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Preview: English as a Second Language Podcast

English as a Second Language (ESL) Podcast - Learn English Online

A podcast for those wanting to learn or improve their English - great for any ESL or EFL learner. Visit us at as a Second Language Podcast is for anyone who wants to improve their English speaking and listening skills.

Published: Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:27:50 -0500

Last Build Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:27:51 -0500

Copyright: Copyright Center for Educational Development 2005

1,253 - Using a Ridesharing Service

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 14:00:00 -0500

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

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

Carl: Let’s get a taxi.

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

Carl: A limo? That’s too expensive.

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

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

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

Carl: We don’t have much cash on us.

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

Carl: You know our driver?

Doris: He’s my son.

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

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

Carl: What’s that?

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

Carl: That seems like a strange arrangement.

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

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 577

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 02:00:00 -0500

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

land grant
to negotiate
to annex
to resort to
to fly in the face of (something)


Media Files:

1,252 - Reneging on a Promise

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 14:00:00 -0500

I promise you that you will learn all about how to break a promise on this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:23
Explanations: 3:43
Fast dialog: 17:56

Jean-Paul: What’s going on? I thought it was a done deal.

Charlene: I think you misunderstood. The last time we talked, I said I would think about partnering up, but now that I have, I’m going to beg off.

Jean-Paul: What you said was that you were agreeable to the idea and that we would work out the details later. Now you’re backtracking?

Charlene: I would never renege on a promise. If I gave my word, I would follow through. In this case, I didn’t.

Jean-Paul: I’m really surprised by your denial. I didn’t have you pegged as someone who backs out of deals.

Charlene: All I can say is that we don’t see eye to eye. Let’s agree to disagree and leave it at that.

Jean-Paul: That’s easy for you to say. Your failure to honor your promise is going to put me in a very awkward position.

Charlene: How’s that? We only spoke yesterday.

Jean-Paul: I may have made some promises of my own and now I’ll have to get out of them somehow.

Charlene: May I make a suggestion?

Jean-Paul: What? Deny, deny, deny?

Charlene: Well, it’s worked for me.

Jean-Paul: Oh, the nerve of some people!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,251 - Getting a Confession

Fri, 14 Oct 2016 14:00:00 -0500

If the police arrest you, don’t tell them anything. Call a lawyer and then listen to this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:21
Explanations: 3:10
Fast dialog: 17:44
Andy: I got it! I got a confession.

Diane: You got a confession out of that suspect? How did you do it? We’ve been after that guy for days.

Andy: I put the pressure on and he buckled.

Diane: Did you make threats?

Andy: Of course I made threats. It’s an interrogation, not a tea party.

Diane: The confession is no good if it’s coerced.

Andy: I may have gone over the line a little, but who’s to know?

Diane: He knows and any half-decent lawyer will make mincemeat out of that confession. He’ll get it thrown out of court in a heartbeat.

Andy: I leaned on him a little hard, but it’s not like I put the screws on him.

Diane: You have a lot to learn.

Andy: Do you think I should go back in there and talk to him?

Diane: Stay out of there. You’ve done enough damage. Rookies!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 576

Wed, 12 Oct 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: American Authors – James Baldwin; Famous Songs – "High Hopes"; homeless versus destitute; odd versus odds; "I'm not a has-been. I am a will-be."

to base something on
sexual orientation
civil rights
high hopes
campaign song
to be on the right track
to back


Media Files:

1,250 – Dealing With Bossy People

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 14:00:00 -0500

Learn how to handle people who always want to tell you what to do in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:32
Explanations: 3:40
Fast dialog: 16:40

Rachel: What you need to do is…

Logan: Stop bossing me around! I know what I’m doing so back off.

Rachel: What’s gotten into you? I’m not bossing you around. I’m trying to help you. Some people are so ungrateful.

Logan: It’s true that I’ve made my share of mistakes, but I don’t need you here to push me around calling all the shots.

Rachel: Here’s a reality check: Without me keeping an eye on you and steering you away from bad decisions, you’d be back in trouble again.

Logan: When I asked for your help, I’d forgotten how pushy and controlling you are. I’m not going to let you walk all over me like you did when we were kids.

Rachel: Who is trying to walk all over you? If you think I’m being high-handed then I’m out of here.

Logan: Good. I don’t know what possessed me to ask you for help in the first place.

Rachel: Well, things never change, do they?

Logan: Apparently not!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,249 – Making Temporary Repairs

Fri, 07 Oct 2016 14:00:00 -0500

Sometimes you don’t need to fix things perfectly to get them to work. Learn more in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:36
Explanations: 3:48
Fast dialog: 18:45

Desiree: Hey, what happened to the lights?

Chris: I think you have a short or maybe a loose wire.

Desiree: My guests are going to arrive any minute. What am I going to do?

Chris: Don’t worry. In an emergency, I’m your man. Whatever the problem is, I can probably find a stopgap solution.

Desiree: Are you sure? I don’t want you to get electrocuted.

Chris: When I was growing up, we lived in the middle of nowhere and my parents had to make do. They improvised all the time, using what was on hand to make repairs.

Desiree: They both sound very handy.

Chris: They did what they had to do. Whatever the problem was, they were able to cobble together something, even if it was a little makeshift. I like to think I learned a thing or two from them.

Desiree: So do you think you can fix this?

Chris: Well, it’s not going to be done properly, but I’ll jury-rig something so the lights will work temporarily until you can get it repaired professionally.

Desiree: That’s great, but just in case, I think I’ll run to the store for some candles.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 575

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: The Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783 and the creation of the District of Columbia; The Hollywood Sign; next versus upcoming versus future; critical situation versus critical position; steaming

to represent
to erect
chamber of commerce
to restore
to trespass
critical situation
critical position


Media Files:

1,248 - Describing New and Old Equipment

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 14:00:00 -0500

Get the latest, best machine in this episode - and learn how to talk about it to your friends!
Slow dialog: 1:36
Explanations: 3:23
Fast dialog: 18:47

Oleg: Geez, look at that dinosaur.

Raquel: This is not a dinosaur. It’s a classic. It will never go out of style and it’s built to last.

Oleg: It’s an antique and belongs in a museum. You’ve got to get with it and get one of these.

Raquel: What’s that?

Oleg: It’s the latest model, with cutting edge design. It’s brand spanking new.

Raquel: That’s all right. This machine is tried-and-true and it never lets me down.

Oleg: Why don’t you take this for a test drive? It’ll be an eye-opening experience for you.

Raquel: No, thanks.

Oleg: You don’t know what you’re missing.

Raquel: That’s true, but I’m happy with my machine.

Oleg: Fine. I’m just trying to help you move with the times.

Raquel: Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll stick with what I know and love.

Oleg: It just goes to show there’s no accounting for taste.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,247 - Doing Meal Planning

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 14:00:00 -0500

Make a grocery list and check it twice! Learn how to shop for food in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:21
Explanations: 4:02
Fast dialog: 15:35
Donny: Have you ever heard of something called a “meal plan”?

Helene: Sure, I make one each week before I go grocery shopping. It saves time and money.

Donny: My mother suggested I make one now that I’m staying home with the kids and Sydney is going back to work.

Helene: See this? This is my meal plan. I map out the dinners I’ll be making each day. It helps me a lot.

Donny: How? It seems like a lot of work.

Helene: Well, for one thing, I only have to go grocery shopping once a week. I buy a week’s worth of groceries in one fell swoop.

Donny: I guess that’s helpful, but it still seems like too much work.

Helene: Here’s what I do. I look at each week’s store circular to see what’s seasonal and on sale. I pull out my recipes that include those items and I see if I have any coupons I can use.

Donny: I still don’t see how I can save much money.

Helene: I also use the sale items for more than one meal and make enough to have leftovers for lunch the next day. It works like a charm.

Donny: I think I’ll stick to my original plan.

Helene: Which is?

Donny: To plead ignorance and ask my mother over to our house to give me cooking lessons. By the time I cook well enough on my own, the children will be nearly full-grown!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 574

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: Classic TV & Movies – Mission: Impossible; Famous Americans – Alfred Stieglitz; satisfactory versus satisfying; damaged goods and majorly unfair

to disavow
to self-destruct
special effects
damaged goods
majorly unfair
to kill (someone) with kindness


Media Files:

1,246 - Getting a Gynecological Exam

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 14:00:00 -0500

Learn about how to talk about common women’s health issues in English in this episode.
Slow dialog: 1:20
Explanations: 4:17
Fast dialog: 19:34

Matt: Hello, viewers! On our show today, we have Dr. Rodriguez, who is here to tell us about women’s health. Welcome, Dr. Rodriguez.

Dr. Rodriguez: Thanks for having me.

Matt: Tell us. As a gynecologist, what one piece of advice would you give to women to help them stay healthy?

Dr. Rodriguez: Well, as part of their regular checkups, they should be getting a gynecological exam.

Matt: This may surprise you, but I’ve never had one. Ha, ha!

Dr. Rodriguez: When women come in for an exam, I check several things. I do a breast exam to check for lumps to detect breast cancer. I also show women how to do this at home on their own.

Matt: Is that all?

Dr. Rodriguez: No, I do a pelvic exam and a Pap smear to rule out cervical cancer. I also look for anything problematic, such as unusual discharge or signs of STDs.

Matt: That sounds painful. Ouch!

Dr. Rodriguez: It’s not painful and it’s very important. I also discuss with women their menstrual cycles, issues related to being sexually active, birth control methods, fertility issues, and menopause.

Matt: I didn’t know what I was missing!

Dr. Rodriguez: My point is that it’s important for women to talk to their doctor about any medical issues they may have.

Matt: And my point is: I’m glad I’m not a woman!

Dr. Rodriguez: That’s not the message…

Matt: Thanks for coming in, doctor. And now, let’s talk about something really important – celebrity news!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,245 - Measuring Mass and Volume

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 14:00:00 -0500

They say a teaspoon of sugar helps the medicine go down, but what about three quarts? Find out how to talk about measurements in English in this episode.
Slow dialog: 1:38
Explanations: 2:50
Fast dialog: 17:59

Andre: Three gallons of water.

Dana: Check.

Andre: A quart of lemon juice.

Dana: Got it.

Andre: A tablespoon of bleach.

Dana: Bleach?

Andre: Bleach. A pint of vinegar.

Dana: It’s in there.

Andre: A cup of baking soda.

Dana: Okay.

Andre: A teaspoon of liquid detergent.

Dana: Done.

Andre: A pound of bath salts.

Dana: A pound?

Andre: A pound. Three tablespoons of chlorine.

Dana: Okay.

Andre: An ounce of perfume.

Dana: Done. Do you really think this is necessary?

