Home  /  Podcast Directory  /  Education & Reference  /  RoPeCast


Last update: 2013-03-15

66. Back and forth across the ocean

2013-03-15 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Could James Bond be played by an American actor? Are there any red-haired Brits?

Pecularities of the American and British variety of English are not as hard and fast as one generally assumes. In this episode we start reflecting on how American and British English are influencing one another – in the media and otherwise.

This Episode in MP3-Format ::  

File Download (5:03 min / 6 MB)

x

Share: 66. Back and forth across the ocean


Merry Christmas

2012-12-23 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

A very short podcast on Christmas Eve to wish all our listeners a Merry Christmas and send you a little puzzling present.

This Episode in MP3-Format ::   Roger's Cryptic Christmas Crossword :: Roger compiled a cryptic crossword as a present to all you puzzling fans out there. Stay tuned for the solution that we'll publish along with our next episode.

File Download (2:36 min / 3 MB)

x

Share: Merry Christmas


65. Hoisting the Standard

2012-12-14 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

No, we are not talking about flying flags today. After a question in class, Peter asks Roger why many people still consider British English the only proper standard, despite the fact that there are a lot more American speakers of English.

This Episode in MP3-Format ::   Noah Webster :: A Wikipedia article about the "father" of American English Merriam-Webster :: The online dictionary in succession to Webster's original product John Witherspoon :: If you are familiar with actress Reese Witherspoon, read up on her ancestor here, who is mentioned in this episode and played an important role in the history of American English and also for the States themselves.

File Download (5:47 min / 6 MB)

x

Share: 65. Hoisting the Standard


64. Crossing the line

2012-11-14 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

We are back with more puzzle fun! This time we are going to have a look into the typical British ‘cryptic’ crossword puzzle. Roger will explain what to look for when trying to solve them. And of course we provide some links and material for you to test your puzzling skills!

This Episode in MP3-Format ::   The Guardian :: If you can't get enough, the gigantic crossword archive at the Guardian website will cater for all your cryptic needs.

File Download (6:38 min / 7 MB)

x

Share: 64. Crossing the line


63. Crossing words

2012-10-15 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Crossword puzzles are fascinating. In Britain even more so than in the rest of the world. Listen to this episode to unrevel the mysteries of British cryptic crosswords.

They are really hard, but once you know what to look for, you can solve them, too!

This Episode in MP3-Format ::   Cryptic Crossword :: Read about British-style crosswords on Wikipedia. 48 puzzles :: Try yourself at these crosswords. There's also a solution so you don't despair.

File Download (8:14 min / 8 MB)

x

Share: 63. Crossing words


62. Time out

2012-09-30 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Our topic today is sports that were once Olympic. and in general how the public interest in certain disciplines varies over time and continents.

We are referring back to the Olympics in this episode, and we apologise for being late; time-out of a different sort.

Nevertheless when it comes to sports we are highly topical with this episode. Check it out!

This Episode in MP3-Format ::   Discontinued olympic sports :: The Wikipedia article has a table of all former olympic disciplines USACA :: The website of the United States of America Cricket Association Ultimate Highlights :: This Youtube video with a compilation of Ultimate matches will give you an impression of this ultimately quick sport.

File Download (6:48 min / 7 MB)

x

Share: 62. Time out


61. Name a discipline

2012-07-07 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Just in time for the Olympic Games in London we are glad to present our special edition. Peter really enjoys watching the Olympic coverage on TV, but he needs support unravelling some tricky sport jargon terms. Roger can help with that …

This Episode in MP3-Format ::   Olympic Sports :: The Wikipedia article lists all former and current Olympic sports along with some background information on their development. Athletics / Track & field :: Here you'll find many of the terms that are hard to understand. Read up on athletics, or - as the Americans call it - track and field. Spear and javelin :: The introduction about "The fighting spear" explains the difference between a spear and a javelin. Eventing :: A detailed description of the events again found on Wikipedia

File Download (7:50 min / 8 MB)

x

Share: 61. Name a discipline


60. English is more pun!

2012-06-15 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Are you following the European Championship in football these days? Well, if you like football or if you don’t, we’ve got a little riddle for you, which is based on a pun:

What is the difference between the English national football team and a tea bag?

To read the solution click here, hold the mouse button and drag your mouse …

The tea bag stays in the cup longer!

... down here.

This Episode in MP3-Format ::   List of puns :: Find some classics here. Puns are rated! :: If you are looking for puns less suitable for children, we recommend Shakespeare. Check out the dialogue between Gregory and Sampson at the beginning of act 1, scene 1 in "Romeo and Juliet" to find a fun pun. And of course there are more.

File Download (7:51 min / 4 MB)

x

Share: 60. English is more pun!


59. Punny, ain't it?

2012-03-31 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Do you like puns? Then you are in good outdoor retail company with non-prophet organisations! Justin Time we are Shaking Speares at elephants to get down of a duck‽

Totally confused now? Check out this episode for more delightenment!

This Episode in MP3-Format ::   Shakespeare's "Tragedy of Richard III" :: Read the opening lines of the first act which have been turned into a sales slogan. Discount Tent :: This news article deals with the outdoor retailer in financial discontent

File Download (7:45 min / 8 MB)

x

Share: 59. Punny, ain't it?


58. Ratcheting up on tools

2012-03-14 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

You have no clue what a ratchet is, what it is used for, and what “ratcheting up” means? Just listen to this Toolbox full words like French key, hammer, saw, axe and lots of others that are useful for home improvement and metaphorical expression.

This Episode in MP3-Format ::   Interactive Tools Vocabulary :: Hover the mouse over a tool to see its name and click it to hear how it is pronounced. Zero derivation or Conversion :: A short article on the linguistic phenomenon of zero derviation; e.g. having a verb derived from a noun without any changes. Hammers :: The Wikipedia article on hammers contains many more interesting details on that common tool. See also the gallery of different types of hammers and mallets found here. to ax sth. :: An explanatory entry from the Merriam-Webster Learners' Dictionary

File Download (9:20 min / 9 MB)

x

Share: 58. Ratcheting up on tools


57. The nuts and bolts

2012-01-14 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Most of you will know what a screwdriver is. – But have you got any idea what rawlplugs are, or about a Phillips, or a POZIdrive screw?

If you ever wondered what the proper names for tools and hardware are, we’ll help you out with this nuts and bolts episode on tools. If you are a handy person this podcast will come in handy, too!

This Episode in MP3-Format ::   John Joseph Rawling :: Read about the inventor of the rawlplug and watch a little animation to illustrate how it works. Types of screws :: This Wikipedia article lists many many different types of screw drives, not just the three mentioned in our podcast. Screwdriver :: In this article you find a detailed history of the screwdriver and its alternatives. Drills :: There are almost as many types of drills as there are for screws. Yard stick :: And finally, a little complement for our chapter on measuring tools.

File Download (6:48 min / 7 MB)

x

Share: 57. The nuts and bolts


56. Do you know it's Christmas?

2011-12-14 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Seasons greetings to you all out there in podcast land. We have a new Christmas special for you. Last year we talked about Christmas songs in the seventies. This time Paul Kingsbury is back at the studio to talk about Christmas pop songs in the eighties.

Join us for some modern Christmas classics …

This Episode in MP3-Format ::  

File Download (8:58 min / 9 MB)

x

Share: 56. Do you know it's Christmas?


55. Trashy rubbish on garbage bags

2011-11-14 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Remember how we talked about getting rid of stuff you no longer need in our last episode? This time we are going to delve a bit deeper: There are numerous words for things that you don’t need anymore and their usage varies: People put out their rubbish, garbage or trash. But then people sometimes talk rubbish, but never trash. If you are confused now, you have to listen to this episode. And there will be a little question for you at the end. If you know the answer, feel free to leave a comment and maybe win a little prize.

This Episode in MP3-Format ::   Junk and trash :: Some notes on the fine differences in this pair of words by a professional Garbage @ Merriam-Webster :: Explore the word field in the online dictionary via the synonyms list Map of US disposal sites :: This page by the Environmental Protection Agency offers an interactive map.

File Download (7:00 min / 7 MB)

x

Share: 55. Trashy rubbish on garbage bags


54. Antique attic antics

2011-10-14 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

RoPeCast is finally back from the summer break! And we are bringing along some insights on how differently people from the UK or the US get rid of the stuff they’ve stored in their attic, cellar or garage.

This Episode in MP3-Format ::   Car boot sales around the UK :: Find locations of car boot sales all over the UK and some other European countries. Garage sales :: Read up on the American Garage sale and all the related topics listed on Wikipedia. Freecycle :: The modern way of giving away what you don't need without throwing it away.

File Download (6:29 min / 7 MB)

x

Share: 54. Antique attic antics


53. Of Ravens, Rates and Revenue

2011-05-14 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Sarah Jerram is back in the studio. This time she and Peter are musing about possible reasons for the German reluctance to reproduce at a proper rate. Britain however does a much better job at that.

This Episode in MP3-Format ::   Birth rate in Germany :: This page by the Federal Centre for Political Education provides statistical information on the German birth rate. (German) Birth rate in the UK :: The Office for National Statistics publishes information on births in Britain Book review "Aufstand der Rabenmütter" :: FAZ reviews this German book and explains why kids can be happy without "Baby Yoga" and "Early English". (German) Mummy, what's a Rabenmutter :: A short blog article on the topic of working mothers in Germany In Germany, a Tradition Falls, and Women Rise :: The American view on the German phenomenon as published by the New York Times

File Download (7:08 min / 7 MB)

x

Share: 53. Of Ravens, Rates and Revenue


52. Swinging and teething the hard way

2011-04-30 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Listen to Sarah Jerram, teacher of English at Saarland university, describing her experiences as a working mother in Germany – from the British perspective. What are the most striking differences when it comes to being a parent in Germany or Britain in comparison?

This Episode in MP3-Format ::   List of Playground Equipment :: Add to your knowledge of playground vocabulary with this article from eHow on playground equipment and toys. "Playground" at Wikipedia :: The encyclopedia article adds some interesting facts about the history of playgrounds and offers pictures that help you understand what the different designations for toys actually refer to.

File Download (8:40 min / 9 MB)

x

Share: 52. Swinging and teething the hard way


51. Rebuilding a Nation

2011-04-14 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Puerto Rico isn’t the only region that people argue should be counted towards the United States. Episode 51 tells you about the 51st state and several more. We place the Liberty State, Euphoria and Calisota on your map of the US.

Never heard of them? You need to change that … now!

This Episode in MP3-Format ::   More states :: Here is the list that this episode was based on. More counties :: Not only the United States are larger than commonly assumed. There's also more to Britain than meets the bird's eye! Read about new frontiers on the British Isles and uncharted territory in other parts of the world. Calisota :: An article on the state and its history Gotham City :: Find information about the capital of the famous state. "Changing Places" in Euphoria :: Are you familiar with David Lodge? Read about one of his works in this review. Liberty City :: An extensive article on the famous racing venue.

File Download (6:18 min / 6 MB)

x

Share: 51. Rebuilding a Nation


50. Challenging Symbolic Celebration

2011-03-31 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

The popular American author Dan Brown is always good at combining mysterious numbers with even more mysterious symbols into puzzling plots.

We try something similar for a special occasion. But instead of leaving you puzzled you will have the opportunity to take part in a little challenge. All you have to work out is a simple number! At the same time you’ll get to know some important symbols of English speaking areas all around the globe.

Are you up for our heavily symbolic celebration? Will you find the Lost Number? If you do make sure to leave us a comment including your e-mail address.

This Episode in MP3-Format ::   Dan Brown's Lost Symbol :: An article about one of Dan Brown's books that the teaser text alludes to. If you like a thrilling read this is another possibility to practise your English! Today's History Lesson :: The "War of the Roses" was an important period in English history. If you are interested this article will complement one part of our episode with many historic details. Advertising Animals :: Have a look at this short commercial in case you didn't believe that gazelles do play Rugby against flightless birds. Icons of Englishness :: Here you can get to know many more symbols - or icons as they are called here - that stand for England in particular or the UK in general. Many interesting things to discover! U.S. State Insignia :: The episode left you wondering what the national dinosaur of Texas is? Read up here and find out about it.

File Download (11:16 min / 11 MB)

x

Share: 50. Challenging Symbolic Celebration


49. A school day compared

2011-02-28 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

School systems differ greatly throughout the world. Even between the UK and the US there are some striking differences. In one country, for example, students swear in the morning while in the other they pray. But UK colleges and US high schools also have some things in common.

Listen to our comparison of two school days …

This Episode in MP3-Format ::   CCF – The Combined Cadet Force at School :: An article about the military youth organisation that plays an important role in many UK schools.

File Download (9:38 min / 10 MB)

x

Share: 49. A school day compared


48. Privately public

2011-02-14 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

If the description of school life in your English text book has always puzzled you, now’s the time to come to terms with the British education system. This episode explains how education is structured in the UK, particularly England.

And if you are curious about the US system just wait for our next episode …

This Episode in MP3-Format ::   Education in England :: A comprehensive article on the school system in England "Ten house points for Gryffindor!" :: You won't believe it, but the details of school life as potrayed in the Harry Potter books and movies are actually quite representative of British boarding schools. Pupils are organised in houses and earn house points for good efforts...

File Download (6:16 min / 7 MB)

x

Share: 48. Privately public


47. Merry Christmas everybody!

2010-12-23 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Have you been waiting for our annual Christmas Special? Here it is – from operatic to existentialist. Lean back and get some inspiration for a musical Christmas Eve!

This Episode in MP3-Format ::

File Download (10:04 min / 5 MB)

x

Share: 47. Merry Christmas everybody!


46. Harassing aitches and the heir of the herbs

2010-11-30 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

“In Hartford, Hereford, and Hampshire, hurricanes hardly ever happen.” – Why did poor Eliza Doolittle struggle so much with this simple sentence? This episode deals with just one letter: An “H” can be quite a hassle, as you will learn.

This Episode in MP3-Format :: Wikipedia on H :: Quite a long article for something as simple as a letter of the alphabet. Social Variation in English :: An interesting article with listening examples, one of them illustrating the phenomenon "h-dropping". Podcast on American Pronunciation of the H :: This podcast about American English pronunciation focuses on our letter of the day in its 28th episode, too. How to Pronounce the Letter H :: A funny article on the controversy about how to pronounce nothing but the name of the letter correctly.

File Download (6:14 min / 3 MB)

x

Share: 46. Harassing aitches and the heir of the herbs


45. A Cracking Twisted Topic

2010-11-14 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

This episode really hurts and will prepare you for the emergency case. You will learn what differences bruised, cracked, strained and sprained body parts make. And why you may not want to ask a passer-by for help with either a contusion or concussion.

This Episode in MP3-Format :: Ligaments & Tendons :: Ligaments connect different bones with eachother, tendons attach muscles to bones, and - not mentioned in the episode - fasciae link muscles with other muscles.

File Download (6:14 min / 3 MB)

x

Share: 45. A Cracking Twisted Topic


44. What (not) to do in an emergency

2010-10-31 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Peter tells us about his accident on the stairs and we learn how differently hospitals will handle accidents and emergencies in the English speaking world.

This Episode in MP3-Format :: Emergency Department :: Read up on the so-called Emergency Department of a hospital on Wikipedia

File Download (4:41 min / 3 MB)

x

Share: 44. What (not) to do in an emergency


Goodbye, Philipp!

2010-10-26 :: Philipp Eckert

RoPeCast is losing a valuable member behind the scenes. Philipp who was responsible for the recording and post production of all our episodes is leaving our team on to pastures new.

This Episode in MP3-Format ::

File Download (4:34 min / 2 MB)

x

Share: Goodbye, Philipp!


43. Moving in

2010-08-31 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

In our last episode you learned how to read an English housing ad and what houses look like in an English-speaking country.
But the inside of your new home can hold some surprises too, especially if you’re moving to a foreign country.
In this RoPeCast you’ll learn what to expect when moving in, and why Roger was shocked when he first arrived in Germany.

This Episode in MP3-Format ::   Episode 42: Going Home :: This is the last episode, in which we told you what kind of houses the British live in and how to read an English housing ad.

File Download (6:20 min / 7 MB)

x

Share: 43. Moving in


42. Going Home

2010-08-16 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Have you ever moved to a new home? Then you’ll know that this can be quite a challenge.
Even more so if you move to an English speaking country.
But don’t worry, we’ll tell you what kind of houses the British live in and how to read an English housing ad.

 This Episode in MP3-Format ::   Example for a housing ad ::

File Download (6:32 min / 8 MB)

x

Share: 42. Going Home


41. Twisting your tongue

2010-07-30 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Caution: This RoPeCast will twist your tongue. Listen at your own risk.
Here’s a preview the type of mind-bending rhymes that await you after the download:

She sells sea shells by the seashore.
The shells she sells are surely seashells.
So if she sells shells on the seashore,
I’m sure she sells seashore shells.

So, have a go at our tongue twisters and send in your own.
But remember: You have been warned.

 This Episode in MP3-Format ::   Tongue Twisters at ESL :: The guys at ESL have an interactive list of tongue twisters online. Click on a link to go to the tongue twister and recording, listen as often as you want, and give them a try on your own!

File Download (6:00 min / 7 MB)

x

Share: 41. Twisting your tongue


40. Baby Slang

2010-07-15 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

In this final 3rd episode of our mini-series about so called “child directed speech” or “baby talk” we’ll tackle the more delicate issues in talking to small children.
You’ll learn what English-speaking Moms say when the diaper is full and what their toddlers cry out when they hurt themselves.
Once again you won’t find any of this in your English textbook, so take a listen.

This Episode in MP3 Format ::   Baby Vocabulary :: Here you can find a little list of "vocabulary" - widely-used baby talk words and phrases. 39. Baby Poetry :: Not interested in poetry? Well, you used to be! As a baby, you couldn’t get enough of those rhymes. This RoPeCast features some really famous British and American baby poetry and as a bonus we will teach you how to do the “Itsy-Bitsy-Spider&rd 38. Parentese - How Moms and Dad speak to their Toddlers :: Now that our podcast has reached the toddler age, we thought it’s time to invite an expert to learn about so called child directed speech. In this first part of a small series, our guest Bobbye Pernice will tell you the difference between Poppas and

File Download (7:50 min / 9 MB)

x

Share: 40. Baby Slang


39. Baby poetry

2010-06-30 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Not interested in poetry? Well, you used to be!
As a baby, you couldn’t get enough of those rhymes. That’s no surprise, some of those lullabies, fingerplays and kneebouncers are all artforms in their own right.
Bet you still know a few in your mother tongue but what about English ones?
This ropecast features some really famous British and American baby poetry and as a bonus we will teach you how to do the “Itsy-Bitsy-Spider”.

 This Episode in MP3-Format ::   "Mother Goose" online :: Read "Mother Goose" online at Project Gutenberg. Itsy-Bitsy-Spider :: At babycenter.com you can learn how to do the famous fingerplay.

File Download (6:30 min / 7 MB)

x

Share: 39. Baby poetry


38. Parentese - How Moms and Dad speak to their Toddlers

2010-06-15 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

RoPeCast has been all about speaking ever since it saw the light of day about 2 two years ago.
Two-year-old children are different, of course, which is why mothers use baby talk to communicate with their toddlers instead of complicated Standard English.
Now that our podcast has reached the toddler age, we thought it’s time to invite an expert to learn about so called child directed speech.
In this first part of a small series, our guest Bobbye Pernice will tell you the difference between Poppas and Poppies and explain why sissys may drink from sippy cups.

This Episode in MP3 Format ::   "Mooly Cow Rhyme" :: Here you can read the "Mooly Cow Rhyme" which was mentioned in the Episode. The original title is "The Cow-Boy's Song" and it was written by Anna Maria Wells. Choosing your Grandfather Name :: On this page you can find an almost endless number of variations on the traditional Grandpa, some evidently caused by childish mispronunciation, some perhaps derived from grandfather names in other languages.

File Download (6:58 min / 8 MB)

x

Share: 38. Parentese - How Moms and Dad speak to their Toddlers


37. Feasting on Words

2010-04-18 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Did you know that you can learn a lot about history from food?
You can actually learn about aspects of British culture by tracing back when food names came into the English language.
How?
Find out in this episode of RoPeCast – as long as it’s hot.

This Episode in MP3 Format ::   'Why Nothing Rhymes With Orange' :: Interesting blogpost by 'The Smithsonian' on the etymology of foods 'Meaty Stories' :: Second part of that blogpost 'Etymology of Food' on Answers.com :: An article on Answers.com covering the topic

File Download (6:06 min / 9 MB)

x

Share: 37. Feasting on Words


Etymology Quiz

2010-04-04 :: Dr. Peter Tischer


Happy Easter!
Try out our new word quiz by clicking this link:

Start the quiz!


Listen to the audio here:

File Download (0:47 min / 1 MB)

x

Share: Etymology Quiz


36. The ups and downs of words

2010-03-14 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Sometimes life is good to you and sometimes things just keep going downhill.
This does not only happen to people, words too can go from rags to riches – or fall from grace.
This RoPeCast traces back the career paths of some not so succesful words but also introduce you to one that really made it.

This Episode in MP3 format ::  

File Download (5:55 min / 6 MB)

x

Share: 36. The ups and downs of words


35. Around the world with words

2010-03-01 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Do you know where the word “pyjamas” comes from?
This RoPeCast will take you on a linguistic trip around the globe to find out!
Fasten your seatbelts, lean back and we’re ready for take off.

This Episode in MP3 Format ::  

File Download (6:54 min / 8 MB)

x

Share: 35. Around the world with words


34. To kiss or not to kiss...

2010-02-14 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

... that is the question (with apologies to Shakespeare).
When to shake hands, to kiss on the cheek, to speak to a stranger – this podcast suggests some dos and don’ts for visitors to Britain.

This Episode in MP3 format ::   Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour :: A bestseller in the UK, Watching the English is a biting, affectionate, insightful and often hilarious look English Society.

File Download (6:16 min / 9 MB)

x

Share: 34. To kiss or not to kiss...


33. Pronunciation matters

2010-01-31 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Does the way you pronounce English get you what you want?
If you ask for crabmeat, does the waiter bring crabmeat? Or does her bring you rubbish?
Ve haff vays of improving your English!

This Episode in MP3 format ::   Merriam Webster Online Dictionary :: At Merriam Webster's you can listen to the pronunciation of every word in their dictionary. For example to the pronunciation of "pronunciation". The phonetics and phonology of English pronunciation :: This self-study book takes the reader on a journey of discovery into the areas of pronunciation, phonetics, and phonology; places where students have often lost their way – and their motivation.

File Download (4:55 min / 8 MB)

x

Share: 33. Pronunciation matters


32. The 60:40 Problem

2010-01-22 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Obama has not completely lost it, but losing just one senate seat may make all the difference for the new health-care bill.
Because now, Republicans can stop the law by just discussing it endlessly.
This RoPecast only needs 5 minutes to explain why the length of a speech can be a poltical weapon.

This Episode in MP3 format ::   Filibuster at Wikipedia :: Check Wikipedia for more information on filibuster

File Download (5:05 min / 8 MB)

x

Share: 32. The 60:40 Problem


31. Word Shopping

2009-12-23 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Dictionaries are nice – but sometimes you just can’t find what you’re looking for in any of them. This is especially true for quite a lot of everyday items for which you may not even know a word in your own mother tongue. Don’t despair! Let us invite you to a shopping spree in which you will acquire a lot of new expressions that never make it into regular reference books.

MP3-Version of this episode ::   Dallas Mavericks Online Shop :: A good place to find expressions for fan gear and sports related items. Christmas Time UK :: An online shop where you can find the English words for all things Christmas. IKEA USA :: A great place to go to if you want to know what all the objects in your home are called.

File Download (6:10 min / 3 MB)

x

Share: 31. Word Shopping


30. Humor can be a serious business

2009-11-30 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Let’s go back to Harvard College, USA, to hear how an amusing anecdote can be used to explain a relatively difficult concept.
In the process, we learn how a computer program “accidentally” passed the Turing Test.
You don’t know what the Turing Test is? Just listen to our RoPeCast.

This Episode in MP3 format ::   ELIZA :: Chat with Eliza. Here's an online version of Joseph Weizenbaum's doctor program written in Java. Eliza dialogs :: Here you can find the dialogue between eliza and bbn's vice president and many other dialogues with colorful personalities of early artificial intelligence. The Turing test at Wikipedia :: The Turing test is a proposal for a test of a machine's ability to demonstrate intelligence. Offical Website of CS50 :: Introduction to the intellectual enterprises of computer science and the art of programming. This course teaches students how to think algorithmically and solve problems efficiently. CS50 Lectures :: You can watch all lectures and material of CS50 online - anytime, anywhere.

File Download (10:36 min / 16 MB)

x

Share: 30. Humor can be a serious business


29. How funny is your prof?

2009-11-15 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Our podcast takes the usual lighthearted look at a serious topic – and finds that Harvard College lectures can be funny as well as informative.

This Episode in MP3 format ::   Offical Website of CS50 :: Introduction to the intellectual enterprises of computer science and the art of programming. This course teaches students how to think algorithmically and solve problems efficiently. CS50 Lectures :: You can watch all lectures and material of CS50 online - anytime, anywhere.

File Download (6:35 min / 9 MB)

x

Share: 29. How funny is your prof?


28. The ins and outs of US elections

2009-10-31 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Are you familiar with the terms Congress, Senate and House? Who can veto legislation? Can a veto be overturned? And what is meant by “checks and balances”? This RoPeCast gives you some answers.

This Episode in MP3 format ::   US Congress at Wikipedia :: Learn more about Congress at Wikipedia. house.gov :: Official website of the House of Representatives. senate.gov :: Official website of the Senate. How a bill becomes law :: Get a brief overview about how a bill becomes a law. How our laws are made :: Check out this site if you wan't to know even more about the legislative process.

File Download (5:44 min / 9 MB)

x

Share: 28. The ins and outs of US elections


27. Common(s) Problems - The British Parliament

2009-10-14 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

The problem with getting a seat in Westminster is, well, getting a seat.
In more than one way, it can become pretty hard to become a respected Member of the British Parliament. Even if you are elected, people may just not notice you…

This Episode in MP3 format ::   The British Parliament at Wikipedia :: Find out more about Britain's Parliament at Wikipedia. www.parliament.uk :: The official Site of the Parliament

File Download (7:05 min / 11 MB)

x

Share: 27. Common(s) Problems - The British Parliament


26. Vote till you Drop - The US Electoral System

2009-09-30 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

If you think that German voting laws are complicated, take a look at the American System.
American voters have to register before voting, are invited to lengthy primaries and in the end don’t even get to vote directly for their President.
After this Podcast, the German “overhang seats” (Überhangmandate) will seem a rather trivial issue.

This Episode in MP3 format ::   US presidential election :: All the details about voting in the States at Wikipedia Register to Vote! :: Register to vote for the next presidential election, or just find out what qualifications you have to fulfill (besides being citizen of the US).

File Download (6:58 min / 10 MB)

x

Share: 26. Vote till you Drop - The US Electoral System


25. Dictionary update

2009-09-21 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Are you already thinking about Christmas gifts? And you have already bought the new video iPod? Well, maybe you want Santa to bring you a new dictionary. We have a new one that you could put on your list. And if you don’t like the one we present in this podcast, listen again to our podcast “More than words” for more suggestions.

This Episode in MP3 format ::   RoPeCast Ep.13 - More than words :: Have you been wondering which English dictionary to buy? There are so many on the market that it is very difficult to know which one to choose. This podcast suggests which criteria are important and offers a short-list of four titles. RoPeCast Ep.14 - The word is flat! :: Everyone can see that dictionaries are helpful books, but is it worth spending more to buy a dictionary with a CD-ROM? Collins Cobuild Advanced Dictionary :: A Google book description of the Collins Cobuild Advanced Dictionary

File Download (5:55 min / 10 MB)

x

Share: 25. Dictionary update


24. Quotations Reloaded

2009-09-14 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

A popular saying goes “things are not what they seem”.
This also holds true for a number of quotations.
Some really famous ones were probably never said, others are attributed to the wrong person. This podcast will show you that even legendary quotations can be fakes.

This Episode in MP3 format ::   Episode 23. Yes, we quote! - A Quotation Quiz :: In our last episode Peter is challenged by Roger in a pretty tough quotation quiz. Not waving, but drowning :: Here you can find the poem Roger reads in this Episode.

File Download (7:02 min / 11 MB)

x

Share: 24. Quotations Reloaded


23. Yes, we quote! - A Quotation Quiz

2009-08-31 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

You certainly know president Obama’s famous slogan “Yes, we can.”, but how did he come up with it?
And who first said “He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.” ?
Find out the answers in this episode, in which Peter is challenged by Roger in a pretty tough quotation quiz.

This Episode in MP3 format ::   Wikiquote :: Wikiquote is a Wikipedia spin-off providing a vast database of famous quotes. Quotation quiz :: Test your quotation knowledge in this online quiz. Who said it? :: And another quotation quiz for your enjoyment.

File Download (10:46 min / 12 MB)

x

Share: 23. Yes, we quote! - A Quotation Quiz


22. Friends?

2009-08-18 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Genial persons have the most friends.
But they have to watch out for false friends, if they don’t want to be misunderstood.
We provide help in this RoPeCast episode.

This Episode in MP3 format ::   False friends :: Check this Wikipedia article for a comprehensive list of linguistic false friends.

File Download (6:14 min / 7 MB)

x

Share: 22. Friends?


21. Good Show! - Learning English for TV addicts

2009-07-31 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Good news: you can forget the news.
You don’t have to watch CNN all the time in order to learn English in front your TV set.
This episode will tell you how the TV can be your Friend(s) when it comes to improving your spoken English.

This Episode in MP3 format ::  

File Download (6:28 min / 9 MB)

x

Share: 21. Good Show! - Learning English for TV addicts


RoPeCast - Presidential Slang

2009-07-21 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Remeber our Ropecasts on rhyming slang?
One of our listeners had a cool idea for one that is based on Barack Obama.

This Episode in MP3 format ::   Episode 18: Winnie Words :: In this episode we go even deeper into the topic of rhyming slang, including some that almost got us an “explicit” tag on the iTunes Store.

File Download (2:06 min / 3 MB)

x

Share: RoPeCast - Presidential Slang


20. Getting a Fix on Expressions

2009-07-15 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Fixed expressions are used by all and sundry 24/7.
And what’s more, the most common ones are easy to understand.
But there’s bad news too: it’s hard to find out which fixed expressions are worth remembering.
We’ll tell you where to look for help, and how to come to grips with them.

This Episode in MP3 format ::   Proverbial Epiphany :: Check out the previous episode that also dealt with fixed expressions.

File Download (5:02 min / 7 MB)

x

Share: 20. Getting a Fix on Expressions


19. Proverbial Epiphany

2009-06-30 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Who told you proverbs are important? Forget school, only teachers use old fashioned sayings like “Early bird gets the worm.” Idioms are the real deal. And as an added bonus we’ll tell you the only two Englisch proverbs that are actually worth learning.

This Episode in MP3 format ::   English idioms at Wikipedia :: Find many English idioms here as well as fixed expressions and proverbs and sayings.

File Download (4:54 min / 7 MB)

x

Share: 19. Proverbial Epiphany


18. Winnie Words

2009-06-14 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

In this episode we go even deeper into the topic of rhyming slang, including some that almost got us an “explicit” tag on the iTunes Store. If you listen closely to this episode, you will even unravel the rhyming slang riddle of this episode’s title.

Oh, and be sure to leave us a comment with your own rhyming slang based on the new American president’s name Barack Obama.

This Episode in MP3 format ::   The Missing Link :: Our last Episode, which was also about the topic of rhyming slang. RoPeCast rhyming slang manual :: Check out our little graphic manual on how to cope with rhyming slang!

File Download (5:48 min / 8 MB)

x

Share: 18. Winnie Words


17. The Missing Link

2009-06-01 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

What’s the connection between Britney Spears, Nelson Mandela, and a popular drink?

No idea? Then listen to our podcast about rhyming slang, which supplies the missing link.

This Episode in MP3 format ::   Rhyming slang :: Read and learn more about rhyming slang and find examples of rhyming slang in popular culture. Webster's rhyming slang online dictionary :: If you are in trouble understanding a certain phrase of rhyming slang, you can look it up in this comprehensive dictionary. RoPeCast rhyming slang manual :: Check out our little graphic manual on how to cope with rhyming slang!

File Download (4:10 min / 6 MB)

x

Share: 17. The Missing Link


16. The Best Test in the West?

2009-05-14 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

The American TOEFL may be the best known English test but there is a British alternative.
The “International English Language Testing System” IELTS offers you two ways to demonstrate how good your English is.
So whether you’re planning to work or study abroad,
or even to emigrate, you should check this out.

This Episode in MP3 format ::   IELTS :: The IELTS global web site offers resources for test candidates and teachers. IELTS at britishcouncil.de :: An information page in German language containing comprehensive information about the test procedure and testing centers in Germany.

File Download (3:55 min / 6 MB)

x

Share: 16. The Best Test in the West?


15. Show’em or shred’em

2009-04-30 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

You want to have proof of your English skills and you look around for a test that you can take to get a certificate.
You find a confusing range of options and perhaps end up paying good money for a piece of paper that is not accepted by potential employers, colleges and universities.
We’ll tell you which certifcates really are worth the money and the effort.

This Episode in MP3 format ::   TOEFL :: The TOEFL website provides you with all necessary information and even with a free demo program for practise. IELTS :: The IELTS global web site offers resources for test candidates and teachers. UNIcert :: Description of the UNIcert program, levels and institutes.

File Download (5:36 min / 8 MB)

x

Share: 15. Show’em or shred’em


14. The word is flat!

2009-04-16 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Everyone can see that dictionaries are helpful books, but is it worth spending more to buy a dictionary with a CD-ROM?

There are indeed many advantages to using an electronic format: help with English pronunciation, easy access to synonyms and information about frequent collocations, to name just a few.

This Episode in MP3 format ::   RoPeCast Ep 13 - More than words :: In this RoPeCast episode you can find all the other information about dictionarys you might want to know.

File Download (6:22 min / 9 MB)

x

Share: 14. The word is flat!


Easter not-too-special

2009-04-08 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

After our Christmas and New Year’s special episodes we tried hard to deliver something similar for Easter. Listen to this short episode to learn what we came up with …

Easter Eggs :: This Wikipedia article talks about a second meaning of "Easter Egg" The Easter Egg Archive :: You can even find Easter Eggs on your computer. Don't believe us? Well, then follow this link and see for yourself. Big Buck Bunny :: This open-source animated short film tells the story of a giant rabbit with a heart bigger than himself. Enjoy!

File Download (1:52 min / 3 MB)

x

Share: Easter not-too-special


RoPeCast - April Fool's day

2009-04-01 :: Philipp Eckert

Did we fool you?

This Episode in MP3 format ::   April Fools' Day :: Read about the day and the best pranks in Wikipedia. A Spoonfull of Russian :: If you were already looking forward to learning Russian with us ... try this podcast instead.

File Download (0:51 min / 1 MB)

x

Share: RoPeCast - April Fool's day


RoPeCast relaunch - РоПеКаст

2009-03-31 :: Christoph Klein

Unfortunately we did not receive too many comments from our listeners over the last two months and so we decided to address a different, potentially larger group of learners from now on. As of today, RoPeCast will become РоПеКаст and target learners of Russian …

День смеха — неофициальный праздник, отмечающийся, чаще всего, 1 апреля. Ð’ Испании День дурака празднуется 28 декабря.

По традиции, в этот день принято подшучивать над друзьями, членами семьи, коллегами и Ñ‚. д. Эти шутки обычно срабатывают, если человек забыл, какой сегодня день. Традиционное выражение в этот день — это «Ð£ вас спина белая».

This Episode in MP3 format :: День смеха :: День смеха из Википедии Лист оф Инглиш вердс оф Рушен ориджин :: Лист оф Инглиш вердс оф Рушен ориджин из Википедии Нонсенс :: Нонсенс из Википедии

File Download (0:59 min / 2 MB)

x

Share: RoPeCast relaunch - РоПеКаст


12. Pain-free surgery and other British surprises

2009-03-14
Length: 4m 43s

Those who are familiar with American English probably find it hard to believe that in the UK, surgery is not only performed in hospitals but something quite common in Parliament and even in office buildings, but it’s true. Other troublesome words…

x

Share: 12. Pain-free surgery and other British surprises


Be our guest

2009-03-03
Length: 2m 6s

Do you have any questions about the English language? Or about English speaking cultures? Or about learning English? Or other questions about English you desperately want an answer to and have been afraid to ask up to now? If that is so, post a comment…

x

Share: Be our guest


11. The ins and outs of American and British

2009-02-28
Length: 4m 30s

If one compares US and British usage, one finds apparently contrasting expressions which mean the same thing, for instance: to fill in a form versus to fill out a form. We offer an explanation and other interesting examples of how two nations are…

x

Share: 11. The ins and outs of American and British


10. To –ing or not to –ing – that is the question

2009-02-14
Length: 4m 33s

Do you know when to say I live here (simple form) and when to say I am living here (progressive or continuous form)? Are there verbs that are used only in the simple form? What about McDonald’s and their slogan, “I’m loving it”?…

x

Share: 10. To –ing or not to –ing – that is the question


9. Tense moments

2009-01-31
Length: 4m 20s

Do you really know how many tenses you use when speaking your first language? Our analysis might surprise you – and help you with your English.…

x

Share: 9. Tense moments


8. No future for English?

2009-01-14
Length: 5m 17s

Learners who take risks when speaking English may make better progress than those who play it safe. But ignoring grammar can sometimes lead to misunderstandings. Let’s take the example of speaking about the future. Nothing can possibly go wrong…

x

Share: 8. No future for English?


7. Sporting language

2008-12-31
Length: 4m 40s

Sporting metaphors permeate the English language. In this podcast you can learn about level playing fields, curveballs and sticky wickets. And do you know what a rain check is? Check it out.…

x

Share: 7. Sporting language


Where are the fireworks?

2008-12-25
Length: 11m 53s

—- New Year’s Special —- Hear how people in Canada, Ireland, the USA and UK see in the New Year. There’s talk of socials, resolutions, firecrackers… and about a famous British dinner party that only Germans really care…

x

Share: Where are the fireworks?


Chimney, Front Door or Window?

2008-12-14
Length: 17m 39s

—- Christmas Special —- After we received feedback asking for longer RoPeCast episodes, we thought the forthcoming holidays were the right occasion for spending a little bit more time listening to our show. This time we present…

x

Share: Chimney, Front Door or Window?


6. Not all balls are round

2008-11-30
Length: 6m 6s

When people in many parts of the world speak of the “World Cup”, they are probably referring to the game of soccer, but rugby also has its World Cup, Six Nations’ Trophy, and other competitions. So what exactly is this game that…

x

Share: 6. Not all balls are round


5. Football is not always soccer

2008-11-14
Length: 3m 53s

Do you know how many types of football there are in the world? There may be no definitive answer, but we’ll deal with 3 major sports: American football, soccer and rugby football, taking in hockey and cricket along the way.…

x

Share: 5. Football is not always soccer


13. More than words

0000-00-00 :: Dr. Peter Tischer

Have you been wondering which English dictionary to buy? There are so many on the market that it is very difficult to know which one to choose.
This podcast suggests which criteria are important and offers a short-list of four titles.

Y…

x

Share: 13. More than words


RoPeCast

Are you an advanced learner of English? These podcasts from Saarland University offer challenging listening opportunities and fascinating topics to do with the English language and culture. Get your new enhanced five-minute episode once every two weeks.

RoPeCast


Switch to our mobile site