May 19, 2013 02:45 PM PDT
M : today’s episode is about how to use the words: SOME ANY and NO !
C : hey, Marta, why did you choose this topic?
M : uh..well, I teach English in a private school here in Italy, my course is called “English Amplifier”
C : yes, and all of your students are so nice and so smart!
M : you’re right, they are wonderful, all of them. And they’ve been amazing this last year, they have improved so much. Let me send them a big hello: hey guys, you’re the best!
C : Hey guys!
M : Back to your question, some of my students at English Amplifier asked me about the difference between “some” and “any”. And I thought that maybe it could be interesting to our listeners as well.
C : Ok, let’s start by saying that ‘SOME’ is used in positive statements and ‘ANY’ in questions and negative statements.
M : Right.
C : for example : Marta, do you have any friends in Michigan ?
M : Yes, I do. I have some dear friends in Michigan.
C : And do you have any friends in New Zealand ?
M : uhm… no, I don’t have any friends there. I don’t know anybody from New Zealand. Not yet.
C : Do you know anybody living in Australia?
M : I do know somebody living in Down Under, yes, our beautiful friend Laura.
C : Hi Laura! Find a cute Koala bear and give him some nice big kisses from me and Marta. ☺
M : Ok, the main rule is clear. SOME in positive statements and ANY in questions and negative sentences.
C : But whenever there’s a rule, there is also….
M : ….the exception to the rule?
C : Exactly. SOME is used in questions -instead of any- when we’re dealing with REQUESTS for example: “Excuse me, could you give me some information about this museum?” or : “Can I have some water please?”
M : and OFFERS, like in : Would you like some bread? Can I get you something to drink?
C : Right, again: we use SOME in questions only for OFFERS and REQUESTS.
M : Ok, got it.
C : now let’s take a better look at negative sentences. Let’s imagine …an empty fridge.
M : how sad! Ok, the fridge is empty…and I’m hungry.
C : I’m sorry Marta, There isn’t any food in the fridge.
M : There isn’t any food in the fridge. Not Any. That’s “any” used in a negative sentence.
C : Right, but I can also say: There is no food in the fridge.
M : “no” stands for “not any”.
C : when “no” is used the verb is positive. For example:. there isn’t anything to eat. There is nothing to eat. Or: There aren’t any kangaroos in Italy. There are no kangaroos in Italy.
M : Laura, please, next time you visit Italy bring us some kangaroos! ☺
C : Kangaroos, koalas, wombats…we’ll be happy with petting any cute animals from Australia.
M : oh, wait a second. You’ve just used “any” in a positive sentence.
C : yes, when “any” is used in a positive statement it means : “it doesn’t matter which”. For example: “you can call me any time in the afternoon”. or: “A mother can do anything for her children”. Or : Where do you want to go on vacation this summer? We can go anywhere as long as there are beaches and sunshine.”
M : Sunshine! We definitely could use some sunshine here in northern Italy.
C : oh yeah, we’ve had a most unusual and terrible winter, with a lot of snow, never-ending rain and even hailstorms lately. Anyway, it’s May now and the weather will improve for sure.
M : Quoting the film “The Crow” : it can’t rain all the time! ☺
C : We hope so!
C : Ok, listeners, that’s all for now. You can find the transcript of this episode on our blog: www.myamericanfriendblog.com , Thank you everyone for liking us on facebook, following us on Twitter, watching our videos on youtube. We have received a lot of comments lately, we’re always very happy to hear from you. Special thanks to :
M : Olivier, Bairma, Gabor, Sergio, Afshin, Gertraud, Manfred, Angela, Hoa Tran, Alessandro, Igor, Letizia. Thanks everybody! Bye bye!
C : Bye!
April 06, 2013 07:51 AM PDT
Marta: Today we’re talking about “ANIMALS” !
Cindy: Hi Marta! Hey Marta, I love your hair & make-up today! You look beautiful!
Marta: Thank you, Cindy!
Cindy: You’re a STONE-COLD FOX!
Marta: Uh?...that’s a compliment, right??
Cindy: Yes! To call someone a ‘’stone cold fox’’ is a great compliment! It means they’re very good looking!
Marta: ok, then. You’re right then, I AM a stone cold fox! ☺
Cindy: Y’know, Marta, I was thinking that you love animals so much and I love animals, and I’m sure that we have a lot of listeners out there who love animals too. Wouldn’t it be fun to do an episode about animal-related idioms and expressions?
Marta: Sounds great!
Cindy: Alright get the sound effects button ready. Let’s begin with your home: you’ve got a BIRD’S EYE VIEW through your living room window! It’s incredible! I can see all the surrounding hills.
Marta: A bird’s eye view.
Cindy: A bird’s eye view means you’re high up and you have a good view of everything below you. A bird’s eye view.
Marta: I like that! How about another?
Cindy: Ok, what if I say ‘’John has EYES LIKE A HAWK!’’
Marta: Then he must have very good vision?
Cindy: Exactly, if someone has ‘’eyes like a hawk’’ they have very good vision and are attentive to everything.
Marta: What if we refer to someone as being ‘’LIKE A PARROT’’?
Cindy: Oh, here we must be very careful! ☺ Little children are like parrots- they’ll repeat everything you say! So be sure to only use polite language around them!
Marta: Useful advice! Cindy, I once heard the expression ‘’TO EAT CROW’’, what does it mean?
Cindy: To ‘’eat crow’’ means admitting that you were wrong and then suffering humiliation from it! We don’t actually eat a bird, a crow, it’s just an expression.
Marta: Can you give us a sentence?
Cindy: Sure! Steve had been bragging all year long about how his favorite football team was so awesome and they would surely beat out everyone to win the Super Bowl….
Marta: I remember!
Cindy: But when his team failed to even make the play-offs, he had to eat crow and finally admit they were a terrible team!
Marta: Got it.
Cindy: Better luck next time loser!
Marta: Ok, we’ve got it! There’s no reason to be mean to Steve!
Cindy: But seriously, Steve, you’re team is made up of a bunch of like DINOSAURS!!
Marta: Why? Because they’re old?
Cindy: …and nearly extinct! Seriously, they’re like slow…like a bunch of TURTLES. My grandmother moves faster than his team.
Marta: (sigh) ….moving on.
Cindy: Let’s talk about bugs.
Marta: You know I HATE bugs!
Cindy: I know, but unfortunately the word ‘’bug’’ is used everywhere. We can use ‘’BUG’’ to describe a problem with our computer.
Cindy: We also use ‘’bug’’ to refer to a minor illness, like a head cold or the stomach flu. If I say: I’m feeling really tired today and I’ve got a headache and a sore throat.’’
Marta: Hmm…then you must have CAUGHT A ‘’BUG’’. Ok, Cindy…let’s change the subject! Talking about bugs is starting to bug me!
Cindy: (whispering) That means she’s annoyed!
Marta: If you want to talk about bugs- then I will talk about snakes!
Cindy: No!! Not snakes! I hate snakes!
Marta: If I call someone a ‘’SNAKE’’.
Cindy: Then it’s not a compliment. It means they are sneaky, crafty, untrustworthy. Ok, ok, that’s enough creepy stuff. I’m starting to get GOOSE BUMPS Ick! Snakes!
Marta: When talking about snakes, Cindy is a big CHICKEN!
Cindy: It’s true! If someone is a chicken, that means they’re afraid, or not very brave. For example: I never watch horror movies- I’m too chicken!
Marta: It’s just acting! It’s not real!
Cindy: You wanna know the last time I watched a horror movie?
Marta: You’re a chicken!
Cindy: That’s right I am. 1999. That’s the last time I saw a horror movie in a theater. 1999. I saw ‘’The Sixth Sense’’ with Bruce Willis.
Marta: I would have loved to have been a ‘’FLY ON THE WALL’’ in that movie theater!
Cindy: Great expression! ‘’A fly on the wall’’ that means you want to quietly watch & hear what happens in a room- without anyone actually knowing that you are there. ‘’A fly on the wall’’. It’s a good one. Oh, how about ‘’THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM’’?
Marta: That’s an obvious problem or situation that nobody wants to discuss.
Cindy: ‘’The elephant in the room’’
Marta: And if you can’t see the elephant in the room?
Cindy: That would be me! I have terrible vision! (laughs) If someone has very poor vision then we say ‘’they are BLIND AS A BAT!’’
Marta: Someone with poor vision is ‘’blind as a bat’’. Got it.
Cindy: And speaking of vision, it’s nice to see the sunshine again isn’t it? I think we’re finally at the tail end of winter. It’s nearly over.
Marta: I hope so.
Cindy: Before you know it, it will be warm & sunny…
Marta: …and we’ll all be back at the beach!
Cindy: PACKED IN LIKE SARDINES! ☺ If we say ‘’we’re packed in like sardines’’ that means there are a lot of people packed into a small area, like sardines (small fish) in a can.
Marta: …or like an Italian beach during mid-August!
Cindy: Oh my, if any of you have ever experienced an Italian beach during mid-August- you will surely understand the meaning of ‘’packed in like sardines’’ ☺ And we invite you to take a look at the vocabulary at the end of this transcript. It’s PACKED with lots of fun animal-related expressions and idioms!
Marta: Cindy, are you trying to WORM YOUR WAY OUT OF this episode?
Cindy: Am I trying to avoid the responsibility of doing my job? Uh, yeah!!! The sun is shining for like the first time in a month! Let’s go out and enjoy it!
Marta: Good idea! Thank you for listening everyone!
Cindy: Thanks everyone…and a special thanks to my husband Gio who gave us the idea for this episode! Have a great day everybody! And be sure to come visit us on our blog at www.myamericanfriendblog.com. You can also catch us on Facebook, iTunes, Podomatic, Twitter and Youtube!
1. A ‘’stone cold fox’’- Slang term for someone very good looking, attractive, hot, beautiful, handsome.
EXAMPLE: Susan is a stone cold fox! She’s so beautiful. All the guys in the office are crazy about her!
2. To have a ‘’bird’s-eye view’’- An excellent view from high above the ground.
EXAMPLE: I love airplane travel because I can have a bird’s eye view of the Earth. From my window, I can see mountains, rivers, fields and clouds. It’s fascinating for me!
3. to have ‘’eyes like a hawk’’- to have excellent vision, like that of a hawk. To be very attentive to your surroundings. To watch everything. To pay close attention.
EXAMPLE: My mother has eyes like a hawk! She always knew when my brothers & I were about to get into some mischief! She always caught us before we did anything wrong.
4. To be ‘’like a parrot’’- to repeat everything one hears, like a parrot.
EXAMPLE: We are always very careful not to use any bad language in front of my 3 year old niece. She’s like a little parrot, she repeats everything she hears from the adults!
5. To eat crow- to admit you were wrong after making a strong argument and suffer humiliation afterwards.
6. To refer to something as a ‘’dinosaur’’- to imply that something is old, outdated, antique, slow.
EXAMPLE: My laptop computer is a dinosaur! It’s old, functions slowly and crashes quite often. I must save my money and purchase a new one this year.
7. Computer bug- an error, flaw, failure or fault in a computer program or system
EXAMPLE: Tomorrow I’ll take my laptop to be repaired. I must have a bug. It keeps crashing, causing me to lose all my unsaved data.
8. To catch a bug- to contract a minor ailment like a head cold or the stomach flu.
EXAMPLE: I’m feeling very tired today. My throat is sore and I have a headache too. I must have caught a bug. Tonight I will go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep.
9.To ‘’bug’’ someone- to annoy someone
EXAMPLE: It’s easy to bug my sister. She hates my preference in music. I love listening to rap. She always becomes annoyed whenever I turn my stereo on!
10. To call someone ‘’a snake’’- to call them untrustworthy, dishonest, sneaky, crafty.
EXAMPLE: My sister’s ex-boyfriend is nothing but a snake. He lied to her and cheated on her with her best friend. Our parents were so happy when she finally broke up with him because he was a terrible person.
11. To get ‘’goose bumps’’ from something- a roughness of the skin produced by erection of its papillae especially from cold, fear, or a sudden feeling of excitement (Merriam-Webster definition)
You can get goose bumps from either good or bad sensations.
EXAMPLE of a bad sensation: My uncle is terrified of spiders. Every time we talk about spiders he gets goose bumps and his face turns pale. We never mention spiders any more when he is around us! ☺
EXAMPLE of a good sensation: I got goose bumps when I heard Whitney Houston sing The Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl back in 1991. She had the most incredible singing voice I had ever heard.
12. To be a ‘’chicken’’- to be easily scared, not brave, without courage.
EXAMPLE: I’m such a chicken when I watch horror movies! I am so easily scared that I spend the entire movie with my hands covering my eyes!
13. To be a ‘’a fly on the wall’’- to go unnoticed, to quietly observe without speaking or calling attention to yourself.
EXAMPLE: I would like to be a fly on the wall during the board meeting this afternoon. I would like to see how the decisions are being made about our company’s future.
14. An elephant in the room- an obvious subject, problem, situation that no one wants to talk about.
EXAMPLE: Everyone was smiling & friendly during the office meeting, but nobody wanted to discuss the elephant in the room- which is the future of the company and our job security. For months, the company has been falling deeper into debt and rumors of layoffs & bankruptcy are flying around the office.
15. To be as ‘’blind as a bat’’- to have poor vision, a joke term meaning someone’s vision is so poor they must use sonar instead of their eyes to ‘’see’’ what is around them.
EXAMPLE: I’m blind as a bat without my glasses! I must wear them all the time in order to see clearly.
16. To be ‘’at the tail end’’ of something- to be at the end of something
EXAMPLE: I purchased my airline ticket at the last moment and therefore my seat was located at the tail end of the aircraft.
17. To be ‘’packed in like sardines’’- many people packed into a small area.
EXAMPLE: The heat was oppressive in the disco. We were packed in like sardines with no open windows. It was very hot and unpleasant. We left early and went for a walk on the beach instead of dancing.
18. To worm your way out of something- To avoid responsibility, to make excuses and leave before the job is finished
EXAMPLE: My brother was supposed to clean his room today but he wormed his way out of it by saying he had to study for a big exam on Monday.
19. Crocodile tears- fake tears, insincere emotions
Although they worked together for many years, Susan always hated Barbara. She was petty & jealous of everything Barbara had accomplished and spoke unkindly about her. When Barbara was fired from her job because of budget cuts, everyone in the office was sad. Susan cried crocodile tears. Everybody knew it was a false display of emotion because Susan had been so mean to Barbara.
20. Something ‘’smells fishy’’- Something sounds dishonest, to suspect someone of lying
EXAMPLE: Although John had a good excuse for arriving home at 3am, Barbara thought something ‘’smelled fishy’’. John had been spending a lot of time away from home lately and she suspected he may be having an affair with another woman.
21. To be ‘’sly as a fox’’- to be crafty, sneaky.
EXAMPLE: I never take my car to that mechanic! He’s as sly as a fox. If you go in for an oil change, you’ll leave with a new engine! He’s very good at finding ways to charge you extra money for simple jobs.
22. To be as ‘’slow as a snail’’- to move very slowly
EXAMPLE: I really need to purchase a new computer, the one I have is 10 years old and slow as a snail!
23. Snail mail- letters, cards and packages stamped & sent the traditional way using the postal service, instead of electronically through email.
EXAMPLE: My aunt Barbara prefers to send letters through snail mail. She’s never learned to use a computer. She laughs and says she’s too old to learn now.
24. To be a ‘’bull in a china shop’’- by using the word ‘’china’’ we refer to fine, delicate dishware (not the country of China). Expression to describe a person who is clumsy, rough, awkward, unsophisticated, destructive.
EXAMPLE: My brother is like a bull in a china shop! He’s so clumsy. My mother is always buying new dishes and glasses because my brother has a tendency to break everything he touches.
25. To be as ‘’strong as an ox’’- to be very strong, to have the strength of an ox.
My brother is an excellent athlete. He’s as strong as an ox! He’s very good in wrestling and weight lifting.
26. To be as ‘’stubborn as a mule’’- to be very stubborn, hard headed, unwilling to change opinion or listen to advice.
My sister’s car is a piece of junk. It’s always breaking down and costing her lots of money in repairs. I keep telling her to buy a new car but she’s as stubborn as a mule and refuses to listen to me. She thinks her old car is just fine.
March 02, 2013 03:54 AM PST
M: This episode is about WORKING OUT !
C: Hello everybody! It’s very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We all need to have regular check-ups, we need to eat a healthful diet and to exercise.
M: DOING PHYSICAL EXERCISE not only helps us to STAY FIT, it also improves our emotional well-being.
C : It’s true, it helps us burn off stress. In this episode you’ll learn a lot of vocabulary about EXERCISING and STAYING FIT. But don’t worry, Marta and I have no intention of turning you into FITNESS FREAKS.
C: a “fitness freak” is someone obsessed with fitness, almost addicted to going to the gym. ☺
M: ok, I understand. Now, back to our episode, where do we start from?
C: from the word “SHAPE”. TO BE IN GOOD SHAPE or BAD SHAPE. For example: James goes running three times a week, he’s in good shape. Meaning: He’s healthy and fit.
M: He’s in good shape. Ok.
C: Or TO STAY / TO KEEP / TO GET IN SHAPE. For example: Susan is a little overweight, she has just started going to the gym, I’m sure she will get in shape very soon. Or: Mary goes hiking every weekend, that’s how she keeps in shape.
M : Ok, got it. What kind of activities can we do to stay in shape?
C : Watch out, because to describe those activities in English we use three different verbs: TO DO, TO GO and TO PLAY.
M : Let’s start with to do.
C : For example: to do yoga, to do karate, to do aerobics…
M : To play?
C : to play sports, like in : to play volleyball, to play baseball, to play soccer, to play tennis, to play golf…
M : to go?
C : to go hiking, to go swimming, to go jogging, to go bike riding or to go cycling, to go skiing, to go for a walk and to go to the gym.
M : How about the word “WORKOUT” ?
C : to WORK OUT means to do physical exercise, so what you do is a workout.
M : to work out. Ok.
C : For example: Ted is in really bad shape. He needs to go to the gym and work out.
M : Ok, what could this Ted do in the gym TO GET HIMSELF BACK INTO SHAPE?
C : well, first of all, he could lay off the cheeseburgers…
M: …after that
C: Well, Ted could start with some WARM UP exercises.
M : warm up exercises?
C : when you do warm up exercises…or we could just call it a “warm up” you get your body ready for exercise, for example by stretching, by doing a light workout on an EXERCISE BIKE, by walking on a TREADMILL…
M : wait, wait, the exercise bike is the stationary bike we use indoors, like the exercise bike you gave me and now I have in my apartment and use quite often, but what is a treadmill?
C : the treadmill is that piece of equipment we use to walk or run while staying in place, because we run on a moving belt. I have one in my office, I love it!
M : ok, back to our Ted who’s trying to get fit, what could he do after his warm-up session?
C : Eat lettuce….
M: Hmm, good idea, but maybe he could do something more?
C: He could DO SIT-UPS and PUSH-UPS.
M : can you explain that please?
C : Sure, ok, Marta, lay on the floor.
M : what?
C : Lay down on the floor, on your back, with your legs bent.
M : Cindy, are you my personal trainer or what??
C : come on, Marta. (sound of whistle blowing) On the floor. Sacrifice yourself for our podcast and our listeners. Do it for the sake of your art!
M : all right. There, ok, give me a second, there, I’m lying flat on my back.
C : now lift up almost to a sitting position then lie back down again, over and over again, ok, good. You’re DOING SIT-UPS. You’re actually strengthening your abdominals, or your “stomach muscles”.
M : (shortness of breath) ok, what’s next, boss?
C : now lie face down on the floor, put your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Ok, now push your body up and let it down slowly. Great, you’re DOING PUSH-UPS. Keep going, Marta, keep your back straight, come on, 18, 19, 20, 21….
M : (shortness of breath) hey hey, wait a second, don’t you think our listeners have already understood what push-ups are??!
C : yes, but I’m beginning to like being a personal trainer… Now, Marta, let’s move on to WEIGHT LIFTING. Ok. Here are your weights.
M : do I really have to do this?
C : Yes, weren’t you the one talking about how physical exercise is important for our well-being at the beginning of this episode?
M : ok, but you said that too.
C : right, aren’t you happy that I’m this concerned about your well-being??!?
M : ok, ok, I’ll lift weights, but you have to go on with the episode and tell our listeners other useful vocabulary and idioms.
C : No problem, all right. Here’s another way of saying to lift weights : to PUMP IRON.
M : to pump iron. (desperately out of breath) like …what I’m doing…right now?
C : lifting weights over and over again -combined with a healthful diet- until you look like the female version of The Rock, Dwayne Johnson. That’s to pump iron.
M : oh, my! I surrender, I just can’t keep going…
C : ok, Marta, do some stretching now while I explain the verb TO WORK OFF. That means to work out in order to lose weight. For example: Jennifer is on a diet but she had a rich dessert at lunch. Tonight she is going swimming to work off that dessert. Or: with the workout done during this episode Marta has worked off a few pounds.
M : I hope so! And talking about losing weight, can you explain the idiom: TO HAVE A SPARE TIRE?
C : If you have a spare tire you have fat accumulated around your waist, a sort of roll of flesh. To have a spare tire, this idiom gives quite a visual, doesn’t it?
M : it does. ☺
C : so, for example, Kate is getting a spare tire, she decided to go on a diet and work out in order to get rid of it as quickly as possible.
M : Well, listeners, that’s all for now. We hope you are all in good shape.
C : if not, we wish you to get yourself back into shape soon.
C: Thank you for listening our podcast on iTunes and on podomatic! Thank you for liking our Facebook page, for following us on twitter, for watching our videos on youtube and for visiting our website: www.myamericanfriendblog.com
M : We’ve had an incredible number of downloads from Vietnam lately and also from China, Japan, South Korea.
C : We’d like to send out a special thank you to our new listeners from Asia, we welcome you into the “my American friend” family! We’ll be waiting for your comments and suggestions for future episodes.
M : And a heartfelt thank you to all our old friends as well! See you soon, bye bye!
February 08, 2013 02:01 AM PST
M – to HEAR vs to LISTEN. We’re dealing with PERCEPTION VS INTENTION. (sound of phone ringing)…. Uh… Have you heard that sound, Cindy? Is that your phone ringing?
C – Yes, it is. Sorry, Marta, I need to take this call.
M - No problem.
C - Hello? Hello? Honey, can you hear me? Honey? I’m afraid it’s a very bad line, I can hardly hear your voice, can you repeat that? Wait a second… ok, now I can hear you very well. Uh uh… you took the car to the garage… is it ok now? Ok. Go ahead, I’m listening. I’m all ears. Oh, I see, you need my credit card for the bill… mmmm… how much is it? (gasping)… Honey? I’m afraid I can’t hear you anymore….hello? (hanging up).
M – How come that you couldn’t hear the voice exactly when they told you the total amount you’re supposed to pay?
C - Cell phones! ☺ Com’on, let’s move on with this episode. Here’s a good example to understand the difference between to hear and to listen: I was listening to my favorite song at full volume when I heard my neighbors knocking on the door. Marta, can you comment?
M – well, you’d better use earphones. ☺ Your neighbors shouldn’t complain, though, you have good taste in music, I’m sure it was a great song.
C – It was! Anyway, about to listen vs to hear?
M - You were listening to your favorite song, intentionally, actively, when you heard your neighbors knocking, you heard a sound unintentionally, you just heard it, without wanting to.
C – Exactly. Another example: imagine there’s a football game on TV, let’s say….Miami Dolphins VS San Francisco 49ers.
M - Wow, my husband would be excited about that!
C - Now try and tell him something important while he’s watching his favorite football team playing.
M - Hey, darling, I have great news! (game commentary on the TV….) Babe… did you hear what I’ve just said? I have great news!!
F - …what? Oh, sorry, Marta, I wasn’t listening.
M - are you listening now?
F – Sure, baby, I’m all ears. (TV : touch down Miami…) touch down!! Touch down Miami !!
C - Yeah, that’s just the way it goes! “Did you hear what I said? I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening.” It’s not your fault, Marta, it’s the power of American football.
M - It’s ok. Now how about using a few songs?
C - Sure, let’s start with Adele “I heard that you settled down….”
M - In this sentence “I heard” means: I got to know, I found out, I was told that…
C - For example: “Have you heard that Jane got married last month?” Or “I heard that you got promoted, congratulations!”
M - ok, here’s another song: “I heard it through the grapevine”
C - “I heard it through the grapevine”, it means: I heard a rumor, people are talking about it, so that’s how I got to know about it.
M - And now Beyoncé : “Listen!!”
C – Beyoncé must be angry with someone there. If you say: Listen to me! you’re demanding attention. (phone ringing) hang on just a minute Marta, oh, it’s the mechanic calling, the car must be finished. Just a moment, I need to take this call.
…Hello? Yes…how much? Are you f***ing kidding me? How much? That’s a $100 job and you want how much? No, you LISTEN to me! I’ll be there in one hour and we’ll talk about it when I get there.
M - Cindy, you scare me ☺
C – Did you hear that?
M - Yes, I was listening!
C – Well, I’m gonna give the garage something to listen to when we’re done here.
M – And actually, we’re done here. Ok, everybody, we hope we helped you understand the difference between to HEAR and to LISTEN, perception vs intention.
C – Now LISTEN UP, I’m about to tell you our website address: www.myamericanfriendblog.com
We’ve uploaded more than 40 episodes so far…
M – And if you haven’t heard our previous episodes, HAVE A LISTEN!
C - You can hear us on youtube, podomatic and iTunes. We’re also on Twitter and be sure to like us on Facebook.
M- Bye bye!
January 23, 2013 03:51 AM PST
M- Today we’re talking about being SICK.
M- Hi Cindy!
C- Hi Marta! How are you today?
M- I’m great, thanks! And you?
C- Feeling great! And I’m so thankful too, because it seems as if everyone has a cold right now! Everywhere I go people are coughing, sneezing and blowing their noses!
M- It’s this crazy weather- it’s sunny on Monday…
C- ….and snowing on Tuesday! You’re right. I always seem to CATCH A COLD when the weather changes from one season to another. My nose acts as a sort of barometer!
M- So let’s talk a bit today about being sick.
C- That will be useful because a lot of people are feeling ‘’UNDER THE WEATHER’’ right now.
M- They’re feeling ‘’under the weather’’ .
C- That means they’re feeling a little bad, not well, a bit sick. First, let’s organize our discussion by parts of the body. We’ll start with the head. If your head hurts, that’s called a ‘’HEADACHE’’.
M- But what if your headache is really strong?
C- A strong headache is called a ‘’MIGRAINE’’ and it’s terrible. Migraine headaches can cause dizziness, blurred vision (that means your eyes don’t see well), nausea & sensitivity to light.
M- A migraine. Got it. What about ear problems?
C- Well, if your ear hurts- that’s an EARACHE …which can develop into an ear infection. Pay careful attention to ear pain and see a doctor if it worsens.
M- What about when something irritates your nose, and you need to keep ‘’blowing your nose’’?
C- Then you have a ‘’RUNNY NOSE’’. That can be caused by all kinds of irritants like dust & pollen. Or maybe you’ve caught a ‘’HEAD COLD’’. A head cold is when your whole head just feels bad. You may have a headache, sore throat, sneezing and a cough.
M- Good times!
C- I caught a head cold a few months ago and I blew my nose through the entire month of September!
Let’s see, what else can we talk about? If you feel a little dizzy, you can also say ‘’I FEEL LIGHT HEADED’’.
M- I feel light headed. That means ‘’I feel dizzy’’. Alright.
C- If your neck hurts, maybe because you have slept the night before in a bad position, then you can say
‘’I HAVE A STIFF NECK’’.
M- I have a stiff neck.
C- Ok, let’s move a little lower down the body. If you feel a little nauseous, if your stomach feels bad, you can say ‘’I feel a little QUEASY’’. That means you feel nauseous.
M- And if your back hurts?
C- Like mine does right now? Then you have a BACKACHE. Or maybe it’s just a STIFF BACK and when you move around and get some exercise then your back will loosen up and feel better.
M- How about an expression related to mood?
C- Sure. If you’re feeling a little depressed, you can say ‘’I’m feeling BLUE’’, we’ve talked about that in a previous episode. You can also say ‘’I’M NOT MYSELF TODAY’’.
M- I’m not myself today. Got it.
C- ‘’I’m not myself today’’ can refer to your mood or your physical self. It can either mean you are a little depressed, or you’re not feeling well.
M- Ok, give us an example. Cindy, how are you today?
C- Oh, I’m not myself today. I guess I’m a little tired. Tonight, I’ll be sure to go to bed early.
M- Let’s move on to the rest of the body.
C- Okay, muscle contractions in the legs are pretty common. They’re very painful and usually (thankfully) don’t last long. When a muscle painfully contracts, for example from sitting in an uncomfortable position for too long, we call that a ‘’CRAMP’’.
M- When a muscle contracts and causes pain- that’s called a ‘’cramp’’.
C- Right, muscle contractions can cause cramps, but when we overextend a muscle that’s called a ‘’PULLED’’ MUSCLE.
M- Can you give us an example?
C- Sure. I tried to lift the sofa by myself, and I pulled a muscle in my back. The next time I move that heavy sofa, I will surely ask another person for help.
M- What if we injure a joint, but it’s not broken?
C- If we overextend, or twist a joint, that’s called a ‘’SPRAIN’’. It’s very painful and you may have swelling, but nothing is broken.
M- Sprained ankles are very common.
C- You can sprain your ankle playing basketball. You can sprain your knee while dancing. You can sprain your wrist while playing tennis. There are lots of ways to sprain your joints. Marta, have you ever sprained a joint?
M - No, I haven’t.
C – Lucky you!
C- Thanks for listening everyone! Marta & I want to wish everyone a HAPPY & HEALTHY day! Take good care of each other, be good to each other and we hope to hear from you real soon.
M- Stop by today and say hello on our Facebook page!
C- Or on our blog at www.myamericanfriendblog.com. We’re also on iTunes, Podomatic, Twitter and YouTube. Take care everyone and thanks for listening!
M- Thanks everyone! Bye bye!
1. ''....feeling under the weather.''- to feel a bit sick, not quite well, tired, the feeling you have just before you catch a cold, to feel run down.
EXAMPLE: Everyone in my office is sick with the flu. Today I am feeling a little under the weather. I feel very tired and I have a sore throat.
2. Headache- head pain as a result of many causes like stress, illness, loud noise, bright light, eye strain, injury...etc... Headaches can have many origins.
EXAMPLE: Please turn the volume down on your stereo! That loud music is giving me a headache!
3. Migraine- a very strong, painful headache.
4. Blurred vision/Blurry vision- out of focus, not clear, fuzzy
EXAMPLE: A migraine headache can be accompanied by nausea, blurred vision and sensitivity to light.
5. Earache/Ear infection- ear pain/infection in the ear canal
EXAMPLE: An ear infection should be taken seriously. If you have ear pain you should visit a doctor for treatment.
6. Runny nose- irritation of the nose causing it ''to run'' . Many things can cause a ''runny nose'' like dust, pollen, pet fur or illness
EXAMPLE: I love cats but unfortunately I'm allergic to cat fur. Every time I visit my sister's house, I always leave with a runny nose. Her cat is adorable but it makes me sneeze!
7. Head cold- common cold causing you to have a runny nose, sore throat, cough, headache and fatigue
EXAMPLE: I always catch a head cold in October when the weather begins to change from warm & sunny to cold & rainy.
8. To feel ''light headed''- to feel dizzy
EXAMPLE: I'm afraid of heights. I always feel light headed when I'm up too high.
9. To have a stiff neck- pain in your neck, usually as a result of strained muscles, for example, from keeping your head turned to one side for too long, sleeping in a bad position, or cold temperatures
EXAMPLE: Last night, I fell asleep on my couch and awoke the next morning with a stiff neck. I took a hot shower and now the pain has subsided and I feel much better.
10. to feel a little ''queasy''- to feel a bit nauseous
EXAMPLE: I can't stand horror movies! The sight of all that blood makes me feel queasy! I prefer funny movies instead.
11. to have a ''stiff'' back- to have a sore back, mild back pain
EXAMPLE: I must purchase a new mattress for my bed. My old mattress is old and worn out. It's too soft and it sags in the middle. Every morning I wake up with a stiff back.
12. Feeling blue- feeling a little down, depressed, in a sad mood
EXAMPLE: My brother has been feeling blue all day- it's because his favorite football team lost the Super Bowl Championship! And I'm happy because my favorite team WON!
13. I'm not myself today- I'm in a bad mood today, I'm not feeling well today, I have a lot of stress/problems and I'm unfocused (this expression can be used for many things)
EXAMPLE: I'm sorry, I'm not myself today. I'm a bit tired and I think I'm catching a cold. I have a headache today. Tonight I will be sure to go to bed early and get a good night's rest.
14. Muscle cramp- a strong contraction of a muscle, causing pain.
The marathon runner suffered a muscle cramp in his leg at the end of the race. Unfortunately, he could not finish and had to drop out.
15. Pulled muscle- to over extend a muscle, causing pain
Yesterday, I pulled a muscle in my back. I was at the gym and I tried to lift a weight that was too heavy for my body.
16. Sprain- to twist or bend a joint beyond its normal range of motion, causing pain or injury.
My brother tripped on the basketball court and sprained his ankle. The doctor said it was not a serious injury. He's in a lot of pain, but nothing is broken. He's keeping it elevated. The doctor said he must put ice on it to keep the swelling down.
January 08, 2013 07:18 AM PST
"Cindy's Corner" #1 : USA vs Italy, 10 differences.
December 21, 2012 06:16 AM PST
M – Today we’re talking about HURRYING UP and SLOWING DOWN !
M- Hi, Cindy! How are you today?
C- I’m IN A BIG RUSH today. I’m IN A HURRY. We have to MOVE QUICKLY.
M- oh, really? WHAT’S THE RUSH?
C- Yeah, sorry but we’re going to have to MOVE IT ALONG today. I’ve got to pack my suitcase for my trip back to America.
M- Cindy, CHILL OUT, RELAX. SLOW DOWN. You still have an entire week before you fly back to America.
C- I like to be prepared.
M- ok, TAKE IT EASY…you’ll be out of here IN NO TIME. Don’t worry.
C- Thank you, I’m IN A MAD RUSH today. I’m really PRESSED FOR TIME. There’s so much to do before leaving and the days are just FLYING BY.
M- Hmm…I’m sure you have a lot to do.
C- Oh, you have no idea!
M- Alright, just SIMMER DOWN. Don’t get nervous.
C- Ok, so LET’S GET CRACKING. Let’s get started with the podcast. CHOP CHOP!
C- Come on…. SHAKE A LEG! LET’S GET MOVING. How do you turn this mic on?
M- Why are you trying to skip out on me? Why are you so anxious to leave?
C- I’M UNDER THE GUN today…I’ve got a lot of pressure on me.
M- You’re under the gun?
C- Yes…and I need to be out of here IN JIFFY. I need to leave soon.
M- Okay, SETTLE DOWN, CALM DOWN…go put your feet up and chill for a second. Relax, while I get everything readyC- Ok.
M- It’s a beautiful day today. Go look outside the window and enjoy the clouds or something. . (Ok, let me fix this thing here…ok, the wire, here, ok… the volume…)
C- Are you ready?
M- No! Go sit down! What’s your problem today?
C- I’m sorry, but I have a train to catch!
M- You’ve been trying to dash out of the studio AT BREAKNECK SPEED since you got here….
C- YES! BREAKNECK speed- that means I have to go very quickly! And you just keep on talking….
M- Wait…wait a second… you have to catch a train???
M- Before, you said that you had to pack your suitcase for America!
C- Oh did I? I do…have to pack my suitcase…for the train…to America.
M- There is no train from Italy to America.
C- Oh…a bus?
M- Too expensive! Nice try. You’re BUSTED!
C- I’m busted! Damn! She figured out that I was lying!
M- What’s going on? You’re lying, and I want to know why.
C- …Ok, the shoe store at the mall is having a half-price sale.
C- The shoe store is having a half-price sale…only for today. You can buy two pairs of shoes for the price of one pair.
M- No!? Shut up!
C- Yeah, it’s true. They even have those cool black shoes that you wanted…half-price.
M- Cindy, so why are you STANDING AROUND?
M- Stop WASTING TIME! CHOP CHOP! HURRY! GET IT IN GEAR!
M- That means: Let’s go! We’ve got shoes to buy!
C- Half-price shoes!
M- Thanks for listening everyone!
C- Thanks everyone, and be sure to take a little time and say hello to us on our blog at www.myamericanfriendblog.com! Or drop us an email at ‘’email@example.com’’- and be sure to ‘’like’’ us on Facebook. We’re also on Twitter, Youtube, Podomatic and iTunes.
M- Cindy, are you still talking?? We need to get to the mall ON THE DOUBLE!
C- ok, ok…I’m coming. Just let me get my purse!
1. I’m in a big rush today- I’m in a hurry. I have a lot to do. I have a busy schedule. I don’t have much time.
2.What’s the rush?- why are you in a hurry?
3.we’re going to have to move it along today- we have to move fast/do things/work quickly today
3. chill out-relax
4. take it easy- to relax, to calm down
5. you’ll be out of here in no time- You will be able to leave quickly, in a short period of time.
6. I’m in a mad rush- I’m in a big hurry, I must do things very quickly today, I don’t have much time.
7. I’m really pressed for time- I have little time today.
8. the days are flying by- days appear to pass very quickly, as if they are ‘’flying’’’ by
9.simmer down- calm down, don’t get excited, don’t lose your temper, relax
10. get cracking- get started quickly.
EXAMPLE: We have a lot of work to finish by the end of today, so let’s get cracking!
11. We must move quickly.
EXAMPLE: We have a 24 hour deadine to finish this project, we must move quickly.
EXAMPLE: Registration for summer classes ends January 1st. You must move quickly and sign up now, otherwise you will lose the opportunity to enroll in the summer program.
12. Chop Chop!- Hurry up!
EXAMPLE: You're waking too slowly! Come on...chop chop! Walk faster or else we will miss the train!
13. Shake a leg- move quickly, hurry up
EXAMPLE- The movie starts at 8pm and it's 7:30 now. Shake a leg and let's go,otherwise we won't be able to find a good seat.
14. To skip out- to avoid responsibility
EXAMPLE: We all agreed to share the cost of the meal, but John skipped out before the end. Barbara & Susan had to pay for his dinner.
15. to be ''under the gun''- to be under a lot of pressure
We're all under the gun to finish this project early. Our original deadline was February 1st, but now the client has moved the deadline to January 1st! Everyone in the office is working as hard as they can to finish.
16. In a jiffy- very quickly
EXAMPLE: I'm very close to your house, I'll be there in a jiffy. See you in 5 minutes.
17. Settle down- calm down, be quiet, relax
EXAMPLE: The students would not settle down on the last day of school. They were too excited before summer vacation.
18. to dash out- to leave quickly
EXAMPLE: I'm sorry, I must dash out of the office early today. My daughter has a dentist appointment at 2 o'clock this afternoon.
19. at breakneck speed- at a very fast speed
EXAMPLE- That car raced through the parking lot at breakneck speed! I hope the police arrest him for reckless driving.
EXAMPLE: John ran out of the office at breakneck speed today. His wife is having a baby.
20. standing around- wasting time, non-productive, doing nothing
EXAMPLE: Will you all please get back to work, instead of standing around at the water cooler?
21. wasting time- not using time productively
EXAMPLE: You are wasting your time with John. He's not interested in a relationship.
22. Get it in gear/ Get in gear- get organized and move quickly.
EXAMPLE: Your school grades are terrible. You're going to have to get it in gear and study hard for the remainder of the year if you want to enroll in a good university after high school.
23. On the double- to leave quickly, immediately
EXAMPLE: We'll have to leave on the double if we want to be at the movie theater by 7pm.
December 03, 2012 09:31 AM PST
M - today we are going to talk about HAIR
M - …(singing) then peace will guide the planet….
C - …Marta? Are you ok?
M - ….(singing) age of Aquarius…!!
C – Marta we’re not talking about the musical, we’re talking about HAIR in general.
M – uh, ok…. hey, speaking of hair, you’re a redhead now, Cindy!
C - yes, I’ve been blonde forever and I decided to shake things up a bit.
M - well, you look great and you also provided us with a topic for a new episode: Hair! First of all ‘’hair’’ is UNCOUNTABLE in English. This is a special reminder for Italian listeners in particular. For example: ‘’My hair IS dark brown.’’
C - actually, Marta, your hair is dark brown and blue.
M - You’re right. I have blue HIGHLIGHTS, my fringe is blue. Anyway, what I was trying to say was: my hair IS.
C - You’re right, I noticed Italians tend to say “my hair are”, but that’s not correct in English. For instance my hair is curly. Or: my hair was blonde and now my hair is red. I had my hair colored.
M - and that’s another important point to remember: CAUSATIVE VERBS! For example: I HAD MY HAIR CUT.
C - Yes, that means: I went to the hairdresser and they took care of my hair. I did not cut my hair myself. So : I had my hair cut.
M - Right.
C - Other examples could be : I had my hair styled, I had my hair curled, I had my hair straightened, I had my hair trimmed.
M – Clear.
C - Marta, have you ever had your hair cut in The States?
M - No, I haven’t.
C - Ok, let’s pretend I’m a super-trendy American hairstylist. Good Morning Madam! How are you today?
M- I’m fine, thank you.
C- How can I help you?
M - I need to have my hair cut, you know, to remove the split ends.
C - Would you like to try a new style?
M – Not really, just trim the ends and fix the BANGS please.
C - Just a TRIM? C’mon I’m a super-trendy hairstylist. People wait months for an appointment with me! Ugh, all right. I can see your hair has a natural wave, how about a ‘’BLOW OUT’’ (that means straightened) then arranged into a nice PONYTAIL? That would bring out your beautiful blue FRINGE even more.
M – Ok. That sounds nice. Thank you.
C - That will be $259.
M - Are you kidding me?
C - Plus taxes. I’m a great hairstylist, not to mention a podcast superstar.
M - ok, now I get it, not only you’re a redhead now, you’re big-headed!
C - no, I was just horsing around. Now, back to hair: I know a few good hair-related idioms.
M – go ahead.
C - TO SPLIT HAIRS. For example: it was a pointless debate, both candidates kept splitting hairs instead of going straight to the core of the matter.
M – to split hairs. That means : overcomplicating things. Ok. Got it.
C – and what if I say: Marta, LET YOUR HAIR DOWN!
M - does it refer to the ponytail you wanted to charge me $259 for?
C - 259 USD. no, to ‘’let your hair down’’ means to relax, to let yourself go.
M - to ‘’let your hair down.’’
C - another idiom is: IT MADE MY HAIR STAND ON END ! it could have both a positive and a negative meaning. For example: the earthquake made my hair stand on end, it was really frightening! But also: that singer is amazing, when she strikes those high notes she makes my hair stand on end.
M - Ok, that’s all for now. Everybody check out the transcript of this episode on our website: you’ll find a list of useful hair-related vocabulary with relevant definitions.
C - such as: CONDITIONER, HAIR-SPRAY, FLAT IRON, HAIR DRYER, SALT AND PEPPER HAIR…etc..
M - love that!
C - salt and pepper hair?
M - I find men with salt and pepper hair to be very hot.
C- George Clooney is a perfect example of a man with Salt & Pepper hair. His hair is gray & black. It’s Salt & Pepper-colored.
M- George Clooney is a perfect example. Period.
C - How about you, listeners? Let us know your favorite hair styles! We want to hear all about it. Get in contact with us on www.myamericanfriendblog.com, on Podomatic.com, Twitter, iTunes, Youtube and on our Facebook page where I will go ahead and post a picture of my new red hair!
Now, Marta, come with me to the sink… we need to start on your hair.
M - what? Just a trim for $259? You must be nuts.
C - c’mon…you don’t trust me? I’ll have you out of here in no time!
M- No way!
C- Alright, I’ll do it for $200
M - I’m not going anywhere! Wait! What is that?!?! (sound of chainsaw starting)
C - C’mon! Let’s go…but I’m warning you…for $200 I’m going to have to cut some corners…
* “HAIR” is uncountable in English. EXAMPLE: My hair IS brown, My hair IS curly, My hair is long, My hair is black.
* Causative verbs! Example: I had my hair cut, I had my hair styled, I had my hair permed, I had my hair straightened.
BANGS or FRINGE: The shorter hair that is cut to hang over the forehead. Not everyone wears a hairstyle with fringe or bangs.
PONYTAIL: to gather all your hair at the back of your head and tie it with elastic, so that it hangs like the ‘’tail of a pony (small horse)’’.
TRIM: To cut a small amount off your hair. EXAMPLE: I’m going to the salon to have my hair trimmed. I don’t want a drastic haircut. I want the same style I always have. The stylist will trim just a bit off the ends to keep my hair neat and healthy looking.
CONDITIONER: Product applied to hair AFTER shampoo to keep it soft, manageable and easy to brush. EXAMPLE: My hair is very dry & curly. It is very important for me to use a good conditioner every time I shampoo my hair. Without conditioner, it is impossible for me to comb my hair after washing it. Using conditioner keeps my hair soft.
