English as a Second Language (ESL) Podcast - Learn

English as a Second Language (ESL) Podcast - Learn

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A podcast for those wanting to learn or improve their English - great for any ESL or EFL learner. Visit us at http://www.eslpod.com.

Episodes

English Cafe 583  

Topics: Andersonville Prison; garbage versus litter versus trash versus rubbish; downtime; pronouncing eight, height, and weight

Words:
Confederacy
Union
slavery
to capture
prisoner of war
starvation
disease
skeleton
war crimes
to be hanged
to execute
National Historic Site
veteran
garbage
litter
trash
rubbish
downtime

1,264 - Customer Loyalty Programs  

Get something extra for always shopping at the same store. Learn how in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:35
Explanations: 4:48
Fast dialog: 20:07

Wynn: I’ve come up with a surefire way to bring in more business.

Dixie: How?

Wynn: We’ll start a customer loyalty program. All of the big businesses have them.

Dixie: I’m not sure how they work.

Wynn: They’re mainly point-based systems. Our customers sign up and we’ll give them a membership card or keychain tag with a barcode. Each time they make a purchase, they get points. Once they’ve accumulated enough points, they can redeem them for rewards.

Dixie: Okay, but what’s this?

Wynn: It’s a punch card. Each time a customer buys something over $25, they get a punch. When they’ve received 10 punches, they get a $10 discount.

Dixie: I understand all that, but what is this chart for?

Wynn: It shows our new tiered system. Customers who spend over $1,000 a year are on the blue level, those who spend more than $5,000 are on the red level, and those who spend $10,000 are on the gold level. We’ll have incentives to get people to move up the ladder.

Dixie: So which of these customer loyalty programs are we adopting?

Wynn: All of them.

Dixie: Huh? How are customers supposed to keep track of all of these programs?

Wynn: Good question. See this? It’s a free wallet we’ll be giving away. Customers can keep all of their customer loyalty cards in it. Isn’t it nice?

Dixie: It’s nice, but will people really use it?

Wynn: You’ve got a point. Maybe we should come up with a reward program for those who do. Hey, that’s brilliant!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

1,263 - Bragging About Success With Men  

What happens when you fall in love with a beautiful woman? You may just find you have company. Learn all about it in this episode.
Slow dialog: 1:19
Explanations: 3:17
Fast dialog: 17:59

Evan: Who are going out with tonight?

Chantelle: I’m not sure. I might go to dinner with Steve or Eduardo or Jim.

Evan: Dinner is in a couple of hours. You mean they’re waiting around for your call?

Chantelle: They’d better be. They’re the ones vying for my attention, so they’d better be at my beck and call.

Evan: How many guys are you juggling?

Chantelle: Not that many, only the ones who are really devoted admirers. I try to throw them a bone now and then.

Evan: By keeping them waiting.

Chantelle: It’s good to keep them on their toes.

Evan: And by making them jealous of each other? I saw how angry Jack got when he saw you flirting with Kwan and later getting cozy with Mike.

Chantelle: Jack can’t stay angry with me. We’ll kiss and make up.

Evan: Don’t you ever get tired of toying with so many men?

Chantelle: I’m not toying with them. It’s not my fault that men find me irresistible.

Evan: Right, just like moths to a flame. No wonder so many get burned!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

English Cafe 582  

Topics: Traditional Gospel Music and Thomas A. Dorsey; cliché versus stereotype; chicken versus hen; to nail it

Words:
gospel
to emerge
spiritual
lively
congregation
preacher
blues
composition
to arrange
choir
precious
cliché
stereotype
chicken
hen
rooster
to nail it

1,262 - Failing a Driving Test  

You can’t drive in the United States unless you pass a driving test. Find out how to fail it in this episode.
Slow dialog: 1:21
Explanations: 3:20
Fast dialog: 21:23

Oleg: I failed!

Daria: What?! How could you have failed your driving test again?

Oleg: I got nervous and I did everything wrong.

Daria: Like what?

Oleg: When I accelerated, I ground my gears and raced the engine. The car jerked so hard that the examiner nearly fell off her seat.

Daria: Oh, that’s bad.

Oleg: Yeah, I know. I failed to stop at a traffic light and changed lanes in the intersection without signaling.

Daria: Yikes.

Oleg: The examiner told me to back off because I was tailgating the car in front of me. She also pointed out the speed limit because I had been speeding.

Daria: It couldn’t have gone much worse, could it?

