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Archive for November, 2010

Tuesday - November 30, 2010

Name It!


QUESTION:

Levent from Turkey had the following the question: “I want to ask about the verb which you used in your podcast about the museums: “I can’t name all of the museums in this city.” I understand this verb “name.” I guess you mean that you don’t know the exact number of the all museums?”

ANSWER:
It’s not surprising that Levent isn’t clear on the meaning of the word “name.” In fact, as a verb, “name” has several meanings.

In the sentence Levent mentioned — “I can’t name all of the museums in this city.” — “name” means to identify by name, usually by saying it aloud.  When someone asks you to name something, they are asking you to provide a list aloud.  They are not asking you for a number, but rather, the names of each item on the list.  So, a conversation may go like this:
A:  “I’ve been to New York City a lot of times.  I know everything about that city.”
B:  “Okay, then, how many museums are in that city?”
A:  “I think there are 22.”
B:  “Okay, name them!”
A:  “I’m not sure I can name all of them.”

Another meaning of “name,” used as a verb, is to appoint or assign a job to someone.  You probably know the verb “hire,” which means for you, your company, or your organization to give someone a job.  We use “name” in a slightly different way, usually for a position that is important or that carries (includes) some level of honor.  For example, Jeff may be named by the President to be the new ambassador (most important political representative; diplomat) to Ireland.  Jeff is being hired for this job, that’s true, but the job is also an important position that is an honor to receive.

A third way we use “name” as a verb is to mean to specify an amount, a time, a place, a price, or another thing.  If the President offers Jeff the job as ambassador, Jeff may say, “I’ll accept the job only if you will give me a few things.”  Of course, President Obama will say, “Name it!,” meaning that Jeff should simply tell him what he wants and he’ll get those things.  Another example would be if you really wanted to buy your friend’s car, but she is reluctant (not completely willing) to sell it.  You may say to her, “Name your price and I’ll pay it.”

So, you can see that “name” has several meanings as a verb and the way to know the difference is by the context (situation; the words around it).  Thanks, Levent, for the question and I hope this is helpful.

~ Lucy

Monday - November 29, 2010

Podcasts This Week (November 29, 2010)

ON MONDAY
ESL Podcast 638 – Fire and Firefighters

In the Learning Guide: Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear), vocabulary list and sample sentences, and comprehension questions.
In “What Else Does it Mean,” learn the other meanings of “story” and “blaze.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about how “HAZMAT” or hazardous materials are handled in the U.S.
““Hazardous materials” (HAZMAT) are any substances that can harm people and the environment. They can be “chemical” (made from dangerous chemicals), “biological” (dangerous bacteria or viruses), “corrosive”…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 270

Topics: Famous Americans:  Eleanor Roosevelt; Renaissance fairs; admit versus confess; mix versus blend; chick flick

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about the song “Eleanor Rigby” by the Beatles.
“In this episode of English Cafe, we talked about one famous Eleanor:  Eleanor Roosevelt.  Another well-known Eleanor is a “fictional” (not real) one: Eleanor Rigby.  “Eleanor Rigby.” was a Beatles song released in 1966 written by…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 639 – Ordering Soups and Salads

In the Learning Guide: Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear), vocabulary list and sample sentences, and comprehension questions.
In “What Else Does it Mean,” learn the other meanings of “soup” and “stew.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about popular “Soups and Salads Named After Famous People.”
“Some soups and salads are “named after” (given the name of something else as an honor) the person who created them or the place where they were created. For example, the Cobb salad is named after Robert Howard Cobb…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

Improve your English even faster with the Learning Guide.  You can get Learning Guides for each new episode by becoming an ESL Podcast Basic or Premium Member!

Wednesday - November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow, November 25 (the fourth Thursday each November), is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. Learn more about the holiday here and here.

Once again, it is time for us to give thanks for the support of our fantastic ESL Podcast listeners, members, and donors. The song below is a parody (funny song based on another song) of the popular 1970’s Gloria Gaynor hit song “I Will Survive.”  Happy Thanksgiving!

~ Lucy

“I Will Survive” – Thanksgiving Version

At first I was an egg, I was petrified* (very scared; very frightened)
Kept thinking I’d be lost or I’d get cracked (for something hard to be broken so that a line appears on the surface) and fried
But you took me to your nest (bird’s home) before it was too late
and kept me warm and you helped me incubate (for an egg to be kept warm until a bird is hatched or born).

And now you’re back, think you’re the boss
Wanna put me on a plate next to your wife’s cranberry sauce (a sweet jelly sauce made from cranberries, eaten at Thanksgiving)
I should have known this day would come
I should have known not to relax
If I thought for just a second that you’d come in here with an ax (tool for cutting wood).

Go on now go, walk out the door
Just turn around now
Ain’t chopping (using a sharp tool to cut) my head to the floor.
Weren’t you the one who prized (highly valued) this dark meat on my thighs (upper part of a leg)?
Do you think I’d gobble (make the noise that a turkey makes)?
Did you think I’d lay down and die?

Oh on, not I.
I will survive.
Oh as long as I know how to peck (for a bird to use its hard mouth (beak) to hit or bite), I know I’ll stay alive.
Got my wings so I won’t fall,
Ain’t selling me to Butterball (popular U.S. company that sells turkeys).
I will survive.
I will survive.

* “Petrified” can also mean for a living thing to turn into something very, very hard because it is very old, like a fossil.

Monday - November 22, 2010

Podcasts This Week (November 22, 2010)

ON MONDAY
ESL Podcast 636 – Being Lazy and Energetic

In the Learning Guide: Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear), vocabulary list and sample sentences, and comprehension questions.
In “What Else Does it Mean,” learn the other meanings of “out of it” and “so what.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about a very famous lazy man in literature:  Rip Van Winkle.
“One character in American literature is famous for his “laziness” (lack of energy and motivation, not wanting to do anything): Rip Van Winkle.  American author Washington Irving wrote a short story called…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 269

Topics: Minimum wage; cyber crime; I will want to versus I would want to; except for; conversely

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “Common Ways for Children and Young Teenagers to Earn Extra Money.”
“In the U.S., many children receive an “allowance,” which is a small amount of money they get from their parents to buy what they want.  Some children spend it on candy or toys, while others “save up”…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 637 – Planting Flowers and Trees

In the Learning Guide: Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear), vocabulary list and sample sentences, and comprehension questions.
In “What Else Does it Mean,” learn the other meanings of “to dig” and “left.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Different Types of Gardens.”
“Many Americans like to have a flower garden in front of their house to make it more beautiful. The gardener tries to plant a lot of colorful plants that “flower” (bloom; produce flowers) at different times of the year. If the plants are chosen because they’ll “attract”…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

Listening to our podcasts + reading the Learning Guides = better English.  If you enjoy our podcasts, please consider supporting ESL Podcast by becoming a Basic or Premium Member!

Thursday - November 18, 2010

Starting Salaries

Most college students worry about how much they will make (how much they will be paid) at their first job after they graduate (complete their studies), what we would call their starting salaries.  As you already know, the answer to that question depends on what your major (field of study or concentration) is.

Recently, the website PayScale.com and the Wall Street Journal newspaper published a list of the average starting salaries for U.S. college graduates getting their first job after graduation.  The statistics (numbers; figures) are from the years 1999 to 2010.  From highest average salary to lowest, here is the list (note: dollar amounts are for one year’s salary or pay):

  • Engineering (all combined): $56,000
  • Computer Science: $50,000
  • Civil Engineering: $49.000
  • Accounting: $43,000
  • Economics: $42,000
  • Finance: $41,000
  • Biology: $38,000
  • Business: $38.000
  • Marketing: $37,000
  • Political Science: $36,000
  • Psychology: $35,000
  • Communications: $34,000
  • English (study of literature): $34,000

Remember that many graduates work in areas unrelated to their actual major in college.  An English major, for example, may get a job in sales, or an engineering major might get a job at a bank.  Not all majors are listed here, and these statistics are just for the beginning salaries.

What was my major?  My first degree was in history, which I finished in 1986 (well, sort of – it’s a long story!).  I don’t remember my exact salary for my first year of work, but the job was in the business office of a company that made clothing.  I’m sure it was less than $12,000 a year.  Adjusted for inflation (the change in the “price” or worth of money over time), today it would be about $24,000 (calculation done here).

It was a good thing (fortunately) I went back to school to study something else after that first job!

~Jeff

Photo credit for Columbia University (where President Obama graduated from): Wikipedia CC

Monday - November 15, 2010

Podcasts This Week (November 15, 2010)

ON MONDAY
ESL Podcast 634 – Resembling One’s Parents

In the Learning Guide: Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear), vocabulary list and sample sentences, and comprehension questions.
In “What Else Does it Mean,” learn the other meanings of “candid” and “profile.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Family Portraits and Portrait Studios.”
“Many Americans like to go to professional photography “studios” (rooms or buildings where art is created) to have family portraits or children’s portraits taken. Often this is done at the end of the year so the photos can be “enclosed in”…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 268

Topics – Famous Authors:  Stephen King; Traffic School; cost versus charge versus fee; in a New York minute; couple

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “The American Film Institute’s Top 10 Most Thrilling Movies.”
“A “thrill” is a feeling of sudden excitement, and many people look for thrills in their free time…But do you like to go to the movies for a thrill?  If you do, you might be interested in the American Film Institute’s 2001 list of the Top 10 Most Thrilling Movies…”  – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 635 – Arranging Airport Transfer

In the Learning Guide: Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear), vocabulary list and sample sentences, and comprehension questions.
In “What Else Does it Mean,” learn the other meanings of “to be out” and “shuttle.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Luxury Vacation Packages.”
“A “standard” (regular; normal) vacation package usually includes just “the basics” (the most common, necessary things), such as “airfare” (the cost of airplane tickets) and “lodging” (the cost of staying in a hotel). Most tours, “admission fees”…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

The Learning Guides help you learn English even faster.  Please consider supporting ESL Podcast by becoming a Basic or Premium Member and get your Learning Guides today!

Thursday - November 11, 2010

Little Boys’ Dreams

Little boys’ dreams often become the lives of grown (adult) men. When I use the word “dreams,” I’m not talking about those images and sounds that come to us while we’re sleeping. Rather (instead), I’m talking about the hopes and desires that grow from our imagination, often when we’re young–sometimes very young. These dreams can give us the courage, strength, and determination to pursue (go after; work toward) goals and ideas that others would never consider (think about doing).

I was reminded of these dreams by two videos that I came across (found) recently. The first video is of a three-year-old conductor. A conductor is the leader of an orchestra (a group of musicians playing instruments). This three-year-old boy is not conducting a real orchestra, but he is using his imagination to do what a conductor does, while he listens to a CD of one of Beethoven’s symphonies (a longer piece of music played by a full orchestra). And he does it quite well – for the first 2 or 3 minutes! I don’t know if he’s really dreaming of becoming a conductor some day; however, this may be where the dream begins.

You can see the video here, on Open Culture, along with the same piece of music conducted by the great Herbert von Karajan.

I identify with this dream because I had the same dream. I didn’t start when I was three, but when I was a few years older, I spent hours “conducting” Beethoven’s symphonies – all nine of them – in my parents’ dining room where the stereo was. Part of that dream came true. Today, as a hobby (something you do for pleasure), I am a member and assistant conductor of a choir (group of singers) that performs music written by many of the great composers (writers of music).

The second video comes from a Yahoo! Canada News story that tells about a seven-year-old boy whose dream took him to the edge (beginning) of space:

Most kids dream about becoming an astronaut (a person trained to travel into space) when they grow up, but one youngster (child) from New York just couldn’t wait for a glimpse (quick look; peek) of space.

Seven-year-old Max Geissbuhler and his father Luke came up with a solution (a way to solve a problem or do something): send a balloon equipped with an HD (high definition) video camera and iPhone into the stratosphere – 30 km above Earth’s surface.

Father and son packed their equipment into an insulated (protected from hot and cold) casing (container; box) and hitched (attached) it to a balloon. They even included hand warmers to help keep the equipment from freezing (for liquid to become so cold that it turns solid) and a handwritten note from Max to strangers who might discover the balloon.

The experiment was a resounding (very great; complete) success. The camera captured (recorded) amazing footage (video showing a particular event) of the blackness of space and the curvature (curve or roundness) of the Earth before the expanding (getting larger) balloon burst (exploded) – as expected – from lack (not enough) of atmospheric pressure (pressure or force from the weight of air). The team then located their device, protected by a parachute (a large piece of fabric that fills with air and allows a heavy object to fall slowly), by utilizing (using) the iPhone’s GPS (global positioning satellite) capability.

Despite not technically (officially) reaching space – the boundary (line that marks the edge of something) is usually defined as 100 km above Earth’s surface – the camera did get a peek (glimpse; quick look). Not bad for a seven year old.

You can see the video here – Homemade Spacecraft – on Vimeo.

Little boys’ – and little girls’ – dreams are important. They often provide the spark (action or event that makes something happen) they need to accomplish (do) great things. I’ve seen it happen.

I hope that you and your children dream dreams – and accomplish them!

~ Warren Ediger – creator of Successful English – where clear explanations and practical suggestions help dreams of better English come true.

Photo by W. Ediger


Monday - November 8, 2010

Podcasts This Week (November 8, 2010)

ON MONDAY
ESL Podcast 632 – Negotiating a Business Deal

In the Learning Guide: Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear), vocabulary list and sample sentences, and comprehension questions.
In “What Else Does it Mean,” learn the other meanings of “demand” and “to walk away.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Due Diligence in Business and Philanthropy.”
“Before “investing” (putting money or other resources into something, hoping to make more money or see results) money in anything, it is important to “conduct” (do) “due diligence,” learning as much as one can about something and making sure…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 267

Topics:  Video-game violence; ROTC; should have done versus should have to do; just versus only; to learn as (one) goes

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “Video Game Publishing.”
“Similar to book publishing, video game publishers are companies that prepare products for sale to “consumers” (buyers).  And like other publishers, video game publishers are responsible for “manufacturing,”…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 633 – Moving Out of a Home

In the Learning Guide: Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear), vocabulary list and sample sentences, and comprehension questions.
In “What Else Does it Mean,” learn the other meanings of “mover” and “to load.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “How to Select a Moving Company.”
“Using the services of a moving company can make a move less “stressful” (causing anxiety and worry), but it’s important to hire a good, “reliable” (something one can depend on) moving company…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

If your English is improving with ESL Podcast, please consider supporting us by becoming a Basic or Premium Member!

Thursday - November 4, 2010

How Old is Old?

As many of you know, I turned (reached the age of) 47 this year. Am I old?  The answer to this question depends, in part, on how old the person is who answers it.

A recent study by the Pew Research Center here in the U.S. found that – not surprisingly – the older you are, the older you think “old” is.  Below are their findings (results of their survey):

  • If you are an 18- to 29-years old, you think “old” is 60.
  • If you are ages 30 to 49, you think that 69 is “old.”
  • If you are from 50 to 64, you think 72 is “old.”
  • If you are 65-years-old or older, you think 74 is “old.”

There is a 14 year difference between what a twentysomething (someone in their twenties) and those who are over the age of 65 think “old” is.  Of course, the notion (idea) of “old” has itself gotten “older” over the years; that is, someone in 1810 would have thought that you were “old” at a much younger age than 60 or 70, since the average person simply didn’t live that long.

Perhaps by the time I’m 74, I’ll be considered just a kid!

~ Jeff

Photo credit: Wikipedia Public Domain

Monday - November 1, 2010

Podcasts This Week (November 1, 2010)

ON MONDAY
ESL Podcast 630 – Making a Medical Diagnosis

In the Learning Guide: Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear), vocabulary list and sample sentences, and comprehension questions.
In “What Else Does it Mean,” learn the other meanings of “battery” and “to flare up.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “How Medical Staff Prepare Patients to See a Doctor.”
“When Americans “see” (have an appointment with) their doctor, the “medical assistant” (the person whose job is to help the doctor) usually takes several standard or normal “measurements”…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON WEDNESDAY
English Cafe 266

Topics:  Ask an American: minority doctors; if I were; I wish I were; near versus close; to hold (something) against (someone)

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about the long-running “TV Show: ER.”
“Many people are fascinated by “medical dramas” (TV shows about doctors), and ER was one of the most popular medical dramas in the United States. “ER” “stands for” (is an abbreviation for) “emergency room,” or the part of a hospital that…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ON FRIDAY
ESL Podcast 631 – Customizing a Personal Webpage

In the Learning Guide: Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear), vocabulary list and sample sentences, and comprehension questions.
In “What Else Does it Mean,” learn the other meanings of “background” and “mood.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Parental Controls for Social-Networking Websites.”
“Many young children use “social networking sites” (websites that allow people to interact with each other) to communicate with their friends and “distant” (living in another place far away) family members. However, they are not always aware of the “implications”…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

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