HAIR-SPRAY: Spray lacquer used to keep styled hair looking perfect. EXAMPLE: Every morning, before I leave the house for work, I use extra strong hairspray to keep my hair looking nicely styled throughout the day. If I don’t use hairspray, my hair will become very flat and straight.
FLAT IRON: A heated, electric styling tool used to make hair flat, shiny & smooth.
HAIR DRYER: Styling device that blows hot or cool air, allowing you to dry your hair very quickly.
SALT AND PEPPER HAIR: Hair that is both black & gray.
SPLIT ENDS: Damaged hair causing the ends to ‘’split in two’’.
To have a ‘’blow out’’: time consuming process in which the hair is straightened using a hair dryer, brush, styling products & heated tools like a flat iron. The end result is shiny, silky, straight hair. If the hair becomes wet it will revert back to its natural texture (wavy, curly, frizzy…etc..).
TO SPLIT HAIRS: To overcomplicate an argument, discussion, debate. EXAMPLE: The two presidential candidates kept splitting hairs & wasting time by discussing unimportant topics instead of talking about the real problems facing our country.
LET YOUR HAIR DOWN: To relax. EXAMPLE: On Friday nights, after work, I always stop by the pub to have a beer with friends and let my hair down. Seeing good friends on Friday night is my favorite way to relax and start the weekend. EXAMPLE: My sister is always busy with work commitments. She never relaxes or does anything special for herself. On Saturday, I’m taking her out to lunch & shopping afterwards. At night we’ll have a nice dinner together. For once, my sister can relax and let her hair down! She deserves it.
IT MADE MY HAIR STAND ON END: it gave me chills, strong emotional response (either good or bad). EXAMPLE (bad response): That horror movie was terrifying! Why did you take me to it???? When that scary music started to play and the killer entered the room- my hair stood on end! I was so scared! I’m never going to the movies with you again!
EXAMPLE (good): Every time I see the old footage of Whitney Houston singing The Star Spangled Banner, my hair stands on end. She was an amazing talent.
To shake things up a bit- To change the normal course of things, life. EXAMPLE: I was bored of my normal every day routine, so I decided to shake things up a bit and enroll myself in Salsa Dancing classes! It’s so much fun! I’ve met some very interesting people and Salsa Dancing is great exercise.
I’m going to have to cut some corners- to do things quickly, take a shortcut, and possibly sacrifice quality in the process. EXAMPLE: My dinner party has ballooned from 4 guests to 10 guests! I don’t have time to cook enough food for 10 people. I’m going to have to cut some corners and buy a prepared roast, some vegetables and a prepared dessert at the grocery store.
I’ll have you out of here in no time- I’ll do it quickly, in a short period of time. EXAMPLE: The garage is empty today, we have no customers in the waiting room. We’ll change your oil & put new tires on the car quickly. Don’t worry, we’ll have you out of here in no time. You’ll be back to work before lunch.
You must be nuts!- You must be crazy! You must be mad! EXAMPLE: You must be nuts if you think I’m getting on that roller coaster ride with you! No way! EXAMPLE: You must be nuts if you think I’m going to another horror movie with you again! That last movie you took me to was terrifying! EXAMPLE: I can’t believe you’re eating those hot peppers! You must be nuts! Those are the hottest peppers in the world!
Horsing around- joking around, not being serious, play fighting EXAMPLE: Stop horsing around with video games and chatting with your friends Facebook… and start studying for your History exam! This grade is very important. EXAMPLE: Stop horsing around and be quiet, your father is trying to sleep and the noise is going wake him!
Big-headed: Arrogant, to have an overly high, inflated opinion of oneself. EXAMPLE: My supervisor is the most arrogant, big headed, selfish person I have ever met. She is concerned with no one but herself. If an employee has a good idea, she immediately steals the credit for it. My coworkers and I are very happy because next month she’ll transfer to another department & we’ll be free of her! EXAMPLE: I can’t stand my sister’s boyfriend. He’s just a big headed jerk. All he does is talk about himself and his car. What an idiot! The whole family will have a party when she finally decides to get rid of him.
November 16, 2012 12:39 PM PST
M- Today we’re talking about being ANNOYED.
M- Cindy, it’s been an exciting time in America recently because the American Presidential Elections have just ended.
C- …and thank goodness for that! I was so sick and tired of hearing about politics, I couldn’t take another minute of it! By November 6th I think we’d all had enough.
M- Well, that’s not exactly the response I had anticipated…but ok.
C- By the time Election Day rolls around, that means by the time Election Day has arrived, we’re all annoyed and completely tired of it. It’s a circus of political ads & negativity.
M- So you…
C- …me, and probably most of my fellow Americans…
M- You were all ‘’sick & tired’’ of politics? Does that mean you were physically ill?
C- No, that’s means we were exhausted, annoyed, ready for it to stop. I’ll give you another example: I’m so sick & tired of listening to my colleagues argue. I really wish they would learn to cooperate with each other.
M- And when you say ‘’I couldn’t take another minute of it’’?
C- That means I could not tolerate another minute. Here’s another example: Please turn the music down, lower the volume! That’s it! I’ve had it! I can’t stand it anymore! I can’t take another minute of thrash metal!
M- Ok! Ok! You’ve made your point!
C- Thank you! Oh! ‘’You’ve made your point’’ that’s another great expression! It means: You’ve expressed your opinion clearly, I understand what you’re saying. ‘’You’ve made your point’’. That’s a very useful expression!
M- Well, at least something good has come from all your bitching and complaining this afternoon! You’ve got a major bug up your ass today!
C- I do not!
M- Yes, you do!
C- Do not!...oh wait a minute, let’s elaborate on that more, otherwise everyone will think I’m suffering an infestation of insects! ☺
M- Good idea! Let me repeat: You’ve got a MAJOR BUG UP YOUR ASS TODAY!
C- Thank you, Marta …and by the way everyone- don’t use that language in front of your grandmother, ok? Alright, my dear friend…what was that again? ☺ You’ve got a bug…?
M- …a MAJOR bug!
C- …A MAJOR BUG! Sorry…’’You’ve got a major bug up your ass today’’ okay, that means you’re annoyed today, not in a good mood, you’ve got a problem, something is bothering you and you’re being unpleasant to the people around you.
M- Can you use that in a sentence?
C- Ugh…you’re killing me! Alright, here’s an EXAMPLE: John’s got a major bug up his ass today. He’s been in a bad mood ever since he found out his wife was cheating on him with the mailman.
M- Got it. But, Cindy, I know there’s another bug-related expression out there: ‘’You’re bugging me’’.
C- We usually combine it with ‘’Quit it!’’ So, we would say: ‘’Quit it! You’re bugging me’’…or …’’Quit it! You’re starting to bug me!’’
M-that means ‘’Stop it! You’re annoying me!’’
C- uh huh, ‘’Quit it! You’re bugging me!’’ I always say that to my neighbor’s dog, but he never listens! ☺
M- Do you have another one for us?
C- Here’s one for all of you moms & dads out there. You can use this, for example, when your kids are fighting in the backseat and you need to concentrate on driving.
M- Ok, let’s hear it.
C- Knock it off!! Right now!!
C- Marta? Are you still here?
M- That depends, are you going to bite my head off?
C- No, I’m not going to bite your head off ☺
M- You’re starting to grate on my nerves. Now you’re starting to annoy ME! Why don’t you go sign up for a yoga class or something?
C- Oh! I’ve done it now! I’ve annoyed the woman of steel!
M- I think it’s time to call it a day and finish up here. Thanks for listening everyone!
C- Thanks everyone! Come and catch up with us later on our Facebook page, iTunes, Podomatic, Twitter, YouTube and on our blog at www.myAmericanfriendblog.com . We’re looking forward to hearing from you. Have a great day!
M- Bye bye!
C- Who are you calling?
M- I’m signing you up for yoga lessons.
C- I do not need yoga!
RECEPTIONIST- Good afternoon, Sleepy Acres Mental Institution…How can I help you today?
MARTA- Yes, I have a patient…when can I bring her over?
RECEPTIONIST- We have an opening today. See you at 3?
MARTA- We’ll be right over
CINDY- Hang up the phone!
October 26, 2012 08:37 AM PDT
M – Let’s talk again about SONGS!
C - Hi everyone! as we mentioned in episode #35, songs are precious tools to help you improve your English. We’ve asked you to let us know which idioms and new words you learnt thanks to songs. Well, we’ve heard back from you and we’ve collected your ideas and suggestions.
M - Let’s start with our dear friend Sergio Leon from Mexico.
C - Sergio wrote us that music and songs really helped him go beyond the English he studied in grammar books …
M- …that’s true…
C- …and listen to the real everyday English you speak when you travel the world. He knows a lot of country songs, so he’s familiar with the accent of the American South.
M – Sergio also mentioned how he noticed the difference in accent between Sting (British) and Paul Simon (American).
C - And Sergio’s favorite band is…take a guess? Bon Jovi!
M – Good choice!
C – Sergio told us that he learnt that the contraction of “I WOULD” is “I’d” by listening to the song “I’ll be there for you” by Bon Jovi
M - “I’d live and I’d die for you” . Oh, I think I had listened to that song at least a million times when I was in high school, it brings back tons of memories!! Thanks Sergio!
C - And now: Igor from Moscow! Another dear friend of ours. While driving his daughters Ann and Nastya to school, the three of them listen to songs in English together. Igor has an interesting method to suggest in order to better understand the words of a song. He has found the file of a song by Linkin Park with separate vocal tracks, so that you can listen to the voice only.
M - That’s very smart!
C - Isn’t it? Igor also told us that he learnt the expression “poker face” thanks to Lady Gaga.
M - Yes, and who didn’t? She made that expression incredibly popular all over the world with her song.
C - To keep a poker face means not to show your thoughts and emotions.
C - Ok, now our Facebook friend Manfred, from northern Germany. He mentioned a song by The Kinks entitled “Dandy”. This is the sentence he talks about: 'Hubby’s gone away and while the cat’s away the mice are gonna play'. The word ‘’Hubby’’ means husband, plus there is the idiom: "when the cat's away the mice will play". It gives a great visual. Just be sure you are not the cat!
M – Thank you Manfred for sharing this with us. Who else do we have?
C - Laura, our Italian friend now living in Australia. She learnt the expression “to feel blue” thanks to a song by Dolores O’Riordan titled “Fly through”. “You’re older now and you’re feeling blue”.
M - To feel blue.
C - It simply means to feel sad.
M - Laura also mentioned the song "Paid my dues" by Anastacia
C - Oh, LOVE Anastacia!! She actually learnt quite a strong expression thanks to that song ☺ “I don't give a damn about who's around” I don’t give a damn means I don’t care.
M – Thank you Laura for sending us your comments too.
C - Laura used to study English with you at your course English Amplifier before moving to Australia, right?
M - Right.
C – Wow. Laura, learned English sooo fast! She’s amazing. Can you think of any other students of English Amplifier who could add their comments to this episode?
M - Sure! I remember Letizia once wrote on Facebook that “Payphone” by Maroon 5 helped her revise the Second Conditional.
C - Which line is she referring to?
M – If happy ever after did exist I would still be holding you like this. It is a second conditional, she’s right.
C- And Adam Levine is a very good-looking grammar teacher!
M - And another of my students, Ilaria, learnt the expression “out of the blue” thanks to Adele.
C - Oh, I know that song, “someone like you”. “I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited…” ‘’Out of the blue’’ means suddenly, without notice.
M - Out of the blue. Easy. Songs make everything much easier!
C – They do! Now Marta give us an interesting expression in English from one of your songs.
M – mmmm, one of my songs….let me think, ok: to make blood promises. Everybody listen to this line : “They made blood promises they couldn’t keep, but they were innocent, wishing their time would never end”.
C – I know this song very well!
M – You bet! I wrote the music of this song together with Cindy’s husband. He’s a great guitar player.
C - Your husband too. Two podcasters married to two guitar heroes!
M - ….ok, back to the song: “They made blood promises they couldn’t keep”. To make blood promises.
C - That’s a very solemn ritual typical of brotherhoods, making promises and adding a few drops of your blood to show you truly mean what you say. Generally speaking “making blood promises” means to be very serious about those promises.
M - Promises you should keep, you should not break.
C - Right. To keep one’s promise, to break one’s promise. Everybody, promise you’ll go check out this song on iTunes: it’s called “TWO DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS” and it’s included in Marta’s acoustic duo EP 2012. Marta, can you give us the name of your acoustic duo again? And in as many languages as possible? ☺
M - ☺ Sure… it’s called…twelveNotes…dodiciNote…douzeNotes…doceNotas…12N…
C- available now on iTunes…Thank you!
M- Thank you! And thanks again to our wonderful listeners for helping us out with this episode: Sergio Leon, Igor, Manfred, Laura, Letizia & Ilaria.
C - Everyone, come visit us at our webpages and drop us a note! “my American friend” is on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, iTunes, Podomatic.com and of course there is also our website : www.myamericanfriendblog.com
M – See you soon! And keep listening to songs in English!
C - And to our podcast! Bye bye!
Marta's acoustic duo :
"2012 EP" available on iTunes !
October 11, 2012 05:29 AM PDT
Marta- Today we’re talking about ‘CHEATING ‘’
C- We’re talking about Cheating and being dishonest on all levels, from cheating someone in business to cheating on your partner.
M- Sadly, cheating is a common thread throughout our daily lives!
C- You really need to be ON YOUR GUARD! You need to be cautious and KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED for unsavory and dishonest characters!
M- What got you thinking about cheating?
C- Well, I don’t want to DRAG ANYONE’S NAME THROUGH THE MUD- that means I don’t want to say bad things about someone and destroy their reputation. I don’t want to drag anyone’s name through the mud.
M- Wow, what happened?
C- Okay, I’M NOT GOING TO NAME NAMES but we were in a popular resort town in Italy last week. It was a hot day so we stopped off for an ice cream and some cold water. Our server returned with 2 two filthy water glasses marred in greasy fingerprints….
C- …and my ice cream was covered in brown, rotten sliced strawberries.
M- That’s gross! Maybe they were raisins?
C- Nope, they were strawberries…and it cost us 16 Euros! ☺
M- What a RIP-OFF! They really took advantage of you two tourists.
C- But it immediately made me think of a wonderful idiom: SHOOTING FISH IN A BARREL!
M- Shooting fish in a barrel.
C- That means something is really easy, there’s no challenge to it. This ice cream shop has customers all day long, simply because of where they are located. The customers just FALL INTO THEIR LAP and they probably couldn’t care less about providing good service or decent food- they’ll make money no matter what.
M- That’s terrible!
C- No, it’s not terrible because we’re going to turn a negative situation into a positive and do a whole podcast about it! ☺
M- I like the way you think! ☺
C- Believe me, by the time I had picked off my last decrepit strawberry I had a whole episode in my head!
M- So where should we begin?
C- Let’s begin with the dreaded TOURIST TRAP!
M- A tourist trap.
C- Tourist traps are located all around the world and they’re designed to take your hard earned vacation money and give you bad service in return.
M- Restaurants can be awful tourist traps!
C- Uh huh… Tourist trap-type restaurants are eating establishments, located in major tourist destinations, which target travelers. They’re a total rip-off. They offer bad food, lousy service & high prices because they know that chances are they will never see your face again. This is why I always check online for restaurant suggestions and reviews before I waste my money on vacation.
M- Be careful because some vacation destinations can be filled with CON-ARTISTS looking to SWINDLE you out of your hard earned money!
C- A con-artist is a dishonest person who intentionally tricks or deceives people in order to take their money.
M- A con-artist cons people out of their money.
C- …and con-artists are everywhere, they can be found in every type of business! I’m immediately reminded of two SHADY car dealerships I had purchased vehicles from. If we call someone ‘’shady’’ that means they are untrustworthy..
M- Yes, and everyone if you are buying a car please be sure to purchase from a reputable, reliable car dealer.
C- That’s very important. Do some research, check online reviews and talk to friends who have purchased cars. Don’t do business with shady, disreputable, dishonest car dealers… like I did!! ☺
M- Cindy, what happened with your car? Was it a DODGY DEAL?
C- I experienced two dodgy deals! They were both bad deals! One car died at the end of the street when I drove it away and the other cost me thousands of dollars in repairs just in the first year.
M- They were dodgy deals!
C- They were! ☺ But, thankfully, THEIR REPUTATIONS CAUGHT UP WITH THEM and neither one is in business today! We’re safe! ☺
M- We all need to be aware and make careful business decisions with our money.
C- Be cautious of ‘’GET RICH QUICK’’ SCHEMES and deals that ‘’SOUND TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE’’.
M – If something sounds too good to be true… it is !
C - If a business offer promises to make you a millionaire overnight then I would say ‘’IT SOUNDS FISHY’’- that means it doesn’t sound right. It sounds suspicious.
M- It sounds fishy. Got it.
C- We can also say: ‘’I SMELL A RAT!’’
M- I smell a rat.
C- Just one rat…I smell a rat. You would never say ‘’I smell rats’’ , plural, that means you can actually smell rodents. Which is pretty bad, but we’re making references to cheating today…
M- Not rodents.
C- When something sounds wrong, when you suspect someone may be lying to you and the story doesn’t seem quite right…
M- I smell a rat!
C- Exactly! Often times we can decide whether someone is dishonest or not just by looking them in the eye. If sometime fails to maintain eye contact, if they keep looking over their shoulder nervously- be careful. We call them ‘’SHIFTY-EYED’’ and it means exactly that- their eyes ‘’shift’’ or move from place to place. The eyes are the window to the soul! So pay attention to them!
M- So Cindy, if someone looks mean, shifty-eyed and nervous they may be lying or generally untrustworthy.
C- Uh huh, and this brings us to our final subject- CHEATING ON YOUR PARTNER!
M- Cindy, what do you call a man who cheats on his girlfriend or wife?
C- Low down dirty good for nothing low life sleaze ball loser rat bastard !!!!
M- Uhm?? That’s a bit complicated. You need to simplify that…and then go to anger therapy.
C- ☺ I’m just joking. And by the way- girls cheat too. Both sides can be guilty in love. I know. I’ve been reading those Hollywood gossip sites. There was that super famous Kristin what’s-her-face who cheated on her boyfriend Robert something-or-other?
M- You have no idea what you’re talking about, do you?
C- No. Actually, I don’t. Hey, do you remember Shaggy, he’s a Jamaican-American performer? He had a huge hit song in The States all about cheating! It was sort of a catchy hip hop- reggae fusion style song.
M- That’s right, it was called “It wasn’t me” and it came out in 2000.
C- Great song! Y’know Marta, we’re making light of the subject of Cheating by playing Shaggy.
M- You’re right.
C- Cheating on your partner really isn’t funny. People get hurt and families are destroyed by it, so everybody think twice about the consequences before you stray from your relationships.
M- An extra-marital affair could have a very serious ripple effect.
C- An EXTRA-MARITAL AFFAIR is a relationship outside of marriage. A RIPPLE EFFECT refers to the waves in the ocean. When a large object, like a boat, passes though the water the waves generated by that boat can be felt all the way to the shore. That’s a ripple effect. Our actions affect not only ourselves but those around us as well.
M- Well said.
C- Thank you!
C - Well everyone, that’s it for today. Thank you for listening and we hope you’ve found this episode useful.
M- …and remember- stay away from tourist traps!
C- …and shifty-eyed characters!
M- Thanks everyone!
C- Stop by today and say hello on our Facebook page or on our blog at www.myamericanfriendblog.com. You can also download this episode and past episodes of ‘’my American friend’’ on Podomatic.com and iTunes. We’re also on Twitter and we are now available for private lessons via Skype. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll respond with all the details.
As defined by Merriam Webster:
a : to practice fraud or trickery
b : to violate rules dishonestly
c : to be sexually unfaithful —usually used with on
d : to position oneself defensively near a particular area in anticipation of a play in that area
2. To be ‘’on your guard’’-to be cautious, to watch out carefully, to be aware of your surroundings and ready to deal with a situation.
EXAMPLE: It’s important to pay attention and be on your guard when walking through certain neighborhoods in Los Angeles at night. There are some parts of the city that are quite dangerous after dark.
3. To ‘’keep your eyes peeled’’- to keep your eyes open, to be cautious, alert, aware, attentive.
EXAMPLE: Keep your eyes peeled for a gas (petrol) station! The car is almost out of gas. We must find some fuel soon- otherwise we’ll have to walk home!
4. To ‘’drag someone’s name through the mud’’- To publically speak ill of someone, to say impolite, bad things about someone and destroy their reputation professionally or personally.
EXAMPLE: We ate dinner at a terrible restaurant last week!
ANSWER: Really? Which restaurant was it?
ANSWER: I’m not going to drag anyone’s name through the mud by mentioning the name of the restaurant. It wouldn’t be fair. The staff was very nice and maybe the food will be better the next time we visit.
5. ‘’I’m not going to name names’’- I’m not going to identify anyone by mentioning their name.
EXAMPLE: You arrived home very late last night. Were you on a date? Who were you with?
ANSWER: Sorry, but I’m not going to name names. I’m going to keep that private. I never talk about my personal life and who I am dating.
6. Shooting fish in a barrel- something is very easy to do, no challenge.
EXAMPLE: There is a new ice cream shop in town. It opened across the street from the high school! The ice cream is delicious and the shop earns a lot of money. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel, every day after school the students, teachers and parents all line up to buy ice cream! It was a very good business decision to open a shop where everyone enjoys ice cream! The shop has been a great success.
7. Fall into your lap- if something just ‘’falls into your lap’’ it means you didn’t have to work hard or long to earn it. It came easily to you.
EXAMPLE: How did you get this excellent job?
ANSWER: Honestly, my supervisor, John, is a friend of my family. When I graduated from university, my mother told him I needed a job. John hired me 2 weeks after I graduated. So, I guess you could say this job just fell into my lap. I am very grateful to John for giving me the chance to prove myself worthy of this opportunity.
8. Tourist trap- a business designed to attract tourists while giving them little value for their money. Some restaurants in popular tourist destinations are famous for being tourist traps.
EXAMPLE: On our first night in Paris, we ate dinner in a total tourist trap! It was a restaurant located near the Eiffel Tower and it was filled only with tourists. The prices were high, the food was terrible and the service was even worse. On the second night, we dined in a corner bistro near our hotel. It was filled with local French people, the food was excellent and the prices were very reasonable.
9. A ‘’rip-off’’- a bad deal, when the money you have paid for a purchase does not match its value.
EXAMPLE: That hotel charges an extra $35.00 per person, per day for a buffet breakfast. It’s a complete rip-off! The food is awful and it’s very expensive. You’re better off going to the coffee shop for a nice pastry and a fresh cup of coffee for $3.00. Save your vacation money and spend it on entertainment instead.
10. Con-artists/con man- People who try to cheat you out of your money.
EXAMPLE: Don’t ever buy a car from that car dealership! The owner is nothing but a con-artist. His cars are in terrible condition and you will be very sorry if you purchase a car from him.
11. To be conned- to be taken advantage of, lied to, deceived, tricked into giving up your money.
EXAMPLE: My grandmother was conned out of her entire life savings by an unscrupulous, deceitful lying business man who promised to invest her money wisely. In the end, she lost all of her money because of his bad investments. Now my grandmother lives with us and the business man is in jail.
12. Shady- untrustworthy, suspicious.
EXAMPLE: What do you think of your sister’s new boyfriend?
ANSWER: I don’t know, he seems kind of shady to me. He has no job, yet he wears a big gold chain, drives a nice car and his clothes are very expensive. I think he’s involved in some kind of shady business dealings. I don’t trust him.
13. Disreputable- to have a reputation for bad business, poor customer satisfaction, low quality merchandise.
14. A dodgy deal- a bad or deceptive business deal.
EXAMPLE: The mayor was eventually convicted and went to jail for his many dodgy deals and unscrupulous business practices in the city. He & his associates were taking bribes from everyone and stealing money from city funds since the first day they took office!
15. Their reputations caught up with them- EXAMPLE: After years of deceiving customers and selling poor quality automobiles, their reputation finally caught up with them! That awful car dealership finally went out of business because everybody knew they were crooks! Eventually, no one would a car from them! They had a terrible business reputation in this town!
16. A ‘’get rich quick scheme’’- a suspicious business deal that promises to make a lot of money in a short period of time.
17. It sounds too good to be true- EXAMPLE: Yesterday, I got an email announcing that I had just won a new laptop. I knew it was ‘’too good to be true’’ so I quickly deleted it for fear that the email contained a virus!
18. ‘’ sounds fishy’’- it sounds suspicious.
EXAMPLE: I’m sorry, but your explanation sounds fishy. I just don’t believe you. Your excuse sounds highly unlikely and I think you are lying to me.
19. ‘’I smell a rat!’’- something sounds suspicious, I think someone is lying/deceiving/stealing etc..
EXAMPLE: I smelled a rat when I noticed that some of my jewelry went missing. Our babysitter was stealing from our family!
20. shifty-eyed- when a person has ‘’shifty-eyes’’ they look untrustworthy because their eyes are always looking about the room, they look nervous, mean, deceptive and will not keep eye contact with you.
EXAMPLE: I don’t think you should buy jewelry from that store. The owner looks shifty-eyed and untrustworthy. His diamonds are probably fake!
21. To cheat on your partner- to have a physical relationship with someone other than your husband, wife, partner.
22. Extra-marital affair- a relationship outside of marriage
23. A ripple effect- a large effect generating from a single point (refers to waves in the water)
EXAMPLE: When one student became disobedient there was a ripple effect throughout the classroom. As a result, all the students became noisy, unruly and disobedient. The teacher threatened to give them 10 extra pages of homework if they didn’t behave. The students quickly calmed down and order was restored in the classroom.
24. Making light of the subject/ to make light of something- to make jokes in the face of a more serious situation.
EXAMPLE: Sorry, I know I’m making light of this situation by making jokes about your girlfriend leaving you- but hey, you’ve been depressed for DAYS! I’m just trying to cheer you up!
September 27, 2012 01:59 AM PDT
M- Today we’re talking about ‘’Making Excuses’’
C- Hi Marta! How are you?
M- I’m great thanks!
C- You’ve had a really busy week, haven’t you? Congratulations on your new EP! It’s a fantastic CD!
M- Thank you! I'm very attached to this album. Everyone of these songs means a lot to me.
C- Hey, let’s go out for a nice lunch tomorrow. My treat, I’ll pay for it. We’ll celebrate the release of your new album!
M- Oh thank you, Cindy, I would really love to go out for lunch but I have a lot on my plate right now. September is a very busy month for me. Can I get a rain check?
C- Sure, no problem. I understand. To ‘’HAVE A LOT ON YOUR PLATE’’ means to have a full schedule, to have many commitments or problems at one time.
M- To have a lot on your plate…that’s my life!
C- You need to start buying smaller plates! So, we’ll take a RAIN CHECK on lunch- that means we’ll postpone lunch for another time when you are less busy.
M- A rain check- to postpone to a later date. Got it.
M- AND, IT’S YOUR TREAT- that means you’re going to pay for it! I have witnesses!
C- yes, you do have witnesses- all over the world! I’m happy to pay for lunch, you’ve worked really hard and this is an excellent album.
M- Thank you and I'm happy to share it with the world finally!
C - So, how can we find it?
M – It's available on iTunes! Just search for “12n” that's the name of my acoustic duo, it stands for TWELVE NOTES (dodici note, doce notas, douze notes). 12n. 1 2 n (website: www.12n.biz ) ** So we’re talking about how to make excuses to people today.
C- Right, sometimes we have to say ‘’no’’ to people or ‘’TURN SOMEONE DOWN’’ (that means to reject or refuse) and we need to say ‘’no’’ politely without being rude.
M- …without hurting someone’s feelings and making them feel bad.
C- Right, so today we’ll give you a few examples on how to pardon yourself, make an excuse or say ‘’no’’
M- Politely and without lying!
C- Right, because we don’t want to encourage anyone to lie! Where should we begin?
M- How about the phone?
C- Good idea since we all live on our phones nowadays. Let’s give an example of how to excuse yourself and interrupt a phone conversation. Have you got a telephone?
M- Sure, one moment…
C- I’ll pretend to phone you and you’ll politely make an excuse and offer to call me back later.
M- Do I have to call you back?
C- (talking very fast) Hi Marta, it’s Cindy…listen, you’re totally not going to believe the day I’ve had…it was AWFUL!…First, I got stuck in traffic and I was like 20 minutes late to work and I totally had a good excuse for being late but my boss didn’t want to believe me and my coworkers are like whatever you’re like always late so like we totally do not believe a word you’re saying and I’m all “it’s true!”
C- Yeah, but listen that’s not the worst of it because like at lunch they totally messed up my food order and I had to go back twice and I’m all….
M- Cindy, I’m sorry, excuse me…
C- What? Was I talking too fast? Do you want me to start over, from the beginning?
M- NO!!... I mean…no, that’s okay. Listen, dear, I’m sorry you’ve had a tough day.
C- Awful day!
M- Right, awful day…I’m sorry, I’ve got a lot to get done today. I’VE GOT MY HANDS FULL at the moment. Can I call you back a little later?
C- Oh sure, any time.
M- Thanks…I’ll give you a ring later…
C- Good, ‘cause you’re totally gonna want to hear what happened to me this afternoon....
M- I’m sure…talk to you later, dear….
C- Don’t forget! You won’t believe it!
M- I promise…I’ll call you later….Bye!
C- You’re not going to call me back. Just admit it.
M- No. I’m not going to call you back. Now let’s give everyone another example of an excuse.
C- Alright, how about an excuse that you girls can use at the disco? Sometimes we’re asked to dance by a guy we don’t want to dance with. Perfect. Now we’re going to need a little help here from our friend Freddie.
C- Hi Freddie. So, Freddie is a nice guy.
Freddie- I’m a nice guy.
C- And it takes some balls to approach a girl in a disco and ask her to dance, so let’s be polite and let him down easy. To ‘’LET SOMEONE DOWN EASY’’ is to say no, reject, disappoint or give bad news to someone gently to ‘’let them down easy’’.
Freddie- Would you like to dance?
C- I’m sorry, thank you, but I’m hanging out with my girlfriends tonight.
Freddie- Ok, bye
C- Thanks, for helping out Freddie
Freddie- No problem. Any time.
C- I’m hanging out with my girlfriends tonight. That’s it.
M- To let them down easy. Cindy, how about when you’re having a conversation in person? How can we excuse ourselves and end the conversation?
C- First of all, be sincere and let people know that you really do enjoy talking with them, but you have to go. Then, you can use phrases like:
‘’I’M SORRY, I NEED TO RUN. CAN WE TALK LATER?’’ or
‘’I’M RUNNING LATE, CAN I CATCH UP WITH YOU/EMAIL /TEXT YOU LATER?’’ or
‘’I SHOULD REALLY GET GOING NOW’’ or
‘’I’M GOING TO HAVE TO CUT THIS SHORT, CAN I GIVE YOU A RING LATER?’’
M- Well, Cindy, I think we should really get going now.
C- Thanks for listening everyone! Come and catch up with us later on our Facebook page, iTunes, Podomatic, Twitter, YouTube and on our blog at www.myAmericanfriendblog.com . We are also available for private lessons via Skype, just email us at myamericanfriendpodcast at gmail.com and we’ll respond with all the details.
M- Thanks everyone!
C- Are you going to call me later?
M- No! I am not going to call you later.
C- Come on! Just call me.
M- No! Oh look…there’s someone more interesting at my door right now…
C- That’s a fake doorbell! You’ve got an app for it!
M- Sorry, gotta run!
1. It’s my treat/I’m treating- I’m paying for it.
EXAMPLE: Let’s go out for a nice lunch tomorrow.
ANSWER: Sorry, I can’t go anywhere. I’m broke and my paycheck won’t arrive for another week.
ANSWER: Don’t worry! It’s my treat. Lunch is on me. I’ll pay for it.
2. I have a lot on my plate right now- I have a lot of commitments or problems right now.
EXAMPLE: Hey, let’s go to the movies this weekend!
ANSWER: Sorry, I can’t go out this weekend. I have a lot on my plate right now. I’m studying for final exams and babysitting my little sister while my parents are out of town. Maybe we could go out next week instead?
3. to take a ‘’rain check’’- to reschedule for a later date.
EXAMPLE: Don’t forget we’re all getting together at the pub Friday night.
ANSWER: Sorry, I’ll have to take a rain check. My car is at the mechanic. I’ll catch up with you at the pub next time.
4. to ‘’turn someone down’’/ to get ‘’turned down’’- to be rejected, refused
EXAMPLE: John asked me out on a date last week, but I turned him down because I’m not attracted to him.
EXAMPLE: I turned down the new job offer. The salary is good, but it would take me away from my family and I would really miss my wife & kids. I’ll stay with my present job until something better comes along.
5. to hurt someone’s feelings- to insult or hurt someone emotionally.
EXAMPLE: Susan & I had a big argument at work. I said a lot of things that were nasty & hurtful to her. I’m afraid I have hurt her feelings and our friendship is broken beyond repair. I don’t think she will ever forgive me.
6. I’ve got my hands full-to have a lot of commitments or problems at one time.
EXAMPLE: I’ve got my hands full at work. Three employees are out sick, so I’m doing their jobs in addition to my own!
7. I’ll give you a ring- I’ll call you.
EXAMPLE: Would you like to go out this weekend? Give me your phone number and I’ll give you a ring sometime tomorrow.
8. let them down easy- to reject, disappoint or give bad news gently without trying to hurt someone’s feelings.
EXAMPLE: We gave the promotion to Susan instead of Barbara. It was a big disappointment to Barbara, so I had to let her down easy and carefully explain why we had chosen Susan over Barbara.
9. Phrases to end a conversation:
‘’I’m sorry, I need to run. Can we talk later?’’ or
‘’I’m running late, can I catch up with you/email /text you later?’’ or
‘’I should really get going now’’ or
‘’I’m going to have to cut this short, can I give you a ring later?’’
September 07, 2012 03:24 AM PDT
M – Let's talk about how to improve the language using … SONGS !
C – Hi everybody! Do you know how Marta and I met? It was at a New Year's Eve party where Marta was performing.
M – Yeah, I remember it very well. I started singing the first song and after a couple of lines this blonde woman in the audience turned around and stared at me right in the eye.
C – I turned around and looked at you because you were singing in English, I mean, real English!
M – Of course, I was!
C – We'd better explain. Marta and I live in Italy and live performers here in Italy don't usually pay much attention to their English pronunciation. I mean, I don't mean to offend anyone, but I have to admit Italian singers singing in English aren't generally that careful about enunciating. Sometimes they sneak in a bit of gibberish with some real English words at the beginning or end of a sentence. That's why Marta totally caught my attention at that party. I said to my husband ‘’She speaks English- and she speaks it well.’’
M – And when the party was over we ended up chatting.
C - Yes, you mentioned that you were also a songwriter and you needed someone to double check your lyrics in English.
M – That's how it all began. Our friendship was born thanks to music and languages.
C - Marta, tell our listeners how important songs have been for you to learn English.
M – Oh, so important! Songs are precious tools in order to learn new vocabulary. The melody helps you with memorizing and remembering sentences. In addition to this, if you sing along with the singer you get the right pronunciation and accent even without noticing it.
C – You're right, it's kind of effortless, natural. But we're not all singers on a stage like you, Marta.
M - It doesn't matter, the goal is to improve your language while having fun. You don't need to sing well, just sing along with the radio while driving or when taking a shower, you can be completely out of tune, that's fine...
C - well, everybody, if your neighbors complain about your singing out of tune just remind them that they're getting English lessons for free. So, everybody, with this episode we want to give you some hints about how to use songs to improve your English.
M – Ok, first off : pick a song in English that you really like.
C - Ok, have you chosen your song? Good. The first step is: try and write down the lyrics only by listening to the song. Just pretend that the internet doesn’t exist. Listen to the song over and over, one bit at a time, and try to understand the lyrics, write them down.
M - This is what I did every day as a teenager. Back then internet really didn't exist and I had no choice.
C – Ah, the Dark Ages before internet!
M – Second step?
C - Now Google the lyrics and compare them to what you had written. Find out what you had missed and what you’ve misunderstood. Third step: check the lyrics again and look for slang, idioms, interesting expressions, strange accents, whatever catches your eye - and ear. Everybody loves music! It’s much easier, and a lot more fun to learn the details of a language while enjoying music! Marta can you give us some examples?
M – At school no one taught me the use of AIN'T.
C - Ain't - spelling: A I N ' T . According to the context , ain't is slang meaning : isn't , aren't , or hasn't, haven't. It's very common in everyday conversation, but it is not proper English. Your English teacher never taught you about ‘’ain’t’’? It’s not taught in school?
M – no, but I’ve heard “ain't” in a lot of songs.
“ain't no sunshine when he's gone...” * “baby it ain't over till it's over” * “no, no, no, it ain't me babe, it ain't me you're looking for, babe...” * “this ain't a love song...” * “but everything means nothing if I ain't got you, yeah...”
C – So that's how you learned it.
M – Yes.
C – Songs also help us to learn how different accents can sound.
M - You're right. Pick a word.
C - hmmm... 'again'.
M – Ok, for example check the difference between Annie Lennox: “here comes the rain again” and Britney Spears: “oops I did it again”.
C - Again (British) vs. again (American).
M - Pick another word.
C – hmmm... 'half' .
M - Ok, the Beatles: “I'm not half the man I used to be” and Bon Jovi : “we're half way there”
C - Ok.
M - Even learning grammar is easier using songs.
C - For example, listen carefully to this grammar rule about the Second Conditional. Are you ready?
M – Sure, go ahead!
C - The verb of the 'if clause' is at the simple past, please note that the subjunctive form of the verb 'to be' is often used for the first and third person.
M – uhm...
C - Great. Now, let’s review. Marta, what did we learn?
M - mmm...that you were rambling on about the Second Conditional. Then I lost you, I'm afraid.
C - Wasn't it boring?? To make a long story short, I said: instead of saying “If I was...” we usually say “If I were...”.
M - All right, now I get it. Let's listen to Beyoncé’s: “If I were a boy” . Now I'm sure I will remember this grammar rule forever.
C – It’s much easier with music isn’t it?
C – Ok, listeners, now it's up to you. Choose a song and follow the tips we gave you. Then let us know what you've learned by doing so. We'll be waiting for your feedback, we'll collect your comments and include them into a follow-up episode about songs and lyrics.
M – I'm sure this method works, I've used it for 20 years now.
C - You even became a songwriter. Hey Marta, why don't we use some of the songs you wrote in that follow-up episode?
M - Good idea.
C - Ok, everybody, get in contact with us on our blog www.myamericanfriendblog.com or on our Facebook page, Podomatic, Youtube, Twitter, we're everywhere on the web.
M – see you soon!
C – bye bye
August 14, 2012 10:35 AM PDT
M- Today, we’re talking about DETERMINATION !
M- Cindy, how are you today?
C- I am FEARLESS!! I have THE HEART OF A CHAMPION!
M- Fearless? The heart of a champion?
C- I am a determined, unstoppable force of human nature.
M- Unstoppable? WHAT'S GOTTEN INTO YOU? Why are you acting like that? ….Oh, you've been watching the London Olympics.
C- That's right, I have, and I am inspired! I am self-assured and I am fearless! I am Iron Woman!
M-Cindy, you're never going to become an Olympic athlete unless they add shopping to the list of sports.
C- NEVER SAY NEVER! Don’t be so negative. Ugh! You’re such a BUZZKILL!
M- Not gonna happen! Not in your lifetime!
C- Whatever! Y'know Marta, I am so charged up after watching all of those incredible athletes. They're THE CREAM OF THE CROP, the best from all over the globe.
M- The cream of the crop. The Olympics make me think of our listeners, all over the world.
C- We know that every single person listening to this podcast right now has the heart of a champion. You are determined, exceptional people and I will tell you why- because you have learned a second language.
M- And that's ‘’NO WALK IN THE PARK’’. That means it’s not an easy thing to do. It's no walk in the park.
C- Learning a second language requires focus, dedication and a passion to do better and want better in your life. This is what makes you a champion.
M- That’s right.
C- I know that many of our friends out there speak a third or even a fourth language! We celebrate you, you are Language Superstars!
M- We know that the road has probably been ROUGH for you at times.
C- Having a ‘’ROUGH ROAD’’ or a ‘’few BUMPS ALONG THE WAY’’ means to encounter difficulties.
M- ‘’Bumps’’ or difficulties are just a part of life.
C- Maybe you weren’t BORN WITH A SILVER SPOON IN YOUR MOUTH.
M- A silver spoon?
C- To be “born with a silver spoon in your mouth” that means to be born into a privileged life. Life is not always kind, or easy. Sometimes we strive to reach our goals but we fall flat on our faces.
M- Fall on our faces? Could you explain that for everyone?
C- Sure, TO ‘’FALL FLAT ON YOUR FACE’’ means to fail miserably or in an embarrassing way. I’ll give you an example: Two years ago, my friend opened a new restaurant. He had no experience in business. He was irresponsible and careless with money. The food was terrible and he received many bad reviews. One year later, he fell flat on his face and the restaurant closed its doors- that means the business closed forever.
M- Oh, I see….to ‘’fall flat on your face’’ means to fail in a big way. Got it.
C- And by the way- that was a fictitious scenario I used as an example. I don’t know anyone with a failed restaurant!
M- That’s good!
C- So, anyways…back to life. Sometimes we fail. That’s normal, but the important thing is to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back in that saddle. (line from the song : “Waka Waka” by Shakira) To ‘’GET BACK IN THE SADDLE’’ means to restart, to continue again, to resume something that you had stopped doing. Don't give up on your dreams, because you know what?
C- We learn from our mistakes, that's how we improve. In regards to learning a new language I have uttered a lot of stupid, senseless things in Italian and I still make many mistakes on a daily basis. Who knows how many people went home laughing about the silly American woman who speaks Italian like a monkey!
M- Well, DON’T GIVE UP THE DREAM…at least your pronunciation is good!
C- Thank you for that vote of confidence! My point is this: when you make a mistake LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE that means to look at something in a positive way. Mistakes are your first steps towards improvement. All those mishaps, disappointments and bumps along the way will help to pave the road to success in your future. “PAVING THE ROAD TO SUCCESS’’ means to prepare the road to success. For example: Hard work and focused determination have helped to pave the road to success for many Olympic athletes.
M- Instead, bumps along the road can even push you harder towards your goal. For example when I was 14 years old my parents refused to pay for my singing lessons and that made me even more determined about taking singing lessons. So I worked as a baby-sitter in my free time from school until I made enough money to pay for those lessons myself.
C- That's a great story! So, you were not born with a silver spoon in your mouth?
M – No, not really. It was no walk in the park.
C- Y’know every time the Olympics come around I can’t help but think of that inspirational song by Queen. One of the greatest, most epic rock anthems of all time! You know the one, Marta… Inspire us my dear!
M – We are the champions my friend and we'll keep on fighting 'till the end...
C- Oh, I feel like I CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS now! I’m determined to have a great day! Thank you, Marta and thank you to Queen!
M- We hope everyone is inspired today to follow your dream and ‘’GO FOR THE GOLD’’!
C- To ‘’go for the gold’’ means to aspire to the highest level of achievement – it means to aim for the gold medal!
C - Thanks for listening everyone, have a great day!
M- And don’t forget to come visit us on www.myAmericanfriendblog.com
C- And stop by our Facebook page and say hello! You can also find us on Youtube, iTunes, Twitter and Podomatic. We are now available for private lessons via Skype. Just send us an email at: myAmericanfriendpodcast@gmail.com and we’ll respond with all the details.
M & C – Thank you, bye bye!
WHAT'S GOTTEN INTO YOU? – a way to say ‘’what’s wrong with you?’’ or ‘’why are you behaving this way?’’ EXAMPLE: You’re being very rude today. That’s unusual. What’s gotten into you? Are you in a bad mood?
NEVER SAY NEVER!- means don’t say something is impossible. Think positive. EXAMPLE: ‘’That mountain is too high! We will never be able to reach the top!’’ ANSWER: ‘’Never say never! We can do it! We will begin early and I’m sure we will reach the top by nightfall.
BUZZKILL: Something that ruins the mood of the party. EXAMPLE: We were having a lot of fun at the party. Everyone was dancing and laughing and having a great time, then my neighbor came over and asked us to turn off the music! She always complains, she’s such a buzzkill!
NOT IN YOUR LIFETIME!- means ‘’it’s not going to happen while you are still alive’’ EXAMPLE: Will you go out on a date with me? ANSWER: Not in your lifetime! I will never go out with you!
THE CREAM OF THE CROP- the best of the best. EXAMPLE: Jennifer is the best athlete we have. All of our athletes are talented, but Jennifer is really exceptional. She is determined, hard-working and focused. She is the cream of the crop.
IT’S NO WALK IN THE PARK- It’s not easy. EXAMPLE: We made it to the top of the mountain by nightfall, but it was no walk in the park. It was quite exhausting and required lots of preparation and training to be physically able to do it in one day.