Andre: Have you smelled your stinky dog?!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 573

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: American Authors – Kurt Vonnegut; Famous Songs – “When You Wish Upon a Star”; to knock up versus to knock down versus to knock over versus to knock off; new versus brand new; give and take

to capture
to bomb
science fiction
to hope
to wish
to knock up
to knock down
to knock over
to knock off
brand new
give and take


Media Files:

1,244 - Preparing Packages for Shipping

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 14:00:00 -0500

Good things come in small packages, but you have to make sure they don’t break when you mail them. Find out how to prevent that in this episode.
Slow dialog: 1:28
Explanations: 4:06
Fast dialog: 18:28

Suzanne: Pass me the packing tape. This box is ready to be sealed.

George: Wait! You can’t just send our product like that. It needs to be protected so it won’t break in transit.

Suzanne: That doesn’t speak well for our product, does it?

George: It has nothing to do with the quality of our product. It’s all about the quality of the packing. Hand me some bubble wrap.

Suzanne: Here.

George: See what I’m doing? I’m wrapping each product in two layers of bubble wrap, placing them in the box, and then filling in the gaps with packing peanuts. Got that?

Suzanne: Fine, I’ll pack it the way you want it. What about these smaller products? You want them packed in a box?

George: No, the smaller products should be shipped in padded mailers like these.

Suzanne: Should I wrap the product in bubble wrap first?

George: No, these padded mailers should protect them from impact.

Suzanne: Good. Let’s put on a label and be done with it.

George: Hold on. These boxes and mailers need to be taped up so they don’t open during shipping. Make sure all openings are sealed.

Suzanne: Okay, now are we done?

George: Sure, with this batch – just 64 more to go.

Suzanne: Uh!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,243 - Getting an Anesthetic

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 17:44:00 -0500

Count backwards from 100 while listening to this episode. If you fall asleep before it’s over, you’re probably about to have surgery. You'd better start listening right away.

Slow dialog: 1:35
Explanations: 3:59
Fast dialog: 16:20

Nurse: I’m here to prep you for your procedure. Did the doctor already talk to you about the general anesthetic you’ll be getting?

Bruce: I don’t need a general anesthetic. I want to be conscious during the procedure.

Nurse: You’ll be inhaling a general anesthetic and getting an intravenous muscle relaxant. That’s standard for this procedure.

Bruce: I’m not a wimp. Tell the doctor all I need is a local anesthetic to numb the area.

Nurse: You’ll need something stronger. You don’t want to feel any sensation or pain during the procedure.

Bruce: I’m not afraid of a little pain. Bring it on!

Nurse: Anyway, the general anesthetic will wear off soon after the procedure. However, the doctor will keep you under sedation for the rest of the day so you can rest.

Bruce: Forget it. When it’s done, I’m going home. I’m not staying here overnight.

Nurse: That’s not advisable. You need to remain under observation for 24 hours.

Bruce: That’s for other people. I’m tough. I’ll be up and ready to go. What’s that needle for?

Nurse: It’s to give you a shot before your procedure.

Bruce: [whimpers] I don’t like needles. Get that away from me!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 572

Wed, 14 Sep 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: Famous Americans – Eli Whitney; The Ziegfeld Follies; ROFL, straight outta, and meme; shack versus shed; to take advantage of versus to seize

to sue
mass production
straight outta
to take advantage of
to seize


Media Files:

1,242 - Having Difficulty Reaching a Group Decision

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 17:44:00 -0500

Is it better to be right or to get out of that meeting a few minutes earlier? Find out in this episode about getting everyone in a group to agree.

Slow dialog: 1:10
Explanations: 3:17
Fast dialog: 17:05

Derrick: That does it. I give up!

Liz: Don’t lose heart. We’ll come to a consensus sooner or later.

Derrick: No, we won’t. We’re hopelessly deadlocked.

Liz: It’s true we’re evenly split right now, but we only need one person to change their mind to break the tie.

Derrick: The trouble is, everybody seems to have made up their minds and they’re beginning to dig in their heels.

Liz: Before they do, let’s take one more vote. Maybe somebody has changed their mind.

Derrick: I doubt it. Nobody wants to be outvoted so both sides are trying to maintain the status quo. They’d rather be deadlocked than on the losing side.

Liz: But if we don’t reach an agreement, we’ll have to come back tomorrow and continue our discussions and deliberations.

Derrick: You’re right! I can’t spend another day in this room. I’ve held out long enough.

Liz: What do you mean?

Derrick: The only way I’m getting out of here is to change sides!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,241 - Breaking an Arm or a Leg

Fri, 09 Sep 2016 17:44:00 -0500

If you fall and break your arm or leg, you will want to know how to talk about it in English. Learn how in this episode.
Slow dialog: 1:24
Explanations: 3:25
Fast dialog: 17:10

Elizabeth: We need to get you to the hospital right now!

Sidney: I took a tumble, that’s all. It’s nothing – just a little pain in my elbow and leg.

Elizabeth: Your arm is twisted in an odd angle and you’re limping. You could have broken bones.

Sidney: In the past, I’ve had a compound fracture in my ankle and a stress fracture in my wrist, and they both hurt a lot more than this. I’m sure it’s nothing serious.

Elizabeth: Look how your arm is swelling up. It almost looks deformed. And you still can’t put weight on your leg.

Sidney: The last thing I need right now is to get a splint or a cast. I have to get to work.

Elizabeth: You can’t work in the shape you’re in. Why don’t you let me take you to the emergency room to get treated?

Sidney: I’ll just take a couple of painkillers and walk it off.

Elizabeth: You mean limp it off. Well, in the end, it’s your arm, it’s your leg, and it’s your funeral!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 571

Wed, 07 Sep 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: Classic TV Shows – The Addams Family; The Hoover Dam; “Silence is only frightening to people who are compulsively verbalizing”; pronouncing “man” and “men”

to verbalize


Media Files:

1,240 - Giving Correct Change

Mon, 05 Sep 2016 17:44:00 -0500

Being able to add and subtract without a calculator is still useful in life. Find out why in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:28
Explanations: 4:20
Fast dialog: 20:19

Evelyn: If you want a job here as a cashier, you’ll need to be able to give correct change.

Hank: Don’t you use a cash register here?

Evelyn: We do, but when it’s not working, we have to be able to calculate change in our heads in a pinch.

Hank: Oh, I didn’t realize that.

Evelyn: Okay, let’s see how you do with a simple sale. Let’s say I’m purchasing these two items and I’m paying with a $20 bill.

Hank: All right, give me a minute…the total is $9.36.

Evelyn: Make sure you count back the change.

Hank: I’ve never done that before. I’m not sure I know how.

Evelyn: Count up starting with the coins and working your way up to the paper money. Count out loud so the customer gets a running total.

Hank: Okay, but first I have to do the math. The change should be...Can I have a piece of paper to check my work? I don’t want to short the customer or give them too much change.

Evelyn: You won’t have time to do that with each customer. Math wasn’t your favorite subject in school, was it?

Hank: You’re right about that. Maybe I need to work on my math skills. In the meantime, I’m handy with a mop.

Evelyn: Good to hear. There’s a cleanup on aisle three that’s got your name all over it.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,239 - Sharing an Online Account

Fri, 02 Sep 2016 17:44:00 -0500

Life can be risky in our Internet world. Learn about why you should be careful about sharing your online accounts with other people in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:26
Explanations: 4:10
Fast dialog: 19:05

Sara: Hello, customer service. How may I help you today?

Gabriel: Hello. I noticed some suspicious activity on my account and I want to find out if there’s been unauthorized access.

Sara: Let’s take a look. Your account history shows purchases nearly every day beginning two weeks ago.

Gabriel: That’s the problem. I haven’t made any purchases.

Sara: Do you have a shared account, by any chance?

Gabriel: Yes, I have a household account that’s shared by my entire family. My wife has full access, but my children only have restricted access.

Sara: I’m afraid that’s not showing in your account preferences. Both of your children have full access.

Gabriel: Even so, they know not to abuse their privileges. They wouldn’t buy things without asking my wife or me first.

Sara: Are you sure, sir? I show that both of your children have accessed the account regularly. In fact, they’re both logged on right now.

Gabriel: They are? What are they doing?

Sara: They’re in the process of buying several more items and are checking out.

Gabriel: Stop them! This is an emergency. Shut down my account.

Sara: I’m not sure I can do that, sir. Perhaps you can stop them on your end.

Gabriel: I’ll stop them all right. Just wait ‘til I get my hands on those two!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 570

Wed, 31 Aug 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: Famous Americans – Shirley Temple Black; Famous Songs – “Taps”; paper versus report; internship versus externship; to march (someone) to front of the class

to retire
board of directors
to extinguish
to adapt
to march (someone)


Media Files:

1,238 - Making Accusations

Mon, 29 Aug 2016 17:44:00 -0500

Did you steal my lunch today? Learn about blaming other people for something they may not have done in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:13
Explanations: 3:49
Fast dialog: 17:40

Pierre: What happened here?!

Marie: It looks like somebody trashed your experiment.

Pierre: It’s ruined, completely ruined.

Marie: Who could have done this? Why are you looking at me like that?

Pierre: Very few people have access to this lab and even fewer know which of these experiments is mine. Whoever did this knew how to do maximum damage.

Marie: And you’re accusing me? I helped you with that experiment. I’d sooner ruin my own work than intentionally damage someone else’s, much less yours. What would be my motive?

Pierre: Maybe you gave me a little too much help and now my work is outshining yours.

Marie: Your suspicions are completely unfounded. I’ve never been jealous of any attention you’ve received. You’re totally off base.

Pierre: Maybe you’re right. I’m sorry. I just can’t believe what’s happened.

Marie: I’d be upset, too, but let’s not do any more finger-pointing. We need more information before we accuse or exonerate anyone. Let’s try to stay calm.

Pierre: Yes, of course, you’re right. Hey, what happened to your workspace? It looks like it’s been tampered with.

Marie: What?! I’ll kill whoever did this! I’ll kill them!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 569

Wed, 24 Aug 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: John Muir and The Sierra Club; The Ma and Pa Kettle Movies; every versus each; Christmas/New Year break at colleges and universities; jinx

to preserve
to found


Media Files:

1,237 - Disagreements About Spending Money

Fri, 26 Aug 2016 17:44:00 -0500

Couples often disagree on how to spend their money. Learn how not to solve this problem in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:25
Explanations: 4:14
Fast dialog: 18:20

Ezra: Wait a minute. What happened to the $500 in our joint account?

Charlotte: I probably paid bills with it. You know that our paychecks barely cover our monthly expenses.

Ezra: I know, but I was counting on that $500 to pay for new tires for my car.

Charlotte: Do you really need new tires right now? The way I look at it, if there’s any balance in our account, I have dibs on it for some new shoes.

