An episode with my friend and colleague Ben, with common social english questions, a conversation about going travelling in India and some useful vocabulary explained at the end.
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In this special extra-large podcast, I’m joined by my friend & colleague Ben.
In Part 1, I talk about the good review of Luke’s English Podcast which we got on the iTunes store (thanks to Bookshop Worker).
In Part 2, I get to know Ben with some really common social english questions. This is a great example of a typical natural conversation in which you get to know someone.
In Part 3, Ben and I talk about going travelling and our experiences in India.
Then in Part 4, I explain the useful language we used in part 3. It’s a massive 1 hour podcast this time! I recommend that after you listen to part 4, you should listen to Part 3 again because you’ll understand it more…
Useful Language from Part 2 – The Interview with Ben.
Here are some bits of language from the conversation I had with Ben. I have written explanations and advice under each bit of language.
Luke: “How’s it going?”
-‘How’s it going’ is a very common way to say ‘how are you?’
Ben: “Yeah, good. Just finished work for the day”
Luke: “How long have you worked there?”
-This question is in the present perfect tense. We use this tense to ask a ‘how long’ question for an action that someone started in the past, but is still doing now.
Ben: “I’ve worked there for 4 years now”
-Again, present perfect to describe an action which started in the past and is still happening now. ‘for’ is used with a duration of time. ‘since’ would be used for a point in time, e.g. ‘I’ve worked there since 2005’
Ben: “I’ve been teaching for about 6 and a half, 7 years I think”
-Ben used the present perfect continous. In this situation, present perfect continuous has the same use as present perfect. Listen to podcast 7 for more information.
Luke: “Where did you work before?”
Ben: “I lived in Oxford”
-I used the past simple tense for this question, because it is about a finished period of time. Present Perfect – actions in an unfinished time. Past simple – actions in a finished time.
Luke: “What did you do at university?”
-Again, past simple for a finished time. ‘What did you do?’ means ‘What did you study?’
Ben: “I studied Social Science, which is, umm, it’s quite a mixed subject”
-Ben used a relative clause ‘which is…’ to add extra information to the noun ‘social science’. Using relative clauses is very common for giving more information. They’re really useful for fluency.
Ben: “I finished there and I worked in an office for a while”
-Ben used past simple tense to describe a sequence of actions.
Luke: “Do you teach business?”
-I used present simple because I’m talking about what he does now, regularly. If I had said “Are you teaching business?” it would be a question about a temporary period. “I teach business”-permanent period now. “I’m teaching business”-temporary period now (will maybe finish in a couple of weeks).
Luke: “Umm, yeah, wicked, cool”
-‘wicked’ and ‘cool’ are informal expressions which mean ‘great, excellent, good, etc’
Luke: “You live nearby, right?”
-‘nearby means’ near, or close to here. ‘right?’ is a simple kind of tag-question. You can use it to check that something is true. Tag questions are often used when you get to know someone. You can use them to check information you already know.
Luke “Aren’t you a QPR fan?”
-This is another way to check something you already know – use a negative question. I think ben is a QPR fan, but I want to check. I could have said “You’re a QPR fan, aren’t you?”
Luke: “They’re not in the Premiership though, are they?”
-Here I’m using a tag-question (are they?) to check something, but also I’m making a joke by showing that QPR are not a very good team!
Ben: “They were taken over last year by some very wealthy millionaires”
-‘they were taken over’ means that the club was bought by new owners. If a company is ‘taken over’ it means that another company buys the majority of its shares, and then becomes the boss of that company. ‘Wealthy’ means ‘rich’.
Ben: “I live in hope!”
-to live in hope means that you are always hoping for something. In this case, Ben is living in hope that QPR will become a big & successful London football team.
The language in Part 2 is all REALLY useful – especially the way Ben & I used the different tenses (Present perfect, past simple, present simple).
Useful Language from Part 3 (explained in Part 4):
“to go traveling” – This is a very common expression which means that you visit another country and you live there for quite a long time and just travel around. It’s different from a holiday – on holiday you usually stay for a shorter time and stay in one place. If you go travelling it means that you stay for longer, and travel around to different places.
“to do / to go on a trip somewhere” – This means that you make a short visit to somewhere. E.g. I did a trip to Hampi
“to fly into somewhere” – This means that you arrived there by plane. You can also ‘fly out of somewhere’.
“it’s on the coast” – This means that the location is next to the sea, on the edge of the country.
“it’s inland” – this means it is not on the coast, but in the country. E.g. in Brazil Rio de Janeiro is on the coast, but Brasilia is inland.
“it’s off the coast of…” – This is used to describe the position of an island. E.g. The Isle of White is off the south coast of England.
“it’s in the north/south/east/west of…” -This is used to describe the position of something in an area. E.g. Manchester is in the north of England.
“it’s to the north/south/east/west of …” -This describes the location of something in relation to another place, E.g. “Oxford is to the north of London”- it is above London.
‘there’s a good exchange rate” – This means that the English pound is stronger than the Indian rupee, so you get more rupees for each pound when you exchange your currency.
“the pound has dropped in value” – This means that the economic value of the pound has gone down
“our economy is a bit screwed” – If something is ‘screwed’ it means it is damaged, in bad condition.
“they’ve really, sort of, messed it up” – To ‘mess something up’ means to do it badly, to make mistakes, to make it go bad. E.g. the bankers have messed up the economy.
“it’s the recession, the credit crunch” – The recession describes the bad economic situation. The credit crunch is how people describe that it is very difficult to borrow money. Businesses and individuals can’t borrow money (get credit) because no one will lend it. This is the credit crunch – a pressured situation due to lack of credit.