TO ENCOUNTER A ROUGH ROAD- to face difficulties, obstacles. EXAMPLE: I’ve earned my degree and I now have a great job, but it was a rough road to success. I faced a lot of difficulties when I was a young student, but I have been rewarded by my hard work and dedication.
TO ENCOUNTER A FEW BUMPS ALONG THE WAY- to face difficulties, obstacles. EXAMPLE: My grandparents have been married for 50 years! Their marriage has encountered a few bumps along the way, but they love each other very much and are totally dedicated to spending the rest of their lives together.
BORN WITH A SILVER SPOON IN YOUR MOUTH- to be born into a privileged life. EXAMPLE: My friend was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Her parents are very rich and they have always bought everything for her. She has never had to work a day in her life.
TO FALL FLAT ON YOUR FACE- to fail in a major way, or embarrassing way. EXAMPLE: My brother is an excellent football player. He was sure that his team would win the local championship. In the weeks leading up to the championship he did a lot of bragging, talking about how they would crush their opponents on the field. When the big day arrived, they fell flat on their faces! The opposing team beat them by 25 points! It was humiliating!
CLOSED ITS DOORS- to close a business forever. EXAMPLE: After 40 years in business, my local supermarket has closed its doors. The owners are retiring and moving to Florida to enjoy the sunshine.
GET BACK IN SADDLE- to resume an activity you were doing before. EXAMPLE: My brother broke up with his girlfriend 2 weeks ago and he’s already back in the saddle! He has a date with a new girl tonight!
LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE-to look at a situation in a positive way. EXAMPLE: My supervisor has reduced my hours at work. I can only work 40 hours per week with no overtime. ANSWER: Well, look on the bright side: now you have more time to spend with your children. They will be very happy to have you at home more often!
PAVING THE ROAD TO SUCCESS-to prepare the road to success. EXAMPLE: A good education, hard work and dedication will pave the road to my success!
TO FEEL LIKE YOU CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS- to feel very inspired, positive, motivated, strong. EXAMPLE: My husband supports and encourages me in everything that I do. He motivates me to be the best person I can be. After talking with him, I feel like I can move mountains!
GO FOR THE GOLD- to strive for the highest level of achievement, or the gold medal. EXAMPLE: What are your future plans for your new business? ANSWER: We’re going for the gold. Our plan is to expand the company nationwide within the next 5 years. One day soon, our products will be in every household in the country!
July 30, 2012 08:40 AM PDT
M- Today we’re talking about DEPRESSION & JOY.
MARTA- Cindy, how are you today?
CINDY- I’m feeling kind of depressed today, Marta.
M- Depressed? You’re depressed?
C- …Yes, Marta…you don’t know what depressed means?? It means gloomy, melancholy, sad.
M- Yes, I know, but why in the world are you feeling gloomy, melancholy, sad, depressed? Why?
C- I don’t know… it’s just so depressing out there. I’ve been listening to the news all day and there’s bad stuff going on everywhere. It’s depressing!
M- Listen Cindy…
C- I can’t listen…I’m too depressed.
M- Listen to me. Did the sun rise today?
M- Do you see a big ball of fire in the sky right now? Did the sun rise this morning? Is it shining now?
C- What? Yeah, of course the sun is shining…it always shines.
M- Do you have family?
C- Yeah, of course I have family…I’ve got tons of aunts and uncles and cousins…uh oh…..
M- Do you have friends?
C- Oh no…I can see where this is going… Yes, I have lots of friends… all over the world.
M- Do you have clothes on your back? Shoes on your feet?
M- Do you have a roof over your head? Did you eat today?
C- Yes and yes.
M- Are you healthy?
M- Then shut up.
C- You’re right. You’re 100% right. I was just doing a bit of self-absorbed rambling.
M- Self what?
C- Self-absorbed rambling. That means I was only thinking about myself. I was wallowing in self-pity for a moment there.
M- Well, snap out of it and look on the bright side because today is a beautiful day. Look outside, there’s not one cloud in the sky and you have so very much in your life to be joyful about!
C- You’re right, we’re here to encourage, uplift and support our listeners…not bum them out by depressing them.
M- That’s right, no one is going to listen to our podcast if we bum them out!
C- Ok, let’s turn this thing around. Ask me again…ask me how I’m doing.
C- Come on, ask me …ask me again!
M- How are you today, Cindy?
C- GREAT! Couldn’t be better! I feel like I’m on top of the world!
M- On top of the world? So, you’re not depressed anymore?
C- Nope, I’ve had a complete change of heart and instead I’ve now got a positive attitude and a joyful heart.
M- A complete change of heart. Well, I’m glad…that’s music to my ears!
C- I mean, there is just so much to be happy about in life!
M- That’s true!
C- Good friends…
C- Supportive family…
C- Laundry detergent is half price this week at the supermarket…
M- Really? Is that what brings you joy? Half-priced laundry soap- and you’re over the moon with happiness?
C- I’m really a simple girl at heart. (laughs) It doesn’t take much to make me happy. Marta, what brings you joy? What makes you happy?
M-Mainly, my husband and my cat and I’m lucky because we share the same apartment so I get to see them every day.
C- That’s nice, and I can see it’s true because you’re grinning from ear to ear.
M- I’m what?
C- You’re grinning from ear to ear. You have a big smile on your face. I can see you’re happy.
M- And Cindy, what other things bring you joy? What else makes you happy?
C- Well, I love to cook and I love being able to share an excellent meal with my friends. So I’d say that’s one thing that makes me joyful: Cooking and sharing great food with friends.
M- Well, that’s something that makes your friends joyful- including me!
C- But I hate washing the dishes afterwards! A kitchen full of dirty dishes is a real buzzkill!
M- I hate washing the dishes as well, but I don’t know what a buzzkill is. Can you explain?
C- Sure, a buzzkill is anything that destroys or ruins the mood of the party. Imagine the best the party you’ve ever been to. You’re having a great time and suddenly the neighbor knocks on the door and asks you to turn off the music.
M- Oh wow.
C- That’s a buzzkill!
M- That’s it.
C- Ok, Marta let’s wrap this episode up with one of my favorite joy-related quotes!
M-Alright, let’s hear it!
C- It’s a quote from a cartoon character named ‘’Ziggy’’. Ziggy was created by an American cartoonist, writer and artist named Tom Wilson.
M- And how does it go?
C- ‘’You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses!”
M- That’s great! Thank you to Tom Wilson & Ziggy!
C- I love that quote! And to finish out this episode we’ve collected sound bites from a few dear friends talking about the special things that bring joy to their lives….
Sarah: Hello, my name’s Sarah and I’m English, as you can probably tell from my accent. I live in Imola, which is near Bologna in Italy. In the UK, where I’m from, the summer tends to come and go with every change of the wind. I really love being in Italy during the months of June, July, August and September because it makes me feel very positive to remain in the sunshine, in strong heat. It makes you really feel much more cheerful. We often enjoy good food, good wine, good conversation. So it’s very important to focus on those enjoyable parts of life and not to dwell on the negatives, I believe. And if anyone wants to contact me for translations between Italian and French and English feel free to contact me on my email address which is in the transcript. Bye Bye! email@example.com
Jo: Hi! My name is Jo and what brings me joy is playing the ukulele.
Freddy: Hi! This is Freddy and live music brings me joy!
M- Thank you for listening everyone we hope you have a joyful day!
C- We hope you all have a reason to use one of these joyful expressions like:
Being on top of the world, Being over the moon, Grinning from ear to ear, Couldn’t be better.
C- Come visit us on iTunes, Youtube, Podomatic, Twitter, Facebook and www.myAmericanfriendblog.com. We are also available for private lessons via Skype, just send us an email at: myAmericanfriendpodcast@gmail.com
M- Thank you everyone! Bye Bye!
C- Bye bye!
1. Gloomy- Depressing, partially dark, low in spirits
EXAMPLE: The weather report is gloomy today. Rain is predicted all week and temperatures are lower than normal.
EXAMPLE: What a horribly, depressing movie! It was so dark and gloomy! There wasn’t a single happy scene during the entire 2 hours!
2. Melancholy- depression of spirits
EXAMPLE: During the game a feeling of melancholy swept over the crowd as they realized their favorite team would not win the world championship.
3. “I can see where this is going’’- I can predict the end result
4. To have ‘’a roof over your head’’- to have a home, a place to live.
EXAMPLE: My father works very hard, seven days a week, so that he can provide a roof over our head.
5. To be ‘’self-absorbed’’- to be concerned only with only yourself.
EXAMPLE: My sister is the most self-absorbed person I know! She only cares about her own happiness with no regard for anyone else’s feelings!
6. Rambling, to Ramble- to talk endlessly without making sense, without making a point
EXAMPLE: Will you please stop talking! All you’re doing is rambling without making a clear point. You’re wasting my time.
7. “Wallow in self-pity’’- Merriam Webster defines as: pity for oneself; especially: a self-indulgent dwelling on one's own sorrows or misfortunes
EXAMPLE: Stop wallowing in self-pity! There are a lot of people who are worse off than you. You should stop thinking about yourself and instead try to help to people who are less fortunate than you.
8. “Snap out of it”- change your attitude, mood
EXAMPLE: I know you’re all feeling defeated right now, but you’re going to have to snap out of it
if you want to turn things around, win this championship and take home the trophy!
9. to ‘’bum someone out’’- to depress them, to discourage them
10. ‘’I’m on top of the world!’’- to have a very positive attitude, to feel very happy
11. ‘’I’ve had a change of heart’’- To change one’s attitude or mood.
EXAMPLE: My grandmother has always been argumentative and hard to deal with, but she’s had a change of heart in recent years. Now she’s mellow and really quite pleasant to be around. The family can now enjoy many happy moments together around the dinner table.
12. ‘’That’s music to my ears!’’- to hear welcome news, good news.
EXAMPLE: I’ve won the scholarship to my favorite university!
ANSWER: That’s music to my ears! That’s fantastic news!
13. to be ‘’simple at heart’’- to be made happy, content with simple pleasures, acts.
EXAMPLE: I suppose I’m a simple girl at heart, I don’t like jewelry or shopping. I prefer going out for pizza with my friends or to spend the day fishing with my grandfather at the lake.
14. Buzzkill- something that ruins an enjoyable situation
EXAMPLE: My brother is such a BUZZKILL! Last night, my girlfriends and I were having so much fun while listening to music and eating pizza when all of a sudden my stupid brother barged into the room and started playing his video game in during the party! He’s so self-absorbed, he only thinks of himself!
15. To be ‘’over the moon’’- ecstatic, extremely happy.
16. Grinning from ear to ear- to have a big smile
17. Couldn’t be better!- so happy that it is impossible to be happier.
EXAMPLE: Hi Susan! How are you today?
ANSWER: Great! Couldn’t be better! I got that new job I applied for and I start work tomorrow. My life is really going to change for the better now!
July 16, 2012 03:57 AM PDT
M – Today's topic is a good one : RELAX !
C – Hi everybody! We’ve been away for a while, we know, but Marta and I have both been on holiday. Now we're back and RELAXED!
M – Yes, we took a break and now we're ready to GET BACK ON TRACK. Nothing's better than an episode about expressions related to relaxation, it's gonna be...RELAXING !
C – Cue the New Age Music! And you've already used one of those relaxation-related expressions, Marta: to TAKE A BREAK.
M – Right. And Cindy, you actually took a break last week, when you went to Paris.
C – That’s right, I went to Paris for a long weekend! I had been working hard in the last few months…
M- ….’’burning the candle at both ends’’…
C- Exactly, and I definitely needed to LOOSEN UP a little bit, to SLOW DOWN, to CHILL OUT and GET SOME REST.
M – To loosen up, to slow down, to chill out, to get some rest. Ok, got it.
C – You had definitely been in need of some rest, too, Marta. How was your vacation in California?
M – Wonderful! I was eventually able to relax and UNWIND my mind from all of my activities as a singer, songwriter and teacher.
C – To relax and unwind the mind, right, which is as important as relaxing the body. Another great verb is: to UNPLUG.
M – To unplug. That is to disconnect an electronic device, isn't it?
C – Yes and it's also used to mean : to forget about the world, to detach yourself from job and commitments...
M – ...to switch off your cell phone, let yourself go and just relax. Mmmm, sounds good.
C - It does! So, were you able to unplug in California? Or were you answering your e-mail from the Sequoia National Park?
M – I did unplug.
C – so you're not a WORKAHOLIC, that means you're not addicted to work.
M – Well, when I'm working on a project I work hard until it's finished, I just can't TAKE IT EASY and it's hard for me to UNWIND after a busy working period. But, hey, when I'm on vacation....I'm on vacation, that's it. I hardly remember about owning a telephone. I mean, I need to RECHARGE MY BATTERIES, so give me a break, ok?
C – All right, all right. You made your point, now, CALM YOUR NERVES, isn’t this an episode about relaxing??!
M – Sorry, I guess I already miss the peacefulness of the Sequoia Park.
C – So, is that what relaxes you the most? Being in touch with the still, quiet, unspoilt nature?
M – Absolutely. Nothing can compare to it. Problem is...I can't afford to take an international flight every day and go to the mountains of California in order to unwind.
C – Not really practical, is it? ... So how do you usually unwind after a busy day?
M – I relax by going for a walk in the park, doing Yoga, taking a long bath, reading a good book. That's it. How about you, Cindy?
C –I flush my cell phone down the toilet.
M- Cindy! You must not flush your mobile phone down the toilet!
C- You’re right, it does become costly in the long run. Bad idea. Do not flush your mobile phones down the toilet.
M- Thank you for that very useful Public Service Announcement.
C- No problem. I like music to help me CHILL OUT. For me, music works like a charm. Two songs immediately come to mind: Jimmy Buffet’s ‘’Margaritaville” and Corinne Bailey Rae’s ‘’Put Your Records On”.
M – Sometimes all people need is a single day to relax.
C - Sometimes they just need to switch the alarm clock off and SLEEP IN !
M – It’s just as simple as an extra hour of sleep needed to recharge your batteries, isn't it great?
C – Yes, you know, there are a lot of great techniques to help you relax when you have a lot of work or studying to do and you experience lack of concentration, such as diaphragmatic respiration or relaxation exercises. Actually, we all can start by taking short breaks during the day to allow our muscles and body to rest. We can open a window and breath in some fresh air, keep our eyes closed for a few minutes, stretch our legs, and so on.
M – I'm totally with you on this.
C – Well, you should be, you wrote it …And if you can't go on holiday, at least to allow yourself a getaway from time to time, try a weekend at a spa, for example, or a one-day excursion somewhere.
M – Cindy, I was wondering...
C - ….what?
M – what do you think Barb does to relax?
C - Barb the chicken truck driver that keeps calling me “dang ole Yankee”?
M – Yes, she wakes up at 4 in the morning and drives her truck across the south-east of the States all day long, she surely needs to relax in the evening. But...I just can't picture her listening to some CHILL OUT music or doing Yoga.
C – Cue the BEER!
M – That's all folks! Thanks for listening!
C - come visit our website : www.myamericanfriendblog.com, we're also on twitter, facebook, podomatic, iTunes and youtube. We are also available for private lessons via skype, just send us an e-mail at myAmericanfriendpodcast@gmail.com and we'll reply a.s.a.p. with all the details.
M - Have a relaxing day everyone!
C – Bye bye… and remember take a little time out today to put your feet up, take a load off and chill out! Take care everyone and thanks for listening!
July 08, 2012 11:57 PM PDT
Reb Beach is a great guitar player (Whitesnake, Winger, Dokken, Alice Cooper...).
In this video he says that learning English is really important in order to make a living in the music business nowadays.
Thank you so much Reb for being our guest at "my American friend"!
June 08, 2012 11:24 AM PDT
M- So today we’re talking about PATIENCE.
C- Right, because I think this is a topic we can all relate to.
M- It’s true.
C- I mean, at one time or another we’ve all had to ‘’EXERCISE PATIENCE’’ in our lives. To exercise patience means to use patience, to stay calm, to practice patience with someone or something.
M- …and sometimes we have to exercise patience on a daily basis.
C- Patience is very important in the music business isn’t it, Marta?
M- yes, for example when you write a song and it takes forever for it to be released because of the business end of the process.
C- We all encounter stresses or situations in our lives that require us to keep calm and not lose our cool…Oh and the expression TO “LOSE YOUR COOL” means to lose your patience and become angry.
M- Cindy, can you give us a few examples of situations that ask us to exercise patience?
C- Sure, and I bet we have a few listeners that are exercising their patience right now as they listen to this podcast! We all have varying levels of drama in our lives, so I’ll name just a few situations where you may need to exercise some patience: 1. at work- with coworkers or supervisors. 2. with friends, family members, children or neighbors. 3. while driving in your car or sitting in traffic jams…
M - Oh, traffic jams! They drive me crazy!
C – yes, you could also say : traffic jams are are NERVE-RACKING!
M - Nerve-racking, ok, I got it
C- We should be happy that we don’t live in a big city like Los Angeles where traffic jams are legendary! …and 4. You may need to exercise patience with yourself. Sometimes we put a lot of demands on ourselves, and when we fail to live up to our own standards or goals we can LOSE PATIENCE with ourselves….
M - …and maybe we could become quite agitated and unpleasant to be around!
C - ‘’bitchy’’ is another good adjective to use!
M - Now can you give us an example of someone who has lost their patience?
C- Sure…you want me to start being ‘’bitchy’’?
M- Yes, it will produce great dramatic effect. So, Cindy...How are you today? Everything okay?
C- Oh Marta, I'M AT THE END OF MY ROPE today! I'VE BEEN BURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS for months and I'm ready for a vacation! I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE, I'm tired and I HAVE NO PATIENCE LEFT FOR ANYTHING OR ANYBODY.
M- Oh, so that's why there's smoke coming from your ears...
C- Yeah! (laughs) ...'cause I'M ABOUT TO BLOW!
M- That reminds me of the Ke$ha song called ''Blow''
C- Oh, I love that song!
M- Yes, well I just spent the whole morning cleaning the studio, so, if you must- please explode outside! OK?!
C- I promise, I won't ''LOSE IT'' in the studio.
M- Now Cindy, you've used a couple of interesting idioms to describe your fictitious mood. Let's explain them...
C- Good idea, it will be like therapy .... Ok, the first one is: ''I'M AT THE END OF MY ROPE.'' -this means to be at the end of a desperate situation. It could mean your patience is finished. You’re desperate and don't know how to solve a problem. You've exhausted your resources (like money, for example) and you're almost in trouble. I'll give you an example of a different situation: My favorite restaurant is closing its doors and going out of business. The owner is deeply in debt and can no longer pay his bills or his staff. He's at the end of his rope and will have to close the restaurant for good.
M- So, when someone is ''at the end of their rope'' it never refers to a good situation, only bad situations?
C- Right. And I used it to mean that my patience is finished because I am tired and in need of a vacation (but it’s not really true, I’m in a great mood today!) Ok now, the second idiom was:
''I'VE BEEN BURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS''- that's a very visual idiom. I love it.
Here, I’ll use this candle to demonstrate…ok, now I’m going to light one end
M: Cindy’s got a long white candle in her hand and one end is now lit.
C- The white candle represents my life. Ok, now we’ve got a pretty good flame burning on one end and the wax is starting to melt away.
M- Yes, I can see. Be careful! Don’t get burned!
C- Now I’m going to turn the candle around and light the other end.
M- But wait, Cindy! The candle will not last long if you keep both ends burning at the same time! And you’re dripping wax all over the floor! I can’t take it anymore, Blow it out!
C- Alright, I’ll put it out. There you go- “Burning the candle at both ends”. To live your life in this way, over time without a break, can drain your energy until you become tired and irritable.
M- Causing you to ‘’RUN OUT OF PATIENCE’’.
M-Ok, Cindy, give us just a few more patience-related idioms and we’ll wrap it up here…and besides you need to get started on cleaning up all this melted wax you’ve let drip onto the floor!
C- Uh oh, Marta’s about to LOSE HER RELIGION!
M- Hey, that’s from the R.E.M. song, isn’t it?
C- Yes, it’s an old southern expression meaning to lose your temper, to become angry. It was little known until the music group R.E.M. came out with the song ‘’Losing my Religion’’. Great song!
M- How about another?
C- ok ‘’GETTING ON MY LAST NERVE’’ that means that something has continually annoyed you and eroded your patience. I’ll use it in a sentence: ‘’My neighbor’s dog is getting on my last nerve! He’s been barking since 8:30 this morning!’’
M- That’s useful. How about another?
C- How about… ‘’IRKS ME TO NO END!’’… this means you find something very annoying. Here’s an example: ‘’Marta, you know that TV game show host? That awful one who’s always yelling and making stupid jokes? Oh, he irks me to no end! I can’t stand him! I always change the channel when he’s on TV!”
M- Ok, that’s all for now. We’ve enjoyed speaking with all of you- but now Cindy has to go and start scraping wax off the studio floor.
C- That candle was for dramatic effect!
M- Yes, thank you and it was very dramatic. And now the effect has worn off. Start scrubbing!
C- C’mon now! Patience! Just a little patience!
M- Like the famous Guns n’ Roses song ‘’Patience’’
C- Will you sing us out, Marta?
M- I’ll sing. You scrub. Because MY PATIENCE IS WEARING THIN.
C- Uh oh- there goes Marta’s last nerve! I think I just heard it snap. Thanks for listening everyone! And come visit us on www.myamericanfriendblog.com, we're also on twitter, facebook, podomatic, iTunes and youtube. And we are available for private lessons via skype, just send us an e-mail at myAmericanfriendpodcast@gmail.com and we'll send you all the details. Have a great day everyone, Bye bye!
M – bye bye, see you soon!
let's sum up:
to ‘’EXERCISE PATIENCE’’, to use patience, to stay calm, to practice patience
TO “LOSE YOUR COOL” , to lose your patience, to become angry, to lose your temper, to LOSE YOUR RELIGION
I'M AT THE END OF MY ROPE !
I'VE BEEN BURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS for months
I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE
I HAVE NO PATIENCE LEFT FOR ANYTHING OR ANYBODY.
I'M ABOUT TO BLOW!
to ‘’RUN OUT OF PATIENCE’’
’GETTING ON MY LAST NERVE’’
‘’IRKS ME TO NO END!’
MY PATIENCE IS WEARING THIN
May 28, 2012 06:52 AM PDT
M: Today we're talking about "GET"
M: Today we're talking about some uses for the word "get"
C: That's a great idea! We use ''get'' for everything. We could go on and on about this one.
M: Cindy, We can't go on and on- our listeners will GET BORED, GET IT?
C: Ok, ok...I GET IT.
M: Now, before we GET STARTED, can you GET a bottle of water from the fridge?
C: What? I DIDN'T GET THAT....Lean in towards the mic- I didn't hear you.
M: ...oh sorry...can you GET a bottle of water from the fridge?
C: Ok, I GOT that. Did you GET both natural and sparkling water at the store today?
M: Yeah, I GOT both.
C: Good, I can't stand it when you only GET the sparkling water. Ugh, how can you drink that stuff?
M: Cindy, it's good! You just don't GET it...it's refreshing! Try it!
C: Throw a shot of gin in there with a slice of lemon and we'll talk.
M: We have an agreement: No alcohol during recording sessions.
C: Barb drinks during recordings.
M: She's an exception.
C: You're just afraid of GETTING your ass kicked by her.
M: That too.
C: Ok, let's GET BACK TO BUSINESS now...we've used the verb ''get'' quite a few times, 16 to be exact.
M: ...right! ...and we haven't explained a single one!
C: Alright, let's start from the beginning. For example, if I were to say "Marta, we have to leave the studio at 12 sharp today, we can't be late. twelve sharp. GET IT?'' When I ask her ''Get it?'' that means ''do you understand?''
M: And I can simply answer ''GOT IT!'' that means ''I understand!''
C: And what about expressions like ''TO GET BORED...TO GET ANGRY...TO GET FRUSTRATED'' ?
M: That means to become bored, angry, frustrated...etc...
C: And to ''GET STARTED'' that means to begin something. Marta, wasn't there a famous song by the Black Eyed Peas called ''Let's Get it Started?''
M: Yes, very famous.
C: And when you asked me to ''get'' a bottle of water from the fridge...
M: That means to take a bottle from the fridge.
C: Right....as in ''GET A BOTTLE OF WATER...GET SOME GROCERIES AT THE STORE...GET AN OIL CHANGE AT THE MECHANIC...or even GET THE NEWSPAPER''
M: Cindy, just remind us again quickly of how you could use ''get'' in a restaurant setting.
C: Ok, and if anyone would like to review that was from Episode # 5 about “Restaurants”. In a restaurant situation, your server may ask ''WHAT CAN I GET YOU TO DRINK? That means ''what would you like to drink?'' Or they may ask ''What can I get to start you off with today?''
M: that's more confusing!
C: ''WHAT CAN I GET TO START YOU OFF WITH TODAY?'' usually means ''What would you like for an appetizer or starter? That's the first dish you would eat in a restaurant.
M: In Italian it's called ''antipasto''
C: Now I'm hungry and distracted!
M: Cindy, we need TO GET BACK TO BUSINESS and GET SOME WORK DONE today.
C: I know, I know but it's so hard today. I just CAN'T GET GOING this morning. We've just returned from a long weekend in Naples, Italy.
M: Oh, did you get some great authentic pizza while you were there?
C: We had some phenomenal pizza! And if anyone would like the name and address of a fantastic pizza restaurant we'll have it posted at the end of this transcript.
M: So that's why you're not on board this morning! Too much pizza! Right?
C. Too much pizza- exactly! And what about the expression ''TO GET ON BOARD'' that means to be in agreement, to cooperate, to join in, to partner with...
M: Give us an example of "to get on board''.
C: Gladly...Nearly 2 years ago, Marta had this great idea for an advanced English language podcast and she wanted to call it "my American friend''. She asked me ''TO GET ON BOARD'' and here we are 1 year and 35 episodes later!
M: I'm happy you decided to GET ON BOARD!
C: Me too! It's been a lot fun!
M: which reminds me, are you free to record next week?
C: hmm, most likely yes, but I'll have to check my schedule and GET BACK TO YOU.
M: sounds good to me, but be sure to GET BACK TO ME and confirm before this weekend.
C: Ok, will do. Well, Marta I think we're finished for today. I hope everyone found this topic useful?
M: I hope you didn't GET BORED with us!
C: Thanks for listening everybody! Come visit us on www.myamericanfriendblog.com where you can GET all the transcripts to present and past episodes.
M – We'd like to take a moment to thank some very special people who have contacted us on our facebook page: Jaroslaw, Sergio Leon, Letizia, Nicolas, Maria, Lenka, Graham, Gertraud, Angela, Giuseppe, Roberto, Reza, Marigona, Daria, Jessica, Laura.
C – And thanks to our many followers on Twitter and especially Mélia Miranda and Bettina. Huge thanks to our brand new subscribers on our brand new youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/myAmericanfriendblog
And as always, a special thank you to Igor, Nastya and Ann.
M – Thank you for listening, bye bye!
Common phrases using the word "get"
(special note: there are soooo many more phrases using the word "get"- we've only just scratched the surface!
-That song always gets to me. I cry every time i hear it. = The song makes me feel emotional, sentimental.
-She/He gets to me. I can't stand her/him= This person is irritating, annoying.
-He's getting on my nerves, he won't shut up.= He's annoying me, he won't stop talking.
-He gets my sense of humour. We always laugh a lot when we're togther.= He understands my particular sense of humour.
-Get over it= Forget about it. Forgive. Don't let it continue to annoy/bother/anger/irritate you.
-Get out (expression has two meanings)
1. To leave
2. You're joking!
EXAMPLE: I just won the lottery! ANSWER: Get out! No you didn't! You're just as broke as I am!
-Get up = Wake up or stand up. EXAMPLE: to get up out of a chair. To get up at 7 o'clock.
-Get your act together= Shape up. Improve yourself. Become organized. EXAMPLE: You are on the verge of being kicked out of school because of bad grades. You really need to get your act together and start studying.
-Get it right, get it wrong= to give a right or wrong answer. EXAMPLE: the game show contestant has only one answer left to give! If she gets it right she will win the prize. Is she gets it wrong she will go home with nothing.
...and here's an excellent pizza restaurant in Naples, Italy for everyone to enjoy!
Via S. Biagio dei Librai 115
May 22, 2012 08:36 AM PDT
Cristina Scabbia is a great singer.
She's one of the two vocalists of the Italian metal band Lacuna Coil.
Being able to speak English, she made a career with her band not only in Italy but all over the world.
Thank you Cristina for being our guest!
May 16, 2012 05:29 AM PDT
M - Today we're talking about AUSTRALIAN HOLIDAYS !
M - This is a special episode, a follow up.
C - Yes, hey everyone, do you remember episode number 26 about American Holidays? For example we mentioned : Presidents day, Memorial day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans day, Thanksgiving and so on. Today we're going to learn something about Australian holidays instead! A big thank you to our dear friend Laura who is currently living in Australia and provided us with the recording of Kate's voice: 100% Australian “Aussie” accent! Kate and her husband are the owners of a farm in the South-West of Western Australia.
M – It's going to be interesting!
K – G’day! My name is Kate. Here in Australia we have nine National Holidays which are celebrated all over the country. The States and Territories individually declare some other public holidays such as the Canberra Day (2nd Monday in March in the Australian Capital Territory), the Foundation Day (June in Western Australia), the Proclamation Day (December in South Australia) and the Picnic Day (August in the Northern Territory).
C – Picnic Day sounds good, doesn't it?
M - It does!
K - Getting back to our National Holidays, first of all, we have NEW YEAR’S DAY, on January 1st. Actually, New Year’s Day celebrations commence in most capital cities on 31st December, with festivities and fireworks at midnight to welcome in the New Year.
Secondly, AUSTRALIA DAY. Australia’s national day is held on 26th January in recognition of the arrival in 1788 of the First Fleet, a group of 11 ships that sailed from England to establish a colony in Port Jackson, Australia. Australia Day celebrations include Australia Day Honours, Australian of the Year Awards (which are given to deserving citizens who have inspired the community through their achievements and must be taken as an example to create a better Australia), Citizenship ceremonies, concerts, carnivals and family entertainment. It is a drinking day and it's often celebrated with a BBQ (also called the Barbie).
C - Ok, so number one: New Year's Day, number two: Australia Day.
K - Thirdly, LABOUR DAY. It commemorates the achievements of the Australian labour movement. The celebration of Labour Day has its origins in the eight hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. On 21 April 1856 Stonemasons and building workers on building sites around Melbourne, stopped work and marched from the University of Melbourne to Parliament House to achieve an eight hour day. Their direct action protest was a success and they are noted as the first organized workers in the world to achieve an eight hour day with no loss of pay, which subsequently inspired the celebration of Labour Day. The Labour Day public holiday varies between the various states and territories.
M – Cindy, can you remind us of Labor Day in the States instead?
C - It's celebrated on the first Monday in September. And we spell it L-A-B-O-R, not LABOUR. No U.
M - Ok, let's go on.
K - Number 4 and 5 are GOOD FRIDAY and EASTER MONDAY. Good Friday is the Friday before Easter and in Christianity commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus and his death. Here, it is celebrated on the first Friday after the full moon on or after 21st March. Easter Monday is the day after Easter Sunday.
Number 6 is ANZAC DAY. The Anzac Day Act 1995 declares the 25th of April as a national day of commemoration in recognition and commemoration of the contribution of all those who have served Australia in time of war and in war-like conflicts. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and was first used when Australian and New Zealand soldiers were grouped in Egypt, prior to their landing at Gallipoli in Turkey during the World War I. Anzac Day commemoration features marches by veterans and by solemn "Dawn Services", a tradition started in Albany, Western Australia on 25 April 1923 and now held at war memorials around the country, accompanied by thoughts of those lost at war to the ceremonial sounds of The Last Post on the bungle. The fourth stanza of Binyon's poem For the Fallen (known as the "Ode of Remembrance") is often recited.
C - Ok, so Anzac Day on the 25th of April, commemorating all those who served Australia in time of war. Marta, isn't the 25th of April a war-related national holiday in Italy as well?
M - Yes, here in Italy we celebrate the end of World War II. The very same day of Anzac Day.
K - Number 7 is the QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY. The day has been celebrated since 1788, when Governor Arthur Phillip declared a holiday to mark the birthday of King George III. Until 1936 it was held on the actual birthday of the Monarch, but after the death of King George V it was decided to keep the date at mid-year. In all states and territories except Western Australia (because it celebrates its Foundation Day on the first Monday in June), the Queen's Birthday is observed on the second Monday in June. On this day the "Queen's Birthday honours list" is released naming new members of the Order of Australia and other Australian honours. The Queen's Birthday weekend was long the traditional times for public fireworks displays in Australia. Although they still occur, the tradition has recently been overshadowed by larger New Year's Eve fireworks, as the sale of fireworks to the public was progressively banned by the states in the 1980s.
M - How about fireworks in America instead?
C - New year's Eve and Independence Day (that’s The 4th of July) are definitely the right days to see amazing fireworks anywhere around the United States.
K - Number 8 is CHRISTMAS DAY. Christmas Day, on December 25th, is a Christian celebration in commemoration of the birth of Jesus. We usually have an English-style lunch or a seafood BBQ, while on Christmas's Eve many drinking parties are organized.
Last but not least is BOXING DAY. It is on the day after Christmas (December 26th), except in South Australia, where the first otherwise working day after the Christmas is a public holiday called Proclamation Day. The origins of Boxing Day are believed to be British, and related to the practice of the wealthy giving gifts of money, food or goods to the poor. Boxing Day is noted for the start of the post-Christmas sale season... it’s a shopping day!! The day has also become a significant sporting day. Melbourne hosts the Boxing Day Test Match and the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race also starts on this day.
Well, it was very nice talking to you all. See ya later!
C – And it was nice listening to you Kate and your wonderful Australian accent!
M – Thank you so much for being our guest! And thanks to Laura too!
C – All right, that's all for now, we hope you’ve enjoyed this special episode about Australian holidays.
M - Come visit us on www.myamericanfriendblog.com
C – …where you can find the transcripts of our episodes, together with lots of posts, pictures, videos, and the links to our other pages on Facebook, Twitter, Podomatic, our Youtube channel and iTunes. If you're interested in private lessons via skype just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll contact you as soon as possible. Bye everyone!
M – See you soon! Bye bye!
April 29, 2012 03:09 AM PDT
M- Today we’re talking about “ON and OFF”
M- Cindy, how are you today?
C- Eh, not so great. I’m FEELING A LITTLE “OFF” today. I think I’m coming down with a cold.
M- Oh no! Really?
C- No, I’m fine. I was just kidding with you. I feel great!
M- Oh Good! So, if someone says they’re feeling…
C- a little bit off today- that means they’re not feeling well for some reason.
M- This leads us to our topic today: some common uses for the words ‘’ON & OFF’’.
C- My husband reminded me of this subject. His first language is Italian and he is great about reminding me of all the little oddities of English that, frankly, I would never notice at all!
M- Sounds useful! Let’s get started.
C- Ok, did you know you can use “off” when referring to someone who has suddenly become angry?
M- Like...an explosion?
C- Exactly- an explosion of anger! I’ll give you an example: Yesterday, we were listening to a lecture in my Chemistry Class when all of a sudden… a student’s cell phone began to ring!
M- Oh no! That’s so rude! What happened?
C- The professor WENT OFF! He lost his temper and started yelling at everyone in the auditorium!
M- Cindy, I know that’s a fake story- but I totally agree with your imaginary professor!
C- I know, right? I can’t stand it when people forget to silence their mobile phones! Okay, how about this one…listen carefully…
M- I’m ready.
C- Marta, shut the alarm off before it goes off.
M- That part I understood.
C- SHUT THE ALARM OFF… that means to turn off the alarm, or shut it down…before it GOES OFF. Shut the alarm off before it begins to ring.
M- Useful. Have another one for us?
C- Yes, for example, when the siren of an ambulance or a fire truck begins to sound we say ‘’THE SIREN HAS GONE OFF’’.
M- But it hasn’t gone off- it has actually turned on!
C- Precisely…and that’s why you and I are here to help clarify. Do you have an ambulance sound effect for us, Miss Sound Engineer?
M- Yes. I think so. Hang on a minute. Here you go.
C- Thank you, can you hear it? We would say ‘’the siren has just gone off’’…and now the siren has stopped. Thank you.
M- How about the word “off” used in relation to food?
C- Oh, that’s important! Ok, if I were to say: The milk’s gone off. Don’t drink it, just throw it away. That means the milk has spoiled and it’s no longer drinkable, if THE MILK HAS ‘’GONE OFF’’ that means it’s rotten.
M- Ok. We can also use “off” in more ways to relate to food, right?
C- Yes, we can also use “off” to say we are avoiding something. Here’s an example: My brother is trying to lose weight. For now, HE’S “GONE OFF” CHEESE AND PASTA. That means he’s avoiding, or not eating, cheese & pasta in an effort to lose weight. Hey Marta, speaking of cheese- do you like Taleggio cheese?
M- Oh no! Just the smell of it “puts me off”!
C- THE SMELL “PUTS YOU OFF”? That means the smell is unappealing and unappetizing to you. And just so you know, my husband loves that stuff! He’ll gladly take all your unwanted Taleggio cheese!
M- Good, I’ll hand deliver it to him!
C- All right, let’s talk a little about ‘’turn on’’.
M- Turn off the lights. Turn on the lights. We’ve all got that.
C- Probably the most common use of ‘’turn on’’ is of a sexual nature. If something is A “TURN ON” that means it is sexually attractive to you.
M – (Singing the song “Kiss” by Prince): You don't have to be beautiful, to turn me on...
C - But we can also use ‘’turn on’’ to mean ‘’you’ve brought something to my attention” …you've “TURNED ME ON TO” it.
M- Can you give us an example?
C- Sure…I could say something like: Hey, thanks for turning us on to that new restaurant in town! We ate there last night! The food was fantastic! Or : Thanks for turning us on to that new band! They’re awesome!
M: Or: We hope that our podcast has helped to turn you on to English!
C- Well said, my friend. Well said.
C - Thanks for listening everyone! We wish you all a great day ahead!
M: Thank you for listening and remember that you can find us on www.myamericanfriendblog.com. We're also on facebook, twitter, podomatic, youtube, iTunes. Thank you, bye bye!
C – Bye bye!
Let's sum up:
I’m FEELING A LITTLE OFF today (I'm not feeling well)
The professor WENT OFF! (explosion of anger)
SHUT the alarm OFF before it GOES OFF! (turn off the alarm before it begins to ring).
The siren has GONE OFF (it has turned on, it's ringing)
THE MILK HAS GONE OFF (it’s rotten)
He's GONE OFF cheese and pasta (he's avoiding cheese and pasta)
The smell PUTS ME OFF (it's unappealing)
TURN ON (sexually attractive)
You've “TURNED ME ON TO” something (you're brought something to my attention)
April 13, 2012 02:40 AM PDT
M – This episode is about TIME.
C - OK, in our previous episode we talked about the clock and about Time Zones in the States.
M – Right.
C - We also mentioned a few idioms regarding the clock, such as: “a race against the clock” or “around the clock”.
M – On preparing that episode we thought of a bunch of time-related expressions.
C – So here we are with an episode about these idioms. First off, have you ever heard this one: “SHE GETS UP WITH THE ROOSTERS''.
M – Roosters?
C – A rooster is a male chicken. Roosters are known to sing very early in the morning, at sunrise. So: “She gets up with the roosters” means she wakes up very early in the morning.
M – You're definitely not talking about me!
C – Don't you get up with the roosters Marta?
M – Only under death threat! Or if I have to catch an early flight to the States. But I prefer singing at sunrise when I've been up all night and I'm about to go to sleep.
C – Oh, you're a rockstar. Got it, so I guess we could describe you with another time-related expression: “SHE'S A NIGHT OWL”.
M – owl?
C – It's a bird of prey and it's nocturnal. So “she's a night owl” means: she stays up very late at night.
M – Clear. So, Cindy, are you a rooster or an owl?
C – well, I was born an owl and I’ve tried to be a rooster- believe me I have- but being a ‘’night owl’’ just comes naturally to me.
M – Ok, let's move on. I guess everyone knows “to have a great time”.
C – That's common, but there's also “TO HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE”, to express that you're really enjoying something. For example: “it's been an unforgettable vacation, we've had the time of our lives!”
M – Or (singing) : “I've had the time of my life ...”
C – Dirty Dancing soundtrack. And speaking of songs, Marta, think of the Rolling Stones, with the song: “TIME IS ON MY SIDE”
M – (singing) Time is on my side.
C – That means I have lots of time, time is working to my advantage. For example: “I have a big paper to write for Chemistry class, but I’m not worried because it isn’t due until the end of semester. I’ve got time on my side.’’
M- Good. And back to the Rolling Stones…they’ve really STOOD THE TEST OF TIME haven’t they?
C- They are survivors! They’ve endured what like 50 years in the music business?
M- And they are still relevant today. They’ve stood the test of time.
C- …and I think My American Friend will stand the test of time as well!
M- I think so too!
C- Now what could we use to mean the opposite of time is on your side?
M- Oh, we could say “We’ve got NO TIME TO WASTE!”
C- Perfect. The expression “no time to waste’’ means there is little time available and you must act quickly.
M- Can you give us an example?
C- Sure…. “Marta, hurry up and buy those concert tickets! They sell out fast, there’s no time to waste!”
M- Oh wow…now I feel like I need to call someone now!
C- Go ahead, call someone. Just please don’t call Barb, “I’VE GOT NO TIME’’ FOR that woman. She irks me.
M- Cindy, I think the feeling is mutual.
C- Call Ashley. I’ve heard she’s got her own credit card now.
M- Oh no! I hope she’s paying the bill on time! Oh...
Marta- Hi Ashley! It’s Marta, dear.
M- Ashley, DO YOU HAVE TIME TO TALK? it’s Marta!... Turn the music off or I’m hanging up!
Ashley- Marta!!!!!!!!! Oh my God! Yes, I HAVE TIME TO TALK! IT’S NEVER A BAD TIME FOR YOU! I saw you on Youtube! You look soooooo pretty! Where did you get those shoes? I told all my friends! Oh my God! Will you take me to New York City? I want those shoes!
M- What? …Ashley, I’m not taking you anywhere. You’re a liability.
Ashley- No, I’m not Marta! I’m 18! I’m an adult now! I have my own credit card!
M- Ashley, just being 18 and having a credit card does not make you an adult. This goes for you especially! Ashley, are you paying the credit card bills ON TIME?
Ashley- Yes...I am…actually, I haven’t gotten a bill yet. So don’t worry about it.
Marta- Ashley, when did you get that credit card? That bill absolutely must be paid BY A SET TIME each month, without fail!
Ashley- I dunno, like before my trip to Cancun last fall.
M- Ashley, you got your credit card last year and you still have not made a single payment???
Ashley- Yes…because -like- I only have to pay like once a year!
M- Whoa! TIME OUT! Wait a minute! once a year???
M- Ashley, I know you’re going TO HAVE A HARD TIME understanding this but you must pay your bill without fail each month or you will ruin your credit?! It’s TIME FOR YOU TO CHANGE and be more responsible, my dear.
Ashley- Oh my God, Marta…. you’re so right. I have to change. These shoes…. They like totally do not match with my shirt. I have to change. How could I be seen out in public like this?!
M- Oh my goodness! Ashley!
Ashley- How could I have been so stupid?
M- (whispering)… Cindy, what should I say? Help me out!
Cindy- (whispering)…Break it down for her. Put it in terms she can understand.
M- Ashley. Listen to me.
Ashley- I look like a skank!
Marta- I’m sure you don’t look like a skank. Dear, listen to me: If you don’t get online right now and make a credit card payment you are never ever going to be able to buy eye shadow or shoes or sunglasses or purses ever again!
Ashley- I have to go!
Cindy- Now that she could understand! Good work, Marta!
Marta- I think our work is done here. TIME FOR US TO RUN!
Cindy- We hope you’ve all had a great time listening today!
M- Come visit us on www.myamericanfriendblog.com
we're also on twitter, facebook, podomatic, iTunes, and youtube.
C – We are available for private lessons via skype, just send us an email at myAmericanfriendpodcast@gmail.com
M – See you soon!
C – bye bye!
Let's sum up!
Time-related expressions we've used in this episode:
- SHE GETS UP WITH THE ROOSTERS
- SHE'S A NIGHT OWL
- TO HAVE A GREAT TIME
- TO HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE
- TIME IS ON MY SIDE
- TO STAND THE TEST OF TIME
- NO TIME TO WASTE !
- I’VE GOT NO TIME’’ FOR...
- I HAVE TIME TO TALK!
- IT’S NEVER A BAD TIME FOR YOU!
- TO PAY ON TIME
- TO PAY BY A SET TIME
- TIME OUT !
- TO HAVE A HARD TIME UNDERSTANDING SOMETHING
- IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO CHANGE
- TIME FOR US TO RUN!
March 28, 2012 09:02 AM PDT
M – This time we're going to talk about the CLOCK.
