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Last update: 2013-06-28

907 - Buying Tools at a Hardware Store

2013-06-28 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

When something breaks, someone has to fix it. Learn how to buy the right tools for the job in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:20
Explanations: 3:08
Fast dialog: 15:42

Chuck: Just remember that we have a lot to accomplish today, so let’s just get what we need and go, okay?

Ayaka: Sure, we just need a few tools for our DIY project. The power tools are over there.

Chuck: Whoa, we’re not getting power tools. We just need a few simple hand tools: a hammer, a wrench, a chisel, some pliers – and maybe an extra screwdriver or two.

Ayaka: We would get the job done so much more quickly if we had power tools. Instead of a hammer, we should get a nail gun. We also need a power drill, and hey, a sander and a table saw.

Chuck: A table saw?! We’re doing some simple repairs, not remodeling our house.

Ayaka: You never know when you need a good saw and I’ve always wanted a table saw.

Chuck: Other women want clothes and jewelry, and you want power tools?

Ayaka: That right. You should be counting your lucky stars!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #404

2013-06-26 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 31s

Topics: Benjamin Spock and The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care; The Florida Everglades; destroying versus destructive; to catch up; to drop off

common sense
to trust (one’s) instincts
strict schedule
to potty train
civil disobedience
to drain
to catch up
to drop-off


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906 - Using Illegal Drugs

2013-06-24 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 19s

Psst! Want to buy some drugs? Well, this is not the place for that, friend. Learn all about illegal drugs in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:06
Explanations: 3:11
Fast dialog: 17:52

Nancy: So, what do you think?

Ron: Uh, that was interesting.

Nancy: That’s all you have to say? I spent six months making this anti-drug film to show students in schools to try and deter illegal drug use.

Ron: Well, I’m not sure if it gets the point across.

Nancy: What do you mean? I show footage of people using hardcore drugs.

Ron: That’s just it. You start by showing people smoking pot, making the point that it’s a gateway drug, and then showing addicts popping pills, shooting up heroine, and snorting and freebasing cocaine.

Nancy: I’m trying to show the downhill spiral that results from illegal drug use.

Ron: But considering how incredibly explicit the film is, I’m afraid that teachers might mistake it for some other type of film.

Nancy: What do you mean? What type of film?

Ron: Well, instead of an anti-drug educational film, it seems more instructional. If kids don’t know how to use illegal drugs before, they will after watching this film!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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905 - Getting a Marriage License

2013-06-21 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 20s

Here comes the bride! But is she really ready to get married? Find out in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:17
Explanations: 3:59
Fast dialog: 17:57

Yves: Help me fill out this application for our marriage license.

Vanessa: Can’t you do it? I’m really busy with work right now. Do as much as you can and just ask me if you don’t know something.

Yves: Okay, I’ll try, but I’m reading through the requirements, and it’s a good idea for both of us to know what they are.

Vanessa: Okay, then just read them out loud to me.

Yves: All right. We need to bring identification and it’s best to bring our birth certificates, just in case. We don’t need blood tests and there’s no waiting period in this state. Are you listening?

Vanessa: To every word. Go on.

Yves: For people who have been married before, they’ll have to bring proof of divorce, death, or annulment. Okay, since you’ve been married before, you’ll need to bring a copy of your final divorce decree. Did you hear that?

Vanessa: Yeah, yeah.

Yves: We can choose any qualified officiant and the marriage license is valid for 90 days – that’s 90 days to get married and have the marriage recorded. We only have 90 days after we get the license to get married, got that?

Vanessa: Sure, 90 days. No problem.

Yves: I’m starting to wonder. If you don’t have time to fill out our marriage license application, how will you make time for our wedding?

Vanessa: What? I’m really busy right now. Let’s talk about it later.

Yves: Is it just me, or does this conversation not bode well for our future marriage?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #403

2013-06-19 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 32s

Topics: Famous songs: "Three Blind Mice"; Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park; incoming versus oncoming versus upcoming; featured; to fill in versus to fill out

nursery rhyme
to harmonize
carving knife
to erupt
to marvel
to fill in
to fill out


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904 - Working Overseas

2013-06-17 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 19s

If you’re considering working in another country, listen to this episode to find out how to talk about it.

Slow dialog: 0:16
Explanations: 3:15
Fast dialog: 17:13

Danielle: I’m so excited! I just got my new posting overseas. I can’t wait to live abroad and work as an expat.

Angus: I remember my first overseas assignment. It was interesting, but the adjustment took some time.

Danielle: I won’t have any problems. I already have my work permit and vaccinations, and I speak the language fairly well. And remember, I don’t have any family to relocate.

Angus: I didn’t think I’d have any problems either, but when I got to McQuillanland, I was in culture shock.

Danielle: I’m ready for the differences in the cost of living. I’ll be getting a housing allowance, which will offset the increase in living expenses.

Angus: I wasn’t thinking so much about the expense of living abroad. I was referring to a different pace of life and the many cultural differences that affect every facet of life.

Danielle: That’s what I’m looking forward to. It’ll all be so exciting.

Angus: I’m glad you’re in euphoria right now, but be prepared for some bumps in the road.

Danielle: No problem. To me, smooth sailing would be boring!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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903 - Listening to a Traffic Report

2013-06-14 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 19s

Baby, you can drive my car, but you better check the traffic report before you go. Learn more in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:14
Explanations: 3:31
Fast dialog: 18:03

Every afternoon before I leave work, I listen to the traffic report to see if I should take my usual route home or make a detour. So today, like every day, I turned on my radio.

“It’s a tough commute today if you’re traveling on I-35 north. There’s a major slowdown due to an overturned big rig that’s blocking the number two lane.”

Oh no. That meant that I had to take the 40W instead.

“If you’re traveling on the 40W, you’ll find a lot of congestion. It’s down to one lane because of a pileup. Emergency vehicles are responding.”

Wow, that meant I might have to take surface streets all the way home.

“And if you’re thinking of taking Broadway Boulevard west from downtown, think again. There is a stalled vehicle blocking the right lane and construction all the way to Main Street.”

Well, I was in a no-win situation. Do I want to spend two hours in gridlock or two more hours at work?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #402

2013-06-12 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 31s

Topics: Famous Americans: Nikola Tesla; the Three Stooges; king versus royalty; in an attempt to versus in an effort to; accuracy versus precision

to resign
remote controlled
photographic memory
mad scientist


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902 - Being Chivalrous and Protective

2013-06-10 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

That ain’t no way to treat a lady, no way to treat your baby. Learn how to behave like a gentleman in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:12
Explanations: 3:13
Fast dialog: 15:03

When I first met Lance, I thought he was the perfect guy. He was a real gentleman. He opened doors for me and pulled out my chair in restaurants. He was as chivalrous as they come. But after a while, I realized that he took chivalry a little too far.

Lance: Let me carry that box for you.

Guinevere: No, that’s okay. It’s not heavy.

Lance: It doesn’t matter. I’m your boyfriend and I can’t have you carrying a box when my hands are free.

Guinevere: Is that some kind of code of conduct I don’t know about?

Lance: It’s how a knight would treat his lady.

Guinevere: That’s nice, but I’m perfectly capable of carrying my own box, thank you.

Lance: Don’t argue. It’s my duty to show every courtesy to my girlfriend, so give me that box.

Guinevere: Are you saying that your code of conduct takes precedence over my preferences?

Lance: No, I’m just telling you that my job is to help and protect you, even if it’s against your will.

How can you argue with that logic?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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901 - Participating in a Clinical Trial

2013-06-07 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

Listening to this episode may not cure your illnesses, but it might improve your English.

Slow dialog: 1:07
Explanations: 2:45
Fast dialog: 14:40

Lucinda: You look tired. Are you all right?

Elan: I’m fine. It’s this clinical trial I’m enrolled in. I’m suffering from some side effects.

Lucinda: Are they serious?

Elan: No, they’re not too bad. I was told to expect some adverse reactions in the first weeks of the pilot study. I guess that’s why only a small group of volunteers is taking part right now. It’s so they can judge the drug’s effectiveness before the pharmaceutical company does a large-scale trial.

Lucinda: At least you know you’re not in the group getting a placebo.

Elan: Who knows? I hope not. If I successfully get through this first phase, I’ll get a full dose of the drug in phase two.

Lucinda: Then you may once and for all be rid of Podcaster’s Disease.

Elan: I really hope so. No one should go through life sounding like a podcaster.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #401

2013-06-05 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 28s

Topics: Ask an American: Bilingual seniors; to keep in store versus to store up versus to reserve in store; which; think about versus think of

to activate
cognitive control
to expend
to out-perform (someone)
to keep in store
to store up
to reserve in store
to think about
to think of


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900 - Simplifying Information

2013-06-03 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Be careful about making your explanation too simple when presenting to a group. Learn more in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:17
Explanations: 3:17
Fast dialog: 15:39

Tara: How is your presentation coming along?

Stan: It’s okay, but I’m having trouble simplifying some of the key concepts without dumbing them down too much.

Tara: I think your instincts are right. You’ll be presenting to non-specialists, so it’s important to keep your presentation clear and simple.

Stan: That’s my problem. How do I capture the essence of all of this information without making it too simplistic?

Tara: My rule of thumb is to think about which concepts really jump out at me when I think about the topic and identify any patterns in the information. Then, I build my presentations around those things.

Stan: That’s a good idea.

Tara: I would also find a non-specialist and do a run-through and get his or her feedback. That’s the best way to know if you’ve nailed it.

Stan: That’s another good idea. What do I owe you for all of this good advice?

Tara: There’s a new restaurant across the street I’ve been meaning to try for lunch...

Stan: Say no more. Lunch is on me.

Tara: Really? Let’s go right now before you change your mind!


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899 - Purchasing and Using and E-Ticket

2013-05-31 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Get your ticket to the nightmare that is an American airport in this episode. Enjoy your flight!

Slow dialog: 1:06
Explanations: 3:23
Fast dialog: 17:04

I thought I would save time by purchasing my airline ticket online and checking in at the airport with my e-ticket. I went onto the McQ Air website and selected my flights. The screen then prompted me to pay with a credit card. After I typed in my payment information, I got a confirmation receipt with my ticket number and my itinerary. I printed out a copy of my e-ticket and I was ready to go – easy!

But when I got to the airport, it was a different story. I went up to a self-serve kiosk and swiped my credit card to bring up my account. The computer said that it couldn’t find my account. I flagged down an employee and she didn’t have any better luck, suggesting I stand in line at the check-in counter.

I got in the long line and 45 minutes later, the employee helped me check in and gave me my boarding pass. When I asked her what the problem was, she said she didn’t know and it was probably just a glitch in their computer system.

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, especially if technology is involved!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #400

2013-05-29 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 34s

Topics: Movies: Patton; The Eagles; to swear versus to promise versus to vow; nice to come home to; enclosed versus attached

to defy orders
to distinguish (oneself)
to take it easy
to peak
to disband
to do (something) justice
to swear
to promise
to vow
nice to come home to


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898 - People of Different Ages

2013-05-27 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

For kids from one to 92, we present this episode that explains how to talk about people at all stages of life.

Slow dialog: 1:05
Explanations: 3:06
Fast dialog: 16:05

Gloria: I’m surprised at the variety of people on this tour.

Andy: Oh, yeah? I hadn’t noticed.

Gloria: Well, we’ll be spending the next two weeks with these people so I thought I’d get to know some of them.

Andy: That’s nice.

Gloria: Did you see that thirty-something couple with a toddler and an infant? I’m really surprised they’re on this tour.

Andy: I’m sure they know what they’re doing.

Gloria: And how about that group of seniors? Some of them look like they’re in the mid- to late-seventies.

Andy: They seem pretty spry to me.

Gloria: But what really surprises me is that group of middle-aged couples with their tween and teenage children. They’ll be a handful.

Andy: They seemed pretty well behaved to me.

Gloria: And did you notice that woman in her early-forties and the forty-ish man each traveling alone? She seemed nice, but he didn’t seem too friendly.

Andy: Maybe he’s using his time to size up everybody like you are.

Gloria: Well, I wish there were more young adults in this group. I like talking to young people.

Andy: I think there will be plenty of people for you to talk to these two weeks when you’re not sightseeing.

Gloria: Sightseeing? Oh yeah, sightseeing.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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897 - Cooking a Meal

2013-05-24 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

What’s for dinner? Find out in this episode about cooking (and don’t forget to invite me).

Slow dialog: 1:07
Explanations: 3:01
Fast dialog: 15:46

Emeril: Can you hand me that pan?

Rachel: This pot?

Emeril: No, that pan over there. I need to pan-fry these vegetables.

Rachel: Wouldn’t be healthier if we steamed the vegetables or grilled them?

Emeril: Maybe, but for this meal, I’m frying them in this pan.

Rachel: Okay, do you want me to heat this sauce in this saucepan?

Emeril: No, I’m going to microwave that right before I serve it.

Rachel: Have you considered simmering it in a saucepan to get a better consistency?

Emeril: We don’t have time for that. Slice this meat and marinade it before I broil it.

Rachel: Maybe we could bake it at a lower temperature so that the meat won’t get dried out.

Emeril: We’ll try that another time. Can you get that cutting board and chop these carrots and dice these onions?

Rachel: Sure, but don’t you think...?

Emeril: What I think is that there will be six hungry children coming through that door in an hour and I need to finish dinner. You’re here to help, right?

Rachel: Yes, of course. That’s exactly what I was trying to do.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #399

2013-05-22 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 34s

Topics: Famous Playwrights – David Henry Hwang; patent medicines; to get to versus to have got to; weird versus strange; to thumb a ride

fresh off the boat
to branch out
medicinal properties
to reap the benefits
to get to
to have got to
to thumb a ride


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896 - Preparing a Speech

2013-05-20 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

Feeling nervous about giving a speech in English? Learn about how to prepare in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:11
Explanations: 3:10
Fast dialog: 14:56

Lourdes: I need help.

Valery: Sure, what’s up?

Lourdes: I’m supposed to give a speech at the start of the conference next month and I don’t know what to do.

Valery: It’s not that hard to plan out a speech. You start with an attention getter using humor or telling a personal story.

Lourdes: Okay, I guess I can do that.

Valery: After that, in your introduction, you should tell the audience what your speech is about in a thesis statement. Along the way, you should establish your credibility by mentioning why you’re qualified to talk about this topic.

Lourdes: All right.

Valery: Then, in the body of your speech, you want to state your main points, using supporting ideas, giving examples, and maybe using visuals.

Lourdes: Okay.

Valery: And finally, in the conclusion, you restate your main points and make some closing remarks. Simple, right?

Lourdes: Yeah, simple. One last question.

Valery: Shoot.

Lourdes: What are you doing the morning of June 20th, and how do you feel about standing in for a coworker who plans to be deathly ill?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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895 - Government Reactions to Protests

2013-05-17 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

We’re going to have a revolution. It will not be televised, but it might be tweeted. Find out how to talk about overthrowing your government in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:12
Explanations: 3:09
Fast dialog: 15:10

Tom: Have you seen the news?

Marianne: No, what’s happening?

Tom: People in McQuillanland are rising up against the dictator and rallying against his government.

Marianne: Wow, this is big. I thought the dictator would order a media blackout and we wouldn’t hear any news out of McQuillanland.

Tom: There is a media blackout, but people are using social media to tell the world what’s going on. Hundreds of thousands of protesters are clashing with police, and the government is having no success putting down the protests.

Marianne: Has it been violent?

Tom: It’s early days yet, but the government has already used tear gas and fired into the crowd. It’s hard to say how many people have been hurt.

Marianne: So this may be the end of tyranny in McQuillanland.

Tom: Don’t bet on it. The dictator has ruled with an iron fist and won’t hesitate to use any means necessary to stay in power.

Marianne: Well, the protesters have a fighting chance and I’m betting that they’ll topple the government and that ruthless tyrant!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #398

2013-05-15 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 32s

Topics: American Authors: Ayn Rand; Adirondack Park; to get versus to gain versus to obtain; to have (someone) do (something) versus to get (someone) to do (something); giving an apple to a teacher

magnum opus
to be set in
pursuit of happiness
to merit
to erode
to get
to gain
to obtain
to get (someone) to do (something)
to have (someone) do (something)


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894 - Understanding Modern Art

2013-05-13 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

If you can understand what you’re looking at in a modern art museum, you might be doing something wrong. Find out more in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:27
Explanations: 3:06
Fast dialog: 15:56

Stephan: What’s that?

Livia: It’s my latest artwork. It’s experimental.

Stephan: It’s, um...

Livia: Abstract. It’s part of a performance art piece I’m putting together. It’ll really challenge people’s perceptions of reality.

Stephan: I don’t really understand contemporary art. Is it supposed to represent something?

Livia: It’s my interpretation of how the rich oppress the poor.

Stephan: Really?

Livia: Yes, from a postmodern perspective.

Stephan: Oh, I see.

Livia: You do?

Stephan: No, not really. I don’t think I’m cut out for modern art. I prefer art to be representational. I just can’t wrap my head around this.

Livia: That’s the point. It’s supposed to challenge you and make you think.

Stephan: Well, it’s certainly made me think.

Livia: It has?

Stephan: Yeah, it’s made me realize that I’ve underrated paint-by-numbers all these years.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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893 - Sports-Related Injuries

2013-05-10 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

Playing sports can be dangerous. That’s why I never do. Learn why you shouldn’t either in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:13
Explanations: 3:08
Fast dialog: 15:13

Grace: What happened to you?!

Paul: I had a little accident at the game today.

Grace: Little accident?! You’re limping and obviously in pain!

Paul: I just pulled a muscle in my back and aggravated my runner’s knee, that’s all. It’s nothing to worry about.

Grace: And you’re still recovering from the sprained ankle, concussion, and neck strain from three weeks ago. Don’t you think you should sit out of the game for the next few weeks?

Paul: I might have to, but these aren’t serious injuries. They’re just part of playing sports.

Grace: I hate to bring this up again, but you’re not a 20-year-old anymore. Maybe your ligaments, tendons, and joints aren’t what they used to be.

Paul: Don’t start with me. I’m in the prime of my life and in perfect physical condition. Don’t try to tell me I’m over the hill just because I get an injury or two now and then.

Grace: I’m not saying you’re over the hill. I just worry that you can’t sit, stand, or lie down comfortably.

Paul: Who says I can’t...ow!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #397

2013-05-08 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 30s

Topics: American Presidents – Warren G. Harding; wet versus muggy versus humid; intense versus intensive; such a

to make a bid
fence sitter
to hold true to
such a


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892 - Preparing for a Busy Season

2013-05-06 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Hurry up! Everyone will be arriving soon for the new season and you’re not even ready. Get prepared by listening to this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:20
Explanations: 3:18
Fast dialog: 15:54

Yuko: What’s all this?

Reza: We’re gearing up for the busy season. We don’t want to get caught with our pants down like we did last season.

Yuko: Last season, we had an unusual number of visitors because of the unseasonably warm weather. We can’t expect lightening to strike twice.

Reza: We have to prepare for every contingency. If we get a flood of visitors, we need to be able to handle the surge in traffic. These three months are our peak months anyway, so we should expect an upswing in business soon.

Yuko: But what if people don’t come in large numbers as you’re anticipating? All of these extra supplies will go to waste.

Reza: No, they won’t. Most of this stuff isn’t perishable, so we’ll just save it for the next time we get a rush of visitors. Or, maybe, I’ll just invite my buddies over at the end of the season and we’ll have a party.

Yuko: So when you said that we have to plan for every contingency, this was what you meant.

Reza: Exactly!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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891 - Checking on the Status of an Application

2013-05-03 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

Waiting to hear about whether you were successful in applying for a job or position can be stressful. Learn how to talk about it in English in this episode.

Slow Dialog: 1:16
Explanations: 3:09
Fast Dialog: 14:34

Leo: Here’s the mail.

Denise: Did I get anything?

Leo: No, sorry. Are you expecting something?

Denise: Yeah, I’m waiting for a decision letter about my application to the McQ program. I should hear any day now.

Leo: Have you thought about calling and checking on the status?

Denise: I called last week and my application was still under review. I was told that a decision was still pending.

Leo: I’m sure it was just awaiting approval. There is no chance it’ll be rejected. You’re an ideal candidate and you’re sure to get good news in a day or two.

Denise: I hope you’re right. In the meantime, I’m on pins and needles. Every time the mail carrier walks by, my heart skips a beat.

Leo: I know this is important to you, but you’ve got to keep it in perspective. It’s not a life-or-death situation.

Denise: I am keeping it in perspective. If I don’t get into this program, it’s only the end of my career, my dream, and my future – that’s all!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #396

2013-05-01 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 33s

Topics: Ask an American – “Battle Hymn of the Republic"; to outweigh versus to be outweighed by; full versus whole versus entire; a lot of versus several

marching troops
the coming of the Lord
to trample out
grapes of wrath
to march on
to outweigh
to be outweighed by
a lot of


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890 - Enjoying Nature

2013-04-29 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 15s

There’s nothing better than a walk through the forest or on the beach. Or is there? Find out in this episode.

Slow Dialog: 1:11
Explanations: 2:51
Fast Dialog: 13:48

Charles: This is what I call the great outdoors. Look at that stunning view!

Rachel: This is truly jaw-dropping. We’re in the middle of one of the most pristine areas of the world where wildlife lives in its natural habitat.

Charles: It’s almost like living in the middle of the wilderness, isn’t it? I bet those ponds and forests have amazing biodiversity.

Rachel: It is beautiful, and it’s great to be away from all of the pollution of the city. I’ve never seen foliage like this. This is truly a majestic landscape.

Charles: You really can’t appreciate the outdoors until you come to a place like this.

Rachel: You’re right. I feel like I’m at one with nature here.

Charles: Should we leave the hotel and go for a walk?

Rachel: A walk? Why? We have the best view of nature right here. We don’t want to spoil the effect by getting too close.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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889 – Taking Up a New Hobby

2013-04-26 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

If you have a lot of free time, why not start a new hobby? Learn more in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:13
Explanations: 3:34
Fast dialog: 15:08

Eric: Who were you talking to on the phone?

Melissa: My mother. I was commiserating with her about Dad’s retirement.

Eric: Your father retired two months ago. That was a good thing, right?

Melissa: Well, it’s good that he doesn’t have to work anymore, but he’s driving my mother up the wall. He putters around the house and gets in her way. She retired last year, so she’s had a year to establish her new routine. He’s still kind of lost.

Eric: Why doesn’t he take up a hobby? That would give him something interesting to occupy his time.

Melissa: Believe me, my mother has tried to interest him in gardening, woodworking, and even scrapbooking, but nothing has worked.

Eric: Those sound too sedentary for somebody as active as your father. How about encouraging him to take up bird watching or golf?

Melissa: He wouldn’t be interested in those hobbies. I think he needs something more challenging, maybe playing chess or doing genealogy. Maybe he could even learn to play a musical instrument.

Eric: Maybe your Dad just needs time to find his footing again. Given time, he’ll figure out what he wants to do with his newfound free time.

Melissa: Maybe. But what does my mother do in the meantime?

Eric: She can take up a new hobby, too – out of the house!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 889 – Taking Up a New Hobby

English Cafe #395

2013-04-24 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 32s

Topics: The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer; Famous songs: Little Bunny Foo Foo; science of versus knowledge of; good versus not bad

a wide spectrum of
hand motion
to scoop up
to bop
play on words
science of
knowledge of
not bad


Share: English Cafe #395

888 – Advertising in TV and Movies

2013-04-22 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

How do you force people to see your advertisement? Put it into a movie or TV show. Find out how in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:13
Explanations: 3:42
Fast dialog: 16:09

Victoria: [clears her throat] Congratulations are in order. I just scored a product placement for our brand in the latest McQuillanator movie. Thank you, thank you very much.

Gerard: Really? That’s great! Will it have a prominent place in the movie?

Victoria: Well, you know how these things are. Our logo goes by in the blink of an eye, but millions of people are going to see it.

Gerard: So will the star be wearing our logo on his shirt or something?

Victoria: Something like that.

Gerard: But not that.

Victoria: No, it’s a little more subtle than that, but it’ll be embedded into an important scene.

Gerard: But where are they going to see it?

Victoria: Is that really important? The important thing is that our brand will be associated with a major Hollywood movie. What more could we ask for?

Gerard: Stop beating around the bush. Where in the movie will our logo appear?

Victoria: All right. It’ll be on the bottom of the star’s shoes, on the sole, and the audience will be able to see it when he’s running.

Gerard: Only if he’s running in slow motion, but he won’t be, right? If it goes by that quickly, it’ll be more like subliminal advertising.

Victoria: Exactly! I hadn’t thought of it that way, but hordes of people will be going out to buy our products and they won’t even know why. I’m even more of a genius than I thought!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 888 – Advertising in TV and Movies

887 – A Destructive Storm

2013-04-19 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it. Hear more talk in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:12
Explanations: 2:58
Fast dialog: 16:06

Allen: Are you all right?

Monica: Yes, we’re fine, but that blizzard really caught us off guard, especially this time of year. Have you seen the news?

Allen: I just watched it. Overnight, the storm felled over 30 trees in and around the town and toppled utility lines. City officials are saying that some residents may not get their electricity restored until the weekend.

Monica: That’s terrible, especially with these unseasonably cold temperatures. I heard the ferocious storm last night, but I didn’t expect that homes would actually be in danger of washing away.

Allen: I don’t know if any will actually be washed away unless we continue to get steady rain and snow, but those downed trees wrecked plenty of homes. It’ll take months for us to fully recover from this storm.

Monica: They’re calling it “The Storm of the Century.”

Allen: Well, if we just get one of these storms this century, then that’s more than enough!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 887 – A Destructive Storm

English Cafe #394

2013-04-17 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 33s

Topics: The rise of home shopping; Mammoth Cave National Park; quick versus fast; tremendous versus enormous; basic needs

to take off
to showcase
customer base
bricks-and-mortar store
to mine
to spelunk
basic needs


Share: English Cafe #394

886 – Driving Through a Speed Trap

2013-04-15 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

If you drive too fast, you may get into trouble. Learn how to avoid that in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:10
Explanations: 2:42
Fast dialog: 15:39

Angel: Why are you driving at a snail’s pace?

Georgina: This is an infamous speed trap. I don’t want to get a ticket – again.

Angel: I don’t see any squad cars along the road. Are you sure this is the right stretch of road?

Georgina: I’m sure. Those cops are crafty. They hide out behind big rocks or a bend in the road, and as soon as you let your guard down and go over the speed limit, they nab you.

Angel: But you’re not exceeding the speed limit. In fact, you’re driving way under the speed limit.

Georgina: You can’t be too careful. You never know if those speed guns are accurate, and I don’t want there to be any doubt that I’m being a law-abiding citizen.

Angel: But at this pace, we could get home faster if we walked!

Georgina: Don’t exaggerate. You might be able to run home faster, but not walk.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 886 – Driving Through a Speed Trap

885 – Talking to a Bank Teller

2013-04-12 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Rich man, poor man – everyone goes to the bank at some point. Learn how to talk to someone at your bank in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:08
Explanations: 3:22
Fast dialog: 15:44

Bank Teller: Can I help you?

Antonio: Yes, I’d like to deposit this check.

Bank Teller: Please fill out a deposit slip and be sure to endorse the check on the back.

Antonio: Here you are. I’ve already filled out a slip and signed the check. I’d also like to cash this other check.

Bank Teller: Sure, I can help you with that. Here you are. Here’s a receipt for your deposit and I’ve cashed your check. Let me count out your $100: 20, 40, 60, 80, 100.

Antonio: Thanks. Could I also check my bank balance for my other account?

Bank Teller: No problem. You just have to swipe your ATM card and enter your PIN. It looks like you have a balance of $1,752. Will that be all?

Antonio: Oh, I have that much? I’d like to withdraw $80.

Bank Teller: All right. You’ll need to fill out a withdrawal slip. Why don’t you step aside while you do that so I can help the next customer, and when you’re done, come back to this window and I’ll help you.

Antonio: Okay, I’ll do that. And if I want to transfer money between accounts?

Bank Teller: You’ll need to fill out a withdrawal slip for the first account and a deposit slip for the second.

Antonio: Got it. This might take awhile.

Bank Teller: No problem, sir. We’re here all day – at least until 5:00.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 885 – Talking to a Bank Teller

English Cafe #393

2013-04-10 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 30s

Topics: American Movies – The Manchurian Candidate; blue laws; expression versus term versus idiom; What name do you go by?; en masse

to brainwash
to incriminate
sleeper agent
to commission
blue law
to reserve
to repeal
car dealership
What name do you go by?
en masse


Share: English Cafe #393

884 – Types of Meetings

2013-04-08 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

What could be more fun than going to a lot of meetings? Learn how to talk about different kinds of business meetings in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:08
Explanations: 2:58
Fast dialog: 14:31

Susanna: All right, then. This meeting is over. We’ll meet again next week for a status update.

Juan: Hey, do you have a few minutes to talk about tomorrow’s teleconference?

Susanna: Sorry, I’ve got to run. I’m late for my department’s weekly brainstorming session. Can it wait?

Juan: Sure, how about a lunch meeting?

Susanna: I can’t. I’m holding personnel meetings over lunch all this week. It’s the only way I can fit them in.

Juan: Okay, how about at 3:00 this afternoon?

Susanna: Sorry, I have a standing meeting with the directors once a month at that time. Can you come by after the pitch meeting at 4:30?

