Podcasts This Week (July 2, 2012)

Why not make the best use of your time when you listen to our podcasts? Read along as you listen to improve your reading AND listening.

In our Learning Guides, you will see a transcript of every word spoken on the podcast. You’ll also get more vocabulary, language explanations, sample sentences, comprehension questions, and cultural notes, in each Learning Guide.

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ESL Podcast 804 – Dealing With Time Changes in Scheduling

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 throw off” and “to set back.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Standard Time and the Railroads.”
“Through the mid-1800s, cities and towns in the United States used “local mean time,” which established a “uniform” (not changing; the same in all places) time for a specific…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

English Cafe 353

Topics: The Dred Scott Decision; the Zodiac; to snag versus to hitch; in the moment versus at the moment; I’ll tell you something

In the Learning Guide:  Get a full transcript (written version of every word you hear).
In “What Insiders Know,” you will read about “Polly and Lucy Berry,” a slave and her daughter who successfully sued for their freedom.
“Many “slave narratives” (stories usually written by former slaves about their life as a slave) were written in the United States in the 1800s, but there are very few…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

ESL Podcast 805 – Listening to Shock Jocks

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 “commute” and “to go too far.”
In the “Culture Note,” learn about “Infamous Shock Jocks.”
“America’s “airwaves” (radio stations) are filled with many DJs, but the “shock jocks” tend to get “the lion’s share” (most) of listeners’ attention…” – READ MORE in the Learning Guide

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6 Responses to Podcasts This Week (July 2, 2012)

  1. Myo ko ko says:

    Just before I start to “shoot the breeze” (look it up in episode-28 😉 ), I’d like to dedicate some corner of this note to expressing my gratitude
    to dear sister Betty (from Hong Kong, but, that I know of, her country’s name has no connection with the movie: King Kong 😉 ) for her kind,
    warm, nice and sweet note giving the extra data on the “sweet corn”. Betty, please accept my a bit belated thankfulness.
    At first, I thought it was only Jeff who loves doing research. Now I know you Betty love digging something out, too.
    Remember? I just dropped some lines about this confusing word “ear” but you’ve come up with ample of data of “Wiki’s page” about this fruit, maize.
    No word can contain my gratefulness to you, Betty, for your kindness. Please be always so, my sister. This is the way you carry yourself around this Blog.
    This is the way you present yourself as a nice, warm and sweet commentator here on this lovely Blog. Betty, you’re one of the best comment-givers that we can ever have around this Blog.
    You’re one of the best note-leavers that are hard to come by. You’re one of the best comment-writers that we can hardly find one out of millions.
    Betty, if you will know, I always “peg you as” (again see in lesson-534) one of the nice, kind and sweet women who ever look at good sides.
    I don’t know why exactly, but I have this feeling. Maybe because the way you write here on this lovely Blog.
    Betty, I know that in terms of “how old we are,” I’m much younger than you. You can put me at …well, any age as you can think of me. 😉
    The point I’m carrying here is that we ESL students here transcend what most people think are so important. I mean we here appreciate each one’s comments,
    we “value” each one’s words. In other words, we take care of “friendship,” – no matter how old you are, what gender you belong to, poor or rich,
    what race you originated from, which part of globe you live in, what religion you believe in – We need none of these factual statements.
    What we need is just “you” learning English here happily with our great teachers Jeff, Lucy and Warren, and of course some notes from you for all of us here to
    read and share to show that we all are life-long friends, colleagues, counterparts, peers, co-learners here on this very Blog and so forth. Sorry, I’m a bit serious.
    So, Betty, I sincerely hope that you’ll never go away from this lovely website as long as the conditions (all included) on your side favor you, will you, I wonder?

    Now let me turn to my teachers.
    Hi teachers
    Another week is just rolling in, huh? Clock is ticking, even if we aren’t aware of it. I ask myself the same question – Am I making the best use of my time here? Well, I think so.
    They say “Time is Money.” That isn’t true enough. “Time is Life,” indeed. Every moment of the second hand of a clock has the power to make us old.
    So every time I see this ESL Team’s announcement, I just realize that I get old one week more! 😉 Week, month, year, yesterday, today, tomorrow … oh, we invented them just to count time.
    But they are now judging how old we are. Today’s Myo ko ko is not as young as yesterday’s Myo ko ko. But, thanks God, none of ESL friends here knows how old I am. 😛
    Oh, forgetting “yesterday,” neither will I think of “tomorrow.” Why should I throw “now” after “maybe.” Now I’m right here to learn English and to express my gratitude to my ESL teachers.

    Well, Jeff and Lucy,
    The other day I was listening to your “Bonus” track –”Secrets to Improving Your English”– as Lucy re-posted the link to the audio file in her note on the Blog.
    Jeff, you explain Lucy’s scripts with “big heart.” The way you explain things on the podcasts makes us speak English like a native speaker, and makes us English-wise. 😉 Thanks a million! Oh, I have to say something here.