C - First of all, I guess everyone knows that in America we use a 12 HOUR CLOCK, so for example you may say: “yesterday I had lunch at 1” and that would mean it’s 1 p.m., 1 o’clock in the afternoon, while : “I went to bed at 1”, that would be 1 a.m., 1 o’clock at night.
M – 12 hour clock, clear. Speaking of 12, that's “NOON”, right?
C – Noon is 12, that's the reason for the word: afternoon, it's after noon.
M- Noon, but also: MIDDAY. While 12 at night is: MIDNIGHT and that's when the fun usually begins.
C – or when the CURFEW begins. Oh, this might be a new word. Curfew. It's a regulation about specified hours for people to remain indoors, especially at night. Curfew, for example, can be “from DUSK till DAWN”.
M – From dusk …
C - ...till dawn.
M - Ok.
C – It means from sunset to sunrise, so: all night long.
M – Ok, back to the clock. By the way, WHAT TIME IS IT?
C – It's 5 o'clock, or, I could say: it's 5 SHARP.
M – Sharp, ok. Cindy, what time did you go to school yesterday?
C – at ABOUT 8, that means it was a couple minutes to or past 8.
M – And what time did you come home from school?
C – It was NEARLY 12.30, nearly, that means it was 12.20 or 25. That also means that I had 4 classes in a row and by the time I got home I was dead tired, but that's another story.
M – Oooh, I guess so.
C – IT TOOK ME two hours to relax and unwind.
M – It took you two hours, that reminds me that we use the verb to take when talking about time.
C – Yes, for instance: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE to become fluent in English?
M – Oh, it doesn't take a long time if you work hard and ….
C - ...listen to our podcast, of course.
M – Right.
C – Everyone, don't miss the transcript of this episode, so that you can read a lot of examples about how to express time. Now, let's talk about something you really need to be aware of when traveling around the States.
M – What is it?
C – TIME ZONES. Well, each region on Earth has its own standard time, whenever you travel around the globe you need to adjust your clock to the local time, according to which time zone you are in. In the States we have 4 different time zones.
M – Ok, let's imagine we are in San Francisco.
C – California is in the PACIFIC TIME ZONE (PT) otherwise known as the “WEST COAST” TIME.
M – Let's move to Connecticut.
C – Connecticut, where I was born and raised. That would be the EASTERN TIME ZONE (ET), or the “EAST COAST” TIME. There is a 3 hour difference between the two American coasts.
M – That means it's 3 hours earlier in California than in New York.
C – Exactly, for instance when it's midnight in New York it's still nine o'clock in Los Angeles. When announcing a live event being broadcast on TV such as a football game or an award ceremony you may hear something like: “next Sunday, starting at 6 p.m. Eastern Time / 3 p.m. Pacific Time.”
M – How about the other two time zones?
C – MOUNTAIN TIME and CENTRAL TIME. And, of course, Alaska and Hawaii have their own different time zones. Marta, have you ever had any problems with Time Zones when traveling in the States?
M – Well, I had to adjust my clock many times, not only because of the different time zones but also because of the DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME.
C – Uh huh, that's true! That may be confusing to some people. Ok, for example: Mountain Standard Time. That's 7 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time, but in the summer, when Daylight Saving Time is observed, it changes into Mountain Daylight Time, that is only 6 hours behind Greenwich.
But, watch out, not all the States adopt daylight saving time, you need to pay attention when scheduling appointments around America! Remember to check Time Zones and Daylight Saving Time.
M – So true, I remember arriving EARLY at an appointment in Michigan only to find out that everyone had been waiting for me for almost 1 hour.
C – How did that happen?
M - I had adjusted my clock when landing in Chicago, then I drove directly to Michigan. I didn't realize that Illinois and Michigan are not in the same time zone. And I hate BEING LATE!
C – Aww it’s an honest mistake. You didn’t know.
M- No… but now I know!
C- Hey, there is a great idiom to describe someone who is always late…and frankly, it’s been said about me more than once…SHE'LL BE LATE FOR HER OWN FUNERAL! or : he'll be late for his own funeral, of course. But women are more likely to be late, because it takes us hours to decide what to wear.
M – (singing) It's late in the evening, she's wondering what clothes to wear...
C – Eric Clapton, isn't it?
M – Right. Ok, before we go, can you think of any other clock-related expressions?
C – Yes : “A RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK”
M – a race against the clock, it sounds like an emergency to me.
C – Right, for example: World leaders are racing against the clock in an attempt to solve this economic crisis. Or: The oil spill is spreading, we need to act before it's too late, it's a race against the clock.”
M – ok, clear. What about “AROUND THE CLOCK” ? I know there's a song that goes like “we're gonna rock around the clock tonight”. So, around the clock?
C - That means all day and all night. For example: We've worked around the clock to help the earthquake victims. Or: That TV channel broadcasts news reports around the clock. Or: He's very ill, he needs assistance around the clock.
M – Ok, IT'S TIME TO GO now.
C – I hadn't noticed how late it is! Oh, that reminds me of another sentence: “ “TIME FLIES WHEN YOU’RE HAVING FUN.’’…isn’t that the truth!
M – Time flies when you're having fun, right. We hope it flies when you're studying English as well!
C – Thank you for listening everyone. And we'd like to send a special hello to Igor, his wife and their beautiful two daughters Nastya and Ann, listening in Moscow, Russia.
Everyone, come visit our blog at www.myamericanfriendblog.com . You can find “my American friend” on iTunes, podomatic, twitter, facebook & youtube. We are also available for private lessons via Skype, just send us an email at myAmericanfriendpodcast@gmail.com
And remember, your donations and support help us in making this podcast bigger and better, thank you.
M – See you soon!
C – bye bye
What's the time? What time is it? It's...
5.00 It's five o'clock / It's five sharp
2.15 It's a quarter past two / it's two fifteen.
4.30 It's half past four / it's four thirty.
7.45 It's a quarter to eight / it's seven forty-five
11.58 p.m.: it's two minutes to midnight.
12 = noon = midday
What time do you usually have breakfast? At half past seven.
What time does your train leave? At 7.35 (seven thirty-five).
What time can I pick you up tomorrow? ANY TIME BETWEEN 3 and 4 is ok for me. Ok, I'll pick you up SOME TIME AFTER 3, then.
What time did you get up yesterday? It was NEARLY 6.30.
What time did you go to bed last night? It was ABOUT midnight.
Lunch is served at HALF PAST NOON (= 12.30)
Dinner is served promptly at 8.
The restaurant begins serving breakfast “at the break of dawn” or “at daybreak”. (when the sun first rises in the morning)
It TAKES TIME. (not quick. time is needed to accomplish something) EXAMPLE: It takes a long time to drive from Texas to Florida. They are very far apart.
How long does it take to ...? (how much time is needed?) EXAMPLE: How long does it take to fly from Los Angeles to New York?
BEING LATE / BEING EARLY / BEING ON TIME
“from dusk till dawn”: from sunset to sunrise, all night long. EXAMPLE: On New Year’s Eve we danced from dusk till dawn! It was a great night!
TIME ZONES in America:
- PACIFIC TIME (EAST COAST TIME) (California)
- MOUNTAIN TIME
- CENTRAL TIME
- EASTERN TIME (EAST COAST TIME) (New York)
DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME (observed in the summer)
“SHE'LL BE LATE FOR HER OWN FUNERAL”: she's always late
“it's A RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK” : it's an emergency
“AROUND THE CLOCK”: all day and all night
“TIME FLIES WHEN YOU'RE HAVING FUN!” or just: “Time flies!”
“DO YOU HAVE A MINUTE?” (Do you have a few minutes to talk?) EXAMPLE: Do you have a minute? I would like to discuss our presentation for tomorrow’s meeting.
“Time is of the essence!” (time is very important. Time must be used very efficiently) EXAMPLE: We have a deadline tomorrow and we must complete this project as quickly as possible! Time is of the essence!
March 13, 2012 01:43 AM PDT
M- Today, we’re talking about “American Holidays!” ... Cindy, today we’re going to discuss American holidays.
C- Our friend Laura suggested that topic didn’t she? Hi Laura!
M- Yes, she did! Hi Laura!
C- Ok, that’s a fun topic…let’s do it!
M- Now Cindy, we all pretty much know about the big holidays like Christmas and Halloween…
C- Oh, I love Halloween!
M- But could we talk about some of the other holidays as well?
C- Sure, let’s take it month by month then, beginning with January 1st- New Year’s Day.
M- What do Americans do on New Year’s Day?
C- Recover from New Year’s Eve.
M- …besides that…don’t you celebrate with family and make ‘’NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS”?
C- That’s true. Some families have lunch together on New Year’s Day and specific foods are prepared to bring things like good luck, health and prosperity in the coming year.
M- Which foods are those?
C- Well, it depends on the individual family traditions and the region you live in, but just to name a few: cabbage, black eyed peas, and fish.
M- And what about those New Year’s resolutions?
C- Many of us make 1 or 2 ‘’New Year’s resolutions” at the beginning of every year. These are promises we make to ourselves or loved ones to better ourselves in some way.
M- Can you give us some examples?
C- Oh sure, the most common would be to commit to taking better care of yourself in the form of a healthful diet and exercise. Many people would like to quit smoking too, that’s a very popular New Year’s resolution.
M- And it’s a very good idea too.
C- Or your focus could be on family. You might want to make a commitment to work less and spend more time with your loved ones.
M- That’s nice, so a New Year’s Resolution is a promise to improve your life in some way?
M- How many holidays do you have in America?
C- That’s an interesting question. In doing my research for this podcast, I learned that there are no national holidays in America and that each of the 50 states has jurisdiction over its own holidays.
M- Oh, that’s interesting!
C- Isn’t it? But, there are ten days in the year that are proclaimed as holidays for federal government employees. Most states do observe these holidays and they are called ‘’legal’’ or ‘’public’’ holidays. In other words- no mail will be delivered and most likely the banks will be closed as well.
M- TEN LEGAL HOLIDAYS. Can you go over the list for us, with a brief explanation for each one?
C- Sure, no problem. First off, we have NEW YEAR’S DAY. That’s January 1st and it’s a day of relaxation, recovery (if you’ve celebrated too much the night before), renewal…and football- there's always football games televised on New Year’s Day!
Second: MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY, that’s in honor of slain African American civil rights activist Reverend Martin Luther King. He’s honored on the 3rd Monday in January.
Number 3: PRESIDENTS DAY in honor of George Washington. He was the first President of The United States of America. We celebrate Presidents Day on the 3rd Monday in February.
Number 4: MEMORIAL DAY in honor of our fallen soldiers who have died in all wars. Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday in May. It’s also known as the ‘’kick off’’ to the start of summer vacation.
M- In other words, hotels in tourist destinations (like the beach) are more expensive after Memorial Day?
C- You got it!
M- Ok, that’s four holidays, there are six more.
C- Number five: Independence Day…
M- or as it’s more famously known : The 4th of July!
C- I love the fourth of July! THE 4TH OF JULY or INDEPENDENCE DAY commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence and our independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. If any listeners are lucky enough to be in America on July 4th, it’s a lot of fun. We celebrate with picnics, parades, fireworks, music, family & friends. It’s one of my favorite holidays.
M- And holiday number six?
C- Number 6 would be LABOR DAY, that’s the first Monday in September. Labor Day honors the American worker. Labor Day is bittersweet for a lot of us because it signals the end of summer. If you’re vacationing in The States during Labor Day weekend then you should know that hotels (especially those at the beach) are going to be more expensive during Labor Day weekend.
M- Good advice.
C- Also, airline tickets will cost more and traffic on the highways will be jam packed with travelers. Everyone will be trying to capitalize on that very last weekend of summer.
M- So maybe it’s a good idea to plan your vacation for just a week before or after Labor Day Weekend?
C- Personally, I think it’s an excellent idea. You’ll save money, tourist areas won’t be quite as crowded and the traffic will be less likely to give you a headache. I’ve gotten some lovely hotel rooms at the beach for a fraction of the cost by reserving after Labor Day.
M- Smart. How about holiday #7?
C- Holiday# 7 is October 12th- Observance of Marta Innocenti’s Birthday!
M- Cindy, thank you- although I am flattered, I don’t think my birthday is a federal holiday in America.
C- No, not yet, but I’m sure it will be one day. Ladies & Gentlemen, not only is October 12th the birthdate of our lovely & talented host, Marta Innocenti, but it is also the day CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS arrived in the Americas back in 1492. And Marta, since Columbus was a fellow countryman who landed in the Bahamas on your birthday, I will ask you to give everyone the proper pronunciation of his name…
M - Cristoforo Colombo.
C- Grazie mille. (=Thank you very much – in Italian)
M- Prego. (= you're welcome - in Italian)
C- Holiday #8 is VETERANS DAY, observed on November 11th. This is a day where we honor all American Armed Service Veterans.
M- Holiday #9?
C- Number 9 is THANKSGIVING, observed on the fourth Thursday in November. Thanksgiving is a non-religious holiday. It’s generally shared at home with family members, but you can celebrate it any way you like-with family or friends, at home or in a restaurant. It’s a day to be reminded and thankful for all that we have. Thanksgiving is a holiday with humble origins and the most common foods shared at the Thanksgiving table are: Roasted Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Dressing (or Stuffing) a kind of casserole made with bits of vegetables and cubed bread, Cranberry Sauce (similar to jam or jelly), Gravy (a sauce made from the roasted turkey juices), Corn and Bread.
M- Sounds delicious, I’m getting hungry!
C- Well, you’re in luck because we only have one holiday left to talk about!
M- Let me guess…Christmas Day!
C- You’re right! CHRISTMAS DAY, celebrated on December 25th!
M- if I’m not mistaken you spent last Christmas on an airplane, right?
C- …I did! Three planes, actually! But for all normal Americans, who prefer to spend their holiday on the ground, it’s a great time of the year. In fact, it's so great we think it deserves an episode all on its own.
M- At Christmas time.
C – Well, that's it for now, we're finished with American holidays but before we go we have some very special people to thank.
M – Yes, some new followers on podomatic : Ishi, Giantsun Juu, Sirinapa, Mywjch. Our friends on facebook : Olfa, Krewa, Kirshan, Omed, Karolina, Irina, Blerta, Helena Maluluka, Zhipeng Li, Key Cee, Sarah Rose, Maria, Sergio, Gertraud, Gilberto, Soha. And on twitter: Andrea, Ana Paula, Chantha Seng, Vanesa, Tamara, Jarvin, Anna Loseva, Carl Pierre, Kotova, Joseph Yu, Yuliya. I'm sure I have mispronounced your names and I'm sorry.
C – But believe us when we say our sentiments are heartfelt : thank you.
M – And again a big thank you to our friend Laura who is now in Australia. Go check her blog at : www.mydestinationaustralia.wordpress.com
Thank you so much for listening and see you soon, bye bye!
C – Bye bye!
Some Additional American Holidays:
Valentine’s Day, February 14th- celebrated by giving flowers and candy. Some couples may choose to celebrate with a special meal or by exchanging small gifts.
Easter Sunday, (springtime) date varies- celebrated by giving baskets of chocolate to small children, coloring Easter Eggs, going to church, enjoying a meal with family, giving flowers to your mother or grandmother.
April Fool’s Day, April 1st- Be careful! Someone may play a trick on you today! Children LOVE this holiday!
Mother’s Day, second Sunday in May- celebrate your mom by taking her to lunch and giving flowers or a sentimental gift.
Father’s Day, 3rd Sunday in June- in honor of Fathers. Gifts vary greatly- it just depends on the dad! Give a small gift according to your dad’s preferences.
Halloween, October 31st- celebrated with costumes and candy. Kids dress up in costumes (either scary or not, depends on the kid) visit homes in their neighborhoods, knock on the door and yell ‘’Trick or Treat!’’ The owner of the home gives candy to all the ‘’trick or treaters’’. Adults celebrate Halloween by dressing in costume and attending parties in homes or pubs.
March 10, 2012 12:38 AM PST
M – We're back !
C - Yes, we are! We've survived the snow, the flu and sub-zero temperatures! And now we're happy to close the door on old man winter and welcome spring with open arms.
M – I love March!
C - ...and this particular March is very special, isn't it?
M – Yes it is!
C – Happy Anniversary, Marta!
M – Happy Anniversary Cindy!
C – the “my American friend” podcast has just reached its one year anniversary.
M - “My American friend” has evolved so much over just one year. First, the podcast, then the blog, facebook, twitter and now...
C – Drum roll please..
M - ...a brand new YOUTUBE CHANNEL !
C – Come check us out everyone. Go to youtube and type in myamericanfriendblog. No spaces, all one word.
M – We'd be happy if you celebrated with us our first anniversary by promoting “my American friend” on facebook, or twitter, or youtube and on your blog pages as well.
C – Your donations and support help us to make the “my American friend” podcast better than ever.
M – And in fact, a very special thank you to Fede and Jaroslaw who used the DONATE BUTTON on www.myamericanfriendblog.com
C – Marta, we've recently been contacted by some of our listeners about PRIVATE LESSONS via SKYPE and we would be happy to help you too. Just send us an e-mail at : myAmericanfriendpodcast@gmail.com
M – Right, and for those of you who are on podomatic.com, show your love by pushing the “we want more” button. Thank you.
C - We have a new episode in the works now about American holidays, available for download in just a few days. See you soon everyone!
M – Happy anniversary!
for private lessons via SKYPE contact us at :
February 16, 2012 11:31 AM PST
M- Today, we’re talking about “Weather”.
M- It’s positively FRIGID in here!
C- Ok, I'll turn up the thermostat in here. I know, today’s a cold one isn’t it?
M- I’m FREEZING!
C- Ok, there you go. It’ll warm up in here soon.
M- Thank you! I can’t stand winter! I want to move to a place with palm trees!
C- Well…. wait until we finish this episode before you book your plane ticket!
M- Speaking of plane tickets… that reminds me that you’ve just returned from The States. How was the weather? I hope it was warmer than here?
C- Well, when we left Italy it was like totally overcast and I was so happy to be leaving. Then we landed in Amsterdam and it was like kinda drizzling. But when we got to Atlanta it was raining cats and dogs and by the time we landed in North Carolina….
M- Hang on. Wait a minute, Cindy….I haven’t been able to process a thing you’ve said.
C- Oh, has your brain frozen over?
M- Maybe so. Now what were you talking about?
C- I was talking about the weather on our trip.
M- All I heard was something about cats and dogs.
C- Tell the truth. All you heard was the word ‘’cats’’!
M- Okay, maybe so, everyone knows by now that I love cats …but you also used the word ‘’drizzling’’, you’d better explain yourself a little better.
C- Ok, you’re right. I was saying that when we left Italy (and for those of you who are just joining us- Marta and I both live in the north of Italy)… when we left Italy, the sky was OVERCAST.
M- And when the sky is ‘’overcast’’ that means it’s cloudy and gray outside.
C- Right. Then we caught a connecting flight in Amsterdam and it was DRIZZLING outside.
M- And that means…?
C- Drizzling means a light rain. That’s just enough precipitation for you to have to take your umbrella with you.
M- And what about the cats and dogs in Georgia?
C- IT WAS RAINING CATS AND DOGS in Atlanta, Georgia.
M- that sounds serious!
C- It is! If someone says “it’s raining cats & dogs outside” that means it’s raining quite hard.
M- And maybe you should use a little extra caution while doing things like driving a car.
C- Yes! And be extra careful if you’ve just spent a lot of money in the salon to have your hair styled! If it’s raining cats & dogs outside then you’ve just wasted a whole lot of money!
M- We’re accustomed to rain here in the north of Italy.
C- And fog! Sometimes, THE FOG IS SO THICK YOU COULD CUT IT WITH A KNIFE!
M- Well not literally, Cindy, that’s just an expression meaning that the fog is very dense and visibility is severely restricted.
C- Yeah, whatever…do you remember how foggy it was when you performed in Rovigo recently?
M- Oh yes! I remember! You could cut that fog with a knife!
C- I rest my case. Let’s see, what else can we talk about?
M- How about just this morning?
C- Oh yeah, I woke up really early and noticed that we had a DUSTING overnight.
M- I want to move to Florida.
C- You can’t move to Florida until we finish this podcast. Now explain what a dusting is.
M- A dusting is a light coating of snow.
C- It’s kind of pretty really, it looks like everything’s been coated with powdered sugar! It also hides the fact that I need to wash my car!
M- Cindy, how about the expression ‘’A BLANKET OF SNOW’’?
C- Right. A blanket of snow is a heavy coating. I have some family in the state of Vermont and some friends in northern New York where it’s quite cold and they’re often ‘’BLANKETED IN SNOW’’. Sometimes they’re BURIED IN SNOW.
M- And can you explain what SLEET is?
C- Sleet is the enemy.
M- I was thinking something more specific, Cindy.
C- Sleet is awful. Sleet is exactly what you don’t want to find when you’re on the road. Sleet is that halfway point between snow and rain. It’s soft ice.
M- Oh you mean like Italian sorbetto?
C- Exactly! But much less appealing! Sleet is common in my region of North Carolina and in winter it causes all kinds of damage. I live midway between the mountains and the sea. Too cold for rain and too warm for snow- and the result is sleet and ice and broken trees, power outages and perilous driving conditions.
M- Wow! I didn’t know you felt so passionately about sleet?
C- I do! And you want to know why? Because one Christmas, an ice storm had knocked out power in my town for 3 days! In the country that means no lights, no running water and no heat!
M- Merry Christmas!
C- Thank goodness I had a wood burning stove in my living room, so we cooked Christmas dinner on that stove. One learns to be very resourceful when living in North Carolina.
M- And what about HURRICANES?
C- Oh, those are nasty too! Hurricane storms are common on the Gulf Coast, East Coast, the Caribbean and Mexico. Hurricanes can be mild with just rain and high winds or they can destroy everything in their path like Hurricane Katrina did in 2005. Can we talk about something happy now??
M- You’re right. What about springtime, that’s a lovely time of the year.
C- Springtime! My favorite season! But you know, Marta that reminds me of another season- a mysterious 5th season!
M- 5th season? I thought there were only 4. Spring, summer, winter and fall (autumn).
C- There’s another- a fifth season.
M- A fifth?
C- Mud Season! Mud season is that mysterious hidden season between winter and spring! It’s when all the ice and snow melts up north and turns the ground into water puddles and brown mud!
M- Lovely. Let’s talk about spring now.
C- Oh, I love springtime. It’s so beautiful. It’s my favorite time of the year here in Northern Italy.
M- It’s also allergy season…
C- It’s true!
M- But it is beautiful around here when the clouds and rain finally go away and flowers begin to bloom.
C- Don’t worry, Marta. We’re halfway through winter now, spring is just around the corner. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
M- I can’t wait!
C- It can get very hot & dry here in the summertime.
M- July and August are BLISTERING HOT.
C- I gave up years ago on my hopes of ever having a garden. It’s too damned hot, everything is wilted by noontime- including me! I just buy my vegetables now from the nice fruit & veg people on the corner!
M- Good idea. We need to support our local farmers!
C- By the way, Marta, are you feeling warmer now? Is the heater starting to kick in?
M- Yes…I’m warmer…it’s still not Florida, but I’m happy.
C- Well, go ahead and book your flight now. I think we’re about done here.
M- Thanks for listening everyone! And be sure to check the transcript for more useful weather- related words and definitions.
C- Thanks for listening everyone! And wherever you are, we hope the sun shines brightly on you today! And for you too, Marta…hey, are those ICICLES hanging off your nose?.....
M- Stop horsing around and turn the heat up again!
C- You’re crazy! It’s a sauna in here…
M- I’m still cold!....
C- Then go to Florida!....
M- I will! Right now….
C- I’ll book your flight. Ugh! What are you a reptile??
M - thanks for listening everyone! Bye bye!
C- Bye bye!
FRIGID: very cold temperatures. EXAMPLE: ‘’Be sure to wear a warm winter coat today, as well as a scarf & thick gloves. The temperature is below zero degrees and it’s positively FRIGID outside!’’
FREEZING: The temperature at which water turns from liquid to solid ice. 0 degrees Celius. 32 degrees Farenheit . Commonly used to describe the feeling of being very cold. EXAMPLE: ‘’Turn up the thermostat! It’s freezing in here!’’ or ‘’ I’m going to put on another sweater, I’m freezing!”
OVERCAST: A cloudy, gray sky. EXAMPLE: ‘’We wanted to watch the solar eclipse yesterday, but it was impossible due to an overcast sky.’’
DRIZZLING : Light rain. EXAMPLE: “It’s just drizzling outside right now but maybe it’s better to take your umbrella with you just in case the rain becomes heavier.
TO RAIN CATS AND DOGS: Very heavy rain. EXAMPLE: ‘’The airplane delayed its departure due to heavy rain. It had been raining cats and dogs all day and the bad weather had caused many airport delays.’’ or ‘’Be very careful while driving- it’s raining cats & dogs outside!”
THE FOG IS SO THICK YOU COULD CUT IT WITH A KNIFE: An expression to describe very thick fog with limited visibility. EXAMPLE: ‘’It took me 2 hours to drive home from work! I had to drive very slowly because the fog was incredibly thick- you could cut it with a knife!’’
DUSTING: A light coating of snow. ‘’Pay attention and drive slowly on your way to work this morning, we had a dusting of snow last night and the roads may be slippery.’’
A BLANKET OF SNOW / TO BE BLANKETED IN SNOW: A thick covering of snow. EXAMPLE: ‘’School is delayed 2 hours this morning. The entire city received a blanket of snow last night and maintenance crews are working hard to clean, plow and spread salt on the roads.’’
TO BE BURIED IN SNOW: Completely covered in snow. EXAMPLE: ‘’The little town at the base of the mountain was buried in snow due to an avalanche that occurred overnight.’’
ICICLES: Spikes of solid ice that occur from melting snow (off the edge of a rooftop for example). The snow melts, drips, re-freezes and causes a build-up of solid ice in the shape of a pointed spike. Icicles can be quite dangerous when they become long, heavy and dislodge themselves from great heights. Be careful not to be standing under icicles when they begin to melt!
HURRICANES: Powerful cyclonic destructive storms that form over warm seas.
BLISTERING HOT: Extreme heat.
January 29, 2012 07:17 AM PST
M - Our topic today is JEWELRY!
C – Hey, Marta, why have you decided to talk about jewelry today? Have you had Breakfast at Tiffany's lately, like Audrey Hepburn?
M – No, I love that movie, but I prefer having breakfast at the Waffle House!
C – Oh, ok then…Grits instead of gold? Bacon in favor of BAUBLES? Toast in trade of TIARAS? So what have you been up to?
M – Last week another American friend came to visit me here in Italy. We talked all about jewelry because she works as a rep (=sales representative) for a brand of silver jewelry.
C – Does she? You definitely need to introduce me to her! Jewelry collecting is one of my favorite hobbies!
M – Well, even better, I will introduce her to you & our listeners in just a little while.
C – Great! So have you discussed jewelry-related vocabulary with your friend?
M - Sure: BRACELET, BANGLE, NECKLACE, EARRINGS, RING and also SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES & GEMS.
C - Like TURQUOISE, AMETHYST, EMERALD, RUBY, SAPPHIRE or DIAMOND.
M – And someone would say : (singing) Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
C – Is it true?
M – Well, I'd still prefer the Waffle House menu when hungry in the morning...
C – Ok, you made it clear, Marta, you must be starving today, you just can't get those waffles out of your head!! We'll have a sandwich as soon as we're finished recording this episode, ok? Now, back to your friend...what's her name?
M – Michelle.
C – Ok, back to Michelle, have you learnt anything about jewelry and accessories that you didn't know?
M – yes!! I eventually got to know the name of that sort of strange bracelet I had seen in the movies.
C – Which bracelet?
M – The one made of flowers...
C – Oh, you mean the CORSAGE !
M - Exactly!
C - Yeah, girls wear corsages around their wrists or pinned to a dress for special occasions, like prom or homecoming dances for example. And mothers and grandmothers usually wear a corsage for weddings as well.
M – Is it really like in the movies? Is the guy supposed to buy the corsage for the girl he's dating?
C - Uh huh, I mean- not out for a burger or anything...- but for special occasions and dances, yes. That's how it usually works, and he will wear a BOUTONNIERE matching her corsage or dress. A BOUTONNIERE is just a smaller version of a corsage, maybe with just one rose and a bit of greenery.
M – That's sweet.
C - Hey, another word our listeners should know about is BLING.
M – Bling, yes.
C – It's an American slang word used to define the kind of big, excessive, showy jewelry encrusted with diamonds and big gems. It’s worn by rappers or hip hop stars...even Hollywood actors can rock a little ‘bling’ from time to time.
M – And making reference to our episode about Superstitions, some people choose to wear a special jewel because they think it brings them good luck.
C – That's an AMULET. A protective charm. Do you have one?
M – Not really. And you?
C – Not now, but when I was younger I used to wear a charm in the image of a smiling, shining sun. I didn’t necessarily wear it to bring good luck, but it was cute and it made me happy just to wear it.
M - Now it's time to introduce our guest, hey, Michelle, welcome to my American friend!
Michelle: Well, hello everyone! This is Michelle, here, and I'm on line now from Ludington, Michigan. I'm an independent rep with Silpada Designs Jewelry.
C - Michelle, could you tell our listeners something about the different types of rings we have in America?
Michelle : Here in America we have a lot of rings, when it comes to relationships we have a lot of rings that we give. Well, the first ring would be the PROMISE RING. That is a promise that's made, that you're committing yourself to the relationship, to that other person.
M – Ok, promise ring. What's next?
Michelle - An ENGAGEMENT RING, the next stage in moving towards wedding or, you know, that type of commitment. Then you move into the side of the world where the WEDDING BAND would come into play, on that special day: your marriage. The wedding band will of course fit on the same finger as your engagement ring. This is very special and very sentimental.
M – Yeah, sure.
Michelle – Later down the road, you know, we look for an ANNIVERSARY BAND which is just a token of love. You could be anywhere, from one year, five years, ten years... Well you can accumulate all kinds of rings, you know, during that course of lifetime.
M - So...
Michelle - ….so several different rings to wear and symbols of love, that's for sure.
M – Wow, it seems you end up collecting a lot of rings over a lifetime... Oh, that reminds me of FAMILY JEWELS, Cindy, is that what you call the collection of jewels a family inherits from grandparents and other relatives?
C – Yes, but watch out, you are treading a thin line, Marta... there's also a double meaning to the term ‘family jewels’. It can also refer to the external male sex organs.
M - Ooooh really ??
C - Yep! Let's move on, Michelle, since you are an expert in silver jewelry and accessories, do you have any special suggestions for our listeners?
Michelle: When it comes to jewelry I would definitely say you need to accessorize!
Accessorizing anything that you're wearing will bring out the best of you. You could be wearing just a simple T-shirt and a pair of jeans and adding that little bit of accessory would bring it out and would bling you up. Eventually you could make your way up to, you know, an extreme amount of layers: earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets... Men and women, that's for sure. So, I would say, definitely, shine like a rockstar!
M - Thanks for being our guest Michelle!
Michelle: Thank you, ladies, so much for having me on line with you!
C - Bye Michelle, come visit us again!
Michelle - Bye everyone! Bye bye!
C - I know I say it every time, but it's great having guests here at my American friend.
M – Yes, again a big thank you to Michelle. One last thing, Cindy.
C - One last thing and then we go out for a sandwich, right?
M – I couldn't agree more. I've heard an idiom related to jewelry.
C – Which one?
M - “to BE THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN”.
C - Oh, when someone is the jewel in the crown it means they are the best among a group. For example: Marta, you rock. You are a jewel amongst chicks that make the Rock world go round. We salute you!
M – Oh, come on, Cindy! Don't make me blush! give us another example.
C – Ok, since you mentioned it before, Marta, we know that for you the Waffle House restaurant is the jewel in the crown of American breakfast establishments.
M - Yeah!
M – Ok, folks, that's it for now!
C - Thank you for listening! Check out the transcript of this episode either on our blog or on our facebook page or on podomatic.com and you can also follow us on twitter!
M – We await your comments and feedback on www.myamericanfriendblog.com
C - Marta... there is one idiom I didn't tell you about... it goes like this: “Speech is silver, silence is golden”.
M - Do you mean it's time for us to shut up?
C - yes, it's time for that sandwich! Bye everyone!
M - Bye bye!
the spelling : JEWELRY (Am.E.) or JEWELLERY (Br.E.)
jewelry-related vocabulary used in this episode:
BAUBLES= costume (fake) jewelry
TIARAS= a delicate and ornate crown worn by women, for example, in a beauty pageant. Tiaras can be made of real or fake stones. Some brides enjoy wearing a tiara for their wedding ceremony.
BRACELET, BANGLE= jewelry worn on the wrist. Can be made of anything from plastic to metal.
NECKLACE= jewelry worn around the neck
EARRINGS= jewelry for the ears. Earrings that require a hole in the earlobe are called "pierced" and earrings worn without requiring a hole in the earlobe are called "clip ons" or " clip" earrrings.
RING= jewelry for the fingers
SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES= stones of lower value but still of great beauty for example: turquoise, amethyst, topaz
GEMS: stones of high value (still varying much in price according to clarity, color, cut..etc...) like diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald.
CORSAGE= flowers worn by a girl or woman, pinned to her dress or worn bracelet-like, for a special occasion like a wedding or dance.
BOUTONNIERE= small bouquet of flowers (just one flower and a bit of greenery) worn by a man or boy for special occasions. The boutonniere is worn pinned to the lapel of the suit jacket.
BLING= excessive, big, sparkly, showy jewelry. Often worn by rappers, hip hop stars
AMULET= a protective charm usually worn on a necklace
FAMILY JEWELS (watch out!!!)= a DOUBLE meaning here!
1. inherited jewelry passed down from generation to generation.
2. A slang term referring to the external male sex organs.
PROMISE RING= a ring given as a "promise" of the future. For example, teenagers may exchange promise rings as a commitment to eachother with a "promise" of marriage in the future.
ENGAGEMENT RING= when a man (or woman) asks their partner to marry them, an engagement ring is given to symbolize they are commited to marriage. In America, an engagement ring usually has at least one diamond in the setting and is made of either white or yellow gold.
WEDDING BAND= the simple band slipped onto the bride & groom's ring finger of the left hand during the wedding ceremony.
ANNIVERSARY BAND= a ring given at any stage in the marriage to celebrate an anniversary.
Idiom - “to be the jewel in the crown”= the best among a group
Idiom - “speech is silver, silence is golden”
If you're interested in Silpada's silver jewelry, you can contact Michelle at:
January 16, 2012 02:02 AM PST
Marta - This is a special episode!
Cindy - We want to give you an example of how you can MAKE THE MOST of the episodes of our podcast. It shouldn't be just about listening and reading the transcript: whenever you learn some new words and expressions you need to use them right away.
M – Some would say: IF YOU DON'T USE IT, YOU LOSE IT.
C - That's it!
M – Ok, let's use our episode number 9, about how to express your likes and dislikes.
C – We've used a lot of expressions there, let's revise them.
M – Ok. Likes.
C – To be crazy about, to be nuts about, to be addicted to, you can say that something looks or sounds good, that something drives you crazy.
M - And in British English: to fancy, to be keen on, to be fond of. Now, dislikes?
C – You can say that something bugs you or annoys you, that something does not appeal to you, that something drives you up the wall. Or you can say that you can't stand, can't bear, can't put up with something. Let's see...What else? To be fed up with, to be sick of, or to be tired of.
M – Great, but, as we said, if you don't use it you lose it.
C – Right. The best thing you can do to remember these new expressions is to use them in order to talk about yourself. So, listeners, write down your personal “likes & dislikes list” using each and every one of these new expressions.
M – I did the same thing with my class at school.
C – That's great. Let's listen to what your Italian students had to say about themselves.
Letizia: Hi, this is Letizia. I'm a huge fan of 30 Seconds To Mars. I'm addicted to marshmallows! I'm sick and tired of horror movies.
Anna : Hello! This is Anna. I fancy dancing: I attend a folk dance course. I'm fed up with always being in a hurry.
Ilaria : Hi, my name's Ilaria. I'm crazy about shopping and I enjoy going on holiday. I can't stand jealous people.
Claudia : Hello! This is Claudia. I'm fond of walking in the park with my husband on sunny days. I can’t stand cold weather!
Adelmo: Hello, my name is Adelmo. I'm a VJ and I'm nuts about music. I like studying English, but grammar drives me up the wall !
Giulia : Hi everybody! My name is Giulia. I'm keen on traveling and visiting new places. I'm not really into weekend getaways, because I enjoy taking my time.
Laura : Hi ! My name's Laura. I adore the quiet of the wild open landscapes, where I feel free and at ease. People who show off really annoy me.
C – Well done, guys, great job!
M – Let me thank them for being our guests. This is the intermediate class of my course called “ENGLISH AMPLIFIER”. The school is Ideas in Action, in my hometown, Imola. (www.ideasinaction.it)
C – Ok, listeners, now it's your turn, write your likes and dislikes list. And make sure to use these new expressions. If you feel like sharing your list with us, you know where to find us, don't you?
M - www.myamericanfriendblog.com and also on facebook, twitter, iTunes, podomatic.com
C – Thank you for listening, bye bye
M - Bye!
January 06, 2012 03:01 AM PST
M - Today we’re talking about ‘’ANGER & ARGUMENTS’’
M - So Cindy, we’ve got an interesting topic of discussion today.
C - Yes, Anger and Arguments. Y’know Marta, I wish my Sicilian Grandmother was still alive to help us out today.
M - …why is that?
C - Grandma was the queen of arguing! She could argue with a mailbox! She would have been a fountain of information today!
M - Then I’m sorry she’s not with us today! You know, expressing an opinion or communicating anger with someone can be very difficult in a second language.
C - You’re so right. When you communicate in your own language, you already have an arsenal of words at your disposal. But when you’re angry and you have to speak in a second language and your emotions are running high…
M - … and adrenalin levels are up, you may feel FLUSTERED.
C - Right. If you’re flustered (that means to be confused, nervous, not thinking clearly), you can’t make your opinions clear to the person you are speaking with.
M - That’s right, so today we’re going to try and help everyone out with expressing themselves in anger.
C - Even without the help of my Sicilian Grandmother. Y’know Marta- it’s just as well that grandma isn’t here. You’d have a hell of a time in the editing booth. You’d have to keep bleeping out all the bad words. We’d have no material left to work with.
M - Now, Cindy & I are not suggesting that you go out and BLOW UP AT The first person you that you see today.
C - That’s right, it’s always good to take a deep breath first and consider what you are about to become embroiled in. Sometimes, an argument is not worth the ripple effect it may cause afterwards.
M - Yes. This is true. But sometimes it is!
C - Right on, girl!
M - So we’ve decided to organize the art of arguing into separate themes. Cindy and I will take two different approaches to arguing.
C - Marta is going to play the quiet, calm & rational side. This is the approach you may use, for example, in a workplace setting when you need to be civil and polite with each other.
M - And Cindy will take the opposite approach and channel her grandmother.
C - …without the bad words. I promise not to make any more work for you in the editing booth!
M - Thank you, I have enough work already. If you have trouble following along, just refer to the transcript. OK, let’s get started….
M - Excuse me, can I have a word with you ?
C - I wanna talk to you. Now.
M - I have a couple of issues that I would like to discuss with you.
C - I have a bone to pick with you. (this means you want to complain or fight over something)
M - Please make eye contact and pay attention to me while I’m speaking.
C - Look me in the eye when I’m talking to you.
M - I’ve heard that you’ve been speaking unkindly of me behind my back.
C - I heard that you’ve been talking shit about me.
M - For future reference, if you have anything to say about me, please say it to my face.
C - You got something to say? Why don’t you grow a pair and say it to my face?
M - I’m sorry, I respect your opinion but I don’t agree with you.
C - What? Are you crazy? Are you absolutely insane!?
M - Maybe I haven’t explained myself clearly.
C - Do I need to spell it out for you?
M - I don’t think you’ve given this enough consideration.
C - Seriously, are you that thick? Have you thought about this at all?
(‘’Thick” can be used as a substitute for the word dumb)
M - Ok, we’re going to have to “agree to disagree” if we can’t find a solution.
C - I’m sick of this crap and we’re going to settle it right here, right now- once and for all.
M - Ok, Ok…end of fight. I think everyone has a pretty good collection of phrases to help them along now in an argument.
C - And we’ve left out the really bad words that usually get hurled about during a fight. There are plenty of movies, websites and songs that can help you out with that.
M - And besides, curse words are usually the first words people learn when studying a new language.
C - Personally, I think it is good to know the bad words. I don’t feel they should be used freely in every day conversation but if you can identify them, then you will know if someone is being rude to you.
M - Cindy, let’s go over a few vocabulary words that can substitute for the word ‘’angry’’ in a sentence.
C - Ok, but first let’s go over the pronunciation of the word ‘’angry’’ versus the word ‘’hungry’’! Angry is what you feel when you are very unhappy or infuriated at someone or something. Hungry is how you feel when your stomach is empty and you need to eat something. Angry. Hungry. Angry. Hungry.
M - Angry. Hungry. ok. Some people confuse those two words. Now let’s go over a few words that mean angry.
C - Ok.
1. INFURIATED (For example: He became infuriated when the other driver cut him off on the highway and almost caused him to have an accident.)
2. IRATE (I was irate when my boss fired me from my job and refused to give me a reason for doing so.)
3. ENRAGED (this is an out-of-control level of anger)
4. PISSED OFF
7. ILL-TEMPERED (that’s when someone has a bad temper and angers easily). I had a cat like that once. He was very ill-tempered.
8. STORMED OFF (if someone has ‘’stormed off’’ or ‘’stormed out’’ of a room, then they have left in an angry and dramatic way.
M - Well, that’s our show for today. I hoped we’ve helped some of you to express yourselves more clearly in English.
C -And remember to take a deep breath first before EXPLODING AT someone! Getting into an argument may not be the best approach to solving a disagreement….but if it is- we hope this show has helped!
M - Yeah, just like that song: “there's no need to argue anymore...”
M - Thank you for listening and come visit us on www.myamericanfriendblog.com
C – And come check us out on twitter, facebook, podomatic.com and iTunes.
M – See you soon!
C – Bye bye!
to ARGUE : to fight, to debate ...
an ARGUMENT / ARGUING: controversy, disagreement ...
to be FLUSTERED, INFURIATED, IRATE, ENRAGED, PISSED OFF , FUMING, BOILING, ILL-TEMPERED , to STORM OFF.
to BLOW UP AT someone: to EXPLODE AT someone.
Sentences you may use during an argument. The first sentence is acceptable when you must exercise a calm manner, for example in an office or work setting. The second phrase is much stronger. Be aware that to argue in this manner may offend others easily and you must be ready to defend your opinions.
- Excuse me, can I have a word with you ? / I wanna talk to you. Now.
- I have a couple of issues that I would like to discuss with you. / I have a bone to pick with you.
- Please make eye contact and pay attention to me while I’m speaking. / Look me in the eye when I’m talking to you.
- I’ve heard that you’ve been speaking unkindly of me behind my back. / I heard that you’ve been talking shit about me.
- For future reference, if you have anything to say about me, please say it to my face. / You got something to say? Why don’t you grow a pair and say it to my face?
- I’m sorry, I respect your opinion but I don’t agree with you./ What? Are you crazy? Are you absolutely insane!?
- Maybe I haven’t explained myself clearly. / Do I need to spell it out for you?
-I'm not sure how you've come to this opinion./ What the hell is wrong with you?
- I don’t think you’ve given this enough consideration. I don’t think you’ve thought this through well enough. / Seriously, are you that thick? Have you thought about this at all?
-I've been acceptive of your behavior for far too long./ I've been putting up with your shit for way too long!
- Ok, we’re going to have to “agree to disagree” if we can’t find a solution. / I’m sick of this crap and we’re going to settle it right here, right now- once and for all.
-I hope we can still be friends. I hope there's no hard feelings between us?/
I don't EVER want to see your face around here again. Have I made myself clear enough?
December 27, 2011 11:18 AM PST
M – Let's talk about SUPERSTITIONS!
M – First off, Cindy, let's define what a superstition is.
C - Good idea. A superstition is a blindly accepted belief or notion, not based on reason, knowledge or logic. Superstitions are an interesting part of every culture around the world.
M – I realized that we make references to superstitions in everyday language without noticing.
C – So true, for example: “I'm sorry I'm not in a great mood today, I must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed.”
M - Yes, I've heard this one a hundred times!
C - It's very common, and even used by people who don't actually believe in superstitions, it's just become part of everyday language.
M - Ok, so let's start from the beginning. We say that certain things BRING GOOD LUCK and others BRING BAD LUCK, right?
C – Right, for example breaking a mirror brings bad luck, it is considered to bring bad luck for the next seven years. So maybe the wrinkles on my face will disappear after 7 years? Hmmm…that’s a long time to wait.
M – You're right... I remember a song by Europe: (singing) “… and if a mirror should break, it's easy to take, deep down I know that you care, but I'm not superstitious..”
C - Ok, then, Joey Tempest is not SUPERSTITIOUS, but what about you?