Ezra: Forget it. The tires are a necessity and your shoes are not. We’re each supposed to have $150 a month for discretionary spending for nonessentials and new shoes definitely falls into that category.

Charlotte: You don’t need to spend $500 for a set of new tires. You just want to splash the cash for some fancy ones.

Ezra: Let’s stop arguing about who gets to spend the money and first figure out what happened to it. According to this, the money was withdrawn from our account for automatic contributions to our retirement accounts.

Charlotte: Our what?

Ezra: Our retirement accounts. Remember last month we decided to start saving money for retirement?

Charlotte: Whose harebrained idea was that? Do you think we can get the money back?

Ezra: I’m not sure, but if we can, I have dibs!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,236 - Dressing Inappropriately for Work

Mon, 22 Aug 2016 17:44:00 -0500

Always dress professionally when you go to work. Learn why in this episode.
Slow dialog: 1:29
Explanations: 4:16
Fast dialog: 20:23

Thierry: I know it’s casual Friday, but some people just don’t know how to dress appropriately for work.

Olga: I was thinking the same thing. Look at Sandy. What she’s wearing is far too revealing.

Thierry: I was actually thinking about Jimmy. He’s wearing cutoffs and flip- flops. Where is his professionalism?

Olga: Don’t they know how they’re dressed can affect their careers? Some people can’t see past poor fashion choices.

Thierry: Yeah, so many people are closed- minded and think what people wear reflects their ability.

Olga: I’ve known a lot of people like that. Me? I always err on the side of caution.

Thierry: Is that why you never dress down?

Olga: That’s right. And I’ve noticed you don’t either.

Thierry: No, just because we suspend the dress code one day a week doesn’t mean we have to dress inappropriately.

Olga: True, though both Sandy and Jimmy look really comfortable.

Thierry: Yeah, they do. It must be nice to walk around the office without dress shoes. Maybe, just once, I’ll come to work in shorts next week.

Olga: What?! After everything you’ve said?

Thierry: I was thinking of tasteful shorts, nothing tacky.

Olga: Just remember that it’s a slippery slope, my friend. I hope to never see you here in a tank top!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,235 - Joining a Secret Society

Fri, 19 Aug 2016 17:44:00 -0500

Can you keep a secret? If you can, then I have the perfect group for you. Learn all about it in this episode.
Slow dialog: 1:19
Explanations: 3:46
Fast dialog: 17:12

Nathan: Can you keep a secret?

Mia: Sure.

Nathan: I’ve been initiated into a secret society at school. I’m one of the chosen few.

Mia: Is it supposed to be a big deal?

Nathan: Of course it is. It’s very exclusive. Not many people are invited to join.

Mia: But what’s the purpose of this secret society?

Nathan: Well, we have a secret handshake and we have some really mysterious rites and rituals.

Mia: What kinds of rites and rituals?

Nathan: I can’t tell you. I’ve been sworn to secrecy.

Mia: But what is the purpose of the society? Do you have some goal to accomplish, some reason for existence?

Nathan: The point is that the members are bound by an allegiance to each other and to the society.

Mia: You mean like you’d take a bullet for each other?

Nathan: Well, no.

Mia: Or protect each other at all costs, even by lying and cheating?

Nathan: No, at least I wouldn’t.

Mia: Then what does it all amount to?

Nathan: If anyone asks us about it, we deny its existence. We have a secret that no one else knows.

Mia: Not anymore.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 568

Wed, 17 Aug 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: Famous Americans – Duke Kahanamoku; The Quiz Shows of the 1950s; terms used for family favorites; when versus what time; based on versus on the basis of

freestyle (swimming)
quiz show
to rig
the apple of (one’s) eye
(one’s) favorite
black sheep
what time
based on
on the basis of


Media Files:

1,234 - Traveling With Pets

Mon, 15 Aug 2016 17:44:00 -0500

Do you want to bring you dog or cat with you on your vacation? Learn how difficult that can be in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:14
Explanations: 3:16
Fast dialog: 14:48

Amin: I can’t stand to be away from Fifi for two weeks. Can’t we bring her along?

Eva: We’ve talked about this before. Our dog does not like to travel. We’ll board her.

Amin: What if we get a really big crate or carrier that Fifi will feel comfortable in?

Eva: It won’t make a difference if she’s left out on a hot tarmac and has to spend hours in cargo hold.

Amin: It’ll be well ventilated and the crate will be large enough for her to turn around in.

Eva: She’ll still bark and whimper and you know it. Do you want her to suffer?

Amin: Of course not. What if she can travel in the cabin with us?

Eva: She’s too big.

Amin: We could change our travel plans, drive instead of fly.

Eva: We’re not changing our travel plans. She’ll be fine at the kennel.

Amin: She’ll have separation anxiety.

Eva: Are you talking about the dog or about you?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,233 - Improving Flexibility and Mobility

Fri, 12 Aug 2016 02:00:00 -0500

If you hurt yourself, you may need some physical therapy. Stretch your English by listening to this episode and learn all about it.
Slow dialog: 1:37
Explanations: 3:50
Fast dialog: 16:41

Rashida: Hi, I’m Rashida and I’m your physical therapist. I’m here to help you regain flexibility and mobility after your accident.

Phil: I’m really not sure I need a physical therapist. I can move around pretty well right now.

Rashida: Aren’t you feeling stiffness in your arms and tightness in your shoulders?

Phil: Not really.

Rashida: Try lifting your arms over your head.

Phil: See? I’m fine.

Rashida: You can’t lift them above your shoulders. I can help you improve your range of motion. Now let’s check out your hips and legs.

Phil: There’s nothing wrong with my hips and legs!

Rashida: Can you bend at the waist and touch your toes? Are you able to squat?

Phil: I probably could if I stretched and limbered up.

Rashida: I think you need more than stretching. I’ll work you through some exercises that will strengthen your muscles and loosen scar tissue. You’ll be able to move more freely. Don’t you want that?

Phil: W…W…Will it hurt?

Rashida: Only a little. Let’s get started.

Phil: Ow, ow, ow!

Rashida: We haven’t started yet.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 567

Wed, 10 Aug 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: American Authors – Gertrude Stein; Famous Songs – “Puff the Magic Dragon”; sport versus workout versus exercise; to come across versus to stumble upon; debaucherous behavior

to socialize
point of view
to puff
to frolic
to come across
to stumble upon


Media Files:

1,232 - Intimidating a Coworker

Mon, 08 Aug 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Be tough and don’t back down when other people criticize you at work. Learn how in this episode.
Slow dialog: 1:20
Explanations: 3:39
Fast dialog: 18:55

Larry: How’s it going? You having fun?

Anat: You know full well that this is out of my area of expertise, but I’m coping.

Larry: Is that what you’re doing? It looks to me like you’re making a mess of things.

Anat: Cut me some slack. I’ve only been working on this for a day and it’ll take me a little time to get up to speed.

Larry: You know what I think?

Anat: No and I don’t care.

Larry: I think you’re in over your head. Why don’t you step aside and let someone competent do the job?

Anat: No amount of heckling or trash talking will make me quit. I’m here for the long haul.

Larry: We’ll see about that. People more qualified than you are have packed it in after they got a taste of how things are done around here.

Anat: Talk all you like, but no amount of intimidation will get you what you want.

Larry: And you know what I want?

Anat: I think so. You’d like me to go away with my tail between my legs, but it’ll be a cold day in hell before that happens.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,231 - Feeding a Large Family on a Small Budget

Fri, 05 Aug 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Worried about finding enough food for your big family? Get some tips in this episode, or at least how to talk about it in English.

Slow dialog: 1:29
Explanations: 3:47
Fast dialog: 17:50

Paresh: Are you shopping for an army?

Sandy: Oh hi, Paresh. No, my three nephews have come to live with me. I’m not sure how I’m going to feed them on a tight budget.

Paresh: My mother was a master at making a little go a long way. There are seven kids in my family.

Sandy: What did she do?

Paresh: She only bought fruits and vegetables that were in season and generic or store brands.

Sandy: I’m trying to do that and also buying only staples.

Paresh: My mother also bought in bulk and stocked up when things were on sale.

Sandy: I’ll need to start doing that.

Paresh: She was also able spend less by using some time-tested recipes. She planned meals for an entire week and each ingredient did double duty. Nothing went to waste.

Sandy: That sounds like a good plan.

Paresh: My mom also never turned her nose up at day- old bread or marked down food. She was amazing and she made it work.

Sandy: I need to take a cue from your mother. I love those boys but they’re going to eat me out of house and home!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 566

Wed, 03 Aug 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: Famous Americans – Linus Pauling; The Texaco Star Theater and Milton Berle; squalid versus sordid; on my own versus by myself; postseason competition

quantum mechanics
to clot
nuclear bomb
to go into effect
to host
on (one’s) own
by (oneself)
postseason competition


Media Files:

1,230 - Expressing Disapproval of Elected Officials

Mon, 01 Aug 2016 02:00:00 -0500

I’m voting for Clump this year for president. Learn who you should vote for in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:34
Explanations: 4:01
Fast dialog: 19:32

Hilary: Which candidate are you going to vote for in the upcoming election?

Donald: Neither one. I’m not voting.

Hilary: What? You have to vote. Don’t you want to make your voice heard?

Donald: Neither candidate represents my views. They each have their own political agendas that reflect the concerns of the elite, not people like you and me.

Hilary: To me, voter apathy is the real problem. Things won’t change if we don’t vote.

Donald: You’re not listening. Both candidates are in the pockets of special interest groups and only care about pork-barrel politics. They’re not really concerned about the everyday challenges that you and I face.

Hilary: That’s not true. Look at the platforms of each candidate. They each stand for different things.

Donald: That’s just lip service. They’ll say whatever matches public opinion to get elected. No matter who gets into office, things will stay the same for regular folks like you and me.

Hilary: So you’re really not going to vote?

Donald: Nope.

Hilary: What do you hope to achieve?

Donald: Consider it a silent protest by the disaffected.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,229 - Telling Others to Go Away

Fri, 29 Jul 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Please don’t go! Please don’t go! Listen first to this episode about telling people to go away.

Slow dialog: 1:12
Explanations: 3:21
Fast dialog: 16:34

Joshua: Beat it and don’t come back!

Rosa: What’s all the noise?

Joshua: It’s the neighborhood kids. All I want to do on this sunny afternoon is sit out on the porch and enjoy the day. But those neighborhood kids keep coming around and making all kinds of noise. Hey you, shoo!

Rosa: They’re just trying to get a rise out of you. Maybe if you ignore them and stop waving them off and telling them to run along, they’ll go away on their own.

Joshua: If I don’t tell them to get lost, they’ll sit here in front of my house and clown around. They’ll make so much noise it’ll wreck my peace and quiet. Hey, I see you. Take a hike!

