Cours d'anglais gratuit C1

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LEVEL C1 – NORMAN


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VOCABULARY

  • Comedian
  • Singer-songwriter
  • He enjoyed immense success
  • Abundant adoration
  • He deserved of his talents
  • Far from glamorous
  • He grew up in abject poverty
  • Subject to violence
  • Disownment
  • Resulted in
  • A childrens home
  • Working as an errand boy
  • Kicked out
  • A cabin boy
  • The Merchant Navy
  • To enlist in
  • Discharged
  • He was under age
  • To re-enlisted as
  • He was posted as
  • A bandsman
  • An education certificate
  • Boxing champion
  • Applied himself to
  • Learning to play the trumpet
  • Clarinet
  • At the outbreak of
  • The Second World War
  • A command bunker
  • War leaders
  • Shadow boxing display
  • To the delight of
  • His trademark
  • Trip-up-and-stumble
  • A charity concert
  • To become a professional entertainer
  • After a short stint
  • A private hire car driver
  • A telephone operator
  • To make his way
  • The straight man
  • To establish the character
  • Askew tweed flat cap
  • Two sizes too tight
  • A crumpled collar
  • A mangled tie
  • Ascending the ladder of success
  • Commanding massive audiences
  • Barely competent
  • Manual worker
  • The bane of
  • Endeared him to many
  • Largely confined to
  • He toured the world
  • A successful cabaret act
  • For his services
  • Much to the amusement of
  • The entertainment industry
  • Nursing home
  • His funeral took place

LESSON 86 DIALOGUE 

– Norman –

Learn English – Lesson 86 – Norman

Sir Norman Joseph Wisdom was a famous English actor, comedian and singer-songwriter best known for a series of comedy films produced between 1953 and 1966. He died in 2010 at the ripe old age of 95 and remains one of Britain’s best loved comedians as well as finding fame in Albania, South America and Iran. This gifted entertainer starred in over 40 films and television shows and enjoyed immense success and abundant adoration deserved of his talents. Though his life before finding fame was far from glamorous.

Born to Frederick and Maud Wisdom in 1915, in Marylebone, London, he was the youngest of two boys. Unfortunately he and his brother grew up in abject poverty and were subject to violence at the hands of their abusive father. The death of his mother and his disownment by his father finally resulted in his placement at a children’s home in Kent, from which he ran away from at the tender age of 11. After returning home and working as an errand boy he was eventually kicked out and at the age of 14 he travelled to Cardiff and worked as a cabin boy in the Merchant Navy.

He had attempted to enlist in the King’s Own Royal Regiment, but his mother had him discharged as he was underage though he was later able to re-enlisted as a drummer boy in the 10th Royal Hussars of the British Army. He was posted as a bandsman and was able to gain an education certificate, and learn to ride horses. He became the flyweight boxing champion of the British Army in India and applied himself to learning to play the trumpet and clarinet.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Wisdom was sent to work in a communications centre in a command bunker in London where he connected telephone calls from war leaders to the prime minister. Wisdom then joined the Royal Corps of Signals, and performed a similar military function at the unit headquarters based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

Wisdom began to develop his skills as a musician and entertainer and in 1940 he crashed an entertainment night with a humorous shadow boxing display much to the delight of his colleagues and officers. Over the next few years he developed his routine, introducing singing and slapstick, including his trademark trip-up-and-stumble. After a successful appearance at a charity concert he was urged to become a professional entertainer by the actor, Rex Harrison.

After a short stint working as a private hire car driver and a telephone operator, Norman managed to make his way into the entertainment world. His work as the straight man to the magician David Nixon helped him establish the character that would dominate his extensive film career. The character “the gump” was identified by his trademark askew tweed flat cap, with peak turned up; a suit at least two sizes too tight; a crumpled collar and a mangled tie.

Ascending the ladder of success was swift for Wisdom. Within two years he was starring in the West End and travelling, mostly, between London and Brighton for performances. He was soon commanding massive audiences and even gained the admiration of Charlie Chaplin who called Wisdom his “favourite clown”.

Almost immediately, Wisdom earned himself a BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer in 1954 for his performance in “Trouble in Store” (1953). Most of his films involved “The gump” character he had developed several years before. The characters name was Norman Pitkin, a barely competent manual worker who was the bane of “the straight man”, usually the character “Mr Grimsdale”. Wisdom’s capacity for physical slapstick comedy and his ability to portray innocent incompetence endeared him to many.