    Jeff and Lucy,
    Listening to the “Bonus” audio file, I got a thought to transcribe it to practice my listening skill and writing skill. And I’d like to drop it here just in case someone misses the audio version.
    I know there are some parts that I don’t get to Jeff on that track. But as you can see, I tried my best with the transcript. Oh, I found out that transcribing is a time-consuming work!
    And it is so much for non-native speakers like me. To transcribe, I first put down the lines on a piece of paper and took it to the Internet Café and then typed.
    No, no I couldn’t get it done in one sitting. You know “one day, at a time” technique enables me to have come up with this transcript.
    By the way, it would be a pleasure if my ESL friends here correct the transcript when they find out errors and typos in it! Here I copy and paste it.

    Secrets To Improving Your English (Part-1)

    Hello, I’m Dr. Jeff McQuillan, senior researcher at the Center for Educational Development in Los Angeles, California. This series is about how we acquire or pick up a new language,
    and what the best strategies are for improving your language skills. We’re going to begin by talking about some basic ideas, some basic principles behind language acquisition.
    The purpose of this series is to help you, the person trying to improve your language skills, your English, or any other language, to help you understand better how we acquire or
    pick up these languages and understand what the most current scientific research is on helping you improve your language proficiency. You may not agree with everything that I’m
    going to tell you. In fact, I’m going to tell you some things that you probably think are true. I’m going to tell you that many of these things are false, that many of the common beliefs
    about how we acquire languages, how we improve our language skills are in fact wrong! Now I have reasons for saying these things, and not all linguists agree on the evidence,
    but in my own understanding, I’m going to tell you what I believe the research evidence over the last 30 to 40 years has shown. And it is shown that many of our common beliefs
    about language –what we would called language acquisition – are incorrect.

    So I’m going to ask you to keep an open mind, that is, to be open to new ideas that may be very different from the ideas that you believe or perhaps even that your teacher has told
    you in the past. There is a lot of confusion about language acquisition among many students and many teachers and also, I should say, many programs to improve English.
    Let’s begin with the first important principle.

    We acquire or pick up or improve our language skills when we understand what someone is saying to us, either spoken o r written. Another way of saying this is that we acquire
    or pick up languages when we understand “messages.” We sometimes call this the “comprehension hypothesis.**”” Comprehension, which is another way of saying “understanding,”
    is the key to language acquisition. If you can’t understand it, you can’t acquire it. Let me say that again, “If you cannot understand it, you cannot acquire it.” This is the very simple but
    a very powerful, an important idea. If you can understand this, you can really improve your language skills dramatically. If you understand this principle that “Comprehension is Everything” –
    the ability to understand what someone is saying to you or what you are reading – is the most important factor in improving language proficiency. The other side of this principle,
    what we might call “the flip side,” f-l-i-p, the other side of this principle, the opposite of this principle is if you don’t understand something, you won’t acquire any language from it.
    So if someone were to talk to you in a language you don’t understand, and talked very fast, and not help you understand – in anyway – no pictures, no gestures, no moving
    their hands, and so forth … nothing! If they were just to speak with you very quickly, and you didn’t understand anything. That will not help you acquire that language.
    You will not pick up that language from that experience.

    Now let’s suppose, for example, that I wanted to acquire or pick up Chinese. Now I don’t speak any Chinese right now, but I want to learn. If I pick up a book in Chinese about Physics or Chemistry.
    Will I pick up any Chinese, will I acquire any Chinese? The answer is probably “NOT,” or very, very small amount. Most of the time I spent trying to read that book would be wasted. It will not help me
    improve my language acquisition.

    Let me talk a little bit now about what I mean by “understanding language,” “understanding messages.” What does it mean to understand something? How much do you have to understand?
    Let’s go back to my example of acquiring Chinese. At first, I’m not going to be able to understand anything unless someone says something to help me or gives me some help. So if someone
    comes up to you and they’re speaking a language you don’t understand, for me the example would be Chinese. And they’re speaking to me, unless they do something to help me understand,
    I won’t acquire any languages. Now what could they do to help me understand? It could be something as simple as a gesture, moving their hand. For example, if someone says to you “boologaba**”
    and you don’t know what that means, “boologaba.” I just made up that word, invented that word, doesn’t mean anything, but let’s pretend we have a new language and one of the words is “boologaba.”
    Well, if I just come up to you and say “boologaba,” you won’t know what that means. But if I put my hand in front of me, indicating that I want to shake your hand, then you probably will guess that
    “boologaba” means “Hello” or “Nice to meet you,” because I put my hand out to shake your hand and normally when you meet someone, and you shake their hand, you say something like “Hello” or
    “Nice to meet you.” That movement of my hand –that gesture– helped me figure out what the language was. And if you meet ten other people, and every time they come up to you and say “boologaba,”
    they also offer their hand to shake your hand, you will start picking up that word. You will then begin to learn this new language whatever it is. It’s important, however, to understand how the shaking
    of the hand helps you understand it. So when we say “you have to understand the message,” we don’t mean that you have already picked it up. ‘Cause of course you could never improve your
    language skills if you have to know something already! In order to pick up something new, you have to hear it or read it in some way that helps you understand it. So if it’s a new word, or a new
    expression, or a new grammatical rule, you read it, you listen to it, and someone gives you some help in understanding it, so you can now understand it, then you will acquire it.

