How to Talk about Winter Weather and the Winter Season with Advanced English

How to Talk about Winter Weather and the Winter Season with Advanced English

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Hi I’m Anne Marie with Speak Confident
English and welcome to this week’s Confident English lesson. Today I’ll be
answering a question that I received by email just a few weeks ago. In that email
Ahmad said, “Hi Anne Marie, thank you very much for your emails and classes in
English (you’re super welcome.) but I would like to hear from you on how to talk
about the winter season. I don’t have good words to use when I speak about it,
for example the positive points. Ahmad that was a great question and I love it
for two reasons: number one my goal is always to help you have the language you
need to speak with confidence and to speak naturally in English. So if you
want to talk about the winter season more easily in English, more naturally,
than I’m excited to help you do that. And number two, where I live it is the dead
of winter so it’s the perfect time to talk about this subject. The dead of winter. That expression might
give you an idea of how some people feel about the winter season. This idiom means
to be in the middle of winter when it is the coldest darkest period of the year
and for many this idiom describes how the winter looks and feels. So for those
of you who right now do not live in a country with a winter season – maybe
you’re in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina – and maybe you’re wondering
right now it’s the middle of summer so could you say it’s the dead of summer?
Absolutely not. We never use that expression when we’re talking about the
summertime. Summer is full of life and warmth, everything is in bloom, so instead
we say the height of summer. So for those of you in the southern hemisphere where
it’s warm and wonderful right now, you are experiencing the height of summer
while many of us up north are in the dead of winter. Now of course there are
many people who love the winter season. They find it invigorating and full of
activities. And then there are others, like me, who are simply waiting for the
season to pass. Now as I said there are people who really love the winter season,
like my husband. For them the winter is a time full of exciting sports and the
winter chill gives them a bolt of energy. A winter chill is a feeling of being
really cold and often you’re shivering. Shivering is that uncontrollable
movement or shaking of your body when you’re really cold.
Some people like that winter chill. Why? I have no idea but again for them it
sparks life and invigorates them. Now there are a couple of other ways we can
talk about the feeling of cold air in the winter in a more positive way for
example, we might say that the air is brisk or the air is crisp. In the last
few years during the winter season Americans have become obsessed with a
Danish word and concept. This word is hygge (and I’m probably
mispronouncing it if I am I’m so sorry feel free to correct me) but this concept
if I understand it correctly is focused on the idea of coziness, that feeling of
warmth and comfort. With this idea in the winter we think of warm fires, drinking
hot chocolate, wrapping ourselves in blankets, chunky knit sweaters and just
being at home and comfortable. Now a chunky knit sweater is one of those
thick, heavy, warm sweaters that we wear on the coldest days of the year. This is
the perfect weather for those lazy weekends when you just want to read your
favorite book or do some binge watching on Netflix. For those of us who live in
winter seasons with a lot of snow we of course think of winter sports like
skiing downhill skiing or cross-country skiing.
There’s snowshoeing sledding and even snowkiting. Snowkiting. Have you ever
heard of snowkiting? To be honest I had never heard of it until very recently
but it has become my husband’s brand-new hobby.
Snowkiting is when you use a board like a snowboard and you glide across the
snow or the ice using kite power. All of these sports
provide a great workout of course and they often give us an adrenaline rush. An
adrenaline rush is that sudden burst of energy and excitement that we get with
an increase of our adrenaline hormone and some people love that feeling, they
can’t wait for the winter to arrive so they can dive into those favorite sports
and get that adrenaline rush. And then you have people like me who prefer to
just stay home in that cozy feeling and wait for the winter to end. For those who
don’t like the winter season because the days are so short and dark they might
find the winter season to be very bleak – it means empty or barren, to not have any
warmth or life. And we’re always jealous of people who live in that southern
hemisphere where it’s the height of summer. For us that winter chill doesn’t
feel invigorating or full of energy. Nope. Instead for us it might feel raw, biting,
or harsh. These are all words that we use to describe a feeling that is really
unpleasant or something that makes us feel uncomfortable for example a biting
wind or a harsh wind. And speaking of wind, for us it isn’t crisp giving us
that burst of excitement. Instead the wind for us is howling. A
howl is the sound that a dog makes when it’s injured or in pain so if you
imagine the wind sounding like that it has that strong sound and we can almost
hear how cold the wind feels. And on those coldest days you have to brace
yourself just to go outside. To brace yourself means to
prepare or get ready to do something that is really unpleasant or challenging.
Now of course people who don’t like the winter can still appreciate those days
when you look outside and it’s just a winter wonderland. A winter wonderland is
a scene when you look outside after hours of snowfall and everything
is white and perfect, beautiful and it’s so quiet. But then unfortunately those
huge snow plow trucks come and they plow the snow from the roads, they remove the
snow. And at that point the snow becomes dirty and brown and slushy. Slush is
melted or watery snow. And finally, yes even though we don’t like the winter, we
do also appreciate that idea of hygge, that warmth and comfort, sitting
somewhere cozy and wonderful. But we only do it because we have to. We stay inside
to avoid freezing our butts off and we try to find the new best Netflix series
for some binge watching. (Side note: right now my favorite Netflix show is The
Crown. If you haven’t watched it yet I definitely recommend it.) But let’s get
back to the winter. Now that you have some language to talk about the good the
bad and a little bit of the ugly during the winter season I want to hear from
you. I want to know what you love or don’t like so much about the winter
season where you live. As always I do have some challenge questions for you in
the online lesson, so after you watch this video take the opportunity to
practice using some of this new language, learn from others in the Confident
English Community and even get feedback by sharing your thoughts and ideas in
the comments section at the bottom of the lesson. And if you
enjoyed today’s video be sure to give it a thumbs up on YouTube or share it on
Facebook. Those are two perfect ways to let me know that this lesson was useful
to you. And with that no matter where you live, I hope that you have a wonderful
week full of warmth and comfort and I’ll see you next week for your Confident
English lesson.

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