VT Speaking Challenge 6: Space Exploration (太空探索)

Vocabulary Challenge 6: https://tw.voicetube.com/everyday/20190424

心智圖詞彙攻略: ericvocab.com 


Hello, VoiceTubers! Welcome to today’s pronunciation and academic vocab challenge! My name is Eric, your resident English teacher, and I am here to discuss one of my favorite videos from Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell.


The topic today is 太空的終結 – 囚禁人類 (End of Space Creating a Prison for Humanity)

Now when I saw this title, I asked myself how could that be? Isn’t space technology becoming more advanced? Why are we imprisoning ourselves? So the title piqued my curiosity right away! 我一看到影片標題的時候立刻想怎麼可能? 我們探索太空的科技不是越來越進步吧?

Can you think of any possible reason why?

I am not going to spoil the video for you, but what are some words that come to your mind when you think of space travel?

Astronauts? Rockets? Space shuttles? Space stations? Satellites? Orbit?

If we don’t act, our adventure in space might end before it’s even begun.


So let’s say this sentence again.

If we don’t act, our adventure in space might end before it’s even begun.


If we don’t act, our adventure in space might end before it’s even begun.

What are the possible thought groups?

If we don’t act, /  our adventure in space /  might end / before it’s even begun.

Do you want to go over grammar?

This is called the first conditional (就是第一類條件句). The “if” clause is written in present simple to indicate a possible condition and its probable result. You can use other modal verbs to replace will if you wish to express degrees of certainty, promises, or suggestions.

在第一類條件句中,if 子句使用時態是現在簡單式,而主要子句的時態是未來簡單式。在第一類條件句中,您也可以在主要子句用情態助動詞取代未來式,以表達肯定程度、允諾或有關結果的建議。

What is intonation?

Intonation is basically the rise and fall of your speech, the music of speech.

The most common example is in the use of wh-questions (questions beginning with ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘which’, and ‘how’), which usually have a falling intonation. ‘What’s your name?’, ‘Where are you from?

Yes/No questions usually have rising intonation. Do you like the teacher?’, ‘Will you sign for Eric’s class? Falling intonation tends to be used for exclamation, statements, and commands and at the end of our sentences. That’s wonderful. Like Eric is a good teacher. I mean it.

英語的語調基本上有「正常」(2)「高」(3)、及「低」(1)幾種,配合不同的句型,則有二種組合:2-3-1 pattern2-3 pattern。請見下列句型與語調型式的關係。

直述句(Statements) 2-3-1
wh 問句(Wh- Questions)
是非問句(Yes/no Questions) 2-3


2-3-1 型式是語調從「正常」開始,到該句最重要的字或音節時升到「高」,之後開始往下掉到「低」,這是最普遍的語調型式。2-3型式則是語調在重點處升高便不下降,保持尾音上揚,各位在朗讀時遇到上列句型,千萬要注意它們的語調變化。

We can use downward intonation to tell listeners that we are ending our sentence. But what about long sentences like the one we just talked about?

So let’s listen to our sentence:

If we don’t act, /  our adventure in space /  might end / before it’s even begun.

Intonation usually rises at the end of a thought group in the middle of the sentence.

Intonation falls at the end of the sentence

For lists, intonation rises at the end of every item on the list. This can be called low rise.

When it goes up in a statement, it usually means you still have something to say.

Now, these are just very basic rules, and there are many other rules and exceptions. But the first part of learning is to become aware of basic rules, listen for them in the speech of native speakers, imitate, practice, and always ask for advice.

If we don’t act, /  our adventure in space /  might end / before it’s even begun.

So we talked about sentence stress, word stress, and stress-timing, thought groups, and even a little about intonation. Now’ let’s take a break.

I am not sure if you have already watched the video, but when I watched it, I was definitely surprised by the information given. I have some basic knowledge in astronomy, and space technology, but I have never heard of the information presented in the video.

So what was the first thing I did? I first connected the new information to what I already know, and then focused on parts I did not really know.

I researched the information to check if it had reasonable sources to make sure what I am hearing at least have some research behind it. I did not just blindly accept the new info without question. And I always recommend you to do this, by asking questions and finding the answers on your own, you will learn a lot more. However, it is also very important to have basic general knowledge or you will never know what information to focus on. If everything is new, the topic might seem boring to you because you can not connect it with anything you already know. Or, you might reject the new ideas right away because it seems too difficult. Thus, I think it is very important for students to have a solid grasp of general academic vocabulary knowledge and information, which is why I am opening our academic vocab course with VT. I am looking forward to presenting you with new approaches on how to learn, how to connect information, and how to communicate in academic and professional settings!

We always seem to focus on pronunciation and grammar when we are learning English and those are very important parts of English. However, you should still use English as a tool and not just study it as an isolated language. Use it to acquire knowledge, to think critically, and to make changes. Don’t just learn it, use it!

Now, let’s go back to English learning and over some additional words:

單詞: https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E8%A9%9E_(%E8%AA%9E%E8%A8%80)

Word Form
1. undertake

(Formal) to do or begin to do something, especially something that will take a long time or be difficult


undertake a task/a project/research/


Dr. Johnson undertook the task of writing a comprehensive English dictionary.


2. irony

a situation that is unusual or amusing because something strange happens or the opposite of what is expected happens or is true


tragic/cruel/bitter irony


The irony (of it) is that the new tax system will burden those it was intended to help.


3. satellite
a device sent up into space to travel around the earth, used for collecting information or communicating by radio, television, etc.人造衛星via/by satellite (=using a satellite)通過/通過衛星(=使用衛星)The World Cup was transmitted around the world by satellite.世界盃透過衛星向全球轉播。

a spy/weather satellite


satellite television/TV


4. orbit

the curved path through which objects in space move around a planet or star

in/into orbit


orbit around…



The satellite is now in a stable orbit.


Once in space, the spacecraft will go into orbit around Earth.


The satellite orbits the Earth every 48 hours.




5. debris

broken or torn pieces of something larger


debris from


Debris from the aircraft was scattered over a large area.



OK, that is a lot of information!!!! We went over thought groups and learned a bit about intonation! We also went over many important words, and approaches to learning and thinking! Definitely check out our open academic vocab and knowledge class! This is Eric, I will see you next week!

This week, the recommended song is the Final Countdown. Check out the lyrics and you can even learn more about space!

心智圖詞彙攻略: ericvocab.com