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LPLE

LPLE is a podcast dedicated to helping people who are learning English practice their English listening skill. Jesse and Andrew, LPLE show hosts and native English speakers, have a regular native English conversation, and speak slowly and clearly so that the listeners can better understand the conversation.
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May 24, 2016

Welcome to LPLE, "Let's Practice Listening in English!"

Jesse does a solo reading of Seattle local news. Follow the below link to read the full story, as well as learn new words and vocabulary, and improve your pronunciation and listening comprehension.

The Seattle Times
Wal-Mart sharpens Amazon attack with 2-day delivery service
Originally published May 12, 2016 at 6:49 am
Updated May 12, 2016 at 3:29 pm
By Anne D'Innocenzio
The Associated Press

Join in the conversation! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to ask us questions about English conversation and meet other English language learners all over the world.

Website: dialog.fm/LPLE
iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/lple/id1098735563
Facebook: facebook.com/LPLEDialogFM
Twitter: twitter.com/LPLEDialogFM
Patreon: patreon.com/LPLE

May 17, 2016

Welcome to LPLE, "Let's Practice Listening in English!"

Jesse and Andrew talk about online dating, older methods of meeting people, and the loss of the ability to introduce one's self to a stranger.

Join in the conversation! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to ask us questions about English conversation and meet other English language learners all over the world.

 

Website: dialog.fm/LPLE
iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/lple/id1098735563
Facebook: facebook.com/LPLEDialogFM
Twitter: twitter.com/LPLEDialogFM
Patreon: patreon.com/LPLE

TRANSCRIPT

Intro [Jesse]: Hi everyone. My name is Jesse Robbins, and welcome to LPLE from Dialogue FM. We're the podcast that lets you practice listening in English. We speak English slowly and clearly so that you can follow along and understand native English speakers more easily. I'm excited to help you improve your English listening skills, as well as help you learn new vocabulary, grammar, and idioms commonly heard and conversation among native English speakers. If you want to practice listening in English, then we invite you to join our conversation.

Jesse: Hey, Andrew.

Andrew: Hey, Jesse.

Jesse: Let me just say that dating in our society--modern-day dating--confuses the hell out of me.

Andrew: I am right there with you.

Jesse: We are both in our early thirties...

Andrew: Yes.

Jesse: ...and when we look back on our twenties--common dating age--dating was a lot different than what dating looks like now.

Andrew: Yes. I think the dating culture that you and I grew up with was a much more traditional form of dating--that's the type that is probably closer to the kind of dating that maybe even our parents did when they were younger--and technology and social networking and the internet have kind of broken all of the rules that you and I used to follow...

Jesse: ...and have created their own rules.

Andrew: Yes. New standards and also ways of interacting and ways of meeting people that you and I didn't even have when we started going out to meet romantic partners.

Jesse: Now, of course, there are pros and cons, there are the benefits and drawbacks, to this new form of dating, and you can say there's benefits and drawbacks, pros and cons, to the old way of dating back in our twenties.

Andrew: Right!

Jesse: I feel confident enough to say that if I were a single man now, I just could not handle the modern-day dating scene, which is-... I'm mean, what are the common apps that people use nowadays?

Andrew: I think that nowadays rather than going to the bar and trying to meet someone you've never seen before, or being introduced through a friend, or asking someone out who you knew in a different context, either at work or to school, is not the most common way anymore because we have matchmaking websites like OkCupid or Match.com in the United States, or I think the most popular in our city is Tinder, which is the mobile app on our phone that lets us meet people without a whole lot of introduction and without a whole lot of detail about who the person is. It is like Facebook reduced to a picture and two sentences, and people make decisions on the spot about whether or not they are interested in meeting the other person. And, my understanding--I've never used this; I feel like a very old man just because I'm no longer in the market for this service--but, my understanding is you look at a bunch of pictures, see the person's first name, and read two sentences about them, and you say "yes, I'd like to meet this person," or "no, I wouldn't," and that is enough to carry on the conversation to the next level, because once both people say "yes" then they're allowed to contact each other and make plans for a date, which is about like walking into a coffee shop, and making an order, finding out the person behind you made the same order, and then going on a date next, which seems kind of crazy fast to me and without a whole lot of planning or preparation.

Jesse: The screen on your phone, even with a [iPhone] 6 Plus, is not that large to contain a lot of information about someone, and then make a determination of whether or not you want to spend the next hour, or two hours, or five hours of your life with them.

Andrew: Hahaha...

Jesse: That's really what you're doing. You're trying to create-... Have the best looking photo of yourself and combine the best mix of words such that you will attract somebody.

Andrew: Right. I think we are coming off sounding a bit old and out of fashion with this...

