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BBC newshttp://news.bbc.co.uk/ (opens in new window)
Ten-question audio quiz with interactive map that tests recognition of different British regional accents (some sound rather phoney).
Nine-question quiz that aims to determine whether the taker has the right skills, attitudes, habits etc. to become a successful entrepreneur.
relaxing / stress
On-line stress test. Simple questions. Immediate feedback.
Twenty-question English test aimed at native speakers and focusing on the errors they make. Includes punctuation, spelling, language terminology (metaphor, simile etc.) and vocabulary.
Long 2,200 word piece - could be adapted for advanced students or mined for ideas.
Is English borrowing or lending words? Words: 1187 Flesch: 42.7
Wordcount: 724 Flesch: 54.1
Wordcount: 1398; Flesch: 62.2 Challenging but broken into sections and highly relevant. Some archaic language.
future - life in the future
Four articles + interactive clickable illustration
Wordcount: 726 (main text, excluding boxes) Flesch 63.1 Words in BNC most frequent 2000: 92.5
Advanced + 815 words Flesch: 42.7
American and British English
Wordcount: 1600 Flesch Reading Ease: 50 Advanced
humour / comedy
Report on the ten 'funniest' jokes at Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Mostly puns, mostly dreadful - but illustrative of some useful and interesting language.
Set of twelve 212-word texts on different aspects of British life: accents, the police, class, pubs, nationality, railways, newspaper humour, public transport, queuing, British curry, buying rounds (in pubs), self-deprecation Advanced. Flesch 57.5 If graded, could be used for jigsaw reading.
Review of Anglo-Indian loan words hooked onto the latest reprinting of the Hobson-Jobson dictionary. Advanced 1055 words Flesch: 52.3
Wordcount: 860; Flesch reading ease: 52
1000-word piece on Juliana's Koepke's 1971 survival experience in the Peruvian rain forest. Suitable for Upper-int without much editing.
Flesch reading ease: 80
30-minute podcast interview with Koepke also available for a limited time.
History of the middle finger gesture + regional variants Advanced level - 920 words - Flesch-Kincade: 50 -60
I always knew it!
1301 words including info boxes. Gunning Fog index : 9.23 Coleman Liau index : 8.74 Flesch Kincaid Grade level : 7.24 ARI (Automated Readability Index) : 6.33 SMOG : 9.91 Flesch Reading Ease : 65.23 BNC vocab profile K1 Words : 70.75% K2 Words : 78.37% K3 Words : 82.33%
The history of 'OK'. Upper-int / advanced. 950 words. 88% in BNC K2.
image and self-image
Long (1,500 word ) piece that will probably need trimming. Full of interesting ideas and useful vocabulary. (88% within BNC K2)
Interesting piece on a murky area with different ideas from various people. [Level indicators: vocab - 89% BNC K2;
Aitch or haitch? The changing pronunciation of common words in English. Advanced.
BBC Magazine piece on the pitfalls of screen displays such as PowerPoint in presentations. (Despite the title, this is not specifically about PowerPoint). Useful points divided under clear headings. Language - idiomatic. [c740 words]
How six common sleep positions are linked to certain personality types. (600 words) Personality adjectives include: tough, shy, sensitive, easy-going, social, trusting, gullible, open, suspicious, cynical, quiet, reserved, gregarious, brash, nervy, thin-skinned
Long-ish (730 word) article comparing life in the UK at various times between 1973 and 2006 covering wealth, health, spending, ethnicity and social mobility.
romance / relationships
US scientist argues that love can be explained by a series of neurochemical events that are happening in specific brain areas.
Ungraded language. c500 words
Article by author Joe Bageant about the culture and politics of the white American working class. Amusing with plenty of useful language and concepts. Advanced levels only 900 words
health - physical
2003 article about the cryptic acronyms used by doctors in notes for other doctors. Plenty of slang, metaphor etc. Amusing but advanced levels only
office speak / office jargon
As it says. Readers' contributions. June 2008.
Amusing piece on the horros of management speak by Lucy Kellaway, management correspondent at the UK Financial Times. A good source of management buzzwords and phrases; a challenging read if unedited. c 1700 words.
BBC News / health / Wednesday, 7 November 2007
BBC News / health / Wednesday, 13 June 2007
Thursday, 12 August, 2004
BBC News article. 26 February 2008
children / childhood
BBC News article. 26 February 2008
BBC News: Wednesday, 9 April 2008 What men and women are attracted to in the faces of the opposite sex.