Juan: I wish I could, but our department head has called an emergency meeting for this afternoon to do some damage control after the shareholder meeting debacle last week. Well, how about a dinner meeting?

Susanna: Only if we can have dinner at 9:30. I won’t be finished here until then.

Juan: Do you ever get a breather?

Susanna: A breather? I think I’m due for one...in 2030.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 884 – Types of Meetings

883 – Taking Care of a Willful Child

2013-04-05 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Modern parenting can be a real disaster. Learn why in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:19
Explanations: 3:50
Fast dialog: 15:53

Mrs. Mason: So, how did things go?

Carl: Well...

Mrs. Mason: What’s the matter? Didn’t you and Jason have a good time while I was away?

Carl: It was interesting. He was a little willful.

Mrs. Mason: Yes, he can be a little strong-willed at times, but if you just do what he wants or give him what he wants, he’s just fine.

Carl: He wanted to eat all of the cookies and I told him no. He threw a tantrum.

Mrs. Mason: A tantrum? My son can be stubborn, but he never throws tantrums. What did he do exactly?

Carl: Well, he threw his toys against the wall, jumped on the couch while shrieking at the top of his lungs, and he tried to bite my hand.

Mrs. Mason: Oh, he was just expressing his displeasure, that’s all. You don’t want children to bottle up their feelings. You should just have given him the cookies to pacify him.

Carl: Really? I didn’t want to spoil him, and eating all of those cookies wouldn’t be good for him. He seemed to have too much energy already, and he didn’t need another sugar rush.

Mrs. Mason: Next time, you should just do what he wants. He’ll grow out of this willful stage soon.

Carl: Next time?

Mrs. Mason: Yes, didn’t you say you could babysit Jason again on Saturday night?

Carl: Oh, I’d made a mistake. I have another commitment on Saturday night.

Mrs. Mason: That’s too bad. We’ll call you the next time we need a babysitter.

Carl: Sure, I can’t wait.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 883 – Taking Care of a Willful Child

English Cafe #392

2013-04-03 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 33s

Topics: American Presidents – Dwight D. Eisenhower; path versus route versus track; stuff; anon

to set the stage
to fit in
in a landslide
to balance the budget
Eisenhower doctrine
military-industrial complex


Share: English Cafe #392

882 - Playing a Practical Joke

2013-04-01 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

Be the guy people hate by playing practical jokes on everyone you meet today. Learn more in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:13
Explanations: 2:51
Fast dialog: 14:32

Patricia: What are you doing?

Luis: I’m setting up a practical joke for Bobby. I can’t wait to see the look on his face when he walks outside and finds his bike in pieces. It’ll be the best prank ever!

Patricia: You’re not really going to take apart his bike, are you?

Luis: I’ll let you in on the joke. He’ll just be looking at spare parts. I’ve hidden his bike in the garage.

Patricia: He’s really going to freak out when he thinks that you’ve run over his bike with the car, though. I think this is more cruel than mischievous.

Luis: Lighten up! When he realizes he’s the butt of the joke, he’ll think it’s hilarious, trust me.

Patricia: Couldn’t you just play some other kind of practical joke, maybe with a whoopee cushion?

Luis: A whoopee cushion? That’s child’s play. This practical joke is worthy of a master prankster!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 882 - Playing a Practical Joke

881 – Eating Genetically Modified Foods

2013-03-29 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 15s

Will eating genetically modified foods improve your English? Find out the answer in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:15
Explanations: 3:04
Fast dialog: 14:10

Ralph: What’s that?

Nicky: It’s a bigger and better tomato. It’s been genetically modified.

Ralph: You’re not going to eat that, are you?

Nicky: Of course I am. I’m making a salad. Want one?

Ralph: No way. I don’t want to eat something that’s been genetically engineered in a laboratory. Who knows what kind of strange DNA it has.

Nicky: It’s perfectly safe. It’s been modified to grow faster, have more nutrients, and be resistant to disease and pests.

Ralph: And it may contain strange mutations as part of its genetic makeup that they didn’t tell you about. I really wouldn’t eat that if I were you.

Nicky: Where did you get this aversion to genetically modified foods? Scientists and farmers have always used selective breeding with animals and crops to bring you bigger and better food. This is nothing different.

Ralph: Of course it is. And just because it’s bigger, doesn’t mean it’s better. I’ll eat food that’s been modified by the only person I trust.

Nicky: Who’s that?

Ralph: Mother Nature!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 881 – Eating Genetically Modified Foods

English Cafe #391

2013-03-27 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 35s

Topics: Ask an American: Inventing Frozen Foods; prize versus accomplishment versus award versus reward; what the heck?; wholesale

canned food
freezing point
to rot
to thaw out
to bar
what the heck?


Share: English Cafe #391

880 - Forming a Union

2013-03-25 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

We’re going on strike here at ESL Podcast very soon. Listen to this episode to find out why.

Slow dialog: 1:08
Explanations: 2:55
Fast dialog: 15:29

Norma: What is this?

Jimmy: It’s a flyer for a meeting I’ve called to talk about forming a labor union here.

Norma: Here? Do you think the management will let us?

Jimmy: They can’t stop us. We’re working longer and longer hours and we need to demand higher pay. We also need better work conditions and a say in hiring and firing procedures. All of us need to band together to have better bargaining power.

Norma: I don’t know. I want to be better paid and to have job security like everybody else, but I’m afraid of what will happen when we start agitating.

Jimmy: I’ll tell you what will happen: The management will finally hear what we have to say. With collective bargaining, the rank and file will get what we deserve, at long last. Are you in or out?

Norma: I’ll have to think about it.

Jimmy: He who hesitates is lost.

Norma: Yes, but I was always taught to look before I leap.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 880 - Forming a Union

879 - Saying No

2013-03-22 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Are you a great cook? If you’re not, then this episode will sound very familiar to you.

Slow dialog: 1:14
Explanations: 3:09
Fast dialog: 17:01

Liang: I have a favor to ask.

Christian: Uh oh, what is it?

Liang: I’m doing a project for my class in culinary school and I need a volunteer to taste some of my creations.

Christian: Not on your life.

Liang: But, why?

Christian: You don’t remember the last time I was your guinea pig? I was sick for two days.

Liang: That was a stroke of bad luck. Come on, please.

Christian: Count me out. No amount of pleading is going to change my mind. I bet I’m not the first person you’ve asked.

Liang: Well, no.

Christian: Who else has turned you down?

Liang: Jacob said no.

Christian: I bet he said something stronger than no.

Liang: He said that he would let me cook food for him over his dead body.

Christian: That’s what I thought. Did you ask Mele, too?

Liang: Yes, and she said she’d rather not.

Christian: Who’s next on your list of victims, I mean candidates?

Liang: You’re my last resort. If you won’t do it, then I’m sunk.

Christian: The answer is still no, but I know someone who won’t turn up his nose at your cooking.

Liang: Who?

Christian: Come here, Fido!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 879 - Saying No

English Cafe #390

2013-03-20 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 29s

Topics: American Authors: Emily Post; American Cities: Branson, Missouri; either versus both; to do a special on (someone/something) versus to do a segment on (someone/something); to towel off

finishing school / charm school
boarding school
common sense
syndicated column
to get (someone's) attention
outlet store
to do a special on (someone/something)
to do a segment on (someone/something)
to towel off


Share: English Cafe #390

878 - Recovering From an Illness or Injury

2013-03-18 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

You need to relax if you have been sick. Learn how to do it in English in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:10
Explanations: 2:51
Fast dialog: 17:19

Julio: Hi, Aunt Louisa, it’s Julio.

Paula: ...And Paula. I’m on the extension in the kitchen.

Julio: Anyway, we just wanted to call and wish you a speedy recovery. Get plenty of bed rest and take it easy. Avoid greasy or spicy foods and drink lots of liquids. You don’t want to become dehydrated.

Paula: Don’t listen to him. You need to stay active and not get in the habit of sitting around. You’ll recover faster if you get up and move around a lot.

Julio: That’s terrible advice. She needs rest and to eat right. You know what they say: “Feed a cold, starve a fever.”

Paula: What does that old adage have to do with anything? What you need, Aunt Louisa, is to alternate between a heating pad and an ice pack.

Julio: What are you talking about? Aunt Louisa has a bad cold.

Paula: What?! I thought she had a sore back!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 878 - Recovering From an Illness or Injury

877 - Cheering Someone Up

2013-03-15 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

Forget you troubles, come on! Get happy! Listen to this episode to find out how.

Slow dialog: 1:07
Explanations: 2:44
Fast dialog: 14:50

Eleanor: Isn’t it a beautiful day? The sun is shinning; the birds are singing. It’s good to be alive!

Porter: Okay, Pollyanna, go spread good cheer somewhere else.

Eleanor: What’s wrong with you? You must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed.

Porter: I’m just having a bad day – no, make that a bad month. Nothing is going my way.

Eleanor: Cheer up! Every cloud has a silver lining and it’s no use crying over spilled milk.

Porter: Spare me your platitudes, and let me wallow in my own misery.

Eleanor: I can’t do that. If your work isn’t going well, then practice makes perfect. You’ll just do better next time.

Porter: It’s not my work.

Eleanor: Is it your girlfriend? If your girlfriend isn’t being nice to you then there are plenty of fish in the sea. Don’t you see? Whatever the problem is, it’s not the end of the world.

Porter: My biggest problem right now is easy to fix.

Eleanor: How?

[Door slams.]

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 877 - Cheering Someone Up

English Cafe #389

2013-03-13 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 33s

Topics: Famous Songs: Red River Valley; how recall elections work; to reduce versus to lessen versus to decrease versus to decline; sort/to sort; to intervene versus to interfere

to trace (something’s) origins
to hasten
to bid (someone) adieu
so true
recall election
to remove (someone) from office
Populist Movement
to resign
collective bargaining
to reduce
to lessen
to decrease
to decline
to sort
to intervene
to interfere


Share: English Cafe #389

876 - Preparing a Professional Portfolio

2013-03-11 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

If you want a better job, or better clients, get your portfolio ready by listening to this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:11
Explanations: 3:04
Fast dialog: 14:50

Melinda: Ta da! I’m finally done with my portfolio. Do you want to see it?

Chad: Sure. This portfolio has samples of your work, right?

Melinda: It does, but it’s much more than that. It’s a presentation of the highlights of my career, with examples of my groundbreaking work.

Chad: Uh, okay, if you say so.

Melinda: Let me show you. The first page is a fact sheet of my major accomplishments, clients, jobs, and awards. That’s followed by a more detailed resume. And then, there are some samples of my best work, and finally, there are testimonials from satisfied clients.

Chad: But this is still a work in progress, right?

Melinda: What do you mean?

Chad: Well, your fact sheet is a half a page long. There are two samples of your work, and there are no testimonials, just a blank page.

Melinda: I admit that it’s a little thin right now, but what do you expect? I just started working in the field six months ago. This portfolio shows that there is room for growth.

Chad: Yeah, plenty of room.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 876 - Preparing a Professional Portfolio

875 - Shopping at the Supermarket

2013-03-08 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Do you ever go to the supermarket without finding what you’re looking for? Learn more about it in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:11
Explanations: 3:17
Fast dialog: 16:18

Stocker: Can I help you find something?

Meg: Yes, I’m looking for coffee.

Stocker: That’s on aisle 3. Let me show you where it is.

Meg: Thanks. Hmm, I don’t see the Jitters brand that I normally buy.

Stocker: It looks like we’re out of stock. We should get another shipment next week.

Meg: Okay, I’ll check back. I’m also looking for the Fructose brand soda, but I didn’t see it in the soda aisle.

Stocker: I’m afraid that’s been discontinued. Their parent company no longer makes soda.

Meg: Really? I love Fructose soda. How about the Mushy brand bread? I didn’t see it when I checked the bread aisle.

Stocker: We no longer stock the Mushy brand. There were so quality control issues at the company, so we’ve pulled all of their products from the shelves. Can I help you find anything else?

Meg: No, I guess I’ll just have to try some new brands. Oh, yes, do you carry Worm organic apples?

Stocker: We normally do, but they’re out of season right now. We won’t have any until early summer.

Meg: All of this shopping and I have nothing to show for it. I guess I’m going home empty-handed.

Stocker: We do have chocolate cakes and cookies on sale.

Meg: I’m there!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 875 - Shopping at the Supermarket

English Cafe #388

2013-03-06 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 32s

Topics: Famous Americans: Sandra Day O'Connor; understanding American football; the meanings of “to draw”; out for lunch versus out to lunch; for crying out loud

attorney general
court of appeals
swing vote
end zone
goal posts
to tackle
contact sport
to draw
out for lunch
out to lunch
for crying out loud


Share: English Cafe #388

874 - Poor Road Conditions

2013-03-04 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

I never use my bicycle when the roads are not in good condition. (I never use it when they are, either.) Learn how to talk about all this on this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:21
Explanations: 3:15
Fast dialog: 16:39

Alice: I’m really glad I let you talk me into going for a bike ride. It’s been years since I’ve been on a bicycle.

Sam: This is the only way to travel. You get to really see the scenery and enjoy the fresh air.

Alice: Hey, watch out! You almost dropped into that huge pothole. This asphalt is cracked and the road is all bumpy.

Sam: Thanks for the warning. Yeah, this asphalt really needs to be repaired. I’d ride on the gravel path instead, but it’s full of ruts. Oh, slow down! There’s a big dip ahead.

Alice: Whoa! I didn’t see that coming. I almost lost control on that slippery section of road. Sorry, I nearly swerved into you. Are you okay?

Sam: Yeah, I’m fine. When I suggested this route, I was sure it would be an easy ride since it’s paved all the way. I didn’t bargain for these lousy road conditions.

Alice: We’ll just have to keep our eyes open and be thankful for these crash helmets!

Sam: You won’t blame me if you go flying, will you?

Alice: Not if you break my fall.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 874 - Poor Road Conditions

873 - Avoid Giving an Opinion

2013-03-01 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 15s

I can’t really tell you what I think of this episode. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether it helps you avoid giving opinions in English.

Slow dialog: 1:08
Explanations: 2:39
Fast dialog: 13:52

Ariel: I know you’ll give me the inside scoop. What’s going on between Sam and Matt?

Paolo: You’re asking the wrong person.

Ariel: Don’t be like that. You know both of them really well, and I know that Sam confides in you. Don’t you think Matt is being unreasonable?

Paolo: I really couldn’t say.

Ariel: Why are you being so close-mouthed? I’m sure you have an opinion.

Paolo: I’ve never given it much thought, to be honest, and I don’t think it’s any of my business.

Ariel: But they’re both friends of yours. You must have at least speculated on what’s happening. It’s only human. Do you think Sam is going to leave Matt?

Paolo: Your guess is as good as mine. I really don’t know anything and don’t have an opinion either way!

Ariel: That’s just not possible. Okay, okay, what do you think is going on between Michaela and Carlos?

Paolo: Ugh!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 873 - Avoid Giving an Opinion

English Cafe #387

2013-02-27 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 31s

Topics: Movies: The Maltese Falcon; Napa Valley, California and wine country; usage of “bit”; abuse versus assault; to put (someone) in the picture

private detective
hardboiled fiction
femme fatale
to sample
wine culture
to put (someone) in the picture


Share: English Cafe #387

872 - A Publicity Stunt

2013-02-25 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

If you want attention for your business, this episode will give you all you need to be famous (giant banana costume not included).

Slow dialog:1:14
Explanations: 2:48
Fast dialog: 15:21

Hank: What’s that for?

Svetlana: This costume? I’m planning a publicity stunt to get our store more business.

Hank: You think that dressing up as a giant banana will get our store more business?

Svetlana: We need to get media coverage for the grand opening of our store and attract as much attention as possible. I’ll be on hand to give sound bites and organize photo ops.

Hank: How does a giant banana tie into our store?

Svetlana: It doesn’t directly, but trust me, it’ll get noticed.

Hank: I was thinking of a traditional marketing campaign, more along the lines of holding a contest or a giveaway. And I don’t see how a giant banana is going to get media attention.

Svetlana: The person in the giant banana costume will skydive into the parking lot of the store.

Hank: What idiot have you convinced to do that?

Svetlana: Well, that’s actually why I’m here...

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 872 - A Publicity Stunt

871 - Listening to Club Music

2013-02-22 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Get on up off the floor and dance, dance, dance in this episode. Plus, you will learn how to yell really loud in English.

Slow dialog: 1:15
Explanations: 3:24
Fast dialog: 15:03

Anastasia: This is the best club in the city. Grace brought me here last month. You’re going to love it.

Joshua: What?!

Anastasia: You’re going to love this club. It has the best DJ in town. She spins the best mixes.

Joshua: Did you say you’re going to get us some mixed drinks?

Anastasia: No, I said that this DJ is great. She plays music that gets people pumped up. Oh, I love this song. It samples from two of my favorite songs and it’s my favorite track on this CD.

Joshua: Did you say that you want to buy this CD?

Anastasia: No, I said I like this song. It’s got a pounding beat and I can really feel the music. I love dancing to it. Do you want to get out onto the dance floor?

Joshua: Let’s wait until she segues into something mellower. I don’t really like dancing to this kind of club music.

Anastasia: What?! You love club music? That’s great. Let’s go dance!

Joshua: I think I’ll sit this one out. Don’t you think that the volume is a little loud in here?

Anastasia: What?! You want the music to be louder? I’ll go ask the DJ to turn it up.

Joshua: No!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 871 - Listening to Club Music

English Cafe #386

2013-02-20 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 31s

Topics: Ask an American – Undocumented students and college tuition; stop thinking negatively; very; smoking hot

to play by the rules
to get a return on (one’s) investment
illegal alien
to think negatively
smoking hot


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870 - Using Caffeine as a Stimulant

2013-02-18 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Wake up and smell the coffee as you learn how to stay awake in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:14
Explanations: 32:59
Fast dialog:15:21

Joan: Hi, how are you? What are you doing? What is this?

Roberto: Whoa! You’re very high-strung this morning.

Joan: Am I? I am a little wired. I’ve been up all night trying to finish an assignment for one of my classes.

Roberto: You don’t seem tired at all for having been up all night. In fact, you seem to be bouncing off the walls.

Joan: What are you trying to imply? Sorry, I didn’t mean to snap at you. I’ve been drinking a lot of coffee and energy drinks. I still have a lot of caffeine in my system.

Roberto: That’s for sure. You seem agitated from too many stimulants.

Joan: Well, I needed to stay awake, so as soon as I felt drowsy, I’d have another dose of caffeine. It gave me an instant jolt!

Roberto: But you’re done with your assignment now, right?

Joan: Yes.

Roberto: And you have a few hours before your class, so why don’t you get some sleep?

Joan: Sleep? Sleep?! I don’t know the meaning of the word!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 870 - Using Caffeine as a Stimulant

869 - Touring Celebrity Homes and Filming Locations

2013-02-15 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Come to Los Angeles and meet famous people! Or, if you can’t meet any of them, see where they live.

Slow Dialog: 1:20
Explanations: 3:20
Fast Dialog: 15:27

Tour guide: Welcome to Hollywood Tours, everybody. I’m your tour guide for today, and I’ll be showing you some of the most memorable locations in Hollywood history. Every seat in this double-decker bus is a good one, and you’ll be able to see every landmark we drive by. Uh, do you have a question?

Elvira: Yes, I do. When do we see the celebrities? I want to get my picture taken with a real Hollywood star!

Tour guide: Well, we’ll be stopping at some celebrity homes and it’s possible that we’ll catch a glimpse of a celebrity. I’ll also be taking you to some filming locations where classic and well-known movies were filmed on location.

Elvira: Yes, but can we go to some celebrity hangouts? I really want to meet Johnny Depp.

Tour guide: I’m not sure...

Elvira: If I saw a Johnny Depp or any celebrity walking down the street, I would just go crazy! For sure I’d chase them down!

Tour guide: This isn’t a hop-on, hop-off bus and it would be really dangerous to run out into L.A. traffic.

Elvira: Oh, what’s a little danger if I can come face to face with a real life movie star?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 869 - Touring Celebrity Homes and Filming Locations

English Cafe #385

2013-02-13 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 34s

Topics: Famous Playwrights – August Wilson; low-income housing; to keep in mind versus to bear in mind; goose down blanket and other bedding; beauty is only skin deep

firsthand experience
African American experience
public housing
residential property
affordable housing
to have a bad reputation
to deteriorate
Section 8 housing
eligibility requirement
to keep in mind
to bear in mind
goose down blanket
beauty is only skin deep


Share: English Cafe #385

868 - Mergers and Aquisitions

2013-02-11 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

When one company buys another one, the result is rarely fair for both organizations. Learn how to talk about mergers and acquisitions in this episode.

Slow Dialog: 1:08
Explanations: 2:38
Fast Dialog: 15:43

Marisol: What do you think of the big announcement this morning?

Lamar: That our company is going to merge with McQ Corp.? From what I’ve heard through the grapevine, this isn’t a merger but a hostile takeover.

Marisol: But the CEO said this morning that our company and McQ Corp. are equals in this merger, and the integration of the two companies will be seamless.

Lamar: Don’t you believe it! McQ Corp. has a history of taking over companies with high valuations and a lot of assets and selling it off in pieces. This is no friendly acquisition.

Marisol: But what about all of that talk about our two companies consolidating into a strong business entity and creating great synergy? Didn’t you buy any of that?

Lamar: Not one word. When McQ Corp. is through with us, we’ll be lucky to still have the shirts on our backs!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 868 - Mergers and Aquisitions

867 - Talking About Attractive Men and Women

2013-02-08 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 19s

Take a look in the mirror and see if you recognize yourself in these descriptions of the beautiful people.

Slow dialog: 1:30
Explanations: 3:18
Fast dialog: 17:55

Pamela: You know that your tongue is hanging out of your mouth, right?

David: That’s because I’ve never seen so many beautiful women in one place before. Why have I never been to this beach before? Look at her! She’s a hottie!

Pamela: Isn’t that what you said about that woman over there?

David: No, I said she’s a babe. Look at the way she sways when she walks.

Pamela: Stop ogling her or her boyfriend or husband is going to come over here.

David: I’m not ogling. I’m admiring the perfection of the female body.

Pamela: You’re undressing her with your eyes. Avert your gaze before you regret it. Oh, wow!

David: What?

Pamela: Check out that guy over there. Hello, Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome!

David: That pretty boy over there? He’s too into himself. Look at the way he’s posing so every woman on this beach can get a look at him. He’s nothing but an exhibitionist.

Pamela: And the women you’ve been ogling in the teeny tiny bikinis?

David: Those women? They’re just showing off what God gave them!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 867 - Talking About Attractive Men and Women

English Cafe #384

2013-02-06 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 35s

Topics: The Hatfields and the McCoys; serving in the military to obtain U.S. citizenship; consistent with, in agreement with, coincide with, and identical to; software versus application versus app; to run out of versus to be out of

to escalate
across state lines
to be hung
fast track
to expedite
to be stretched thin
consistent with
in agreement with
coincide with
identical to
to be out of
to run out of


Share: English Cafe #384

866 - Using Renewable Energy

2013-02-04 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Being smart about energy use doesn’t mean smelling up your house. Learn more in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:14
Explanations: 3:03
Fast dialog: 15:42

Carl: Uh! What’s that smell?

Jody: I’m working on my latest invention. I’m turning our old food into an energy source for our car and our house.

Carl: Why? There are already lots of types of renewable energy that power cars and homes, and none of them smell like this!

Jody: Well, I think I’m onto a better alternative. Imagine being able to recycle your unwanted food into fuel. That’s the wave of the future.

Carl: You mean you think that it would be more efficient than wind power and solar energy? There are geothermal and hydroelectric power plants that already provide energy for lots of homes and businesses.

Jody: But I’m using food that would otherwise be wasted.

Carl: I hate to break it to you, but if you want to convert food into fuel, there are already different types of biofuels that work pretty well.

Jody: You mean somebody has already beaten me to the punch?

Carl: Yes, and I bet they’ve found a way to do it without this stench!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 866 - Using Renewable Energy

865 - Believing in Predictions

2013-02-01 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

I predict that if you like astrology, you will listen to this episode. I also predict that if you don’t like astrology, you will listen to this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:20
Explanations: 3:13
Fast dialog: 15:18

Armond: I hope that this new year will bring me better luck.

Patricia: You can find that out easily enough. My astrologer says...

Armond: Hold on. You consult an astrologer? You really believe in that nonsense?

Patricia: It’s not nonsense and, yes, I believe in it. I like getting predictions about the future and knowing what is in the stars for me.

Armond: Astrologers are charlatans and what they tell their customers is phony. They make it all up and tell people what they want to hear.

Patricia: I don’t know how you can say that. The horoscope for my sign each day gives me warnings and helps me avoid mistakes. And when I have big decisions to make, I go for a reading. The guidance I get is invaluable.

Armond: You’re too smart to be taken in by con artists who style themselves as mystics. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

Patricia: You’re wrong. I’ll give you an example. My horoscope today said that an unpleasant person will try to shake my beliefs. It said I should just walk away.

Armond: Hey, where are you going?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 865 - Believing in Predictions

English Cafe #383

2013-01-30 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 30s

Topics: Famous Americans: Bobby Fischer; Kiss; barely versus scarcely; polite phrases used to refer to death; situation versus circumstance

child prodigy
to defend (one’s) title
to revoke
heavy metal
to levitate
passed away


Share: English Cafe #383

864 - Going to Business School

2013-01-28 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 19s

Sometimes if you want a better job, you need to get more education. Learn about getting into business school in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:12
Explanations: 3:31
Fast dialog 17:09

Karla: I just heard that you’re taking a leave of absence to go to business school. Is that right?

Joaquin: Yeah, I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, and have finally taken the plunge. I need an MBA to get ahead in my career.

Karla: That’s great, but why don’t you go part-time?

Joaquin: I had considered taking classes on nights and weekends while I continue to work, but I’ve been admitted into an Ivy League school, and I want to take full advantage of the opportunities there.

Karla: Isn’t graduate school expensive, especially an Ivy League school?

Joaquin: Yeah, but I think it’s worth it, and I’ve been saving up. I have an undergraduate degree in accounting and finance, but that’s not enough if I want to work in the upper echelons of this or any other company.

Karla: I graduated with a degree marketing and information systems. Maybe I should be thinking about getting an MBA.

Joaquin: I’d recommend it, if you want to go further in your career. I’ll lend you all of my test prep materials for the GMAT.

Karla: The GMAT? I’d forgotten about the GMAT. That may be a deal breaker for me.

Joaquin: Why? You don’t like taking tests?

Karla: I like taking tests as much as I like getting a kick upside the head – maybe even less!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 864 - Going to Business School

863 - Limiting Free Speech

2013-01-25 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

I may not like what you have to say, but I’ll defend you’re right to say it. Learn about freedom of speech in this episode.

Slow Dialog: 1:07
Explanations: 2:58
Fast Dialog: 14:30

Toshi: You can’t go outside looking like that! What are you thinking?

Celeste: I’m exercising my right of free speech. I’ve put on these clothes and painted my body this way to protest the treatment of women. I want to send a message.

Toshi: You’re crazy if you think people are going to take you seriously. What you’re wearing is offensive and those messages painted on your body are hate speech.

Celeste: It’s my basic human right to a freedom of expression, and this is how I choose to express myself.

Toshi: There are limits to free speech and expression, and you’ve crossed the line. In fact, you’re abusing those rights. Obscenity and hate speech aren’t protected, you know.

Celeste: If you feel so strongly about it, I have a suggestion for you.

Toshi: What?

Celeste: You can express your free speech by protesting against me. After all, it’s your inalienable right.

Toshi: I’m not wasting my time. Hey, you’re not really going outside looking like that, are you?

Celeste: You know what they say: The medium is the message. And I’m sending my message loud and clear!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 863 - Limiting Free Speech

English Cafe #382

2013-01-23 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 28s

Topics: Famous Songs: "Chicken Fat"; Hells Angels; other versus another; through; it’s a given versus it figures

surprise hit
orchestral accompaniment
nuts to (something)
to let loose
it’s a given
it figures


Share: English Cafe #382

862 - Getting a Massage

2013-01-21 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Relax your back and shoulders. It’s time for a message. Learn more on this episode.

Slow Dialog: 1:12
Explanations: 3:17
Fast Dialog: 15:31

Robert: Why are you twisting your back like that?

Staci: I’m in pain. My back and shoulders really hurt. I think it’s from sitting at this computer all the time.

Robert: What you need is a good massage. It can get rid of the knots in your muscles and get you some pain relief.

Staci: I don’t know. I don’t like the idea of getting naked in front of a stranger.

Robert: If you’re skittish about that, remember that you’ll be covered with a sheet, except for the part that he or she is working on. It’s not a big deal.

Staci: But what if they’re too rough with me? It might make things worse.

Robert: An experienced massage therapist will ask you the amount of pressure you want and you can speak up if you don’t like what he or she is doing.

Staci: Do you think a massage could really help me?

Robert: Definitely. I recommend my massage therapist. She’s licensed and very good.

Staci: She doesn’t use smelly oils or play hokey music during the massage, does she?

Robert: No, she doesn’t. She’s very professional, without being too clinical, if you know what I mean. Call her!

Staci: I’ll think about it – ouch!

