Is ESL Podcast Out-of-Date?

Hi Lucy,

I have a special question for you. I have been listening to your podcasts for almost six months. They’re all great. I think they improve my listening and vocabulary knowledge. But are your podcast scripts popular or out-of-date?

I ask because I listen to the news about how to speak English automatically and easily. It says to me that phrases or idioms which are not used in real conversation are being used in textbooks and grammar books in schools by teachers. We need the casual speech, informal idioms and phrases which are used in real conversation and daily common speaking. So what about this?

Thanks a lot for your great job always.

Dear Miigaa,

Thanks for your email and I understand your concern.  I try very hard to put into scripts only those terms that I think are commonly used in the U.S. today.  When I write a script, I often think to myself, “Would I say this?” or “Would I hear people on the street or in a supermarket use this expression?”  The nice thing about producing a podcast, rather than a textbook, is that we can change with the times (change according to current conditions).  At the same time, we don’t want our podcasts to be out-of-date or dated (seem old-fashioned) in just a few years, so the terms and expressions you hear are those that we think are commonly-used and that will not change significantly in the short term (in the immediate future).  So while I think our scripts reflect (represent) how people speak today, we try to avoid fleeting (not staying long) slang and fads, or things that are popular for only a short time. We may talk more about those terms in the blog, but they usually don’t make it into (are not included in) the scripts.

Here’s an example:  Right now, I hear people — especially young people on TV — using the word “sick,” which traditionally means being physically ill or in poor health, as an adjective to mean “great,” “fantastic,” or “incredible.”  Here are a couple of examples:
– “That new song is sick!”
– “You didn’t like that movie?  I thought it was sick!”
My guess is that in less than six to twelve months, we won’t hear this word used in this way anymore. It is for this reason that you won’t see it used in this way in a script.  “Sick” will remain, at ESL Podcast, what you pretend to be when you want to get out of (avoid) going to school or going to work.

I hope that answers your question and thanks for listening.

~ Lucy

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16 Responses to Is ESL Podcast Out-of-Date?

  1. Oleg says:

    Hello everyone!

    I have been listening for ESL Podcasts for 4 years!
    When I moved to Canada, I realized that all the expressions I learned listening to the podcasts are really used by people here (very often)! 😉

    I learned it from my experience. If you are planning to move to the US or to Canada, I highly recommend to learn English by listening to ESL Podcasts.

    It is also great if you are subscribed to the scripts of the podcasts.
    Because the scripts contain a lot of cultural information, explaining the different aspects of life here on the North American continent.
    To me, they were really useful!

    Good luck everyone!

  2. Ali says:

    Hi Lucy,

    First of all, I wanted to thank you again for your great podcasts. I have learned a lot from listening to your podcasts and from reading your blog. Keep up the good work.
    Secondly, I wanted to take advantage of you and ask you again to release some podcasts on English Grammar and on English Writing Skills. Many of your listeners around the world, like me, have academic positions in their country and need to be professional in writing scientific articles. Even though there are a lot of resources for english grammar on internet, but what is provided by ESLPodcast team is something else. No doubt, your way in English Teaching is unique and I am sure if you release some podcasts in this field they would be the best and will help us a lot. We are looking forward.

    Your ever listener,


  3. Talal says:

    well. hi everyone. I am one of your listeners who have being supportive and fanatic about ESLPod. and I have been listening for your fabulous episodes for almost 8 months. and I dont know how to show my appreciation and gratitude to ESLpod team. especially Dr.Jeff and Dr.Lucy. I would like to point out to Ali that the approach that Dr.Jeff is following in learning English is more sophisticated than you think. the other day I read an article in the paper about language acquisition .well, guess what ??? he is the one of the rare teachers in this whole universe that is follows this method as I metioned earlier.
    just take it easy and relax. your miraculous brain will do the rest of the work. in other words, just keep listening and I can guarantee you that you will master English grammar. you are learning it subconsciously, as we all do speak our native language fluently since we were 5 or 6 years.

  4. namcuahiem says:

    ESLPod is really great. The content of each episode is never out-of-date with me, because they’re always interesting. It help me build up my big vocabulary everyday, in the easiest and most comfortable way.
    I sometimes listened to VOA Special English program. There is a script for each episode, but it doesn’t explain the new words or phrases, while there’re a lot of them in there. So I often have to look up a lot of words and easily feel bored of listening to VOA. Maybe VOA only used for Advanced Learners, so ESLPod is my best choice.