Jesse: Yeah, out of touch.

Andrew: ...out of touch, really, because we are used to meeting people earlier in the process and kind of evaluating from afar or being introduced, and things move a bit more slowly, and you are considering a person rather than an idea, and I think that's just us not being ready for this technology more than anything else, because I think you and I, because we have partners, don't need to be out finding new people all the time. And, what this technology lets you do is skip the part where you have to bravely introduce yourself to someone you don't know in the bar, or beg all your friends for introductions, or hope you are lucky enough to meet someone at a sports team, or a job, or a school that meets your interests.

There's a lot of research that we had to do--I guess, in general--that people can skip and go to meeting people right away, and that seems to be what everyone wants in the first place. So, I think it's actually probably a good thing.

Jesse: In the end, it's definitely made the process a lot easier for people. The barrier to talking to new people is dramatically reduced.

Andrew: Right.

Jesse: But, therein also lies a problem: We've lost the ability to talk to other people, right? If you think about, we've somewhat lost the ability to effectively introduce ourselves to a complete stranger and strike up a normal conversation.

Andrew: Do you think that people had to practice being social and charming in person because they were forced to because of all of the dating that needed to happen before you got to know someone in the past, and that now people don't need to practice, and so they aren't as good at it?

Jesse: I think there's an element of training that goes on--trial by fire, learning through experience. When I look back, before I met my current wife, when I was in the dating scene, when I was engaged in dating and introducing myself to women, yeah, there was an element of learning how to introduce myself appropriately, there were some successes and there were plenty of failures. Overall, I felt like it was a good skill to learn, primarily because you eventually learn how to get over that fear of introducing yourself to a stranger, and I think that skill carries over into a lot of other things. You can carry that skill over into your professional life, which is just learning how to go into a new room and introduce yourself to new people. I think that there's-... As nice as it is to streamline, to make it easier to meet people for the purpose of a potentially romantic relationship, I do believe that there's an element of social interaction that is lost, a particular skill that is lost.

Andrew: And, I think I agree with you in terms of the software not being able to add that social interaction. What I think is happening is that people get to know more about the person before they have to expend the energy, so people who are naturally social, naturally friendly can go out there and meet people the old fashion way. But, they also have this tool to meet more people sooner, which lets them practice sooner with more people, if that is their stumbling block. So, I think, on balance, it is probably better, it is-... We have the old ways and we have the new ways, and people have more options, in general, when they're going out to find their next date.

Jesse: Much like I would assume everybody in the dating scene agrees: The more options, the better.

Andrew: Agreed.

Outro [Jesse]: Thank you for listening to this episode of LPLE, Let's Practice Listening in English, from Dialog.FM. Subscribe to LPLE on iTunes to hear the latest episodes, or listen to past episodes on our website, Dialog.FM. That's d-i-a-l-o-g-dot-f-m. If you have questions or comments about English, or if you would like for us to use a word, grammar, or idiom in our conversation so you can learn how to use it correctly, we would love to hear from you on Twitter at @dialogdotfm or Facebook at facebook.com/dialogFM.

May 12, 2016

Welcome to LPLE, "Let's Practice Listening in English!"

Jesse and Andrew talk about the Tesla Model 3, and Andrew explains how automatic self-driving cars work and why the will become a thing of the future.

Join in the conversation! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to ask us questions about English conversation and meet other English language learners all over the world. 

Twitter: @LPLEDialogFM

Facebook: facebook.com/LPLEDialogFM

 

TRANSCRIPT

Intro [Jesse]: Hi everyone. My name is Jesse Robbins, and welcome to LPLE from Dialogue FM. We're the podcast that lets you practice listening in English. We speak English slowly and clearly so that you can follow along and understand native English speakers more easily. I'm excited to help you improve your English listening skills, as well as help you learn new vocabulary, grammar, and idioms commonly heard and conversation among native English speakers. If you want to practice listening in English, then we invite you to join our conversation.

Jesse: Hi, Andrew.

Andrew: Hey, Jesse.

Jesse: About a month ago, Tesla had made available for pre-order the Model 3.

Andrew: That's right. Their new, smaller car; their smaller electric car that is more affordable so that more people will be able to buy it.

Jesse: That's exciting. It's-... It's big news all around. It's an electric car, and it's also a...

Andrew: ...Autonomous car. It's a car that can at least partially drive itself when you are going from one place to another. So, you don't need to be using the gas and the steering all of the time.

Jesse: Now, we like the idea of having an electric car, but I'm really fascinated with this self-driving aspect. This is brand new technology!

Andrew: It's a big deal. It's never been done before very well, and it's being tested right now on tens of thousands of Teslas that are already out there on the roads, so it is getting better very, very fast.