M - Neither am I. I mean, I have no problem walking under a ladder - that is known to bring bad luck.
C- I’m miserable if I’m on a ladder…because that means I’m up there having to paint a wall or something….I hate painting.
M- and I'm happy if a black cat crosses my path, because I love cats and I don't believe any cute black kitty can bring me bad luck.
C - How about spilling salt? Do you think it brings bad luck?
M -very simply, I think spilling salt is wasting salt!
C - Maybe that's the reason for this superstition, back in the old days when salt was very expensive, and essential for things like food preservation, even spilling a few grains could be costly for a poor family.
M – Yes, superstitions seem irrational to us nowadays, but there must be some hidden explanation behind each and every one of them.
C – So, Marta, you're a rational kind of woman, right?
M – Well, I don't know. Sometimes I find myself crossing my fingers when hoping for good luck, that's a habit, irrational, illogical. I just do it. And my bedroom walls are covered with dream catchers, I love them, they make me feel safe in the night. So...I think we all are influenced by some little irrational belief. What about you, Cindy? Do you knock on wood, or anything else?
C – No, not so much…I’m more of an irrational phobia kind-of-girl. I’m terrified of snakes…y’know, stuff like that.
M - What else brings good or bad luck in the US?
C - Oh, soooo many things... let me think... Never step on a crack and never open an umbrella inside your house, those things are said to bring bad luck. But on the opposite end, if your nose itches, then you will receive money... and if you blow out all the candles on your birthday cake, with just one breath of air, then your dream will come true. And, back to bad luck, the number 13 is thought to be unlucky.
M - You're right, numbers! That's interesting!
C - Well, I guess everyone already knows about Friday the 13th, right? There were all those horror movies of that title.
M - Yes, while in Italy you must beware of Friday the 17th!
C - Really? That’s a lot to remember. Now I’ll have to adjust my superstitions according to what side of the pond I’m on!
M - Yeah, every country seems to have their bad luck number. I've heard about number 4 in Japan, for instance.
C - Hey, listeners, please tell us about the superstitions in your own countries! We're curious to know about your beliefs. It’ll be a fascinating topic of conversation!
M – Yes, that would be great! I’m sure our listeners have some very interesting superstitions to share with us out there.
C- I bet. For example, superstitions and pre-game rituals are prevalent in the sporting world. So Marta and I look forward to hearing about your traditions as well. Oh, Marta, that reminds me, we should also mention a few things that bring good luck.
M - ...like...listening to our podcast? right?
C - Of course….but also a four-leaf clover or a horseshoe, or finding a lucky penny in the street…or some people believe ladybugs (they’re called ladybirds in England) to bring good luck.
M – Yes, yes, ok, but don't underestimate listening to our podcast, right?
C – Right.
C - Ok, everyone, we’ve come to the end of another episode. We await your comments on twitter, facebook, podomatic.com, iTunes and on our blog www.myamericanfriendblog.com
M – Thank you for listening and don't miss the transcript of this episode!
C - Hey Marta, my ears are ringing- someone must be talking about me....
M - Who knows? Could be one of our listeners from anywhere in the world!
C – Bye bye everyone!
M – bye!
To be SUPERSTITIOUS
To BRING GOOD/BAD LUCK
- Good luck:
Crossing your fingers
Knocking on wood
when your nose itches (you will receive money)
blowing out all the candles on your birthday cake with one breath of air (your dream will come true)
a four-leaf clover
finding a lucky penny in the street
…...listening to my American friend!!! (just kidding!)
- Bad luck:
waking up on the wrong side of the bed
breaking a mirror
walking under a ladder
a black cat crossing your path
stepping on a crack
opening an umbrella inside a house
the number 13 and Friday 13th
- and if your ears are ringing someone is talking about you
December 03, 2011 06:43 AM PST
M: Today we're talking about being ''Homesick!''
M: Cindy, can you explain briefly what it means to be ''homesick''?
C: Sure, very simply- being homesick just means that you miss your home.
M: So it doesn't mean that you are physically ill?
C: No, not at all. You may feel sad though, or depressed because you miss your family & friends. Or you may even miss speaking your own language or the every day customs & foods from your homeland.
M: I think a lot of our listeners may identify with this episode.
C: You're right, Marta. I'm sure that many listeners around the world have left their home countries to work or study abroad. Or they may have left home in search of a better quality of life.
M: Or for love? I think you know something about it, Cindy?
C: As a matter of fact I do! My husband is Italian and we live in Italy. But I return to America a few times a year to ward off any homesickness I may feel.
M: So, since you're away from home what are a couple of things you are longing for?
C: Oh wow, so many! How much time do we have?
M: Not much, so move it along, dear.
C: Okay...um...I'm nostalgic for the good old days when I lived in the country. I miss having space around me. I miss my fields and trees and the deer grazing outside my door.
M: Anything else?
C: Well, cooking in Italy is a great pleasure, but I do miss some of the foods from the US. Primarily good, fresh seafood like Maine lobsters, cherrystone clams -those are the small ones- or oysters. Oh, and fresh crabs- I miss crabs.
M: Food is probably one of most common reasons for ''homesickness'', isn't it?
C: I think so. Food, Family and Friends- the three ''F's!
M. Well, Cindy let's go over the words and expressions we've used meaning ''to miss home''.
C: Okay, first thing. The word HOMESICK, that means you're away from your home (for some reason) and you're feeling sad.
M: ...and to ''LONG FOR'' something also means that you miss something.
C: Right, for example, ''My husband has been working overseas for 3 months. I miss him and I'm longing to see him again.''
M: How dramatic! Is this true?
C: No, he's at home working the basement right now.
M: Ok, and to feel NOSTALGIC FOR something means to remember something from your past with fondness and good memories.
C: And let me add this one: to DAYDREAM . It means to dream or rather fantasize while you are fully awake. Marta what do you daydream about on these cold winter days?
M: Florida ! F l o r i d a !!!! I'd better stop daydreaming and move to Miami. I've had enough of this cold weather. Anyway, now, everyone, we have a new guest visiting with us today.
C- Fantastic! Who is it?
M- Our friend Todd from San Diego, California!
Todd : Hey Everyone, my name is Todd Allen, I am from Ramona, California, which is a small town about an hour drive from downtown San Diego. Right now, I am involved in two music projects: one here in Italy, which is an alternative metal band called 'Klogr' and one punk rock band with friends from home called 'Beside Myself'. If you are interested in either types of music please visit www.klogr.net, and for the punk rock band : www.besidemyself.org.
I have been here in Italy, living in Carpi, Modena since late February. I arrived in what I now know was the coldest time of the year. Being from San Diego, that right there was a huge change. Not to mention the huge change of being without a car and being in a small town where English is not as common as in places such as Rome or Milan. I have come to see so many similarities between Italy and the United States so at times I feel very comfortable here.. that is until I have to do something that is usually so easy for me to do in the United States, such as go to the hardware store or even the supermarket. I have had to come to rely on myself much more because of the language barrier, asking questions is usually not an option.
I daydream constantly about Mexican food or a traditional American breakfast, which is a pretty ridiculous thing to think about all the time. I miss things that I took for granted, like being able to take a long drive, blasting music and go anywhere I would please.
I am sure I will miss many things from Italy, but right now, all I can think of is returning to see my family and all those beaches that I miss. I am thankful for all the kind people I have met here and all those that have taken time with me and my lack of Italian language. Thanks, Marta for having me on your show and good luck to all of you with improving your English. I hope I helped. Bye.
M: Thanks, Todd! have a safe trip back to California!
C: What a nice guy! Thanks, Todd! I agree with Todd- I miss Mexican food too !
C - Thanks for listening everyone and before we go we have a few very special people to thank and please forgive us if we mispronounce your names.
M – Ok, a few people following us on podomatic.com : Niskar, Brigitta, Zahid, Hanene, Didem, Tiong, Zahra.
C – And from facebook, thank you Kamala, Hersh, Helena, Gina, Kiki, Harriet, Silvana, Lama, Mohanned, Ninaa and Crystal.
M - And from twitter: Marcela and Leon.
M – So, everyone, come visit us on www.myamericanfriendblog.com where you can also read the transcript of this episode. Ok, see you very soon with a new episode. Bye bye!
C – Thanks for listening, everyone! Bye bye!
HOMESICK : that means you're away from your home and you're feeling sad
to ''LONG FOR'' something : it means that you miss something, you can't wait to have it /see it again.
to feel NOSTALGIC FOR something : it means to remember something from your past with fondness and good memories.
to DAYDREAM : it means to dream or rather fantasize while you are fully awake.
November 21, 2011 11:14 AM PST
M - So, this is a follow up episode, right?
C - Right, because our episode number 10 about British English VS American English was so popular that we decided it would be a great idea to do a follow up.
M - That's why we have invited a very special guest.
C - Yes. Hi Sarah, could you introduce yourself to our listeners?
Sarah - Hello, my name is Sarah and I live in Imola. I'm married to Matteo who is Italian and that's why we now live in this town. I am originally from a town the size of Imola in the UK, called Leamington Spa which is in Warwickshire in the centre of England.
In England, I worked as a foreign languages teacher and now I teach English as a foreign language to all ages, but mainly adults at the moment. I love my job and hope to expand my teaching and translation skills to as wide a variety of situations as possible.
C - Great, so Sarah, when you're speaking with Americans, like myself, what are some of the main differences that strike you between British and American English ?
Sarah : I, as British speaker, I'm more formal, still, I prefer form. AMERICANS ARE MUCH MORE OUTGOING, GENERALLY, THEY'RE MUCH MORE RELAXED, THEY HAVE A MUCH STRONGER “CAN DO MINDSET” which comes across in their language and in the way that they interact with people. WE BRITISH ARE STILL VERY RESERVED, VERY CAUTIOUS WHEN WE'RE MEETING PEOPLE. I think we're much more relaxed now than we ever have been, but I think we're still very reserved, WE'RE STILL VERY CONCERNED WITH FORM AND POLITENESS.
M – Can you think of any examples in particular ?
Sarah : “I GUESS” AND “I SUPPOSE”. I mean, Americans would say: “I guess that's correct” whereas “I suppose” is very British, very English and it's much more formal, I'm not guessing anything, I'm assuming something to be the case, so I therefore say “I suppose that's true” instead of “I guess that's true”.
C – Oh, Sarah, I think we need to discuss a very important topic that affects us all ! RESTROOMS VS TOILET.
M - Good point! So, British English?
Sarah - “May I use your bathroom, please?” or “May I go to the toilet, please?”. Americans, on the other hand, they say “restroom” or “bathroom”, definitely “bathroom”, most usually “restroom”. And to me that seems very strange actually....to say restroom...I mean, I think it's a euphemism for what you do there... you are taking a little rest perhaps...
M - You're right! Ok. Can you think of anything else?
S – I notice A DIFFERENCE IN THE USE OF THE PAST TENSES.
M – Oh, you mean the present perfect VS the....
S – ...the simple past.
M – Right.
S – For example, if I say in English : “HAVE YOU BEEN TO SCHOOL TODAY?”, Americans would say “DID YOU GO TO SCHOOL TODAY?”. When we use or teach the past simple it's always with a marker of a specific time in the past. A specific time which has finished, I mean, ok, “today” is ongoing, so that goes with the present perfect, which is “have you been to school today?”, because the day hasn't finished yet. I could say “Did you catch the bus this morning to go to school?”
M - Another difference between American and British English pertains to our dear friend Barb.
C - The chicken truck driver that sometimes joins us here on my American friend. I guess that she wouldn't be called a TRUCK DRIVER in the UK, right?
Sarah - I would say: “LORRY DRIVER”.
M - Uh uh, so, she would be : Barb the chicken lorry driver. All right then, we've added some useful details to what we had already covered in our episode n.10, thanks a lot to our friend Sarah!
S - Well, goodbye to you too and I very much look forward to taking part in this again in the near future.
C - Thanks for being with us and come back any time!
Sarah - Bye bye! Bye now.
C - It's so great having guests here, we feel it's important to give our listeners a full experience in the variety of accents found among the English speaking world.
M - Ok, don't forget to read the transcript and to come visit us on www.myamericanfriendblog.com . We're also on facebook, twitter, podomatic and iTunes. Thank you for listening and see you soon!
C – Bye bye!
You can contact Sarah for English lessons and translations at this e-mail address: email@example.com
November 12, 2011 04:50 AM PST
M - Today we’re talking about the word ‘’HOT”!
M - How are you today, Cindy?
C - Good, thanks…well, actually, I’m a little hot…can you turn the temperature down in here before we start recording?
M - Sure, no problem. Ok, there you go.
C - Thanks. Gosh, it feels like August in here.
M - Hey, did you bring us lunch like you promised?
C - Yup…right here. Chicken Enchiladas from the new Mexican restaurant in town!
M - Oh no! Their salsa is too hot! It’s absolutely volcanic!
C - No it’s not, it’s fine. Look….I had them put the salsa on the side. It’s in a cup, here. It’s just chicken with lettuce and tomatoes, just the way you like it. It’s safe.
M - Oh, thank goodness!
C - Hey, I like those shoes you’re wearing! Are they new?
M - Yes! I bought them last week. What do you think? Nice, huh?
C - Oh, those are so cool!!! That style, with the leather and the studs....
M - I know, I know, it’s a really hot look this year! When I saw them in the window, I just had to have them!
C - Good choice. Very nice. Are they hard to walk in?
M - No they’re fine.
C - I’m dizzy just looking at them! Hey, what about Jon Bon Jovi?
M - Oh….he’s sooooo hot…
C - We know, you love Jon. Do you think he likes leather shoes with studs?
M - I hope so. I bought 'em for him !
C - You know who I think is hot? The Rock, Dwayne Johnson- the former wrestler.…he’s hot.
M - So, Rock…Dwayne Johnson…if you’re listening and one day you find yourself in Italy, stop by Cindy’s place- she’ll make you a wonderful dish of spaghetti.
C - Oh, my husband would be thrilled with that wouldn’t he?
M - Oh Cindy!
C - What?? Is The Rock here?? Already…??? Get my lipstick!
M - Calm down. The Rock isn’t here.
C - Damn!
M - I just realized that we’ve used the word ‘’HOT” in four different meanings!
C - Oh, you’re right! That’s confusing isn’t it?
M - Could be.
C - OK, just to clarify things. Meaning number one, most important of all: The Rock is HOT.
M - Cindy, that’s not the most important thing…and besides, you didn’t explain anything at all!
C - Sorry, ok…The Rock is veeeeery, veeeerrryyyy HOT.
M - Let’s back up and start from the beginning.
C - Good, cause you’re not making any sense at all…I mean, The Rock is hot…what’s the problem…I don’t see how I could be any clearer……”
M - stop! rewind!
C - Ok, boss.
M - At the beginning, when you said YOU WERE “A LITTLE HOT”
C: …and you lowered the temperature in here…
M - That meant YOU WERE A LITTLE WARM, THE TEMPERATURE WAS TOO HIGH.
C - And it feels much better in here now, thank you.
M - No problem.
C - And when you said the salsa on the chicken enchiladas was TOO HOT…
M - No…no…volcanic actually!
C - ….you actually meant that THE SALSA WAS TOO SPICY! I know, they use a lot of jalapeno peppers.
M - And my shoes…
C - They are very cool shoes.
M - When I said it was ‘’A VERY HOT LOOK THIS YEAR’’, I REALLY MEANT THEY ARE IN STYLE, VERY POPULAR…
C - Fashionable. In high demand.
M - Right!
C - And Jon Bon Jovi???
M - Eternally HOT!
C - Come back to Earth, dear.
M - Sorry… WHEN YOU CALL SOMEONE ‘’HOT’’ THAT MEANS YOU THINK THEY’RE REALLY GOOD LOOKING OR ATTRACTIVE, gorgeous, handsome, smokin'.
C - Perfect! Mystery solved! The word ‘’HOT’’ has been decoded!
M - Hey, you know what else is hot?
C - What’s that?
M - Our blog!
C - You’re right. Everyone, come visit us on www.myamericanfriendblog.com and we're also on facebook, iTunes, podomatic.com and twitter.
M - All right, thank you for listening and see you very soon, bye!
C - Bye bye!
October 28, 2011 01:43 AM PDT
Marta: Hey, today we’re talking about : “Joking Around”!
Marta: Hey, Cindy, welcome back! We've missed you so much!
Cindy: Thank you Marta! It's good to be back!
Marta: ok, so...Halloween is coming up soon in The States, isn’t it?
C: Yup, October 31st, and right now scores of American kids of all ages are COMBING the department stores for their Halloween costumes.
M: And that reminds me, I’ve been meaning to tell you that some weird stuff has been happening around the studio.
C: Weird stuff? What kind of weird stuff?
M: Well, I can’t really explain it. The lights turn off and on for no reason.
C: Did you pay the electric bill?
M: Yes, I paid the electric bill. I’m serious!
M: And last night I was in here late, doing some editing and the door opened…and no one was there.
C: YOU’RE KIDDING? No way.
M: Really, Cindy. I think we have a ghost.
C: Quit it! Quit HORSING AROUND!
M: I mean it. I think he’s here right now.
C: Stop FOOLING AROUND! You’re not funny! You know I don’t like anything dead!
M: In fact…it’s starting to get cold in here right now. Can’t you feel it? I’m starting to feel a little weird… Look! There’s a shadow behind you!
C: What?!?! A shadow? Where?!
M: I’m here right next to you, my dear, happy Halloween!
C: You and that damned editing booth!!!!
M: Oh, I’m sorry! I couldn’t help myself! …Happy Halloween!
C: Marta Innocenti- you’re a dangerous woman! And you’re not funny one bit!
M: Oh yes! I think I am!
C: You’re going to give me a heart attack one day!
M: Okay, I think we’ve exhausted this topic.
C – Ok, let's review quickly the several expressions we have used here: JOKING AROUND, FOOLING AROUND, HORSING AROUND, KIDDING AROUND, or TO KID SOMEONE, and you may also say TO PULL SOMEONE'S LEG.
M: Ok. Who else can we have a little fun with? Hey, I think Barb’s home from work now!
C: Marta, don’t mess with her! Come on, no joking around with that woman!
M: Oh, come on…it will be fun. She’s got a good SENSE OF HUMOR.
C: Sense of humor?? That woman talks about the American Civil War like it happened last week! She’s going to come back shooting at me -the Yankee- with both barrels!
M: She’s passionate about American history! And besides…you're the Yankee…I’m Italian, so I’m safe. She won’t be mad at me!
C: Thank you. I love you too…Oh please, please, please Marta- don’t start YANKING HER CHAIN! You’re PLAYING WITH FIRE! ... Oh no. Look- she thinks you’re wonderful! She thinks you’re made of angel feathers and gold dust. She’s going to blame me for everything! You’re a cruel woman, Marta!
M: Hi Barb! It’s Marta, Marta Innocenti, from My American Friend…
B: Hey Darlin’, what you and the ugly ol’Yankee up to today?
M: Barb, I have some exciting news today…
B: You do? Well… do tell, Suge.
M: I do, Barb! I’m so excited because I hit the lottery last night for ten thousand!
B: You’re shittin’ me…
M: laughs…Barb, please don’t use that kind of language! I’m serious! …Really! I hit it big time and I’m going to Hawaii next week!
B: YOU ARE SHITTING ME, girl! You’re lying…
M: I’m not!
B: You’re laughing, ‘cause you’re lying. You’re TELLING ME A FIB!
M: Okay..okay! I can’t KEEP A STRAIGHT FACE any longer! I’m just pulling your leg. It’s not true, I didn’t win the lottery!
B: I knew you were lying! You got to work on your POKER FACE, darlin’. Hawaii my ass!
M: Barb! Your language! Please!
B: What in the world are y’all up to today? Y’all are interrupting my cocktail hour.
M: Oh, Barb, nothing can possibly interrupt you from your cocktail hour!
B: This is true…
M: Well, actually Barb, what I called about today was…
B:…to tell me another fib?
M: No, Barb. Last Saturday, I played a huge club.
B: Uh huh, you told me ‘bout it, girl.
M: It was a great success and it turned out that we had a big concert promoter in the audience watching us. He has connections to Tim McGraw.
B: No! Marta, you know I love me some Tim McGraw!
M: I know, Barb, and you were the first person I thought of. He’s your favorite Country Western singer.
B: Now, darlin’ DON’T PLAY WITH ME. There is nothing funny ‘bout Tim McGraw. Lord, that man is fine! I have all his albums.
M: Dear, we scored you front row concert tickets and special VIP backstage passes!
B: No! Lord in Heaven! ….Harold! Get my lipstick! I’m meeting Tim McGraw!!!!!!
M: Barb! Wait! No…I was just….
B: Wait, I ain’t got no lipstick. I got to buy me a lipstick! Tim McGraw!!!!! Oh Lord!! Harold, start the truck!
M: Barb! Hold on…I was…
B: I got to buy a lipstick for Tim McGraw!...and get some toothpaste! Git the truck! Lord! I’m coming Tim McGraw!!! Hang on!
C: Oh no. I’m a dead woman. Just wait until she figures it all out and she learns you were just pulling her leg.
M: Correction: You were pulling her leg. I’m made of fairy feathers and stardust, remember??
C: Dead woman walking!
M: And she’s got a terrible temper too! I heard that Barb once shot a man for snoring.
C: It’s true! Why do you think her husband, Harold, is deaf in one ear?
M: Oh, that poor man!
M - Well, thanks for listening everyone and don't forget to read the transcript of this episode!
C: You'll find useful definitions of the vocabulary we've used today, such as: to yank someone's chain, to tell a fib, to keep a straight face etc.
C: And remember to come visit us on www.myamericanfriendblog.com We're also on Podomatic, Twitter, iTunes and on Facebook. Happy Halloween, everyone!
M – Bye bye!
TO COMB a store: To look very carefully, closely or meticulously
JOKING AROUND, FOOLING AROUND, HORSING AROUND, KIDDING AROUND, TO KID SOMEONE, TO PULL SOMEONE'S LEG: to tease, joke, make fun of someone/something, the opposite of serious.
SENSE OF HUMOR: the ability to laugh or find things humorous or funny. Example: “My math teacher has no sense of humor! She always yells at her students for joking around in class!” or: “My friend Steve has the greatest sense of humor! He is so much fun at parties. Everyone gathers around him and he tells the most hysterical jokes all night long!”
to YANK SOMEONE'S CHAIN: To tease, joke with or aggravate someone.
TO PLAY WITH FIRE: To play with an already dangerous or volatile situation.
to S**T SOMEONE / TO TELL A FIB : to lie.
To KEEP A STRAIGHT FACE: To keep a serious expression on your face when inside you really feel like laughing.
POKER FACE: When your facial expression does not reveal what you are feeling on the inside.
DON’T PLAY WITH ME: Do not tease/joke/make fun of me. Do not promise without intention to follow through on those intentions.
October 11, 2011 12:54 AM PDT
M - Hello everybody, today we're going to take you to the... AIRPORT.
M - Well, listeners, this time Cindy is not here with me, but don't worry, we will listen to her beautiful voice later on anyway. She's traveling around the States at the moment, and that's why I thought of this episode about airplane travel. There's a lot of vocabulary to revise about it.
Ok, uhm...well, before you even get to the airport, you'd better double check your tickets, all the documents you need to bring along as well as the weight and dimensions of your bags. You don't want to pay any unforeseen costs for your EXCESS BAGGAGE or miss your flight just because of some silly oversight, do you? No, I'm sure you don't.
All right, so picture yourself at the airport, embarking on a wonderful vacation or preparing for an important business trip. You're ready and willing to fly. Well, at least, I would be 'cause I love flying, I always choose a WINDOW SEAT to better enjoy the TAKE OFF, that's the moment when the plane leaves the ground, as well as the TOUCH DOWN, that is the moment when the plane lands. I really love the view you can see from the window when you fly above the clouds. But some people prefer the AISLE SEAT, because they like the additional leg room or freedom to leave their seat more easily. I'm as far as one can be from being AIRSICK, you know, you're airsick when you suffer from MOTION SICKNESS. This can happen on boats, cars, planes, amusement rides etc...
Ok, first off, if you're in The States, your flight can be international or domestic. You need to go to DOMESTIC departures if you fly within the country, or to INTERNATIONAL departures if you fly abroad. Each airport is designed differently, and some can be quite large. Be sure to look carefully at airport monitors for your gate information and don’t be afraid to ask airport personnel for some help. That’s what they’re there for!
Before landing, I always take a look in the seat pocket in front of me for the convenient airport maps located in airline magazines. These diagrams are helpful to familiarize yourself with arrival airports.
It can be a DIRECT FLIGHT or you may have to make a STOPOVER or LAYOVER, that means you have to stop down at more than one airport and switch planes in order to reach your destination.
There's a lot of CHECKING IN to be done and that's the boring thing about flying. You need to present your tickets and proper identification with a photo I.D. and check your baggage in. The bigger suitcases are to be stored below the plane. Be sure to check your airline’s baggage allowances online before going! Fees and baggage limits vary greatly and you may be asked to pay for your first or second suitcase depending on the airline’s rules. Check online to avoid unexpected surprises!
Then you need to GO THROUGH SECURITY, together with your CARRY ON BAGS. These are the small bags you take on the plane with you, to be put in the OVERHEAD COMPARTMENT. Most flights allow you one carry on bag and one personal item (like a purse or a computer bag), but even these rules can vary on small commuter planes with weight restrictions.
Security will scan your bags, purses, laptop computers and check for liquids and anything else they find questionable. You may be asked to remove your jacket, belt, shoes, watch and large jewelry for scanning as well. Keep all your liquids or gels (and for women- that means cosmetics!) in a small clear resealable plastic bag for security to check easily.
Then you eventually get to the GATE, where you wait until you can BOARD the aircraft, that is to get on the plane. Of course, you are going to need your BOARDING PASS, the document that lets you enter the plane and your passport or picture identification available as well.
Now it's time to get in contact with Cindy, hey Cindy, can you hear me?
C - Yes, I can hear you quite well. Hi Marta and hi everyone! I'm back home in The States this month, traveling around and visiting with my family. So, I understand that you're talking about flights today?
M - Yeah, by the way, could you tell us something about BAGGAGE CLAIM ? I know you've had some hard times recollecting your bags more than once... right?
C - Oh, girl, don’t even get me started! Last Christmas, an airline that shall remain nameless, lost my bags for 8 days!!!
But this is common for me, it happens every time I fly- I get get off the plane, go down to BAGGAGE CLAIM to pick up my bags and they never arrive on time. I mean, they always arrive eventually, a day or two later, but I just have them delivered to my hotel. So, for all of you listening- if your bags get lost, don’t worry, just look for the baggage office related to your airline and fill out the proper documentation with all of your contact information. The airport will work hard to get those bags to you as soon as possible. So don’t panic, it’s not such a big deal, believe me- I’m an expert!
***SPECIAL NOTE: DO NOT pack your medications, jewelry, electronics or anything else of value into your checked bags! Keep these items with you at all times and pack them into your CARRY ON suitcase instead. ***
M – Another possible inconvenience about flights is : flying through some TURBULENCE.
C - Turbulance? Well, a margarita will take care of that nicely. But if you’re not a drinker- again, don’t worry. I don’t know the exact statistics, but thousands of planes take off and land safely every day around the world. Wind turbulence is just a normal part of flying. So don’t panic if you feel some “bumps’’ along the journey. The pilot may even illuminate the “FASTEN SEATBELT” sign. Just buckle-up and don’t worry. I’ve been much more afraid riding along inside a car on Italian highways than I ever have in an airplane!
M – You're right! Cindy, could you remind our listeners about the word COMPLIMENTARY ?
C - Complimentary- important word. That means “it’s free”. It won’t cost you anything. When you fly on a budget for instance and you purchase a low cost ticket (or an ECONOMY seat) you need to check for what is complimentary and what is not. For instance, you may be offered a complimentary snack, but you may have to pay for any other foods or beverages, and it could be very expensive. Water, soda and a small bag of nuts or crackers are usually free, depending on the duration of your flight. It may be a good idea to “grab a bite’’ (that means to eat something quick) at the airport before your departure.
M – All right, Cindy, that's it for now, we let you go back to your traveling and to your JET LAG !
C - Oh! Jet lag! Well, that’s another story! There is a 6 hour time difference between Italy and the American East Coast- and my internal clock is still adjusting! It was nice talking with you , everybody! I wish you a great day! Marta, I’ll see you soon, dear! Bye!
M – Ok, listeners, before we go, I want to thank a few of you: Henrietta, Maria, Derek, Darko, Alejandro. And I also wanna thank Skip Montreaux for all his nice words about our podcast. He is running a great podcast too, it's about business English, if you're interested, check it out at www.downtobusinessenglish.com .
Everybody, come visit us at www.myAmericanfriendblog.com where you can read the transcript of this episode together with a lot of interesting posts we have already uploaded to help you improve your English.
Of course you still find us on facebook, twitter, iTunes, podomatic.com and martainnocenti.com but now we also have our blog myAmericanfriendblog.com
See you there! Bye bye!
EXCESS BAGGAGE : Suitcases beyond the normal allowance for that particular flight. Check online with your carrier because these allowances and restrictions can vary greatly.
WINDOW SEAT : A seat located next to a window, preferred by those who enjoy the view.
AISLE SEAT: A seat located on the aisle.
MIDDLE SEAT: Nobody wants this one! It’s the seat located between the window and aisle seats.
TAKE OFF: The period of time when the aircraft accelerates quickly and leaves the runway to take flight.
TOUCH DOWN: The end of the flight when the aircraft decends slowly and makes contact once again with the runway.
MOTION SICKNESS / BEING AIRSICK: A disturbance of the inner ear caused by motion creating nausea, vomiting or dizziness.
DOMESTIC DEPARTURE: A departure that begins and ends in the same country. For example from New York to Los Angeles.
INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS : Flights that begin in one country but land in another. EXAMPLE: New York to Paris.
DIRECT FLIGHT: A flight that connects from one city or country to another without stopping and switching planes.
STOPOVER or LAYOVER: Stopping in one city for a period of time before switching planes and continuing onto your final destination. ATTENTION: Some airports can be very large and complicated to manuever through. You may have to take a shuttle bus or monorail train to get from one section to another. Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time so that you don’t have to run or maybe miss your connecting flight!
CHECK IN (BAGGAGE): The suitcases that are “checked in’’ with airport personnel and stored beneath the plane during flight. Be sure NOT to leave your medications, expensive electronics, jewelry or any items of value in your “check in” bags.
CARRY ON BAGS: The bags you carry with you onto the plane. Example: Purse, computer bag or small suitcase.
GO THROUGH SECURITY: Security is the first stop you make after you are issued your boarding passes. Security can be quite thorough. During security checks, officers will x-ray your carry on bags and personal belongings. You will be asked to show all your boarding passes, identification and pass through a metal detector as well.
OVERHEAD COMPARTMENT: The airplane storage cabinets located above the seats where you are to store your belongings during a flight.
GATE: The numbered doors and passages that connect airport terminals to the planes for departures and arrivals. Example: “ My flight to New York leaves from Terminal 2 at Gate B-10”
TO BOARD: To get on the plane.
BOARDING PASS: The ticket that allows you entrance to the plane. You will not be allowed on a flight without a BOARDING PASS.
BAGGAGE CLAIM: The area of the airport where all suitcases are delivered and passengers can then pick them up from a moving conveyor belt. If your bags do not arrive, go to the baggage office corresponding to your airline company and fill out a “LOST BAGGAGE REPORT”.
TURBULENCE / BUMPY RIDE: “Bumps” in the journey caused by wind.
COMPLIMENTARY: Free. EXAMPLE: On this flight, we offer a complimentary beverage.’’
JET LAG: Exhaustion or confusion brought on by a difference in time between your states or countries of departure and arrival. For example: New York is 6 hours earlier than Rome.
October 20, 2011 02:52 PM PDT
M - Hello everyone! Again, I'm on my own here, Cindy is still traveling around the States. I can't wait for her to be back!
So, have you guys already checked our blog at www.myamericanfriendblog.com ? We wait for your comments and suggestions.
Now, let's go back to episode number 16, about how to introduce yourself. We received a lot of feedback about that, so here's a very short new episode, a follow-up.
Some of you commented that local accents can be very difficult to understand, and, well, you're right. So, here's a new accent for you: let me take you far away, to Hawaii. Wow, I wish I was there right now...anyway, let's listen to our friend Leon !
Leon : Alright... aloha! My name is Leon Fabricius, I’m originally from an island called Samoa, which is about 2600 miles down South-West of islands of Hawaii. I’ve been living in Hawaii for about 8 years right now. I came here for college, I attended the university of Brigham Young up in Utah, Provo, and I ended up living in Hawaii. I’m currently working in the tourism industry and what I do is a tour director. I coordinate all the hotels, flights, pick-ups from the hotels and, of course, our activities with our groups that actually travel with us for 15 days. The reason why I chose Hawaii to live here is because kind of remind me of back home, in Samoa, the sun and everything, the beach, people, hospitality and everything, and I really enjoy the smiles and everything. And a lot of the things I do like is pretty much playing a lot of sports, like rugby is my favorite sport, second of all is basketball and third would be volleyball. I also enjoy meeting a lot of different people from different parts of the world; I met a person from Italy, which is Laura, and that’s very awesome to meet someone from that country but, anyway, I just wanna say that I really enjoy here in Hawaii. I hope you guys will ...you know...get a chance and make your way on this side and join us. All right! Mahalo!
M - Leon, trust me, everyone would like to join you in that paradise called Hawaii !!! Well listeners, I know it might have been difficult, so make sure to read the transcript of this episode, ok?
Good, now let's get in contact with Cindy. Cindy, can you hear me?
C – Hi Marta, yes, I can hear you quite well. How are you?
M – I'm fine, but I miss you, come back soon Cindy!
C – Yes, my time in the States is coming to a close now, I'll be back in Italy next week, so get the coffee pot ready !
M – Ok ! I know you have another special guest for us, a friend of yours introducing himself.
C – Everybody, I'd like to introduce you to our friend Omar, a bright young man, with an incredible future ahead of him.
Omar : Hi everybody, my name is Omar. I am currently 17 years old- and ladies, it won’t be for long. I have lived in North Carolina for 7 years. I came from Mexico when I was 10 years old, not knowing a single word in English. Having to adapt to a different culture and learning a whole new language was a big challenge. But after attending school for a year and taking a class of ESL (English as a Second Language) helped me find my way. With the help of friends, teachers and the involvement with the community that I have helped me to become fluent. Last year, I graduated from high school. I’m now attending a community college, earning my Associates in Arts. My goal is to one day become a lawyer on Criminal and Immigration Law. In my spare time, I’m a professional dancer and a computer technician. Well, I hope that you enjoyed to listening to my American experience…hasta luego...so long.
M - Great, thanks a lot to Omar and Leon for joining us here at My American Friend ! Cindy, I'll see you very soon, right?
C - Now Marta, don't forget : our big Halloween party is coming up at the end of the month !
M – Yeah!
C – Are you ready?
M – Of course!
C – Do you have a costume yet?
M – Sure!
C – I'm bringing back a suitcase filled with spooky creepy things, it's gonna be a lot of fun !
M – I'm sure about that.
C – I'll see you soon dear, bye everyone!
M - Bye Cindy!
M - That's it for now, folks, we'll be back very soon with a full episode.
I want to thank a few of you for writing on our facebook page : Myrna, Letizia, Zana, Maria, Laura, Angela, Tatsuro, Reza, Mohannad, Viswashakti, Irem, Shin San, Henrietta. And I also want to thank all the people that are following us through a Russian website called lingualeo.ru thank you very much.
Ok, don't forget to read the transcript and don't forget to come visit us at www.myamericanfriendblog.com I'll see you there. Bye Bye!
September 30, 2011 02:01 AM PDT
M - Hello! My name is Marta, nice to meet you!
C - Hi, I'm Cindy, nice to meet you too!
M – and this episode is about how to... INTRODUCE YOURSELF !
C - We know that this podcast is for intermediate and advanced English learners, but even the easiest things can get difficult sometimes, for example when you're nervous for a job interview, or excited to join a new class of complete strangers, or you don't feel comfortable for any reason.
M - Yeah, every time I have a new class at school for one of my English+Music lessons and I ask the students to introduce themselves it seems that... well... they just don't know where to start from.
C - Yeah, that can be intimidating...
M - You know, it should be the easiest thing on Earth, I mean, just go ahead, say your name, your age, where you're from, tell me something about your family, your career, your hobbies.
C - You feel under pressure, everyone's looking at you, you may have studied English for years but in that very moment you just can't remember the difference between “how do you do?” and “how are you” ! I remember being introduced to a woman who told me : “it's a pleasure to meet me” !
M - Really? It's a pleasure to meet me instead of it's a pleasure to meet you?!
C - She just got confused, and she was probably a bit nervous, it happens! And local accents can be a big problem too.
M - That's why we are going to listen to a few special guests now introducing themselves.
C - I'm so happy when we have guests here at my American friend!
M - So am I ! Let's start with some Scottish accent ! Let's listen to Adrian !
Adrian : Hi, my name’s Adrian and I was born in Liverpool from Scottish parents. I spent most of my childhood in England but moved back to Scotland for job reasons in my 20s. I’m an industrial chemist and I’ve been living in Italy for 6 years. I’m married and I’ve 2 daughters. I like sports and I’m a keen amateur skier and windsurfer. I decided to come to Italy because I was interested in getting to know a new culture and language and of course… cause the girls are nicer!
C - Wow! I love his accent ! Ok, let's practice questions and answers a little bit. Where was Adrian born?
M - He was born in Liverpool but his parents are Scottish.
C - What does he do for a living? Or, I could also say: what is his job?
M - He's an industrial chemist.
C - Where does he live? And who does he live with?
M - He lives in Italy with his wife and his two daughters.
C - What are his hobbies? What does he like doing in his free time? What is he interested in?
M – He likes skiing and windsurfing and he's interested in getting to know new cultures.
C - Great, let's move on to a new accent. Our next guest comes from Australia! Oh, and by the way, shall we revise how to introduce people?
M - Why not?
C - So, I could say: Marta, let me introduce you to my friend Kate from Australia. Or: Marta, I'd like you to meet Kate, she's a friend of mine, she's Australian.
M - Ok, let's listen to Kate.
Kate : Hi, my name is Kate and I’m an 18 year old girl from Melbourne, Australia.
I live with my parents in a little town just out of the city, which is right near the beach. In the summer, this is where I spend most of the time with my friends, usually followed by a barbeque in the evening. We also have lots of music festivals which are great fun! The biggest ones are over New Year’s Eve, when it’s really hot. It’s a great way to welcome in the New Year, listening to some awesome local Australian acts, as well as some big international artists. It was a pleasure talking to you all, thanks for listening to this little snippet of the laidback Aussie culture!
M - Thank you Kate! Great, now let's go back to the States.
C: Hi, Britney! Thanks for being here today. Could you tell our listeners a little bit about yourself?
Britney: Hi! My name is Britney I am 19 years old and I am from North Carolina. I have a son named Jaden, he is 10 months old. My husband’s name is David, he was born in Puerto Rico and moved to the U.S. with his family when he was 5 years old. My grandparents came from Poland. I’ve never been to Poland, but I would love to visit one day. In my spare time, I like to go to the movie theater plus I really hate to cook but I like going to restaurants. I love music and the radio is always on at my house. Well, I was nice talking to y’all. Have a nice day.
M - That was great. Thanks a lot to our special guests: Adrian, Kate and Britney, thank you. All right, listeners, why don't you try and write down your self-introduction? Just a few lines to be prepared to talk about yourselves and to be sure you can relate to other people quickly and in a pleasant way.
C - You don't have to LEARN IT BY HEART, that means to memorize it word by word. But it will certainly help you in avoiding those uncomfortable moments of silence and panic next time you're asked to say something about yourself. This is especially useful when you're not dealing with a new group of friends but with an interviewer who has to decide to hire you or not and it's the job opportunity of a lifetime!
M - Ooooh, job interviews are so difficult when you have to speak a foreign language!
C - That's why you'd better prepare your answers before. Because, of course the interviewer is not interested in your whole life story, the question “tell me something more about yourself” actually means : “why do I have to choose you for this position? Give me a good reason.” So you have to mention a few good points about your education and previous career related to the job you're applying for.
M - You have to bear in mind what the interviewer is after and focus only on that.
C - No hesitations, proper language. You definitely have to prepare the answer to that question before you enter the room for that job interview!
M - Let's pretend you're applying for a job, Cindy, mmmm, ok. The host for a tv program about international recipies.
C - Oh, that sounds like fun !
M - I'm the interviewer. So : tell me something more about yourself.
C - I've studied the cuisines of many different cultures. I've lived in America and Europe and still continue to travel the world with every chance I get. I love to cook and I love meeting new people. As an English language podcast professional and teacher I believe I possess many essential qualities that would be an asset to your program.
M - Wow, this is how to talk about yourself in order to make an impression! Ok, let's shake hands and leave me your business card, I'm quite sure you're going to be chosen for this job!
C - And...thank you for your time!
C - Hey everyone! We have some great news! We've been preparing our brand new blog !!
M – myAmericanfriendblog.com It's going to be constantly updated with new material regarding the English language, the States, pictures, idioms, travel suggestions, songs, anything to help you improve the language and to better know the American culture and everyday life.
C - And of course you'll also find all the episodes of our podcasts with accompanying transcripts. And you will be active part of our blog ! So, everyone who has been following our podcast on facebook, twitter, podomatic.com, martainnocenti.com and iTunes...
M - ...come visit us at : myAmericanfriendblog.com !
C - And enjoy all the new pictures and content.
M - Let's create the myAmericanfriend-community. You will make new friends from all over the world to practice the English language with ! And before we go, I want to thank some of our listeners for contacting us on our facebook page: Shin San, Viswashakti, Angela, Ayad. And also Hikari and Giorgio who are following us on podomatic. Thank you.
C - Thanks for you support everyone and we'll see you soon!
M - Bye bye!
Let's sum up
let me introduce you to... / I'd like you to meet ….
nice to meet you / how do you do / it's a pleasure to meet you
your name, your age, where you're from, your family, your career, your hobbies
Where were you born?
What do you do for a living? / what is your job?
Where do you live? who do you live with?
What are your hobbies? What do you like doing in your free time? What are you interested in?
To LEARN something BY HEART : to memorize it word by word.
September 20, 2011 10:34 AM PDT
M - Today we're talking about being TIRED !
M - Hi Cindy! … Cindy? Are you awake?
C - What?...oh, I’m sorry, Marta I must have DOZED OFF for a second. What did you say?
M - I said ‘‘Hi Cindy!’’
C - (yawning) Excuse me, oh, Hi Marta…how are you today?
M - I’m fine, BRIGHT-EYED and BUSHY TAILED this morning, but what about you?
C - I’m sorry, girl. I am DRAGGING today! I’M BEAT!
M - What happened? Did you skip your morning CUP OF JOE?
C - Yes, I’ve had my coffee…although I could use another right now.
M - And what do you mean by saying you’re dragging and beat today? You look fine, well, a little tired, but you look alright to me?
C - You’re right, I guess those 2 words do sound pretty extreme! … I just meant to say I’m very tired today! If someone says they’re ‘’dragging’’- it means they’re moving very slowly, dragging their feet.
M - As if to say they have no energy- THEIR BATTERIES ARE DRAINED.
C - Bingo.
M - And how about the word ‘’beat’’.
C - ‘’Beat’’ conveys that I am DEFEATED today, EXHAUSTED, I have NO ‘’GET UP AND GO’’ today.
M - Defeated, huh? Well, my friend, I know you don’t play sports…so are you defeated by one too many toasts at the bar last night?
C - No, no…I wasn’t drinking last night I swear!
M - So why are you in here looking like SOMETHING THE CAT DRAGGED IN?
C - Oh dear, do I look that bad? Thank goodness this is just a podcast- audio only!
M - I’m just joking. What have you been up to?
C - I’ve been up very late every night this week because we are remodeling my home office. The room needs a COMPLETE OVERHAUL- new paint, new flooring, new furniture. Everything.
M - That’s a monster job, but it will be nice when it’s done.
C - (yawning…) Oh, if I live to see the end of it! Marta, I’m sorry to keep yawning.
M – Well, you need another coffee. Why don’t you RUN ALONG and come back later? I’ll HOLD DOWN THE FORT in the meantime.
C- The word ‘’Run’’ is not in my vocabulary today. OK, would you like a cup too?
M- No thanks, I’m good.
C- See you in a bit.
M- Oh wow, this is a really slow morning. Cindy’s exhausted. So who can I call for a PICK-ME-UP? Who’s always good for a laugh or two?
BARB - Y’all just shut the hell up!...Hello? Hello?
M - Hello Barb! This is Marta, Marta Innocenti.
B - Marta, is that you? It better be! This ain’t no dang ol’ telemarketer, is it? I swear, you all call me one more time, just one more time! I’m gonna fly on up there to New York City and open up a can o’ country whoopass on you Yankees like you never seen!!!! Who is this??
M - Barb, please stop yelling. It’s me, Marta Innocenti from ‘’my American friend’’, I just called to say hello.