Robert: Call her right now. You don’t have a minute to lose!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 862 - Getting a Massage

861 - Planning a Children's Party

2013-01-18 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Get ready for your child’s birthday by planning a birthday party only you can actually enjoy. Learn more in this episode.

Slow Dialog: 1:15
Explanations: 3:17
Fast Dialog: 15:50

Sara: Come on! We need to buy all of the things we need for Gabriel’s party before the store closes.

Paul: Are you sure we need a party? Maybe we can just have a cake and some party hats.

Sara: Are you kidding?! We are going to pull out all the stops. We’ll have streamers, balloons, noisemakers, and party favors. This is going to be really fun.

Paul: I don’t even know if he’d like all that. What are you doing?

Sara: I’m getting lots of confetti to throw when we sing “Happy Birthday.”

Paul: The confetti is going to get all over the ice cream and the icing on the cake. And it’ll be a nightmare to clean up.

Sara: Don’t worry about the clean up. I’ll take care of that. Now, where are the goodie bags...

Paul: Are you sure all of this is necessary?

Sara: Of course, it is. Ooo...What do you think of hiring a clown and renting an inflatable castle for the party?

Paul: You do remember that Gabriel is turning one, don’t you?

Sara: So?

It’s just as I suspected. Some birthday parties aren’t for the children. They’re for the adults who never grew up!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 861 - Planning a Children's Party

English Cafe #381

2013-01-16 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 30s

Topics: Ask an American: Participatory Science; to attend versus to take part in versus to participate in versus to join; standalone versus to stand alone; hair of the dog that bit me

citizens science project
to involve the public
mobile technology
to attend
to take part in
to participate in
to join
to stand alone
hair of the dog that bit me


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860 - Insider Trading

2013-01-14 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Psst! Want some valuable information on stocks? Listen to this episode to find out how to make money and go to jail at the same time.

Slow Dialog: 1:12
Explanations: 3:04
Fast Dialog: 15:18

Rita: I just got a hot tip from my brother to buy stock in McQ Corp.

Rick: Your brother works for McQ Corp., doesn’t he?

Rita: Yeah, he’s a director in the company, so he should know if something big is brewing.

Rick: If he’s a director and he knows something that isn’t publicly disclosed about the company, and he’s telling you to buy stock, isn’t that insider trading?

Rita: Insider trading?! I’m not a major investor. I don’t plan to buy so many shares that I’ll become a major shareholder. All I can afford are a few shares.

Rick: Still, he’d be considered a corporate insider and may be breaching his fiduciary responsibilities. Giving you this tip could get him, and you, into a lot of trouble.

Rita: Who are you, an SEC regulator? People do this kind of thing all the time, and there’s nothing shady about it. If you’re smart, you’d buy a few shares yourself.

Rick: Uh, no thanks. I don’t think I’d look good in an orange jumpsuit.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 860 - Insider Trading

859 - Attending an Ex's Wedding

2013-01-11 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

Forgive and forget as you go to your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend’s wedding in this episode.

Slow Dialog: 1:25
Explanations: 3:03
Fast Dialog: 14:19

Andy: What did you do last weekend?

Yuka: I went to Jamal’s wedding.

Andy: Jamal?! Your ex Jamal?

Yuka: Yes, that Jamal.

Andy: He had the nerve to invite you to his wedding?

Yuka: I actually thought it was nice of him to invite me. Whatever happened between us years ago is water under the bridge. There are no hard feelings on either side.

Andy: You told me that the breakup was mutual, but I always thought you still had a soft place in your heart for him.

Yuka: The truth is, when we first broke up, I did harbor some hopes of the two of us getting back together, but that never came to pass. We both moved on and I wish him well.

Andy: Well, how was the wedding?

Yuka: It was very nice and Jamal’s new wife seems to be a good match for him.

Andy: And you didn’t mind seeing them together?

Yuka: Not at all, especially after I met Lorenzo.

Andy: Lorenzo, huh? You’ve been holding out on me. Do tell!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 859 - Attending an Ex's Wedding

English Cafe #380

2013-01-09 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 31s

Topics: American Presidents: Andrew Jackson; Redwood National Park; safe versus save versus to save; to be implicated in versus to be involved in; one and only

prisoner of war
to cede
forced relocation
to dismantle
in full
to nullify
to suppress
to save
to be implicated in
to be involved in
one and only


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858 - Donating an Organ

2013-01-07 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Some people give part of their bodies to others. Learn more about organ donation in this episode.

Slow Dialog: 1:18
Explanations: 3:00
Fast Dialog: 15:41

Christine: What is this sticker on your driver’s license?

Saul: This sticker? It indicates that I’ve signed up for the organ donation program. If anything bad happens to me, I want my organs to go to recipients who need them.

Christine: You mean you want somebody else to have your heart, liver...

Saul: ...eyes, kidneys, or anything else that can be transplanted into someone else. Don’t you want to donate your organs?

Christine: Me? No way. I’ll never consent to doctors cutting up my body after I die. Those organs are a part of me.

Saul: But you won’t need them when you’re dead, and there are long waiting lists at eye banks and organ registries. Your organ donation might be the difference between life and death for somebody, you know.

Christine: That might be true, but I can’t imagine somebody else walking around with my brain.

Saul: Hmm, come to think of it, me neither.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 858 - Donating an Organ

857 - Being Arrested by the Police

2013-01-04 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

You have a right to remain silent, but at least listen to this episode to find out what to do the next time you’re arrested.

Slow Dialog: 1:10
Explanations: 3:29
Fast Dialog: 14:37

I was walking down the street minding my own business one evening when I was stopped by a police officer. After asking me a couple of questions about where I’d been, he told me to put my hands behind my back. He was going to arrest me! He handcuffed me and gave me the Miranda warning. When I asked him why he was arresting me, he said that he had probable cause to believe that I was the suspect they had been looking for in a robbery that took place on the next street.

I couldn’t believe it! I was completely innocent, but the officer didn’t want to hear it. He put me in the back of a police car and drove to the police station. I was placed in a jail cell and, after a few hours, I was taken to a room and interrogated.

A police officer asked me question after question, and after four hours of questioning, I was finally released! I found out later that it was a case of mistaken identity. I looked very much like the suspect they were looking for and I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I could sue the police department for false arrest, but I decided not to. I’d rather put the entire thing behind me and hope that I’m never that unlucky again!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 857 - Being Arrested by the Police

English Cafe #379

2013-01-02 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 30s

Topics: Famous Authors: Ray Bradbury; foreign languages taught in U.S. schools; to repair versus to fix versus to mend; to the north versus north of; food versus meal versus repast

to emulate
to spontaneously ignite
science fiction
to embrace
a move in the right direction
by far
American Sign Language
to repair
to fix
to mend
to the north
north of


Share: English Cafe #379

856 - Training Salespeople

2012-12-31 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Buyers need to beware of bad salespeople, as we learn in this episode.

Slow Dialog: 1:04
Explanations: 3:03
Fast Dialog: 15:33

Our company brought in a consultant to do sales training for our store. For some reason, we’d been getting some complaints from customers.

Consultant: My job in this training is to help your store improve its customer satisfaction, so that it can attract and retain more customers. When you interact with customers, you represent this store. It is very important that, from the get-go, customers are greeted in a friendly and positive way.

Employee: Sometimes, people are really rude. They don’t even say “hello” back.

Consultant: That may be true, but it’s still your job to make them feel welcomed. Each customer should feel that a salesperson is attentive and trying to meet their needs.

Employee: Some of them don’t even know what they want. They wander around and waste our time.

Consultant: Part of your job is to help them define their needs, offer them options, and lead them to a decision. I know that you’re not working on commission, but this is a very important part of your job.

Employee: You mean I have to hold their hand the whole time they’re in the store? Who am I, their mother?

Consultant: I can see that we have a lot of work to do. Let’s get started.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 856 - Training Salespeople

855 - Learning Fire Safety

2012-12-28 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Better safe than sorry when it comes to a fire. Learn something about basic fire safety in this episode.

Slow Dialog: 1:17
Explanations: 3:19
Fast Dialog: 16:22

The apartment manager asked all of the tenants to come to a short meeting to learn about fire safety. I didn’t want to go, but the manager said that there would be free food, and who am I to turn down free pizza?

Apartment manager: Thank you all for coming to this meeting about fire safety. With the rash of fires in this neighborhood recently, it seemed like a good idea to talk about fire safety with all of you.

I want to make sure we comply with the fire code, so I’ve installed new smoke alarms or replaced the batteries in the older ones in each apartment and in the hallways. The fire escapes are in good condition and there are fire extinguishers in each hallway.

Your job is to keep the inside of your apartments safe. Keep flammable items away from the fireplace and don’t overload your electrical outlets. Any questions? If not, we’re ready for a fire drill.

Nobody told me there would be fire drill. I’m guess I’m ready to stop, drop, and roll – as long as I can take the pizza with me.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 855 - Learning Fire Safety

English Cafe #378

2012-12-26 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 34s

Topics: Redshirting; Mesa Verde National Park; to wrap up; to bother versus to interrupt versus to disturb; blind spot

to redshirt
to count toward
to hold back
to wrap up
to bother
to interrupt
to disturb
blind spot


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854 - Singing Christmas Carols

2012-12-24 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 15s

Who doesn’t like a good Christmas carol? Learn to sing along in this episode.

Slow Dialog: 1:03
Explanations: 2:53
Fast Dialog: 13:18

Andrea: What are you doing?

Stephanie: I’m coming up with a list of Christmas carols to sing when we go caroling.

Andrea: Can I come?

Stephanie: Uh, I don’t think...

Andrea: What? You don’t think I can sing in tune?

Stephanie: No, it’s not that...

Andrea: You think I’m going to forget the lyrics?

Stephanie: No, it’s not that either...

Andrea: I know what it is. You think I’m too good. I’ll outshine the other singers. Don’t worry. I don’t mind hiding my light under a bushel, just this once.

Stephanie: Well, it’s not that either. I just don’t think you’re a good fit for our group.

Andrea: Not a good fit? I’m very knowledgeable about music and know all of the traditional carols. I’ve even composed some original ones that you might consider adding to your list.

Stephanie: I know you’re very knowledgeable about music, but in our group, it’s all about the singing voice.

Andrea: What’s wrong with my singing voice? Listen to this [sung loudly and poorly]: “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way...”

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 854 - Singing Christmas Carols

853 - Reading an Obituary

2012-12-21 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Who died? Find out by reading the obituaries in this episode.

Slow Dialog: 1:13
Explanations: 3:17
Fast Dialog: 16:50

Ivy: This is so sad!

Stephan: What is?

Ivy: I’m reading the obituary for one of my favorite actors as a child, Mr. McBoo. He had quite a life.

Stephan: Oh, yeah?

Ivy: Yeah, and this article has really done him justice. It’s a nice tribute to a man who touched so many lives. It says here that he’s survived by his wife and five children.

Stephan: Did he live to a ripe old age?

Ivy: He was 97 when he died. There’ll be a memorial service and funeral for him this Saturday. I think I’ll send some flowers.

Stephan: Really? You didn’t know him personally, did you?

Ivy: No, but it would be nice to be part of the funeral, in some small way. I wonder who’ll be giving the eulogies. I’m sure it’ll be somebody important.

Stephan: If you say so. I’ve never heard of him. Was he on a children’s show, or something?

Ivy: You’ve never heard of Mr. McBoo?! Were you raised in a cave?

Stephan: Not quite. We didn’t have a TV in the home when I was growing up.

Ivy: Oh, you poor, poor man. You’ve been deprived of Mr. McBoo all your life. Don’t worry. I’ll fix that. I have all of his shows, so we can have a viewing marathon this weekend.

Stephan: Lucky me.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 853 - Reading an Obituary

English Cafe #377

2012-12-19 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 32s

Topics: The Sam Sheppard Trial; Plymouth Rock; to counsel versus to consult; to hit (one/someone) head on; to scare the crap out of (one/someone); a bee in (one’s/someone’s) bonnet


to lose consciousness
to come to
to be convicted
to be acquitted
to clear (someone’s) reputation
to disembark
to counsel
to consult
to hit (one/someone) head on
to scare the crap out of
a bee in (one’s) bonnet


Share: English Cafe #377

852 - Working in a Factory

2012-12-17 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

Working in a factory can be dangerous. Learn how to keep safe in this episode.

Slow Dialog: 1:12
Explanations: 3:02
Fast Dialog: 14:26

Tony: The plant manager says that you’re the new kid.

Amber: Yes, it’s my first day.

Tony: All right, you’ll be a line worker like the rest of us. Here’s your workstation. What you have to remember is that output and productivity are the most important things around here.

Amber: I understand, but...

Tony: Watch out for that forklift! You have to watch where you’re going or you’ll ruin our safety record.

Amber: Sorry. When will I get trained to use this machinery? I’ve never worked on an assembly line before to mass-produce anything.

Tony: I’m going to teach you, so pay attention. The other thing you have to worry about around here is quality control. If you don’t do things right, you’ll hear about it.

Amber: Okay, but...

Tony: Hey, sit down! As I said before, if you’re not careful, you’ll get your head taken off in this factory. Now, try to pay attention.

Amber: I’m trying, but it’s hard to do when my life is in danger every other minute.

Tony: [sighs] Rookies!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 852 - Working in a Factory

851 - Finding a House to Buy

2012-12-14 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Looking for a new house can be pretty stressful. Learn all about it in this episode.

Slow Dialog: 1:16
Explanations: 2:54
Fast Dialog: 15:16

I’m looking to buy a house and I want a single-family home. I have been living in a townhouse for two years and I am tired of having common walls and very small yards. My new house will have to have a lot more square footage, a large lot size, an open floor plan, great curb appeal, and lots of upgrades.

My agent has been showing me fixer-uppers, while I want a home that’s in move-in condition. The problem is, I can’t afford a high mortgage. I’m not holding out for a mansion, but I want this new house to be a step up from my townhouse.

My real estate agent tells me that I have to adjust my expectations. I asked him, “Do you mean I can’t have the house I want?” And he said, “Of course you can. All you have to do is move – to Alaska!”

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 851 - Finding a House to Buy

English Cafe #376

2012-12-12 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 31s

Topics: Ask an American: The Appeal of Superheroes; property versus propriety versus proprietary; trust versus believe; little does he know; suffocated; to relish

emotional connection
wish fulfillment
to seek
to trust
to believe
little does (one) know
to relish


Share: English Cafe #376

850 - Betting on Sports

2012-12-10 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

How much you want to bet that you will learn something new about betting in this episode?

Slow Dialog: 1:15
Explanations: 2:58
Fast Dialog: 15:53

Peter: Look at this! I just won 2,000 smackaroos!

Angela: Where did you get all that money?

Peter: I won it betting on the game last night. I placed a small wager with high odds and won big.

Angela: Wow, I always put money in the pools at work, but I’ve never won anything like $2,000.

Peter: I’ll introduce you to my bookie if you want to do some serious betting. But I warn you: he only deals in high-stakes wagers, not penny ante bets.

Angela: You bet through a bookie? You must do some serious gambling. I don’t think that’s for me.

Peter: You can’t win big, if you don’t play big. I’ve just placed a bet on this weekend’s game.

Angela: But the Minnesota McQ’s are the favorites by a wide margin.

Peter: There’s a 10-point point spread. Come on, what do you say? Are you in or out? I’ve just put $500 on it.

Angela: That’s too rich for my blood. I think I’ll stick to the minor leagues.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 850 - Betting on Sports

849 - Bargaining with Store Owners

2012-12-07 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

How much is that doggy in the window? If you want it for a good price for him, listen to this episode on how to bargain.

Slow Dialog: 1:06
Explanations: 2:58
Fast Dialog: 14:05

Connie: You speak McQuillanese. Ask the store owner the price of this vase.

Ivan: All right. He says it’s $60.

Connie: That’s actually a great price, but let’s see if I can talk him down a little. You should never accept the starting price and the prices in these stores are all negotiable. Ask him what his rock bottom price is for the vase.

Ivan: He said that he’ll take $50, but not one penny less.

Connie: The vase is really a steal at $50, but maybe he’s still willing to bargain. Tell him that I won’t pay a penny more than $40.

Ivan: I told him and he says that at that price, he’d be giving it away. I don’t think he’s going to budge. I think you should just buy it. He doesn’t look like he’s willing to haggle with you.

Connie: Don’t be impatient. Good things come to those who wait. Tell him that I’m ready to walk away if he doesn’t take $42 for it. Hey, where’s he going?

Ivan: He says that he’s walking away because he doesn’t sell to cheap Americans.

Connie: Hmph!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 849 - Bargaining with Store Owners

English Cafe #375

2012-12-05 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 30s

Topics: The Lone Ranger; the Liberty Bell; uprising versus revolution versus rebellion; given; revenge versus vengeance

strict moral code
to ring
to proclaim


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848 - An Unscrupulous Partner

2012-12-03 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

When doing business, it’s always good to have things in writing. Learn what happens when you don’t in this episode.

Slow Dialog: 1:12
Explanations: 3:29
Fast Dialog: 15:28

My friend Charles convinced me to go into business with him about a year ago. I wish I had had the benefit of hindsight to say “no.” I was too trusting and that was my downfall.

At first, everything was fine. We worked our butts off to get the business off the ground. But as soon as it looked like the business was going well, Charles turned on me. I had never been so deceived.

We never signed a formal partnership agreement. Since we were old friends, we relied on a verbal agreement that we would own the business 50-50. One day, out of the blue, Charles said that as the owner of the business, he had decided that my services were no longer needed. I told him he was crazy. I was co-owner and he couldn’t just fire me. He said that that was never the agreement and he was the sole owner.

And that is how I got cheated out of being co-owner of a successful business. My old friend Charles turned out to be unscrupulous. From now on, I’ll be watching my back and looking out for my own interests. No one will ever stab me in the back again!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 848 - An Unscrupulous Partner

847 - Experiencing a Blackout

2012-11-30 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 15s

Are you in the dark about blackouts? Learn how to talk about them in English in this episode.

Slow Dialog: 1:08
Explanations: 2:39
Fast Dialog: 13:37

George: Whoa, what happened?

Inga: The lights went out. Did we blow a fuse, or is this a blackout?

George: Well, I don’t see any lights on in any of the houses down the street. It’s pitch black out there.

Inga: So it’s another power outage. Somehow the circuits got overloaded again. I wonder how long we’ll have to do without electricity this time.

George: I wonder if it’s our power grid or if this is a citywide blackout. All right, we’d better light a few candles. There’s no telling how long this will last.

Inga: No, it’s not like last summer when we had rolling blackouts because of the surge in demand due to the heat. Do you remember how we passed those hours of darkness?

George: Yes, I do. What are you suggesting?

Inga: I’m just saying that there’s no reason to waste a perfectly good blackout.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 847 - Experiencing a Blackout

English Cafe #374

2012-11-28 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 28s

Topics: Famous Americans: Jimi Hendrix; the melting pot metaphor; U.S. state numbers and nicknames; by any stretch of the imagination; to play it fast and loose

by ear
stage presence
to smash
suspicious circumstances
melting pot
to assimilate
by any stretch of the imagination
to play it fast and loose


Share: English Cafe #374

846 - Donating Blood

2012-11-26 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 15s

Donating your blood to help others is a good thing, even if you do it for the wrong reason. Find out more in this episode.

Slow Dialog: 1:13
Explanations: 2:47
Fast Dialog: 13:18

Michelle: Did you hurt yourself?

Gabriel: No, why?

Michelle: You have a Band-Aid on your arm.

Gabriel: Oh, that. I donated blood today.

Michelle: You did? That’s great. I’d like to donate blood, but every time I get close to a needle, I feel light-headed. I’m afraid if I go through with it, and they actually draw blood, I’ll faint.

Gabriel: I’m use to it. I give blood all the time. The needle doesn’t bother me.

Michelle: That’s very admirable. I know how important it is for hospitals to have a good supply of blood for use in transfusions.

Gabriel: I don’t mind doing it. It’s not a big deal.

Michelle: But it is a big deal. If relief organizations didn’t have enough blood when they traveled to disaster areas, they couldn’t help the injured people there. I’m sure that’s why you do it, right?

Gabriel: Well...

Michelle: Well, what?

Gabriel: There is a particularly pretty nurse who works in the bloodmobile...

Michelle: Ah.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 846 - Donating Blood

845 - Dropping Out of College

2012-11-23 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Learn how not to stop your schooling in this episode.

Slow Dialog: 1:14
Explanations: 3:34
Fast Dialog: 15:54

Aaron: Mom, I have something to tell you and you’re not going to like it.

Margo: What is it?

Aaron: I’m dropping out of college. I want to get out into the real world and get a job. I’m wasting time in school.

Margo: You’ll get a better job if you stay in school and graduate with a degree. You’ll have more earning power and better long-term prospects.

Aaron: I’m sick of school. All of my friends are earning money, buying cars, and living life. I feel like life is passing me by.

Margo: Your friends didn’t go to college and got a job right out of high school.

Aaron: That’s right. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Margo: No, there isn’t. And right now, they seem to be living the high life. They don’t have any responsibilities and can blow their paychecks on having fun. Once they have a family, their paychecks won’t stretch very far. With a degree, you’ll out-earn them right out of the gate when you graduate in two years.

Aaron: I don’t want to wait.

Margo: This is all about delayed gratification. A little suffering now will pay off in the long run. Trust me. Two more years and you’ll be done

Aaron: Yeah, maybe I can stick it out for two more years and then no more school – ever!

Margo: Unless you decide to go to graduate school...

Aaron: Mom, don’t push it.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #373

2012-11-21 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 31s

Topics: The Chicago Seven; American Authors: Horatio Alger; murderer versus killer versus assassin; ...and all; so forth and so on

to incite a riot
American Dream
to deteriorate
...and all
so forth / so on / so forth and so on


Share: English Cafe #373

844 - Dealing with Corrupt Officials

2012-11-19 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Who can you trust in government today? Find out in this episode.

Slow Dialog: 1:23
Explanations: 3:02
Fast Dialog: 15:37

Vera: I can’t believe that Stan has been arrested. I know that he wasn’t always on the up-and-up, but he’s being accused of influence peddling and taking bribes.

Keigo: Stan has been getting kickbacks for years. Everybody knew that if you wanted to get what you wanted from this department, you had to grease Stan’s palms. There isn’t a more corrupt official than Stan.

Vera: But he was always so nice to me.

Keigo: That was part of the problem. He was always good to his friends and family. That’s why he’s also known for his nepotism and cronyism. He gave friends and family plum jobs with big salaries. He had an entire good old boy network.

Vera: Do you really think he’ll go to jail?

Keigo: I’m sure of it. On second thought, if he can find a judge who’s on the take and is as corrupt as he is, he has a fighting chance.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 844 - Dealing with Corrupt Officials

843 - Passing Through Airport Security

2012-11-16 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 20s

If you’re leaving on a jet plane, you need to be prepared for American airport security. Learn more in this episode.

Slow Dialog: 1:15
Explanations: 3:47
Fast Dialog: 18:41

Roland: Why are you so nervous about flying?

Natalie: I’m not nervous about being in the air. It’s going through security. I hear it’s a hassle and I don’t want to end up being strip-searched.

Roland: You won’t be strip-searched. All you need to do is to follow a few simple rules. When you get to security screening, put your carry-on bag and all metal objects in a bin so that it can go through the scanner.

Natalie: But I heard I couldn’t bring any liquids with me.

Roland: You’re only allowed three ounces of liquids, aerosols, or gels. Those should go inside a zip-top bag and be placed in a bin.

Natalie: Do I have to take off my shoes and get one of those body scans?

Roland: You don’t have to take off your shoes, but you do have to get a body scan.

Natalie: I knew it! They’re going to bombard me with harmful rays. And you wonder why I’m nervous about flying!

Roland: You won’t be bombarded with any harmful rays. You walk through the metal detector and stand in front of the scanner. It’s not dangerous.

Natalie: Oh, why do they have to treat every passenger like a potential hijacker or terrorist? Do I look like a terrorist? I feel like walking through security with my hands up saying, “I am not a terrorist. I am not a terrorist.”

Roland: I wouldn’t do that if I were you. That’s a sure way to get the TSA’s attention. Just stay calm and follow the instructions.

Natalie: Just like a lamb to the slaughter?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 843 - Passing Through Airport Security

English Cafe #372

2012-11-14 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 33s

Topics: Famous Americans: Aimee Semple McPherson; Famous songs: "Turkey in the Straw"; marriage versus wedding versus wedlock; otherwise; pronouncing contractions

to convert
tent revival
to speak in tongues
divine healing
to follow in (someone’s) footsteps


Share: English Cafe #372

842 - Taking a Standardized Test

2012-11-12 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

True or false: Standardized tests are really fun to study for and take. Find out the answer in this episode.

Slow Dialog: 1:15
Explanations: 3:45
Fast Dialog: 16:09

Dad: It’s time you start preparing for the MCFL Test.

Maria: Dad, that’s 12 months away! I don’t need to start looking at test prep materials right now.

Dad: Yes, you do. Like all high-stakes testing, familiarity with the types of questions you’ll be asked will help you. You need to score well on it if you want to be admitted to a good university. The MCFL is only administered twice each year, so you’d better be prepared when the time comes.

Maria: I don’t really believe in standardized tests. Our teacher says that they don’t really measure how well you’ll do in college or in life.

Dad: It doesn’t matter what you – or your teacher – believe. Colleges consider test scores in admissions and that’s what’s important. Let’s start with some tips on answering multiple choice and true-false questions.

Maria: I know all about taking standardized tests, Dad. I’ve been taking them every year at school and I’m sick of them. Put your name here. Bubble in your answer there. I’m sick to death of those tests.

Dad: Then you’ll feel perfectly comfortable taking this one.

Maria: Why can’t they give us open-ended or essay questions? I’d do much better on those.

Dad: Bite your tongue! Those would be much more difficult to study for. Ready for question number one?

Maria: As ready as I’ll ever be.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 842 - Taking a Standardized Test

841 - Adopting a Child

2012-11-09 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 20s

Learn about the joy of adopting a new child into your family on this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:03
Explanations: 3:58
Fast dialog: 18:07

Scott: Hi, I thought I’d stop by to pick up those chairs I wanted to borrow.

Roberta: Oh, sure. Here they are.

Scott: What are you doing?

Roberta: I’m looking through the material we got on adoption.

Scott: Are you and Robert thinking about adopting a child?

Roberta: Yeah, we are. We’ve been thinking about it for a long time, and we think we might be ready now.

Scott: Have you decided on an international or domestic adoption?

Roberta: We’re going domestic.

Scott: That means going through the foster care system, right?

Roberta: Yeah, it’s going to be a lot of work getting our house ready and all of the paperwork done. But after we pass inspection, we’ll just need to wait for a call from a social worker with a placement. We hope it’ll happen quickly.

Scott: I thought people had to wait months or years for a baby.

Roberta: They may, but we’re asking for a waiting child, maybe even one with special needs. We may even take more than one child, someone with siblings.

Scott: Wow, that’s a lot of responsibility. Wouldn’t you rather do a private adoption? Then you can call the shots and even have a closed adoption, if that’s what you want.

Roberta: We don’t mind an open adoption, actually. We’ve given it a lot of thought, and we think it’s best if the child knows who his or her birth parents are. That way, they won’t always be wondering.

Scott: I hope everything goes smoothly. I’m sure you’ll both make great parents.

Roberta: We’re not so sure, but we’ll do our best. By the way, you can keep those chairs.

Scott: Really? Why?

Roberta: You have no children and they’re a hazard. We need to childproof this house and we’re starting with those chairs.

Scott: Hey, that’s great. That big-screen TV looks dangerous. I’d be more than happy to take it off your hands, too.

Roberta: Hands off the TV!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 841 - Adopting a Child

English Cafe #371

2012-11-07 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 32s

Ask an American: Asian Immigrants; to note versus to notice versus to notify; assessment versus appraisal; to be full of (oneself)

professionalized immigration
brain drain
working class
national origin
culturally competent
to raise
Fortune 500 company
to note
to notice
to notify


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840 - Translating a Document

2012-11-05 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 19s

Don’t get lost in translation. Listen to this episode to learn how to talk about going from one language to another.

Slow dialog: 1:08
Explanations: 3:14
Fast dialog: 17:39

Francine: Do you know the word in Mcquish for “partnership”?

Aziz: No, I don’t speak Mcquish. What are you doing?

Francine: Jim gave me this letter and this document to translate into Mcquish because I speak a little of it, but even with a dictionary and thesaurus, it’s slow going.

Aziz: Didn’t you tell Jim that?

Francine: I did, but he still wants me to try because it’s so hard to find a Mcquish-English bilingual.

Aziz: I’m not surprised. Other than you, I don’t know anyone who speaks Mcquish.

Francine: Yeah, well, I’m doing my best to translate these documents idiomatically because the literal translation won’t make any sense, but it’s a tough job. I simply don’t know enough business Mcquish to know the equivalent words and phrases.

Aziz: Can’t you just paraphrase and convey the general meaning by using a lot of loan words and cognates?

Francine: I’m trying, but I don’t think it’s turning out the way it’s supposed to.

Aziz: At least he didn’t ask you to interpret. You’d really be in the hot seat trying to interpret in a meeting or over the phone.

Francine: Yeah, at least I was spared that experience, at least for now.