Rosa: I think I know what to do to get you that peace and quiet. I’ll be right back.

Joshua: Where are you going?

Rosa: I’m going to get a plate of cookies for those kids.

Joshua: Are you crazy? Are you rewarding those rowdy troublemakers with cookies?!

Rosa: It’s a bribe and it always works.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 565

Wed, 27 Jul 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: Movies – Ben-Hur; Carlsbad Caverns National Park; duty versus responsibility; Creedence Clearwater Revival

to risk
to be based on
to gross
to witness
to erode
What’s up?


Media Files:

1,228 - Designing a Product Line

Mon, 25 Jul 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Are you a fan of feline fashion? Do you want to sell your own collection of kitty clothing? Learn how to talk about designing products in this episode.
Slow dialog: 1:19
Explanations: 03:31
Fast dialog: 18:29

Thomas: What do you think of my creations?

Celeste: These are . . . interesting?

Thomas: They’re part of my new product line to be sold under my own label.

Celeste: Really?

Thomas: Yeah, I’m jumping in with both feet. Everybody advised me to get my feet wet by licensing a collection, but I don’t want to sell under someone else’s brand.

Celeste: I thought you started all this by doing custom work.

Thomas: I did, but I’m ready to produce an entire line I’ve designed according to my vision, not work to a client’s specs.

Celeste: I can understand that. Will you be selling to trade or retail customers?

Thomas: Retail. I plan to have showrooms in every major city. See? This is a sample of our product catalog.

Celeste: I see. Your products look high-end, but they’re intended for the mass market.

Thomas: That’s right. Do you want to take home a sample?

Celeste: Um, I guess so. I’d never considered using anything like that.

Thomas: Once you sit on a designer toilet seat, you’ll never go back!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,227 - Altering Clothing

Fri, 22 Jul 2016 20:01:00 -0500

Do you want to sew buttons on your underwear? We can’t teach you that, but we can explain how to talk about it in English. Learn more on this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:25
Explanations: 3:41
Fast dialog: 19:25

Mom: Put on these pants and this shirt, come over here, and stand still. I need to alter your brother’s clothes to fit you.

Sa’ad: Oh, Mom!

Mom: Hurry up. I need to let down the hems and take up the sleeves. I don’t think I have to take in the pant legs, but I might have to let out the waist a little.

Sa’ad: Ouch!

Mom: Sorry, but you need to stop moving around or your hem will be uneven and your seams will be crooked. You and your brothers are growing so fast I feel like a full-time tailor!

Sa’ad: Are we done?

Mom: No, we’re not. Stay right there. You can help me iron a crease into this shirt before I put it through the sewing machine.

Sa’ad: Oh, Mom!

Mom: Don’t “Oh, Mom” me. This machine doesn’t seem to be working. I hope I don’t have to stitch all these by hand.

Sa’ad: Mom, since I’m growing so fast, I’ll probably grow out of these clothes in a couple of months. Let’s wait until after my growth spurt to alter them.

Mom: And what will you wear in the meantime, high waters?

Sa’ad: No, shorts!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 564

Wed, 20 Jul 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: American Authors – Mary Roberts Rinehart; Famous Songs – “I’ll be seeing you”; to dispense, wedgie, and on principle; to get on with (something), to get along with (someone), and in a nutshell; semi

stock market
to crash
to solidify
to embrace
signature song
to dispense
on principle
to get on with (something)
to get along with
in a nutshell


Media Files:

1,226 - Describing Sounds

Mon, 18 Jul 2016 20:01:00 -0500

Hey, what’s that sound? Learn how to describe those noises you hear in English in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:26
Explanations: 3:25
Fast dialog: 18:22

Naomi: Stop! Stop!

Omar: What’s the matter?

Naomi: My bike is making a strange sound.

Omar: What kind of sound?

Naomi: It’s a clanging sound followed by a hissing or buzzing noise. I need to pinpoint where it’s coming from.

Omar: Walk your bike and we’ll both listen, you on one side and me on the other.

Naomi: Okay, here goes. Hear that?

Omar: Yeah, but it’s more of a popping or pinging sound.

Naomi: It sounded different when I was riding it. I’ll get on and you run alongside. What do you hear?

Omar: I hear the whirring of the pedals and the creaking and rattling of the chain, but no clanging sound.

Naomi: I’ll speed up. What do you hear now?

Omar: Nothing, just the rustling of my own clothes.

Naomi: The sound gets louder as I speed up. I’ll go faster. Now what do you hear?

Omar: Just my own panting and…my…last gasp…

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,225 - Being a Good Samaritan

Fri, 15 Jul 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Not everyone would put their own lives in danger to help others. Find out more on this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:39
Explanations: 3:21
Fast dialog: 14:57

Ana Maria: Did you see this news article about the Good Samaritan who stopped to help a stranger and died?

Gio: That’s his own fault. Who told him to meddle in other people’s business?

Ana Maria: He wasn’t meddling. He saw that a fellow human being was in distress and was selfless enough to try to help.

Gio: Doing a good deed, was he? Going out on a limb to help someone in need, eh?

Ana Maria: Exactly. I call him a hero.

Gio: I call him a fool. You don’t put yourself in danger to help a stranger. That’s just common sense.

Ana Maria: So you would have just walked right by and done nothing to help.

Gio: If it meant putting myself in jeopardy. You should always look out for yourself, no matter what the situation.

Ana Maria: Great, remind me never to get into a lifeboat with you!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 563

Wed, 13 Jul 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: The Black Soxs Scandal; Classic TV – The Flintstones; census-designated place versus community versus unincorporated community; to mean well and to bend the rules; pit crew

to accuse
to throw a game
to suspend
to ban
to cheat
prime time
census-designated place
unincorporated community
to mean well
to bend the rules
pit crew


Media Files:

1,224 - Setting Timers and Alarms

Mon, 11 Jul 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Good morning! It’s time to get up so you’re not late for your appointment. Learn the best way to make sure you wake up on time each day in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:36
Explanations: 3:42
Fast dialog: 20:27

Laquisha: What’s in the bag?

Yun: Three alarm clocks and a kitchen timer.

Laquisha: What are they for?

Yun: I have a very important interview tomorrow morning and these will help me prepare for it.

Laquisha: How?

Yun: The timer will help me time my responses to common interview questions so I don’t run off at the mouth. See? Instead of the stopwatch function, I use the countdown function so I’ll know when to wrap up.

Laquisha: And the alarm clocks?

Yun: I have a habit of pressing the snooze button after an alarm goes off. I’ve tried different kinds of alarms: ones that buzz, ones that beep, ones that vibrate, and ones that use a ringtone. But I still fall back to sleep.

Laquisha: And what do you plan to do with three alarm clocks?

Yun: I plan to set the alarms one minute apart and put them around my bedroom. By the time I turn them all off, I should be awake.

Laquisha: And if not?

Yun: Then maybe I should be applying for jobs as a mattress tester.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,223 - Experiencing a Difficult Childhood

Fri, 08 Jul 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Growing up is hard to do, especially under the circumstances you’ll hear about in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:41
Explanations: 3:45
Fast dialog: 17:25

Morris: Congratulations on finishing your latest book. What’s it about?

Toni: It’s about a girl whose parents abandoned her at birth and who ends up living on the streets. She experiences abuse and is put in juvie.

Morris: Wow, that sounds heavy. Wasn’t your last book about children whose parents served time in prison and who lived in fear of bullies in their neighborhood?

Toni: Yes, I wrote that after my first book, which was about a brother and sister who lived in an impoverished home traumatized by events beyond their control.

Morris: Do you ever write about happy childhoods?

Toni: I do write about happy childhoods. All of the children and teenagers in my books are very resilient. They are survivors.

Morris: I was thinking about children who have normal childhoods with two parents living in the suburbs.

Toni: You call that normal? You think they’d be happy? I bet there’s an underbelly of crime and misery in most seemingly perfect families.

Morris: I’ve no doubt that if that were true, you’d be the one to write about it.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 562

Wed, 06 Jul 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: Famous Americans – Alexander Graham Bell; Famous Songs – “At Last”; pluralizing “fish,” all things considered; to talk tech

to transmit
all things considered
to talk tech


Media Files:

1,222 - Describing Amounts and Movement of Liquid

Mon, 04 Jul 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Your car needs a bath, so let’s get wet in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:44
Explanations: 4:07
Fast dialog: 21:05

Jerry: Want to help me wash my car?

Helen: I guess so.

Jerry: Good. Squirt a little of this cleaning fluid into this bucket.

Helen: Okay, done.

Jerry: Then pour a capful of this into the bucket and mix. After that, dribble three drops of this special liquid into it and stir until you get a nice layer of foam on the surface.

Helen: Okay, but I usually just use soap and water.

Jerry: That might be fine for your car, but for my baby, it’s nothing but the best. Stop!

Helen: Why? I was just going to use this hose to spray water onto the car to get it wet.

Jerry: You can’t just splash water on the paint. You have to let it flow gently down from the roof of the car in a cascade.

Helen: You’re kidding, right?

Jerry: Not at all. Splattering water on the paint could damage it in the long run. Let the water gush out of the hose and onto the roof of the car. Let it caress the car like you’re…

Helen: You know what? I think this is getting a little weird. I think I’ll leave you and your baby alone.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,221 - Buffing Up Home Security

Fri, 01 Jul 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Do you feel safe in your own house? If not, learn how to protect yourself in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:29
Explanations: 4:03
Fast dialog: 18:27

Martin: Why do you look so upset?

Joselyn: Our neighbor’s house was broken into last night. The burglar stole her laptop and some jewelry. Like us, she doesn’t have a security system.

Martin: Burglar alarms aren’t foolproof. Well, I’m not letting any burglars get close to our house. Let’s go.

Joselyn: Where are we going?

Martin: To the home improvement store. We need to buff up our security. I want to install motion detectors, floodlights, and security cameras to the outside of the house.

Joselyn: I suppose that’s a good idea.

Martin: I also want to put a timer on our indoor lights and a better deadbolt for the front door.

Joselyn: Those will probably help.

Martin: We can find out the cost of metal bars for the windows and a security door.

Joselyn: Whoa, I think that might be a bit much.

Martin: Nonsense. If we’re going to do something, we’re going to do it right. Barbed wire on top of our fence would probably be next…

Joselyn: That’s not a good idea…

Martin: And last but not least, we’ll need an attack dog.

Joselyn: An attack dog?! This is sounding more like a military compound than a home.

