you believe it?"

"What a bad luck! I'm sorry to hear that!"

"No need to be sorry. It turned out quite well, eventually. I got a full compensation from the insurance company and I bought a much better and cheaper second-hand car. I'm glad, because I saved a lot of money."

You could react like this:

"So, at the beginning you were upset but now you don't regret it."

Or you could use an idiom to comment on it:

"So it was a blessing in disguise, wasn't it?"

A BLESSING IN DISGUISE is something that at first seemed to be a misfortune or a bad luck, but in the end it turned out to bring a good result.

(Dosłownie to 'błogosławieństwo w przebraniu'; takie polskie 'nie ma tego złego, co by na dobre nie wyszło' lub 'szczęście w nieszczęściu')

I have got no idea who that artist is, but she sings clearly about blessings in disguises, so I guess that's the most important thing!

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace.

Comfort for family, protection while we sleep.
We pray for healing, prosperity.
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering.

All the while, You hear each spoken need. 
Your love is too way too much to give us lesser things.

Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops?
What if your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?

What if trials of this night, are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear.
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near.
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love.
As if every promise from Your word is not enough.

All, the while, You hear each desperate plea.
And long that we'd have faith to believe.

Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops?
What if your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?

What if trials of this night, are Your mercies in disguise?

When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win;
We know that pain reminds this heart, that this is not, this is not our home.
It's not our home.

Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops?
What if your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?

What if my greatest disappointments, or the aching of this life;
Is a revealing of greater thirst that a world can't satisfy?

And what if trials of this life, the rain, the storms, the hardest nights;
Are Your mercies in disguise?


Reported Speech - changes in detail

Dzisiaj część dalsza wywodu na temat mowy zależnej ;) W tabelkach znajdziecie najważniejsze zmiany w obrębie czasów jak również okoliczników czasu i miejsca. Have fun!

Tense in direct speech
Direct Speech
Reported Speech
Tense in Reported Speech
Present Simple
“I go to work by car”
He said he went to work by car.
Past Simple
Present Continuous
“I’m seeing Sam tomorrow.”
He said he was seeing Sam the next day.
Past Continuous
Present Perfect Simple
“I have never been to the USA.”

He said he had never been to the USA.
Past Perfect Simple
Present Perfect Continuous
“I have been working all day.”
He said he had been working all day.
Past Perfect Continuous
Past Simple
“I went to the cinema yesterday.”
He said he had gone to the cinema the day before.
Past Perfect Simple
Past Continuous
“I was reading all day.”
He said he had been reading all day.
Past Perfect Continuous
Past Perfect Simple
“I had seen her before I met her husband.”
He said he had seen her before he met her husband.
Past Perfect Simple
Past Perfect Continuous
“I had been training box before I met you.”
He said he had been training box before he met me.
Past Perfect Continuous
Future Simple
“You will be happy soon.”
He said I would be happy soon.
Future in the past (WOULD)
Future Continuous
“I will be lying on the beach tomorrow.”
He said he would be lying on the beach the next day.
Future in the past (WOULD BE + VERB + ING)
Future Perfect Simple
“I will have bought a new flat by that time.”
He said he would have bought a new flat by that time.”
Future in the past (WOULD HAVE + 3rd F)
Future Perfect Continuous
“I will have been waiting for over an hour by the time she comes.”
He said he would have been waiting for over an hour by the time she came.
Future in the past (WOULD HAVE BEEN + VERB + ING)

“I can help you.”
He said he could help me.
“You should see her now.”
He said I should see her then.
Must / Have to
“You have to learn English.”
He said I had to learn English.

Yes/no questions
“Did you go there?”
She asked me if / whether I had gone there.
Wh- questions
“When do you open?”
She asked me when we opened.

Words for time and place
that day
that night
the next day
the following day
the next / the following
the day before
the previous day
the last / the previous

When we report somebody’s words we usually need to change: 
  •    the tense
  •      the pronouns
  •    words for time and place
  •    in questions also the word order


“I really like coffee.”  She told me she really likes coffee.

We do not have to change the tense in reported speech when the situation or feelings/opinions in the original speech are still true.

Some BBC Films on Reported Speech:


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