B - Oh hey, Darlin. I’m sorry. How y’all doing?
M - We’re good, thank you for asking. So, what’s going on Barb? You sound STRESSED OUT this morning.
B - Oh Suge, you don’t know the half! I am beat! I got my grandchildren tearing the roof off the place, the hot water heater’s down broke, Harold (that’s my husband) done locked himself inside the car again and I been up running chickens since 3 o’clock this morning.
M - I’m sorry, Barb. So you had a lot of deliveries to make this morning? We should remind everyone that you’re a truck driver,
B - …a tired truck driver…
M- a tired truck driver who delivers chicken from the factory to area supermarkets. And you’ve been awake since 3am?
B - Yup, it was ‘’RISE AND SHINE’’ this morning with a 3a.m. with a wake up call.…
M - Oh my goodness, that’s early!
B - and now I got to go down to the store and unlock Harold from the car…again…second time this week!
M - He’s inside the car? Well, why can’t he just push the unlock button?
B - Oh honey, we been through this before. You all know Harold’s dumb as a box of hair!
M - I’m sorry Barb, I hope your day gets better real soon. Be sure to HIT THE HAY early tonight so you’ll BE UP AND AT’ EM first thing tomorrow morning.
B - Ugh, that’s Harold now! Lord grant me patience! … Harold it’s the lock button! I know it’s says lock on it! you press it again and the door’s gonna open! I swear! same thing as yesterday! … Marta, darling, I got to go! Lord, this man’s gonna send me to an early grave!
M - Ok, Barb. Good luck. You’d better go rescue him.
B - Oh, he’s fine. He’s got a 6 pack of beer under the seat. I keep one there for the next time, just in case I can’t get to him right quick. Y’all come see us, darlin! Bye!
M - Ok!
B - Leave the Yankee at home!
M - All right, Barb!
B - Hey, y'all listen to My American Friend !
M - All right, everyone, thank you very much for listening, and remember that you can find us on podomatic.com martainnocenti.com on facebook on twitter and on iTunes. And a big Hello to all our new friends listening from Russia, Australia and Tasmania, China, Ghana and Thailand. And of course to our old friends as well. Thank you very much for listening, bye bye!!
DOZED OFF : To fall asleep. Example: I was so tired last night that I “dozed off” at 8pm, a whole two hours earlier than my normal bedtime!
BRIGHT-EYED & BUSHY TAILED: To be very awake, alert and vibrant first thing in the morning. Example: You’re looking “bright-eyed and bushy tailed’’ this morning! Why is that? Answer: Because I dozed off very early last night! I slept for 10 hours and I feel great today!
DRAGGING: 1.) to pull something behind you. Example: A child can drag a toy or a wagon behind him. 2.) To be exhausted, no energy, moving slowly. Example: I am “dragging” today because I only got 3 hours of sleep last night.
I’M BEAT! / DEFEATED / EXHAUSTED: tired
CUP OF JOE: a cup of coffee
THEIR BATTERIES ARE DRAINED- no energy left, to be tired
NO ‘’GET UP AND GO’’- no enthusiasm or motivation
to look like SOMETHING THE CAT DRAGGED IN: This expression has many meanings but basically means to be disheveled looking, beaten up, rough or to have a hangover.
PICK-ME-UP: Something that raises spirits, energy level, enthusiasm. You can get a ‘’pick me up” from a cup of coffee, good music, a movie or just talking to someone you enjoy, a person who is a lot of fun or a motivator. Many things can act as a “pick me up”.
STRESSED OUT- Feeling a lot of stress, very nervous, under a lot of pressure, unhappy. Example: I’m really stressed out right now because I am studying for my final exams. He’s really stressed out right now while going through a painful divorce. This new job is stressing her out.
‘’RISE AND SHINE’’: to wake up. Example: Rise and shine, my dear! School starts today!
HIT THE HAY: To go to bed/fall asleep. Example: You had better “hit the hay” early this evening because you have an early flight to catch tomorrow morning.
BE “UP AND AT’ EM” – Commonly used slang meaning to wake up and approach the day (or a task) with enthusiasm. Example: Come on! Up and at’ em, you’re going to be late for your first day of school!
COMPLETE OVERHAUL- When something needs to be completely redone, remodeled, or reconstructed. Example: This house is so old and damaged, it needs a complete overhaul. Or “My dad bought an antique car, but it’s really a piece of junk. It’s so old and it needs a complete overhaul!
RUN ALONG: To go away. Example: “Kids, you’re being too noisy! I’m on the phone- run along and play in the garden so I can finish my phone call in peace and quiet!
HOLD DOWN THE FORT : To take care of things, keep them under control. Example: You go ahead and enjoy your vacation. Everything will be fine, I’ll “hold down the fort” in the office until you get back.’’
September 08, 2011 08:35 AM PDT
M - This time we're dealing with a joyful topic ….CONGRATULATIONS!
C - Ok, Marta, congratulations on what?
M - On anything! We need to learn how to express our happiness to people in any situation.
C - You're right, and how to praise someone for their success or achievement, both in a formal and informal context.
M - Yes, I noticed that Americans are usually very attentive to this, whenever someone takes an important step in their professional or personal life everybody congratulates properly.
C - Isn't it how it's supposed to be?
M - Sure, it's really nice and polite. For example, I remember when flying back home from the States after getting married, the flight attendant said something about me being a newlywed and every American passenger on that plane turned around to congratulate us.
C - Only the American passengers?
M - Yeah. And they were all smiling and truly kind. They had never seen me before and they knew they wouldn't see me again, still all those strangers felt like sharing a moment with me and it was just...you know, so unexpected to me and so...nice.
C - I see. That's really sweet.
M - And from that moment on, I thought that if I didn't congratulate on someone's special moment in the appropriate way I would seem impolite or rude.
C - Yeah, I think it's important to spread the joy when you can. I know, speaking a foreign language is so difficult. It's not only about vocabulary or grammar, it's about the habits and unwritten codes of a population, of a country. A single sentence said at the right moment in the right way can make the difference between being rude and being lovely.
M - That's what I meant. Ok, then, let's start with something easy. A conversation between friends. Mmm, ok. Cindy, yesterday I turned the radio on and one of my songs was on air in that very moment!
C - No!! How cool ! Congrats! I'm so happy for you, you deserve it.
M - Thanks! And do you remember that short musical I wrote for the kids of the summer camp? They performed it last week and the show was amazing!
C - Way to go! Great work, darling! Kudos! I'm so proud of you.
M - Thank you, I appreciate that! Now, let's pretend that you and your husband have just gotten married, I would say something similar to what I was told by the passengers of that plane : “I wish you both all the happiness in the world!” or “Congratulations to the perfect couple!”
C - Yes, and when sending a card or an e-mail or texting, you could write something like: “Best wishes for your marriage” or “Sincere congratulations on your marriage”, or: “May your new life together bring you the joy you deserve”, or: “I write to send you my very best wishes for your future together.”.
M - Ok, now, a friend of mine is due to have a baby soon. How will I have to congratulate on a newborn?
C - You can say something like: “Congratulations on the birth of your baby boy or baby girl!” “Congratulations on the arrival of the newest member of the family!” or: “Best wishes for you and your beautiful baby!” Or “I wish you a lot of happiness with your little one!”
M - Great, and now let's talk about Ashley.
C - Ashley?! Is she having a baby too?
M - Hopefully not, she's just a teen-ager! I've heard she passed her driving test.
C - Oh, thank goodness it was just the driving test! Yeah, we mentioned that in episode number one about shopping. So what about it?
M - Well, I'd say something like : “Congratulations on passing your driving test! Good job, Ashley!” is that ok?
C - Sure, you only need to remember that the preposition to be used is ON, to congratulate someone on something.
M - And Ashley will also graduate sooner or later, how will I properly congratulate her on that?
C - Well, her dad would say: “Great, now get a job and move out, I'm not paying for your credit card any more!”
M - True!
C – But you could say something like : “Happy graduation! Wishing you luck and success in all that you do!” or “You did it! Congratulations, graduate. Wishing you the best things in your future to come.”
M - Ok, so I'm gonna say : “Congratulations Ashley, you've got a bright future in front of you!” And can you imagine her answer?
C - Mmm, Ashley, well, she'd probably say something like : (Ashley voice) Yeah, whatever, ok, so when are we going shopping?! You tell me you'd take me shopping, Marta, how about that sparkling eye shadow? I would love some new shoes, what do you think about pink? Uh! Pink, I definitely want pink. And I want...I want...I want silver eye shadow, oh my God, it would be so cool, will you take me to the mall, Marta, please???
M - Well, anyways, Ashley, we wish you the best of luck for your graduation
C - Thank you Marta.
M - Whenever it will be!
C - By the way, Marta, do you know any idioms to wish someone good luck?
M - Well, I know that musicians and actors never say “good luck” before going on stage. Because of a superstition. Saying good luck would in fact bring bad luck. They say “break a leg”.
C - Yes, Break a leg! Isn't that weird?
M - Yeah! I once read that a possible explanation for this strange idiom is that when you break a leg you bend your knee, and that means that you take a bow and of course if you take a bow that's because the audience is clapping their hands.
C - So when you say “Break a leg” to a performer you're actually wishing a long applause at the end of their show.
M - Ok, let's go back to congratulations. Remember when your husband was promoted last year, Cindy?
C - Hurray! Yes, he was really excited about it, his job means so much to him.
M - Ok, right. So let's imagine that I'm a colleague who congratulates him on his promotion, so let's keep it formal.
C - Ok, so you could say : “I want to congratulate you on your new position, I couldn't imagine a more deserving person to be chosen.” or “I was very pleased to learn about your outstanding achievement”, or “Hard work, knowledge, experience and perseverence pay off and you have proved it!” or “I know you're the right person for this job, you can count on my full support.”
M - Well, listeners, I'm sure now you can perfectly handle both formal and informal congratulations.
C - Keep listening to this podcast and excercising your English in any possible way. We're sure that you'll soon deserve a big “Congratulations!” on how much you've improved ! We await your comments and suggestions on podomatic.com, martainnocenti.com, iTunes, facebook and twitter.
M - See you soon!
C - Bye bye!
Let's sum up:
to CONGRATULATE someone ON something
- Informal :
I'm so happy for you, you deserve it.
How cool !
Way to go!
Great work, darling!
I'm so proud of you.
“I wish you both all the happiness in the world!”
“Congratulations to the perfect couple!”
“Best wishes for your marriage”
“Sincere congratulations on your marriage”
“May your new life together bring you the joy you deserve”
“I write to send you my very best wishes for your future together.”
“Congratulations on the birth of your baby boy or baby girl!”
“Congratulations on the arrival of the newest member of the family!”
“Best wishes for you and your beautiful baby!”
“I wish you a lot of happiness with your little one!”
- Driving test:
“Congratulations on passing your driving test! Good job!”
“Happy graduation! Wishing you luck and success in all that you do!”
“You did it! Congratulations, graduate. Wishing you the best things in your future to come.”
“Congratulations, you've got a bright future in front of you!”
“I want to congratulate you on your new position, I couldn't imagine a more deserving person to be chosen.”
“I was very pleased to learn about your outstanding achievement”
“Hard work, knowledge, experience and perseverence pay off and you have proved it!”
“I know you're the right person for this job, you can count on my full support.”
BREAK A LEG (idiom) : good luck for your performance!
August 26, 2011 08:39 AM PDT
M - This episode is going to be about …. DRINKING !
C - We know that many of our listeners study English in order to travel around the globe and make new friends. When you hang out with those new friends it's likely that you’ll have a drink together and you may need to know some specific words and expressions about drinking.
M - Ok, listeners, make sure to read the transcript of this episode. Now, let's imagine we're having a drink somewhere in the States...
C - How about the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles? Plenty of cool bars and clubs there, Whisky a Go-go, Rainbow, House of Blues , Roxy, Viper...
M - Nice choice, among the regular clients of those bars you get to see rockstars and actors, you're likely to spot some celebrity, like, every night out there.
C - But before you order your cocktail, enjoy the live music and make friends with Steven Tyler or Slash you'd better revise some vocabulary with me, Marta, ok?
M - Ok, let me get a bottle of wine and two glasses.
C - Now, it's common to have a drink together when you’re celebrating something, right? For example we can celebrate that our podcast was number one on the Podomatic chart last week.
M - Ok, so what should I say while I CLINK GLASSES ?
C - Let's TOAST TO our podcast and to our listeners! Or we could say : let's DRINK TO... let's DRINK A TOAST TO.... or : let's RAISE OUR GLASSES TO or FOR....
M - CHEERS !
C - Cheers!
M - Mmmm, delicious!
C - Marta, you're taking small SIPS, com'on, DOWN IT IN ONE GO! Or I could also say : SLAM IT !
M - All right, but that's it for me. I CAN'T HOLD MY DRINK, one glass is more than enough.
C - You GET DRUNK very easily, don't you?
M - Well, it's not that I get drunk, I just ...fall asleep!
C - Uh, that wouldn't be good if you fell asleep now. Steven Tyler and Slash just bought us another ROUND OF DRINKS !
M - I know, I know, it's not my fault, I just fall asleep. I'd better have some soda with Steve Vai who I'm pretty sure doesn't drink any alcohol.
C - I didn't know he was a TEETOTALER ? Ok, so you and Steve Vai are going to be our designated drivers, right?
M - Ok, ok. I've been the designated driver my whole life! Well, at least I don't have to SOBER UP the following day. No headache, no HANGOVER.
C - Oh, Marta, have you seen that movie, “The hangover”?
M - That's hilarious!
C - It’s got to be one of my favorite movies of all-time. It's about a group of friends who wake up in Vegas having no memory of what they've done the previous night, after a wild bachelor party for one of them. And that's what happens when you're DEAD DRUNK : you have a great time and the next day- you can’t remember a thing! Doesn’t seem to be much sense in it, does it?
M – Yeah. Everyone, be careful, you can get into trouble if you drink too much and you lose control. Cindy, can you think of any idiom or expression about those people who drink too much?
C - “TO DRINK LIKE A FISH”, that's drinking a lot.
M - To drink like a fish. Ok.
C - And to be really drunk is : TO BE WASTED, TO BE SLOSHED, PICKLED... there are so many expressions.
M - And how about BINGE DRINKING ? What is it?
C – Oh, binge drinking is an extreme form of drinking, that would be overdoing it.
M - How about those people who drink because they're sad ?
C - We say that : they DRINK THEIR PROBLEMS AWAY, they DROWN THEIR SORROWS.
M - Ok, anything else?
C - I have a funny song about drinking to suggest.
M - Which one?
C - “Alcohol” by Brad Paisley.
M - You're right! It's a really cool song! And now that you make me think about it, there is something interesting Brad says in the lyrics of that song, he says: “I'll bet you a drink or two that I can make you....”do something, whatever.
C - Yes, for example, if we're watching a football match we can BET A DRINK on the winner. If your team wins I'll pay for our drinks and vice versa. Or you can use this expression when you are challenging someone. Marta, this song is too difficult, I'll bet a drink that you can't sing it.
M - You do? Ok, you'd better prepare your wallet, I'm getting thirsty!
C - I was just kidding!
M – So was I.
C – And everyone, let's make it clear once again: hanging out with your friends having a drink or two is just great, drinking a little more on special occasions is ok, but alcohol can turn into a serious addiction, so, be responsible.
M - Well, listeners, we went through a lot of vocabulary, so check it out in our transcript and come visit us on podomatic.com, martainnocenti.com, facebook, twitter and iTunes. Before we go let me thank some of our listeners : Bairma, Natalia, Zainal and our dear friends Tatsuro and Reza.
C - See you soon with a new episode!
M – Bye bye!
to CLINK GLASSES : To touch (making a ‘’clink’’ sound) glasses during a toast. Toasts can be made with non-alcoholic drinks as well.
Let's TOAST TO / let's DRINK TO... / let's DRINK A TOAST TO.... / let's RAISE OUR GLASSES TO or FOR.... : Ways to say let’s celebrate or honor something with a drink.
to TAKE SMALL SIPS : To drink slowly, taking small mouthfuls at a time.
DOWN IT IN ONE GO! / SLAM IT ! : To finish the beverage all at once.
I CAN'T HOLD MY DRINK : Alcohol intolerant, to become intoxicated or sick from alcohol easily.
TO GET DRUNK : Ingesting too much alcohol before the liver has a chance to metabolize it, the result is inebriation and impaired judgment.
to BUY A ROUND OF DRINKS : To buy beverages for everyone at your table, group or bar. Watch out! That can be very expensive!
to be a TEETOTALER : Someone who does not drink alcoholic beverages.
to SOBER UP : When the body has metabolized all alcohol and you are feeling normal again.
HANGOVER : The after effects of too much alcohol. These may include headache, dehydration, nausea & fatigue.
to be DEAD DRUNK / WAISTED / SLOSHED / PICKLED : Severely impaired by too much alcohol.
BINGE DRINKING : Consuming a dangerous amount of alcohol at one occasion.
they DRINK THEIR PROBLEMS AWAY / they DROWN THEIR SORROWS : The attempt to relieve or forget problems through the use of alcohol.
to BET A DRINK : A challenge where there winner receives a drink from losing person. Example of a challenge:
JOHN: Your team is awful! I’ll bet they can’t even score a goal during the first half of the game!
STEVE: You’re wrong! My team is awesome!
JOHN: Ok, you’re on! What should we bet?
STEVE: I’ll bet you a pint of beer!
JOHN: You’re on! If your terrible team makes a goal in the first half of the game- then I’ll buy you a beer.
STEVE: Well, take your wallet out of your pocket because they just scored- and I’m thirsty!
August 09, 2011 12:36 PM PDT
M - Today we're learning something about the expression “SHUT UP !”
M- Hi Cindy!
C- Shut up!
M- I beg your pardon?
C- Shut up!
M- Well, that’s not very nice, Cindy!
C- I’m just kidding with you, Marta! ‘’Shut up’’ is actually the topic of today’s podcast!
M- Oh, thank goodness! For a second there, I thought you were telling me to shut up! And I thought to myself- ‘’but I haven’t even spoken a single word yet!’’
C - No, I would never tell you to shut up, that would be a very RUDE thing to say. ‘’Shut up’’ is a very ABRUPT and IMPOLITE way to say be quiet, stop talking or stop making noise!
M- So if telling someone to ‘’shut up’’ is not polite, why do we even need to talk about it?
C- Because last week I was away on a trip and our first day something happened that got me thinking about the phrase ‘’shut up’’ and all the ways it is used nowadays. Interestingly enough a couple of them are not rude at all.
M- So then I guess that would depend on many things? Like the context in which it’s said? Or the tone of voice used? For example: used in anger during an argument ...or just joking around with friends?
C- Exactly! And there’s even a third way of using ‘’shut up’’. It’s to convey surprise or disbelief.
M- OK, before we get into all three uses for ‘’shut up’’, let’s back up...where did you go last week?
M- Lucky you! So what happened on your trip? Did you tell someone to shut up?
C- Oh, I came very close, but I thought twice and realized it wasn’t worth it. Not only, but I felt there was a greater lesson to be learned from it- that even our individual actions affect all of those around us.
M- What happened?
C- It was funny, really. I was in my hotel, getting ready to go out and the windows were open to the street below. All of a sudden I heard a group of people talking. Loudly. At the end of the street.
M- You could hear them all the way from the end of the street?
C- The end. That’s how LOUD they were! Then the CHATTER started to grow and come closer. I thought it was a tour group! And when the noise and COMMOTION had stopped directly under my window I realized it was just 4 Americans!
M- Only four people?
C- Only four - two men & two women making enough noise for a tour group! The entire street (now, imagine a nice, quiet residential area of Paris filled with high rise apartments- windows open to the sun) they had all been witness to this. Oh Marta! They were so loud! Voices like loudspeakers RICOCHETING off the cement buildings and filling the street!
M- That’s really funny!
C- It wasn’t funny worth a darn at the time! Ok, so anyways, they didn’t enter the hotel but decided to take pictures of each other and remained YAPPING at full volume under my bathroom window!
M- How annoying?!
C- Awful! And I haven’t gotten to the best part yet!
M- What’s that?
C- The man who inspired this whole idea for a podcast!
M- Oh no!
C- As the chaos rumbled below my window and they passed the camera between each other for photos, one of the women SPOKE UP and said ‘’Now y’all I want a photo of the three of you!” (They were Southerners, hence the southern accent)
M- Oh, okay. I was wondering why you switched voices?
C- There are regional differences in American accents. I have to make it authentic! So the head-loud talker, the alpha male, the king of the jungle- I’ll call him ‘’Stan’’. Stan pipes up and responds with ‘’Hurry up!’’ And she says ‘’Oh, just one more, picture of the three y’all!’’ Stan’s response: ‘’Hurry up! Cause’ I gotta pee!’’
C- Yes. He did. Full volume. Stan the Man had just informed an entire residential street in the 16th arrondissement of the status of his bladder. Yes. He did. Thank you, Stan the Man.
M- Oh my goodness!
C- I was astounded. Does that information really need to be broadcast at full volume?
M - No.
C - The group then disbursed & entered the building and I heard one of the women (she was loud too) speaking with the concierge about the lovely time they had had in Paris and how sad they were now that it was over.
M- And I bet you were sad to see them go?
C- Marta, our room was upstairs- on the second floor, and their voices shot straight up the stairwell and into our locked room!
M- That's the power of Stan!
C- You know it was really a wake-up call for me.
M- What do you mean? A WAKE-UP CALL ?
C- I mean, I realized that it’s good to shut up once in a while! I mean, if Stan and his crew had shut up, then they wouldn't have annoyed a whole street plus the hotel patrons. And it was good for me to HOLD MY TONGUE and not YELL shut up out the window. Hard as it was, had I yelled at them, I would have ruined the last day of their trip...
M- You’re right...
C- ...and the first day of my trip. I would have stressed out the poor concierge. Not to mention, the Parisians would have looked at us like a bunch of football hooligans hurling insults at each other.
M- It’s all connected, isn’t it?
C- Circle of life. So I got to thinking while I was putting on my make-up. I thought about the words ‘’shut up’’ and the power they yield.
M- It’s true, you can really hurt someone with ‘’shut up’’. Shall we make an example of the most common way it is used?
C- Good idea. Do you want TO BE THE BAD GUY or should I?
M- You can do it.
C- Okay, Marta, start by RAMBLING ON ABOUT something you're crazy about.
M- Let me think... something like a TV show ...ok, got it, 24 ! The show starring Keifer Sutherland. It's all about this amazing character named Jack Bauer, fighting terrorism in any possible and impossible way and the cool thing about it is that events occur in real time, every episode is a race against the clock and every season is made up of...
C- Marta, just shut up !!!
M- Wow, that stings.
C- Marta, I’m so sorry, girl, you know I love you . I would never tell you to shut up intentionally. That’s very rude.
M- It’s like a mental slap in the face!
C- I know it’s awful. What’s another way we can use ‘’shut up’’?
M- How about jokingly? With friends for example?
C- Great. Go.
M- Cindy, remember that time you invited us all to see that band playing in the OUTSKIRTS OF TOWN ?
C- Oh, yeah, that was pretty bad, wasn't it ?
M- Pretty bad?! I felt like we were at the circus, it was an absolute freak show!
C- oh, shut up! You had a good time, didn't you?
M- Good time?! With that drunk old man that kept inviting me to dance??
C- Shut up! He was an admirer ! You should be flattered!
M - Yeah, sure! He must be one of our listeners now!
C - Oh, yeah, he is, because I slipped him your phone number on the way out.
M – Oh my.... ok, let's drop it. But there's yet another way to use “shut up”, isn't there?
C - Yeah and this one is more recent.
M- And it’s used mostly by young people to convey surprise or disbelief.
C- Uh huh, let’s see, how could we use it? I know, for example if I were to say ‘’Marta, Jon Bon Jovi is coming in concert next week...
M- SHUT UP !?
C-...and I scored us front row tickets...
M- SHUT UP!!!!!
C- ...and that, listeners, is how you use ‘’shut up’’ to convey surprise or disbelief. Marta...wake up, dear..???
M- I'm back. Thanks for listening everyone and don't forget to read the transcript !
C- And come visit us on iTunes, podomatic.com, martainnocenti.com, facebook and twitter.
M - Bye bye!
Vocabulary about noise and being annoying :
TO BE LOUD / TO SPEAK UP / TO SPEAK AT FULL VOLUME
CHATTER : Talking. Example: ‘’The room was filled with noisy students. The sound of loud chatter echoed down the halls of the school.’’
COMMOTION: Chaos or noise. Example: ‘’During the football game, there was a loud commotion coming from a large group of reckless fans in the top row of seats.’’
RICOCHETING: To bounce back with force. Example: Bullets can ricochet off buildings. Balls can ricochet off the floor.
YAPPING: Senseless or annoying chatter, noise or talking. Example: ‘’My sister owns an annoying little dog. He’s always yapping at me when I go to visit her! I can’t stand him!’’
TO YELL: To speak very loudly sometimes used in anger, but also just to be heard from a long distance. Example: ‘’My brothers and I were playing in the garden and our mother yelled for us to come inside and eat lunch. ‘’ or ‘’My father was very angry with my brother and yelled at him for scratching his car.’’
TO HOLD ONE'S TONGUE : To stop yourself from speaking. Example: ‘’I don’t like my sister’s boyfriend, but I hold my tongue and keep my mouth shut because I know she really likes him.’’
RUDE, ABRUPT, IMPOLITE: without manners, disrespectful, rough, too direct.
TO ‘’BE THE BAD GUY’’ : To play the role of a ‘’bad’’ person, or carry out a difficult task. Example: The office supervisor did not have the courage to fire his employee, so the assistant supervisor had to ‘’be the bad guy’’ and do it.
RAMBLING ON ABOUT ...: To talk continuously, seemingly never ending. Example: ‘’My co-worker is always rambling on about how much money he makes! I wish he would just shut up sometimes!’’
THE OUTSKIRTS OF TOWN : Outside of the city center. On the edge of town. Example: ‘’My parents have a nice house on the outskirts of town. It’s in the countryside where it’s quiet and peaceful.
WAKE UP CALL : Two definitions for ‘’wake up call’’: 1.) In the morning, for example in a hotel, the concierge can make a ‘’wake up call’’ a telephone call to your room at a specified time so that you are sure to awake. 2.) When something ‘’awakens’’ you to a new way of thinking that you were previously oblivious to. Example: My high blood pressure was a ‘’wake up call’’ for me to start taking care of myself. Now I eat a healthful diet of fruits and vegetables and I exercise every day.’’
July 29, 2011 05:38 AM PDT
M - This episode is about : asking and giving DIRECTIONS!
C - Ok, we know what you're thinking, we're in the 21st century and you all have some sort of GPS device in your cars and cell phones nowadays.
M - Yes, and to make the most of it you'd better set your GPS in English !
C - Have you set yours, Marta?
M - Sure!
C - And what does it sound like?
M - ….in two point five miles enter roundabout then take second exit !
C - That's excellent!
M - So why are we dealing with this topic?
C - Because one of our listeners made a request.
M - Yeah, thanks to Sergio Leon for all of his kind comments and suggestions!
C - Well, we thought it over and decided the topic could be worth an episode if we went beyond the “turn left, turn right, go straight ahead”-stuff which I'm pretty sure most of our listeners are already familiar with.
M - You know, Cindy, when I travel around the States sometimes asking for directions is the quickest way to break the ice with local people and start a conversation.
C - And practice the language!
M - In my experience as far as your approach is polite and friendly Americans are always willing to help and they're also curious to know about you, so the conversation is very likely to continue for a few pleasant and interesting minutes.
C - No map or GPS can compare to talking with local people when you're visiting a country. You miss out on all that local “flavor”, something you can't get from a GPS.
M - Ok, then. So we need to make sure that our listeners will be able to handle this kind of conversation. Let's give them some hints.
C - For example, we need to arrange for tonight, Marta. You’re meeting us later on for dinner, right?
M - Sure, the girls and I are looking forward to it!
C - You guys know how to get there?
M - Uhm..no, I don’t think so. It’s the new restaurant at the other end of town, right?
C - Yeah, right. That’s the one. You guys need directions?
M - Yeah... thanks. That would be helpful. I don’t want to get lost.
C - Ok, got a pen?
M - Yes, I’m ready, go ahead.
C - Ok, well, go on down to Main St and hang a left. Then hang a right at the second church past the park. Just keep going straight, oh wait...or do you need to hang another right?? No..no...I was right the first time- go straight. And then go on down to the first light until you see a ....
M - Hold on Cindy....that makes no sense at all to me. You’re going to need to back up, start over and speak English!
C - I was speaking English!
M - If you give directions like that, then no one will ever get anywhere!
C - I’m sorry, Marta. It’s just that your English is so good, I forget that you’re not American like me! Many times I speak too fast and with too much slang. Let’s start over.
M - Good idea! And first off: why did you refer to us as ‘’guys’’ when my friends and I are all women?
C - Oh! You’re right! I didn’t mean ‘’guys’’ as if to say you’re all men. When speaking casually to friends you can refer to a group as ‘’guys’’. But it’s only to be used amongst close friends or immediate family that you are very familiar with- don’t use it if you are referring to your Grandparents or Professors, all the important people that you would normally treat with respect.
M - Ok, that’s clear. So you weren’t calling us men.
C - No, not at all, you and all your friends are very beautiful and no one would ever mistake any one of you for a man!
M - OK,thank you. Well, I’ve got my pen- let’s start over: “Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to Riccardo’s Restaurant? It’s near the highway. And please speak slowly.’’
C - Sure, do you know where Main Street is?
M - Yes. I do.
C - Okay. Start from the Movie Theater on Main Street and go straight heading West, until you reach the bank.
M - Okay got it.
C - Then, at the bank, hang a left onto....
M - Wait a minute! What does that mean? To ‘’hang a left’’?! I mean, I can hang my laundry, I can hang a sign, I can even hang up the phone, but ... ‘’hang a left’’ ?
C - Sorry, to ‘’hang a left’’ or ‘’hang a right’’ means to turn.
M - Oh, that’s clear! So I should turn left onto what street??
C - Turn left onto State Street.
M - Got it. Okay.
C - Drive past that ballpark named ‘’Williams Park’’ and straight ahead on your left, there will be a big white church.
M - Big white church on left. Got it.
C - Drive past the big church. And, everyone, when giving directions it’s good to give people some landmarks, like stores or buildings, so they will know that they are in the right neighborhood. Okay, as soon as you pass the big church, look for Chestnut Street on your right. Turn right onto Chestnut Street and follow it to the end. There’s a light at the end...
M - You mean a traffic light? or some may call it a stoplight?
C - You’re right again, sorry- it’s a stoplight or a traffic light. Turn right at that stoplight and Riccardo’s is just ahead on the left. You can’t miss it. It’s the big red building.
M - Great! Now that makes sense! Listeners, don’t feel embarrassed about asking people to speak slowly when giving directions. Be sure to have a pen and paper ready.
C - And you could even ask them to write it down for you. Because I know, speaking from personal experience, there are some parts of the United States where a regional accent can be a roadblock to comprehension. If you’re not sure, ask them to write it down.
M - Well, I guess now you're ready to be the ones giving directions!
C - And Marta..reservations are at 8:30.
M- Ok! Thank you Cindy, and now that you’ve explained yourself in proper English- I know that I’ll be there on time!
C- Touché! Fair Enough! Thanks for listening everyone! See you later, Marta!
M - Yeah, and listeners, remember you can find us on podomatic.com, on iTunes, on martainnocenti.com, on facebook and on twitter. See you very soon, bye!
TO MISS OUT ON : to lose the opportunity to …
YOU GUYS : used in addressing two or more people during very casual, informal conversation. Do not use with people of importance
to HANG A LEFT / A RIGHT : to turn left /right
a LIGHT = a traffic light, a stoplight
to be a ROADBLOCK to : a barrier, a difficulty, an obstacle
July 19, 2011 08:14 AM PDT
M - So, today we’re going to learn something about... BRITISH English vs. American English!
C - Wow, we picked a very useful topic today, if you travel around the globe you will have a much easier time if you understand both British and American accents.
M - So true!!
C - And in a little while we are going to introduce a special guest here with us today , she’s going to help us in understanding the difference between British and American English.
M - Just to give you an idea of what this difference is like, I'll quote George Bernard Shaw who once said that the USA and The UK are two countries divided by a common language. Also Oscar Wilde wrote something similar, he wrote: We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, the language!
C - I couldn't agree more! You don't even have to travel to hear the differences! Just compare the newscasters on BBC with the ones from CNN and you will immediately notice how different the accents are!
M - Yeah, or watch a movie starring Hugh Grant and a movie starring Jeff Bridges.
C - Or compare an interview with Angelina Jolie to an interview with Keira Knightley...
M - You know, Cindy, I was taught British English at school and I also spent a couple of summers in England when I was a teenager. So, had I met you back then your accent would have been very difficult for me!
C - That's funny because your accent is American now! You jumped the pond!
M - And it's not really only about pronunciation, there are differences of spelling, grammar, vocabulary, idioms, even how you write dates or punctuation.
C - Sometimes it’s confusing- even for me, a native English speaker! Listeners, we really recommend that you read the transcript of this episode, because you will find a precious list of the main differences between American and British English.
M - And now let's introduce our English friend, Emanuela! Hello!
E - Hello!
C - Thank you very much for joining us today! Could you tell our listeners something about yourself?
E - I'm from London, I live in Milan and I'm married to a Scotsman. We have two children. I'm an English teacher and translator, as well as an art reviewer in my spare time.
C - Well, you can tell she wasn't raised in Connecticut like me, right?!
M - Yes! It's just great having you both here, we can compare Cindy's American words with the ones Emanuela uses in the UK.
C - Great idea, everyone, pay attention, listen carefully and try to pick out as many differences as you can! Then, check them out in the transcript. Ok?
M - Ok, then. Ready, steady, go!
C - In America we live in apartments.
E - In England we live in flats.
C - Our houses have backyards.
E - Our houses have gardens.
C - When we are on the first floor we take the elevator to get on the second floor.
E - While we take the lift to get from the ground floor up to the first floor.
C - Our pants are in a closet.
E - Our trousers are in a wardrobe, and if you say pants in England that means underwear.
C - We eat cookies at snack time and we have appetizers before dinner.
E - We eat biscuits and we have starters.
C - The Americans are crazy about French fries!
E - In the UK we have chips. We have fish & chips quite often too!
C - Yum! Fish & chips are fantastic! It’s also an economical meal to purchase if you are touring the UK on a budget! Now where were we? Oh yes...In New York City we walk on the sidewalk and we park our car in parking lots.
E - In London we walk on the pavement and we park in car parks.
C - We take the subway.
E - We take the underground and in London we call it the Tube.
C - We buy either a one way ticket or a round trip ticket.
E - We buy either a single ticket or a return ticket.
C - In America, we drive on the interstate or the highway to go on vacation.
E - We drive on the motorway to go on holiday.
C - A 7 year old kid attends the second grade of elementary school.
E - In the UK that child would attend the third year of primary school.
M - Wow! And we could go on for hours!!
C - Yes, again, listeners, don't miss the transcript of this episode, you'll find a detailed list of differences worth reading.
M - And watch out because even the same word could have different meaning according to which side of the Atlantic ocean you're swimming in. For instance “MAD”.
C - Mad usually means angry in America, for example : “I didn't do my math homework, and my teacher was mad at me.” How about to be mad in the UK?
E - It means to be insane, out of mind, you would say to be crazy.
M - And in fact compare these two songs: “I'm crazy for you”
C - Madonna, American.
M - And “I'm mad about you, I'm mad about you.”
E - Sting, British.
M - That's it! What else? In Britain you don't use slang contractions like gonna, wanna, oughta...
E - You're right, we usually say I'm going to , I want to, I ought to...
C - Yes, and let's talk about possession. We usually ask: “Do you have this or that?” For example: Do you have a pencil?
E - While we ask : “Have you got this or that?” For example: Have you got a pencil?
C - And in writing British English you can still find the influence of French.
M - How do you spell the words color and center ?
E - C o l o u r and centre with final r e.
C - While I spell them c o l o r (without the letter “u”) and center with a final e r.
M - Even the spelling of some irregular past participles can change, what about “to learn”?
E - It's learnt, with a final T.
C - In America it can be both learnt and learned as if it was regular.
M - Now let's compare the pronunciation of a few words.
C - Ok. How does “hand” sound in British?
E - Hand.
C - Butter?
E - Butter.
C - Anybody ?
E - Anybody.
C – Garage?
E - Garage.
C – Vitamin?
E - Vitamin.
M - Wow! I think we'd need other 10 episodes on this subject, but I hope that this general overview has given our listeners at least an idea of what we're talking about.
C - Emanuela, would you like to make any further suggestion to our English learners?
E - Well, as I usually say to all of my students: practice makes perfect. And as long as you have a DVD player or you have the chance to read a newspaper or a magazine in English then just do it, whenever you can, it doesn't matter if you don't actually live there. And in my opinion listening to music is one of the best ways to learn or improve the language.
M - Thank you so much for your help. It's been awesome talking with you.
E - Thank you, girls, my pleasure.
C - Come back any time and thanks again! Bye bye
E - Bye!
C - Hey, Marta? How are you, dear? Mixed up? Confused? Lost in the middle of the Atlantic ocean?
M - Well, I'm fine, I'm happy I had a chance to review my British English knowledge, even though I will never be able to get rid of the American accent anyways.
C - Is it my fault? Just kidding. By the way, you used an expression that our listeners may not know: “TO GET RID OF something’’.
M - Ok, let's explain it.
C - It means to throw something away, to be eventually free of something that was bothering you. Like for example: “her boyfriend was a real slob, I'm so happy to hear she got rid of him”.
M - Yeah, of course I didn't mean that my American accent bothers me, I meant that I've been speaking American English for so many years now that it's really hard to go back to the British English I was taught as school.
C - Yes, but as long as you and our listeners can understand both accents that's ok.
M - Yes, it sure helps when traveling abroad. Ok, that's all folks! Now it's time for you to read the transcript!
C - Thanks for listening and come visit us on Podomatic.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter, on martainnocenti.com, and on iTunes.
M - We are already working on new episodes. Stay tuned!
C - Bye Bye!
BRITISH ENGLISH vs. AMERICAN ENGLISH
UK WORDS ---> USA WORDS
flat ---> apartment ;
toilet ---> restroom ;
biscuit ---> cookie ;
wardrobe ---> closet ;
lift ---> elevator ;
starter ---> appetizer ;
full stop ---> period ;
garden ---> yard ;
motorway ---> highway, interstate ;
holiday ---> vacation ;
pavement ---> sidewalk ;
queue ---> line ;
underground ---> subway ;
rubbish ---> garbage ;
car park ---> parking lot ;
petrol ---> gasoline ;
chips ---> French fries ;
sweets ---> candy ;
tap ---> faucet ;
timetable ---> schedule ;
booking ---> reservation ;
single ticket / return ticket ---> one way ticket / round trip ticket ;
3rd year of primary school ---> 2nd grade of elementary school ;
pants ---> underwear ;
trousers ---> pants ;
trainers ---> sneakers ;
handbag ---> purse ;
headmaster ---> principal ;
autumn ---> fall ;
rubber ---> eraser ;
lorry ---> truck ;
aeroplane ---> airplane
shop ---> store
angry ---> mad
mad ---> crazy
ground floor ---> first floor ;
first floor ---> second floor ;
UK POSSESSION ---> USA POSSESSION :
Have you got ...? ---> Do you have...? ;
UK SPELLING ---> USA SPELLING :
centre ---> center ;
dialogue ---> dialog ;
cheque ---> check ;
travelling ---> traveling ;
fulfil ---> fulfill ;
colour ---> color ;
analyse, paralyse, catalyse... ---> analyze, paralyze, catalyze... ;
learnt, dreamt, smelt... ---> learnt/learned, dreamt/dreamed, smelt/smelled... ;
metre/meter, kilogramme/kilogram... ---> meter, kilogram... ;
UK ---> USA
going to, want to, ought to... ---> gonna, wanna, oughta...
** if you want to contact Emanuela about art reviews and translations : firstname.lastname@example.org **
July 08, 2011 02:15 AM PDT
M - today we’re talking about... LIKES AND DISLIKES !
C - There are so many different ways to express your likes and dislikes in English! Marta, for example, tell us something that you like.
M - I like cats, well actually I LOVE cats, I ADORE kittens and I AM NUTS ABOUT big cats, like tigers, lions, leopards, jaguars, cougars...
C - Ok, ok, we got it, you made it clear...darling.
M - I'm sorry, it's just that cats DRIVE ME CRAZY and I can't stop talking about 'em.
C - I know, you're ADDICTED TO cats. And what do you like doing?
M - I ENJOY traveling and going to concerts. The best thing for me is a special place. A place where I can enjoy my vacation and see a great concert at the same time!
C - That reminds me of your trip to Florida and the Bon Jovi concert in Tampa Bay! Or your trip to Madrid to see the Train concert. What a great life you have!
M - Yep! Bon Jovi and Train are my FAVORITE bands! I'm CRAZY ABOUT them!
C - You're right, they are amazing. Ok, so far we’ve used verbs and expressions like to adore, to be nuts about, to be crazy about, to enjoy, to be addicted to.., your favorite... etc. Now let's talk about dislikes instead.
M - I CAN'T BEAR the cold, I CAN'T PUT UP WITH people who are always late.
C - Oh, I hate that.
M - I'm FED UP WITH T.V. commercials and I HATE bugs.
C - I'm with you on the bug thing. Wow, it seems that you know quite well what ANNOYS you! Can you think of any other examples?
M - (singing) I CAN'T STAND the rain against my window...
C - Beautiful, right!
M - (singing) I'm SICK and TIRED of always being sick and tired...
C - That's great. Songs are always a precious help in remembering useful expressions!
M - I totally agree with you.
C - Ok, then, in order to express your dislikes you can use : I can't stand, I can't bear, I can't put up with... , I'm fed up with..., I'm sick of.. I'm tired of... it annoys me...
M - Now we have a very special guest, talking about her likes and dislikes. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Brianna!
Brianna: Hey everybody, I’m Bri and I’m from Michigan. Ok, three things I like. I like to play soccer. It's definitely my favorite sport. I love scoring a goal for my team. I also like my phone, I don’t think I could live without it! I would talk on it all day if I could. Another thing I like to do is travel. It’s so nice to be able to get away. I went to Italy a couple of years ago, and it was an absolutely amazing experience! Now, three things I don’t like. I definitely do not like spiders. I am scared to death of them! I’m not a big fan of homework, either. I would much rather be outside, especially when it’s nice out! I also can’t stand when my parents are over controlling! It’s so annoying. I’m a teenager, give me a break ! Well, anyway, that's about it. It's been nice joining you guys in this episode of my American friend. See ya!
C - Thank you Brianna!! It was nice to listen to a teenager from Michigan. And folks, that is another regional American accent to familiarize yourself with!
M - Thanks a lot, my dear Bri. Now Cindy, it's your turn. Tell us something you like and something you don't.
C – Something I like...well, I adore olives. I love flowers-any kind. I’m happiest when I'm being creative and constructive. I enjoy cooking any kind of food, especially if it’s not American. I like a challenge! That’s it. I’m a pretty simple gal !
And you want to know my dislikes? Well, I can’t stand people who talk too much, specifically those without anything useful to say. You know the ones that just want to hear the sound of their own voice? And currently, my neighbor’s dog is driving me up the wall! I’m starting to think my neighbor’s dog just likes to hear the sound of his own bark!
M - Ok, cool. Now we have another guest! I'm really happy about it, her name is Nicki and she's from Los Angeles, California!
C - Pay attention everyone because we’re going to listen to another regional accent! Awesome!
M - Yes, and what is more, by telling us what she likes and what she doesn't like she will also give us some hints on everyday life in Los Angeles. Here she is !
Nicki : "Hello everybody, my name's Nicki Tedesco and I live in Los Angeles, Ca.
I’m a bass player/singer/songwriter and have a mixing and mastering studio called The Strands L.A.,along with Alex Guadagnoli. We also create music for movies and TV and you can check out our website at: thestrands.net or nickitedesco.com
Ok, so 3 things I like or love... I love to play the bass, when the bass is in the pocket with the drums and you're rocking and headbanging, it’s just the best thing in life. I also teach rock band performance, vocals and bass at a music school, and I really like working with people and making their music come to life.
I also love writing songs and lyrics and creating harmonies, it’s so nice to sing with someone in perfect harmony, it’s almost, in a weird way, like chanting.
Hiking: there’s this place called Runyon Canyon that overlooks all of Hollywood. It’s amazing, and it’s a dog park. And it’s funny because I call this trail: the trail of the “the beautiful people”. It’s like they're all there! Everyone's a model or an actress and they all have their cell phones, so it’s a little on the funny side, 'cause they're exercising and talking on the phone, it's kind of weird.
Ok, so 3 things I don’t like: hopefully I’m not whining and these are actually useful!