Martin: That’s right. When I’m done, Fort Knox will have nothing on us!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 561

Wed, 29 Jun 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: The Comstock Lode and the Silver Rush; The Beverly Hillbillies, lesson versus lecture versus seminar; interesting versus interested; I rest my case

to prospect
to mine
to collapse
to purge
to rest (one’s) case


Media Files:

1,219 - Expressing Disapproval

Fri, 24 Jun 2016 02:00:00 -0500

You won’t always agree with the people you love. Learn how to talk about disagreeing with people in this episode.
Slow dialog: 1:41
Explanations: 3:33
Fast dialog: 14:53

Lucinda: Maggie and Gerry are moving in together. They want to start a family.

Thomas: I don’t approve of that. They’re not married and it’s a disgrace. Shame on them!

Lucinda: I understand your objections, but they love each other and need our support, not our condemnation.

Thomas: If I were their parents, I’d give them an earful. Someone should take them to task for making such irresponsible decisions.

Lucinda: They know what they’re doing and it’s not our place to criticize their decision.

Thomas: But I don’t have to like it. I’m not sending them a housewarming gift, that’s for sure.

Lucinda: Too late. I sent one and signed both our names.

Thomas: You did what?! How will they know I disapprove of what they’re doing when you go behind my back and do that?

Lucinda: I think your reproach will come through loud and clear.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,220 - Ramping Up Production

Mon, 27 Jun 2016 02:00:00 -0500

You have to spend money to make money. Learn about making more of your company’s product in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:42
Explanations: 3:53
Fast dialog: 17:25

Kareem: Have you seen the latest sales figures? We need to ramp up production right now.

Valerie: We don’t know if that increase is simply a blip or a trend.

Kareem: Those sales figures are significantly above projected levels. Our product is in demand and we need to meet that demand with a larger production run.

Valerie: But that would mean a big increase in capital outlay.

Kareem: We have to spend money to make money. We don’t want to be caught short if sales continue like this.

Valerie: But if they don’t, we’d be saddled with a huge surplus in inventory.

Kareem: When we rolled out this new product, we hoped it would catch on and it has. Are we going to sit on our hands and do nothing?

Valerie: I guess you’re right. Should we increase production by 10 percent?

Kareem: Ten percent? We’re doubling production.

Valerie: Doubling production?! Are you crazy?

Kareem: Crazy like a fox.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 560

Wed, 22 Jun 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: Movies – The Jazz Singer; The Selective Service System; microaggressions, social justice warrior, and trigger warning; to insulate versus to isolate; pluralizing glass

to volunteer
to draft
to reinstate
social justice warrior
trigger warning
to insulate
to isolate


Media Files:

1,218 - Describing Relative Location

Mon, 20 Jun 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Where am I? Where are you? Find out on this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:40
Explanations: 3:32
Fast dialog: 16:36

Penelope: Tell me about the new town you’re moving to.

Outis: It’s called Nusquam and it’s smack dab in the middle of the country.

Penelope: Where is it exactly?

Outis: I can’t give you the coordinates, if that’s what you’re after.

Penelope: Of course not. I’m just trying to pinpoint where it is. Is it near Wichita, Kansas?

Outis: It’s nowhere near Wichita. It’s in the heart of a remote part of the country.

Penelope: Where is it relative to this town?

Outis: I can’t give you any reference points or tell you the distance. I’ll just say it’s on the outskirts of a medium-sized town and borders Nebraska.

Penelope: Why are you being so cryptic?

Outis: I’ll tell you that when you spill the beans on why you’re asking.

Penelope: I thought I’d come for an extended stay to help you get settled.

Outis: You’ve just answered your own question.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,217 - Fighting the Effects and Signs of Aging

Fri, 17 Jun 2016 02:00:00 -0500

You are only as old as you feel. Learn more about staying young in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:42
Explanations: 3:32
Fast dialog: 18:57

Xavier: What crazy new creams are you trying this week?

Aaliyah: I’ll have you know I only use anti-aging products that are scientifically proven.

Xavier: Yeah, like that cream that promised to restore your youthful appearance in just two weeks. When are you going to realize beauty products are sold using false claims and promises?

Aaliyah: What about you? You jump on the bandwagon of every health fad. Aren’t you eating a bunch of so-called superfoods?

Xavier: That’s based on science. The goal is longevity.

Aaliyah: And this expensive new computer program?

Xavier: It’s to ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s. I’m keeping my mind active.

Aaliyah: So we’re both trying to fight the effects of aging.

Xavier: I guess that’s true, but I’m going to outlive you.

Aaliyah: Yes, but before I kick the bucket, I’m going to look marvelous!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 559

Wed, 15 Jun 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: Frank Lloyd Wright; prohibited versus forbidden versus not allowed; beforehand versus in advance; spot-on; pronouncing passion and patient, worm and warn

to design
to divorce
not allowed
in advance


Media Files:

1,216 - Working in a Job You Love

Mon, 13 Jun 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Looking for the job of your dreams? Listen to this episode and you just might find it.

Slow dialog: 1:22
Explanations: 3:33
Fast dialog: 19:34

Lorna: It’s great to be alive, isn’t it?

Deangelo: What are you so happy about?

Lorna: I’m just happy to come to work.

Deangelo: What?!

Lorna: I’ve come to realize that this is more than a job. It’s a vocation. I’m doing valuable work that I’m well suited for.

Deangelo: Are you on something?

Lorna: I’m high on life and my newfound sense of purpose. I realize that I’m doing this job because I have a calling and this is what I’m meant to do.

Deangelo: I’m serious. Are you coming down with something?

Lorna: Of course not. Yesterday, it occurred to me the legacy I’ll be leaving behind after my life’s work is done.

Deangelo: Life’s work?

Lorna: Yes, I’ll be remembered in posterity as someone who made a difference.

Deangelo: You do remember what you do for a living, right?

Lorna: I provide salve to people who need it. I give succor to those in need.

Deangelo: You serve drinks in a bar.

Lorna: I provide a shoulder to cry on, a calm voice in a crazy world.

Deangelo: Talk about delusions of grandeur!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,215 - A Fear of Heights

Fri, 10 Jun 2016 02:00:00 -0500

You don’t need to go to great heights to get this episode, so just listen and learn.

Slow dialog: 1:29
Explanations: 3:26
Fast dialog: 15:14

Christine: Help me! I’m going to fall!

Asahi: You’re not going to fall. I’ve got you.

Christine: Sorry, I have a fear of heights. I sometimes have panic attacks when I’m high up off the ground.

Asahi: Okay, but we’re not very high up.

Christine: I know. My phobia is totally irrational.

Asahi: That explains a lot, like why you live on the ground floor of your apartment building and why you didn’t want to go hiking near the cliffs.

Christine: That’s right. I try to avoid any situations that will trigger my fear.

Asahi: So how do you travel? Do you ever fly?

Christine: The one time I flew in an airplane I experienced vertigo and I hyperventilated until we landed. I was really agitated because I thought I was going to die. It wasn’t pretty. That’s why I normally drive or take a train.

Asahi: So I’m guessing no skydiving for you.

Christine: Not unless you want to find out how my stomach reacts to heights!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 558

Wed, 08 Jun 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: Classic TV/Movies – Star Trek; The Homestead Act; medicine versus medication versus drug; wild card and K9; to lay it on too thick

science fiction
to cultivate
to repeal
wild card
to lay it on thick


Media Files:

1,214 - Expressing Dread

Mon, 06 Jun 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Slow dialog: 1:45
Explanations: 4:19
Fast dialog: 17:13

Brianna: Are you still here? I thought you left ages ago.

Viktor: There’s no rush. I’m thinking of postponing until tomorrow.

Brianna: Why?

Viktor: I feel a sense of foreboding. I have a sneaking suspicion that things aren’t going to go well.

Brianna: Under the circumstances, I can understand your reluctance, but it’s like ripping off a bandage. It’s best done quickly.

Viktor: I’m not sure about that. I have a feeling that things are going to go very, very wrong, and the longer I can put it off the better.

Brianna: Next week is your girlfriend’s birthday. You don’t want to break up with her on her birthday, do you?

Viktor: No, that would be cruel. Maybe I should hold off until after next week.

Brianna: You’re really dreading breaking up with her, aren’t you?

Viktor: She’s got a temper. When I told her that I couldn’t join her on a visit to her parents’ house last weekend, she went ballistic, and I have dents in my car door to show for it. I expect this to be much, much worse.

Brianna: Ah, I see. I never liked the idea of breaking up with someone remotely, but it might be called for in this case.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,213 - Using Different Payment Systems

Fri, 03 Jun 2016 02:00:00 -0500

You can pay me with a check or credit card, but I prefer cash. Learn more about payment systems on this episode.
Slow dialog: 1:33
Explanations: 4:06
Fast dialog: 18:28

Petra: Damn! That didn’t work either.

Ken: What are you doing?

Petra: I’m trying to pay for a new service I ordered, but the website won’t accept my credit card as payment. I even tried my debit card, but it’s been rejected, too.

Ken: Why don’t you just write a check and mail it in?

Petra: I don’t have any checks. In this day and age, I should be able to use one of the many electronic funds transfer options.

Ken: What are going to do now?

Petra: I might try sending a wire, but my bank charges a large fee for wires.

Ken: How about signing up for direct deposit?

Petra: If this were an ongoing service I would, but this is a one-time thing. Do you think I could try your credit card?

Ken: I don’t know about that…

Petra: All right, if you feel funny about doing that, then could you buy me a gift card for this website and then I can turn around and use the balance?

Ken: That seems kind of involved. Would you pay me back in cash?

Petra: Of course. I will write you an IOU right now and then go to the bank tomorrow.

Ken: How about if you go to the bank now? I’ll even give you a ride.

Petra: Is that really necessary? We don’t even know if it’s going to work.

Ken: When it comes to money, I always say, better safe than sorry.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 557

Wed, 01 Jun 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: American Authors – Sylvia Plath; Famous Songs – “Hush, Little Baby”; consciousness versus awareness; distinct versus distinctive; classy dress

to be confident
bell jar
to hush


Media Files:

1,212 - Providing Tech Support

Mon, 30 May 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Technology is only as good as its operator. Learn more about it on this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:16
Explanations: 3:29
Fast dialog: 17:54

Max: Hello, hello, is this call-in tech support?

Grace: Yes, my name is Grace and this is the help desk. How can I help you today?

Max: I’m having a problem with my machine and I don’t know what to do.

Grace: Have you tried reading our online troubleshooting guide or asking your question on the support forum?

Max: The what?

Grace: Never mind. Can you describe the problem you’re having?

Max: It doesn’t work.

Grace: I understand that. What exactly is the malfunction?

Max: It’s not working.

Grace: For me to diagnose whether it’s a software or hardware problem, I’ll need more information. Unfortunately, I can’t repair it remotely.

Max: Okay, I understand.

Grace: Good. We offer all kinds of support, from setup to customization to disaster recovery, but I can’t do anything if I don’t understand the problem.

Max: Okay.