Aziz: I wish I could help you, but the only language I speak, other than English, is gibberish!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 840 - Translating a Document

839 - Getting a Divorce

2012-11-02 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Getting a divorce can be a difficult thing for everyone involved. Learn more in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:12
Explanations: 3:04
Fast dialog: 15:15

Nicole: I’m really sorry to hear about you and Catherine getting a divorce.

Tom: I appreciate it, but it was a long time coming. We’ve been heading toward divorce for years. I just hope it doesn’t get too messy.

Nicole: I don’t mean to pry, but didn’t the two of you have a prenup?

Tom: Yeah, but Catherine wants it set aside because our financial situation has changed so much since we got married. She also wants sole custody of Sarah, alimony, and child support.

Nicole: We live in a community property state, so that should simplify things, shouldn’t it?

Tom: You’d think so, but the distribution of property may get complicated. I’m hoping we can settle everything amicably, but I’m ready for a fight, if it turns ugly. I’ve hired Dewey Cheatum.

Nicole: Wow, you’re serious. He’s the most high-powered divorce attorney in this city.

Tom: I’m not taking any chances with my assets or my daughter. If Catherine wants to play hardball, I’m coming out swinging!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 839 - Getting a Divorce

English Cafe #370

2012-10-31 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 32s

Movies: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; Mount Rushmore; threat versus menace versus peril; using “should” with “have to”; role reversal

loosely based on
to flee
sculpture –
to carve
to draw
to depict
from the waist up
to commemorate
role reversal


Share: English Cafe #370

838 - Talking About Immigration

2012-10-29 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 20s

America is the land of immigrants, but not everyone is happy to keep the door open. Learn more in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:08
Explanations: 3:29
Fast dialog: 18:53

Ann: The immigration policy in this country is ridiculous. Why are there so many illegal immigrants here? They cross the border and take American jobs! They all need to be deported.

Chris: A lot of immigrants have lived here nearly all their lives. Do you mean to tell me that you want to do some of the jobs that undocumented workers do, like picking crops and cleaning houses, and not earning minimum wage?

Ann: There’s nothing wrong with that kind of work. I wouldn’t want to do it myself...

Chris: That’s just it! You’re willing to benefit from cheap labor, but you keep complaining about immigrants. There needs to be an amnesty or work permit program so that they can stay legally and work.

Ann: And pay their taxes! These illegal immigrants dodge paying taxes, too.

Chris: But they don’t get the same social services that citizens or legal immigrants do. You can’t have it both ways. If you want them to do what citizens are required to do, then you have to give them legal status. And, by the way, when is your visitor’s visa up?

Ann: It was up last month, but I’m from Canada! Overstaying a visa is not the same thing as being an illegal alien.

Chris: That’s where you’re wrong. Where’s that number for immigration?

Script for Dr. Lucy Tse


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837 - Driving While Calling and Texting

2012-10-26 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Why risk your life drinking and driving when you can text and drive instead? Learn the fastest way to kill yourself in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:17
Explanations: 3:26
Fast dialog: 15:45

Pamela: [laughs] Did you see this tweet from Sarah? She’s so funny.

Josh: Hold on. I’m texting Lance. I want to make sure he knows where we’re meeting up.

Pamela: [cell phone rings] Hello. Oh, hi Lance. Did you get Josh’s text? You didn’t? Let me IM you, bye.

Josh: I wonder why Lance didn’t get my text. I sent it from the same number I normally use.

Pamela: [cell phone rings] Hello. Jessica! Where have you been? I’ve been emailing you for three days. I thought you’d fallen off the face of the earth. What? You’ve been on vacation with your parents and you’ve been incommunicado, with no web access and no phone signal? That’s mind-blowing!

Josh: Ask Jessica whether she got my text. I’m really starting to worry about my account. Better yet, I’ll text her a photo of us right now. Say “cheese.”

Pamela: Cheese. [brakes squealing] What was that?

Josh: It’s just a reckless driver. Just change lanes.

Pamela: You change lanes. You’re the one driving.

Josh: No, I’m not. How can I be driving when I’m so busy texting?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 837 - Driving While Calling and Texting

English Cafe #369

2012-10-24 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 32s

Ghost towns of the Wild West; dime novels and pulp magazines; kidding versus joking versus teasing; television show versus television series; phrase

Wild West
ghost town
to seek (one’s) fortune
to look down on (something)
to fall out of popularity
television/TV show
television/TV series


Share: English Cafe #369

836 - Working Shifts

2012-10-22 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Working at night can be tough, but some people are willing to do it. Find out more in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:10
Explanations: 2:48
Fast dialog: 16:22

Lisette: You’re the new kid on the block, aren’t you?

Danny: Yeah, it’s my first day.

Lisette: I’m Lisette.

Danny: I’m Danny. Nice to meet you.

Lisette: You’re lucky to be starting on the day shift. When I started working here umpteen years ago, I had to work the graveyard shift for two years before I got the day shift.

Danny: I guess I am lucky, but I wouldn’t mind working any shift, even double shifts, once I get up to speed. My wife and I are expecting our first child and we need to save up.

Lisette: Oh, yeah? Congratulations! Well, there are always people who want time off and need someone to cover for them. You can usually pick up extra hours and shifts that way. Sometimes, there’s even overtime, but the veteran workers get first dibs.

Danny: I can understand that. Well, if you ever need anybody to cover for you, just give me a shout.

Lisette: All right, I’ll keep it in mind. Maybe I can help you save up for a diaper or two.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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835 - Getting Shocking News

2012-10-19 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 19s

Did you hear the news? If you didn’t, you may be surprised after listening to this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:06
Explanations: 3:18
Fast dialog: 17:39

Karla: You look like you’ve had a shock.

Chris: Yeah, that phone call threw me for a loop. My ex-girlfriend is pregnant and she wants me to take a paternity test.

Karla: Wow, that’s quite a bombshell. Are you going to do it?

Chris: Of course. If the baby is biologically mine, I want to take responsibility for it. I wanted to start a family with my ex: get married and have children – the whole shebang. So if the baby is mine, I’ll provide child support, no question. I might even fight for custody.

Karla: Really? That’s astounding. Most guys would be hoping that the baby isn’t theirs. What did your ex-girlfriend say when you told her?

Chris: She thought I would be outraged or something. Instead, she was the one who was left stunned.

Karla: I’m surprised, too. Not many guys would want to have a child without being married.

Chris: One part of me hopes the baby isn’t mine, only because my relationship with my ex-girlfriend is over and I don’t want to rekindle it. But I’m not getting any younger and another part of me really wants to be a father.

Karla: Well, the DNA test will give you proof, one way or the other. Just cross your fingers...

Chris: I would, but I’m not sure which outcome I want more!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #368

2012-10-17 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 32s

Topics: American Presidents: Ronald Reagan; using suffixes; to persuade versus to convince; to bring around/round

to come to fame
supply-side economics
trickle-down economics
trickle-down economics
to denounce
to persuade
to convince
to bring around/round


Share: English Cafe #368

834 - Breaching Computer Security

2012-10-15 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 19s

Security alert! Be careful to protect your computer from hackers. Learn what not to do in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:14
Explanations: 3:20
Fast dialog: 17:19

Jin: Did you hear what happened to McQ Corp?

Dina: No, what?

Jin: Hackers were able to get unauthorized access to its computer systems and cause a lot of problems over the weekend. They destroyed data and rendered the system unusable. In fact, the entire system crashed.

Dina: I hadn’t heard that. Why McQ Corp?

Jin: Well, the company announced last week that it had implemented new security measures, which made their systems impenetrable.

Dina: Ah, that explains it. Making an announcement like that is like issuing a challenge.

Jin: Yeah, it was definitely a challenge. I bet a lot hackers were trying to breach those security measures, just to show that it could be done. One of them certainly found the system’s vulnerabilities and exploited them.

Dina: What was McQ Corp thinking? They’ve had problems in the past with hackers and then they issue this challenge. I say that it serves them right!

Jin: They shouldn’t have bragged about their new security measures, but those hackers caused a lot of damage.

Dina: I bet McQ Corp learned its lesson: Don’t wave a red flag in front of a bull!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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833 - Shooting Travel Videos

2012-10-12 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Ready for your big chance at an Academy Award for Best Picture? Well, that isn’t happening, but you can learn about making a travel video in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:12
Explanations: 2:47
Fast dialog: 15:27

Cesar: Hurry up! We’ll miss the tour bus if we don’t leave right now.

Matilda: I’m just getting some footage of this area before we leave. “This area is known for its…”

Cesar: Now what are you doing?

Matilda: I’m doing a voice-over for this segment. Voice-overs are very important in good travel videos.

Cesar: You can add the voice-over when you edit it. Let’s go!

Matilda: Just give me five more minutes. Hmm, this footage is turning out to be too shaky. Hold on while I set up the tripod.

Cesar: We don’t have time for that. Grab your camcorder, and let’s go.

Matilda: Too much motion will ruin any travel video. Wait! I want to get a close-up of that building and a wide-angle shot of this entire area. Hey, where are you going with my gear?

Cesar: I, and your gear, are going to the tour bus. I’m not going to get left behind – again!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 833 - Shooting Travel Videos

English Cafe #367

2012-10-10 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 35s

Topics: American Authors – Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and All the President's Men; Famous Songs – “Over There"; to borrow versus to debit versus to lend versus to loan; using ago with since; ambivalence versus conflict

to cover
true identity
film rights
on the run
to pine
to send the word
to say a prayer
to borrow
to debit
to lend
to loan


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832 - Creating an Online Store

2012-10-08 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Make lots of money fast! Start your own Internet money machine after listening to this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:08
Explanations: 2:58
Fast dialog: 15:43

Kay: I’d say we’re well on our way to establishing our new online store.

Greg: I can’t wait for this to get off the ground. Orders will pour in and we’ll make money hand over fist.

Kay: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s see where we are in our preparations.

Greg: All right. We’ve created a marketing plan that includes several ways to drive traffic to our website.

Kay: That’s great. We’ve also installed a shopping cart and a secure way to process orders.

Greg: We can use that system to track orders, right?

Kay: That’s right. All customer information will be captured and we’ll have a database of information we can mine later.

Greg: That’s great. We already have a place to house the inventory and a way to track it.

Kay: Right you are. Now all we need is one last thing.

Greg: We need to find a product to sell.

Kay: Yeah. Any ideas?

Greg: No, none. You?

Kay: Nope. But as soon as we do, we’ll be the next big thing in commerce.

Greg: Definitely!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 832 - Creating an Online Store

831 - Not the Marrying Kind

2012-10-05 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Some men don’t like the idea of getting married. Find out how to avoid dating one in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:17
Explanations: 2:55
Fast dialog: 15:57

Stacey: I have a date with George this Saturday. I can’t wait!

Brad: Have a good time, but you know what the word on the street is about George, don’t you?

Stacey: What?

Brad: He’s not the marrying kind.

Stacey: Oh, he just hasn’t met the right girl yet. When he does, he’ll be ready to settle down.

Brad: I don’t think so. Women who have gone out with him have told me that he’s up front with them: he has no intention of tying the knot – ever.

Stacey: Do you think he’s a commitment phobe?

Brad: I have no idea. I just know that he likes to play the field and anyone who dates him should not try to reform him.

Stacey: I wouldn’t try to reform him. I think he’ll just fall head over heels in love with me and he’ll put his philandering ways behind him.

Brad: Don’t count on it.

Stacey: I’m convinced of it.

Brad: I’m always surprised by the degree to which women can delude themselves when it comes to love!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #366

2012-10-03 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 31s

Topics: Ask an American: Saving the space program; point versus period versus dot; using “no” with a verb; all the same

to hitch a ride
to imply
to stoke
golden era
space exploration
driven by
to shift
all the same


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830 - Donating to a Thrift Store

2012-10-01 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 19s

Give away what you don’t need to help others. Find out more on this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:19
Explanations: 3:45
Fast dialog: 16:48

Scott: That’s the last bag. Help me put these into the truck. I want to get these to the thrift store before they stop taking donations for the day.

Nancy: Hold on! That bag has curtains in it.

Scott: I know they do. Those old curtains have been sitting around in the closet for 10 years. It’s time to let them go.

Nancy: But what about this bag? These are the children’s old baby clothes. You can’t just toss these! They have such sentimental value.

Scott: You’ve kept a lot of the children’s old clothes already, but we still have bags and bags of them in the attic.

Nancy: Yes, but they’re so cute.

Scott: It’s time to put aside sentiment and do some spring cleaning. After all, we’re donating them to a good cause. Families visiting the thrift store can buy them for their own children. We get a tax deduction and our items get a new life. It’s a win-win for everybody.

Nancy: I don’t know about that. What?! You’re not getting rid of those chairs, are you? They still have a lot of life in them.

Scott: Our garage is so full of old furniture that we don’t use. I’m putting my foot down. These have to go.

Nancy: But not those…

Scott: Yes, those and those and those. This is my punishment for marrying a pack rat!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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829 - Having a Barbecue

2012-09-28 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 15s

Enjoy some good times and good cooking at a barbecue in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:16
Explanations: 3:02
Fast dialog: 14:02

George: Step aside! The king of the cookout is here. I’m ready to work my magic on this barbecue.

Sophia: Here are the burgers and hot dogs. The kids are pretty hungry.

George: Hold on. I need to put on the charcoal. Now I’m ready to fire up this barbecue. Where’s the lighter fluid?

Sophia: It’s right here.

George: Good. Oh, I almost forgot. I’ll need to gather some wood to burn to give the meat that smoky flavor.

Sophia: Why don’t I do that while you get things going?

George: No, I need to do things my way. I also need to make my world-famous barbecue sauce. The meat won’t taste very good if I don’t baste it with my special sauce each time I flip it.

Sophia: Okay, how about if I get the corn on the cob ready for grilling?

George: I’ll do that. I have my own special way of preparing the corn.

Sophia: Is there anything I can do to hurry things along?

George: Perfection takes time. Would you tell Michelangelo to hurry up?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #365

2012-09-26 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 29s

Topics: Movies: King Kong; Famous Americans: Lance Armstrong; its sounds versus it sounds as if; acting versus pretending; gobbledygook

to gross
it sounds as if


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828 - Important Business Contacts

2012-09-24 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

Are you connected to the powerful and influential people in your industry? If not, listen to this episode to find out how important it is.

Slow dialog: 1:05
Explanations: 2:40
Fast dialog: 14:50

Kelly: What we need are a few people in the industry to talk up our new company.

John: I’m on top of that. I’m really well connected, as you know, and I’ve already put in a few calls to a few of the movers and shakers in our business.

Kelly: I didn’t know you had such a vast network of contacts.

John: Oh, sure I do. I don’t mean to name drop, but you know Kevin Martinez at McQ Corp? I’m pretty tight with him. And Eva Arribas at Syntect? She and I go way back.

Kelly: Wow, those are some heavy hitters!

John: You’ve said it. And Kevin owes me one, and Eva would bend over backwards for me.

Kelly: It’s great! What did they say when you asked them to get the word out about us?

John: Um, I’m still waiting to hear back from them. I’m sure they’ll call back any day now.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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827 - Fad Dieting

2012-09-21 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 19s

Have you heard of the newest, most popular diet in the world? Find out what it is by listening to this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:18
Explanations: 3:40
Fast dialogue: 17:51

Joel: You don’t look so hot. Are you okay?

Beatrice: I’m perfectly fine.

Joel: Oh, and you’re grouchy, too. Don’t tell me. You’re dieting again.

Beatrice: Just leave me alone. I’m not popping pills or anything like that. I’m just trying to shed a few pounds the natural way.

Joel: The natural way? You mean like that diet you were on a few months ago where you only ate Monday, Wednesday, and Friday? Or that other diet you were on before where you drank 50 cups of water a day?

Beatrice: Those were fad diets that didn’t work. I’m onto a new diet that’s guaranteed to take away those unwanted pounds and to reveal my slimmer self.

Joel: You sound like a commercial, or an infomercial. Is that where you found this diet, on some late-night infomercial?

Beatrice: It doesn’t matter where I heard about this diet. It only matters that it’s scientifically proven to help people lose weight.

Joel: All right. I need to shed a few pounds. What’s the secret diet?

Beatrice: I’m not telling you. You’ll only make fun of it.

Joel: No, I won’t. Tell me.

Beatrice: All right. I only eat orange-colored foods.

Joel: What?!

Beatrice: I said, I only eat orange-colored foods. I’ve eaten a lot of oranges and carrots.

Joel: I can see why you’re so grouchy. You’ve lost your bleeping mind!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #364

2012-09-19 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 33s

Topics: The O.J. Simpson Trial; to major versus to graduate; to pry; technically versus practically

key suspect
domestic violence
to turn (oneself) in
to surrender
to plead not guilty
dream team
to goad
to acquit
divided along race lines
to major
to graduate
to pry


Share: English Cafe #364

826 - Shopping for a Used Car

2012-09-17 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 20s

Question: What can be more fun than buying a used car? Answer: Almost anything. Find out why in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:15
Explanations: 3:46
Fast dialogue: 19:09

Mario: Do you want to go with me to test drive a car I’m thinking of buying?

Danica: Sure. Which dealership are we going to?

Mario: I’m not buying a used car from a dealership. I’m buying it from a private party. Dealerships rip you off.

Danica: Are you sure about that? My sister bought a certified used car from a dealership and she even got a one-year warranty. She’s very happy with it.

Mario: Dealerships jack up the price. Buying from a private party means getting a better deal.

Danica: If you say so. What kind of car is it, and how much is the owner asking for it?

Mario: It’s a McQ Racer and the owner is asking 12,000 dollars, 3,000 dollars below blue book value.

Danica: That is a good price. In fact, that’s too good a price. Doesn’t that raise some red flags?

Mario: Like what?

Danica: Well, the car could be have been totaled and is now considered salvage. Its odometer could have been rolled back. It could have major mechanical problems...

Mario: You can be skeptical, but I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth. If this guy wants to sell his car for much less than its value, who am I to ask questions?

Danica: You’ll do a title search and ask to see the pink slip before you buy it, right?

Mario: I think you’d better stay here. With you along, I see this great deal going up in smoke!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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825 - Political Advertising

2012-09-14 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

American elections have lots of political advertising. Learn why that’s not always a good thing in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:15
Explanations: 2:32
Fast dialogue: 15:07

Hilary: The election is still two months away and I’m already sick of the political ads. Look at these flyers we got in the mail just today, not to mention the canvassers ringing our doorbell nonstop!

Bill: It’s worse if you watch TV, with attack ad after attack ad. It’s gotten completely out of hand.

Hilary: What happened to campaign finance reform? After years of talking about it, we still have lots of political action committees using soft money to finance media campaigns.

Bill: You can’t even call them media campaigns anymore. They’re more like smear campaigns. I’m fed up with all of this propaganda.

Hilary: You know what we should do?

Bill: What?

Hilary: We should take a vacation until the election is over…in Thailand!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 825 - Political Advertising

English Cafe #363

2012-09-12 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 33s

Topics: Cigarette advertising and cigarette icons; how local government works; to assist in versus to assist with; calf versus cub; to hold forth

to sponsor
city council
to assist in
to assist with
to hold forth


Share: English Cafe #363

824 - Grooming a Successor

2012-09-10 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Looking for someone to take over your job? Listen to this episode to find out how to talk about it in English.

Slow dialogue: 1:09
Explanations: 3:06
Fast dialogue: 16:39

Aisha: It’s only a matter of time before I retire and hand over the reins to someone else.

Javier: That won’t happen for years.

Aisha: It’ll happen sooner than you think. I’ve given a lot of thought to the person I want to fill my shoes. After long consideration, I think that person should be you.

Javier: Me? But there are a lot of people who outrank me in this organization and who have more experience.

Aisha: That may be true, but I’ve decided to make you my protégé. I’m taking you under my wing starting now to groom as my successor.

Javier: I don’t know what to say. I’m honored, of course, but aren’t you going to meet with a lot of resistance by choosing me instead of someone more senior?

Aisha: I might, but I have confidence in you. With a little time, you’ll come into your own and you’ll make a fine leader for this organization.

Javier: All I can say is thank you for having faith in me.

Aisha: The opportunity is yours and it’s up to you what you make of it.

Javier: I know that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I won’t let you down.

Aisha: I’m counting on that.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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823 - Dealing with a Bothersome Person

2012-09-07 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 19s

Jean-Paul Sartre once said that Hell is other people. Learn how to talk about them in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:23
Explanations: 3:21
Fast dialogue: 17:16

Melissa: I hate that guy Reuben. He’s always getting in my face.

Conan: Ooh, I sense some serious sexual tension between the two of you.

Melissa: Sexual tension? Are you out of your mind? He does nothing but give me a hard time.

Conan: That’s because he’s trying to get your attention.

Melissa: If he likes me, why doesn’t he try to get my attention by showing off, like every other guy?

Conan: Maybe he’s trying to stand out among your many admirers.

Melissa: Don’t be stupid. I don’t have a lot of admirers and I don’t want one who makes my life miserable!

Conan: Maybe if you throw him a bone, then he’ll stop his antics.

Melissa: What kind of a bone?

Conan: Ask him to the movies Saturday night.

Melissa: Me, ask him out? You’re certifiable!

Conan: I’m telling you that if you ask him out, he’ll stop pestering you.

Melissa: Putting aside the fact that I find him repulsive, if I ask him out, he’ll make me the laughingstock of this place.

Conan: I don’t think so. He’ll get what he wants and he’ll stop pestering you.

Melissa: What if it backfires and he bothers me even more?

Conan: Then you’ll get what you want – deep down!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #362

2012-09-05 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 29s

Topics: American Presidents: Harry S. Truman; to handle versus to address versus to deal with versus to cope with; naysayer; hold that thought

to enlist
leadership qualities
atomic bomb
to surrender
to flourish
public approval rating
to defeat
to integrate
to portray
to handle
to address
to deal with
to cope with
hold that thought


Share: English Cafe #362

822 - Having a Frightening Experience

2012-09-03 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 20s

Don’t be afraid of today’s episode. You’ll learn how to talk about frightening experiences in English, but without getting scared yourself.

Slow dialogue: 1:08
Explanations: 4:05
Fast dialogue: 17:47

Oliver: I had the most hair-raising experience of my life this past weekend.

Alena: What happened?

Oliver: You know that George bought an old house, right? Well, he’s been telling us that it’s haunted, so for a lark, a few of us decided to spend the weekend there to see if we would have any supernatural experiences.

Alena: Are you telling me that you saw ghosts?

Oliver: I’m not sure what we saw, heard, or felt. Everything was fine when we got there, but then we started hearing strange noises and I started to get goosebumps. The other guys tried to play it off, but I know they were scared, too.

Alena: What did George say about the noises?

Oliver: He laughed when he saw us jump out of our skins, and told us we were wusses. He said he heard those noises every night and they didn’t have him quaking in his boots.

Alena: Did anything else happen?

Oliver: Well, when we went to bed, the house got very cold and drafty, like there was something passing by me very closely, but I couldn’t see it. That sent me over the edge.

Alena: Has it ever occurred to you that George was playing a prank on you guys?

Oliver: A prank? It was no prank. In the middle of the night when we saw the strange faces in the windows, even George was scared stiff. By that time, all of us were petrified. It was no prank. That house is haunted.

Alena: Ooh, a real haunted house. I’d love to spend the night there, too. Do you think George would let you stay there again and let me come, too?

Oliver: You want me to go back to that house? Forget it! Wild horses couldn’t drag me within 50 miles of that place again!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 822 - Having a Frightening Experience

821 - Eating Contaminated Food

2012-08-31 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

Avoid getting sick by being careful what you eat. Learn how to talk food safety in English in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:17
Explanations: 2:51
Fast dialog: 14:30

Rachel: This tastes funny.

Sergey: It’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with it.

Rachel: It tastes like it’s tainted or something. Don’t you detect a funny metallic taste?

Sergey: No, it’s perfectly fine. Just eat it.

Rachel: I swear there’s something off about this food. I’m not eating adulterated food. There’s probably poison in here and we’re both going to die a terrible death.

Sergey: There is nothing poisonous or toxic in this food. I made it myself.

Rachel: Did you make sure that the milk wasn’t sour and that none of the ingredients were spoiled? I’ll probably die from botulism.

Sergey: There’s nothing spoiled, tainted, toxic, or poisonous in this food. Are you going to eat that or not?

Rachel: I think I’ll pass.

Sergey: Then hand it over. I’m hungry. I’ve never met such a hypochondriac before!

Rachel: I’m not a hypochondriac. I’m just a little paranoid...

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #361

2012-08-29 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 33s

Topics: Ask an American – The global economy; insidious versus vile versus despicable; lock and load; fancy versus fanciful

industrialized world
to run (one’s) limits
to connect the dots
to frame (an issue/problem)
lock and load


Share: English Cafe #361

820 - Performing Poorly at Work

2012-08-27 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Understand better what your boss may be saying about you in English with this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:03
Explanations: 3:11
Fast dialog: 16:45

Cora: What’s up with Rob? He hasn’t been himself lately.

Doug: You’ve noticed, too, huh?

Cora: Yeah, he’s been missing work and letting things slip through the cracks. I’ve been cutting him some slack and filling in for him, but things haven’t improved.

Doug: I know what you mean. I’d never known Rob to drop the ball on anything until recently. I heard a rumor that he’s having financial problems.

Cora: No, not Rob! He has more clients than anyone around here.

Doug: Well, he’s been off his game for a while now, so some of those accounts might have gone up in smoke.

Cora: Are you going to have a talk with him? Maybe you could help.

Doug: Me? Why me?

Cora: I thought you two were pretty tight.

Doug: We’re friendly at work, but we’re not really friends. The last thing I want to do is to snoop around in his business.

Cora: But maybe he’s just waiting for a shoulder to cry on. You might be just the person to get him to bare his soul.

Doug: Spoken just like a woman! You all think we men are waiting to bare our souls and to let our emotions out. Just leave Rob alone to solve his own problems.

Cora: Spoken just like a cold-hearted man!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 820 - Performing Poorly at Work

819 - Athletes Behaving Badly

2012-08-24 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

Professional athletes sometimes get into trouble. Learn what happens when they do in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:12
Explanations: 2:34
Fast dialog: 15:00

Connie: I just got a call from Ron’s agent. He’s in hot water again.

Walt: Not again! What did he get up to now?

Connie: He got into another fight outside of a bar, and he’s in police custody right now cooling his heels. I don’t know what he was thinking.

Walt: It’s the off-season, so I can understand him wanting to blow off some steam. But doesn’t he realize what he’s doing to his image and reputation?

Connie: They don’t call him the bad boy of basketball for nothing. I guess it’s our job to do some damage control.

Walt: Yeah, and fast. Once the press gets a hold of this, they’ll have a field day.

Connie: It’s going to be a long night.

Walt: Not as long as Ron’s.

Connie: Serves him right!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 819 - Athletes Behaving Badly

English Cafe #360

2012-08-22 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 31s

Topics: Famous Americans – Ralph Nader; how to become an astronaut; with reference to versus with regard to versus according to; to confront versus to encounter; “In God We Trust”

to discredit
traffic fatality
social cause
to lobby
consumer advocate
write-in candidate
with reference
with regard to
according to
to confront
to encounter
“In God We Trust”


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818 - Placing a Drink Order

2012-08-20 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Learn how to get something to drink in a restaurant in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:11
Explanations: 3:07
Fast dialog: 16:29

Server: Hello, I’m Allie and I’ll be your server today. Here’s a menu. Can I take your drink order?

Joel: I’d like a glass of water with no ice.

Server: Sure. Will that be sparkling or still?

Joel: Uh, tap.

Server: Okay, one glass of tap water. Would you like anything else? We have soda, iced tea, lemonade...

Joel: I’d like a Diet Coke.

Server: Sure, I’ll be right back with your drinks in just one moment.

Joel: Can you bring me a wine list?

Server: No problem...Here is your water and Diet Coke, and this is our wine list. Are you looking for any wine in particular? We have an extensive selection and some very fine house wines.

Joel: I’m looking for the kind I drink at home.

Server: What label is the wine you drink at home?

Joel: I don’t remember the name, but it has a very distinctive packaging.

Server: Oh, can you describe it?

Joel: Sure, it’s a large white box...

Server: You mean it’s a boxed wine?

Joel: Yes, that’s right.

Server: I’m sorry. We don’t have any boxed wines.

Joel: And you call yourself a restaurant?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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817 - Getting a School Class Schedule

2012-08-17 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Time to go to school, and oh, what fun algebra will be this year! Learn your class schedule in English on this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:17
Explanations: 3:18
Fast dialog: 16:08

Carlos: Did you get your class schedule?

Marianne: Yeah. You?

Carlos: Yeah. Let’s see if we have any classes together. I have PE with Mr. Lopez and social studies with Ms. Walters. How about you?

Marianne: I have PE with Ms. Schwartz and social studies with Ms. Eng. Who do you have for geography? I’m taking it with Mr. Johnson.

Carlos: I’m not taking geography this semester. Who do you have for algebra? I have Ms. Adul.

Marianne: I’m not taking algebra. I’m taking calculus. Who do you have for chemistry?

Carlos: I’m taking biology instead. This isn’t looking good. Do we even have lunch together? I’ve been assigned the first lunch period. You?

Marianne: I have the second lunch period. How is it possible that we don’t have any classes together?

Carlos: I have an idea. Are you taking band after school?

Marianne: No, you know I’m not musical. I’m taking drama.

Carlos: Drop drama and take band. That way, we’ll at least be able to hang out after school.