Jesse: Right now, in Seattle and let's just say the Puget Sound, in general--Redmond, Bellevue, places where there's lots of technology companies...

Andrew: Right.

Jesse: And, when I say that there's places where there's technology companies, I also mean that there is plenty of people with large salaries who can afford self-driving cars right now.

Andrew: Right. We're talking about places in the west coast of America like Seattle and San Francisco where people who are interested in technology--also, have enough money to try products when they're still newer and a little bit more expensive--they are buying Tesla's Model S cars more often than other parts of the country and more often than most of the world. And, so, we are lucky enough to live in a city where there are a lot of Teslas out on the road, and one of the unique things about this car is that after most of the people had bought theirs, the company that made the car sent out an update to the software that runs it, and suddenly these cars that were normal cars powered by electricity suddenly were electric cars that were also able to drive themselves for parts of trips, so highway trips and other long stretches of road that were well-marked.

Jesse: Overnight, people who owned that car received a self-driving car.

Andrew: That's right. It's like getting an update to the software on your phone, only this is happening to the car that's parked in your garage. On Tuesday, you drive to work like a normal person having to control the steering wheel and the gas and the turn signals, and you come home, you park it, you get up the next day, and suddenly your car can drive itself to work while you keep an eye on it to make sure that everything's going well.

Jesse: Is it safe to say that currently on our roads right now there are self-driving cars?

Andrew: Yes, almost every day on freeways and highways across America and probably parts of Europe and Asia, as well. The cars don't need a map to follow, they can just use the GPS that's built in, and they look at the actual road that they're on to determine where lanes are, and they use radar and sonar to figure out where other cars are. So, they're actually driving in reaction to the vehicles around them. That means that when cars in front of you slow down and go lower than the speed limit, your car sees them slowing down and slows down, as well. If you want to change lanes, you put on the turn signal and then the car looks to make sure that there is space, and then accelerates and turns the wheel automatically to move into the new lane. You're not touching the gas-... the gas pedal, you're not touching the steering wheel; the car does all of this by itself.

Jesse: Now that there are self-driving cars on the road right now, are people actually using that feature, or have people become comfortable with the idea of letting their car do the driving for them?

Andrew: That's a good question. I think-... I think some people are ready to trust the vehicles and other people are going to take some time to get used to the idea, because this is the first time that this has been possible on a normal roadway. And, I think that most people feel like driving on the road, especially at high speed like on a highway, is a dangerous task or one that is unpredictable, because people could move in front of you and cut you off, they could slow down really fast if there's a traffic jam, you might need to change lanes and try to find a gap that is big enough for your car to fit in, and all of these things are actually quite hard for humans to do driving behind the wheel. And, so, the idea that they would trust a computer in their car to do it for them is really uncertain and unsettling for them.

But, actually, what their finding with all of this testing is that the computer is actually paying closer attention than you could to what's going on on the road around you. So, when someone stops suddenly in front of you it might take you half of a second to find out that it's happening, and then another quarter of a second to react and put your foot on the brake; the computer can see that and hit the brakes immediately. And, so, it's actually much safer to allow the computers to make these decisions for you.

Jesse: So, the Model 3 is going to now have the feature of automated driving.

Andrew: That's right. So, right now the vehicles on the road that can do this are mainly from the Tesla car company, and they're mainly in the Model S, which is their luxury vehicle. It costs a lot of money, it's about $70- or $80,000 US to buy new. And, so, only the more wealthy people in our city have them, and we just see them on the road when people are commuting. The new vehicle, the Model 3, is going to be about one-third of that price, it's going to be about $35,000 to buy one of these cars, which is coming out in a couple of years; but, the automatic driving part of the car--those features which they call "autopilot"--are going to be available no matter what on all of those vehicles. So, suddenly, in 2019 or so, they're going to be a lot more of these cars out on the road than there are now, all driving themselves and reacting to traffic and other vehicles on their own.

Jesse: That makes me really excited considering after work, for example, I'm mentally exhausted, so the idea of getting in my car, and then letting the car drive for me to take me home, or to take me to my friend's house or, to come hang out at a bar is really nice because I can just get in the car, turn off my brain, relax, take a nap-... Would you say that's recommended, or should I, as the driver sitting in the driver's seat, still be alert and still need to take control over the car.