So, strict Drinking and Driving laws! Some other states like Nevada, and Texas are not so strict, but in California, you cannot drink and walk basically. I mean, if I decide to be responsible and go out drinking but I want to ride my bicycle home, so that I don’t drink and drive…in the law’s eyes, it’s the same as driving a car, they can still give you a DUI (Driving Under the Influence, of alcohol) and arrest you. I mean, could you see me all up in my mini skirt and heels getting up on a bike. It’s just not worth it. Just get a cab, or a designated driver.
Some things that cost too much in Los Angeles, like parking! You might pay $15 to $20 to park on a weekend night in Hollywood. It's insane! Also, cell phone charges: if someone calls you, it takes away your minutes, which means you pay for the call…and so does the person making the call to you. And taxes, I hate taxes of course…but there is one cool thing that shows the cities value of art and culture: there's the “Creative Activities” Exemption and this is for creative artists whose worldwide gross income is less than $300,000. It’s a really cool perk for small businesses.
And finally I don't particularly like it when friends come over and get too drunk and “accidentally” bang my guitars against the furniture. I mean, come on guys, put the axe down!!!
Thanks guys, it's been fun chatting, bye!
C - That was absolutely fascinating!
M - Thank you very much, Nicki, it was great listening to your voice!
C - I love it when we have guests here at my American friend!
M - So do I! Let me add one little thing for our listeners.
C - What is that?
M - You may have heard both “I like playing tennis” and “I like to play tennis”, so again the same question 'gerund or infinitive' of our episode #7. Hey, don't worry, it can be both. In Britain they tend to use the gerund most of the time, while in America the infinitive is more common.
C - This is great advice.
M - And, even if it's not a strict rule in everyday conversation, you can consider: I like playing tennis (when you state a general fact) and 'I like to play tennis with you, why don't we play again next week?' (stating something more specific).
C - Another good example could be: I hate interrupting my parents when they're talking. Versus : I hate to interrupt you, but we need to get going.
M - All right, that's all for now. Right?
C - Right! Listeners, if you want to let us know about your likes and dislikes contact us on Facebook, Twitter, Podomatic.com, martainnocenti.com or iTunes.
M - Let me thank a few of you : Giada, Tania, Tatsuro, Luiz Carlos and Somaia.
C - And a big thanks to all those who clicked the “make a request” button on our Podomatic page and thank you so much for all the nice reviews you’ve posted about our podcast on iTunes USA, Saudi Arabia and Japan.
M - We'll be back very soon with new episodes!
C - Bye-bye!
Let's sum up :
I love / I enjoy playing soccer.
I'm crazy about her. I'm crazy about dancing.
….. is my favorite film, singer, etc.
…...smells, tastes, feels, looks, sounds good.
He drives me crazy.
I am nuts about ….
it's awesome , amazing , ridiculous !
I'm addicted to ...
British English : *I fancy you. I fancy reading. *I'm keen on him. I'm keen on hiking. *I'm fond of her. I'm fond of cycling.
I can't stand … I can't bear ...
I can't put up with … I’m fed up with ….
I’m sick of …. I’m tired of …...
…. really bugs me.
…. makes me mad / angry.
… annoys me.
… doesn't really appeal to me
I'm not a big fan of …
I'm not that bothered about …
I'm not really into …
… is driving me up the wall !
You may also use: ''I'm feeling/not feeling this...whatever''.
Example: I'm really feeling this music! What band is it?
or ''I'm not feeling this band! They're awful, we're gone. We're out of here!''
July 01, 2011 12:16 AM PDT
M - So, this time we're talking about … the AMERICAN DREAM !
C - Marta, since you are not American, I'm curious to know your perception of the American dream.
M - I've always thought of it as the right to aspire and to pursue what makes you feel happy in life, the freedom to build up your future brick by brick through hard work and determination. Having the opportunity to somehow feel successful in your life. But why don't you give us some hints about the American dream?
C - Well, since the very beginning, when the first settlers came to the New World the USA was founded on values and ideals, like democracy, equality, justice and liberty. Of course sometimes there is a great distance from the ideals and the actual reality, I mean, everyday life is still harder for the poorest part of the population even in a country based on the right of equality.
M - Those values still have deep roots in the American culture. There is this general feeling that you should be given a chance to pave your way, that your future could depend on your individual choices and not only on your social class, race or family.
C - And this is what the Declaration of Independence stated in fact, that all men are created equal and that they have inalienable rights, including Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
M - The ideal was to create a country where everyone could express their talents, where everyone could get the merit for their work and perseverance.
C - Yes, and again, let me point out that it's just a promise of the possibility of prosperity and success, that doesn't mean that every single person achieves it, not to mention nowadays with this difficult economic crisis we’re facing worldwide.
M - Yeah, now those that believed the American Dream to be only about getting money, goods, fame and fortune, must be thinking that the dream has turned into a nightmare!
C - Yeah, while the idea of the so called American Dream is far from being only materialistic, it's about improving your life and the society you live in. This is what James Adams wrote in 1931: “The American Dream is the dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. (...) A dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”
M - And let me add that you can call it American Dream or not, but it was the main reason for millions of people to move to the USA along the centuries. They came in search of a free, happy and richer life.
C - All those immigrants leaving their families and taking the risk to cross the ocean, came to the New World to seek justice, religious freedom and economic opportunity. It’s certainly a part of my family’s history.
M - And all those immigrants were welcomed by The Statue of Liberty!
C - The Statue of Liberty is a real landmark. Marta, I know you wrote a song about her.
M - Yes, the title is 'Miss Liberty'.
C - May we listen to it?
M - Sure, at the end of this episode! Now, there is something else really worth mentioning about the Statue, the sonnet entitled “The new colossus”
C - You're right, it was written by Emma Lazarus in 1883 and when visiting the Statue you can read this sonnet engraved on a bronze plaque. The most famous sentence is “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..”
M - Hey listeners, you can read the whole sonnet in the transcript of this episode, don't miss it !
C - Marta, how about giving our listeners some vocabulary about dreams and ambitions?
M - Ok, how do you define the desired, sought-after object?
C - It's your aim, your goal, your target.
M - And what about the verbs we use in this kind of context ?
C - To pursue your dream, to make your dreams come true, to achieve your goal, to fulfill your ambitions, to accomplish...
M - Any idioms about ambitions and dreams?
C - Oh, yeah. “The sky's the limit!” meaning there is no limit to your possibility of success, so dream big! For example, Marta, how many downloads do you think that our podcast will get next month?
M - Who knows? The sky's the limit!
C - You got it! An idiom about effort and hard work in order to reach your target is : “blood, sweat and tears”. So, Marta, when we hit #5 on The Podomatic language courses chart....
M - it was not due to luck, it was blood, sweat and tears !
C - Well... I don’t think either one of us actually shed blood during the making of this podcast... Maybe some sweat though....and a few tears of joy when we hit #5!....
M - ....And let us not forget the over 10,000 listener downloads from around the world! Thank you everyone! It’s been a lot of work, but we’ve had a lot of fun too.
C - Is this episode almost over?
M - Yes, almost. I'd love to quote a movie before we go because I think it's a good example of what the American Dream is like in the 21st century.
C - Which one?
M - “The Pursuit of Happyness” by Gabriele Muccino.
C - Is that the film starring Will Smith and his son?
M - Yes, and this is the quote I chose. The scene is a father (Will Smith) talking to his child : “You got a dream... You gotta protect it. People can't do somethin' themselves, they wanna tell you you can't do it. If you want somethin', go get it. Period.”
C - Go get it, listeners! And good luck!
M - Thanks for listening, we await your comments, questions and suggestions.
C - Come visit us on facebook, podomatic.com, martainnocenti.com and iTunes- and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter. And remember to always read the transcripts!
M - And now...
C - ...your beautiful song about The Statue of Liberty, right?
M - Yes, enjoy! See you guys very soon!
C - Bye bye!
'THE NEW COLOSSUS' (sonnet by Emma Lazarus, 1883)
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, *
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name *
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand *
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, *
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" *
Song: “MISS LIBERTY”, written and performed by Marta Innocenti.
For any additional information visit www.martainnocenti.com , or the acoustic duo website www.12n.biz
Here I am *
Walking down the streets *
Leaving my footprints *
On the sidewalks *
In New York *
I’m part of a multiethnic place *
In the dawn of century 2K *
the land of opportunities… it must be, it must be! *
I crossed the ocean and now I look inside *
Miss Liberty’s eyes *
She holds up the torch and she lights up the fear that I’m *
Trying to hide *
Got my dreams in my pocket, Miss Liberty knows it *
I take my chance *
from Miss Liberty’s hands *
Here I am *
Blinded by the lights *
USA skyline *
On the top floor *
Of New York *
I’m part of the army of the brave *
And I know that I am here to stay *
the land of opportunities…. believe me, believe me! *
I crossed the ocean and now I look inside *
Miss Liberty’s eyes *
She holds up the torch and she lights up the fear that I’m *
Trying to hide *
Got my dreams in my pocket, Miss Liberty knows it *
I take my chance *
from Miss Liberty’s hands *
Here I am, here I am, October 12th...
Welcome in New York ! *
June 23, 2011 04:08 AM PDT
M - This episode is going to be about... ADVICE and SUGGESTIONS!
C - Marta, why do we have to talk about advice and suggestions? I suggest you explain why?
M - I know, I know, you, native speakers kinda take it for granted, but to us learners it's not easy. We need to know how to build the sentence according to the verb we use and we need to be aware of the shades of meaning that each verb and expression conveys.
C - You're right, our listeners could be confused about how and when to use the verbs to SUGGEST, to RECOMMEND or to ADVISE, just to mention the most common ones.
M - Yeah, for instance I always have this sort of doubt : what do I have to use? 'Gerund or infinitive?' this is the question. It's not 'to be or not to be?', my dear friend William Shakespeare, you SHOULD rewrite it, William, trust me, it OUGHTA be 'Gerund or infinitive?!'.
C - True! But let me say that in addressing Sir William Shakespeare, Marta, you NEED TO be more formal and polite.
M - Was there anything wrong with what I said ?
C - It was grammatically correct, you used “should” and “oughta” -that is a slang word, a contraction of ought to- , but when speaking with someone like William Shakespeare YOU'D BETTER say something like this instead: “With all due respect, Sir, if I were in your position, I would change that sentence”. Marta, try that sentence again.
M - All right, all right. ‘’With all due respect, Sir, if I were in your position, I would change that sentence’’. How was that?
C – Perfect, beautiful.
M – Okay, so far we have 'you should' 'you ought to' 'you need to' 'IF I WERE YOU, I WOULD...' and 'you'd better'- that is you had better.
C - Now let's talk about “to recommend” and “to suggest”.
M - First off, there is a difference of meaning, right?
C - To recommend means telling someone what you think the right thing to do is according to your experience or knowledge, while to suggest means to give an idea, to offer some further possibilities to a matter.
M - Ok, let's give our listeners a few examples to show them how to use these verbs. Cindy, could you recommend a good language podcast?
C - Marta, I’m so glad you asked! I recommend 'my American friend’!
M - I agree with you, I've been told it's a good one...
C - Ok, now listen to this: I recommend listening to 'my American friend'. Or: I recommend that you listen to 'my American friend'.
M - All right, so we can use this verb in three different ways. To recommend doing something, to recommend something, and to recommend that you do something. How about “to suggest “?
C - Same three structures. For example: I suggest that you listen to 'my American friend' while jogging in the park.
M - Mmm, good idea!
C - Or: I suggest listening to 'my American friend' while driving in your car on long journeys (we're going to prevent you from falling asleep!).
M - Yeah, definitely! May I also suggest our Facebook page to our listeners?
C - Good idea! And by the way, friends, do you know that we are on Twitter as well? Our account is mAf_podcast
M - Ok, let me try this one: I suggest that you follow us on Twitter. Was that correct?
C - Perfect, Marta, you're not just a beautiful face! You’re a quick learner too!
M - Thank you! So, now we know how to MAKE A RECOMMENDATION and how to MAKE A SUGGESTION.
C - Great. ok. now what about learning how to GIVE ADVICE or to GIVE A PIECE OF ADVICE to someone?
M - That's a good point, advice is uncountable, so if it's singular it's a piece of advice.
C - You usually give advice if you have some authority to do so, for example if you're a lawyer counseling your client, a mother talking to your children, or a doctor talking to a patient, and so on.
M - So advise has a stronger meaning compared to recommend.
C - Well, let's compare these sentences to make it clear. Let me think....ok, let's talk about the soundtrack of our podcast. What's the name of the band ?
M - 'The Fire'
C - Ok, if I say 'I suggest listening to The Fire' the meaning is: I like their music and I think you could enjoy listening to it as well.
M - So it's like : why don't you give them a try?
C - Yes, but it would sound different if I said : 'I went to a concert and I saw The Fire live, their performance was absolutely amazing, they blew me away, so I recommend that you check them out.' Which, by the way, is like totally true!
M - Ok, in this case you talk from experience.
C - Right. Third example : imagine a band manager. And this band manager wants to inspire his young rock n’ roll wannabes to play better and learn how to perform onstage.
He would say : 'I advise you to go see The Fire in concert.'
M - He's the manager, he's giving a piece of advice that could be important for the future success of the band.
C - Right. Or an English teacher, for example, could advise her students on the right English language podcast to listen to.
M - Oh, let me guess, would that be … 'my American friend'?
C – Excellent idea! So, you can advise someone on something and you can advise someone to do something. You can also advise against something.
M - But not against our podcast!!
C - Of course not. For example, my mother advised me against drinking and driving.
M - Right, and listeners in case you missed our episode #3 about driving, I recommend that you download it immediately.
C - And in case you didn't miss it, I suggest listening to it again, repetition is imperative when studying a foreign language.
M - And I advise you to always read the transcripts.
C - Now, Marta, we'd better take some time in order to thank a lot of people.
M - Definitely.
C - Our podcast has had more than 10.000 downloads in less than 4 months with no promotion at all, just word-of-mouth.
M - It's unbelievable!
C - And we want to send out a big thank you to all our treasured listeners around the world for your continued encouragement, positive energy and support. A very special thanks to those who have contacted us or commented on our episodes on podomatic.com, on our facebook page, on Twitter, on martainnocenti.com, and on iTunes.
M - I'm going to mention a few of you, and please forgive me if I mispronounce your names : thank you Reza, Alice, Muhammad, Sergio Leon, Sung Gyun, Parisa, Mehdi & Laura.
C - And also thanks to Jorge, who suggested talking about phrasal verbs, we will certainly do that soon. And one more thing: if you're on facebook, show us how you listen to your podcast. Take a picture of yourself with your laptop, iPod, or cell phone showing our logo and upload it onto the wall of our facebook page!
M - And remember : we are open to suggestions for new podcast topics!
C - And you know how to make suggestions now, don't you?
M - Yeah! New episodes are coming very soon. Stay tuned!
C - Bye!
to TAKE SOMETHING FOR GRANTED : 1. To consider as true, real, or forthcoming; anticipate correctly. 2. To underestimate the value of.
EXAMPLE: My husband takes for granted that his dinner will be ready every evening when he arrives home from work.
WORD OF MOUTH : without any kind formal promotion or advertising, spread only through one person talking to another.
EXAMPLE: In New York City, the reputation of a new restaurant spreads quickly through word of mouth.
to PREVENT SOMEONE FROM DOING SOMETHING : To stop a person from carrying out an action. This could be for many reasons like jealousy or competition, or for the benefit of someone's personal safety.
EXAMPLE: For fear of hurting himself, the grandmother prevented the small child from climbing onto the table.
EXAMPLE: My workmates are very jealous people and do not want me to succeed at my job! They will do anything they can to prevent me from moving up the corporate ladder!
Let's sum up :
- 'you should'
- 'you ought to' (oughta)
- 'if I were you, I would...'
- 'you'd better' (=you had better)
- to make a suggestion, to suggest
To suggest doing something, to suggest something
to suggest that you do something
- to make a recommendation , to recommend
To recommend doing something, to recommend something
to recommend that you do something
- to give advice, to give a piece of advice, to advise
To advise someone on something, to advise someone to do something
To advise against something
our soundtrack : THE FIRE (rock band)
June 15, 2011 02:40 PM PDT
M - So, today we’re going to talk about SAFETY!
C - We’re talking about safety today?!
M - Yes, Cindy. Safety, specifically traveler’s safety and health issues.
C - But we usually talk about fun stuff, why did you choose such a DOWNER of a topic?
M - Because this may be an important concern for our listeners visiting America. They may need some POINTERS on how to express their needs.
C - You’re right. Summer is a very popular vacation time for tourists. So where do we begin?
M - Let’s start with nine one one.
C - Good idea. 9-1-1. Everybody write it down if you must because this is a very important number to remember. If you have an emergency while in America you can dial the numbers 9-1-1 for assistance. Tell the operator your location – your address- and what the problem is and they will send the appropriate assistance, i.e.: an ambulance, the police or fire truck.
M - And can you give our listeners some examples of what would constitute a 911 emergency?
C - Sure. And let me say I hope there is no need for anyone to ever call 911. I hope everyone has a happy and healthy stay in America. Some examples of a 911 emergency would be a serious health issue- like a heart attack or SEIZURE, an automobile accident -with injuries, or a fire just to name a few.
M - So remember the phone number 911 and write it down somewhere to help you remember.
C - What else?
M - PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS ?
C - Prescription medications are medicines that have been prescribed by a doctor. You can easily buy general pain medicines and stomach and cold remedies in America ‘’OVER THE COUNTER’’. That is to say you do not need a doctor’s prescription. But if you’re on more serious medication for example for high blood pressure, diabetes , cholesterol or heart medication that requires a doctor’s prescription and cannot be purchased without one.
M - For travelers to the US, be sure to keep all your prescription medications in the original bottles.
C - Yes, because if you need to refill your medicine while in the US, then the doctor can easily see what you need and refill accordingly.
M - And what about accidents?
C - Accidents do happen, no matter how well prepared you are. It happened to my aunt last year in Rome, on her very first day of a 10 day European tour she slipped and fell down a small staircase.
M - Oh no! Did she break a bone?
C - No, thankfully nothing was broken, but she did sprain her ankle. A SPRAIN happens when a joint is suddenly stressed or twisted beyond its normal range of motion. It’s very painful, and may take a while to heal, but nothing is broken.
M - And if someone were to break something while on vacation, what should they do?
C - Oh, hope that doesn’t happen! But if it does, go to a doctor or hospital right away. If the break is serious, then call 911 and ask for an ambulance to drive you to the hospital.
M - And hope to be visited by George Clooney when you get to the E.R. !!
C - You may have a longer wait than usual, I've been told his queue is quite long!
M - well, if George is busy I will settle for Dr House !! Let me add one thing about it: whenever I go to the States I buy a traveler's health insurance.
C - That's a good idea, because health care is very expensive in the States.
M - It's better to check on line or with your insurance company for a traveler's health policy right for you. Ok, let’s talk about something more common like...
C - ….stomach AILMENTS.
M - I think all of us have had this problem at least once in our lives while on vacation.
C - Unfortunately yes, traveler’s DIARRHEA is common no matter where you go in the world. It’s generally safe to eat and drink anywhere in the US, but you may try new foods that just don’t agree with you. If you find yourself with an UPSET STOMACH, and it’s happened to me many times, just go a pharmacy, otherwise known as a drugstore, or any other large store (stores such as Walmart, Kmart, Target, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, grocery -food- stores, Dollar General, Family Dollar, some convenience stores, truck stops, large gas stations and Dollar Tree) and look for brands like Imodium or Pepto-Bismol . These are products in liquid or pill form designed to ease the discomforts of traveler’s belly.
M - That’s good advice. Now what about personal safety? What can we tell our listeners?
C - The most important thing I can stress is to use your common sense as you would anywhere else in the world. When visiting densely populated areas, women keep your handbags zipped and close to you. For men, be sure your wallet is secure. Stay away from the bad parts of town, especially at night. When driving through the city, keep your doors locked. Don’t leave valuables and personal belongings in your car.
M - It’s the same all over the world.
C - All over. Always ask for a credit card receipt with your purchases. Use caution when withdrawing money from an Automated banking machine. In the States they’re abbreviated as ATM’s. And if you're in a bank and you hear someone yell “put your hands up! This is a STICK UP !” well...do as you're told !
M - I surrender, I surrender, don't shoot me!!
C - well, we're just joking around by making movies references, I swear to you in all of my years on this Earth I've never been witness to a bank robbery in the US, and it's not likely to happen to you either.
M - well listeners, it's safe to say that this episode has come to a close.
C - are you ok? No broken bones? No emergencies?
M - I'm ok, but I'm gonna ask Doctor George to give me a CHECK UP anyways...
C - ok and when you're done with that come visit us on podomatic.com, martainnocenti.com, iTunes and facebook. And don't forget to read the transcript.
M - have a nice vacation everyone! see you very very soon ! bye bye!
C - bye bye!
DOWNER : Something or someone that brings the mood down. Depressant. Example: The evening news is such a downer! They never talk about happy things.
POINTERS : Tips, advice or useful hints. Example: I'm not a good baseball player, but my brother is helping me bu giving me a few pointers.
SEIZURE: A sudden episode of transient neurologic symptoms such as involuntary muscle movements, sensory disturbances and altered consciousness. A seizure is caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS: Medication that have been prescribed by a doctor.
OVER THE COUNTER: buying medicines without a prescription ie: aspirin, common cold medicine etc...
SPRAIN : Sudden twisting or wrenching of a joint causing great pain.
E.R.: Emergency room at the hospital
STOMACH AILMENTS / UPSET STOMACH / DIARRHEA :Common discomforts caused by eating too much or consuming rich, acidic or spicy foods.
ATM: Automated teller machine, Automated banking machine.
STICK UP: A robbery.
CHECK UP : A visit to a doctor to be sure everything is ok. Example: I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow. It's not serious, it's only for my yearly check up.
June 08, 2011 07:22 AM PDT
M - Today we're going to talk about FOOD!
C - Marta, I'm so excited today because we have a returning guest with us. For those of you who missed the last episode about restaurants our friend Christine came in to join us. She's back today to talk about food in America and some of the treasures we have to offer. Now we haven’t TURNED A BLIND EYE TO the fact that there is a lot of bad food in America - bad food that is mass produced, cheap, calorie & fat laden, and nutrient deficient. Obesity is on the rise as well as all the medical complications it brings along with it.
M - It’s a serious problem around the world, not just in America, isn’t it?
C - It’s a very serious epidemic. But today we’re going to discuss the good things America has to offer.
M - Great, because it's true! American food has a bad reputation, but I've travelled all over The States and I've had many memorable meals!
C - Exactly! And that's what we want to talk about today. There is a lot fantastic food out there if you only look beyond the fast food restaurants!
M - I'm getting hungry! Give our guest a microphone and let's get started! And listeners, don't worry if you can't follow along, you'll find useful definitions at the end of our transcript.
C - Christine, will you come in and join us?
M & C - Hi Christine!
Christine - Hi everyone!
C - Now Christine, can you tell us something about yourself and your background? And just to make it clear to our listeners, Christine is American, so her accent is like mine. She speaks American English. Where are you from in The States?
Christine - I grew up in Washington, DC. My father was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and my mother is Italian-American.
C - yeah, and in the last episode you mentioned your chicken with a peanut sauce and we're still waiting for the recipe.
Christine - well, that's a family secret!
M - Christine, who taught you to cook ?
Christine - the most important influences came from my mother, grandmother and great grandmother. They all taught me that the most important aspects of cooking are the fresh ingredients and the home cooked meals. But I've also had professional training in Paris.
M - Yes, I understand you have studied and worked all over the world?
Christine - Yes, I have travelled a lot. I've had different jobs in bakeries and restaurants, in Boston, Washington D.C.. But my favorite job is teaching English in Italy.
C - I know it's a joy to cook in Italy, but could you tell us about some of your favorite things to eat when you return to The States?
Christine - Of course. I miss a lot of great food from back home in Washington D.C., which is on the Potomac River and this river flows into the Chesapeake Bay. Many names like Potomac and Chesapeake come from the Algonquian people who are a Native American tribe. And this region is also well known for its Blue Crabs and the many farms that grow things like corn, pumpkin, strawberries . On my visits back home one of my favorite things to eat is boiled crabs with plenty of Old Bay seasoning.
C - delicious! But eating crabs is quite time consuming, isn't it?
Christine - It's messy and there's a lot of hard work to crack the crab shells open but well worth it. Crab is a very popular dish and is eaten in many ways, steamed, baked, in soups, crab cakes and dips.
C - My mother used to prepare linguine with crab sauce. She needed to put crabs over pasta so my Sicilian father could identify with it.
Christine - what about you? Where did you grow up?
C - I was born in Connecticut and in that region we’re known for Lobsters, mussels and clams. Clam Chowder is an especially popular soup. There are three main types of Chowder: Boston, Manhattan and Rhode Island style.
Christine - that's New England, but you live in the South now, don't you?
C - yes, and in the South it’s all about the oyster and shrimp. So if you’re visiting the American East Coast down to Florida and on around to the Gulf of Mexico and onto Louisiana, be sure to try the oysters, shrimp and fresh-caught fish.
Christine - I also love to go to local farms for fresh produce. Near my parents' home is a farm called Butler's Orchard. This is a place where you can buy seasonal produce as well as pick-your-own fruit and vegetables. I often go there in the summer to pick strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. But Butler’s Orchard also sells some really great fruit pies. My favorite is an American classic, Apple Pie.
C - Christine makes a fabulous Apple Pie! And talking about fresh berries, Christine we have to mention Blueberry Pancakes for breakfast prepared with fresh Maine blueberries and served with warm Vermont Maple Syrup. Ahh...that takes me back to my childhood.
M - That all sounds delicious but we should really talk about some of the nationalities that have had their influences on American cuisine.
Christine - America is truly a melting pot of cultures. Where do we begin?
C - Well, we've already mentioned Italian, German and Cuban influences in episode number five. But there's so much more to say. We have Cajun food in Louisiana. It’s heavy on seafood and very spicy. Common dishes include etouffeé, gumbo, boiled crawfish (they look like miniature lobsters), oysters, alligator, shrimp and spicy Boudin sausage.
Christine - And of course barbecuing is also very popular in the U.S.
C - Ribs, chicken, steaks, pork... you name it : we grill it! And since my family is half Eastern European we have to mention Polish Pierogies, stuffed cabbage rolls and Kielbasa which is a type of sausage. Christine, do you know what Pierogi are?
Christine - They’re a type of filled pasta, aren’t they?
C - Exactly, similar to Italian ravioli but thicker, larger and filled with sweet of savory fillings.
M - You have a lot of Mexican food in the U.S. don’t you?
Christine - A large part of the western United States was once owned by Mexico. Over time, the border changed but the influences remained. For a long time we’ve had a hybridized version of Mexican food, a melding of American & Mexican.
C - We’ve had an explosion of Mexican immigrants to the US in the last 10 years or so. This has given a great shot of authenticity to the Mexican food available. And when I’m back in North Carolina, the taco stand is one of the first places I run to!
Christine - Let’s see what else can we talk about? Bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon!
C - Yum! A Jewish influence. Can you explain what a bagel is?
Christine - yeah, it's bread that's first boiled then baked.
C - and Christine what about the Amish? They're a well known group of people because of their food.
Christine - they're a protestant religious group that is famous for baked goods like pies, cakes and bread. My mom and I in the summer go to a local Amish market in Maryland.
C - And listeners, if you’re planning a trip to New York or Los Angeles it’s safe to say you will be able to find a restaurant offering up pretty much any cuisine you’re looking for.
Christine - We could go on for days...
C - So true, and we haven’t even scratched the surface! There’s still Chinese, South American, Indian, Spanish, Greek, Russian, South East Asia and the Middle East to talk about! We haven’t forgotten you! So I hope you will join us in the future to discuss this topic a little further.
M - Girls, this has been a lot of fun. Thank you for taking us beyond the hamburger. I hope our listeners have learned a little something about American food today, I know I have. Christine it’s been a pleasure and I hope you’ll come back to talk with us soon?
Christine - Thank you, ladies. It’s been fun and I’d love to join you again.
C - Well, we'll see you again soon! And to all our listeners living around the world, a big thanks to each and every one of you for your support.
M - Thank you very much for listening! And remember that you can find us on iTunes, on podomatic.com, on martainnocenti.com and on facebook, we have a facebook page you can visit. We'll see you soon!
C - Bye bye!
TAG QUESTIONS : we used a lot of tag questions during this conversation! Tag questions are short questions added to the end of a positive or negative statement. For Example: He is, isn’t he?....He will, won’t he? ***
'It’s a serious problem around the world, not just in America, isn’t it?' :
This question prompts the speaker to elaborate further on the question. If someone says simply : “It’s a serious problem around the world, not just in America.’’ then this is a statement. But when “isn’t it?” is added to the end it becomes a tag question and further discussion is prompted.
'Eating crabs is quite time consuming, isn't it?' *
'You live in the South now, don't you? ' * 'They’re a type of filled pasta, aren’t they?' *
'You have a lot of Mexican food in the U.S. don’t you?' ***
TO TURN A BLIND EYE TO : to ignore something, to pretend you don't see it.
For Example: She’s turned a blind eye to the fact she is failing at university.
Foods that we mentioned in this episode:
SEAFOOD : Lobsters, mussels, clams, oysters, shrimps, crabs, crawfish.
MEAT : Ribs, chicken, steaks, pork, kielbasa (polish sausage), alligator.
VEGETABLES: Pumpkin, corn, sauerkraut (cabbage), potatoes (potato salad)
PASTA: Pierogies, linguine.
FRUIT: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries.
BAKED GOODS : bread, pies, cakes, bagels, pancakes.
Methods of preparing food: steaming, baking, boiling, grilling, frying, or raw (uncooked).
May 25, 2011 01:37 AM PDT
M - Today we're going to talk about RESTAURANTS !
M - Cindy, let’s give our listeners a general overview of what a restaurant experience could be like for them in America.
C - Good idea. Well, in your average American restaurant there is a hostess that will greet you at the entrance and ask the question: ‘’How many in your party?’’
M - ...what?
C - meaning: how many people are in your group? Sometimes there will be a long wait for a table. Some restaurants will give you a small electronic device to hold until your table is ready. It will flash or vibrate when a space opens up. Or they may just suggest you relax in the bar with a drink until your name is called.
M - And then the hostess will walk you to your table. Sometimes they will tell you the name of your SERVER tonight, and that he or she will be right with you.
C - And generally the server will ask you immediately what you would like to drink. You can ask for a moment to think it over. The usual drinks are coffee, sodas (regular & diet) large or small, milk, tea, and water. In some restaurants you can have alcohol like beer, wine or a cocktail along with your meal.
M - and I noticed you're always refilling your drinks! Like water, sodas, even coffee. My glass was never empty.
C – I know, we give FREE REFILLS, it's a great country, isn't it?
M - yeah!
C - Actually it's not true for all restaurants, but the free refill does happen quite often.
M - And in my experience, the drinks are always filled to the top with ice! That may seem strange to foreign travelers.
C - You’re right. It’s common, but you can politely ask for little or no ice in your drink.
M - And not long after the drink order is placed, a basket of bread with butter arrives at your table.
C - Avoid eating the bread, if you’re on a diet! Your server may ask you something confusing like ‘’What can I start you off with tonight?’’
M - ….what...?
C - This means ‘’what would you like for your APPETIZER ?’’ That’s the STARTER, or the first course.
M - You may want to even skip the appetizer because in The States, the ENTREE or MAIN COURSE often comes with a salad and side items. Not to mention the portions can be huge.
C - True. But don't worry because you can always take the LEFTOVERS home in a DOGGY BAG.
M - oh, Cindy, you know what was confusing to me ? The DRESSING ! The waiter asking me “how do you want it dressed?” and I was like “what do you mean?”
C - Dressings are oil and vinegar based sauces poured over a salad to make it more flavorful. Some common salad dressings are Blue Cheese, Italian, French, Thousand Island and Ranch. I always keep it simple and ask for just oil & vinegar.
M - And I remember hearing about specials. Could you explain them?
C - Sure. HOUSE SPECIALS are featured meals for that evening. They may be REGIONAL SPECIALTIES, or meals available at a good price, or dishes showcasing what's IN SEASON at the moment.
M - and in case you have specific dietary needs, make sure you know how to communicate this to your server.
C - right, for example you may be INTOLERANT to certain food products, the three most common food ALLERGIES are : milk, nuts and gluten.
M - what if you don't eat meat?
C - you're called a VEGETARIAN; there are different levels of vegetarianism. If you don't eat any animal products you're called a VEGAN.
M - And what if there’s a problem with my food? For instance my steak is not cooked to my preference, the food is cold, or it’s too spicy?
C - No problem, you can politely send it back to the kitchen. Most restaurants will try hard to keep the customer happy and bring you something you will enjoy.
M - Okay, so now we’ve had our bread, starter/appetizer, a salad, a main course, drink and now it’s time for...
C - Dessert! Desserts are rich and delicious in The States, and again portions may be big so you may want to share a plate between two people.
M - would you like to share one with me?
C - Sure!
M - I remember during my trip to Las Vegas, I saw a lot of restaurants offering ‘’All You Can Eat’’ buffets.
C - Buffets are very common in America. You are encouraged to eat what you like, but not to waste food. And upon each trip to the buffet, you need to take a new clean plate from the buffet and not reuse the old dirty one.
M - Dining in the States is a much shorter, faster experience than in Europe.
C - True. We tend to eat and run. Many servers will leave the bill for the meal on the table while you are still eating dessert!
M - The BILL for meal can also be called a ‘’TAB’’ or a ‘’CHECK’’, right?
C - Right. And if you would like to ask for the bill, you can say ‘’May I have the check please?’’
M - This is where ‘’TIPPING’’ comes into play. We have already talked about tipping in our episode #1 about shopping, but, just in case you have missed it, what is tipping?
C - ‘’Tipping’’ is extra money. It’s not mandatory. It’s a polite and unspoken agreement that acknowledges good service. Servers are paid a reduced wage because they earn tips from customers. A tip is generally %15 percent of your total cost of the meal. A good rule to figure how much you should leave for a tip is to look at your bill, double the tax and leave a bit more or less depending on the quality of service. It’s different for larger parties though. In these cases, the charge will be added directly to your bill.
M - Well Cindy, thank you very much, now I really feel I could handle any conversation in a restaurant.
C - oh, you do, uh?
M - yep. Bring it on!
C - all right, girl. Your table is ready.
M - good, 'cause I'm hungry!
C - Hi welcome to Cindy Family's Restaurant. How many in your party?
M - (….how many in your party...) oh, just two.
C - ok, will that be FOR HERE OR TO GO?
M - I'm sorry? Could you repeat that?
C - for here or to go? Are you eating here or is this a take away?
M - for here.
C - ok, would you like to eat at the bar or have a table?
M - we'd like a table.
C - ok, then I'll get you seated. What would you like to drink?
M – could I have a minute to decide? Thank you.
C - sure, here are the menus to look over and I'll be right back.
M - (ok, I got a minute to think, she speaks fast but I can handle it, I've studied, I listen to my American friend every week.... I can do it, I can do it...)
C - So what have you decided? What can I start you off with tonight?
M - I'm sorry, could you speak more slowly?
C - I'm sorry, what would you like for an appetizer?
M - we'll just have an entree this evening. We'd like a steak.
C - great, how do you like that cooked ?
M - oh, I'm afraid I don't understand.
C - do you prefer your steak cooked RARE, that's red in the middle, or medium or well done?
M - medium is good for both of us. Does it come with a salad?
C - sure it does! There is a salad and your choice of side item, would you like baked potato, fries or steamed vegetables?
M - - baked potato, please.
C - What kind of dressing would you like on your salad?
M - (...dressing, yeah, I know that!) Ranch, please. And we'll have just water to drink. With just a little ice.
C - all right, I'll place your order and it will be out in just a few, enjoy your meals everyone!
M - wow, it ain't easy at all !
C - this is real life, baby!
M - yep!
C - But, seriously, don't feel embarrassed to ask people to repeat themselves or speak more slowly. And your experience will vary from place to place. There are generally three levels of dining in America: 1 Fast Food restaurants, 2 Family Restaurants and lastly Fine Dining establishments. Personally, I do most of my dining at the first two!
M - and you can find any kind of ethnic cuisine
C - because we're a melting pot! The immigrants coming to the States brought their own customs with them, a lot of different flavors from all over the world.
M - and that's what we are going to discuss with a special guest today!
C- our other American friend!
M & C- Hi Christine!
M- Christine, thank you so much for joining us today.
Christine - Thank you ladies for having me.
M - Christine, could you please introduce yourself to our listeners?
Christine - Sure my name is Christine, and I’m an American, I grew up on the East coast of the United States in Washington DC.
C - And I know we have something in common in that each of us has one parent who was not born in the US. My father was born in Sicily and my mother is of Eastern European descent. How about you?
Christine - My father was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and came to the U.S. as a graduate student. This is when he met and married my mom who is Italian-American.
C - We ate pasta 5 nights a week! What did you eat when you were growing up?
Christine - Our family table had both influences from the Congolese and the Italian-American side. We ate pasta as well as a chicken made with peanut sauce from the Congo.
C - Delicious! America is really a melting pot. People have settled here from the four corners of the globe. So if you think that we’re all sitting around eating hamburgers & fries- you’re wrong, because America’s cuisine today is much more complex than that. That said, there’s nothing bad about the occasional burger and fries!
Christine - In fact, many immigrants brought RECIPES from home and had to adapt to what foods they could find in America.
M - So what can our listeners find to eat when they visit America?
C - Well in large cities, like Los Angeles and New York, anything. You can literally find any kind of ethnic cuisine you desire.
Christine - Authentic Mexican food is found virtually all over the United States. And we also have sushi from Japan. You can easily find a sushi restaurant...or buy small takeaway trays of sushi in large supermarkets.
C - Italy, mainly southern Italy has had a huge influence on the north east of America. We have many people of Sicilian or Neapolitan descent living there, and as a result you can find excellent pizza & pasta dishes. And if you happen to find an Italian delicatessen, stop in and buy a takeaway. You won’t be disappointed!
Christine - The Germans have had a big influence too! They brought sausages, hot dogs, sauerkraut made of cabbage, potato salad and even pretzels! What would an American picnic be without hotdogs and potato salad?
C - You’re right! Thank you Germany! Ok, what else? What about Caribbean food? There are lots of Puerto Ricans living in New York and Cubans in Miami. Marta, you had wonderful Cuban food in Miami last year, didn’t you?
M - Yeah, for example I had fried yuca sticks and salads with tropical fruits and avocado.
And also the Lechon Asado, that is roast pork marinated in tasty tropical spices.
Christine - wow! there are so many delicious influences to talk about! We need to discuss the Native American influences as well.
M - You’re right. Christine will you come back next time so we can discuss this topic a little more in depth? We’ve left out so much. And besides...our listeners may be hungry now?
Christine - I’d love to.
C - That’s settled then. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule today. We’ll see you again soon?
Christine - Ok, great.
C - Bye Christine!
Christine - Bye!
M - that's all for now, now you're ready for a great dinner, so ENJOY YOUR MEAL !
C - Can I have SECONDS ?
M - No, Cindy, it's over, I'm sorry.
C - ok, but if you listeners would like to have seconds, you can find us on podomatic.com, on iTunes, on martainnocenti.com, and on our Facebook page, just do a web search for 'my American friend podcast', we're everywhere!
M - bye bye!
SERVER : a waiter or a waitress. Person who serves food and drink.
FREE REFILLS : Beverages that can be filled up again and again at no cost. Note: you will have to pay full price for the first glass, but each refilling after that is without cost for the duration of you meal.
STARTER/APPETIZER : A small course of food served before the main meal. Usually salty, starchy or sweet in flavor and intended to entice your appetite.
MAIN COURSE / ENTREE : Your main plate of the entire dinner, usually consisting of a protein (meat), a starch (potato or bread) and a vegetable.
LEFTOVERS: Food you haven't finished
DOGGY BAG :The bag or box used to bring leftover food home.
DRESSING : The ''sauce'' poured over a salad to make it more appetizing. Usually oil & vinegar based with additional mustard, mayonnaise or spices added.
HOUSE SPECIALS : Featured meals for the evening, sometimes at a discounted price.
REGIONAL SPECIALTIES: Foods typical of a region, state or city.
TO BE IN SEASON: Foods at their peak of perfection. For Example: Watermelon is in season during the summer months.
TO BE INTOLERANT TO / TO BE ALLERGIC TO : Foods that are an irritant to your body in some way causing you to become ill.
VEGETARIAN : A person that eats no meat, but maybe eggs, cheese or butter.
VEGAN : A person who eats no animal derived products at all.
BILL / TAB / CHECK : The total cost of your meal, written or printed on a piece of paper.
TIPPING : Extra money given in appreciation of good service. Some restaurants will allow you to add the ''tip'' to your credit card. Most people leave it directly on the table in cash or coins at the end of the meal when they leave. A ''tip'' is usually 15% of the total bill. Less or more depending on the quality of service.
FOR HERE OR TO GO : Meaning ''will you be eating your meal inside the restaurant? or taking it boxed up to go (a take away)?
RARE / MEDIUM / WELL DONE STEAK : Duration of cooking applied to the steak. RARE: brown on the outside, but still bloody and red inside. MEDIUM: Brown on the outside, but still pink and juicy on the inside. WELL DONE: Steak lovers feel this is overcooked meat. The steak is brown throughout, has lost much of its moisture and can be quite tough.
RECIPE : the instructions and ingredient list for preparing a specific dish.
ENJOY YOUR MEAL ! : Bon Appetit! (French) Buon Appetito! (Italian). Phrase said at the beginning of the meal wishing the diner a pleasant experience.
TO HAVE SECONDS : To have a second serving of a specific food or dish. For Example: teenage boys eat a lot when they are growing up, and they will often have seconds.. or even third helpings of food!
May 13, 2011 02:17 AM PDT
M - Hi Cindy!
C - Hi Marta! This is a new short episode about dating, let's call it the B-Side of dating, does that sound good?
M – Great, we're going to talk with a couple of friends today about their dating experiences.
C – Have you found some MOVERS AND SHAKERS ? People who really HAVE THEIR FINGER ON THE PULSE of the dating scene?
M – well...they have a pulse. First off, I think it's a good idea to get a teenager's point of view on dating today.
C - Oh good, are we going to talk to Ashley?
M - Yes, providing that she can hear her phone ring above her iPod blowing out what's left of her eardrums.
Ashley - ''Hold on....yeah, I'll have a double mango smoothie to go.''
M - Ashley, are you at the mall again? I thought you had maxed out your credit card?
A - Marta? Is that you?
M - Yes, dear.... turn off the music...
A - What?
M - Turn off the music or I'm hanging up now!''
A - Okaaaaayyy, but KILLER SONG right?
M - Yes, Ashley. I don't know if I'd call it music but...
A - ...you look pretty on your website. I showed all my friends. We loooooooove your eyeshadow. Where did you get it?
M - Ashley, you can't spend any more money. Honey, we wanted to talk to you about dating. Do you have any advice for us?
A - Debbie is a SKANK.
M - Ok, and by ''skank'' you mean a girl of low moral values?
A - I mean Debbie the Skank. She talks bad about my best friend Kellie, like, all the time.
M - What happened, Ashley?
A - I don't want to talk about it.
M - Oh, come on.
A - No.
M - ok, I'll buy you that eye shadow you wanted.
A - OK, Debbie is such a skank. She like totally stole Kellie's boyfriend and I'm all like :''You should kick her ass!'' And I'm all like : “Whatever” And she's all like : ''Whatever'' and I'm like ''Yeah...
Cindy - Is that your office phone ringing?
M - Yes, hold on Ashley, let's see who it is... Hello? This is Marta Innocenti...
Debbie - Girl you don't know me! You don't know me! Call me a skank!
M - Debbie is that you?
D - that's right. Damn! Put me on! I wanna talk to her!
M - Ashley, we have Debbie on the line now and I'm putting her through.
D - Girl, you don't know me!
A - I know you're a skank. Oh excuse me- a girl of low-moral value! You stole Kellie's boyfriend, right before prom!
D - That's right, and I'll get your man too if you keep SCARFING DOWN those double mango smoothies. Because let's face it, you're looking a little CHUBBY !
A - Oh no you didn't just go there!
D - That's right, that's right! I did! What? what?
M - I can't take it any more
Cindy - ...did you just hang up on them?
M - yeah, of course!
C - ...Awesome!
M - Ashley forgot to mention that she stole Debbie's boyfriend last year over Spring Break in Cancun.
C - oh, the drama!
M - All right, let's move on. So today we've heard a teenager's perspective on dating.
C - Right. Debbie is a skank.
M - that's it.
C - Do you think they're still arguing?
M - Well, probably... especially if Ashley's father is still paying for her cell phone bill.
So Cindy, I think we should provide our listeners with a little ''old school'' dating advice now.
C - Oh no, who else have you found?
Barb - Hello!
M - Barb?
B - Hey, Y'all quit that. I can't hear nothin'. Y'all I'm on the phone!
M - Hello Barb, dear, it's Marta...Marta Innocenti.