Grace: Could you walk me through what happens when you turn on the machine?

Max: Nothing.

Grace: Nothing? Nothing at all?

Max: Zip, zilch, zero.

Grace: Sir, is the machine plugged in?

Max: Oh, it needs to be plugged in?

Grace: [sigh]

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,211 - Watching Movie and TV Franchises

Fri, 27 May 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Tired of watching your favorite TV show or movie? Watch the sequels and spin-offs instead – right after you listen to this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:29
Explanations: 3:45
Fast dialog: 15:00

Ursula: Weren’t you watching this same movie yesterday?

Ian: No, this is the sequel. Yesterday, I watched Aims Pond. This is Aims Pond: Super Spy.

Ursula: Wasn’t this originally a TV show?

Ian: Actually, it was originally a novel, which was adapted into a long-running TV show. Then, it was turned into a movie franchise. The new installment is coming out next month and I can’t wait!

Ursula: The latest installment? I thought it was just a trilogy.

Ian: No, the original film has spawned four sequels and two prequels so far.

Ursula: So you’re watching all the films again?

Ian: That’s right, but I’m not stopping there. I’m watching all of the TV show episodes again, too. And if I have time, I’ll even watch the spin-off.

Ursula: Spin-off? I didn’t know there had been a spin-off.

Ian: There was. Aims Pond’s brother got his own show: Jaime Pond: Building Inspector. It wasn’t very successful.

Ursula: I guess we can call you a superfan.

Ian: That’s right. I’m a superfan of the super spy!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 556

Wed, 25 May 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: Apollo 11; Famous Americans – Soapy Smith; certainly versus definitely versus surely; to have a crush on (someone) versus to be in love with (someone); out on a limb

to launch
to transmit
to cheat
smooth talker
to have a crush on (someone)
to be in love with (someone)
out on a limb


Media Files:

1,210 - Small Town Charm

Mon, 23 May 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Come with us to visit a small town that’s quaint and charming on this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:37
Explanations: 4:00
Fast dialog: 17:49

Alisha: Hey, you’re back from your vacation. Where did you go? New York City? Miami?

Ramon: I decided to spend my vacation in Maddieville.

Alisha: Where is Maddieville? I’ve never heard of it.

Ramon: It’s a small town about a six-hour drive from here. I read about it being a throwback to the days of small shops and friendly neighbors, with a charming old-fashioned main street. It was really nice.

Alisha: I’m not sure I’d want to travel back in time. It doesn’t sound very exciting.

Ramon: It wasn’t as lively as some places I could have gone, but I enjoyed the quaint shops, the unpretentious people, and the genuine friendliness.

Alisha: What did you do for an entire week?

Ramon: I perused the shops, ate at the family-owned restaurants, and learned about the quirky history of the town by shooting the breeze with the old- timers at the local bar.

Alisha: To each his own, but that sounds like dullsville to me.

Ramon: Then I guess you wouldn’t want to go back with me this summer for their wine festival.

Alisha: Did you say wine? Maybe I shouldn’t dismiss small town charm quite so quickly.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,209 - Questioning Mental Competency

Fri, 20 May 2016 02:00:00 -0500

You may still have a sound mind, but that’s not true of everybody. Learn how to talk about people’s mental abilities on this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:28
Explanations: 3:36
Fast dialog: 17:33

Claire: What are you doing with all those law books? I thought you retired 20 years ago.

Ray: I’m preparing for my mental competency hearing.

Claire: Mental competency hearing? But your mind is as sharp as it has ever been.

Ray: That’s not what my children think. They are going to court to prove my diminished capacity. They are going to argue that I need a conservator for my estate.

Claire: Nobody who knows you would question your sound mind. There must be another reason for this hearing.

Ray: You’re right. My children want to get their hands on my money, and if they can prove mental incapacitation and impaired judgment, they will get power of attorney.

Claire: And if they get power of attorney…

Ray: They would get control of my company and my entire estate.

Claire: So what are you going to do?

Ray: I am going to fight fire with fire. I’m suing them.

Claire: What for?

Ray: Fraud and I can make it stick. They’re both lacking in common sense. Everybody knows you should never sue an attorney, especially a successful one!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 555

Wed, 18 May 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: American Authors – Louisa May Alcott; Classic TV – Gilligan’s Island; up-to-date versus updated; to work out the kinks and to deserve a pat on the back; to seize the moment

to provide for
to be base on
to be stranded
to work out the kinks
to deserve a pat on the back
to seize the moment


Media Files:

1,208 - Living on Low Wages

Mon, 16 May 2016 02:00:00 -0500

A steady job and job security aren’t for everyone. Listen and learn more about working for low wages in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:15
Explanations: 3:12
Fast dialog: 16:19

Dylan: Here.

Yvonne: What’s this?

Dylan: It’s information about a job-training program. It’ll give you the skills you need to get steady work.

Yvonne: I don’t need that. I get by with the wages I earn from this job.

Dylan: You’re in a dead-end job straining to make ends meet every month.

Yvonne: I’ve always landed on my feet.

Dylan: But you don’t have any job security. You could be out on your ear any minute. Don’t you want a better quality of life?

Yvonne: My life is fine the way it is. I may not be able to hold on to this job for long, but there will always be other ones.

Dylan: I wish I had your optimism. To hear you speak, you’d think you were one of the privileged few.

Yvonne: It’s all in your outlook on life. I don’t have mortgages to pay, cars to maintain, jets to fuel, and employees to support.

Dylan: You’re right. You should be counting your blessings!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,207 - Gauging the Doneness of Meat

Fri, 13 May 2016 02:00:00 -0500

I’ll cook you some meat, if you tell me how you’d like it cooked. Learn how in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:50
Explanations: 3:51
Fast dialog: 15:01

Chris: How do you like your steak?

Ruth: Well done. I don’t like any pink showing and I don’t mind if it’s a little charred.

Chris: I’ll cook it the way you want it, but it’ll be dry and tough.

Ruth: Yes, but a longer cooking time kills foodborne illnesses. I don’t want to eat anything that’s undercooked.

Chris: It doesn’t have to be burnt to be safe to eat. It’s easy to gauge when meat is done. How about if I brown each side to seal in the juices and then cook it to medium doneness?

Ruth: No, I don’t want to take any chances. I’d rather the steak is overcooked than undercooked. Are you going to eat that?

Chris: Yes, I like my steak juicy.

Ruth: But that’s raw!

Chris: No, it’s cooked rare, not raw. I’ll cut into it so you can see that it’s cooked.

Ruth: It’s oozing red! That is definitely not cooked.

Chris: I’ll prove it to you. I’ll eat this piece and live to tell about it.

Ruth: Don’t put that in your mouth! You’re risking your health.

Chris: I think I’ll survive.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 554

Wed, 11 May 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: The Manhattan Project; Famous Songs – “Give My Regards to Broadway”; to propose versus to suggest versus to offer; to disclose versus to uncover versus to divulge; to stick it to (someone)

atomic bomb
to whisper
to yearn
to mingle
to propose
to suggest
to offer
to disclose
to uncover
to divulge
to stick it to (someone)


Media Files:

1,206 - Outdoor Vacation Sports and Activities

Mon, 09 May 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Make your next vacation more active and exciting. Learn different ways to do that on this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:26
Explanations: 3:48
Fast dialog: 19:20

Emma: Are you ready?

Ricardo: Sure, but why are you dressed like that? I thought we were going to play golf with Kareem and Karen.

Emma: I told them we’re going rock climbing instead.

Ricardo: I was really looking forward to a game of golf.

Emma: You play golf all the time. How often do you get the chance to do other outdoor activities, such as horseback riding and zip-lining. We can do both this afternoon if you’re up for it.

Ricardo: I thought the point of this vacation was to rest and recharge.

Emma: We do need to recharge, but what we need is excitement, not rest. Maybe Kareem and Karen will want to join us tomorrow.

Ricardo: Why? What are we doing tomorrow?

Emma: How about a watersport, maybe kayaking, windsurfing, or water skiing? Too bad we can’t go scuba diving, but we can do some snorkeling.

Ricardo: I like the idea of spending some time on the water, but whale watching is more my speed.

Emma: Don’t you want to feel the wind through your hair and the excitement pumping through your veins?

Ricardo: I didn’t know you were such an adrenaline junkie.

Emma: Guilty as charged. I’m going to take skydiving lessons next month. Want to join me?

Ricardo: I consider skydiving a spectator sport!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,205 - Bragging About Success With Women

Fri, 06 May 2016 02:00:00 -0500

If women like you, really like you, learn how to brag about it in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:31
Explanations: 3:29
Fast dialog: 15:06

Jonah: I’d love to get a date with Jessica. She’s so hot!

Becca: You mean you want to add another notch to your bedpost.

Jonah: I’ve been around the block, but there’s nothing wrong with sowing a few wild oats. That’s all part of being young and carefree.

Becca: Hmm, maybe you shouldn’t be telling me about your conquests.

Jonah: Why not? It’s no secret that I’ve got game. Chicks dig me. Last week alone I…

Becca: Really, I think I’ll take a pass on the play-by-play.

Jonah: See that woman over there? Watch me put the moves on her.

Becca: No, thanks. I’m leaving.

Jonah: Wait! Are you going to put in a good word for me with Jessica?

Becca: You know that she’s a good friend of mine, right?

Jonah: Of course, I do. That’s why I’m asking you.

Becca: And you thought I’d set her up with a player?

Jonah: I thought she might like a man with experience.

Becca: Forget it.

Jonah: In that case, what are you doing Saturday?

[door slams]

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 553

Wed, 04 May 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: Famous Americans – Lew Wallace; Classic TV – The Brady Bunch; to prevent versus to hinder versus to forbid; integral versus indispensable; to scare off game

(the) bar
to try
historical fiction
theme song
to divorce
to relate to
to prevent
to hinder
to forbid
to scare off


Media Files:

1,204 - Controlling Information to the Media

Mon, 02 May 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Prepare to face tough reporter questions by learning how to avoid them. Find out how on this episode.
Slow dialog: 1:47
Explanations: 4:04
Fast dialog: 18:35

Pablo: Okay everybody, have a seat. The purpose of this meeting is to get everybody on the same page.

I’m passing out the fact sheet we’ve prepared. This fact sheet gives a rundown on what has happened to date so that no one is in the dark about our current situation.

We’ve also prepared these talking points. This is for internal use only. I don’t want them leaked to the media. These talking points have been prepared to help everyone stay on message. Anyone talking to the media off-script will have to answer to me.

These talking points preempt many of the possible questions you’ll be asked. We hope to take the wind out of their sails by addressing some of the media’s most likely questions up front. Any questions?

Suzanna: Um, I’ve read through these talking points and I’m still not sure how to answer one key question.