“there’s a light breeze’ – This is about the weather, and a light breeze is a cool, light wind. Lovely.
“what’s nice about Goa is that it’s really chilled, isn’t it?” – ‘it’s really chilled’ means that it is relaxing. ‘chilled out’ means relaxed/relaxing.
“there’s a really relaxed vibe” – A ‘vibe’ is a slang word for an atmosphere.
“before you know it, you’re absolutely baked in the heat” – ‘Before you know it’ means ‘suddenly, or before you expect it’, and to be ‘baked’ means that you are cooked by the sun. You’re really hot, basically.
“you do find that time, sort of, slips by” – This means that time passes and you don’t realise.
“speaking like a geezer – Alright mate!” – A ‘geezer’ is a slang word for a man. It also means a kind of typical Londoner who is quite confident and possibly aggressive. ‘Alright mate’ means, ‘hello friend, how are you?’
“they’re wearing these beautifully coloured saris” – A sari is a traditional clothing that Indian women wear.
“the old part of Goa was a Portuguese colony” -A colony is a settlement or civilisation of people who come from another country and take over in that area. E.g. the British colonies in India, The Caribbean, etc (became The Commonwealth). Colonial (adjective). E.g. beautiful colonial architecture.
“it’s quite diverse, open minded” -Diverse means that there are many different types of people, from different religions and ethnicities. Open minded means they are not conservative and they accept different kinds of lifestyle and. behaviour.
“you can go off the beaten track” -This means to go to places that tourists don’t usually go to. The beaten track is the places where everyone goes.
“Hampi is great. It’s like this old pilgrimage site. It’s stunning” -A pilgrimage site is a place where people make religious journeys to. E.g. Mecca is a pilgrimage site for Muslims.
“there are huge boulders” -Boulders are very very big rocks.
“it’s very strange, the landscape. It’s very atmospheric” -‘Atmospheric’ means that the atmosphere is very strong and impressive.
The Bad Things:
“there are loads of people who just keep hassling you” -‘hassle’ means disturb or annoy. In India, you are always hassled by people who want to sell you something, or offer you a taxi ride. Everyone wants you to use their taxi, or buy their products!
“just chill out man!” -Just relax!
“we’re not used to that sort of thing in London” -We’re not accustomed to that. (see podcast Episode 3 language section)
“you have to haggle for pretty much everything you buy” -To haggle means to negotiate the price. E.g. £10 – no £3! -no £7 – are you crazy? £5! – OK, £5.
“have you got a missed call?” -A missed call means that someone has called you but you didn’t answer and your mobile says ‘you have 1 missed call’.
“you’re worried that you’re going to get sick, particularly an upset stomach” -An upset stomach means that you feel sick in your stomach.
“you get, like, diarrhea or Delhi Belly” -Diarrhea is a sickness when your poo is not solid! You have to run to the toilet and do a horrible ‘liquid’ poo! Delhi Belly is the name that tourists to India use to describe an upset stomach or diarrhea.
“you might be throwing up or something” -To throw up means to vomit. When you’re sick and your food comes out of your mouth! EEEEEEEEAAAAACHHH!!
“it makes you really paranoid” -If you’re paranoid, it means that you are very worried that something bad is going to happen, or you think that something bad is happening, but actually it isn’t. E.g. “oh my god I really hope I haven’t got malaria! Maybe I’ve got malaria!” or “I don’t think John likes me. It’s the way he looks at me sometimes. Actually, I think everyone thinks I’m stupid. They’re always looking at me like I’m stupid…” “Shut up! You’re just paranoid! Everyone likes you…”
“I had to hunt it down and kill it” -To hunt something means to follow something and kills it (usually for food, but sometimes for sport)
“I went back and slept like a baby” -To sleep like a baby means that you sleep very very well.
“the malaria tablets as well can have some side effects” -A side effect is another effect of medicine. E.g. Asprin will stop a headache, but the side effect is a bad stomach. The side effect of malaria tablets is bad dreams.
“there is quite a lot of poverty” -Poverty means the bad conditions that people live in when they have no money. In developing countries there is a lot of poverty, and India is no exception.
“it’s quite depressing” -It can make you sad, depressed when you see the poverty.
“it can make you feel a bit guilty” -When you see the poverty, and you know you have lots of money, you feel responsible and bad about it – like it’s your fault, or you’re not doing anything to stop the poverty. In fact, you’re having a holiday there, but they local people are very poor.
“what you’re haggling over is the principle” -You’re not really negotiating over the money, but the fact that you just don’t want to pay more than you think is right. The principle means the point that you believe in – in this case, it is the fact that you don’t want to lose the negotiation and pay ‘too much’.
“we’re always worried about being, sort of, ripped off” -To be ripped off means to pay too much for something. E.g. “You paid £5 for that can of Coca Cola (TM)?? You were ripped off!!”
“but basically, on balance, India is great” -When you compare the good things and bad things and then get a conclusion you can say ‘on balance’.
“laid back” -This means ‘relaxed, easy going’.
“there must be a word I can use to describe the fact that I can’t describe it… err… does it make you… speechless?” -I said this because I was embarrassed that I couldn’t think of a 3rd adjective to describe India!
OK, so that’s the end of this huge podcast! I hope it has been useful. Don’t forget to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Baking in the sun on Benaulim Beach in Goa:
Climbing up to the Monkey Temple in Hampi. That’s my cousin Oliver in the picture.
This is me on the train back from Hampi to Goa. Our seats were at the top of the train and we had to lie down like this for most of the journey. You can also sit on the doorstep of the train and watch the world go by, but it’s a bit dangerous…