Marianne: And what am I supposed to play in the band when I’m tone deaf?

Carlos: Have you ever heard of the drums?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #359

2012-08-15 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 32s

Topics: Leopold and Loeb Trial; Famous Songs: "The Itsy Bitsy Spider"; tunnel versus channel versus canal; right versus privilege; binge

perfect crime
to lure
capital punishment
on parole
itsy bitsy
washed out
index finger


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816 - Running a Pilot Program

2012-08-13 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 15s

Getting ready to start a new project or program? Learn how to talk about in English on this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:19
Explanations: 2:40
Fast dialog: 14:25

Rosalind: How is the pilot program coming along?

Jimmy: We’ll be ready to launch it in another month, but I have some serious reservations.

Rosalind: Like what?

Jimmy: We haven’t worked out all of the bugs yet and we might come up against some resistance from the community.

Rosalind: Isn’t that the nature of a pilot program? When you’re paving the way, you’re always going to have skeptics and dissenters.

Jimmy: You’re right, of course, but there’s a lot at stake. I just hope this trial run will win over some of those skeptics. It would be a shame to scrap this program after we’ve put in so much work.

Rosalind: After the program is launched, you’ll have six months to prove its worth, right?

Jimmy: Yeah, that’s right.

Rosalind: That’s plenty of time for the dissenters to see the light.

Jimmy: From your lips to God’s ears!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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815 - Buying Dinnerware

2012-08-10 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Not all Americans eat every meal at McDonalds. Learn how to talk about dishes for dinner in English in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:21
Explanations: 3:23
Fast dialog: 16:16

Wendy: We need some new dinnerware. Nearly all of our plates and bowls are cracked or chipped.

Jason: All right, you do that.

Wendy: Aren’t you going to help?

Jason: I trust your judgment. Whatever you like, I’ll like, too.

Wendy: But I need your input. For instance, this set has eight place settings: eight dinner plates, eight salad plates, eight soup bowls, and eight mugs. Everything is microwave-safe, too. What do you think of this pattern?

Jason: It’s great. Let’s get that one.

Wendy: Wait! This set is a little more formal and the plates are bigger, about an inch larger in diameter. It has a nice blue pattern, see?

Jason: Yeah, it’s perfect. Let’s buy that one.

Wendy: Oh, but look at these other options on this website. I don’t think I can decide unless I can see them in person. Let’s go.

Jason: Go where?

Wendy: To the store. I don’t want to buy something half-assed. We’ll be using these dishes for many, many years.

Jason: Like I said, I trust your judgment. Buy whatever you want.

Wendy: You’re not coming with me? Come on. What can I do to get you to come with me?

Jason: You want me to go with you shopping on my day off and while the game is on? Dream on!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #358

2012-08-08 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 32s

Topics: Movies – Guess Who's Coming to Dinner; Famous songs – The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald; to go on versus to keep on versus to move on; the suffix “ship”; to blow a raspberry

to guess
to object to
to sink
to go on
to keep on
to move on
to blow a raspberry


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814 - Getting Rid of Bugs and Rodents

2012-08-06 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

Kill bugs dead with this episode. Learn how to talk about rodents and insects in English.

Slow dialog: 1:14
Explanations: 3:00
Fast dialog: 15:07

Apartment Manager: This is the one-bedroom apartment we have for rent. Let me show you around.

Sherin: Wait! Did you see that? It looked like a mouse or a rat.

Apartment Manager: There aren’t any rodents or any other vermin in this apartment complex. I make sure of that.

Sherin: Are you sure?

Apartment Manager: Sure, I’m sure. Only last month, I bought some mousetraps and rat poison and got rid of them all. This complex is rodent-free.

Sherin: Oh, I see.

Apartment Manager: And the month before that, we had roaches, ticks, and fleas, but I fumigated and they’re gone.

Sherin: You called a pest control company?

Apartment Manager: I didn’t need a pest control company to get rid of a few bugs. I did it myself.

Sherin: Oh, okay.

Apartment Manager: And six months ago, we had bedbugs, but thanks to my diligence, they’re gone, too. So you want to see this apartment or don’t you?

Sherin: I think I’ll pass. This conversation is making my skin crawl.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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813 - Doing Basic Exercises

2012-08-03 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Live longer by doing a little exercise today. Find out how to tell all your friends about it in English in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:10
Explanations: 2:52
Fast dialog: 15:23

Jane: I’ve just had the best workout at the gym!

Arnold: You don’t need to go to a gym to exercise. I exercise right here in my apartment.

Jane: Oh, yeah? What can you do in this small space?

Arnold: Nearly everything I need to do. Before I do my calisthenics, I stretch. And every morning I do sit-ups, push-ups, and pull-ups.

Jane: That’s not enough to keep you in shape.

Arnold: I’m not finished. Every other day I do lunges and squats, and I lift free weights.

Jane: But what about a cardio workout?

Arnold: I do jumping jacks, run in place, and jump rope on the balcony.

Jane: I guess you’ve got it all figured out.

Arnold: I think so. Have you seen the light? Are you going to stop going to the gym?

Jane: No way! Exercise isn’t the only reason I go to the gym, you know. I go for the view.

Arnold: I have a feeling you’re not talking about the view outside.

Jane: You’ve got that right!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #357

2012-08-01 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 31s

Topics: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band; the Dust Bowl; suggestion versus hint versus tip versus pointer; increase versus raise; How do you like them apples?

talent scout
title track
American dream
to flee
migrant farmer
How do you like them apples?


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812 - Losing Employees to Other Companies

2012-07-30 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 19s

Even in difficult economic times, some people leave their jobs for better offers. Learn more in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:26
Explanations: 3:45
Fast dialog: 17:10

Diego: That’s three in six months!

Natalie: What’s three in six months?

Diego: That’s three of this company’s employees who have been hired away by other companies. First, there was Lamar. I wasn’t surprised that headhunters were interested in Lamar, since he was clearly a rising star.

Natalie: Yeah, Lamar was a tough loss. His unique set of skills is hard to duplicate.

Diego: You’re telling me! We haven’t been able to find a replacement. After Lamar, there was Sariah. Sariah is a classic case of brain drain. There are great jobs in McQuillanland, with lucrative pay and a low cost of living. I’m not surprised Sariah took that job.

Natalie: Sariah was very talented. We couldn’t match the offer she received and she took the better deal.

Diego: And today, Melinda tells me that she’s probably going to accept an offer from a startup that’s made her an offer she can’t refuse.

Natalie: Not Melinda, too! You know what, I think I’m finally catching on. Maybe we should be putting out feelers for better job offers ourselves.

Diego: No, not you, too! Before long, I’ll be the only one left here. I thought you’d help me talk Melinda into staying.

Natalie: No, not me. You know what they say: If you can’t beat them, join them!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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811 - A Heckler at a Sports Game

2012-07-27 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

Sometimes the most interesting part of a sports game is watching the fans. Learn more in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:19
Explanations: 2:43
Fast dialog: 14:31

Lew: Boo!! Boo!! Your team sucks!

Alexa: Sit down and stop heckling the visiting team. You’re making a fool of yourself.

Lew: I’m supporting our team. If I keep taunting the players on the other team, they may lose their concentration and we’ll gain an advantage.

Alexa: If you keep this up, we’ll get kicked out of this stadium.

Lew: We won’t get kicked out. Get into the spirit of the game and start yelling at the other team with me. Hey, it’s working! Look at that pathetic attempt to score. You guys are a bunch of babies!

Alexa: Stop that! Look, security is coming this way.

Lew: They just want to catch a glimpse of the person who has the guts to stand up for our team. Whoo! Whoo!

Alexa: If anyone asks, I don’t know you.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #356

2012-07-25 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 31s

Ask an American – The humanities; another versus the other; however versus conversely; to call it/them like/how (one) sees it/them

well funded
to pertain
in the absence of
to tap into
budget realities
to call it/them like/how (one) sees it/them


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810 - Switching Cell Phone Plans

2012-07-23 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Paying too much for your cell or mobile phone bill? Well, stop talking so much, dude. Learn more in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:24
Explanations: 3:36
Fast dialog: 15:20

Paul: I need a new cell phone plan. These roaming and overage charges are killing me!

Shauna: I thought you had a good calling, messaging, and data plan.

Paul: I do, but I’m still going over each month.

Shauna: Have you thought about a prepaid plan? You’ll never be charged extra.

Paul: That’s not an option. I think I need an unlimited plan.

Shauna: Okay, but I don’t understand. Why do you have roaming charges? Doesn’t your carrier have good coverage all over the country?

Paul: I’ve been taking trips to Mexico to see my new girlfriend and the coverage doesn’t extend to Mexico.

Shauna: Oh, I see. And the overage charges?

Paul: When you’re in a long-distance relationship, you have to do a lot of calling and texting, not to mention updating social media websites to stay in touch. I keep exceeding my allotted 5000 minutes of calling time and 100 megabytes of data.

Shauna: What?! To exceed that, you’d have to be on the phone all the time!

Paul: Not all the time, but I’m talking to her now. Do you want to say “hi”?

Shauna: You’ve been on the phone with her the entire time we’ve been having this conversation?

Paul: How else can we keep up on everything that’s going on in each other’s lives?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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809 - A Weather Forecast

2012-07-20 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 15s

Here in Los Angeles, the weather tomorrow will be sunny and 72 degrees. How about where you live? Find out how to understand weather forecasts in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:34
Explanations: 3:07
Fast dialog: 14:13

Colleen: Shh! I want to hear the weather forecast for this week.

Jerry: What’s so important about this week?

Colleen: Shh!

Radio Announcer: Tomorrow, this warm front will move out and a cold front will move in, bringing with it windy conditions with a chance of thunderstorms.

Colleen: Yeah!

Radio Announcer: On Tuesday, things will clear up in the morning and we’ll have sunny skies...

Colleen: Uh!

Radio Announcer: But it will be chilly in the afternoon and the skies will be overcast. There’ll be a chance of precipitation in the evening, with very high levels of humidity.

Colleen: Yeah!

Radio Announcer: On Friday, the temperature will drop sharply and we’ll be lucky if we reach 20 degrees.

Colleen: Oh, yeah!

Jerry: What was all that about?

Colleen: If the weather is nice this weekend, my in-laws plan to drive up to spend a few days at our house.

Jerry: [laughs] Oh, I see.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #355

2012-07-18 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 35s

Topic: American Presidents: Martin Van Buren; show business secrets; revenue versus profit versus turnover; limerick; how to address in-laws

to be admitted to the
to play on (one’s) name
to surrender
show business
next of kin


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808 - Asking for Time Off

2012-07-16 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Isn’t it time for a little vacation? Learn about asking your boss for some free time on this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:15
Explanations: 2:50
Fast dialog: 16:25

Johnny: I just found out that the manager is letting Neal take Friday off. I asked him two days ago for Friday off and he turned me down!

Francesca: Neal’s wife is pregnant, so maybe he needs time off to go with her to a doctor’s visit, or something.

Johnny: That’s so messed up! I asked first, so I should have been given permission instead of Neal. I think the manager has it in for me.

Francesca: I don’t think that’s the case. Maybe next time, if you ask a couple of weeks in advance, he’ll say “yes.” Neal does have seniority, you know.

Johnny: Neal is always going to have seniority over me and I’m always going to get screwed.

Francesca: Don’t get a chip on your shoulder about this. Neal put in his years and earned his seniority fair and square. When you’ve worked here 18 years, you’ll get priority over newer hires.

Johnny: If I’m still in this job in 17 years, shoot me!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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807 - Getting an Unexpected Marriage Proposal

2012-07-13 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 15s

First comes love, then comes marriage – but right away? Learn about how not to ask someone to marry you on this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:20
Explanations: 3:24
Fast dialog: 13:51

Sean: By now, I think you know how I feel about you. I’m madly in love with you and I believe in my heart of hearts that you’re my soul mate.

Ayako: That’s really sweet of you to say.

Sean: And because I feel the way I do, I would like to ask you a very important question.

Ayako: Okay, but why are you getting down on one knee...?

Sean: Ayako, would you marry me?

Ayako: Marry you?! Is this a marriage proposal?

Sean: Yes, and before you say anything else, I just want you to know that I’ve given this a lot of thought and I’m convinced that we’re made for each other.

Ayako: I don’t think...

Sean: And you just have to say the word and we could elope tomorrow, if you wanted to.

Ayako: Elope?!

Sean: Or, if you prefer, we can have a lavish wedding. I’m not picky. I just want us to be husband and wife.

Ayako: Sean, you’re a really nice guy, but don’t you think you might be jumping the gun?

Sean: No. You know what they say: “When it’s right, it’s right.”

Ayako: We’ve only been on two dates!

Sean: Yes, but they have been the best two dates of my life!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #354

2012-07-11 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 32s

Topics: American Authors: Ernest Hemingway; the United Nations; you lost versus you’re lost; expert in versus expert on versus expert at; geez

foreign correspondent
to shape
to toll
to emulate
to commit suicide
to lose


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806 - Essential and Optional Things

2012-07-09 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

What do you really need in life, and what can you do without? Learn how to decide in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:10
Explanations: 3:19
Fast dialog: 14:25

Ella: It’s so exciting that you’ll be spending a month studying in McQuillanland this summer. When do you start packing?

Marty: I’ve already started. The organizers of the program gave me a list of things I need to bring.

Ella: That’s really helpful.

Marty: Yeah. They say that it’s essential that I bring both warm-weather and cold-weather clothes. The weather in McQuillanland is really unpredictable.

Ella: Oh, I didn’t know that.

Marty: Yeah, and they say that it’s advisable that I bring medications for every malady I can think of because there are a lot of health dangers.

Ella: Wow, I never knew that about McQuillanland.

Marty: Me, neither. And while it’s optional, it’s also suggested that I leave all of my valuables at home. McQuillanland has a very high crime rate and visitors are often targeted.

Ella: Geez, that’s a lot to take in.

Marty: You’re telling me. And the list says that it is absolutely required that I take a self-defense course before going. You never know what to expect in McQuillanland.

Ella: You’re not having second thoughts about going, are you?

Marty: No, why?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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805 - Listening to Shock Jocks

2012-07-06 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

People can say some pretty strange things, especially on morning radio shows. Learn more about it on this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:19
Explanations: 2:58
Fast dialogue: 16:15

I like listening to the radio on my morning commute each day. This morning, though, my favorite DJs weren’t on the air.

Howard: Do you know what happened to the Kelvin and Ben show this morning?

Robin: Kelvin and Ben are both on suspension. The FCC fined the radio station. Apparently, Kelvin and Ben said some things on the air two weeks ago that the FCC found objectionable.

Howard: That’s crazy! Kelvin and Ben are shock jocks. They’re supposed to say things that are provocative. They work in a big market producing a morning show with a lot of competition. They have to push the envelope.

Robin: That may be true, but the FCC said that they went too far. On Mother’s Day, they invited several mothers to be in-studio guests for a segment. They cursed them, said sexually explicit things, and called them obscene names.

Howard: They did that?!

Robin: I guess you weren’t listening that morning.

Howard: No, I wasn’t. Now I’m truly shocked!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #353

2012-07-04 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 33s

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

free state
to sue
to overrule
lighter topic
pick-up line
to snag
to hitch
in the moment
at the moment
I’ll tell you something


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804 - Dealing with Time Changes in Scheduling

2012-07-02 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 19s

Time keeps on ticking into the future, but what time is it, exactly? Learn all about changing schedules in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:10
Explanations: 3:39
Fast dialogue: 17:20

Danny: Don’t bother looking for next year’s meeting calendar. I’m still working on it.

Tessa: What’s taking so long?

Danny: This is my first time scheduling all of the major meetings for this company and I’m getting thrown off by all of the things I have to keep in mind. For instance, our bylaws say that we have to have a management meeting every 60 days. This is a leap year, so do I have to take that into account?

Tessa: That’s a tough one. I’m not sure.

Danny: And what about daylight saving time? I have to remember when clocks will be set ahead and back.

Tessa: That’s easy. My high school teacher taught us to remember it with a simple phrase: “fall back and spring ahead.”

Danny: Okay, but that doesn’t help me with dates. Apparently, daylight saving time changes on different dates in different countries. And I have to factor in time zones to set the time for each meeting, with meeting times that work for each international office that will be participating.

Tessa: You’re right, it’s a tall order, but you do know that someone has done this before? You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Danny: Yeah, Carl set the meeting calendar last year, but he left the company last month.

Tessa: Can’t you just take last year’s meeting calendar and fudge it?

Danny: Why do you think Carl is no longer with the company?

Tessa: Ah.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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803 - Negotiating a Peace Treaty

2012-06-29 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Some say there can be no peace between nations without peace in our homes. Find out if that’s true in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:17
Explanations: 3:00
Fast dialogue: 16:32

Ahmed: Have you heard the news?

Menna: The nations of Palicia and Isram have signed a peace treaty. This means that there will be an immediate ceasefire and an end to hostilities. This is a historic day!

Ahmed: I never thought I’d live to see this day. Has everything been settled?

Menna: Only the most important things. The borders have been decided, there will be a recognition of statehood, and political prisoners will be exchanged.

Ahmed: That’s great, but does the treaty need to be ratified by the people of the two nations?

Menna: Yes, but the leaders have already signed the documents and the ratification process is just a formality at this point.

Ahmed: This means that refugees will be able to return home.

Menna: That’s right. They’ll be able to go home at long last.

Ahmed: This is a banner day for world peace, don’t you think?

Menna: Yes, and in that spirit, why don’t you call Hanna and invite her over for dinner? You two haven’t spoken in weeks.

Ahmed: It’s not going to be that easy. A peace treaty with my sister will require a formal apology and reparations!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #352

2012-06-27 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 32s

Topics: Movies: E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial; The MacArthur Fellows Program; important versus significant versus critical; tough; navel-gazing

to be stranded
to lure
no strings attached


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802 - Talking About Movies

2012-06-25 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Lights! Camera! Action! We’re off to the movies. Learn how to talk about seeing a good film in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 0:57
Explanations: 2:37
Fast dialogue: 15:35

Martin: What did you think of that movie?

Joanna: It was okay, but I’m not really into big-budget movies with a lot of special effects and big-name stars.

Martin: Oh, you’re a film snob. I bet you only watch indie films made on a shoestring budget with low production values.

Joanna: No, that’s not true. I just don’t like crowd-pleasers that are predictable. I like movies that stretch the imagination and have some artistic value.

Martin: You mean you like those weird movies with no plot and a lot of strange characters. They’re artsy, but leave you totally confused.

Joanna: I don’t mind some ambiguity, if that’s what you mean.

Martin: Well, I’m going to see the new Spiderboy movie next week. I don’t suppose you want to come?

Joanna: Spiderboy? I’ve been looking forward to seeing that movie.

Martin: But it’s a big-budget blockbuster.

Joanna: I can’t watch artsy films all the time. Variety is the spice of life, don’t you think?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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801 - Reading Online Reviews

2012-06-22 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

I give this episode five out of five stars for explaining about online reviews. Listen and decide for yourself.

Slow dialogue: 1:19
Explanations: 3:26
Fast dialogue: 16:00

Marisa: When we go to our favorite vacation spot in two months, let’s stay at a different hotel.

Oscar: I like the hotel we always stay at. It’s in a convenient location and we’re already familiar with it.

Marisa: That’s just it. It’s tried and true, but there’s no novelty and excitement in staying in the same place year after year.

Oscar: I don’t need novelty.

Marisa: Let’s just consider some of these other hotels I’ve been reading about. They are very highly ranked and their ratings are very good.

Oscar: You’re putting strangers’ reviews above our own experience?

Marisa: Of course not, but just look at this hotel. It received three stars out of four, and it has a lot of pros.

Oscar: Let me see that. It also has some cons, such as being noisy and pricy.

Marisa: Okay, maybe that isn’t the best example. I didn’t notice that they got dinged on those things, but let’s look at a few others.

Oscar: I’ll keep an open mind, but I’m dubious about online reviews. I take everything I read with a grain of salt. The only people who post reviews are those who love it or hate it.

Marisa: I’ll just find a hotel that everyone loves.

Oscar: And that doesn’t break the bank?

Marisa: Right.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #351

2012-06-20 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 35s

Topics: Ask an American: Rural doctors; let’s start versus let’s get started; continuously versus continually; chaos

soul mate
to be captured
to train


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800 - Advertising Jobs on the Internet

2012-06-18 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Wanted: A dialogue that explains all about advertising a new job on the Internet. Apply yourself here by listening to this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:29
Explanations: 3:12
Fast dialogue: 17:02

Wendy: I just heard that you’re not going to use a recruitment agency to fill the new position.

Pedro: No, I’m not. There are so many Internet job boards out there that I think we can find good candidates without using headhunters.

Wendy: But headhunters do a good job of weeding out people who don’t have the right experience or qualifications.

Pedro: Yes, but they also charge a large commission. I’m going to post an ad on a few major job boards to see what happens. Most of them don’t charge a listing fee so there’s no harm in trying.

Wendy: I predict you’re going to be flooded with applications, and it’s going to take a lot of time to separate the good from the bad.

Pedro: That’s where you come in.

Wendy: What do you mean?

Pedro: You are my assistant, aren’t you?

Wendy: Yes.

Pedro: And your job is to assist me, right?

Wendy: Yes.

Pedro: Good. Roll up your sleeves and get ready for a busy week!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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799 - Dealing With the Heat

2012-06-15 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

If you’re a hot child in the city, running wild and looking pretty, then you need to cool down by listening to this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:09
Explanations: 2:43
Fast dialogue: 14:15

Jolene: I’m sweating like a pig. When is this heat wave going to end?

Eric: I’ve no idea, but I’m not moving a muscle until it does. Hand me that pitcher of iced tea, would you?

Jolene: Get it yourself. I’m not moving until it drops below 80 degrees.

Eric: It’s not the temperature. It’s the humidity. It’s not even the dog days of summer yet and it’s scorching outside.

Jolene: It’s scorching inside, too. Why can’t that fan move any faster? Remind me why we moved into an apartment with no air conditioner?

Eric: We couldn’t afford an apartment with an air conditioner. We were lucky to get this place.

Jolene: I don’t feel so lucky right now. My legs are stuck to this chair and I’ve sweated through my clothes.

Eric: We could buy a portable air conditioner.

Jolene: We can?

Eric: Yeah, but you’d have to get up.

Jolene: Ugh, let’s do it tomorrow.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #350

2012-06-13 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 31s

Topics: Famous Americans: Thelonious Monk; the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps); pen name; tingling versus stabbing versus burning; gringo

to compose
to get credit
record company
food stamp
poverty line
to trickle down
pen name


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798 - Being Cautious or Thrill-Seeking

2012-06-11 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Do you like taking risks, or playing it safe? Learn how to find your opposite in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:15
Explanations: 2:57
Fast dialogue: 16:50

Paula: Did you get an invitation to Kip and Sheri’s wedding?

Robert: Yeah, I did. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the two of them getting married. Never in my wildest dreams would I put those two together. It boggles my mind that they’re in the least compatible.

Paula: What do you mean?

Robert: Sheri is really adventurous and definitely a thrill-seeker.

Paula: Maybe she’s mellowed over the years.

Robert: I don’t think so, and Kip is the opposite. He’s always toed the line and I don’t think he has an adventurous bone in his body.

Paula: I’ve never thought of Kip as being uptight.

Robert: No, he’s not uptight. He’s just very cautious. You’d never find him looking for an adrenaline rush or even a little novelty.

Paula: You know what they say: opposites attract.

Robert: If that’s true, then in their case, polar opposites attract!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 798 - Being Cautious or Thrill-Seeking

797 - Managing a Classroom

2012-06-08 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

No more teachers, no more books! School’s out for summer, but not forever. Learn about the difficult job of managing a classroom in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:04
Explanations: 2:57
Fast dialogue: 14:07

After three months of summer vacation, I was looking forward to the start of a new school year.

Okay, everybody, settle down. Take your seats and get out your textbook.

Charlie, eyes on your own book. And Kathy, do you have something to share with the rest of the class? No? Then put that away until recess.

Now, does anyone know the answer to this question I’ve written on the board? Don’t everybody speak at once. Raise your hand if you have an answer. Patrick, wait your turn. Therese raised her hand first.

Michael and Stephen, no talking in the back of the classroom. Tim, sit still and eyes forward. Pay attention. Mark, are you paying attention? I just called on you.

Duane and Frank, I don’t see you two jotting down the assignment for tomorrow.

Okay, everybody, read silently at your desks for the next 10 minutes.

I always forget how exhausting it is to manage a classroom full of students. How many months is it before our next summer vacation?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 797 - Managing a Classroom

English Cafe #349

2012-06-06 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 29s

Topics: Migrant Farming in the U.S.; American Cities: Palm Springs, CA; patronizing versus condescending; to right every wrong; to belong to versus to belong with

migrant worker
manual labor
to deport
Hollywood types
to right every wrong
to belong


Share: English Cafe #349

796 - Setting Up Conference Calls and Videoconferences

2012-06-04 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Why travel to a meeting when you can have a videoconference? Find out how to do it in English on this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:13
Explanations: 3:44
Fast dialogue: 16:46

Ewan: Who’s running the videoconference next week?

Petra: I am. Desmond put me in charge of it last week.

Ewan: Oh, somebody’s moving up in the world. It’s nice that he’s giving you more responsibility.

Petra: Yeah, but I’m not sure I’m ready.

Ewan: I’ve set up conference calls and videoconferences before. Maybe you can tell me what you’ve already done and I can see if you’ve missed anything.

Petra: That would be great. Okay, I’ve scheduled the meeting for 3:00...

Ewan: Stop right there. If the videoconference is at 3:00 here, it’s already 6:00 on the East Coast. That’s too late to start the meeting, don’t you think?

Petra: Oh, I didn’t factor in time zones! But I still have time to reschedule, I think, so it’s not a total catastrophe.

Ewan: Good. Be sure to initiate the call or the connection at least 10 minutes before the time of the meeting, and make sure you know how to reconnect someone if they get disconnected during the meeting.

Petra: I still need to figure that out.

Ewan: Are you facilitating the meeting, too?

Petra: I don’t know. I guess so.

Ewan: In that case, make sure you identify each person by greeting them by name.

Petra: I was hoping to lurk in the background in case something went wrong. I’d be ready to troubleshoot.

Ewan: If Desmond put you in charge of setting up the meeting, he’ll want you to take a more active part.

[Petra breathing heavily]

Ewan: What are you doing?

Petra: Hyperventilating. I don’t think I’m ready for this.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 796 - Setting Up Conference Calls and Videoconferences

795 - Ordering Coffee and Tea

2012-06-01 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Learn how to order a cup of coffee or tea in English in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:27
Explanations: 2:53
Fast dialogue: 16:00

Jermaine: I’d like a decaf drip, to go.

Drew: Would you like our light or dark roast?

Jermaine: I'll just have whatever's freshly brewed.

Drew: Are you sure you don’t want to try an espresso, an Americano, or a latte?

Jermaine: No, just a decaf coffee.

Drew: Sure, no problem. Would you like it hot or cold?

Jermaine: Hot, please.

Drew: Would you like any room for cream?

Jermaine: No, thanks.

Drew: Would you like some sweetener? A couple of pumps of syrup maybe?

Jermaine: No, I’ll add a couple of packets of sugar myself.

Drew: Oh, I’m sorry. I added some foam from another drink to your coffee by accident. I’ll have to start over. Did you say you wanted the light or dark roast?

Jermaine: Forget it. Let’s keep it simple. Give me a cup of tea.

Drew: Would you like that hot or cold, sweetened or unsweetened, loose leaf or in a tea bag?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 795 - Ordering Coffee and Tea

English Cafe #348

2012-05-30 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 33s

Topics: American Presidents: Ulysses S. Grant; James Beard and the James Beard Foundation Awards; limit versus border versus confine; sound; life-affirming

to surrender
to mar
to annex
catering company


Share: English Cafe #348

794 - Getting Over a Fight

2012-05-28 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

It’s better to forgive and forget after you’ve had a fight or argument with someone. Learn how to do it in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:08
Explanations: 2:44
Fast dialogue: 15:30

Alisa: Don’t be mad.

Sabir: I’m not mad.

Alisa: Yes, you are. I’m sorry. I admit it was my fault. Will you stop moping now?

Sabir: I’m not moping. I’m giving you the silent treatment.

Alisa: I knew it! You’re still peeved at me. What can I do to make it up to you?

Sabir: You can leave me alone.

Alisa: If I leave you alone to stew, you’ll replay the whole incident in your head and the next thing I know, you’ll hold a grudge against me. Won’t you just forgive me so we can move on?

Sabir: What you said wasn’t just a slight. It was an out-and-out insult.

Alisa: I know it was and I’m truly sorry. I’ll buy you lunch at your favorite restaurant to show you how contrite I am.

Sabir: And you won’t say it again?

Alisa: I promise I’ll never tell you again in front of your friends how much you look like Elvis – in his later years.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 794 - Getting Over a Fight

793 - Signing Professional Athletes

2012-05-25 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Professional athletes make a lot of money. Find out how to get one on your team in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:24
Explanations: 2:51
Fast dialogue: 16:11

Nick: I don’t care what it takes. I want Robinson on my team next year.

Jamie: He’ll be a free agent and he’ll be fielding a lot of offers. I don’t know if we can make him an attractive enough deal.

Nick: We’ll offer him a signing bonus. That should sweeten the deal.