B - Hold on darlin'...let me step out the trailer...Marta, is that you darlin'?
M - Yes, Barb...it's me!
B - Oh hey, Darlin'! How y'all doin? y'all doin alright?
M - We're great Barb! What's going on there? I hear a party!
B - Oh we's having a high ol' time. Britney LeeAnne Jr. done had a little junior of her own. He's so precious. I'm a grandmama now!
M - Wow ! Congratulations, Barb!
B - Thank you, darlin! What y'all up to today? You still working with that ugly old Yankee?
M - ...you mean, Cindy? Well, she went out for coffee.
B - Well, be sure to lock the door behind her.
M - Barb, we're doing a show today on dating, and we wanted to get some of your advice.
B - Aww suge (short for ''sugar'' a term of endearment), at was a long time ago. I'm a grandmama now. I can't hardly remember back that far!
M - Oh come on, Barb...what was it like when you first met your husband? On your first date?
B - Aw darlin' That's REDNECK love baby. We do things a little differently here in the South.
M - What happened? What was the one line that ignited the flames of passion?
B - Flames of Passion??....oh, damn… : 'Get in the truck, bitch!'
M - Barb, that's horrible !!!!! No man should ever talk to a woman like that! I can't believe you let him speak to you in that degrading way!
B - Oh hell, suge...that's what I said to him!
M - what you said to him!....Barb, we love you!
B - I love you too, darlin. But I got to run now. Y'all take care, be good and come see us some time!
M- Bye Barb!
B - Bye darlin'.
Cindy - ...Here's your coffee.
M- thank you Cindy.
C - Marta where do you find these people? Have you got some sort of Crazy Phone book to call. The Yellow Pages of Crazy?
M – kind of crazy, but, you know, it's useful to listen to a language as it's spoken on the street, because there is no text book that can prepare you for every day language complete with regional accent and slang words.
C – fair enough.
M – well folks, that's all for now. you can reach us on podomatic.com and on martainnocenti.com and on iTunes. Don't forget to read the transcripts of each episode!
C - and come visit us on facebook too! on the 'my American friend - podcast” page.
M - Thank you for listening!
C - Bye-bye!
MOVERS AND SHAKERS : People with influence. Example: I’m attending a very important charity dinner tonight in Washington D.C. to benefit the American Red Cross. There will be many “movers and shakers’’ of the American political arena there this evening.’’
HAVE THEIR FINGER ON THE PULSE OF... : To have a deep understanding of something. Example: “He’s a very famous club dj (disc jockey) in America. He’s got his finger on the pulse of the music scene.’’
KILLER SONG : A great song.
SKANK : Offensive slang term used to describe a girl of low moral value/prostitute/hooker. Technically not a curse word, but still very offensive. Be careful how you use it. Maybe best not used at all.
SCARFING DOWN : Eating fast. Example: “Those teenage boys must be very hungry! Look at the way they’re scarfing down those hamburgers!’’
CHUBBY : Fat.
REDNECK : Merriam Webster dictionary defines redneck as: sometimes disparaging: a white member of the Southern rural laboring class.
April 29, 2011 08:36 AM PDT
M - In this episode we're going to talk about DATING !
C -We've chosen a spicy topic this time, haven't we?
M – Well, you know, I was wondering : what do you study a foreign language for?
C - To improve your career maybe, for doing business abroad, but also we study foreign languages in order to travel around the world and meet new and exciting people.
M – Exactly, new people you get to know and you may feel like dating. New people you may even start a relationship with. By the way, does that sound familiar to you?
C – Yeah, it does, my husband is Italian, but he could speak English well enough to ASK ME OUT ON A DATE !
M – Actually GOING ON A DATE with someone who speaks a different language is not that easy, so, listeners we are going to help you!
C - Today we're going to use a lot of words and expressions about dating, make sure to read the transcript of this episode by downloading it on your iPod or by visiting our page on podomatic.com that's spelled p o d o m a t i c : the transcription includes the list of all the specific words and idioms about dating with relevant explanations.
M – All right. Cindy, let's say that I am to date an American guy, like, I don't know, Jon Bon Jovi.
C – oh, You picked a good one!
M – Well, it could happen sooner or later! And we may need to listen to some New Jersey accent, so Jon, we'd be glad to have you here!
C – Yes, Jon Bon Jovi, If you feel like being our guest on any future episodes, you're more than welcome!
M – Oh, Cindy, I think we'd better explain this one to our listeners. To feel like doing something.
C – It's a very common expression. It means : to be in the mood for doing something. An example of a conversation could be : What do you feel like doing tonight? I'm tired, I don't feel like going out. I feel like watching a DVD on the sofa.
M - and do you remember that song : “don't feel like dancing, dancing...”
C – yeah, that's it.
M – All right, now let's go back to dating. Jon is waiting for me.
C – Shall we start from “pick-up lines” ? You know, those sentences you say in order to “break the ice” and start a conversation with someone.
M – All right. Shoot !
C – Ok, let me give you a few examples of common ice-breakers. You can use :
I think I've seen you before... do you come here often? haven't we met before? would you like to dance / take a walk / have a drink ? do you have a lighter/cigarette? could you tell me what time it is? I really like your....whatever
M – and if the ice-breaker is successful...
C - ...and you HIT IT OFF , meaning you're compatible and you GET ALONG WELL ...
M - then someone will make the first move!
C - and ask the other out on a date. The ideal dating situation is when you know who you're going out with, but this is not always the case in a BLIND DATE.
M - what's a blind date?
C – the dreaded blind date! This is a source of great pain or pleasure! A blind date is when a friend arranges the date for you with someone they feel is a good match for you. That is to SET SOMEONE UP on a blind date. But don't worry if it's not love at first sight and you have nothing in common with the person you have been set up with, make a polite excuse, GO DUTCH and go home in separate cars.
M – oh, and going Dutch means....
C – each person pays for their own meal.
M – But there are other ways to meet new people nowadays.
C – Yes, many people meet on-line in chat rooms. Or through dating services and speed dating, personal ads in the newspapers. Whatever method you choose just take your time, be careful, really do your best to know who you're going out with.
M – and also be sure that you both have the same intentions, that you're looking for the same level of commitment in the relationship.
C – or someone could have their heart broken. For example you wouldn't pair a WOMANIZER with a woman who wants to settle down and start a family. That would be a lose lose situation, that means both sides would be at a disadvantage.
M – and they should break up and CALL IT QUITS. That means end the relationship.
C – and one more thing about ending a relationship: to DUMP. To dump someone means to drop someone, to throw them away. For example: “he was dumped” means he wasn't let down easily. And, people, don't ever dump anyone via text message, that's kind of rude, or even worse ...through facebook!
M – how about to TURN SOMEONE DOWN? What does that mean?
C – to turn someone down means to refuse a date or a dance. For example : Marta, because we are friends, if Jon Bon Jovi asked me out on a date I would turn him down.
M – Really?
C – No, you're right. I'd say yes. But don't worry, I'd stand him up.
M – stand him up?
C – yeah, to STAND SOMEONE UP means to arrange a date and then blow it off. We agree on a time and a place, but then one person doesn't show or call to cancel.
M – oh, I see. Anyway, Cindy, don't worry, if Jon calls me we can arrange for a DOUBLE DATE, and you can invite whoever you want.
C – Oh, that's a great idea, I could take your husband for example!
M – hey, wait a minute, we're just kidding here, I'm not having an AFFAIR with Jon Bon Jovi.
C – you just have a crush on him and you're just flirting with the idea!
M – yeah, HAVING A CRUSH ON someone, that's useful for you listeners! Take notes!
C – There's no other feeling like it ! Remember when you first met that special someone you were NUTS about? And the feeling of BUTTERFLIES IN YOUR TUMMY ?
M – Oh, love!
C – Marta have you written any songs about love?
M – Hundreds!
C – Can you sing us out on this podcast? Can you do us the honor?
M – I'd be happy to, but first let me remind our listeners about our websites. You can find us on PODOMATIC.COM and on martainnocenti.com and of course on iTunes.
C - and you can easily reach us on facebook on the 'my American friend - podcast” page. Come visit us! We welcome your comments and suggestions. Otherwise we'll feel like you're not that into us. And we'd really like to have a second date.
M - Thank you for listening! See you next time!
C - and folks I give you the beautiful Marta Innocenti...
M – don't make me blush!
C – they can't see you, it's a podcast!
TO FEEL LIKE DOING SOMETHING : to be in the mood for doing something
DATING : when two people are romantically involved
TO GO ON A DATE : to meet someone at a scheduled time and place usually with romantic intentions
TO ASK SOMEONE OUT : to invite someone on a date
TO HIT IT OFF / TO GET ALONG WELL : to be compatible
BLIND DATE : an arranged date between two people who have never met before
TO SET SOMEONE UP : to introduce one person to another
TO GO DUTCH : every person pays for their own meal/entertainment
WOMANIZER : a man who enjoys chasing lots of women
CALL IT QUITS : to end something
TURN SOMEONE DOWN : to refuse, to deny
STAND SOMEONE UP : to abandon a date without notification first
DOUBLE DATE : two couples on a date together
AFFAIR : a relationship outside of a committed union
TO HAVE A CRUSH ON SOMEONE : to be attracted to someone
TO FEEL BUTTERFLIES IN YOUR TUMMY : nervous excitement at the prospect of new love
Song: “Partner in Crime”, written and performed by Marta Innocenti.
For any additional information visit www.martainnocenti.com , or the acoustic duo website www.12n.biz
PARTNER IN CRIME
We’re the king and the queen of the view we can see from the balcony
of the sunset on the hills, of a milky way ceiling
we’ve been feeding a dream
and we know what it means to sweat for each step
well, we made it happen in the end oh yeah!
Yes Man! I’m your Girlfriend
I’m the Best Friend that you ever had
Yes Man, that’s right, I’m your Partner in Crime
I’m the mirror you need to remind you the warrior you can be
I’m the music that you hear with a speedy heartbeat
And the road’s getting clearer riding together the same motorbike
We keep playing all the keys, both black and white oh yeah!
Yes I will never forget the whisper of death
In that room of the hospital
But we painted the walls with the colours of love
Cause we knew : 'OMNIA VINCIT AMOR'
and bad weather may come and the angels may fall
Oh, we got each other !
April 06, 2011 12:09 AM PDT
C - Hey listeners, we'd like to thank each and everyone of you because our first three episodes have been downloaded by a whole lot of people from all over the world and in such a short period of time.
M - So thank you very much !
C – To make the most of your listening comprehension you can find us on podomatic.com, that's spelled p o d o m a t i c , where you can read complete transcripts of each and every episode.
M - And of course you can find the links to the 'my American friend' page on podomatic also on iTunes and on martainnocenti.com. That's spelled M a r t a I n n o c e n t i.
C - Now you can easily reach us on facebook on the 'my American friend' page, where you can get all the episodes and additional stuff, like idioms, new words and so on. Come visit us and feel free to leave us your comments about 'my American friend' and any suggestions you may have for future episodes. Drop us a note!
M – What do you mean by 'Drop us a note' ?
C - I don't mean to physically drop something, like on the floor, I mean to casually send us an e-mail, leave us a message or feedback.
M – So it's like : let us know what you think, get back to us.
C – Exactly.
M – And what about ...something more formal ?
C – Sure, you could say: we look forward to hearing from you. Or : do not hesitate to contact us (that's great for business). Or : we sincerely await your prompt reply.
M – But we're not that formal with our listeners. So just : drop us your feedback !
C – Yes, we'd like to hear feedback from all over the world, so we may tailor our future podcasts to your needs.
M – Well, thanks everyone and stay tuned !
C - New episodes are coming very soon! Bye bye! Have a great day, everyone!
HOW TO ASK FOR FEEDBACK:
- drop us a note
- let us know what you think
- get back to us
- we look forward to hearing from you
- do not hesitate to contact us
- we sincerely await your prompt reply
to TAILOR something to your needs : to adjust it, to shape it according to your needs.
March 11, 2011 04:39 AM PST
M - In this episode we're going to talk about DRIVING !
C -Nearly everyone owns a car in America. In cities you will find trains and subways and city buses, but as soon as you exit the city limits you may find it difficult to maneuver about without a car.
M – Maybe that's why car rentals are so commonly used.
C - We have a well developped and maintained system of highways and secondary roads, and driving coast to coast maybe is the best way to experience America. By driving you can enjoy the people and places that don't make it into the guide books.
M – In Europe a lot of people have the dream of being out on the open road, riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle maybe on Route 66, lost in the endless landscape
C – We all wish we could kiss our job goodbye and hit the road !
M – Hey, listeners, if you plan to make this dream a reality, before you go, do a little research and familiarize yourselves with the rules of the American road!
C – You won't find the same organized chaos that you find in some parts of the world, driving laws are strictly enforced. We drive on the right side of the road, we get our driver's license at 16. In case you rent a car, you must be at least 25.
M – What if I'm driving and I come upon a check-point? What will the cop do to me?
C – First off, don't call him a cop. The police officer will stop you and ask for your documents, your driver's license and vehicle registration, if he finds a violation you will be issued a ticket.
M - A ticket.
C - And if you think you don't have to pay your ticket because you live outside of the Country, you may receive it at home in the mailbox.
M – ...exactly like a birthday card !
C - Except that this asks you for money .
M – Yes. Well, back to our check-point, what else may the officer be searching for?
C- Anything really, undocumented immigrants, drugs, drunk drivers... if the officer suspects you may be under the influence of alcohol you may be given a breathalyzer test.
M – So, listeners, don't drink and drive!
C - The penalties are severe.
M - Before you go out make sure you have a designated driver.
C - Or cab money. And make sure you do not have any open liquor bottles or cans in your car while driving.
M – Cindy, in order to introduce the next topic I'm gonna quote the film 'Top Gun'.
C – Do it!
M – 'I feel the need ... the need for speed ! ' So, let's talk about it.
C – Speed is great , speed is a lot of fun, as long as you're within the limits. You won't get very far before you come upon an officer with a radar gun and “the need....to catch you!”
M – That reminds me of a quote by Dudley Moore: “The best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it.”
C - Works for me every time! So keep an eye on the speed limit signs and be aware that the limit can change quickly for instance from 55 miles per hour to 35.
M – Oh, and a mile is about 1.6 km.
C – Remember when you're travelling abroad to check the unit of measure, for example if you need to get gas, to gas up, gasoline is measured in gallons.
M – A gallon is about 3.79 liters.
C- Right, since gas prices are rising steadily I recommend you pick an economy car when choosing a rental. Stay away from the gas guzzlers.
M – ...gas what?
C – A gas guzzler, a vehicle that drinks gasoline because it's too large or too old and inefficient. To guzzle means to drink or eat fast. For example: it was really hot and I was parched, that is to say I was really thirsty, so I guzzled down a bottle of water.
M – Ok, clear. When I went to America I rented an economy car and it was also very easy to operate.
C – Most cars in America have automatic transmission and many offer cruise control. Two things that make long journeys more comfortable. As well as radio traffic reports around big cities, that can help you during rush hours, times of heavy traffic.
M – Well Cindy, traffic reports would have helped me, had I understood them!
C – Oh, would you like to go through a traffic report with me? We can review some of the words together.
M – All right, that's a great idea. And you're on in 3... 2... 1 !
C - I'm Cindy with your Ride Home Traffic Report. A few problems out on the beltline this evening due to ''black ice'' making your evening commute a bit longer than usual. There's a multi-car pile up on the inner belt line. Emergency personnel are on the scene clearing away debris. The outer belt line is clear, but starting to slow down due to some rubbernecking from passersby. There's a minor fender-bender at exit 12, but all vehicles have been cleared from the scene and traffic lanes are once again moving. That's all for now on your Ride Home Traffic Report. Drive safely everyone.
M – All right, could you explain a few things, starting with the “beltline” ?
C – The beltline or beltway is a highway that by-passes the city center and makes a circle around the city.
M – And “black ice”.
C – Black ice is rain that has frozen over, so it's the same color of the road and very dangerous.
M – And what is a “commute”?
C – Your commute is your journey from your home to your school or workplace.
M- And then a “pile up” ?
C - That's a multi-car accident. More than one car has been involved.
M – What's next? “rubbernecking”.
C – Have you ever noticed, Marta, that whenever there is an accident on one side of the highway the traffic slows down on the opposite side?
M – Yeah, always and that drives me crazy!
C – Me too! that's rubbernecking, drivers slowing down, because they're turning to look at the accident that happened on the other side.
M – The last one: “fender-bender”.
C – A fender-bender is a minor accident , with minor damage.
M – It's all clear now, the next time I visit the States I will surely understand the local traffic reports.
C – And our listeners too ! Hey guys, just a couple of rules to avoid close calls, and by close calls I mean to come close to having and accident.
M – Ok.
C - #1 : when you get to an intersection with a 4 way stop sign the driver to arrive first is the first one to go, so pay attention and wait your turn. #2 : in many cases it is possible to turn right at a red light unless there is a clear sign stating “no right on red”.
M – Oh, that's why everyone was beeping at me when I was in Los Angeles ! Speaking of L.A., I noticed special lanes in the highways over there, called car pool lanes.
C – Bigger cities will have car pool lanes on a highway, lanes designated for passenger vehicles with 2 or more people.
M – Any other rule?
C - #3 : do not tailgate, keep a reasonable distance between you and the car in front of you. If you follow too closely the driver in front of you may slam on the brakes to signal that you're too close.
And #4 : don't ever cut anyone off.
M – To cut off ?
C – To pull in front of a car abruptly without signaling first causing that driver to slam on his brakes.
M – It's best to be thoughtful and never cut off a truck driver for example, expecially not the one I'm about to introduce to you now.
Hello, Barbara, welcome to ‘’My American Friend’’ thanks for being here.
B - You can just call me, Barb. Like ‘’barbed wire’’ . All my friends do.
M - Ok, then...Barb. Thanks for stopping by.
B - You Mexican?
M - Well..no Barb. I’m Italian.
B - Oh, my bad. I thought you’s Mexican. I like Mexicans. They’s good hard workin people.
M - ...I'm sure they are...
B - (sound of beer can opening) Y’all party?
M - Well...Barb enjoy your beer, but Cindy and I don't usually drink while recording our podcast, do we Cindy?
C - Not usually at 10 o’clock in the morning.
M – Right.
B - You a goddamned Yankee! That’s a dang ol’ Yankee voice. Ain’t nobody told me they gon' be a dang New York Yankee up in here!
M - No, Barb, Cindy is from Connecticut.
B - An that’s close-a-damned-nuff.
M - Come on, Barb, Connecticut is a beautiful state!
B - I ain’t never lost nothing up north and I ain’t got no reason to go there.
M – Cindy, where are you going ?
C - Marta, I’m not feeling the love here. I’ll see you later ..
B - That’s right, take your ass on Yankee. Git! Aint no love for you here. I do Civil War reenactments, they call me the ‘’mule skinner’’! Y’all got a mule round here?
M - No... I’m sorry, we’re fresh out of mules here in the studio.
B - At’s too bad. Y’all mind if I smoke, it’s my day off? (sound of cigarette lighter)
M - Oh..you smoke cigars?
B - Yep, granny got me started. Nasty habit.
M - Well, thank you for joining us on your day off. what do you do for a living?
B - I’m a chicken truck driver.
M - A chicken truck driver?
B - Yes, a chicken truck driver. What? Oh, you think the chicken just gonna fly up onto your plate? Like you’re goddamned Lady Diana?
M - No.. I was just trying to get a visual on that.
B - I come from a long line of chicken truck drivers. My momma & daddy drove a chicken truck. My husband drives a chicken truck. And my daughter, Britney LeeAnn Jr.... They’s some hard working people behind every bite of food you eat.
M - And we sincerely thank you for that. Barb. Tell me, are you going to drink and drive after finishing that beer?
B - Aww, hell no. I learnt my lesson years ago. Had a close call out on a country road one night coming back from the bar.
M - Oh no...
B - Yeah, it was terrible. Put me straight off drinking and driving for good. I’d learned my lesson good that night.
M - What happened ?
B - (sigh) I’s drivin’ home after my 13th birthday party Momma throwed for me down at the bar...
M - ..wait....did you say 13th?
B - 13th....I had a little too much hooch that night, we's riding home in the old truck and my little brother saw it first. Big ol’ deer running like the wind.
M - Oh no!
B - Yep. I didn’t see him. I'd been drinking. My good judgment was compromised. I’d had the shotgun right there in the seat behind me.
M - ...wait, shotgun? What happened?
B - Big ol’ deer. Pretty one too. Lot a meat on him. Ran right on by. I missed him. I’d had a clear shot and I missed him. I coulda shot the som’ bitch and my whole family woulda eaten good for days. But my judgment was clouded by the devil’s juice... and my family went hungry.
M - That’s an amazing story.
B - I know. See, I’d learnt a valuable lesson that day, so young... that the things I do affect not only me but the ones around me. These actions touch my family, my friends old and new- such as yourself Marta.
M – Thank you.
B - So y’all be thoughtful of those around you. Don’t drink and drive. Before you party, appoint a designated driver. Someone who will stay sober and not drink. Or call a taxicab. It’s worth it in the long run.
M - Thank you, Barb. Thank you for your wise words.
B - I need to go now. Keep the Yankee in the closet until I’m out of sight.
M - Ok, Barb, thanks again and come visit any time.
B - I will. Y’all take care and come see us some time. Just don’t bring the Yankee.
M - I promise.
B - Bye y’all.
M - Bye Barb. Oh my goodness! So her problem was that she wasn't able to shoot the deer and her family went hungry, not that she was 13 and driving, drunk and driving. Oh!
Well, Cindy! Cindy come back here!
C – Is she gone?
M - Yes Cindy, she's gone. Tough woman, uh?
C – Did she open that beer with her teeth?
M – yeah.
C- That's a perfect example of who you should not cut off or tailgate while driving in America, like we said, riding a harley on route 66.
M- Then the dream would become a nightmare. Cindy, since you mentioned the motorbike again, there's something I want to ask you. I noticed that not all bikers wear helmets.
C – The helmet laws can change from State to State. So be sure to check on line before you go. Because you may find yourself in traffic court if you don't wear a helmet when you're supposed to.
M - And I know you have a story about that, don't you Cindy?
C – I do. A true story, I won't give you all the details, but I did find myself three years ago in a certain traffic court with a brilliant man who thought he would evade the cops by wearing a black trash bag on his head instead of a helmet.
M- A trash bag?! are you serious??
C – I swear it's the truth. I heard his attorney say: “So, you were wearing a trash bag on your head?” and the man nodded in agreement.
M – I wonder what Barb would say about that...
C - I think she'd say “that boy ain't got a lick of sense in his head”
M – And I agree with that... well folks, that's all for now. let me remind you that you can find the transcription of this podcast on martainnocenti.com Well thanks for joining us .
C - And drive safely everyone, wherever you are, whether you're in Las Vegas at a quicky drive-through wedding chapel or just McDonald's ordering your lunch-time Big Mac !
M - Thank you for listening! See you next time!
C - Bye-bye !
HIT THE ROAD : to set out on a trip, to leave
COP : a police officer, cop is a familiar term
DRIVER'S LICENSE : Official document (in a card format) you carry with you at all times, allowing you to drive legally.
VEHICLE REGISTRATION : the legal documents issued by The Department of Motor Vehicles you must have in order to drive a car in the States. Vehicle registration card lists the identification number of the vehicle as well as the insurance company name and policy number specific to that vehicle. You must have car insurance and a drivers license to drive a car on the road in The United States.
TICKET : the fee, the penalty you have to pay for a traffic violation. Example: Speeding, failing to stop for a red light or stop sign, reckless driving, etc..
BREATHALYZER : a test to check if you're driving under the influence of alcohol.
RADAR GUN : a device to check the speed of a vehicle
UNIT OF MEASURE IN THE USA : speed limit signs are MILES PER HOUR (a mile is about 1,6 km) and gasoline is measured in GALLONS (a gallon is about 3.79 liters).
a GAS GUZZLER : a vehicle that burns too much gasoline
to GUZZLE : to drink or eat fast.
to be PARCHED : to be really thirsty
AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION : gears are changed automatically as the vehicle moves, freeing the driver from having to shift gears manually
CRUISE CONTROL : a system that automatically controls the speed of a vehicle
RUSH HOURS : times of heavy traffic (usually between 7-9am and 4-6pm when people are driving to work)
BELTLINE / BELTWAY : a highway that by-passes the city center
BLACK ICE : a thin layer of frozen rain/ice, very dangerous because it appears to be the same color as the road (black).
a COMMUTE : the journey from home to school or workplace
a PILE UP : a multi-car accident
RUBBERNECKING : drivers slowing down, turning to look at the accident that happened on the other side of the road
FENDER-BENDER : a minor accident, with minor damage
CLOSE CALL : when you come close to having an accident
CAR POOL LANES : lanes designated for passenger vehicles with 2 or more people.
to TAILGATE : following too close while driving, not keeping a reasonable distance between two vehicles
to SLAM ON THE BRAKES : to stop abruptly
to CUT OFF : To pull in front of a car abruptly without signaling first
to BE FRESH OUT OF something : to have just run out of something
HELMET : a form of protective gear worn on the head to protect it from injuries.
TRAFFIC COURT : a municipality's specialized judicial process for handling cases of traffic violation
March 11, 2011 04:26 AM PST
M - Well, today we're going to talk about SPORTS !
M - First of all, Cindy, let me tell you one thing that I noticed about team sports in the States: there are 4 main team sports. Not one but F o u r !
C - Yes, Basketball, Baseball , Hockey and Football.
M - And when you mention Football you don't mean European Football that is soccer to Americans, do you?
C - No, soccer has grown in The States, but it still doesn't carry the fan base it holds in the rest of the world.
M - So 4 team sports that have an incredible number of fans.
C - That's possible because the championships are played throughout the year, so the sporting seasons don't overlap each other much, giving each sport its own season. For example Major League Baseball runs roughly April through October, while American Football the NFL (National Football League) is played September through January.
M - …..ending with America's biggest TV sport event.
C – Yes, the famous Super Bowl ! Everyone watches the Super Bowl game and of course the Half Time show! Friends and family gather in pubs or at home to watch. Great food is prepared. Rivalries intensify. Truthfully it's mainly about food and breaking your friend's balls on facebook. It's a lot of fun.
M – Well Maybe you should tell our listeners about the The Half Time Show …
C - It's a concert, a performance given during the break between the second and third quarter of the game. Great performances, artists like Bruce Springsteen, U2, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson... This year we saw The Black Eved Peas Usher and Slash from my personal favorite Guns and Roses.
The Super Bowl is always an exciting event. The TV commercials are famous too. Advertisers pay extraordinary amounts of money for Super Bowl air time. Last year 30 seconds of advertising time was expected to cost 2.6 million US dollars.
You know, we may say that in general football attracts more television viewers than baseball, although baseball attracts significantly more ticket sales due to its much longer schedule.
M – And there are also Basketball and Hockey, as well. (NHL) National Hockey League runs October though April and the NBA National Basketball Association November through April.
C - Hockey is more popular in the colder climates of the northern United States such as New England and in the Midwest. And our neighbors in Canada are crazy about Hockey! But that's a topic for another show.
M – I can tell you for sure that Hockey is very popular in Michigan, I was there a couple of years ago during the Stanley Cup finals and I was supposed to perform a live concert, because you know I'm a singer, well, that night I had to wait for the match to be over before the music could start, because everyone was glued to the TV screen!
C – Awesome!! Isn't that what sport is about? Supporting your favorite team . Going crazy when they win or lose? Wearing those T-shirts proudly, cheering on your heroes and supporting them when they're down. It's a great atmosphere. It really brings family and friends together, and it even unites countries.
M – Do you know what I like about American sports culture?
C – What's that?
M - You can turn any match into great entertainment. When I went to a Baseball game in Miami , for example, I was fascinated by the whole thing. Starting from the tailgate parties in the parking lot before the game...
C – Oh, wait a minute, Marta, let's explain tailgate parties. A tailgate party is a pic-nic, a pic-nic in the parking lot before the game.
M – And after that there was the national anthem to be sung all together, do you know that? “...the land of the free and the home of the brave!!!”
C – You're awesome.
M - And then the fireworks, the cheerleaders, there even was a concert at the end of the game...
C - I mean, you can spend a whole night partying with your friends and family. Marta, was there any baseball being played somewhere between the barbecue and the concert ?
M - Yes, and do you know where the fun began?
C – Where?
M - With the parking attendant asking me how many people usually attend the baseball game of my local team in the little town I am from in Italy.
C - A little different, uh?
M – And I answered “ 15” and he asked “thousand” ? And I said : 'No, fifteen. Period.'
C - Well, the parking attendant would have expected at least 15 hundred.
M - Yes, actually that's a good point about numbers for our listeners, watch out, you can say one thousand and five hundred or 15 hundred. That's the same. (1500)
C – Yes, so you had a great time at the game?
M - Yes, that's America, always entertaining.
C - And speaking of entertainment, how about sports and Hollywood? Can you think of any films centered around one of these sports?
M - “Space Jam” about Basketball starring Michael Jordan, or “Field of dreams” about baseball.
C – Do you remember “Jerry Maguire” with Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr ? -Show me the money!!-
M – And “Any given Sunday” or “Leatherheads” both about football.
C – Or “The Longest Yard” with Adam Sandler. Love that movie. It was a remake of a 1974 Burt Reynolds film. Oh, and “The Blind Side”.
M – “The Blind Side”, that makes me think of another aspect of American sports that I noticed.
Actually sports play a very important role in schools.
C – That's true.
M - High Schools and Colleges are equipped with fields and arenas and gymnasiums … teams and championships are nearly as important as national ones. Just think of the NCAA .
C – The National Collegiate Athletic Association. Marta, I live in The States just outside of Chapel Hill, North Carolina home of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team. And the Tar Heels feel it is their birthright to be part of the final four and go on to win the ACC tournament, the Altantic Coast Conference. College basketball is taken very seriously in North Carolina where many NBA players first started out , Michael Jordan for one. Gifted high school athletes who make an impression are sometimes sought-after at the college level and then have a good chance to continue their career in the NBA or NFL.
M – You start a rookie and you become - through hard work, study, dedication and determination - a champion. By the way Cindy, how would you explain the word “rookie” to our listeners ?
C – A rookie is a beginner, someone who is in their first year of something, not necessarily sport. You can be a rookie mum, if it's your first child and everything is new to you.
M - Or you can be a rookie English student !
C – Yes, you know what? It's amazing how sports are part of our everyday life. We use a lot of idioms derived from sports. For example, when you asked me to do this podcast about sports I thought: Marta you are really barking up the wrong tree with this one. It's a long shot, I know nothing about sports. I felt like I was behind the 8 ball. But you're calling the shots. So I thought it's time to fish or cut bait. The cards are stacked against me but I'm gonna get into full swing, keep my eye on the ball and hit a home run.
M – Wow, Cindy, slow down, you used a whole lot of idioms, I guess we need to go through them with our listeners. So, first of all you said: you are barking up the wrong tree.
C- That's a great one, isn't it? This is a hunting reference, referring to the hunter and his confused dog who has mistakenly led the sportsmen to the wrong tree. So if I go to the bakery for example and ask for a pound of sausage I'm barking up the wrong tree.
M – All right that's clear now. Then you said : It's a long shot. What does that mean?
C - If you bet on a horse that is unlikely to win, that's a long shot. It's doubtful that you will win the bet. If you apply for a job that you're seriously underqualified for, that's a long shot.
M – Ok. How about : To be behind the 8 ball ?
C – It means to feel under pressure. It's a reference to shooting pool, billiards. For example, at school, if you have a lot of exams coming up, you feel under pressure and behind the 8 ball.
M – All right. Then you said: you're calling the shots.
C - That means : You're the boss.
M - Oh, thank you!
C - You're the referee of the game. When I was a kid, my father called the shots in my family, he was the boss.
M - Clear. Now that one was interesting: It's time to fish or cut bait.
C - I love this! This is a reference to fishing, it means to get serious, stop wasting time, do the job or go home, just like a fisherman who has spent his day waiting for a fish to bite. He must make the decision to continue on fishing or cut his line and go home. An example could be a boy who really likes a girl but he's afraid to ask her out on a date. There would be a time where he has to fish or cut bait. Ask her out or give up the dream.
M - What about : The cards are stacked against me but I'm gonna get into full swing.
C - It's like the odds are not in your favour but you're gonna go for it and make the best of it. Get into full swing, means to give it your all and be enthusiastic. It can also be used for parties: the party was in full swing and everyone was having a great time!
M – Then we had: Keep my eye on the ball and hit a home run.
C.- Both baseball references : keep your eye on the ball means stay focused and hit a home run means to succeed.
M – Ok. Well, now you'd better repeat it all for our listeners, now they can understand you.
C – I said : when you asked me to do this podcast about sports I thought: Marta you are really barking up the wrong tree with this one. It's a long shot, I know nothing about sports. I felt like I was behind the 8 ball. But you're calling the shots. So I thought it's time to fish or cut bait. The cards are stacked against me but I'm gonna get into full swing, keep my eye on the ball and hit a home run.
M – All right, Cindy, now let's stay focused on sports idioms and keep the ball rolling, that means keep the conversation moving. I have a few idioms that refer to the boxing world.
C – Oh great, we haven't talked about boxing yet.
M – To hit below the belt, that is an illegal move, so it means to act unfairly.
C – Arguments for example may become heated and angry words are hurled at each other, you may say something really hurtful, that's hitting below the belt.
M – Another one: Saved by the bell, the end of the round saves the boxer from defeat, so it means to be saved from a situation that you don't like because you run out of time.
C – At school, if the bell rings and the class is over before it's your turn to speak, you're saved by the bell.
M – And : Knockout. If I say “she's a knockout” that's a hell of a compliment, isn't it?
C - You're a knockout, Marta.
M – Thank you, you too!
C – It means she's stunningly attractive, she knocks men out with her beauty, she makes them weak in the knees.
M – What else? Throw in the towel, that signals the end of the match, so you admit defeat, you surrender.
C – This podcast is getting more and more difficult for our listeners to understand, let's hope that they don't throw in the towel and give up on us.
M - No, guys, hang in there, we're almost finished here anyway. But as a very famous baseball player once said “it ain't over till it's over”
C – oh, Yogi Berra wasn't it? He's almost more famous for his Yogiisms than he was for his amazing baseball career.
M - “...and baby it ain't over till it's over”
C – Lenny Kravitz, right? Fantastic!
M – All right. Before we go, let me remind you that you can find the transcription of this podcast including all these sport idioms on martainnocenti.com
Well thanks for joining us everyone, and remember to keep your eye on the ball, and your ball is -of course- your English lessons.
C - Are we finished ?
M - I guess so.
C - Oh, saved by the bell.
M – Cindy, are you throwing in the towel ?
C- no, I think we did a great job and kept the ball rolling and for two rookies I think it was a knockout performance!
M – It was.
C - Thanks everyone, bye bye!....
M – Bye-bye! See you next time!
to BE GLUED TO THE TV SCREEN : to be stuck on a TV program
TAILGATE PARTY : a picnic in the parking lot before the game is played.
NATIONAL ANTHEM : the official national song of a country
1500 : 15 HUNDRED or 1 thousand 5 hundred.
ROOKIE : a beginner
IDIOMS DERIVED FROM SPORTS mentioned in this episode :
- you are barking up the wrong tree
- it's a long shot
- to be behind the 8 ball
- you are calling the shots
- it's time to fish or cut bait
- I'm gonna get into full swing
- keep my eye on the ball
- hit a home run
- keep the ball rolling
- to hit below the belt
- saved by the bell
- to be a knockout
- throw in the towel
March 11, 2011 03:42 AM PST
M - So, today we're gonna talk about SHOPPING !
C - Oh, well, Americans love shopping.
M- They do.
C - We have a lot of MEGASTORES.
M -Such as ?
C - For example Wal-Mart, “monster” Wal-Mart, Best Buy for all your electronics needs, Target which is similar to Wal-Mart (Americans love convenience, they like to have everything at their fingertips) And many are open until 9 p.m. every night, seven days a week. Or some are even open 24/7.
M - What do you mean by 24/7 ?
C - By 24/7 I mean : 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
M - Yeah, you're right. When I went to America I was surprised by that, it seems strange to me, I mean I could buy anything I needed in the middle of the night, at least in big cities.
C - In big cities, usually.
M - It is also easy to find whatever you need while driving across the country.
C - Driving across country is really convenient, as I've done myself and I know you've done yourself a couple of times, exploring United States. It's very convenient because on the main highways you'll find SIGNS listing LODGING, GAS and FOOD just before each exit ramp.
M - That's really helpful.
C - Isn't it? When you're tired and you've been driving all day and you just want to stop, you just wait for that sign listing those hotels and find one you like and pull over, very close to the highway you'll find a room.
M - Just as simple as that.
C - Exactly.
M- Cindy, is there anything that a foreign tourist should know about prices in the USA?
C- Something unexpected for foreigners coming to visit us is that the price you see on the item is not exactly what you will pay. You will pay a certain percentage of SALES TAX on top of that and it varies from State to State. For example in New York City (a lot of people travel to New York City on vacation) New York has a 4% sales tax on each dollar, so if you were to buy an item for a dollar there'd be an extra 4 cents tacked on to it. And it varies from State to State, so you may wanna check that before you go on your trip. For example, California has 8.25% sales tax, Florida is 6%, and where I live in North Carolina is 5.75%. So that could really add up with your larger purchases.
M - Yeah, I mean, if you buy something expensive it makes a difference.
C - A huge difference, so you wanna be prepared for that.
M - Anything else that is unexpected to us?
C - Tipping. Let's talk about TIPPING. Was that a surprise to you the first time you came to the States?
M - The first time, yes. So, actually you give a TIP …
C - ...in addition to your bill, it's usually 15%, and it's given to the waiter or your waitress in appreciation for good service.
M - So it's extra-money that you give...
C - It's extra-money on top of the bill.
M - Don't waiters get a salary?
C - They get a reduced salary, actually.
M - So tips are really important.
C - Tips are really important and there's a great incentive in the States to provide good service to the customers, to make your dining experience pleasurable.
M – Yeah, right. Is there any place except from restaurants where tipping is customary?
C - Tipping is customary in many places, it's not mandatory but it's polite and it's to show your appreciation of a job well done. For example, a valet that would park your car for you, the porter at the airport, shuttle drivers that would take you maybe to your hotel once you've left the airport, again, customary to tip a few dollars.
M - All right, so watch out, it could be expensive, more than what you expect!
C - That's it, start carrying your own bags !
M - Well, actually we're talking about shopping but we are in the middle of an economic crisis, so how is retail responding to that ?
C - There are markdowns on everything now. Markdowns meaning the price has been marked down, reduced.
M - Reduced, so it's lower.
C - The price is lower. There's a lot of “buy one, get one for free” incentives.
M - Yeah, I like that.
C - Or “Buy one and get one half off” which is my favorite way to buy shoes.
M - And how about the restaurants?
C - Restaurants also took quite a hit, many restaurants have gone under, and by gone under I mean they've gone out of business, they've closed. A lot of restaurants, what they've offered is a reduced price menu, a budget price menu, you may not get the large portions that you are accustomed to in America, but you'll get a little less food but at a very reasonable price.
M - So people have to reduce their spending but they are still dreaming of Tiffany's, Rodeo Drive, 5th Avenue and...that kind of stuff ?
C - Oh, aren't we all ? Marta, do you remember Pretty Woman's scene on Rodeo Drive ?
M - Of course I do!
C - That scene turned me into a 'shopaholic' , that very same day I ran out with my brand new credit card and bought those thigh high black leather boots.
M - Really?! Could you walk on that?!
C - No!
M - So you just wanted to buy them...
C - I wanted to be Pretty Woman.
M - I see, I see. How about all those TV shows and movies like Sex and the City and I Love Shopping ?
C - That's Hollywood effect on us. It turns us all into 'shopaholics'.
M - It's unbelievable. Well, I think now it's time for quotes about shopping.
All right, Cindy, I know you have a great sentence by Dolly Parton.
C - Oh, my favorite, I love Dolly Parton. Dolly Parton said : “You'd be surprised how much it costs to look this cheap.”
M - I'd be surprised, I guess. I got another interesting sentence, it's by Benjamin Franklin and here it goes : “Beware of little expenses, a small leak will sink a great ship”. That's it!
C - And Adrienne Gusoff : “Shopping is better than sex. If you're not satisfied after shopping you can make an exchange for something you really like.”
M - And Will Rogers: “Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like.”
C - Oh, how much happier would we be if we listened to all those words?
M - You're right.
M - As far as shopping is concerned Teenagers are professionals. So I guess we should get in contact with a friend of ours, Ashley. I'll try and give her a ring. Here she comes...here she is.. Hey, Ashley, how are you doing?
A - Hi Marta! How are you honey?
M - I'm fine, where are you? Oh, I'm sorry, can you introduce yourself to our listeners?
A - Hi everyone, I'm Ashley, with a Y, 'cause I like lil’ smiley faces with my Y’s.
M - So...you draw smiley faces when you write your name..?
A - It's really cool. I'll show you next time I see you, ok?
M - I can't wait. So, where are you?
A - We're at the mall, Kelly and I are at the mall, we're getting mani's and pedi's , it's so cute, Marta, I got French tips on my toes, and we're gonna go out and buy toe rings. We're just hanging out at the mall, we're just chilling because I can't spend any more money, Marta, I maxed out my credit card.
M - You maxed out your credit card.
A - My Dad won't let me shop any more, so we're getting mani's and pedi's as I told you, and then we're gonna go and get Smoothies, and then....oh, my God, oh Marta! I bought the coolest eye-shadow, it was a steal, it's silver and it's all sparkly.
M - It was a steal, oh my God, Ashley, are you crazy? Do you mean you stole it?
A - Marta, I didn't steal it, no, I mean I got it on sale.
M - You meant it was not expensive, so it was a steal. (oh, teenagers!)
A - I got it for , like, nothing, ok well I got it for like 6.99 $, but it was originally 12.99$ then it was marked down, and I had a coupon, and I got it for like 6.99$ it was a steal. it's so pretty, I'll show you next time I see you.
M - All right so I really gotta go now.
A - Oh, you have to go? No, Marta, wait a minute, I have to tell you something. Debbie is here.
M - Debbie who?
A - Debbie, I told you about her, that b**ch.
M - Who? Oh, that 'bitch'!
A - She's the one who stole Kelly's boyfriend, I told you about her last week. She bought the dress that Kelly wanted, she's such a bitch!
M - I guess she is. So, girls, what are you gonna do now?
A - We have to go window shopping. 'cause I can't spend any more money, my credit card's maxed out, so we're just looking, we're just window shopping.
M - I see, so don't spend too much of your father's money.
A - I won't
M - Behave!
A - I will.
M - Have fun, girls!
A - Ok, will you go shopping next week ...with me?
M - Yes, of course...
A - I wanna show you where I got that eye-shadow!
M - Of course... Bye honey!
A - Bye Marta!
M - Ooh! Wow, I made it! Sometimes teenagers are so difficult to deal with! Ooh! Cindy....
C - Sweet girl, though.
M - She's sweet, kind of sweet.
A - Kind of on her own planet, but she's a nice girl.
M - Yeah, and she's crazy about shopping too, it seems like... women just can't help but go shopping, no matter the age.
C - It's true.
M - Women can't help but go shopping, that's an interesting expression.
C - Yeah, we don't mean help as in...
M - ...to assist, giving assistance...
C - “I can't help it”, it means it's stronger than me.
M - I can't resist, I can't avoid it. I really need to go shopping.
C - I need to go shopping especially after watching (the film) Pretty Woman.
M - And when is the best period of the year to go shopping ?
C - Oh, well after Christmas sales, fantastic, because everyone wants to get rid of their stock, there are markdowns everywhere.
M - So in that period of the year you can't help but …
C - ...take advantage of the sales! And in between the seasons, as well.
M - Well, I guess, that's it. We have already taken up enough of our listeners' time, so, guys, I can't help but say goodbye here.
C - And stay off the roads because I think Ashley just got her driver's license.
M - She's dangerous, watch out!
That's all, folks! You can find the trascription of this podcast on martainnocenti.com
Thank you again for listening but now we really have to go, we have to go shopping! Bye!
C - Thanks everyone, bye bye!
M - See you next time!
24/7 : 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
TIP : extra-money (approximately %15 of total bill) given on top of the bill in appreciation for good service
MARKDOWNS : to mark down a price means to reduce a price
to GO OUT OF BUSINESS / to GO UNDER : to close a business, cease to exist
a SHOPAHOLIC : a person addicted to shopping
I MAXED OUT MY CREDIT CARD : I can't charge any more purchases on my credit card because I have reached my charge limit.
IT WAS A STEAL : Not actually stealing. A way to say something wasn't expensive at all, I got it on sale.
to GO WINDOW SHOPPING : hanging out and watching the windows without buying anything.
I CAN'T HELP IT / I CAN'T HELP BUT GO SHOPPING / I CAN'T HELP BUT ... : I can't resist, I can't avoid it, it's stronger than me.