Cars & Traffic
1. Study Everyday English Tips.
• Many words for parts of cars are different in British and American English. For example, boot (Br) is trunk (Am), for motorway (Br) is freeway (Am) and a junction (Br) is an intersection (Am). Sometimes the words are only partly different, such as windscreen (Br) and windshield (Am).
• Sometimes the same word is used in both forms of English, but it has a different spelling, like tyre (Br) and tire (Am).
• In American English, the word for indicator (Br) is turn signal. People signal or indicate a turn.
• When it's dark and there are no cars in front of you, you can put your headlights on full / high beam. Most of the time, people drive with their headlights dipped.
• Car dealers avoid the word second-hand and prefer to say used (Br) or pre-driven (Am).
2. Read the dialogues and translate the words and phrases in italics. Mock the dialogues in pairs.
We'd better get started
Colin and Sally come back to their car to find that it's got a flat tyre.
Sally: This is the last thing we could do with!
Colin: I hope we've got the jack in the boot.
Sally: Yeah, it's here. And there's a pair of gloves as well.
Colin: Right. We'd better get started. Do you want to loosen the nuts?
Sally: No, it's all right. I think I'll just give you moral support.
Colin: OK. Could you put the handbrake on?
Sally: The spare wheel looks a bit flat.
Colin: Well, as long as it gets us to the next garage.
Sally: I hope so.
Colin: God, who tightened these? I can hardly move them.
Chris is talking to a mechanic at a local garage.
Chris: I've got a problem with the indicator. Every time I move it and I've got my headlights on, the full beam goes on as well.
Mechanic: So it's only when you have your headlights on?
Chris: That's right. When I signal, the full beam goes on and I can't turn it off.
Mechanic: It's not an electrical thing. It's the lever.
Chris: The thing is that oncoming drivers think I'm flashing my lights at them.
Mechanic: When can you bring it in? Tomorrow morning?
Chris: Fine with me.
Mechanic: OK. If I could take your name.
Daniel wants to borrow the car from his mother, Gill, but he's having trouble starting it.
Gill: That's funny. It started OK on Monday. Daniel: Listen!
Gill: The battery doesn't sound too good, does it? Daniel: Mum, it's flat. How old is it?
Gill: I can't remember, to be honest. Can you open the bonnet? Daniel: Well, how long have you had the car? Gill: Over six years now. And it was second-hand when we got it. Daniel: What do you reckon?
Gill: I think it's had it, don't you? Do you want to use your dad's? Daniel: Do you think he'll mind?
A red light's come on
Julie's car developed a problem as she was driving along the motorway, so she has turned off at the next junction to phone her husband at home. Ray: A red light's come on. OK, which one? Julie: The one showing the temperature. Ray: Is steam coming out of the radiator? Julie: No, I can't see any. I've opened the bonnet. Ray: See if there's a leak, a hole somewhere. Julie: Everything seems all right to me. Ray: OK. Does the fan belt look OK? It's not slipping, is it? Julie: What do you mean?
Ray: Is it tight enough? Or was there a strange noise coming from the engine?
Julie: No, but then again I did have the radio on at full blast.
3. Give the American English for the words in italics.
a) The windscreen's got a crack in it.
b) The jack is in the boot.
c) Lots of people don't use the indicator.
d) We have to get off at the next junction.
4. What's the opposite of the marked words?
a) Turn the lights on, please.
b) We've never bought a new car.
c) Remember to loosen the nuts.
d) Don't leave the headlights on full beam*.
5. Give definitions to the following words and word combinations:
safe/dangerous driving, to zig-zag, lane, dual carriageway, roundabout, congestion, a speed gun, bumper to bumper, pedestrian, rush hour, drink-drive limit, to beat the jams.
* Использованы материалы журнала Spotlight. Einfach English. -
München: Spotlight Ver-
6. Comment on the picture relying on the vocabulary from ex. 5.:
7. Comment on the statements (to be done in writing):
S The best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it.
S Life is like a taxi. The meter just keeps ticking whether you are getting somewhere or just standing still.
S Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by traffic from both sides.
S The only way of catching a train I ever discovered is to miss the train before.
S If God had really intended men to fly, he'd make it easier to get to the airport.
S Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.
S Petroleum and coffee had no value a few centuries ago.
S Most motorcycle problems are caused by the nut that connects the handlebars to the saddle.
S Walking isn't a lost art: one must, by some means, get to the garage.
S I like an escalator because an escalator can never break, it can only become stairs.
S No one can drive us crazy unless we give them the keys.
8. Solve the puzzle:
1 2 3
4. The man was clocked by a speed __as he was overtaking.
5. a metal lid over the front of a car (Am)
6. indicator ...
3. a piece of glass in the front of a
7. a ... tyre
8. A circular object that revolves on an axle and is fixed below a vehicle or other object to enable it to move over the ground.
9. a metal lid over the front of a car (Br)
Cross: 1. carriageway, 4. gun, 5. hood, 6. switch, 8. wheel, 9. bonnet; Down: 1. congestion, 2. roundabout, 3. windscreen, 7. flat.
9. Write a letter to the local government suggesting your ideas on how to boost safe driving. Give the authorities advice on how to reduce accident rate in your city/town. Remember the rules of letter writing.
Сведения об авторе: Матюшина Наталия Владимировна, канд. филол. наук, доцент кафедры западноевропейских языков и переводоведения, Московский городской педагогический университет E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ключевые слова: лексика, cars and traffic, British and American English.
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