Oleg: Oh yes, it could have and it did. When she warned me about my speed, I got so flustered that I slammed on the brakes and nearly caused an accident.

Daria: What did she say when that happened?

Oleg: She cried uncle and told me to take her back to the office as fast as humanly possible!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

1,261 - Reading About Research on Health  

Four out of five dentists recommend that you listen to ESL Podcast while brushing your teeth, according to one recent study. Learn all about reading research in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:20
Explanations: 3:23
Fast dialog: 18:32

Vivian: Wait! Don’t use that toaster.

Eric: Why? I want some toast for breakfast.

Vivian: It isn’t safe. I’ve just read about a research study that found people who use toasters have higher incidences of tumors.

Eric: That’s ridiculous. I’m having some toast with my coffee.

Vivian: You can’t use the coffee maker, either. The use of coffee makers is linked to heart disease.

Eric: Are you putting me on? Where are you getting this junk science?

Vivian: From very reputable sources.

Eric: I bet these so-called researchers are making sweeping conclusions and fraudulent claims based on limited or nonexistent data.

Vivian: Stop!

Eric: What now? I’m opening the refrigerator to get some milk.

Vivian: Refrigerators emit harmful rays that can be bad for your vision.

Eric: Wait a second. Are you having trouble sleeping again?

Vivian: As a matter of fact, I am. I haven’t slept in three days.

Eric: I don’t need any research study to tell me that people who don’t sleep think kooky thoughts!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

English Cafe 581  

Topics: The John Peter Zenger Trial; tone versus hue versus tint versus shade; wherewithal; pronouncing saw, sew, sow, and sue

Words:
apprentice
printer
journal
governor
to rig
anonymous
libel
trial
to disbar
jury
amendment
speech
press
tone
hue
tint
shade
wherewithal

1,260 - Transport and Shipping Mishaps  

What happens when a package you send doesn’t arrive? Find out in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:20
Explanations: 4:06
Fast dialog: 20:43

Una: Get on the horn and find out where our cargo is.

Jackson: I’ve been trying. Last week, I finally reached someone at the transport company and all they would tell me was that due to unforeseen circumstances, there will be a delay in delivery.

Una: Didn’t they give you any details?

Jackson: None at all. When I called again two days later, I spoke with someone else who said there may have been a mishap in transit, such as a truck breakdown or accident.

Una: But our cargo is being shipped by sea.

Jackson: That’s what I told her. She said the delay could be due to something as simple as bad weather and that our cargo probably hasn’t been captured for ransom or lost at sea.

Una: Captured for ransom?! Lost at sea?!

Jackson: She said that probably hasn’t happened. When I called again yesterday, I was told the cargo had arrived at the port, but that there’s a problem.

Una: What kind of problem?

Jackson: The person I spoke to didn’t know, but thought that it could be a delay in customs clearance or even a loss of refrigeration.

Una: A loss of refrigeration?! That would be disastrous.

Jackson: I know, but then again, who thought transporting Alaska snow to California was a good idea?

Una: Our wonderful director, remember?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

1,259 - Discovering a Family Secret  
Every family has secrets. Learn how to talk about them in English in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:34
Explanations: 4:03
Fast dialog: 19:59

Kelly: [sniffling]

Yoon: What’s the matter? Are you okay?

Kelly: You know that my mother’s funeral was last weekend. I brought some of her papers home with me to sort through and I’ve had a shock.

Yoon: What? An old family secret? Some skeleton in the closet?

Kelly: It was for my mother. While reading some of her letters, I found out that she had a son out of wedlock when she was young and she gave the baby up for adoption.

Yoon: Wow, that’s a bombshell!

Kelly: Yeah, I feel like I’ve been sucker punched. This is life- changing.

Yoon: Maybe you can ask your aunts and uncles about it.

Kelly: But what if my mother didn’t disclose this to me for a reason? I don’t want to air her dirty laundry now that she’s gone.

Yoon: You wouldn’t be airing dirty laundry. A part of your family history has come to light and you have questions. That’s natural. And plus, you’re keeping it in the family.

Kelly: But maybe they’ll feel like I’m dredging up something they wish had been forgotten.

Yoon: Or maybe they’ve been waiting for a chance to talk about it. You haven’t mentioned the most shocking part.

Kelly: What’s that?

Yoon: You may have a half-brother somewhere out there.