After a brief stint in the US, and receiving a nomination for a Tony Award for his performance in the Broadway musical comedy, “Walking Happy”, Wisdom returned to the UK. His subsequent career was largely confined to television, and he toured the world with a successful cabaret act. From 1995 until 2004 he appeared in the role of Billy Ingleton in the BBC comedy “Last of the Summer Wine”. In 2000, Wisdom received a Knighthood for his services to entertainment, an event which saw him receive his knighthood from the Queen then perform his trademark trip-up-and-stumble much to the amusement of Her Majesty.

Wisdom announced his retirement from the entertainment industry in February 2005, he was 90 years old. He died on 4 October 2010 at Abbotswood nursing home on the Isle of Man at the age of 95 and his funeral took place on 22nd October 2010 in Douglas, Isle of Man, where he had been living for many years. His trademark cloth cap was placed on the coffin in the church.

COMPREHENSION QUIZZES (3 to complete)

Interactive Video Comprehension Quiz 1:

Summary Statements Comprehension Quiz 2

Drag and Drop Quiz 3: 

GRAMMAR PRACTICE  – TYPES OF ADJECTIVES

An adjective is used to modify noun or a pronoun. Adjectives are placed near the noun or pronoun they are being used to describe. There are different types of adjectives in the English language:

  • Numeric: Six, One hundred and one
  • Quantitative: More, All, Some, Half, More than enough
  • Qualitative: Colour, Size, Smell etc.
  • Possessive: My, His, Their, Your
  • Interrogative: Which, Whose, What
  • Demonstrative: This, That, Those, These

They come in three forms: positive, comparative and superlative, depending on the degree of modification. For instance: big (positive), bigger (comparative), the biggest (superlative).

A handful of adjectives have irregular form. For instance: good (positive), better (comparative), the best (superlative), such as bad/worst/the worst, some/more/the most, little/less/the least…

Proper adjectives derive from proper nouns. They commonly describe something in terms of nationality, culture or religious affiliation. Just like proper nouns, proper adjectives have their first letter capitalized. For example: English, Catholic, Jewish…

Here is a comprehensive list of qualitative adjectives, classified by the type of attribute they describe:

Appearance

Clean          Drab          Fancy

Plain          Glamorous          Handsome

Beautiful          Ugly          Unsightly

Magnificent          Elegant          Quaint

Adorable

Condition

Careful          Odd          Tender

Shy          Important          Helpful

Clever          Dead          Alive

Inexpensive          Famous          Gifted

Rich          Powerful          Wrong

Feeling

Proud           Eager          Delightful

Kind          Lively          Thankful

Relieved           Silly          Victorious

Straight           Hollow        Lazy

Jealous          Angry            Helpless

Itchy          Nervous          Mysterious

Obnoxious          Friendly           Panicky

Repulsive          Thoughtless          Scary

Uptight          Worried            Embarrassed

Bewildered            Overwhelmed          Defeated

Devastated          Enthusiastic          Grumpy

Light-hearted

Size

Chubby          Broad          Wide

Long          Colossal          Massive

Scrawny (very thin)          Puny (very skinny, undersized)

Tiny          Immense          Huge

Fat          Gigantic          Great

Large          Petite          Miniature

Colour

Blue          Green          White

Grey          Purple          Black

Yellow          Orange          Red

Time/Age

Old          Old-fashioned          Rapid

Short          Slow          Fast

Late           Brief          Ancient

Modern          Long          Swift

Young

Taste/Touch

Delicious          Greasy          Fresh

Bitter          Sweet          Salty

Spicy          Hot          Strong

Tasteless          Tart          Prickly

Juicy          Oily          Tasty

Fresh          Wooden          Yummy

Touch

Boiling           Chilly            Creepy

Cuddly          Dry           Dusty

Flaky          Filthy          Curly

Bumpy          Broken           Damaged

Dirty

Quantity

Abundant          Sparse          Substantial

Light          Many           Much

Numerous           Few           Full

Empty

Materials

Cloth          Leather          Metal

Cotton          Wool           Silk

Satin          Corduroy          Plastic

Rock           Cardboard          Wooden

Glass          Concrete           Flannel

Denim          Velvet          Paper

Nylon          Polyester

Weather

Rainy            Damp            Humid

Revolting           Showery           Windy

Warm          Cloudy           Blustery

Crummy          Drizzly          Frosty

Icy          Hazy           Arid

Bitter          Stormy          Tempestuous

Shape

Square           Round           Steep

Hollow          Low           Skinny

Bulky         Circular           Triangular

Rectangular            Oval

Purpose

Sleeping           Heating          Roasting

Origin

Lunar            Eastern            Greek

French

PRONUNCIATION PRACTICE 

  • Related Pronunciation Video Lesson and interactive exercise(s):

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