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Oct 22

Written by: Jennifer Kumar, LMSW, Cultural Adjustment Coach/Mentor
Friday, October 22, 2010

Understanding the weather report is important in daily life in America since in many areas of the country the weather can change so drastically in any given day - from warm to cold temperatures, sun to rain to snow to ice, thunderstorms, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, blizzards, floods, and many other kinds of climate conditions depending on where you live in the US. Though many Americans take it for granted that we can understand the weather report; many foreigners in this country even entering with English knowledge get stumped by the weather report because it is unscripted, spontaneous and uses a lot of idioms, sayings and local slangs. Try your hand at understanding a local weather report from Rochester, New York!

Before you dive in and attempt to dictate the report word by word; please keep a few things in mind:

  1. The reporter is talking without a script. This is spontaneous talk and very close to a conversational speed. This is how a typical American may sound if they approach you on the street. If you can learn to understand this, you will be more able to understand a typical American.
  2. Following the first point, even when us Americans listen to these reports, we listen to them while doing other things, which means we aren't paying attention to every single word. We try to hear the main ideas. We listen only once (in this youtube clip you can rewind and hear it multiple times to understand more and more each time). We listen for the main points- the temperature, what kind of weather (sun, rain, snow, ice, wind, etc.), what to expect in different times of the day (sun in the morning, rain at lunch, calm weather in the evening, etc.). If you can catch the main points, you are doing great!
  3. Because this is spontaneous, unscripted talk even us Americans may not be able to clearly understand every word. Especially if we travel to other places of the country, the accent, local slangs and idioms may change. This makes understanding a challenge sometimes. Also, when Americans talk fast, we combine words or if we talk faster than we think, we loose track mid sentence or mid word and change the meaning of the sentence or word altogether. Yes, we make mistakes! (Doesn't this make you feel better!?) This happens in some of these forecast reports, as it would in everyday life; nobody's perfect. Even as a native speaker of American English I can not always hear or understand every single word uttered in the recording.

Try your best. Here's a video to try.


More forecasts at WHEC Youtube page.

How was it? How did you do? Could you at least catch the main points? GOOD JOB!

If you'd like me to check your work, I will check it once. Please send it to me at jenkumar@gmail.com.

If you want to do personal coaching in person, over the phone or via Skype to improve your confidence in listening to and talking in American English, contact me.

More...
 Cultural Etiquette And Adjustment Tips (Lessons on Cross-Cultural adjustment and culture shock.)
 American English (ESL/ESOL) For Daily Use (More podcasts and videos on American English Coaching/Tutoring.)

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tags "ESL lesson" "English lesson" "English Tips" "Weather report" ESOL "American Culture lessons" "culture life coach" "culture coach"

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