Kelly: Oh my God, you’re right. That possibility is both thrilling and terrifying!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

English Cafe 580  

Topics: Famous Americans – Marian Anderson; in a heartbeat versus in a second versus in a moment; old versus stale

Words:
choir
philharmonic
to tour
segregation
scholarship
memorial
to draw attention to (something)
patriotic
accomplishment
goodwill ambassador
lifetime achievement award
in a heartbeat
in a second
in a moment
old
stale
deal with it

1,258 - Causes of Plane Crashes  

Nothing in life is 100% safe, so you should probably listen to this episode just in case you need to talk about the things that can go wrong on an airplane.

Slow dialog: 1:21
Explanations: 3:41
Fast dialog: 21:05

Angelica: So the book I’m writing starts with a plane crash.

Corey: What caused it?

Angelica: It doesn’t matter. That’s not part of the story.

Corey: But characters have backstories, so you should have a backstory for the plane crash.

Angelica: Okay, the plane crashed because of mechanical failure, or better yet, pilot error.

Corey: What happened? Was it because the pilot misread the instruments or had a problem navigating?

Angelica: I don’t know.

Corey: Maybe he or she was incapacitated due to an illness. What kind of illness?

Angelica: Forget it. Let’s say instead that it happened because of an act of God.

Corey: Like a lightning strike? That’s not very likely.

Angelica: Okay, how about some problem with the flight crew that caused the cabin to depressurize and the plane to go into a tailspin.

Corey: What was the problem with the flight crew?

Angelica: It doesn’t matter!

Corey: Maybe a member of the flight crew was a hijacker and it was an act of terrorism.

Angelica: Okay, let’s say that’s what happened. Happy?

Corey: But wait! Who was the terrorist? What were his aims and what was his cause?

Angelica: You know what? I think you should put that in your book!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

1,257 - Repairing Damage to an Auto Body  

If your car is in an accident, you may need to get it fixed. Learn how to talk about it in English in this episode.
Slow dialog: 1:23
Explanations: 3:32
Fast dialog: 16:02

Miles: It’s something, isn’t it?

Yuki: Yeah, it’s something all right. Where did you get this heap?

Miles: My uncle sold it to me. This car has been sitting in his garage for years and he finally said I could have it for a good price. I need some auto body work done on it. There’s a little damage and I want to make it look good again.

Yuki: A little damage?! The bumpers are falling off and the frame is bent. Was this car in an accident? I’m worried about its structural integrity.

Miles: It was in a small accident, but none of these cosmetic things affects how it runs.

Yuki: I mean there are dents and dings everywhere, and paint scratches so deep you might need to get a whole new paint job.

Miles: I’m sure you can work your magic on it and make it look new again.

Yuki: Wait a second. There’s rust all over the undercarriage.

Miles: When do you think you can have it ready for me to pick up?

Yuki: It’s ready now.

Miles: Now?

Yuki: Yes, this car is ready for you to pick up and take to a salvage yard!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

English Cafe 579  

Topics: American Authors – Philip K. Dick; on purpose versus deliberately versus intentionally; moderately versus sparingly; understatement of the century

Words:
alien
science fiction
lottery
solar
prolific
alternate universe
android
wholesale
mental illness
to be addicted
rights
on purpose
deliberately
intentionally
moderately
sparingly
understatement of the century

1,256 - Describing Fast and Slow Speed  

We’ll talk slowly in this episode so you can understand how to describe people talking quickly. Listen to see what I mean.

Slow dialog: 1:22
Explanations: 3:41
Fast dialog: 18:58

Jerome: Did you hear what the speaker said?

Elise: No, I didn’t catch that either. She’s racing through her presentation like she’s late for her train.

Jerome: I know. She speaks at such a fast rate of speech that it’s dizzying. I wish she’d slow down so I could make out what she’s saying. Most of it is mumbled or garbled.

Elise: She’s got to be breaking a record for the number of words per minute. Hey wait, she’s done. The next speaker has to be better.

Jerome: Oh my God, she’s worse! She must be the slowest speaker alive. Every utterance is drawn-out and every sentence seems interminable. She just keeps droning on and on and on.

Elise: At least we can understand her.

Jerome: Yes, but I wish she’d pick up the pace. She’s making a lengthy speech even longer. At this rate, we’ll be here until midnight!

Elise: Maybe we should try to pay attention and take notes like we’re supposed to.

Jerome: How can we when her voice is so hypnotic?

Elise: I know what you mean. I think I need some coffee. Do you want some?