Pablo: What’s that?

Suzanna: Have we solved the huge issue that’s the cause of our current problems?

Pablo: It goes without saying that if the media ever wants a straightforward answer, our response is always “no comment.”

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,203 - Completing a Drug/Alcohol Rehabilitation Program

Fri, 29 Apr 2016 02:00:00 -0500

End your addiction to drugs and alcohol and become addicted to ESL Podcast instead. Learn how on this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:47
Explanations: 3:31
Fast dialog: 17:26

John: I’m glad to see you’re back and looking so healthy.

Lindsay: Thanks. Rehab wasn’t easy, but getting treatment for my addiction saved my life. I’d hit rock bottom.

John: Recovery from substance abuse isn’t easy, but I’m happy you got the help you needed.

Lindsay: I’m glad I checked into an inpatient program. I was able to detox, and I’m now getting the medication and counseling I need.

John: I thought you were done.

Lindsay: No, I’m now in their outpatient program, with a plan for staying sober so I won’t relapse.

John: And you’re staying away from temptation?

Lindsay: Absolutely. I’m only going clubbing two nights a week, instead of every night.

John: Uh, is that wise?

Lindsay: It will be a good test of my self-control.

John: That doesn’t sound…

Lindsay: [sound of a car horn] Sorry, there’s my ride. We’re checking out a new club tonight.

John: Yikes.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 552

Wed, 27 Apr 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: American Presidents – Barack Obama; Famous Songs – “Anchors Aweigh”; diffidence versus timidity versus shyness; receipt versus reception; no problem versus not at all versus no big deal

community organizer
rising star
campaign slogan
no problem
not at all
no big deal


Media Files:

1,202 - Describing Student Achievement

Mon, 25 Apr 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Do you want your children to do better in school? Learn what not to do in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:18
Explanations: 4:18
Fast dialog: 18:04

Jeannie: Everything okay?

William: No, I just got off the phone with my daughter’s school and they’re not putting her in the gifted and talented program.

Jeannie: That’s disappointing, but wasn’t she struggling in school last year?

William: Her teachers were thinking of putting her in remedial classes. Can you believe that? My daughter is getting poor grades because she’s bored in school. She tunes out. She’d be coasting in her classes if the teachers would just challenge her.

Jeannie: Are you sure that’s the problem? My son was considered low-achieving in the lower grades, but since starting high school, he’s doing a lot better.

William: I’m telling you, my daughter could be high-achieving if they’d only put her in the gifted and talented program. It’s all about teacher expectations.

Jeannie: Well, it’s not all about expectations…

William: Are you trying to tell me that my daughter is slow and I should just accept it?

Jeannie: I’m saying that kids develop at their own pace. Some are late bloomers.

William: Nobody in my family has ever been late in anything, and they’re not going to start now.

Jeannie: Putting pressure on her might make matters worse.

William: Who’s putting pressure on her? Maybe I can help her by getting her tutors in every subject and enrolling her in summer programs.

Jeannie: Maybe she just needs more time…

William: And let her waste her potential? What kind of father would I be then?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,201 - Types of Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Fri, 22 Apr 2016 02:00:00 -0500

If you’re thirsty, take a sip of this episode and learn about non-alcoholic drinks.

Slow dialog: 1:26
Explanations: 2:53
Fast dialog: 13:31

Asa: What can I get you to drink?

Elizabeth: I’ll have a glass of water, thanks.

Asa: Are you sure you don’t want something else? I have soft drinks, orange juice, lemonade, and fruit punch.

Elizabeth: No, thanks. I’m trying to cut back on my sugar intake.

Asa: In that case, how about an energy drink, sports drink, or bottled tea?

Elizabeth: No, really, I’m fine with water.

Asa: Ah, I bet you’d like some tea or coffee, right?

Elizabeth: No, all I want is a glass of water.

Asa: Okay, do you want tap water or bottled water, flavored water or carbonated?

Elizabeth: Do you mean to tell me you have all of those drinks in your refrigerator?

Asa: It pays to own a beverage company.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 551

Wed, 20 Apr 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: Movies – Close Encounters of the Third Kind; Famous Americans – Luther George Simjian; to distract versus to detract; in a manner of speaking; thanks a bunch

science fiction
conspiracy theorist
to invent
flight simulator
to distract
to detract
in a manner of speaking
thanks a bunch


Media Files:

1,200 - Learning a Skilled Trade

Mon, 18 Apr 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Want a new job? Good with your hands? Learn about different trades in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:24
Explanations: 3:35
Fast dialog: 16:39

Jeannine: What are you going to do now that you’ve graduated from high school?

Orlando: I’m going to trade school. My father was a stone and brick mason and my brother is a mechanic, but I think I’m going to try something different.

Jeannine: Like what?

Orlando: Maybe I’ll study to become an electrician or plumber. Those are skills that are always in demand.

Jeannine: Don’t they have long apprenticeships?

Orlando: Yes, but it’s better than training to be a machinist or technician. It’s easier to open your own shop as an electrician or plumber.

Jeannine: With your skills, you can always get a job as a carpenter.

Orlando: I think carpentry is a dying art. Most people don’t get furniture or other things custom-made anymore.

Jeannine: You know, you could always take a completely different path, learning a completely different skilled trade.

Orlando: Like what?

Jeannine: You could become a medical or dental technician or even get a cosmetology degree.

Orlando: Are you serious?! Would you want these hands cutting your hair?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,199 - Eating on the Run

Fri, 15 Apr 2016 02:00:00 -0500

No time for a good lunch? Try eating some bad food instead! We’ll show you how on this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:33
Explanations: 3:22
Fast dialog: 16:54

Sam: Wait a second. Is this all you’re having for lunch, this microwaved burrito?

Leticia: That’s all I have time for. It’s better than just eating it out of the package, right?

Sam: That does not look appetizing. I see indigestion in your future.

Leticia: It’s filling and that’s all I care about. I need to gulp down something before the meeting at 1:00.

Sam: Why don’t you brown bag it? Even if it’s something premade, you won’t have to rely on instant food.

Leticia: Who has the time to prepare a lunch? This burrito is actually more than I eat on most days. Normally, I munch on candy bars or bags of chips and forgo lunch altogether.

Sam: That’s not very healthy.

Leticia: No, but it keeps me going when I’m on the run on busy days like this. I have a stash in my desk. Do you want to take a look?

Sam: That collection makes fast food look like haute cuisine!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 550

Wed, 13 Apr 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: Famous Americans – Casey Jones; Classic TV – Happy Days; to try out versus to examine versus to test; dude and buddy; courtesy of

(train) engineer
to try out
to examine
to test
courtesy of


Media Files:

1,198 - Failed Government Projects

Mon, 11 Apr 2016 02:00:00 -0500

If you think building a new sports stadium is a great way for your city to make more money, think again. This episode explains what can go wrong.

Slow dialog: 1:22
Explanations: 3:00
Fast dialog: 16:42

Mariana: How long do you think it will be before the stadium is finished?

Klaus: Don’t hold your breath. The plan for the stadium is fundamentally flawed, but the government rammed it down the throats of the voters.

Mariana: Do you really think the project is doomed?

Klaus: Haven’t you heard the reports of corruption and poor management? They’re cutting corners left and right. I wouldn’t be surprised if the stadium is being built with shoddy materials.

Mariana: Then the entire thing is a joke!

Klaus: Yes, and the joke is on us. Government officials are going through the motions, not caring about the results. All they care about is lining their pockets.

Mariana: I have heard about the cost overruns. Do you think the city will ever recoup the money spent on this project?

Klaus: Maybe a little, if we can sell the entire thing as scrap metal!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,197 - Reaching a Legal Settlement

Fri, 08 Apr 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Sometimes you will get more money from resolving your problems without going to court. Learn how to do it in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:26
Explanations: 3:36
Fast dialog: 16:44

Nadia: I’m not sure about this civil lawsuit. I don’t want a long trial.

Andre: Relax. This case will never go to trial. For disputes of this kind, neither party wants to fight it out in court, so we almost always reach a settlement.

Nadia: If we do go to court, the legal fees could skyrocket. I couldn’t afford that.

Andre: If we reach a settlement, you won’t have to worry too much about that.

Nadia: All right, but what if they don’t want to admit wrongdoing?

Andre: If we reach a settlement, they don’t need to. They’ll simply pay out.

Nadia: Even if they don’t admit it, at least I’ll be able to talk freely about it.

Andre: Well, that might be a problem. Many settlements require confidentiality – from both parties.

Nadia: You mean if I settle, I can’t talk about it?

Andre: If there is a confidentiality clause, you’d be in breach of contract if you discussed the settlement.

Nadia: I didn’t know that. You mean I can’t talk about what they did to me without getting my day in court?

Andre: That’s the long and short of it.

Nadia: I guess justice is blind – but only for the rich!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 549

Wed, 06 Apr 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: Musicals – Porgy and Bess; Tupperware; finish versus objective versus destination; to tumble short of (one’s) dreams, to form a habit, and to leave (something alone); to call it a day/night

to be ready for
to produce
direct sales
to fall short of (one’s) expectations
to tumble
to form a habit
to leave (something) alone
to call it a day/night


Media Files:

1,196 - Checking Facts and Figures

Mon, 04 Apr 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Accuracy is important in any business. Learn why in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:40
Explanations: 3:31
Fast dialog: 15:59

Takagi: Before we disseminate this report, I need you to fact-check it. I don’t want a repeat of what happened last year.

Ellie: What happened last year? I wasn’t working here then.

Takagi: Last year’s report had a lot of small inaccuracies and a few major errors. We ended up having to issue a second version of the report.

Ellie: Okay, but I thought it had already been signed off on by the department heads.

Takagi: It has, but those are the same department heads who skimmed the report last year and didn’t catch all those problems. I want you to go through it with a fine-tooth comb.

Ellie: What should I check?

Takagi: Everything. I want you to verify the facts and figures and to flag anything that is outright wrong or even a little suspect.

Ellie: Okay, I’ll do that, but this will take some time.

Takagi: What are you doing this weekend?

Ellie: Nothing, now.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,195 - Types of Allergies

Fri, 01 Apr 2016 02:00:00 -0500

It’s no joke: You may be allergic to cats and dogs. Find out what you may have to do about it in this episode. Slow dialog: 1:09 Explanations: 3:47 Fast dialog: 17:12 Bert: Doctor, give it to me straight. Is my medical condition serious? Doctor: I suspect that your rashes and other symptoms are the result of allergies. Bert: Allergies?! I thought I had some kind of serious disease. Doctor: Allergies can be serious. I’m going to give you tests to see what you’re allergic to. Bert: You mean I might have allergies to more than one thing? Doctor: There are many kinds of allergies. Some people have food allergies and have adverse reactions when they ingest or even come near some types of food. Bert: That sounds terrible. I hope I don’t have food allergies. I would have to restrict my diet. Doctor: Other people have seasonal allergies to pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds. Bert: That would mean I couldn’t do some types of outdoor activities. Doctor: Many people are allergic to pets, most commonly cat or dog dander. Bert: Oh no, I’d have to get rid of my three cats or dog! Doctor: You might also be allergic to dust mites, insect bites, or even mold spores in your home. Bert: You mean I might have to move out of my house? Doctor: If mold is detected in your home, you might need to move out temporarily while the mold is removed. Bert: Are you sure I don’t have some kind of disease? I think I’d prefer that to allergies! Script by Dr. Lucy Tse[...]