Jamie: I’m afraid that may not be enough. Don’t forget that he was a first-round pick in the draft.

Nick: Then we’ll give him a no-trade clause. With that, he’ll be calling the shots and won’t have to worry about being traded to a team he doesn’t want to be on. He should be happy with that.

Jamie: I don’t know. His agent expects a lot of competing offers. We’ll have to pull out all the stops if we want to land him.

Nick: Then we’ll do it. We won’t be bested by any other team.

Jamie: Like last year.

Nick: Last year? Don’t remind me of last year!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 793 - Signing Professional Athletes

English Cafe #347

2012-05-23 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 31s

Topics: American Authors: Erle Stanley Gardner and the Perry Mason TV Series; Boys & Girls Clubs of America; who versus which versus that; It ain’t over till the fat lady sings; to go/be all in

pulp magazine
last resort
to enable
full potential
It ain’t over till the fat lady sings
to go/be all in


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792 - Business Zoning

2012-05-21 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 19s

Trying to start a new business but don’t know where to put your store or office? Learn all about zoning laws in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:03
Explanations: 3:21
Fast dialogue: 17:47

Sybil: Oh, this is it! This is the perfect location for our new store!

Leo: Sorry, but this space isn’t zoned for retail. It’s zoned for offices.

Sybil: But couldn’t we get the zoning commission to re-zone it?

Leo: That’s not an easy process. The city’s urban planners decided that this space would be best suited for offices. Changing their minds won't be easy.

Sybil: I’ve heard that a lot of new developments are being zoned for mixed-use. That’s all we need to do. We just need this building to be re-zoned for mixed-use. Then, we can use the space downstairs for commercial purposes and use the upstairs space for offices or even housing.

Leo: This area was zoned for industrial purposes over 30 years ago. It took 10 years for it to be re-zoned for offices. It may take another 10 years to get it re-zoned for commercial purposes. Do you think you can wait 10 years to open your store?

Sybil: No, I guess not. What if I rented this space for an office and then ran my store out of it?

Leo: You’ll never get a business license for your store if you do that. Each type of zoning has different ordinances and the inspector won’t be fooled.

Sybil: All right. I’ll look for another space, but nothing will live up to this one.

Leo: That’s the spirit!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 792 - Business Zoning

791 - Taking Photographs

2012-05-18 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 15s

Learn how to take your pictures in English in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:03
Explanations: 2:47
Fast dialogue: 13:49

Ryan: Stop mugging for the camera and stand still!

Katrina: I’ve been standing still for 10 minutes, while you’ve been setting up the shot. I have to do something. This is boring!

Ryan: I almost have the settings right. Okay, let’s try a shot. Say “cheese.”

Katrina: Cheese.

Ryan: Oh, you look washed out in that shot and it’s blurry. I think the flash came on when I didn’t want it to. You have red-eye, too. I’ll have to adjust the settings again.

Katrina: Hurry up!

Ryan: Okay, I think I’ve got it now. Get back into your pose. Lift your head a little to the side and face the sun…

Katrina: Take the picture!

Ryan: I just need to focus. There! Say “cheese” again.

Katrina: Cheese.

Ryan: Um, it’s still not perfect. Let me put the camera on a tripod. Try to stay still while I do that.

Katrina: I thought you wanted this shot to look like a candid.

Ryan: I do, but how am I supposed to make it look like a perfect candid if you keep moving out of your pose?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 791 - Taking Photographs

English Cafe #346

2012-05-16 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 33s

Topics: Ask an American: Innovation; pain versus sorrow versus woe; manhood; to be over someone versus to be all over someone

show and tell
to stumble across
to trigger
to kill
to undermine
to stimulate
to be over (someone)
to be all over (someone)


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790 - Giving Birth to Twins

2012-05-14 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 15s

It’s a boy! And a girl!! And another boy! And…well, you get the idea. Have lots of babies in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 0:54
Explanations: 2:19
Fast dialogue: 13:30

Jerome: Congratulations! I just heard that you’re pregnant with twins.

Paula: Thanks. We’re very excited, although I’m a little worried about a multiple birth.

Jerome: I come from a long line of multiple births. My father is an identical twin and he had cousins who are fraternal twins.

Paula: I see what you mean.

Jerome: That’s not even the half of it. My maternal grandmother gave birth to triplets and my aunt had quadruplets.

Paula: Wow, multiple births certainly run in your family. What about your immediate family?

Jerome: You’re not going to believe this, but my mother had octuplets. I have seven brothers and sisters the same age.

Paula: And all of you survived?

Jerome: Yup, every single one of us. We often joke that my mother didn’t have babies. She had a litter!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 790 - Giving Birth to Twins

789 - Taking Care of Pets

2012-05-11 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Teach your pet English with this episode, or at least learn how to talk about him.

Slow dialogue: 1:26
Explanations: 3:02
Fast dialogue: 15:40

Magda: Oooh, he’s so cute. When did you get him?

Tony: Yesterday. I’m training him to do tricks.

Magda: Really? Are you having any luck?

Tony: No, not yet. So far, he just lies there, but maybe he’s hungry and doesn’t have any energy to play. I’m going to feed him a few treats and give him some water in his bowl.

Magda: Uh, okay.

Tony: And then later, I’m going to take him for a walk. Here are the new collar and leash I bought for him. I’ll be sure to bring his carrier in case he gets too tired to walk.

Magda: Whatever you say. Are you sure you need to do all that?

Tony: Oh, sure. It’s important to keep pets healthy and happy, don’t you think? I’m going to groom him later. I wouldn’t want him to get fleas or ticks. Maybe I should take him to see the vet for a checkup.

Magda: I really don’t think that’ll be necessary. Tony, you do know that that’s a pet rock, right?

Tony: Yeah, what’s your point?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 789 - Taking Care of Pets

English Cafe #345

2012-05-09 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 34s

Topics: Famous Americans: Magic Johnson; the role of ham radio operators in the U.S.; understanding versus knowledge versus acquaintance; below the waist and below the belt; earth to (someone)

safe sex
to keep (something) in check
ham radio
to suspend
to rise to prominence
to wipe out
below the waist
below the belt
earth to (someone)


Share: English Cafe #345

788 - Being Conservative and Daring

2012-05-07 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Sometimes you have to take a risk to get what you want. Find out how in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:11
Explanations: 3:00
Fast dialogue: 15:33

Wendy: I really don’t think Monty is the right person for this project. He’s too conservative in his thinking. We need someone who’s a risk taker.

Burt: Monty will get the job done. That’s the most important thing.

Wendy: Not if the finished product is staid and boring. Our client won’t be happy with that.

Burt: Okay, who do you have in mind?

Wendy: I was thinking of giving the project to Lorenzo.

Burt: Lorenzo? Well, he certainly likes to push the envelope, but he’s also a loose cannon. Sometimes his ideas pan out and sometimes they fall flat.

Wendy: But Lorenzo is bold and daring. Did you see what he did on his last project? It was genius!

Burt: It was reckless. It was only through sheer luck that everything worked out. I know that Monty’s ideas are more conventional and low-key, but they’re also tried-and-true. But, in the end, it’s your call.

Wendy: In that case, I’m going with Lorenzo. I’m sure he’ll do a great job.

Burt: I hope so. I wouldn’t want us to end up with egg on our face.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 788 - Being Conservative and Daring

787 - Speaking to a Baby or Young Child

2012-05-04 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

If you want to speak to your baby in English, here are some phrases you might want to use.

Slow dialogue: 1:11
Explanations: 2:46
Fast dialogue: 15:07

My sister had to go out of town for a couple of days and I offered to look after her 18-month-old twins. It wasn’t long before I realized that I was over my head!

Colleen: Okay, you two, it’s time to go beddy-bye.

Baby: No!

Colleen: Yes, let’s get your jammies on. You can keep your binkie for now. Your blankie is already in your bed and it’s time to go night-night.

Baby: Potty!

Colleen: Okay, once you have your jammies on, we’ll go potty. What’s the matter, Mark?

Baby: Owie!

Colleen: You have an owie? Where? In your tummy? Oh, you have a boo-boo on your finger. No, don’t stick your wet finger in your brother’s ear. That’s icky. Wait one teensy-weensy minute and I’ll put a band-aid on it.

Baby: Whee!

Colleen: Michael, you can’t jump off the chair like that. That’s a no-no. Oopsie-daisy!

Baby: Waaaaa!

Michael had learned his lesson and so had I!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 787 - Speaking to a Baby or Young Child

English Cafe #344

2012-05-02 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 31s

Topics: American Playwrights: Tennessee Williams; how to become a real estate agent; thief versus burglar versus robber versus mugger; to sell someone a bill of goods; to hold up one’s end of a bargain; momentum

dysfunctional family
by far
adapted for the screen
most accomplished
to account for
real estate
to afford
real estate broker
background check
to sell someone a bill of goods
to hold up one’s end of a bargain


Share: English Cafe #344

786 - Going to a Bar

2012-04-30 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

Party on, people! Learn how to talk about going to a bar in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:02
Explanations: 2:53
Fast dialogue: 14:20

I’d been complaining to a coworker, Amy, about having to move to the burbs for my job. She said that there were plenty of things to do outside of the city and invited me to a bar she likes.

Amy: Hey, there you are.

Mykhailo: Hey, so this is the famous McQ’s you’ve been talking about.

Amy: This is it. What would you like to drink? They have several beers on tap and pretty good well drinks.

Mykhailo: I think I’ll get a couple of shots.

Amy: On a Wednesday night? You guys do party hard in the city.

Mykhailo: I’ve had a really rough week and I welcome any excuse to let my hair down. That said, I won’t be getting stinking drunk on a school night. You were right. This place is nice. It even has a dance floor.

Amy: On the weekends, there’s a live band or a DJ, although there’s also a cover charge on Fridays and Saturdays.

Mykhailo: So you do know how to party in the burbs.

Amy: Didn’t I tell you?

Mykhailo: But for me to get a thorough impression of the burbs, I’ll have to come here to check it out this weekend. What are you doing Saturday night?

Amy: Actually, I plan on coming here.

Mykhailo: Want some company?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 786 - Going to a Bar

785 - Consulting a Pharmacist

2012-04-27 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 19s

Learn how to ask for drugs at a pharmacy in English in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:12
Explanations: 3:33
Fast dialogue: 17:18

Pharmacist: Can I help you?

Sanaz: Yes, I had some questions for the pharmacist.

Pharmacist: I’m the pharmacist. How can I help you?

Sanaz: Can I fill these prescriptions here?

Pharmacist: Yes, you can. Just give those to the pharmacy technician and she’ll take care of you.

Sanaz: The reason I ask is that I’m hoping there’s a home remedy for my problems so I don’t have to pay for prescription medication.

Pharmacist: If you’ve already seen a doctor, then I would follow his or her instructions on what to do, including taking these medications.

Sanaz: All right, but I have some other problems.

Pharmacist: Like what?

Sanaz: I have a rash on my arm. See? Is there an over-the-counter medication I can use?

Pharmacist: That doesn’t look too serious. You can find medications for rashes on aisle three. I would recommend a cream made by McQ Pharmaceuticals. Use it for a few days and monitor it to see if it improves. If not, you may want to see your doctor about it.

Sanaz: Okay, thanks. I also have allergies.

Pharmacist: There are several drugstore medications for allergies.

Sanaz: I already take those. What I want to know is if there is something I can do about the headaches I get from the allergies?

Pharmacist: Pain relievers are on aisle four. Let me show you where they are.

Sanaz: Oh, thank you. On the way there, I’ll tell you about my other health problems. I need eye drops for my dry eyes, pills for my insomnia, something for my back pain...

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 785 - Consulting a Pharmacist

English Cafe #343

2012-04-25 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 34s

Topics: Famous Americans: Mary Tyler Moore; Famous Songs: "Dem Bones"; to straighten up versus to straighten out; (you’re) tripping; to get/fall into the groove

big break
to be cast
opening sequence
to rise
straighten up
straighten out
to get/fall into the groove


Share: English Cafe #343

784 - Socializing With Clients

2012-04-23 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Sometimes doing business can be fun, like when your company pays for your food and drinks. Learn more in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:18
Explanations: 2:38
Fast dialogue: 15:51

Georgia: Do you know what the best part is of my new promotion? The expense account! I can’t wait to wine and dine our clients.

Dan: The purpose of the expense account is to win over new clients and to keep our current clients happy. It’s not a personal slush fund, you know.

Georgia: I know. The point is to network and to build client relationships – blah-blah-blah.

Dan: Schmoozing is part of our job and it’s not something to be taken lightly.

Georgia: Of course not. But I’m looking forward to attending charity events to rub elbows with the business elite. Free food, free booze, and free entertainment. What more could I ask for?

Dan: Talk to me in three months after you’ve had a few too many plates of rubber chicken!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 784 - Socializing With Clients

783 - Different Political Philosophies

2012-04-20 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Whether you’re a capitalist, a socialist, or a communist, you will love this episode about political philosophies.

Slow dialogue: 1:20
Explanations: 3:26
Fast dialogue: 15:03

Carla: Our government should do more to help people who can’t find jobs.

Adam: Be careful. You’re starting to sound like a socialist. Haven’t you always said that you’re a staunch capitalist?

Carla: Of course, I’m a capitalist, but that doesn’t mean I think the government should be completely hands-off. We pay taxes and the government has a responsibility to take care of its citizens.

Adam: Ooo, now you’re sounding like a communist. Next thing I know, you’ll be calling for a revolution.

Carla: I’m serious. I think the government should help people find jobs and pay for their living expenses until they get back on their feet.

Adam: Okay, but in a capitalistic society, you’re subject to market forces. If people aren’t buying, businesses aren’t producing or providing services. That puts people out of work. Do you think the government should intervene?

Carla: I just think the government should do more, that’s all.

Adam: Okay, but that would mean higher taxes.

Carla: Yes, we should tax the rich, the more the better.

Adam: Aren’t you among the top 10 percent of income earners?

Carla: I mean they should tax the one percent!

Adam: Pass the buck, you mean.

Carla: No, I mean we need better distribution of wealth. Are you with me or against me?

Adam: That depends on when you’re planning to start the revolution, comrade.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 783 - Different Political Philosophies

English Cafe #342

2012-04-18 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 28s

Topics: Movie: Apocalypse Now; getting your child into a private school, K-12; relating to versus related to; down with (the king); to qualify

to be set in
to command
relating to
related to
down with
to qualify


Share: English Cafe #342

782 - Expressing Bitter Feelings

2012-04-16 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 14s

Sometimes the person you love is the person you hate. Learn how things get that way in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:10
Explanations: 3:01
Fast dialogue: 13:03

Laurent: I’m done with women! They’re liars and manipulators.

Julie: Let me guess. You’ve had a bad breakup?

Laurent: It wasn’t just bad. It was monumentally awful. I’m never going to date again.

Julie: You’re just feeling bitter right now, but you’ll get over it. You won’t always feel so jaded. Wait a second. Did you break up with Brittany?

Laurent: Yeah, I’ve told you about her before.

Julie: I remember. Don’t you guys have an on-again, off-again relationship? I mean haven’t you guys broken up before?

Laurent: Yeah, but this was the absolute end. We’re not getting back together.

Julie: But didn’t you say that three months ago? Maybe there’s still a chance for reconciliation.

Laurent: Absolutely not! Brittany walked all over me and didn’t care one iota about my feelings. I’ll never talk to her again. As far as I’m concerned, she’s persona non grata!

[Phone rings]

Julie: Hello. Oh hi, Brittany. Yes, he’s here. It’s Brittany and she wants to talk to you. Do you want to talk to her?

Laurent: Yes...no...yes! Oh, give me that phone!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 782 - Expressing Bitter Feelings

781 - Filming a TV Show or Movie

2012-04-13 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Making movies, like making sausages, isn’t always a pretty sight. Learn how we do it in Hollywood in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:03
Explanations: 2:35
Fast dialogue: 15:25

Martin: Okay, quiet on the set! What are the extras doing over there? They’re not in the scene.

Stephanie: Sorry, I’ll get them off the set. Is this the lighting you wanted for this scene? If not, I can tell the lighting crew.

Martin: The lighting is fine, but this staging is all wrong. And can somebody turn off those sound effects? We’re not using them in this scene.

Stephanie: I’ll get right on that.

Martin: Where is the cast?

Stephanie: They’re on break because they thought we wouldn’t resume shooting until two o'clock.

Martin: That’s great! I have no cast, the sets are all wrong, I have extras milling around where they shouldn’t be, and where is my script?

Stephanie: It’s right here on your chair. Are you sure you don’t want to call it a day and start again in the morning?

Martin: I wish I had that luxury. Time is money and we’re already way over budget. I’ll be lucky if I still have the shirt on my back when this production is over!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 781 - Filming a TV Show or Movie

English Cafe #341

2012-04-11 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 30s

Topics: Ask an American: Historic court case on gender equal rights; incident versus accident; to throw good money after bad; adding shm- before another word

to have faith in
to right the wrong
trial court
appeals court
Supreme Court
in the wake of
to throw good money after bad


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780 - Being Sued

2012-04-09 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

The world is full of lawyers, and they need something to do with their time. Learn what happens when they sue you in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:21
Explanations: 3:33
Fast dialogue: 16:15

Ally: Hello, Ally McNeal.

Jerry: Ally, this is Jerry Mason. I need to talk to you right away. We’re being sued and we’ve just been served. This is one of those times I wish we had in-house counsel.

Ally: Jerry, you know that our firm will do its best to represent you, as we’ve done in the past. You can count on me and all of the attorneys in this office. How about if I come to your office this afternoon and we can discuss it?

Jerry: Okay, that’s great.

Ally: In the meantime, can you give me a brief rundown?

Jerry: Yeah, we’re being sued for negligence. In fact, it’s a class action suit against our company

Ally: All right. Can you fax or email me the papers so I can see what they’re alleging?

Jerry: Yes, I can do that. We really need your help with this, Ally. A lawsuit like this could ruin a company like ours.

Ally: Don’t panic. We’ll take a look at it and see if there’s any merit in the case. It might just be a frivolous lawsuit.

Jerry: If they have a case, you’ll have to find a loophole to get us out of this, or negotiate a settlement. The last thing I want is to go to court.

Ally: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’ll discuss it this afternoon. And Jerry?

Jerry: Yeah?

Ally: In the meantime, try to lay off the coffee.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 780 - Being Sued

779 - Giving CPR

2012-04-06 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

It’s good to know what do in in case of a medical emergency, like when someone has a heart attack or stops breathing. Learn more about it in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:13
Explanations: 2:39
Fast dialogue: 14:48

Joyce: Lie down on the floor.

Steve: Why?

Joyce: I have to practice for my CPR exam tomorrow. I’m taking it so I can get my CPR certification. Lie down please.

Steve: Okay, okay. Now what do I do?

Joyce: You just lie there and pretend to be unresponsive, like you’re in cardiac arrest. Okay, I need to determine your heart rate and if you’re breathing or not. Then, I check to see that your airway isn’t blocked.

Steve: Hey, get your fingers out of my mouth!

Joyce: Lie still! You’re lucky I don’t have to administer artificial respiration.

Steve: Thank God for small favors!

Joyce: But I do need to practice restoring your circulation by doing chest compressions.

Steve: Ouch, that hurts!

Joyce: You’re supposed to be unresponsive, remember? Hold still while I get the defibrillator.

Steve: Oh, no, you don’t! From now on, as far as you’re concerned, I'm a case of do not resuscitate!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 779 - Giving CPR

English Cafe #340

2012-04-04 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 29s

Topics: Rodney King Trial and the 1992 Riots; Dick Tracy detective stories; third world; from versus out of; to pull (oneself) together versus to get a hold of (oneself)

to beat
excessive force
to acquit
third world
out of
to pull (oneself) together/to get a hold of (oneself)


Share: English Cafe #340

778 - Getting Your Pocket Picked

2012-04-02 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

Be careful of thieves and robbers when you are in a busy place. Learn more in this episode about how not to get your wallet stolen.

Slow dialogue: 1:18
Explanations: 2:45
Fast dialogue: 15:00

Lenny: Wait a second. Where's my wallet?

Anita: It’s not in your back pocket?

Lenny: No, it’s in none of my pockets. My pocket’s been picked!

Anita: It must have happened when our attention was diverted by those boys fighting over there.

Lenny: I should have been paying more attention in a busy market like this. I felt someone bump me from behind, but it never occurred to me that someone could be lifting my wallet.

Anita: I’ve been clutching my purse, worried about purse-snatchers. I never thought anyone would be able to pick your pocket.

Lenny: Me, neither. I don’t know how I’m going to live this down. When the boys hear about this…

Anita: Come on, we’d better go file a police report. You never know. Maybe your wallet will turn up.

Lenny: Fat chance of that happening. This is really embarrassing…

Anita: Stop stalling. If there’s one thing I’ve learned after being a cop’s wife for 15 years is that you’ve got to face the music.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 778 - Getting Your Pocket Picked

777 - Supplies for Outdoor Recreation

2012-03-30 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 15s

Going for a long hike? Be sure to bring the right things with you. Learn how to talk about them in English in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:20
Explanations: 3:05
Fast dialogue: 14:04

Jim: I shouldn't have let my brother pack my supplies for this trip. I was running late and he offered to do it.

Fumiko: What's the problem?

Jim: He doesn't know the first thing about hiking or camping. Look at this! My backpack is filled with bottles of water!

Fumiko: What's wrong with that?

Jim: He should have just packed me a water filter, instead of all these heavy bottles to lug around. And he forgot some of the most important supplies, like bug spray and a flashlight.

Fumiko: You're welcome to borrow any of our supplies. Here's some bug spray. Do you need matches?

Jim: Yeah, I do. My brother packed matches, but not in a waterproof bag. One of the bottles of water leaked and got them all wet. At least my tent and cook stove were spared.

Fumiko: Maybe your brother is telling you something.

Jim: What?

Fumiko: Maybe he wants to be included in your camping trips. Then, he'll learn what to do and what to bring.

Jim: You might have something there.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 777 - Supplies for Outdoor Recreation

English Cafe #339

2012-03-28 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 29s

Topics: American Presidents: Herbert Hoover; knock-knock jokes; awful versus terrible versus terrific; initials in nicknames; that ship has sailed

Great Depression
to backfire
relief effort
to memorialize
punch line
to bear with (someone)
that ship has sailed


Share: English Cafe #339

776 - Getting Praise and Recognition

2012-03-26 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 14s

I have not come to praise this episode, but to tell you about it. Learn all about recognitions and honors, then tell everyone how great it is!

Slow dialogue: 1:10
Explanations: 2:28
Fast dialogue: 13:26

Rene: Hey, look who's here. It's the company's golden boy.

Bruno: Very funny.

Rene: I'm not joking. First, you're recognized at the annual meeting for your work in the company, and then you get a commendation from the city for your volunteer work. I'm basking in your reflected glory.

Bruno: I didn't ask for either honor, as you well know. I'm not a glory hound.

Rene: Yes, and that's what makes it even more galling. You don't have to go seeking your glory; it comes to you.

Bruno: Knock it off! I like praise as much as the next guy, but I'd rather not be in the limelight.

Rene: I know. You're exceptional and you're modest about it. You're the perfect guy. You leave us mere mortals in the dust.

Bruno: I'm leaving. I know you love giving me a hard time, but remember this: I give as good as I get – and I have a long memory!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 776 - Getting Praise and Recognition

775 - Making Repairs on the Outside of a House

2012-03-23 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

Things fall apart, especially on an old house. Learn how to fix them on this episode.

Slow dialogue: 0:57
Explanations: 2:26
Fast dialogue: 14:31

Maggie: Watch out! Are you okay?

Conrad: I'm fine, but I almost tripped over that crack in the driveway. We've got to get that fixed.

Maggie: I know it's a hazard, but first things first. We should fix those broken front steps, don't you think?

Conrad: I see what you mean.

Maggie: And we have to repair that part of the fence that's falling down. See? If it leans any more, we won't be able to open the gate.

Conrad: Oh, I didn't realize the fence was falling down. Yes, you're right, we should take care of those things first.

Maggie: And the porch light is out. I'm not sure if we just need to replace the bulb, or if it's an electrical issue.

Conrad: I didn't realize the outside of the house was in such disrepair. I've been traveling too much for work.

Maggie: I admit I've been putting off the repairs, too.

Conrad: All right, I know what we'll be doing this weekend – all weekend!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 775 - Making Repairs on the Outside of a House

English Cafe #338

2012-03-21 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 34s

Topics: Famous Americans: Ansel Adams; Ben & Jerry's; to find out versus to figure out versus to seek; "too" constructions; dummy versus idiot

from that point on
to develop
gift shop
correspondence course
ice cream parlor
to sell out
to find out
to figure out
to seek


Share: English Cafe #338

774 - Describing Height and Build

2012-03-19 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Learn how to describe someone's height and weight in English in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:19
Explanations: 3:05
Fast dialogue: 15:31

Gwen: Do you see that heavyset guy over there, the one towering over everyone else?

Denzel: Yeah, what about him?

Gwen: He's my ex-boyfriend. I haven't seen him in years. When I knew him he was really skinny. He's really put on a few pounds. It's amazing what a few years can do.

Denzel: None of us are as svelte as we used to be.

Gwen: That's true enough. I'm not as petite as I used to be, that's for sure.

Denzel: How come you've never mentioned this ex-boyfriend before?

Gwen: Oh, I'd almost forgotten about him. Oh, no. I hope that guy over there didn't see me.

Denzel: Who? That short, stocky guy?

Gwen: No, the average height guy who's walking this way. He's another one of my exes. I'd hoped never to see him again.

Denzel: It was a bad breakup?

Gwen: Right. Let's head toward the door.

Denzel: Why hadn't you mentioned him before?

Gwen: I thought I had. There have been so many...

Denzel: Don't look now, but your ex is also headed toward the door.

Gwen: Which one?

Denzel: The tall medium build guy walking next to you!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 774 - Describing Height and Build

773 - Dealing With Debt

2012-03-16 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 19s

Neither a borrower nor a lender be, Shakespeare said. Ah, but he never had a credit card! Learn how to talk about debt in English in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:37
Explanations: 3:40
Fast dialogue: 18:03

Kristin: Let’s go shopping!

Ed: Wait a second. What are all these?

Kristin: They’re bills, but they don’t have to be paid yet. Don’t worry. Let’s go! There’s a new pair of shoes with my name on it.

Ed: Hold on a minute. This is a notice saying that you’re behind on your house payments and if you don’t pay soon, your house will go into foreclosure.

Kristin: Oh, they’re just bluffing. I’m only a little behind in my payments. I’ll get to it next week.

Ed: And this is a notice from your bank telling you that your car is being repossessed because you haven’t made a car payment in three months. Is that true?

Kristin: I refuse to look at anything as boring as a bill today.

Ed: And these are from the power company and the phone company. They’re going to cut off your services if you don’t pay now.

Kristin: If I could just charge those payments, I’d be okay.

Ed: Not with these credit cards. You’re maxed out. I’m surprised you haven’t heard from collection agencies already.

Kristin: Maybe I have. They can hound me all they want, but I’m not that behind on my payments. I’m tired of waiting. I’m going shopping with or without you.

Ed: You’re on your own. I refuse to help you toward your financial ruin!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 773 - Dealing With Debt

English Cafe #337

2012-03-14 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 33s

Topics: Famous Authors: Stan and Jan Berenstain and the Berenstain Bears; getting married; to stand for versus to refer to (as); the past simple and the present perfect tenses; especially

to backfire
civil ceremony
to ordain
to propose
to elope
to stand for
to refer to as
to refer to


Share: English Cafe #337

772 - Types of People at Work

2012-03-12 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

How would you describe the people you work with? Learn how to do it in English in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:06
Explanations: 2:51
Fast dialogue: 15:16

Raul: Thanks for showing me around on my first day.

Ursula: It’s no problem. I want to give you the lay of the land and tell you about the people you’ll be working with. For instance, that’s Julie over there. She’s really nice, but she’s also a perfectionist. If you ever work with her, remember that she’s a stickler about everything.

Raul: Okay, I’ll remember that.

Ursula: And Phil over there? He’s a slacker and a troublemaker. Stay away from him, far, far away.

Raul: Thanks for the warning.

Ursula: And that’s Luis. You’ll be working under him. He’s a slave driver and a workaholic, and he expects everybody else to be one, too.

Raul: That doesn’t sound good.

Ursula: Don’t sweat it. Standing next to Luis is Gil. He’s a yes-man and very, very ambitious, almost ruthless. Don’t get in Gil’s way.

Raul: Okay, I won’t. Thanks for showing me around. By the way, who’s the office gossip?

Ursula: Oh, we don’t have one of those around here.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 772 - Types of People at Work

771 - Commuting by Train

2012-03-09 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 14s

Take the last train to Los Angeles and I’ll meet you at the station. But first, learn how to get to work and back on a train in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:13
Explanations: 3:15
Fast dialogue: 12:36

Lisa: Can you tell me if this is the right platform for the train to Arlington?

Omar: Yes, it is. Is this your first time taking the train?

Lisa: Is it that obvious?

Omar: No, you just look a little lost.

Lisa: I’m starting a new job and I have to commute to work for the first time.

Omar: Oh, I see. Did you buy a ticket at the ticket machine?

Lisa: Yes, I did, when I entered the station. I hope I bought the right one.