Jerome: [snores]

Elise: Jerome, Jerome!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

1,255 - Talking About Gemstones  

Learn to talk about expensive rocks in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:16
Explanations: 3:40
Fast dialog: 17:14

Nathan: I’m looking for a gift for my girlfriend. Can you help me pick something out?

Ellie: I’d be happy to. We have a wide selection of jewelry with precious and semiprecious gemstones. Are you interested in something new or antique?

Nathan: I’m not sure. I’m just looking for something nice, something that really reflects our relationship.

Ellie: I understand. Let me show you some of our finest pieces. This ring has a polished faceted stone that has a lot of luster. Isn’t it exquisite?

Nathan: That’s beautiful, but it’s not really what I’m looking for.

Ellie: No problem. How about this piece? It has a lovely color and cut and it’s in a gold setting.

Nathan: Gold, huh? “Golden” isn’t how I’d describe our relationship, at least not yet.

Ellie: Okay, many of our semiprecious stones are set in silver. This one is really radiant, don’t you think?

Nathan: That’s okay, but what about these stones over here?

Ellie: Those are rough uncut stones. They need a lot of work before they’re ready for sale.

Nathan: Rough and needs work? That describes our relationship to a tee. I’ll take one of those.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

English Cafe 578  

Topics: Movies – The King and I; nation versus sovereign versus kingdom; to obstruct versus to hinder; fire and brimstone
Words:
musical
governess
arrogant
stubborn
to respect
role
autobiography
court
to exaggerate
to ban
to colonize
classic
nation
sovereign
kingdom
to obstruct
to hinder
fire and brimstone

1,254 - Being Under a Corrupting Influence  

All power corrupts, but can social media corrupt absolutely? Find out in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:25
Explanations: 3:37
Fast dialog: 16:25

Ann: I don’t like our son watching those films and reading those books. They’re corrupting his mind.

Elio: I don’t like it either, but he’s old enough to read and watch what he likes without our interference.

Ann: But they’re brainwashing him! Those books and films are full of evil, perverted ideas.

Elio: They’re certainly blasphemous and profane. I agree with you. But what can we do? Maybe his interest in them will be short-lived.

Ann: Even if he loses interest, we’ll have to find a way to reverse the damage that’s been done. He’ll need to be deprogramed.

Elio: Maybe their effect will be short-lived, too. Deep down he’s a good kid. We both know that.

Ann: Yes, but those ideas are dangerous. I hope he doesn’t act on them.

Elio: Don’t even think it. That would spell disaster.

Ann: All right, I’ll only think good thoughts.

Elio: Good.

Ann: Where are you going?

Elio: I’m hoping for the best, but just in case, it doesn’t hurt to monitor what he’s saying on social media.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

1,253 - Using a Ridesharing Service  

Get where you want to go without using your own car, a bike, a bus, or a taxi. Is it magic? Find out in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:25
Explanations: 4:04
Fast dialog: 19:58

Carl: Let’s get a taxi.

Doris: There’s no need. I’ve already ordered a car.

Carl: A limo? That’s too expensive.

Doris: No, I’m using a ridesharing service. It’s cheaper than a taxi. There’s no meter and we pay a set price.

Carl: But how do we know it’s safe? How do we know the driver isn’t a criminal or an unsafe driver? Is he going to have car insurance? Do they do background checks?

Doris: Even though it’s a peer-to-peer service, the drivers are carefully screened and the cars are tracked. Trust me. This ride will be safe.

Carl: We don’t have much cash on us.

Doris: I have a credit card on file. No cash will change hands. Look, here’s our driver. Hello, Michael.

Carl: You know our driver?

Doris: He’s my son.

Carl: But why are you paying for a ride if your son is available to pick us up?

Doris: He has his pride. He won’t take any money from me so we came up with a compromise: I hire his car whenever I need a ride to or from the airport. It works for us and there’s a bonus.

Carl: What’s that?

Doris: I get to see my son every time I travel.

Carl: That seems like a strange arrangement.

Doris: That may be so, but if you can’t get your son to visit more often, what’s a mother to do?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse

English Cafe 577  

Topics: Famous Americans – Stephen F. Austin; Classic TV – M*A*S*H; disability versus handicap versus impairment; recourse versus resort; to fly in the face of (something)

Words:
frontier
economy
land grant
colony
to negotiate
contract
revolution
to annex
mobile
surgical
comedy
syndication
disability
handicap
impairment
recourse
to resort to
to fly in the face of (something)

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