Media Files:

English Cafe 548

Wed, 30 Mar 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: American Authors – Edith Wharton; American Songs – “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”; to matriculate versus to enroll versus to register; to bid versus to tender; period versus dot

high society
national anthem
to matriculate
to enroll
to register
to bid
to tender


Media Files:

1,194 - Using a Map Program

Mon, 28 Mar 2016 02:00:00 -0500

If you are feeling a little lost, perhaps you need a good map program. Learn how to use one in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:24
Explanations: 3:46
Fast dialog: 17:07

Caroline: I just got an email from Sandra with her new address. I wish I knew what kind of neighborhood our daughter is living in.

Bryce: Let’s find out. I’ll type in her address on this map program.

Caroline: That will just tell us where she’s living within the city, not what kind of neighborhood it is.

Bryce: Just wait. I can show you the street view of her apartment and you can see what her building looks like.

Caroline: Wow, that’s amazing, but doesn’t the building look a little run-down?

Bryce: That’s what you get with high-resolution images. You see every detail. You can navigate around and see a panoramic view of her street.

Caroline: Oh, that doesn’t look very clean or safe.

Bryce: Let me show you an aerial view. The satellite view will give you a better idea of the entire area.

Caroline: Is that an airport nearby and are those factories? What will this other view show us?

Bryce: That provides real-time traffic information and allows for route planning. It looks like she lives on a highly congested street. Hey, where are you going?

Caroline: I’m going to visit our daughter. I want to see for myself what kind of hovel she’s living in!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,193 - Reducing Food Waste

Fri, 25 Mar 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Waste not, want not! Learn how to talk about food you can eat, and food you can’t, in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:25
Explanations: 3:16
Fast dialog: 16:45
Jon: Wait! What are doing with that squishy tomato?

Marta: I’m tossing it. It’s no good anymore.

Jon: I’ll take it, and I’ll take that stale bread, too.

Marta: Stop! You can’t fish that out of the trash.

Jon: I’m trying to do my part to reduce food waste. Tired vegetables are still okay to eat, as are bruised fruit.

Marta: Fine, but not once they’ve been discarded. Stay out of my trash.

Jon: What you are going to do with this graying meat?

Marta: I was going to throw that out, too.

Jon: I’ll take it. I’m sure I can make something edible with it.

Marta: You can’t be serious. I’m all for doing my part, but I draw the line at eating spoiled meat.

Jon: It’s not spoiled. It’s just beyond the peak of freshness.

Marta: Well, be my guest. You can have all of this food.

Jon: And to show my thanks, I’ll invite you over to lunch tomorrow.

Marta: Thanks, but no thanks.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 547

Wed, 23 Mar 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: Famous Americans – Thomas Paine; Classic TV – The Twilight Zone; responsibility versus accountability versus liability; to go haywire versus to go crazy; pronouncing whole, hole, role, and holy

tax collector
to publish
to rebel
common sense
to try
twilight zone
to pre-record
to go haywire
to go crazy


Media Files:

1,192 - Using a Property Management Company

Mon, 21 Mar 2016 02:00:00 -0500

If you need someone to help you run your office building, this episode will give you the English you need to know. Slow dialog: 1:30 Explanations: 4:02 Fast dialog: 18:28 Sonia: Hello, Fickle Property Management Company. Frank: Hello, I own an office building on Broadway Boulevard and I’m interested in hiring a property management company. Sonia: You’ve called the right place. We help you advertise your vacant units, show empty properties, and screen prospective tenants. Frank: The building is partially occupied right now and I want to be sure that any new tenants are financially sound. Sonia: That’s why we require a rental application with financial details and check their credit history. We are very thorough. Frank: Will you also draw up the rental agreement? Sonia: Yes, we handle all of the rental details, including the deposit and delivery of keys. Frank: What if tenants have problems? Sonia: We are on call 24/7 and will send out someone from our maintenance department to deal with any problems. Frank: This sounds like what I’m looking for. What is your fee structure? Sonia: Oh, our services are very reasonable. Frank: When can you start? Sonia: As soon as you sign an agreement with us. Frank: Great. Can you email the agreement to me right now? The building has some stopped-up toilets that need attention ASAP! Script by Dr. Lucy Tse[...]

Media Files:

1,191 - Living on the Fringes of Society

Fri, 18 Mar 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Teenagers sometimes wear strange clothing. Find out some reasons why in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:37
Explanations: 3:17
Fast dialog: 13:57

Carla: Why do those teenagers have to dress like that? Don’t they want to fit in?

Donald: Maybe they feel marginalized and they’re showing their feelings of alienation through their clothes.

Carla: That’s just a bunch of psychobabble. Nobody is treating them like second-class citizens. They’re choosing to set themselves apart, to make themselves outcasts.

Donald: Maybe they don’t feel they have the same access and privileges that other people do because of social class, religious beliefs, or other factors.

Carla: Nobody is shunning them. They choose to live on the fringe of society. They need to stop making themselves conspicuous and integrate into society.

Donald: What if they doubt they’d be accepted?

Carla: That’s ridiculous.

Donald: Would you want one of them as your neighbor?

Carla: Well, I . . . well . . .

Donald: I think I’ve proved my point.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 546

Wed, 16 Mar 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Topics: Paul Bunyan; American Songs – “You’re the Top”; big versus huge versus massive; at all and show off; to be beside (oneself)

chopping block
to outdo
at all
to be beside (oneself)


Media Files:

1,190 - Dealing With Foot Problems

Mon, 14 Mar 2016 02:00:00 -0500

Get on your feet, talk a walk, and listen to this episode on how to talk about feet in English.

Slow dialog: 1:23
Explanations: 3:37
Fast dialog: 14:58

Walt: What are you doing?

Francesca: I’m selecting and organizing my photos for a presentation.

Walt: Oh, can I see? All of these photos are of feet!

Francesca: Well, I am a podiatrist and I’m giving a talk about foot conditions.

Walt: Ew, some of these are really disgusting!

Francesca: You’re looking at some of the most common foot conditions: blisters, corns, bunions, calluses, and athlete’s foot.

Walt: What is that?

Francesca: That’s an ingrown toenail and those are infected toenails.

Walt: I’m really glad I don’t have either one of those problems.

Francesca: You should be even happier you don’t have one of the more serious conditions such as fallen arches, a clubfoot, or arthritis in your feet.

Walt: But I do have one problem. Let me take these shoes off and show you.

Francesca: Pee-ew! I don’t even need to look at them to know you have very bad foot odor.

Walt: What should I do?

Francesca: Get some new shoes, keep them dry, and change your socks every day.

Walt: Every day? You mean I have to own more than one pair?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,189 - Sentencing a Criminal

Fri, 11 Mar 2016 02:00:00 -0600

Learn how not to spend the next 35 years in prison in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:30
Explanations: 3:27
Fast dialog: 20:14

Nancy: Hey, where have you been?

Geraldo: I’ve been in the other courtroom watching the sentencing of that murderer.

Nancy: Which murderer?

Geraldo: The one who failed to get the charges reduced through a plea agreement. During the trial, her attorneys tried to show that there were mitigating circumstances, but the judge didn’t buy it.

Nancy: Didn’t she commit two murders?

Geraldo: That’s right. The judge sentenced her to 35 years to life in prison for each crime.

Nancy: Will she serve them consecutively or concurrently?

Geraldo: She’ll be serving them consecutively, so even with time off for good behavior, she’ll be spending the next 50 years or so in prison.

Nancy: So her only hope now is an appeal, right?

Geraldo: That’s right. I’ll be following this case for a long time to come.

Nancy: And getting lots of good copy.

Geraldo: Of course. What would we crime reporters do without juicy murders?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

English Cafe 545

Wed, 09 Mar 2016 02:00:00 -0600

Topics: Famous Americans – Mel Blanc; American Presidents – William McKinley; to fill in versus to complete; telephone phrases used to tell someone you can’t talk now; so long

to hire
to imitate
protective tax
to explode
to fill in
to complete
to hold on
so long


Media Files:

1,188 - Advertising to Children

Mon, 07 Mar 2016 02:00:00 -0600

If your child wants to buy some toys he saw on TV, find out who is to blame on this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:16
Explanations: 2:40
Fast dialog: 14:53

James: Look at that! It’s commercial after commercial. It’s terrible how advertisers are going after kids.

Vicky: They’re just doing their job, marketing to a lucrative demographic.

James: But just look at what our kids are bombarded with: toy commercials and junk food ads!

Vicky: Children’s television is no different from any other type of programming. Commercials are a fact of life.

James: But don’t you think it’s wrong to manipulate young viewers with these commercials? Aren’t they more susceptible to false advertising?

Vicky: Shh! That’s our company’s product commercial. It really gets your attention, doesn’t it?

James: Yeah, it’s grand, just grand.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Media Files:

1,187 - Visiting Churches, Mosques, and Temples

Fri, 04 Mar 2016 02:00:00 -0600

Visit a holy place in this episode. Slow dialog: 1:34 Explanations: 4:06 Fast dialog: 17:35 Cassius: You’ll need to cover up if you want to go in there. This is a house of worship. Brittany: All right, if you say so. I don’t really want to go into this mosque or temple or whatever it is. Cassius: Keep your voice down. Can’t you see that there are people at the altar in prayer? Brittany: I’ll just stay outside. Maybe I’ll walk over to that building over there with the dome and steeple. Cassius: That’s not a steeple. It’s a minaret, and that’s a mosque. You’re definitely not going in there dressed like that. Brittany: Why not? I’m curious about other religions. I just want to see what it’s like inside and take lots of pictures. Cassius: These are holy places. You can’t just barge into a house of worship to satisfy your curiosity. Brittany: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with me wanting to observe local people worshipping their gods. I’m very interested in the local culture. Cassius: Would you like a tourist coming into your church and taking pictures of you while you’re in prayer? Brittany: I don’t belong to a church, but if I did, I’d welcome anyone who wanted to have a look. Cassius: Other members of your congregation might not feel that way, but do what you like. I’ll be right here ready to dust you off [...]

Media Files: