[1/2] Stephen from the Simple English News Daily podcast asks me questions about news events from this year. This is part 1 of a 2-part episode.
Listen to me telling this classic Christmas ghost story – “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. I have read this story on the podcast before (in episode 320) but it’s a good one so let’s do it again, shall we? 🎅
PDF Transcript 👇
This is part 2 of this double episode. Please listen to part 1 first! Sarah and Fred are trivia quiz nerds with a new trivia podcast. In this episode they joined me for some trivia quizzing and conversation. In this second part you can listen to my quiz for Sarah and Fred, and then Fred’s quiz for me. Can you answer the questions? Can you follow the whole conversation? Listen carefully!
☝️ The audio version contains 7 extra minutes at the start of the episode
Sarah and Fred are trivia quiz nerds who have been doing trivia nights in Paris for years and now have a new trivia-themed podcast. In this episode we get together to discuss trivia quizzing, and to quiz each other with our own trivia questions. In this first part we get to know Sarah and Fred again, talk about their new podcast and then Sarah quizzes me with some cleverly-written questions. The quizzing continues in part 2.
Talking to Cara about films, movies, her movie club for English learners and a discussion about films and what they mean.
In this episode you will be able to listen to a conversation with Cara Leopold all about films.
If you are a long-term listener to this podcast, then you will know Cara. She’s been on this show a few times before.
Just in case you need a reminder, Cara is an English teacher from the UK, currently living in France, and she loves films and uses them to help people learn English. In fact she is the creator of the Leo Listening Movie Club, where she helps advanced, film-loving English learners understand and discuss iconic movies together in order to master conversational English.
Cara Loves films.
I love films too, who doesn’t?
We all love films, don’t we?
And it’s very common to talk about films we’ve seen.
Are you able to do that in English?
I want you to think about what is involved in having a conversation about films in English.
When we talk about films, we do a number of things, including:
- Summarising the plot or story of the film
- Describing the main characters
- Talking about actors and their performances,
- Talking about directors and they way films are directed, edited, locations, effects and music.
- Giving our opinions about films, including the things we like and don’t like
- Discussing the meaning of films, and any social, historical or personal issues which are connected to them.
How do we do those things in English? Are you familiar with the language of cinema and the language of talking about films?
What I want to do with this episode is let you listen to a natural conversation (one that isn’t scripted in advance) about films in order to let you hear all those things being done.
So that’s what this is!
You can use this episode in several ways.
1) Just listen for enjoyment, listen to what we have to say about various different films, and just try to follow the conversation, and practice your general listening skills in the process.
2) Focus on noticing the specific vocabulary or grammar that we use to do all the things I mentioned before. Listen out for the ways we describe, summarise, give opinions and generally share our thoughts about films.
We mention lots of different films in this conversation and one thing which I’m thinking about is that those films might have different titles in your language. I hope you are able to identify the films.
You can see a list of the names of the films we mention on the page for this episode on my website. If you want to check out those movie titles, and perhaps google them to find out what they are called in your language, just go to the episode page on my website and you’ll see all the titles listed there, plus various other links to things which we mention or which you might find useful.
Right then. It’s now time to listen to my conversation with Cara.
I will talk to you again briefly at the end of this but now, let’s get started.
Thanks again to Cara.
You can check out her work.
On her website you can see details of the different courses and resources I mentioned before, which involve improving your English with films.
Also check out her YouTube channel where she has been posting videos lately. Some of the videos there include things like:
- The best movies for English learners
- The 5 best podcasts for movie loving English learners
- Should you watch movies in English with or without subtitles?
- How to understand movies in English without subtitles
- And more
Also you will find a link to Cara’s LinkedIn page where she has been writing posts about various things.
- Website – www.leo-listening.com
- LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/caraleopold/?originalSubdomain=fr
- YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/@LeoListening
As well as that, on the page for this episode on my website you’ll also find
- Links to those previous episodes of this podcast about using films and TV series to improve your English. That’s episodes 523 and 660
Also! Links to the episodes about Groundhog Day that we mentioned.
Episode 129 (parts 1 & 2) of Daniel Goodson’s podcast “My Fluent Podcast” in which Daniel and Cara discuss Groundhog Day
And a list of all the names of the films Cara and I mentioned in this conversation, in case you wanted to google them to find out what they are called in your language.
Here are a few questions which you could answer in the comment section if you like:
- Have you seen any good films recently?
- Do you prefer films or TV series? Why?
- What films have helped you learn English? How did they help you?
Films we mentioned in this conversation
- Pétaouchnok (The French film starring Philippe Rebbot, who Cara saw at a cafe recently)
- Films which Cara has watched in her film club recently
- Get Out
- Groundhog Day
Jane Austen adaptations
- Sense and Sensibility
- Pride and Prejudice
Richard Curtis films
- Love Actually
- Four Weddings & A Funeral
- Notting Hill
- About Time
Danny Boyle films
- 28 Days Later
- 28 Weeks Later
- Paranormal Activity
- John Carpenter films
- The Thing
Paul Verhoven films
- Total Recall
David Fincher films
- Fight Club
One of my all-time favourite films
- Taxi Driver
More recent films
- The Barbie Movie
- Killers of the Flower Moon
🎧 Learn English with a short story. 🗣 Listen & repeat after me if you’d like to practise your pronunciation. 💬 Learn some vocabulary in the second half of the video. 📄 I found this story in answer to a post on Quora.com asking about true scary stories. I thought I could use it to help you learn English. Can you understand the story, and predict the twist at the end?