Omar: Let me see. Yes, that’s the right one. The good news is that I haven’t heard any announcements about the train being delayed, like it has been a couple of times this week, so it should be on time.

Lisa: I’m relieved to hear that. I can’t afford to be late to work on my first day. Will I need to show this ticket to get on the train?

Omar: Not when you get on. After the train is under way, the conductor will walk down the aisle to collect it.

Lisa: Oh, I see, thanks. That sounds simple.

Omar: It is simple if you can actually find a seat. It can be pretty crowded on these commuter trains. Sometimes it’s standing room only.

Lisa: Let’s hope for the best.

Omar: Stick with me. I’ll elbow a few people out of the way to get you a seat.

Lisa: [laughs] Thanks, I think.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 771 - Commuting by Train

English Cafe #336

2012-03-07 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 30s

Topics: Ask an American: Self-publishing; intrinsic versus native versus innate versus congenital; recently versus currently; soccer

to reject
to fulfill
fraught with
editorial support


Share: English Cafe #336

770 - Joining a Tour

2012-03-05 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 15s

Let’s go on vacation with a bunch of people we don’t know and may not like! Find out about taking a tour in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:05
Explanations: 2:52
Fast dialogue: 14:05

Darrel: What are you looking at?

Alice: Tours for our vacation. I was thinking that it’d be hard for us to get around on our own, so I think joining a tour is a good idea.

Darrel: Really? I thought we’d make our way around leisurely to see the sites. I don’t like the fast pace of tours. I’d rather have the time to take in each site, not rush through it just to say I’ve been there.

Alice: Tours come in all shapes and sizes. I’m sure we can find one that isn’t too fast-paced or strenuous for you.

Darrel: And I don’t want to eat all my meals with the tour group. I want some time to explore on our own.

Alice: All right, I’m looking at a tour that has the perfect itinerary. It’s also gotten rave reviews. It includes a tour guide, all admission fees, accommodations, ground transportation, and most of the meals. And there are several free mornings and afternoons built-in so we can explore on our own.

Darrel: I don’t know.

Alice: The alternative is for you to plan each stop of our trip.

Darrel: A tour is sounding better and better.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 770 - Joining a Tour

769 - Trying Unusual Foods

2012-03-02 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 14s

Free your mind, and your mouth will follow. Try some unusual foods in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:04
Explanations: 2:25
Fast dialog: 13:08

Antonio: What is that smell?! It stinks!

Candace: This is a dish my roommate taught me to make. It’s really good. Want a bite?

Antonio: You’ve got to be kidding me! You actually eat that? You can stomach something that smells that foul?

Candace: Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. I admit that it’s an acquired taste, but once you develop a taste for it, you’ll not only like it, you’ll crave it like I do.

Antonio: I would never crave something that unappetizing. You’ve gone over the edge. I’ve always known you were weird, but this takes the cake.

Candace: You need to open your mind to new culinary experiences. You need to wake up your taste buds. Your palate will thank you for it. If you try it, you might like it.

Antonio: If I try it, I may puke!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 769 - Trying Unusual Foods

English Cafe #335

2012-02-29 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 30s

Topics: Spy trials of the 40s/50s: Alger Hiss & Julius and Ethel Rosenberg; Johnny Appleseed; feeling versus emotion; expression versus term; drop dead

to denounce
statute of limitations
cause célèbre
to say grace
to drop dead


Share: English Cafe #335

768 - Negotiating Price

2012-02-27 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Everyone wants to buy low and sell high. Find out about negotiating prices in English in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:11
Explanations: 3:14
Fast dialogue: 16:34

Justin: Hello.

Rachel: Hi, Justin. It’s Rachel from McQ Corp.

Justin: Oh hi, Rachel. Did you get our bid for the job?

Rachel: Yes, we did. We like your proposal, but we still need to come to terms on the price.

Justin: We’ve already given you our rock-bottom price because we want to get this job, but we always try to be flexible.

Rachel: Good. Could you do better on what you’ve quoted us for labor? The price seemed a little high.

Justin: We might be able to trim a little off of that. How about if we discount that by 10 percent?

Rachel: That’s an attractive offer, but we were hoping for 20 percent.

Justin: You’re driving a hard bargain. We have certain fixed costs, you know.

Rachel: I do and that’s why I’m only asking about labor costs. Can you meet me halfway at 15 percent?

Justin: I think that might be doable, if that’s the only stumbling block to us getting the job.

Rachel: I can’t make any promises, but I’ll do my best.

Justin: That’s all I can ask. I’ll send you over a revised bid.

Rachel: Great. I hope to have good news for you next week.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 768 - Negotiating Price

767 - Taking Care of Your Teeth

2012-02-24 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Ignore your teeth, and they’ll go away. Find out how to keep your dental bills down by listening to this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:20
Explanations: 3:17
Fast dialogue: 16:10

Martha: Oh, I have a toothache!

George: It sounds like you’re in for a visit to the dentist.

Martha: That would be the last resort. I hate going to the dentist. I don’t like needles and the sound of the drill scares me to death. I’m hoping the toothache will just go away.

George: You really should get that checked out. Do you want me to make an appointment for you with my dentist?

Martha: No, thanks. I haven’t seen a dentist in years and I don’t plan to now unless I have no choice.

George: Years?! You haven’t been to a dentist in years? Haven’t you ever heard of preventive care? You’re supposed to get a dental cleaning twice a year.

Martha: I don’t follow doctor and dentist guidelines like that. I brush my teeth every day. That’s good enough.

George: No, it’s not. You should be flossing every day and rinsing your mouth with mouthwash to keep your teeth and gums healthy. If you haven’t been to the dentist in years, I’m not surprised you didn’t know that.

Martha: Stop preaching! I’ll go to the dentist when I need to.

George: Like now.

Martha: Maybe. It doesn’t hurt that much anymore...

George: I never knew you were such a chicken.

Martha: [makes a chicken noise] Bwauk, bwauk...!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 767 - Taking Care of Your Teeth

English Cafe #334

2012-02-22 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 29s

Topics: Grand Teton National Park; Famous Songs: "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain"; congratulations versus thanks versus kudos; literally; to take the time

to come around
second coming
to take (the) time


Share: English Cafe #334

766 - Describing Shapes and Sizes

2012-02-20 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Looking to change the look of your living room? Find out what not to do in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:14
Explanations: 3:16
Fast dialogue: 16:19

Carson: Your apartment is going to look fabulous once I’m finished decorating it!

Brooke: I really appreciate you taking the time to help me choose some furniture, but I’d really like to keep the look conservative and traditional.

Carson: Nonsense! You have a fabulous new apartment and I’m going to help you make the most of it. Look at that oval mirror. It’ll look fantastic in your hall.

Brooke: That mirror is gigantic! I don’t think I want anything that size. How about this rectangular one?

Carson: That’s too puny for that space. Oh, look at this triangular bookcase. It would really complement the fireplace in the den.

Brooke: I don’t think that bookcase is very functional. The shelves are so narrow and it’s an odd shape. It really looks nice, but I need furniture that I can actually use. I like this one better.

Carson: How boring! You need something that makes a statement. How about this chair? It’s fabulous!

Brooke: It’s a humongous circle on the floor with a cushion on top of it. I don’t think anyone would ever sit on it.

Carson: Yes, but in design, you have to consider form before function.

Brooke: That’s where we differ. I actually have to live in this apartment, remember?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 766 - Describing Shapes and Sizes

765 - Annulling a Marriage

2012-02-17 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Marriage is forever, except when it isn’t a marriage at all. Learn how to get unmarried in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:05
Explanations: 2:51
Fast dialogue: 16:41

Courtney: Did you hear? Kate and Christopher are trying to annul their marriage.

Ray: What?! They’ve only been married for two months! What brought this on?

Courtney: I have no idea. Neither of them is underage or bigamists and they married of their own free will, so I don’t know how they can ask for an annulment.

Ray: I’ve heard that you can get an annulment if there’s some kind of fraud. Maybe they’re asking for the annulment on those grounds.

Courtney: Maybe. I wish I knew more. Ooh, could they be related by blood and didn’t know it? It’s sounding more and more like a soap opera.

Ray: I suppose we shouldn’t speculate. It’s sad when any marriage ends, even if it only lasted two months. Something must be really, really wrong.

Courtney: Or else...

Ray: Or else, what?

Courtney: Or else, Christopher finally figured out what a witch Kate is.

Ray: Oh, somebody’s a little catty today. Do I detect some jealousy here?

Courtney: Me? Jealous of Kate? Forget it! I’ve known her for years and I just wouldn’t wish her on my worst enemy!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 765 - Annulling a Marriage

English Cafe #333

2012-02-15 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 30s

Topics: Movie: Star Wars; the Security and Exchange Commission; shame versus pity; reading numbers aloud; to be left cold

outer space
to harness
box office
to be left cold


Share: English Cafe #333

764 - Being Unsure and Unready

2012-02-13 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

Are you always prepared? If not, listen to this episode to learn how to explain to your boss why you haven’t finished your work yet.

Slow dialogue: 1:11
Explanations: 2:57
Fast dialogue: 14:35

Aida: When our bigwigs from the Cleveland office arrive next week, I think we’ll have a lot to show them.

Dale: I wouldn’t be so sure about that. Giselle told me yesterday that it’s a toss up whether she’ll finish the program she’s working on by next week, but don’t quote me on that.

Aida: I thought she was already done with it.

Dale: I think that she’s still tinkering with it because she isn’t 100 percent sure she’s worked out all of the bugs.

Aida: All right. I hope she gets a move on and fast. I’ll still have Joe’s prototype to show them, right?

Dale: Well, the last time I spoke with Joe, he said that the prototype is still a work in progress. Whether it’ll actually work is iffy, at best.

Aida: Are you trying to tell me that we’re not ready for this visit at all?

Dale: I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I wouldn’t count on having much to show them, sorry.

Aida: Then, what am I supposed to do when they want to see the progress on our work?

Dale: I suggest some fast-talking and fancy tap dancing!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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763 - Dealing with an Apartment Super

2012-02-10 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Renting an apartment can be so much fun when something stops working! Learn how to talk about getting things fixed in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:14
Explanations: 3:12
Fast dialogue: 15:17

George: Did you call the super about fixing the leaky faucet?

Louise: I called him on Monday, but I haven’t heard back yet.

George: Well, call him again. This window is stuck and it won’t close.

Louise: I’ll call him, but I think he’s avoiding our calls.

George: He’s the worst super we’ve ever had. He’s in charge of the maintenance around this place, but instead, he hides out in his apartment. Whenever there’s a problem, he tells us he’s too busy to get to it right away. Too busy doing what, I’d like to know.

Louise: Maybe he is overworked. There are 25 units in this building, so it’s conceivable that he’s busy making repairs – somewhere.

George: That’s what he’s counting on, people like you who give him the benefit of the doubt. All the while he’s drinking coffee and reading the newspaper somewhere. Mark my words.

Louise: I’ll call him again. Maybe we’ll catch him in his apartment.

George: Save your energies.

Louise: Where are you going and what are you doing with that baseball bat?

George: I’m going to track down that super and bring him back here. Come hell or high water, he’s making those repairs – today!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 763 - Dealing with an Apartment Super

English Cafe #332

2012-02-08 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 31s

Topics: Famous Americans: Michael Jordan; the Quakers; tag questions; the derivation of “okay”; to learn versus to study

slam dunk
to leap
to be inducted
to endorse
to be traced back to
to persecute
to swear
to generalize
okay / ok
to learn
to study


Share: English Cafe #332

762 - Eating a Family Dinner

2012-02-06 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Join the fun at a big family dinner in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:04
Explanations: 3:16
Fast dialogue: 16:24

My roommate, Jim, invited me over to his house for a family meal. I’m an only child, so I’m not used to a big family dinner. I felt like a fish out of water.

Jim’s mother: Sit down, everybody. Dinner’s ready.

Phil: Thank you for having me over, Mrs. Moreno.

Jim’s mother: Don’t mention it. Just sit down and eat. Jim, pass the potatoes, and Dana, don’t hog the peas. Hand them both to Phil.

Phil: Thank you, Mrs. Moreno, but I’ve already taken a helping of each dish.

Jim’s mother: Then you need to have seconds. You’re too skinny. Eat up!

Phil: This food is really good, but I don’t think I have the appetite for more. My plate is already overloaded.

Jim’s mother: All right, no more potatoes or peas, but you need more ham. Laura, serve Phil some more ham, and Jason, round up some more rolls.

Phil: No, no, please. I really couldn’t eat more than what’s already on my plate.

Jim’s mother: Don’t be ridiculous. I know you’re saving room for dessert. There’s an apple pie, a strawberry shortcake, a cheesecake, and some ice cream.

I now know why Jim only comes home for meals every once in a while. Eating like this more than once a week would give anybody a coronary!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 762 - Eating a Family Dinner

761 - Animals in a Zoo

2012-02-03 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Are zoos are a good idea or a bad one? Don’t feed the animals while you listen to this episode trying to answer that question.

Slow dialogue: 0:59
Explanations: 2:39
Fast dialogue: 16:18

Deborah: I can’t wait to see the elephants at the zoo. I wish I could see them in their natural habitat, but a zoo is the next best thing.

Zach: I don’t want to go to a place where animals are kept in captivity. How would you like it if you were locked in a cage and gawked at all day?

Deborah: The animals in zoos are lucky. They have a nice, safe place to live away from predators, and their handlers make sure they never go hungry. Zoos preserve endangered species.

Zach: If you think it’s so nice living in zoos, I’d like to see you switch places with a lion or a monkey for a month and see how you like it.

Deborah: Animals aren’t people. They don’t have the same wants and needs.

Zach: That’s what you think. One day, the animals aren’t going to take it anymore. They’ll rise up and break their shackles.

Deborah: And will you be their ringleader?

Zach: No, I’ll be their cheering section. It’s about time animals get some respect.

Deborah: Have you seen Planet of the Apes?! I’ll reserve a cage for you!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 761 - Animals in a Zoo

English Cafe #331

2012-02-01 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 34s

Topics: Ask an American: Online money management; don’t worry versus don’t bother; not only; to move/get past a feeling; pronouncing wool versus wall

to calculate
to allocate
to withdraw
to accrue interest
personal finances
to pay off
to partner
don’t worry
don’t bother
not only
to move/get past a feeling


Share: English Cafe #331

760 - Paycheck Deductions

2012-01-30 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 19s

The only two things we can be certain of in this life are death and taxes. Learn about one of them in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:11
Explanations: 3:12
Fast dialogue: 17:32

Bill: It’s about time! I’ve been waiting for my first paycheck and now it’s finally here. I’m ready to party this weekend! Whoa!

Carol: What’s the matter?

Bill: What happened to all my money? The amount of this check is a lot less than I expected it to be.

Carol: Yeah, my first paycheck was an eye-opener for me, too. Look at the pay stub and you’ll see all of the deductions. After federal income taxes, state income taxes, and FICA, you’re not left with a lot of money.

Bill: You’re right, but what’s FICA?

Carol: Those are taxes for Social Security and Medicare. Did you sign up for a retirement plan? If you did, those retirement contributions are deducted, too.

Bill: Thank God, I didn’t. But you know what? That still doesn’t account for all of the deductions.

Carol: Let me take a look. Oh, it looks like your wages are being garnished.

Bill: They’re garnishing my wages? What for?

Carol: Uh, do you have to pay child support or something like that?

Bill: Oh, yeah, I guess I do. I’d forgotten about that. I guess I’d better change my weekend plans.

Carol: I guess so.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 760 - Paycheck Deductions

759 - Worrying About Your Children

2012-01-27 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Will your children grow up to be responsible adults or the kind of people you don’t want living next to you? Learn how to worry about this and more in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:01
Explanations: 3:05
Fast dialogue: 16:10

Pavel: I’m really worried about Hanna. She’s been hanging around with that girl Carla, and Carla runs with the wrong crowd.

Hillary: Hanna is rebelling a little. That’s natural at her age. When I was her age, I thought I knew more than my parents or any adult, and that I should be able to make all of my own decisions.

Pavel: I’m not talking about being stricter on her, but she’s become so secretive. I’m really worried that she might get exposed to things that should be off-limits at her age.

Hillary: There’s no way we can keep her from seeing her friends short of locking her in her room. We have to trust her and let her come to us if she runs into problems. We raised her right and she can handle herself.

Pavel: I wish I had your confidence. She’s a girl, remember? All kinds of things can happen to girls.

Hillary: We’ve talked to her a lot about those things and what we feel are right and wrong. A lot of things can happen to boys, too, or don’t you remember? Hanna takes after you and she has your brains and resourcefulness. Like father, like daughter, so stop worrying so much,

Pavel: Do you really think she’ll be okay?

Hillary: Yes, I do. Take comfort in knowing that she’s just exactly like you. When she has a daughter of her own, she’ll stay up nights worrying, just like you.

Pavel: That’s small comfort!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 759 - Worrying About Your Children

English Cafe #330

2012-01-25 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 27s

Topics: American Authors: Toni Morrison; Homeboy/Homegirl Industries and Father Greg Boyle; screw versus bolt versus nut; to kidnap versus to abduct; to sharpen (one’s) axe

African American experience
to long
social convention
gang intervention
domestic violence
to kidnap
to abduct
to sharpen (one’s) axe


Share: English Cafe #330

758 - Showing Off a New Purchase

2012-01-23 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

If you’ve got it, you might as well let everyone see it. That’s the philosophy of the people in this dialogue, but you can decide whether you agree or not.

Slow dialogue: 1:08
Explanations: 2:51
Fast dialogue: 15:58

Monica: Wow, check you out! When did you buy a new car?

Kevin: This isn’t just any new car. It’s a Ferrari.

Monica: I can see that. It must have set you back a few.

Kevin: Yeah, but it was worth it. You should see the looks I get riding around in this baby. My brother is green with envy.

Monica: Then you’ve been showing it off around town.

Kevin: No, I’ve just been showing it off to a few friends and family members. There’s no sense owning a fine machine like this and not bragging a little, right?

Monica: Especially since your brother has been gloating about his new boat, you mean.

Kevin: There is that. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I think a new Ferrari trumps a measly new boat, don’t you?

Monica: Do you and your brother always whip it out like this?

Kevin: Like what? I’m just sharing my new toy with my brother. I’m sure he’s just as happy for me as I was for him when he bought his new boat.

Monica: Truer words were never spoken.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 758 - Showing Off a New Purchase

757 - Getting Political Support

2012-01-20 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Politicians don’t get their money for nothing or their votes for free. Learn all about the world of getting political support in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:21
Explanations: 2:55
Fast dialogue: 16:14

Helen: Okay, your schedule today is very busy. First, you’re meeting with a group of constituents concerned about the environment. Then, you’re speaking to a group of factory workers. At noon, you’ll be having lunch with a group of high-power donors.

Mikhail: When I signed on as a candidate, I had no idea I’d have to pander to every group out there to gain their support.

Helen: Don’t think of it as pandering. Think of it as rallying the troops. People in this state need a leader and you’re their great white hope.

Mikhail: I decided to run because I wanted to be a voice of reason in the partisan bickering. I didn’t sign on to be a poster boy for my political party.

Helen: You can make a difference when you get elected, but first things first: you need to get elected. Ready to go?

Mikhail: What happened to the good old days when all you had to do was a little gerrymandering to get elected?

Helen: I’m glad you brought that up. Your meeting with the committee on redistricting is this afternoon at 2:00.

Mikhail: I’m sorry I asked!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 757 - Getting Political Support

English Cafe #329

2012-01-18 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 33s

Topics: American Presidents: Jimmy Carter; The Lost Ship of the Desert Legend; phrases used to ask for status updates; to start off for; likely versus probable

name recognition
to be taken hostage
to start off for


Share: English Cafe #329

756 - Holding Structured and Unstructured Meetings

2012-01-16 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

Success in business isn’t always about following the rules. Learn how to have a more open, informal meeting by listening to this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:15
Explanations: 3:16
Fast dialogue: 14:20

Diego: Okay, why don’t you brief me on what you’ve planned for the meeting tomorrow?

Maya: Sure. At the meeting of the managers tomorrow, we’ll begin with introductions. Since you’re the most senior manager, the job falls to you.

Diego: I don’t think we need to stand on ceremony. Have Alexi do the introductions.

Maya: All right. Then, we’ll follow the agenda and discuss each item of business. I have you down to lead the discussions.

Diego: I don’t think we need the meeting to be so structured. If we follow the agenda point-by-point, we’ll never find out what’s really on the minds of the managers, what issues they think are of paramount importance. I think I’ll open the floor to anyone who wants to raise an issue.

Maya: Wouldn’t that turn into a free for all? I’m not sure we’ll get much accomplished.

Diego: Sometimes, it’s not as important to accomplish something as it is to take the pulse of the group. If we want to know what issues are on the managers’ minds, we first need to let the managers speak freely. Agreed?

Maya: Uh, sure. You’re the boss. Should I also cancel the lunch I’ve ordered so you can make up your minds about food later?

Diego: Absolutely not! The one thing that’s not open for discussion is what I’m eating for lunch.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 756 - Holding Structured and Unstructured Meetings

755 - Rejecting Newer Technology

2012-01-13 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Put away that Commodore 64 computer you’re using long enough to listen to this episode on new technology.

Slow dialogue: 1:15
Explanations: 3:17
Fast dialogue: 16:30

Darlene: Thanks for agreeing to take a look at my computer. It’s been acting up lately.

Chris: Sure, I don’t mind. Is this it?

Darlene: Yeah.

Chris: How long have you had this computer? It looks like it belongs in the ice age.

Darlene: I admit it’s a little dated. I must be one of the last holdouts in switching to a newer model.

Chris: What are you waiting for? It seems to me that all of your computer problems would be solved if you spring for a new one.

Darlene: I have a lot of old programs on this computer that aren’t compatible with the newer models. I’m kind of attached to them.

Chris: They probably aren’t compatible because there are now better, more efficient programs that have overtaken the ones you currently use. Your programs are probably obsolete. Which programs are they? Maybe I can show you how to use the newer versions.

Darlene: Well, there’s one particular program...

Chris: Yes?

Darlene: It’s a game I like to play.

Chris: You’re refusing to buy a newer, better computer just because you’d have to give up a game?

Darlene: It’s a really fun game and I’m keeping this computer until they make a version for the newer computers.

Chris: Okay, but you know what they say: live by the sword, die by the sword.

Darlene: So you won’t help me fix my computer?

Chris: I’ll try, but I’m telling you now. It’s a lost cause.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 755 - Rejecting Newer Technology

English Cafe #328

2012-01-11 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 33s

Topics: The Scopes Trial; American Cities: Aspen and Vail, Colorado; The City of New York versus New York City; verge versus brink; to compliment versus to complement

to deliberate
to appeal
to overturn
to ski
to compliment
to complement


Share: English Cafe #328

754 - Being in a Flood

2012-01-09 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

Don’t get caught in a flood, but if you do, learn how to talk about it in English in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:07
Explanations: 2:34
Fast dialogue: 14:48

Cherise: Well, that was a rude awakening at 2:00 in the morning!

Don: At least we got out of our room before it flooded. It serves us right for planning a vacation here during the rainy season. Our luggage is probably soaked.

Cherise: Oh, no, I’d forgotten about our clothes. If the water doesn’t recede soon, everything will have mold and mildew on it.

Don: The sump pumps are working as we speak. Hopefully, we can retrieve our stuff soon.

Cherise: Maybe I should go downstairs and try to salvage what I can, before things get washed away.

Don: What?! You could drown in all that water. Forget it!

Cherise: Drown in three feet of water? Don’t be silly.

Don: I’ve seen you swim. Come on, let’s just wait until we get the go-ahead.

Cherise: I still think I should try.

Don: I have one word for you: snakes.

Cherise: Enough said!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 754 - Being in a Flood

753 - Enduring Hazing

2012-01-06 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 19s

Sometimes joining a club is not worth it. Learn about one example of that in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:23
Explanations: 3:38
Fast dialogue: 17:06

Rafael: Go away and stop following us. Our club is for boys only.

Hannah: But I want to join.

Rafael: You do, huh? Did you know that to join our club, you have to go through an initiation?

Hannah: Okay, I’ll do that. What do I have to do?

Rafael: You have to endure weeks of hazing. We’ll be putting you through your paces to make sure you’re club material.

Hannah: I’m willing to do that. I can do anything you boys can do. Watch me!

Rafael: I’m not so sure. If you want to be one of the guys, you’ll have to do everything we tell you to do, even if you don’t want to.

Hannah: Everything?

Rafael: Yeah, everything. If we tell you to eat dirt, you have to eat dirt. If we tell you to stand outside in the rain, you have to do that, too. Get the picture?

Hannah: Yeah, I’ve got the picture.

Rafael: If we tell you to pull a prank, you have to do it. If we tell you to streak, you have to do that, too.

Hannah: You can’t be serious. That really crosses the line.

Rafael: We decide what crosses the line and what doesn’t. See? I knew you’d be too chicken to join our club.

Hannah: You’re right. I don’t want to join any club where the members are stupid enough to do all of those things. I’m starting my own club – one where you don’t have to humiliate yourself to get in.

Rafael: Suit yourself. I knew you weren’t club material.

Hannah: Thank goodness for that!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 753 - Enduring Hazing

English Cafe #327

2012-01-04 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 28s

Topics: Famous Americans: Lucille Ball; The Great Depression; hermit versus loner versus introvert; other than versus rather than; Et tu, Brute?

to have no future as
to stimulate
manual labor
other than
rather than
Et tu, Brute?


Share: English Cafe #327

752 - Working With Unreliable People

2012-01-02 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Working together is great until someone doesn’t do her job. Find out how to talk about working with unreliable people in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:10
Explanations: 3:16
Fast dialogue: 16:18

Paul: What time is it?

Jackie: It’s 2:30. The Cleveland office report should have been emailed to us by the end of the workday yesterday. What are we supposed to do now?

Paul: If we don’t get their report, we’ll have to hold up the production of the annual report and if that happens, somebody’s head is going to roll. This really leaves us in a lurch. Who’s responsible for the report in Cleveland?

Jackie: Noel Simmons.

Paul: Oh, no. I know Noel. I used to work with him in the Columbus office. He was always dropping the ball on his responsibilities and I was always having to cover for him.

Jackie: You must have had the patience of a saint! If he’s such a flake, why is he still working for this company?

Paul: Beats me, but I know we’re in for a long wait if he’s in charge. We have to do something. Get on the phone and see if you can light a fire under him. Unless we keep on him, we’ll never see that report.

Jackie: Okay, I’ll call the Cleveland office right now.

Paul: And Jackie?

Jackie: Yes?

Paul: If he gives you a line or some kind of excuse, let me talk to him.

Jackie: What’ll you do?

Paul: I’ll take him on a trip down memory lane. When I used to work with him, I wasn’t always so patient – or polite.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 752 - Working With Unreliable People

751 - Describing One’s Taste in Music

2011-12-30 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

People have different likes and dislikes when it comes to music. Learn how to talk about them in English in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:31
Explanations: 3:15
Fast dialogue: 16:38

Arturo: What are you listening to?

Ling: Some new music. You want to hear it?

Arturo: All right. That’s pretty mellow, kinda bluesy, isn’t it? It’s got an interesting indie feel.

Ling: Do you like it?

Arturo: It’s all right. I like more funky, dance music myself, but this is okay. It’s not too depressing.

Ling: That’s faint praise.

Arturo: No, no, I do like it. I guess I’m usually in the mood for more up-tempo music, something with a driving beat. I’m a hard-core MC-Quillan fan, if that’s any indication.

Ling: Oh, I see, so you don’t really like acoustic music much.

Arturo: It’s just not my thing, you know?

Ling: Yeah, that’s too bad.

Arturo: Why?

Ling: That was a track I recorded last week.

Arturo: This is your music? In that case, I love it.

Ling: You’re just saying that.

Arturo: No, really, it’s growing on me. In fact, I want to hear more. How about if I bring over some dinner on Saturday and you can play me a few more tracks?

Ling: You don’t mind?

Arturo: Believe me, I’ll be all ears.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 751 - Describing One’s Taste in Music

English Cafe #326

2011-12-28 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 29s

Topics: Ask an American: U.S. Families Adjust to Life Overseas; outpatient; to gulp versus to gobble; swell

corporate culture
to behave
personal space
area of concern
far and away
in excess of
to mitigate
to gulp
to gobble
to swell


Share: English Cafe #326

750 - After Christmas Sales

2011-12-26 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Christmas is over. Let’s go buy some more presents in this episode!

Slow dialogue: 1:19
Explanations: 2:47
Fast dialogue: 16:12

Roxana: Get up! We’re going to miss out on the best deals if we don’t get to the stores when they open.

Kurt: What? I’m sleeping. Leave me alone.

Roxana: You need to get up now and come with me to the store for the after Christmas sales. You know that they slash prices and everything is on sale.

Kurt: We just spent the past few weeks shopping for Christmas presents and now you want to shop some more?

Roxana: We can stock up for next year. There’ll be deep discounts on all of the Christmas decorations and supplies, not to mention all of the winter clothing and seasonal toys. Let’s go!

Kurt: You go. What do you need me for?

Roxana: I need you to run interference while I go for the best bargains and to hold all of the bags and packages while I shop. What else?