  5. Julio says:

    I think you all are really doing a great job, because you are attempting to introduce us in a lot of very actual situations, which mostly are pretty common in the life. Nevertheless there have been so many expressions and idioms that are practically impossible to remind when I have to speak English. At the best case I can remind them when I read books or magazines in English.
    That’s why I know that I have to study harder and harder. There’s no another way.
    Thank you so much from Spain,

  6. thaonguyen says:

    this is the first time i visit this website. read your commend i feel eslpod must be interesting. so i will visit this site more

  7. emiliano says:

    Five friends have said nearly all what I could say about ESL Podcast, and I agree with all of them, to me ESL Podcast and the Guides are also the best teaching I ever had, and yes I think Talal has made the smart and right asseveration that I do make mine too.
    Language acquisition is just what we have here, what Dr. Lucy Tse and Dr. Jeff McQuillan give us every week.
    Following their track we´ll have everything to acquire a good and common level of English, I do not have any doubt about it.
    Dear Ali, a pleasure seeing you here and I think that good suggestions are always welcome, but what kind of scientific subjects or
    articles could be interesting?. Sorry but I am very curious now.

    Well, Lucy my mouth is still open you have the vitue of surprising me even now after so many time and so many talks, what I coud say is
    that from this moment your honesty has increased after publishing this note from one of you listeners, but of course I know it is always your style,
    never avoiding the commitment.
    ¡Bravo¡ for you.

  8. amir says:

    Hi Dear Dr.Jeff and Dr.Lucy
    keep doing the good job
    thanks a lot. 🙂

  9. Ade Herdian says:

    I am Indonesian listener of ESL, I have been listening ESL podcast effectively for 1 year, and I found it very helpful. I learn grammatical rules in practice, I learn how to pronounce words, I also learn about current issues, culture, and many thing. Listening to ESL podcast has improved my english skill almost in all areas ( listening, writing, and speaking ), within 1 year I could improve my TOEFL score from 485 to 553. Thanks a lot to all crew of ESL Podcast, I hope you are always HEALTY, WEALTHY, AND WISE !

  10. Hilario says:

    Hi esl´s friends:
    I don´t consider for sure at all esl´s podcast to be dated or even out of up-date context. What sometimes happens is that casual and coloquial american speech, specially on tv shows and movies, are full of short slang idioms, very difficult to catch up for us the no-native ones, and which as Dr. Lucy says they´re volatile and fleet as soon as you´ve been aware of them.
    Maybe the only way to include real non-scripted speech should be to insert in the pod, some pre-recorded fresh interviews from ordinary people and related to the topic itself in the way that Dr. Jeff sometimes does on his superb English´s Cafe.
    Great people, great job !! just keep on the same way !!
    My only query about you is not having at least one more episode in the week
    Best regards for both of you in particular and extended to the whole team

  11. Talal says:

    I want to apologise for my big mistake, when I said that Dr.Jeff’s method that he follows in teaching English . not learning English. once again I am sorry and I hope I dont repeat this kind of mistakes in the future.

  12. Clover says:

    Hi,everyone!I felt the same as you at the begining of listening ESL.But.The situation is improving after lnsisted listening for neary half-year.With the increases of the vacabulary and grammar knowleadge.I can understand the large portion of the scripts what Jeff said in the podcast.The most likely reason is my poor comprehensive english knowleadge. So.fighting ,everyone.Hope we all can speak fluent english soon.Thanks all the ESL staff very much for their great job.

  13. andre colorado ctba says:

    I am from Brasil and I have only one thing to say: Congratulation for your great job, be sure you are helping many people all around the world. Thank you once again.

  14. Ali says:

    Dear Emiliano,

    Many thanks for your comment, and I am glad that you got curious about my note! I do agree with you and with Talal that the way ESLPod team are teaching english is unique. May god bless them. I have been listening to their podcasts for about 2.5 years and enjoy listening to them. Also, I do agree with you and Talal that learning a foreign language is mainly depend on your listening.

    What I meant from “scientific articles” was that since I have to write and publish scientific papers in english (for example medical papers), so I need to be totally familiar with english grammar and Scientific Writing methods, and I didn’t mean scientific papers be publish here in ESLPdod blog. In that case nobody would read them! Hope this elucidate my previous note.

    Wish you lock,


  15. emiliano says:

    Thank you Ali, all the best for you and for your country, one of the oldest civilization of the world
    that tought us so many things along hundred of years.

  16. Ali says:

    Many thanks Emiliano. I too respect your country and your culture. All the best for you and your nation.

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