Lesson 2 - Vitamin D


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- EPISODE 2: VITAMIN D

- Hello. I’m Margot Politis. Welcome to Study English, IELTS preparation.

 

- Today, we’re going to look at ways of discussing a topic. When you’re writing or speaking, you can present facts, or you can use your opinion - but how can you tell the difference? Today we’ll find out.

 

- We’re going to listen to a scientist talking about Vitamin D and cancer.

 

- In the clip, see if you can hear both “facts” and “opinions” being used.

 

- I believe that the public health problem for vitamin D deficiency is quite significant. I would estimate minimum 25% of adults in the United States, Europe and probably even in Australia are vitamin D deficient.

 

- I mean if you think about it, over 250,000 women in the United States will develop breast cancer this year. Something like 50,000 will die. If 25% of those breast cancers could have been averted, prevented in some way, just by having a little exposure to sunlight, would have been really tremendous.

 

- Margot Politis: So he was talking about the links between vitamin D and cancer.

 

- Many Australians these days are avoiding the sun, because they know it can cause skin cancer. But by avoiding the sun, they’re missing out on vitamin D – the vitamin that you get from sunshine, and this is leading to other health problems.

 

- When you’re reading, writing or listening to an argument like this, it’s important to be able to tell the difference between statements of fact, and statements of opinion.

 

- But how can you tell the difference?

 

- Well, there are a number of ways you can express your opinion.

 

- Today we’re going to look at two of these: using phrases that express an opinion; and using modal verbs.

 

- First, let’s look at some phrases.

 

- The key words to listen for when you’re trying to decide whether someone is talking about facts or opinions are words like believe, think, argue, feel, opinion, or view.

 

- These vary from formal to informal.

 

- If I was talking with my friends I might say “I think” or “I believe”

 

- If I was in a class or tutorial, I might say “In my opinion”, or “in my view”.

 

- But if I was writing an essay, or giving a very formal talk, I’d probably choose “it is believed”, or “it is thought”.

 

- In formal writing, many people think you should avoid using the word ‘I’, even if you are giving an opinion.

 

- Here’s the clip again. Listen for some of those phrases.

 

- I believe that the public health problem for vitamin D deficiency is quite significant.

 

- I mean if you think about it, over 250,000 women in the United States will develop breast cancer this year. Something like 50,000 will die.

 

- Another way we can express opinions is by using modal verbs.

 

- Model verbs express opinions and attitudes. They make statements less certain or less definite.

 

- They can also be used for recommending and advising.

 

- Here are the modal verbs used for opinions

 

- Would; should; could; might

 

- These words signal that the speaker is giving an opinion.

 

- Look at these examples. Can you tell which ones are facts, and which ones are opinions?

 

- Fifty thousand will die.

 

- Fifty thousand might die.

 

- The second statement uses “might” - it is an opinion. Here’s another one…

 

- I do not think small amounts of sunlight increase the risk of cancer. Small amounts of sunlight do not increase the risk of cancer.

 

- In the first statement, you can see ‘I do not think …’. This is an opinion. Now look at these 2 sentences:

 

- 'I believe that vitamin D deficiency might become common among adults'. 'Vitamin D deficiency will affect 25% of adults'.

 

- The first is an opinion - 'I believe', 'might become'. The second is a fact - 'will affect' 25% of adults.

 

- Now let’s watch the clip again – listen for the phrases and modal verbs of opinions.

 

- I believe that the public health problem for vitamin D deficiency is quite significant. I would estimate minimum 25% of adults in the United States, Europe and probably even in Australia are vitamin D deficient.

 

- I mean if you think about it, over 250,000 women in the United States will develop breast cancer this year. Something like 50,000 will die. If 25% of those breast cancers could have been averted, prevented in some way, just by having a little exposure to sunlight, would have been really tremendous.

 

- OK, so you can see that Professor Holick is expressing an opinion, using a combination of phrases and modal verbs.

 

- But now we’re going to look at some pronunciation tips.

 

- When you’re learning English, there are 3 very important parts of pronunciation. They are: word stress, sentence rhythm and intonation.

 

- Today we’re going to look at the first 2 – how you can practice word stress and sentence rhythm together, to improve your spoken English.

- Listen to this sentence closely for word and sentence stress…

 

- I don’t think we should blame moderate, intelligent exposure to sunlight throughout our lives as the culprit for markedly increasing our risk of developing skin cancer.

 

- Notice that the speaker uses many words with more than one syllable. That is common in formal academic language.

 

- But when you come across longer words, you have to learn which syllable to stress.

 

- For example, we say: intelligent, increasing, and markedly.

 

- Notice that when you stress one syllable, the vowels in the other syllables are shortened.

 

- Sometimes these short syllables become a schwa - an 'uh' sound - or an 'i'. They're short, relaxed sounds.

 

- Listen to: 'moderate', 'intelligent', 'exposure', 'culprit', 'markedly', 'developing', 'cancer'.

 

- This shortening of syllables preserves the overall sentence rhythm. Listen to the clip again...

 

- I don’t think we should blame moderate, intelligent exposure to sunlight throughout our lives as the culprit for markedly increasing our risk of developing skin cancer.

 

- So when you're learning to speak English, you need to learn the pronunication of individual words. But you also need to practice sentence rhythm - putting the words together into sentences. This is much easier when you get used to shortening the non-stressed vowels.

 

- OK. Listen again to the clip, and then we'll practice some more...

 

- I mean if you think about it, over 250,000 women in the United States will develop breast cancer this year. Something like 50,000 will die.

 

- If 25% of those breast cancers could have been averted, prevented in some way, just by having a little exposure to sunlight, would have been really tremendous.

 

- OK, now you can try it. Listen to this sentence:

 

- It would have been tremendous to have averted or prevented significant vitamin D deficiency.

 

- Let’s look at each of those words – we’ll highlight which syllable is stressed. See if you can work out how to pronounce each word.

 

- Tremendous averted prevented significant vitamin deficiency.

 

- Now let’s see what happens when we put these words back into a sentence.

 

- It would have been tremendous to have averted or prevented significant vitamin D deficiency.

 

- Making your spoken English sound natural takes a lot of practice.

 

- Don't forget to listen closely to vowel sounds and sentence stress, and remember to practice reading and writing in English every day.

 

- And that's all from me today.

 

- I'll see you next time on Study English. Bye.

 

   

 

Source: Australia Network

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