Kurt: When I agreed to “for better or for worse,” I didn’t anticipate this!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 750 - After Christmas Sales

749 - Getting Standard Medical Test Results

2011-12-23 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Stay healthy by going to the doctor on a regular basis. When you do, be sure to pay attention to your test results. Learn how to talk about them in English in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:30
Explanations: 2:59
Fast dialogue: 15:35

Judith: I had my annual physical two weeks ago and I just got a copy of the lab results, but I can’t figure out what they mean.

Steven: Let me take a look. The results of your blood tests are good. Your cholesterol is within the normal range, your glucose levels are fine, your hormone levels are good, and your red and white blood cell counts are normal, too.

Judith: That’s good news.

Steven: You did well on your EKG stress test and your bone density scan is fine.

Judith: Really? That’s great. What about the other results?

Steven: There appears to be no problems with your Pap smear or mammogram results, either.

Judith: I’m really glad to hear that. I hate going through those exams. I’m glad I don’t have to do them more often.

Steven: Just be glad you’re not a man.

Judith: Why’s that?

Steven: If you were a man, you’d have to have a PSA…and a DRE.

Judith: A what?

Steven: You don’t want to know.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 749 - Getting Standard Medical Test Results

English Cafe #325

2011-12-21 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 32s

Topics: Movie: Bonnie and Clyde; Community Supported Agriculture (CSA); to cut (someone) loose versus to set (someone) free versus unrestrained; adjectives versus “who” phrases; words used to describe computer touch screens

to take liberties
partner in crime
mixed reviews
industrial farm
farmers market
u-pick farm
to cut (someone) loose
to set (someone) free


Share: English Cafe #325

748 - Writing a Letter of Inquiry

2011-12-19 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Don’t just sit there waiting for someone to offer you a job. Write a letter of inquiry today. Learn how to do it in English in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:29
Explanations: 3:40
Fast dialogue: 16:38

I was laid off from my job three months ago. Since then, I’ve been pounding the pavement looking for another job. So far, nothing has turned up, so I decided to take the bull by the horns and deliver inquiry letters to every company that might have a job opening.

Dear Ms. Smith (or the name of their personnel officer):

I am writing to inquire about any job openings you may have for someone with my experience and qualifications. I worked for six years as a software engineer for McQ Corp. and I have extensive training and experience related to software development.

I have enclosed a copy of my résumé. I would appreciate an opportunity to speak with you regarding any openings you may have or any consulting work your company requires.

Thank you for your consideration, and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Steve Woz

I’m planning to personally deliver each letter, with the hope of talking with someone in the company. It is going take a lot of time and legwork, but I have no intention of sitting home and twiddling my thumbs while I wait for my next job!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 748 - Writing a Letter of Inquiry

747 - Visiting a Ranch

2011-12-16 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

If you like cowboys and Westerns, you’ll love this episode about going to a ranch.

Slow dialogue: 1:24
Explanations: 3:18
Fast dialogue: 16:18

Piero: What’s all this?

Annie: I’m visiting my sister and brother-in-law’s new ranch next month and I’m getting ready for it. I know I’m a city girl, but I plan to fit right in on that ranch and work alongside all of the other cowboys.

Piero: Well, you look the part. You’ve got your cowboy hat, a lasso, and are those chaps?

Annie: Yes, of course. How else could I ride with them on the cattle drive?

Piero: Cattle drive? Are you sure it’s a working ranch?

Annie: I think so. Why would they buy a ranch if they don’t plan to have horses and livestock?

Piero: Don’t ask me. What’s all that stuff in the bags?

Annie: That’s all equipment I’ll need to ride a horse: a bridle, a bit, and ta-da – my own saddle!

Piero: This is all stuff that they should have at the ranch already, don’t you think?

Annie: Yes, but I’ll need to go horseback riding this weekend to practice.

Piero: That’s a good idea. Have you been riding horses long?

Annie: This weekend will be my first time.

Piero: You’re riding a horse for the first time this weekend and you plan to work at your sister’s ranch next month?

Annie: Sure, how hard could it be? It’s just like riding a bike, right?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 747 - Visiting a Ranch

English Cafe #324

2011-12-14 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 34s

Topics: Stephen Foster and his songs; “ish” suffix; California casual; “If it be your will”

to bet
to lull
California casual
if it be
(one’s) will


Share: English Cafe #324

746 - Traveling Over the Holidays

2011-12-12 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Traveling for the holidays? Get ready by listening to this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:22
Explanations: 3:12
Fast dialogue: 17:11

Sabrina: You look like you’re getting ready for battle.

Ying: In a way, I am. I’m flying home next week to be with my family over the holidays and you know what holiday travel is like.

Sabrina: I’ve flown during peak travel season before, and now, I try to avoid it at all costs.

Ying: Well, I can’t this year, so I’m arming myself for the experience. I booked my flights back in September and I have my seat assignment. I’ll print out my boarding passes before I head for the airport, and I’ll keep checking the flight status to make sure the flight is on time.

Sabrina: I hope you don’t have any tight connections.

Ying: I change planes in Chicago, but I have two hours in between flights. I’m hoping that’ll be enough.

Sabrina: What’s in that huge bag?

Ying: Those are my supplies. If I get snowed in or if my flight gets cancelled, I’m ready to spend the night in the airport.

Sabrina: Wow, you really thought this out. You’re ready for the worst-case scenario.

Ying: Forewarned and forearmed. You won’t catch me napping!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 746 - Traveling Over the Holidays

745 - Welcoming a Houseguest

2011-12-09 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

Old socks and visitors staying at your house can both be unpleasant after three days. Find out how to get rid of one of these in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:23
Explanations: 3:30
Fast dialogue: 14:46

Yousef: Why are you rearranging the furniture?

Rachel: My Aunt Susan called and she’s coming for a visit. It’ll be so nice to see her. It’s been a while since we’ve had a houseguest.

Yousef: Your crazy Aunt Susan? The one who talks to herself all the time and makes funny noises?

Rachel: Don’t be like that. She’s a little eccentric, but she has a heart of gold.

Yousef: How long is she staying?

Rachel: She was a little vague about that. We’ll just play it by ear.

Yousef: I don’t like the sound of that. Open-ended invitations are a bad idea.

Rachel: She won’t outstay her welcome. As far as I’m concerned, she can stay for as long as she wants to. You don’t mind, do you?

Yousef: Speak for yourself. I don’t like having houseguests. They hog the TV and I can’t walk around the house in my underwear. I feel restricted.

Rachel: That’s a small price to pay for her interesting company, don’t you think? We’ll have so much fun listening to her stories.

Yousef: I think you’re making some unwarranted assumptions here. First, you assume that I enjoy her company. Second, you assume that I’ll be here.

Rachel: What do you mean? You won’t be here next week?

Yousef: Next week, I’ll be visiting my brother in Toronto. Didn’t I already mention it?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 745 - Welcoming a Houseguest

English Cafe #323

2011-12-07 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 33s

Topics: American Presidents: John Adams; the Boy/Girl Scouts; What time is it? versus What is the time?; to rock; for all intents and purposes

to have any say
to deport
to correspond
community service
to rock
for all intents and purposes


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744 - Dealing With a Mistake

2011-12-05 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Most mistakes aren’t serious, but you need to know how to deal with them when you make them. Find out how in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:16
Explanations: 3:09
Fast dialogue: 16:11

Boss: What is going on here?!

Jenny: There was a miscommunication.

Boss: A miscommunication?! There are 16 copiers in this office. Who ordered 16 copiers?

Jenny: No one did. Clearly wires got crossed somewhere. I’ll try to get to the bottom of this, but the copiers will be removed before lunch.

Boss: I can’t even walk to my office with all of these machines in here. How am I supposed to get any work done?

Jenny: I’m looking for the purchase order right now to see if the mistake was on our end or on their end.

Boss: Let me know as soon as you figure it out. I want to know who’s responsible for this.

Jenny: Right, I’ll let you know. No doubt it was just a clerical error. No harm, no foul.

Boss: No harm, no foul?! This screw up has cost me half a day’s productivity. I think that’s plenty of harm done.

Jenny: You’re right, sir. I stand corrected. I’m sure it was just an honest mistake.

Boss: Stop making excuses for the person responsible for this debacle. Jenny, why are you making excuses for the person responsible?

Jenny: You look thirsty. I’ll go get you some coffee right now!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 744 - Dealing With a Mistake

743 - Writing a Story

2011-12-02 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Ready to write your first novel? Find out what not to do in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:08
Explanations: 2:50
Fast dialogue: 15:09

Xavier: How’s your novel coming along?

Sara: It’s not. I abandoned it for now. I think I bit off more than I can chew. Now, I’m working on a short story.

Xavier: That sounds interesting. Who are the main characters?

Sara: I’m not sure yet. Character development is really important so I need to give the characters themselves some serious thought.

Xavier: Okay, tell me about the general plot. Is it an adventure, romance, horror story – what?

Sara: I haven’t decided that either.

Xavier: All right. What about the setting? Is it going to be set in the U.S.?

Sara: Hmm, that’s still up in the air, too. I’m thinking of writing a period story, but I’m not sure what time period to choose. That’ll help decide the actual setting.

Xavier: I’m guessing you haven’t decided the point of view of the story either, whether it’ll be told in the first person or third person, am I right?

Sara: You are. I know. I have a lot to think about.

Xavier: You’ve definitely got your work cut out for you.

Sara: I know. I’m just waiting for some inspiration.

Xavier: Good luck with that.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #322

2011-11-30 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 33s

Topics: No-Tuition Colleges; the Sacco-Vanzetti Trial; crazy versus mad versus psycho versus mentally ill; using –ed words as adjectives; lo and behold

a handful of
on campus
to convict
to appeal
to execute
mentally ill
lo and behold


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742 - Admiring Someone from Afar

2011-11-28 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Some guys will do anything for a date with a beautiful woman. Find out how to do it in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:07
Explanations: 3:18
Fast dialogue: 15:29

Perry: Look at her! What I wouldn’t give to get a date with her.

Lynn: You should go talk to her and ask her for her number.

Perry: No way! She’s completely out of my league. See that guy she’s talking to? He’s the kind of guy who’ll get her number.

Lynn: That guy has nothing on you. The only thing that guy has that you don’t is confidence.

Perry: See? She’s giving him her number. I don’t have a chance.

Lynn: But look what he’s doing with it. He’s throwing it away. What a jerk! Wait here.

Perry: Hey, where are you going?

Lynn: I’ve got it. Here it is. Here’s her number. Call her.

Perry: Call her?! Out of the blue? You’re crazy. She’ll think I’m some kind of creep.

Lynn: No, she’ll think you’re being bold. She’ll love that.

Perry: What am I supposed to say to her? “Hi, I stole your phone number and I’d like a date.”

Lynn: No, tell her the truth. Tell her you saw her, admired her from afar, and wanted to ask her out.

Perry: What if she asks me how I got her number?

Lynn: Tell her you’ll tell her when you see her on your first date. You'll come off as mysterious. She’ll eat it up.

Perry: I can’t do it. There’s no way I could do that, could I?

Lynn: Yes you can. After all, no guts, no glory!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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741 - Playing in a Tournament

2011-11-25 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

When I was growing up, my family had a tournament for every game you can imagine. That’s why I’m able to explain about playing in competitions in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:09
Explanations: 2:48
Fast dialogue: 15:32

Irene: How is your team doing in the standings?

Kent: They’re seeded sixth and they’re in a bracket with one of the best teams in the tournament. Our team has already lost to them.

Irene: I thought it was a double-elimination tournament.

Kent: It is. That’s the only reason they’re not out of contention for the title.

Irene: Why did the organizers get rid of the round-robin rounds?

Kent: I think it’s because they wanted to cut down on the number of games overall. I’m not sure.

Irene: Your team is the defending champion. What happened this year? Why aren’t they ranked higher?

Kent: They didn’t have a very good season. There were a lot of injuries, and as the coach, I had some run-ins with a couple of the new players. Let’s just say we had some clashes in personality.

Irene: Isn’t there a game this afternoon?

Kent: Yeah, but I have to feed my team first. They won’t play until they get what they want.

Irene: What do they want?

Kent: Ice cream. Who knew six-year-olds could be so demanding?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #321

2011-11-23 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 33s

Topics: Ask an American: National Jukebox; using "to" with to give and to send; a dime a dozen; complimenting doctors and nurses

to trace the roots
to look back on
to depict
to applaud
to give
to send
a dime a dozen


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740 - Corporate Gift-Giving

2011-11-21 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 20s

Companies have feelings, too, you know, so don’t forget to give a holiday gift to your clients this year. Learn all about corporate gifts in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:03
Explanations: 3:57
Fast dialogue: 18:03

Michelle: Why did I get stuck with buying corporate gifts for our clients this year? Just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I’m good at buying gifts.

Rafiq: It’s not because you’re a woman. It’s because you’re the most junior employee of the company. I had the job three years ago when I started working here.

Michelle: Oh, so you know the drill. I was thinking of sending food baskets to McQ Corp.

Rafiq: I wouldn’t advise doing that. We’re bidding on a new contract with their company and the gift could be misconstrued as a bribe. You’ll want to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

Michelle: Then I shouldn’t send anything at all?

Rafiq: You could send a charitable donation in the company’s name. This way, we show our appreciation for their business, and they get recognition for the contribution to a worthy cause, without seeming like we’re trying to influence their decision.

Michelle: That seems like a good way to go. What about the other companies we’re doing business with?

Rafiq: A food basket would be fine for those companies. Just make sure there’s nothing perishable in them and send a handwritten note. That adds a nice touch.

Michelle: I was also thinking of sending our smaller clients calendars and t-shirts with our company logo. What do you think?

Rafiq: I think they’d like gift certificates to stores or restaurants better.

Michelle: What about a bottle of wine? Wouldn’t that be a good gift?

Rafiq: You never know how a client feels about alcohol, so stick to something safer, like the food baskets or gift certificates.

Michelle: You have all the answers. You’re an expert at corporate gift-giving!

Rafiq: Shh, don’t say that too loudly. If the powers that be hear about it, I might get stuck with the job – permanently!

Michelle: Your secret is safe with me.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 740 - Corporate Gift-Giving

739 - Performing an Intervention

2011-11-18 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Addiction to anything can cause problems in your life. Learn how to help someone in this situation in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:15
Explanations: 3:26
Fast dialogue: 16:38

Petra: Hey, what’s going on here? Why are all of you here in my apartment?

Johann: Your family and close friends are here to perform an intervention. We feel that you have a problem that is negatively affecting your life and the lives of the people around you.

Petra: An intervention?! I don’t need an intervention. What am I supposed to be addicted to?

Johann: I think you know. Each of us can attest to your obsession and the consequences of that addiction. It is interfering with your work and your personal relationships.

Petra: No, it’s not. I can’t believe this. I feel cornered!

Johann: We just want to help you. We all agree that you need to see a therapist and maybe go into treatment.

Petra: You guys are all crazy. Is that an ultimatum?

Johann: Yes, I’m afraid it is. If you don’t stop your obsessive behavior, we’ll take that away.

Petra: What?! Take away my MP3 player? If you take away my MP3 player, how am I supposed to listen to ESL Podcast?

Johann: That’s the idea. Listening to ESL Podcast 14 hours a day is not healthy.

Petra: Okay, I know I’ve gone overboard, but I’ll stop. I promise.

Johann: You’ll stop cold turkey?

Petra: Well...I need to be weaned off, I think. How about if I cut back to 10 hours a day to start?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 739 - Performing an Intervention

English Cafe #320

2011-11-16 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 31s

Topics: American Cities: Columbus, Ohio; Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII; limit versus limitation; for X person to undercut set targets; to sponge off (someone)

to thrive
to make it to
to touch on
to abdicate the throne
to discharge
to undercut
to sponge off (someone)


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738 - Talking to a Mechanic

2011-11-14 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Getting your car fixed is one of the necessary evils in life. Learn how to talk to a mechanic in English in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:03
Explanations: 3:13
Fast dialogue: 15:32

Mechanic: Hi, I’m the mechanic. What can I do for you?

Amy: My car is making a very weird noise. It sounds like this: gulug, gulug, gulug...

Mechanic: Hm, that doesn’t sound good. Where is it coming from?

Amy: I’m not sure. When I’m in the car, it sounds like it’s coming from the engine, but when I get out of the car, it sounds like it’s coming from directly under the trunk, maybe the muffler?

Mechanic: That’s not a noise a muffler would make. Let me take a look. Can you start the car and pop the hood?

Amy: Sure.

Mechanic: Well, I don’t hear the sound right now, but your battery needs replacing, you have a coolant leak, your carburetor needs adjusting, and your spark plugs are shot. I need to look under the car.

Amy: Okay, go ahead.

Mechanic: Your brake pads need replacing and your tires need balancing.

Amy: But are any of those problems causing that horrible noise?

Mechanic: I don’t know. I don’t hear the noise right now, so it’s hard to tell. But that’s all work you need to have done on this car anyway for it to run right. It’s only a matter of time before your car stops working if you don’t take care of those problems.

Amy: I come in with one problem and you find 10 others. I guess you should go ahead. What else can I do?

Mechanic: Um, buy a bus pass?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 738 - Talking to a Mechanic

737 - Kitchen Appliances

2011-11-11 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

If you like to cook, you want to have the right equipment in your kitchen. Learn how to talk about kitchen appliances in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:15
Explanations: 2:55
Fast dialogue: 16:42

Victoria: As you can see, this executive apartment is fully equipped. When you called and asked for the best available apartment, I thought of this one immediately. Just look at this kitchen! All of the appliances are top of the line.

Justin: Do you mind if I take a closer look? I like to cook.

Victoria: No problem. The refrigerator has a high capacity, with the freezer on the bottom.

Justin: But there’s no ice maker.

Victoria: No, that’s one of the few things it doesn’t have.

Justin: Hmm…Is this range gas or electric?

Victoria: It’s gas, and it has a broiler on the bottom, see?

Justin: Is the stove self-cleaning?

Victoria: I’m afraid not, but it’s stainless steel, as you can see.

Justin: That’s too bad. Is the dishwasher new?

Victoria: It’s not brand new, but it’s in very good condition. The microwave, toaster, and coffee maker also come with the apartment. What do you think? Do you think it’ll suit your needs?

Justin: When I asked for your best, I expected the Cadillac of apartments. You’ve shown me a Pinto!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 737 - Kitchen Appliances

English Cafe #319

2011-11-09 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 31s

Topics: T.S. Eliot; log and log in/log on; explanation versus interpretation; pronouncing consonant clusters

New England
to break from
to breed
a product of (something)
to log in / to log on


Share: English Cafe #319

736 - Following One’s Dream

2011-11-07 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 16s

Find out how to follow your dreams and still have time for a coffee break on this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:22
Explanations: 2:53
Fast dialogue: 15:05

Cassandra: I’ve had it! I’m quitting and I’m not coming back. I was meant for greater things than working in this pathetic place. Life is passing me by.

Lazlo: You can’t quit. You need the money and you have responsibilities, remember?

Cassandra: I’ve sacrificed enough for security. I want to make a difference. I want to do big things. I want to have an impact on the world.

Lazlo: That’s very admirable. Most people want to make a difference in the world, but don’t have the guts to try.

Cassandra: You are so right! But I’m going to make it happen. I aspire to do great things and I won’t rest until I do. I want to follow my dream.

Lazlo: What is your dream?

Cassandra: Um, well, I’m not quite sure what I’m destined to do yet, but as soon as I figure out my true vocation, I’m following my heart.

Lazlo: That’s great. Until then, lunch break is over. Could we get back to work?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 736 - Following One’s Dream

735 - Getting a Visa to Travel

2011-11-04 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 20s

Traveling to another country sometimes requires getting a visa. Find out more in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:17
Explanations: 3:52
Fast dialogue: 18:06

Yesenia: I have a great idea. Let’s plan a big party for your mother’s 70th birthday. We’ll invite all of your relatives from all over the world.

Julian: I don’t think very many of them can afford to travel half way around the world for a party.

Yesenia: I’ve already spoken with your rich brother and he’s already offered to pay for your family’s airfare and hotel. If we plan it, he’ll pay for it.

Julian: Julio offered to do that? Well, if he’s on board than we can give it a shot. But here’s another hitch. My extended family lives in a lot of different countries and I’m not sure they’ll get visas to visit the U.S., especially on short notice.

Yesenia: Let’s try, anyway. Your cousins in Canada don’t need a visa because most Canadian citizens don’t need one to cross the border. What about your uncle in Korea?

Julian: He’s already in the U.S. on an exchange visitor visa until June. He should be able to come.

Yesenia: What about your aunt in Greece?

Julian: She won’t need a visa because Greece is one of the countries in the Visa Waiver Program.

Yesenia: Do you think your nephews in South Africa will want to come?

Julian: I’m not sure what the visa situation is there. We’ll have to check with the State Department.

Yesenia: I’ll get on the horn first thing in the morning to see what I can find out. I might email them and ask them to check with the embassy or consulate there to be sure. This party is really shaping up.

Julian: You seem to have it all under control.

Yesenia: Haven’t you always said that party planning is my middle name?

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 735 - Getting a Visa to Travel

English Cafe #318

2011-11-02 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 31s

Topics: Famous Americans: Warren Buffet; The Chicken Soup book series; few versus little; only so many; to be due

to endorse
chicken soup
to nourish
motivational speaker
only so many
to be due


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734 - Believing in Scary Things

2011-10-31 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Do you believe in ghosts? Listen to this episodes and find out if there is something scary waiting for you today.

Slow dialogue: 1:23
Explanations: 3:05
Fast dialogue: 16:08

Ella: No matter what you say, I am not going out tonight. It’s Halloween and evil things are lurking everywhere.

Jimmy: Come on, it’s Halloween! It’s the holiday when kids get dressed up and ask for candy. There is nothing evil or creepy about this day. If you’re scared stiff, it’s your own doing.

Ella: Don’t kid yourself. This is the day when ghosts, witches, zombies, and vampires come out and have a field day. I’ve got goosebumps just thinking about it.

Jimmy: Do you mean you actually believe in all of that stuff? You are too old to be so gullible. I’m going out.

Ella: Look! Hurry up and close that door! There’s a black cat. Oh my God. If you walk out that door, the next time I see you, it might be in a graveyard.

Jimmy: You’re crazy and I’m leaving.

Ella: If you have to go, take these with you.

Jimmy: What are they?

Ella: It’s a cross and some garlic. You’ll thank me later.

Jimmy: Ugh!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 734 - Believing in Scary Things

733 - Voting in an Election

2011-10-28 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 18s

Vote early and vote often in this episode that’s all about elections.

Slow dialogue: 1:18
Explanations: 3:27
Fast dialogue: 16:37

Khaled: Are you going to the polling place or are you voting by absentee ballot again?

Bernice: I always vote with an absentee ballot so I can vote in the comfort of my own home and in my own time. In fact, I’ve already mailed in my ballot.

Khaled: Good for you. Which candidate did you vote for in the governor’s race?

Bernice: I didn’t vote for either of the bozos that are running. I voted for a write-in candidate.

Khaled: A write-in candidate? There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that a write-in candidate is going to win this election.

Bernice: That may be so, but I have to vote with my conscience, and I can’t bring myself to vote for either of those people. Have you voted?

Khaled: Not yet. I’m going to vote at the polls on Election Day. I want more time to think about whom to vote for and to read up on the ballot measures. There are a lot of them this time.

Bernice: Yeah, but the governor’s race is the only thing I care about. I can’t stand the thought of having either of those bozos as the next governor.

Khaled: Just out of curiosity, who did you write in as a candidate?

Bernice: You.

Khaled: Me?! You’re crazy. I don’t want to be governor.

Bernice: It was either you or me, and I’d rather not be a candidate and have to be in the company of those bozos.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 733 - Voting in an Election

English Cafe #317

2011-10-26 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 28s

Topics: Movie: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; Detroit and the Rust Belt; to knead versus to mash; the infinitive versus gerund form of a verb (to look for versus looking for); bona fide

to name a replacement
to manipulate
to propose a bill
to turn against
to faint
Rust Belt
racial tension
to knead
to mash
to look for/looking for
bona fide


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732 - Preferring Different Work Styles

2011-10-24 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

Do you like to work with others or by yourself? Find out about different work styles in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:40
Explanations: 3:31
Fast dialogue: 15:39

Hugo: How do you like working with Leo? Is it working out?

Melissa: No, it’s not. Our work styles completely clash and we butt heads at every turn.

Hugo: Really? I thought you were partnered up because you complemented each other’s strengths.

Melissa: Yeah, but that doesn’t mean we can work well together. I’m collaborative and like to talk things out. Leo likes to go solo. He goes off on his own and comes back with a finished product, without consulting with me at all.

Hugo: Yeah, I’ve worked with Leo before and he likes having autonomy, but he has to realize that the point of collaboration is that the sum is greater than the parts. Two people pooling ideas will make the product better.

Melissa: That’s the idea, anyway. Hey, I have a better idea. What do you think of you and me teaming up? We’re both collaborative. We’d make a great team.

Hugo: Yeah, but we also have the same skills. That’s why you’re working with Leo and I’m working with Lamar, remember?

Melissa: Yeah, I remember. I’m starting to think that collaboration is overrated.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


Share: 732 - Preferring Different Work Styles

731 - Hints and Innuendo

2011-10-21 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 17s

I love eating chocolate. Did you know that Christmas is coming up soon? Yeah, I LOVE chocolate. If you don’t get the hint, listen to this episode. (Did I mention Christmas will soon be here?)

Slow dialogue: 1:09
Explanations: 3:07
Fast dialogue: 15:12

Roberta: You know, my birthday is coming up.

John: Yeah, I know. What are you getting at?

Roberta: Nothing. I was just thinking that it’s kind of an important birthday, a major birthday.

John: Yes, I know. Spit it out. What are you driving at?

Roberta: I was just thinking that some people might not know what to get me for such an important birthday, since some people don’t like to put a lot of thought into presents.

John: What are you implying? Are you insinuating that I don’t get you good presents for your birthdays?

Roberta: No, of course not. I just don’t want you to have to rack your brain to think of the perfect gift, that’s all.

John: Just tell me. What should I get you for your very important birthday?

Roberta: What? Just blurt it out? I can’t do that. I can give you a hint, but since you love me so much, I’m sure you can read my mind.

John: That’s where you’re wrong. If I had a nickel for every time a woman thought I should be able to read her mind, I’d be the richest man in the world! I don’t have an inkling of what you have on your mind.

Roberta: All right, I’ll make it more than a hint. I’ll give you three clues.

John: Great. That’ll make things crystal clear.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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English Cafe #316

2011-10-19 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 35s

Topics: Ask an American: Libraries Using Ad Campaigns to Improve Image and Funding; making introductions; stack versus stock

to light up
to click
mental synapse
to get (one’s) geek on
to hit
to introduce


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730 - Waiting For Exam Results

2011-10-17 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 20s

Are you waiting to hear if you passed an exam or test? Find out how to describe your misery in this episode.

Slow dialogue: 1:21
Explanations: 3:46
Fast dialogue: 18:30

Joel: Did it come?

Susanne: No, it’s not in today’s mail. Why do I bother, anyway? I know it’s a foregone conclusion. I’ve failed.

Joel: That’s bull! I know you passed. You’re just on tenterhooks waiting around for the results to arrive and you’re psyching yourself out.

Susanne: No, I’m not.

Joel: Don’t you remember that when you came home after taking the exam, you thought you had aced it?

Susanne: I did, but that was before I started thinking about all of the questions I got wrong. Then, I thought it was a toss up whether I passed or not. Now that I’ve had even more time to think about it, I’m sure I biffed it.

Joel: See what I mean? You’ve been psyching yourself out for weeks. You studied really hard and I have no doubt that you passed with flying colors. All right, you’re not going to hear today, so let’s get your mind off of the exam, okay?

Susanne: All right. How?

Joel: You can help me study for the exam. I’m taking it at the next administration. I have no intention of bombing it or even squeaking by by the skin of my teeth – like some people.

Susanne: Very funny. Okay, so maybe I'm psyching myself out – a little bit. Okay, I’m game. Where do we begin?

Joel: With all of the ones you thought you got wrong.

Susanne: What?!

Joel: There’s no sense wasting all that worrying. And if you did fail it, you’ll need to get ready to take it again.

Susanne: Gee, thanks!

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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729 - Being Blunt and Stubborn

2011-10-14 :: Center for Educational Development
Length: 19s

Say what you mean and mean what you say. Find out about how to talk about blunt people in this episode.

Slow dialog: 1:15
Explanations: 2:56
Fast dialog: 17:43

Simone: So, what did you think of Bruce? Isn’t he great?

Dirk: Well, he’s certainly direct and forthright with his opinions. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who speaks his mind the way he does.

Simone: Yeah, isn’t that great? I’ve never liked a guy who straddles the fence or has namby-pamby opinions. I’ve always liked guys with strong opinions.

Dirk: Well, there’s strong and there’s pigheadedness*. Don’t you think?

Simone: What?! You think Bruce is pigheaded, just because he doesn’t budge when other people try to sway him? I think that’s an admirable trait.

Dirk: I think being blunt can be admirable under the right circumstances, but being stubborn as a mule can make it hard on other people, don’t you think?

Simone: No, I don’t. Other people can pull their punches if they want to, but a man who’ll speak up about what he believes in and stand by it is a real man to me.

Dirk: I can see why you two make a perfect couple. I hope never to be on the wrong side of an argument with either one of you.

Script by Dr. Lucy Tse


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