    What are some ways that people can help you understand language? Well, at the very beginning stages of language acquisition, this will probably mean some sort of “visual” –that is,
    something you can see – such as a picture, or a drawing, or a gesture we talked about, facial expressions – how they move their eyes, or their face, how they change their face.
    These can help you understand what the meaning of the words are that you are hearing. If, for example, I’m sitting down and then I say “Stand up” and I stand up while I’m saying “Stand up.”
    And then I say “Sit down” and then I sit down. Well, me standing up and sitting down – that physical action will help someone watching me understand what the language is.
    Or if I have a picture of a man and I point to it and say “Man.” Well, of course you will now understand it. You didn’t understand the word “Man” before. But because of the picture,
    now you are able to comprehend it, now you are able to understand it. Now we all know this is true because we do this with children all the time. If you are talking to a baby,
    one-year-old baby, you don’t say to that little baby: “Well, what do you think about the situation in the Middle East?” “What do you think about the price of oil in South America?”
    These are, of course, not things that little baby can understand. We don’t talk about politics and religion, or anything complicated with the one-year-old baby. Instead, we would,
    perhaps, pick up a ball and point to the ball and say “Look, ball,” “Ball,” “Can you say “ball”?” “Red ball,” “Big ball, huh?” Those are things that we would say to a baby.
    Now why do we do that? We do this naturally! No one has to teach us this. We do this because we understand that language acquisition is a product of, or is a result of comprehending.
    So when I pick up a ball and I show it to a baby, I know that they will be able to understand because I’m giving them a physical idea, I’m giving them a clue, help to understand the language.
    Now everyone understands this. But school, and many language teachers have often told us that “comprehension” isn’t important –now they haven’t said that directly, but they have shown us
    that idea by the way they teach. That’s not true for all teachers of course, there are many wonderful teachers, but the traditional way of approaching language teaching has
    not put “comprehension” as the most important factor, the most important thing. And many of us have spent many years in “confusion,” thinking that it is normal to be confused.
    Actually, if you are listening to language, or reading a book, and you are confused, you don’t understand. That’s not normal! That’s a waste of your time! That isn’t going to help you.

    What can we do to change the situation? What can we do to help understand English, or any other language, better? Well, we do a couple of things on English as a Second Language Podcast
    to help people understand language. First, we speak a little bit more slowly. Now if you are an intermediate speaker, “speaking slowly” will help you. If you are an advanced speaker,
    then you don’t need someone to speak slowly. We also use simple language – not complicated, but simple enough so that people can understand it. We also talk about things that are familiar,
    common things, the sort of things that you would see in everyday life. And most importantly, we explain things that you might not understand using “easy” language to make “difficult” language
    more comprehensible, more understandable. So I use “simple” language to help you understand more difficult language. When you listen to or read language you don’t understand,
    and someone helps you understand it with the picture, or with the explanation, then you can acquire or pick up that language. Now you might be asking yourself at this point:
    “How much do you need to understand to acquire more language?” Well, this is a difficult question. But let me give you the results of an interesting research study, scientific study on this topic.
    Scientists took a group of students and they gave them several different stories to read, now these were English-as-a-second-language students and they were college students, they were smart,
    they were motivated students. They had different groups. One group of students, they gave them stories and the stories had 70% of the words that students knew already, but 30% of the words they didn’t know.
    So 30% of the words were new to these students, they didn’t know them. Then the second group, they gave them stories that had 80% of the words that they knew and 20% they didn’t know.
    The another group, they gave 90% and then the final group, they gave 95%, 5% of the words were new. Well, they then asked the students to read the stories and they asked them comprehension
    questions to see how much they understood. What we find is that only the students in the last group, where they had 95% of the words they knew, only 5% of the words were new,
    only in that group did the students pass the comprehension test, meaning if you have less than 95%, you are going to understand much, much less.