About 7 years ago I got an invitation to attend a dinner party at my cousin’s house. I have a pretty large family and I had never actually seen this particular cousin before. I had only ever spoken to him on the phone. I was surprised that his family unexpectedly invited me over, but I was curious to finally meet them.
The invitation had an address that I didn’t know and the GPS was unfamiliar with it too. It was in one of those areas where Google Maps doesn’t work properly because of poor phone reception,
so I had to use an old fashioned paper map. I marked the location on the map, tried to get a sense of where I was headed, and set off in my car.
As I was driving I started to notice how far I’d travelled into the countryside, away from civilization. I saw trees, farms and fields passing by. Just trees, farms, and fields, and more trees, more farms and more fields.
“Where the hell am I going?” I thought to myself. I’d never ventured out so far in that direction before.
I drove for quite a long time, trying to locate the address I had marked on the map.
The thing is, in this area, a lot of the roads don’t have names, or the names aren’t clearly marked by road signs. I just had to try to match the layout of the streets, to the layout I could see on the map.
I finally found a place at a location that looked like the one I had noted on my map. I was pretty sure this was the right spot, so I parked and got out of the car.
Approaching the house I noticed how dull and dreary it looked. It was completely covered in leaves, branches and overgrown trees.
“This can’t be it.” I said to myself.
But as soon as I walked onto the rocky driveway my aunt and uncle came out to greet me. They seemed excited and welcoming.
“Hello! Hello! Come in! Come in!” they said, beckoning me inside.
Walking into the house, I asked where my cousin was. Answering immediately one of them said, “Oh, he just went to run a few errands. He should be back later.”
I waited in their kitchen and we spent a couple of hours talking about my mother and my family. My aunt made a delicious homemade pot roast that I finished off in minutes.
After dinner we played an enduring game of Uno. It was surprisingly fun and competitive. My aunt in particular seemed delighted to be playing.
When we finished the game of Uno it was almost dark and there was still no sign of my cousin. My aunt and uncle assured me that he’d be back any time soon. Despite what they said, I decided that I had to leave.
It was almost dark outside and I knew it would be a nightmare to find my way out of this dreadful place after sunset, with no streetlights or road signs. As my GPS just wasn’t working, I asked my aunt and uncle the most efficient way to get to the highway.
They gave me a puzzled look.
“But, we thought you were staying the night?” they said.
I told them I couldn’t because I had work the next day and couldn’t afford to miss another day. “It’s much better if you leave tomorrow morning. Trust us. You’ll get lost” they said.
I shrugged it off and told them not to worry,
“Don’t worry. I’ve got a pretty good sense of direction. I could find my way out of the Sahara desert.” I told them.
Looking aggravated, they strongly advised me to stay the night for my own sake. Their body language was weird too as they became more serious and insistent. My uncle stood shaking his head, and my aunt began to move about the place, picking up a set of keys to unlock what I assume was a spare bedroom.
At this point I was getting annoyed and irritable. I sighed, “Fine I’ll stay the night then, but I have to get up very early for work.” I said. Both of them seemed strangely ecstatic that I was staying the night.
As soon as they went out of the room to get bed sheets and pillows,
I ran out of the door, got in my car and hastily pulled away. I know it was rude, but I suddenly felt the urge to get out of there, quickly.
It seemed to take me ages, but I finally found my way back to the main highway and drove back through the night, wondering why my cousin had never turned up.
I got home several hours later than I expected. It was after midnight and I didn’t want to wake my parents up. Climbing over my fence and entering the back door, I noticed that the kitchen lights were on.
As soon as I took my first step through the door, I saw my mom sitting there looking impatient.
“Where have you been?”
“I was at aunt Debra’s. I told you.”
“Then why did she call saying you never arrived?”
To this day, I still have no idea who I visited.
Join me as I meet and get to know Rhiannon, an English coach whose mission is to help you feel awesome about your English. I had never met Rhiannon before this interview, so listen as I get to know her and we chat about her English & Welsh roots, moving to Edinburgh, studying theology at university, early experiences as an English teacher, why learners often feel ashamed of their English, and how she can help. We also discuss the wonders of fish & chips and deep fried Mars bars which you can buy on the streets of Edinburgh.
Work with Rhiannon 👉 https://www.rhiannonelt.com/
Instagram 👉 https://www.instagram.com/rhiannonelt.coaching/
Rhiannon’s podcast 👇
Fabio has written a book about language learning, based on his own personal experiences of learning English. Each chapter ends with the same sentence: “This is how to learn a language”. But each chapter disagrees with the next. There are many ways to learn a language, and none of them is the only right way to do it. In this episode, we talk all about this and Fabio shares some of his stories. Fabio is the host of “Stolariod Stories” a self-development podcast which includes lots of lessons about learning English, and learning about life in general.