    Now why do I talk about that particular study? What did that mean? It means that if you are listening to someone or reading something that if they help you by explaining
    or giving you stories, you can understand much of the language. But if they don’t help you, then only a small percentage of the words can be new to you. If there are too
    many new words, too many difficult words, the other words that you do know won’t be sufficient for you to comprehend the new words. In other words, think of it as a “mix”,
    and you have to have certain mix of words that you know and words that you don’t know. And if you have too many words you don’t know, there won’t be enough words you
    know to figure out those new words. This is a very, very rough idea I’m giving you here, a very approximate percentage. I’m not saying that if you read something and you
    understand 80%, that you may not acquire some new language. What I’m saying is that to make best use of your time to be most efficient, the percent of words or the percent of
    language that you don’t understand needs to be small …. because you wanna be able to understand as much as possible. And if you only have a small number of words you don’t understand,
    you can use all the words you do understand to make sense of those other words. And this is true in reading in particular, most people try to read things that are too different for them,
    and so they get frustrated. And yes, they pick up some new words when they are reading, but they are often confused, they don’t understand. And so it’s not a very efficient use of your time.
    Many people will stop reading something or won’t read very much because it’s too difficult for them. The solution, the answer to this problem is to read something that is easier,
    you will then start picking up more language because you will make better use of your time. So if you feel lost or confused for much of the time that you are spending listening or reading,
    you are probably not making good use of that time.

    Let’s talk about some of the practical things that you can do now that you understand this first important principle of “comprehension.” You wanna spend your time improving your
    English by listening to and reading things that you can understand most of, that you have an understanding of most of what is going on. This means that depending on your level
    of language proficiency, how good you are in English, you may want to start listening to things that are easier or reading things that are easier than what you maybe used to doing.
    American television and most American radio, things that are recorded at a native rate of speech for native speakers, this is for most learners going to be too fast. They are going
    to waste a lot of time because it’s too hard for them. So start by listening to something easier, ESL Podcast at eslpod.com, for example. You can also try to listen to other audio and
    visual that is easier where people talk more slowly, or even use simpler language. This can also be done for reading, in fact, I think it’s easier in reading than it is for listening
    because you can find things that are written at an easy level in English. There are some companies that publish books for English language learners that use a lower of vocabulary.
    I believe that you can find these books Oxford and Cambridge publishing companies in Great Britain have some books like this. You can also look for books that are written for
    younger readers in the United States. These will be about perhaps topics that you are not very interested in. But you will be surprised if you try to read some of these.
    Some of them can be very interesting even if they are about teenagers or children. There are lots of books that are written for younger readers that have easier language that you can
    begin to acquire, to pick up if you try them. So try, that is well! Of course, there is nothing wrong with trying to understand an American television show, or read an American or
    English newspaper, nothing wrong with that if you can understand much of what you are reading. But I would recommend that you not spend most of your time on things that are too difficult.

    Now there are many questions that we have not answered yet. We have not talked about “speaking” and “writing.” We have not talked about “pronunciation.”
    We have not talked about “grammar.” Everyone thinks grammar is so important. We have not talked about “grammar.” We haven’t talked about “vocabulary lists,”
    and other ways of trying to improve your English.

    Well, we will answer those questions in future parts of this series on “The Secrets of Improving Your English” ……

    Thanks for Everything,
    Myo ko ko

  2. mine says:

    Wow ! Myo Ko Ko you really improve your writing skills
    Good for you!

  3. Kurumi says:

    Dear Myo ko ko

    Thank you very much for your hard work.It must took you so long. I’m happy to be able to learn English motivted learners like you.

    Dear Jeff

    This podcast is a must for all the English learners! Amazing work.I’ve never been taught these ideas when I was a student. I can’t thank you enough.

    Best regards


  4. Peter says:

    U know guys,
    This weekened is a long weekened in Canada as it will be next week in U.S.

    That is not the point ,the point is the weather is ideal and people mostly are out of town enjoying a various kind of sport activities by the numerous lakes across Canada.
    What I do in such national holidays ,I curl up in bed to Eslpod and a freshly brewed pot of coffee till late afternoon. Then ,I roll out of bed and go to the movies.
    Spider man came out today. I had an eye out for it since forever. I m catching the 6:30 show.the runtime is 2 hours and 16 minutes. Well, it will pretty much take up a big chunck of the evening.

    Hey,don’t come out and judge me. I m an adventurous type of guy. I travel like other fellow Canadians even more. I travel through enourmouse culture trails made by Jeff in English cafe teritory :).
    See , I travel all right 🙂


    A nomad :))

  5. Peter says:

    Dear Lucy,

    U outdid yourself one more time on the episod number “803 ”
    It is quite a script.
    I took away a lot.



  6. Peter says:

    Dear warren,
    I have been meaning to tell that a significant number of your posts are quit rich ,English wise.

    I can tell from your works on blog that you always go the extra mile to make sure you deliver quality lessons.
    Trust me my man , I can tell.

    I really appriciate the effort you extend. It shows that you care and that you have a big heart.
    I always find your posts quite educational and informative.
    I truly enjoy them. Infact ,I don’t read your posts; I study them.

    Yours ,


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