Andrew: Right now, it's important that drivers in these automatic vehicles be paying attention, and sitting in the driver's seat, and be ready to take over in case something goes wrong. Right now, the cars that are driving automatically can keep track of the road when the road is predictable, when the lines are clear between the lanes, and when the routes are well marked. But, when things get complicated in neighborhood streets, at slower speeds, when there are lots of pedestrians around, and when there might be something unexpected like construction or pedestrians walking across the street, the cars are worse at noticing and reacting to those situations. Usually, they are playing it safe, and, so, they will stop and refuse to move so that they don't hit something, so it's not like they're going to run over a small child crossing the street. But, that means that the cars are most automatic when they are on the freeway taking long drives. So, it's not a good idea to fall asleep at the wheel just yet; that might be more of an option in the future. Right now, think of it as a fancy form of cruise control: You set your speed, you set your destination, you let the car take you there, and it will react to traffic and move into lanes when you want it to, and you don't need to pay attention to traffic slowing ahead, but you still need to be awake, and you need to be ready to take over the wheel in case something happens that the car doesn't know what to do with.

This is just a preview of what's to come, though, because these autopilot cars have only been around for less than two years, and they're already out there driving on the freeways in large numbers. They're getting better all the time, and in the very near future we're going to have a lot of cars on the road that don't need us to help him get around; and that's going to be a very exciting time.

Jesse: We are truly living in the future.

Outro [Jesse]: Thank you for listening to this episode of LPLE, Let's Practice Listening in English, from Dialog.FM. Subscribe to LPLE on iTunes to hear the latest episodes, or listen to past episodes on our website, Dialog.FM. That's d-i-a-l-o-g-dot-f-m. If you have questions or comments about English, or if you would like for us to use a word, grammar, or idiom in our conversation so you can learn how to use it correctly, we would love to hear from you on Twitter at @dialogdotfm or Facebook at facebook.com/dialogFM.

Apr 28, 2016

Welcome to LPLE, "Let's Practice Listening in English!"

Jesse shares another story about his experience visiting Vietnam and is impressed by how local Vietnamese try to practice English with foreigners. Andrew wonders how foreigners might feel about random locals coming up to foreign travelers to practice speaking English.

Join in the conversation! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to ask us questions about English conversation and meet other English language learners all over the world.

 

TRANSCRIPT

Intro [Jesse]: Hi everyone. My name is Jesse Robbins, and welcome to LPLE from Dialogue FM. We're the podcast that lets you practice listening in English. We speak English slowly and clearly so that you can follow along and understand native English speakers more easily. I'm excited to help you improve your English listening skills, as well as help you learn new vocabulary, grammar, and idioms commonly heard and conversation among native English speakers. If you want to practice listening in English, then we invite you to join our conversation.

Jesse: Hi, Andrew.

Andrew: Hey, Jesse.

Jesse: Another interesting story about Vietnam. Remember, I was there for two-and-a-half weeks, and during this trip to Vietnam I actually had the chance to visit another province. Now, when most people think about going to Vietnam they think about going to Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, maybe even Ha Long Bay. You visited those places didn't you?

Andrew: I did. You took me around and played tour guide. Thank you!

Jesse: During this particular trip I spent one week in a province called Dong Thap. It's about a three-and-a-half hour to four-hour bus ride southwest of Ho Chi Minh City.

Andrew: Okay, so in the south of the country.

Jesse: Yeah. I was there for one week and it was a very fun experience. The city itself where I was in, which is called Cao Lanh, is a pretty small but rapidly developing city. It's small compared to, of course, Ho Chi Minh City. But, you start to see a lot of commercial businesses starting to grow.

Andrew: That's good.

Jesse: Yeah. Exactly, there's big hotels, there's stores that sell lots of computer peripherals and whatnot, there's...it's a rapidly growing city, which is really exciting. And, the people were so welcoming. That's not to say that other parts of Vietnam aren't. I'm sure they are. In this city we had the chance to meet college students at the local university; and, these students are practicing English. And, because there's not a lot of foreigners that come into the city or province in general, they are so excited to meet us.

Andrew: That's great that they had a chance to speak with people who were native speakers.

Jesse: There was one afternoon I walked around the lake--there's a popular lake there. It's not as big as our Green Lake, right, in terms of size, but it is still made for a pleasant walk around the lake. And, multiple times as I walked around the lake I was stopped by local Vietnamese just because they wanted to say "hi" and ask where I'm from.

Andrew: Do you think that was because they recognized that you were foreign to Vietnam and that you probably spoke English? Do you think it was an opportunity for them to practice their language skills?

Jesse: It's a combination of both. I think it's a combination of, one, I'm a foreigner, more specifically, I am an atypical-looking foreigner...

Andrew: ...Meaning you don't look like a white American.

Jesse: Correct. Now, in Vietnam, it was very hot, so I tanned very quickly. I got darker skin very quickly, so any chance of me looking even remotely American or European was gone. So, there was an element of 'I'm a foreigner' but there's also a sense of 'I'm a strange-looking foreigner.'

Andrew: You felt like you looked unique?

Jesse: Very much so. And, that's not a bad thing; it's fine. I kind of expected it at this point. And then there's also the element of them wanting to practice their English, which is also fine. So, that leads me to another story I wanted to talk to you about. It's not just about how friendly the local residents of the city were. It's not how welcoming the university students were for us. There's one common theme I've noticed that makes me admire people studying the English language in general. The Vietnamese I met work so hard to find a way to practice English. They find every opportunity they can, and they are not shy about it.

Andrew: Does this make them rude or did they interrupt your other events or conversations?

Jesse: Not at all. So, they were really respectful. Now, you know, maybe one could say that it might be rude of them to yell "hello" when I'm just trying to have a peaceful walk around the lake, but they don't know I'm trying to have a peaceful walk around the lake.

Andrew: They reached out and introduce themselves and engaged in a conversation from scratch without any introduction

Jesse: Exactly, and I admire that. I admire that tenacity. I admire that enthusiasm. I admire that dedication. And, I admire that energy from them. When learning a foreign language, one of the biggest challenges I think we as Americans have is we are so afraid of making a mistake we don't want to try to practice our Spanish that we learned for one year because we're somehow embarrassed by it. Whereas these students who have been practicing English for, of course, over one year but who have never left Vietnam in their life let alone seen many foreigners in their city...

Andrew: ...Were completely ready to walk up to a stranger and start speaking in their new language.

Jesse: Exactly, and I truly admire that. So, for many foreigners who are unfamiliar with traveling in a country like Vietnam where people are working so hard to practice English because they know that English is going to provide them with an economic opportunity.

Andrew: Right. It gives them a better jobs. It gives them access to opportunities they wouldn't have if they don't speak the language of business, which is usually English.

Jesse: Right. If you're a foreigner who goes to this kind of country and you're not familiar with that kind of mentality, of course it could seem pretty rude or disruptive to your schedule because maybe you're just trying to enjoy the scenery or take some photos, you just want time to yourself. I want to encourage people listening to this, you know, as you, you in the audience, as you practice English by listening to this podcast and as you introduce yourself to foreigners and say "hello" just know that there are many people who admire what you're doing because what you're doing is not easy at all

Andrew: Agreed!

Outro [Jesse]: Thank you for listening to this episode of LPLE, Let's Practice Listening in English, from Dialog.FM. Subscribe to LPLE on iTunes to hear the latest episodes, or listen to past episodes on our website, Dialog.FM. That's d-i-a-l-o-g-dot-f-m. If you have questions or comments about English, or if you would like for us to use a word, grammar, or idiom in our conversation so you can learn how to use it correctly, we would love to hear from you on Twitter at @dialogdotfm or Facebook at facebook.com/dialogFM

Apr 28, 2016

Welcome to LPLE, "Let's Practice Listening in English!"

Jesse recounts how many of his Vietnamese female friends dislike being asked by friends and family about when they're going to get married. Andrew explains how American women also experience the same trouble with being asked about their plans for marriage.

Join in the conversation! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to ask us questions about English conversation and meet other English language learners all over the world.

TRANSCRIPT

Intro [Jesse]: Hi everyone. My name is Jesse Robbins, and welcome to LPLE from Dialogue FM. We're the podcast that lets you practice listening in English. We speak English slowly and clearly so that you can follow along and understand native English speakers more easily. I'm excited to help you improve your English listening skills, as well as help you learn new vocabulary, grammar, and idioms commonly heard and conversation among native English speakers. If you want to practice listening in English, then we invite you to join our conversation.

Jesse: Hey Andrew.

Andrew: Hey Jesse.

Jesse: So, as you know, I was in Vietnam for the past two-and-a-half weeks.

Andrew: That's right!

Jesse: And, I had the chance to catch up with many friends during my time in Ho Chi Minh City. Now, turns out that many of my friends happened to be female, and they're also around my age, and they're also single. Now, you might be asking, "where are you going with this, Jesse?"

Andrew: I was about to ask.

Jesse: Well, mind you, these women--these friends of mine--they already know I'm married, they already know who my wife is, they've already met my wife. The reason why I start this story out like this is because I can say for certain that 100% of all of my female friends I talked to said the exact same thing, which is: They are so tired of getting asked by their relatives and friends when they are going to get married.

Andrew: That is excellent, I share their sentiment. I know exactly how they feel.

Jesse: You can just see how frustrated they are. They-... Every time they say, "Ah, yeah, my parents keep asking me 'when are you going to get married?' 'We want you to have kids.'" I can see the expression on my friend's face, and that expression is very sad, very annoyed, very frustrated.

Andrew: Right.

Jesse: In Vietnam, I assume that if you're not on some sort of path to a marriage, which is to say if by 25 you're not in a serious relationship with somebody, that starts to create some sort of concern, panic...

Andrew: ...on the part of your family.

Jesse: ...On the part of the family, correct. Because, by the time that you start to hit 28, if you're still not in some sort of committed relationship, then there's this term, and this is the derogatory term and actually really don't like this term, the concern is you're going to be called, "ế," which is a term that-... It's like saying "an old maid."

Andrew: Right, okay. I was going to say, in the US there is a similar set of terms: "You're a spinster," "you're an old maid."

Jesse: Right. But you what the funny thing is, here in the States I don't hear those terms. I know they exist, I know these terms exist. But, for our current culture and our current society--now, perhaps this might be just my understanding based on the fact that I live here in Seattle--my understanding is we don't refer to women like that anymore.

Andrew: Not directly, and you and I being young men probably wouldn't hear it, but I'm sure that the feeling that that term, or those terms, are associated with are still alive and well. By which I mean families usually have an interest in seeing their daughters, especially, go on to have happy family lives, and there is an expectation for most of them that they will find a boyfriend, get married, and have children. And, so, I know many female friends of mine on my own who are in a similar situation where they are in their late twenties or thirties and have still not settled down, as it's called, they haven't found a permanent relationship and they have not gotten married and they have not had kids, and they are receiving all kinds of pressure from their families and even sometimes their friends to go down that path and achieve those goals, even if they don't want them themselves.

Jesse: You know what's interesting, as a guy--now, I've been married for going on four years, I've been in a relationship for eight prior to that--so, you're right, I'm not-... clearly I've never had to experience that kind of pressure.

Whenever my dad asks me, "So, son, when are you going to have children? I want more grandchildren," my answer is always, "We're still thinking about it. Stop asking me."

Andrew: Yes. Imagine tha-... that question being asked and that amount of frustration you feel magnified ten or a hundred times, or alternately, imagine that he's asking you it every hour of every day and I think you begin to understand what a lot of these especially women are going through.

My girlfriend and I have been together for a little bit over a year, but because we are both around 30 years old the expectation is that we will be taking those next traditional steps very soon. So, I occasionally get a question from my family, "when are you getting married?" or "when you get married..." assuming that I will soon, she gets it every time she talks to her family.

Jesse: She's still very young, too. She's in her mid-twenties if I'm not mistaken.

Andrew: She is 29, turning 30 this year. But, she is old enough that she has been getting those questions for quite a while. And, everyone seems to be very, very interested in knowing when they-... When people our age are going to take their place in traditional family society, and that's becoming less and less common and popular for people our age, at least in the United States, so it creates this conflict.

Jesse: Out of my friends in Vietnam, they-... Again they express this frustration about hearing this question. It's really interesting to hear that women here in the States still experience that same line of questioning. I honestly had no idea.

Outro [Jesse]: Thank you for listening to this episode of LPLE, Let's Practice Listening in English, from Dialog.FM. Subscribe to LPLE on iTunes to hear the latest episodes, or listen to past episodes on our website, Dialog.FM. That's d-i-a-l-o-g-dot-f-m. If you have questions or comments about English, or if you would like for us to use a word, grammar, or idiom in our conversation so you can learn how to use it correctly, we would love to hear from you on Twitter at @dialogdotfm or Facebook at facebook.com/dialogFM.

Apr 28, 2016

Welcome to LPLE, "Let's Practice Listening in English!"

Jesse and Andrew talk about the current presidential election season and the possibility of having our first female president. Andrew explains about America's two-party system--Democrat and Republican. Jesse explores how where he grew up and lives influences who he supports to be the next president.

Join in the conversation! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to ask us questions about English conversation and meet other English language learners all over the world.

TRANSCRIPT

Intro [Jesse]: Hi everyone. My name is Jesse Robbins, and welcome to LPLE from Dialogue FM. We're the podcast that lets you practice listening in English. We speak English slowly and clearly so that you can follow along and understand native English speakers more easily. I'm excited to help you improve your English listening skills, as well as help you learn new vocabulary, grammar, and idioms commonly heard and conversation among native English speakers. If you want to practice listening in English, then we invite you to join our conversation.

Jesse: Hi, Andrew!

Andrew: Hi, Jesse.

Jesse: How you doing?

Andrew: Hanging in there.

Jesse: We are in an interesting time in our country. This year is an election year.

Andrew: It is, and there is a guarantee that we will have a new president of the United States by the end of the year.

Jesse: That's right. Every four years we have a presidential election, and this is the fourth year. So, it's easy to remember: 2016, then every four years after that.

Andrew: 2016, 2020, 2024, 2028, at which point we will be very, very old people and probably cranky people, also.

Jesse: This year may be the first year that we have a female president in our country.

Andrew: It's possible. One of the strong candidates on the Democratic side is Hillary Clinton who is in a good position to win her party's nomination, which leads us into the confusing part about American politics, which is that we have two basic parties--two sides that tend to run against each other every year.

And, this is different from most other Western countries because many Western countries are run as a coalition, which means there are many parties that have to team up to run the country. And, in the United States, it is either a Democratic president or a Republican president, and we have had a Democratic president for eight years in President Barack Obama, and now we are waiting to see whether we can have another presidency on the Democratic side.

Jesse: My understanding is that in recent time it's always one swung one direction and then the other, right?

Andrew: In-... In the past twenty years or so, that is true. Ronald Reagan ran twice and had eight years as president. We had another president on the Republican side, President Bush, who only lasted one four-year term, and then we had President Clinton with eight years in office--he was a Democrat--then President Bush who was eight years in office--a Republican--and then President Obama who was eight years in office--a Democrat.

Jesse: This might be the first time where we have back-to-back presidents who are both from the same party.

Andrew: Right...in about 20 years.

Jesse: Yes.

Andrew: It's been a very long time.

Jesse: That's right. This is going to be a unique time in our election season not just because we have a strong female candidate who has a really strong chance of becoming the first female president of the United States, but then there's also the element of having two back-to-back democratic presidents who are different from each other, then there's also the element of Hillary Clinton being the wife of a former president, as well.

Andrew: Right! We've had a interesting run of elections in the past 25 years or so, where President Bush the senior was president, and then eight years later his son became the president, and now we are in a similar position where President Bill Clinton was president for eight years and now his wife Hillary Clinton is running. So, we are dealing with some very political families that tend to stay in power for a very long time whether by their sons and daughters or their spouses.

Jesse: Election Day is in November, November 8th, which is a Thursday. I did tell my boss that I may be showing up late for work on the morning of November 9th...

Andrew: ...Because you'll be staying up to see what happens.

Jesse: Primarily because I will be staying up late to see what happens, and there may be some celebration in or sharing of sorrows involved depending on who is elected.

Andrew: Right.

Jesse: Now, I feel it's comfortable enough between you and I to share with the audience which side we take in terms of Democrat or Republican.

Andrew: Yeah, that's right. Both of us are strong support of the Democratic Party in the United States. So, both of us voted for Barack Obama...

Jesse: That's right.

Andrew: And, we both hope that Hillary Clinton will become the next president.

Jesse: This is interesting because part of and--maybe I'll speak for myself here--part of my support of the Democratic Party, part of my left-leaning thinking, comes from my upbringing. We live in a liberal city.

Andrew: Right. And, we should be clear, in the United States, which is not the same as in some other countries, the Liberal party and the Democratic party and the more Progressive party are all the same thing. So, when we say we are left-meaning-...when we say we are left-leaning, with we also mean we are Democratic, or, rather we support the Democratic party...

Jesse: Correct.

Andrew: ...And, that is opposite from the Republican party, which is the conservative party, which is the right-leaning party.

Jesse: So, terms like "left," "Democrat," and "liberal" are all grouped together.

Andrew: Right.

Jesse: And then terms like "right," "Conservative," "Republican," "GOP" are all lumped together.

Andrew: That's right

Jesse: That's right. Because, in some other countries those terms will be dramatically different and represent two different parties.

Andrew: Exactly. What you say is correct. We both live in Washington State, which is a state that tends to vote very strongly towards the Democratic party most of the time. So, we will call it a "Liberal State," and that is tending-...that tends to be the truth in the entire west coast of the United States--and actually the east coast in many parts, as well. So, Washington and Oregon and California tend to vote liberally for the Democratic party, so does New York, New Jersey, on up and down through Massachusetts and other parts of the northeastern part of the United States.

Jesse: I heard said that the coasts, both west coast and east coast, tend to lean left, and then there's a mix in the center, and then when you go south in America, that's where you get a lot of conservative voters.

Andrew: Right. People who vote for the right-wing party or the Republicans.

Jesse: Well, I'm excited to see what happens in November.

Andrew: So am I.

Jesse: We'll have a fun night watching the election together...

Andrew: ...and I look forward to celebrating the outcome.

Outro [Jesse]: Thank you for listening to this episode of LPLE, Let's Practice Listening in English, from Dialog.FM. Subscribe to LPLE on iTunes to hear the latest episodes, or listen to past episodes on our website, Dialog.FM. That's d-i-a-l-o-g-dot-f-m. If you have questions or comments about English, or if you would like for us to use a word, grammar, or idiom in our conversation so you can learn how to use it correctly, we would love to hear from you on Twitter at @dialogdotfm or Facebook at facebook.com/dialogFM.

Apr 28, 2016

Welcome to LPLE, "Let's Practice Listening in English!"

Jesse talks about moving into a new house. Andrew explains states, cities, and neighborhoods in America.

Join in the conversation! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to ask us questions about English conversation and meet other English language learners all over the world.

TRANSCRIPT

Intro [Jesse]: Hi everyone. My name is Jesse Robbins, and welcome to LPLE from Dialogue FM. We're the podcast that lets you practice listening in English. We speak English slowly and clearly so that you can follow along and understand native English speakers more easily. I'm excited to help you improve your English listening skills, as well as help you learn new vocabulary, grammar, and idioms commonly heard and conversation among native English speakers. If you want to practice listening in English, then we invite you to join our conversation.

Jesse: Hi, Andrew!

Andrew: Hey, Jesse.

Jesse: Cool story. A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I moved into a new house.

Andrew: I know! We're actually sitting in it right now.

Jesse: We're actually recording this podcast on our new dining table in our new living room. It's quite nice!

Andrew: It's a very nice, brand new place.

Jesse: Now, we live in the Rainier Valley neighborhood. Now, for those who are unfamiliar with how geography and...what, what's a good word? Municipalities?

Andrew: I would just say how cities are laid out...

Jesse: How cities are laid out.

Andrew: Or, how Seattle is laid out.

Jesse: Right, because some cities do it differently.

Andrew: Right.

Jesse: One big example is New York, where they have something that I don't think any other city has in the nation, which is burrows.

Andrew: Well, yes. And, I would call those neighborhoods, but the burrows are mainly-... The burrows are defined by geography, right? By the islands that make up part of New York City and also where you are in relation to the freeway and downtown, is that right?

Jesse: I have no idea how burrows work, honestly...

Andrew: [hahaha]

Jesse: Well, skipping that for just a moment here. How Seattle works is you have the Washington State, you have counties within the state, you have cities within the counties, and then you have neighborhoods, within the cities.

Andrew: That's right.

Jesse: So, we live in the Rainier Valley neighborhood. The old neighborhood we lived in before was called Judkins Park. We moved from Judkins Park to the Rainier Valley.

Andrew: That's interesting, actually, because when you spoke about neighborhoods I was actually thinking about, I guess, a larger version of the "neighborhood" definition. So, Seattle is broken down by different areas, which I would consider to be places like Capitol Hill, First Hill, the Central District, North Beacon Hill, and so on. What you're describing are actually smaller parts of those areas, which are the actual, I guess, communities inside those neighborhoods like Judkins or Rainier Valley, and they refer more closely to the roads and the intersections that are around the area where you live, is that right?

Jesse: Yeah, that's correct. Now, originally where we lived before in Judkins Park, we were about seven minutes to 10 minutes away from Chinatown and downtown.

Andrew: That's right.

Jesse: Now we live five to seven minutes away from Chinatown and downtown. So, we're moving ever closer to Chinatown and downtown, without actually living inside either one of those two areas.

Andrew: Yes, which is interesting because you are actually moving south, away from most of Seattle, a little ways away.

Jesse: Now, we live in a house-... a style of house that's called a "townhouse." How do we describe a townhouse for people who are unfamiliar with this kind of architecture?

Andrew: That's a good question. I think when people think of normal family homes in the United States, in general, they are usually a traditional structure with a sloping roof, they are usually one or two stories tall, and usually take up a lot of space on one floor with a large yard around side it--around it outside. I think I would describe a townhome as taking up much less space with much less yard, and having more floors instead so that they are about the same size inside the home, but on maybe three or four floors instead of one or two.

Jesse: That's right, that's right. On our ground floor, immediately when you enter the front door there are stairs going up to the, kind of the main area the living room, the kitchen. But, also on the ground floor when you enter you have the option of going to the side of the stairs to two different bedrooms and a bathroom.

Andrew: Right.

Jesse: So, they're basically compressing, they're making--for maybe lack of a better word--shrinking the size of a normal house; instead of building wider they're building taller.

Andrew: That's correct, yes. And, I would say that it is not--... again it is not smaller, it is just stacked differently. So, like you say, there are only two bedrooms on the ground floor, which means that the floor is smaller, but then the next floor up you have a living room and a kitchen, which in a more traditional American home might all be on the same floor.

Jesse: Right, right. Are there townhouses in other states? I think that maybe townhouses are more commonly found in denser cities where land is sma-... where land is fewer.

Andrew: I think land is more expensive near big cities, and that is why people choose to build taller rather than wider.

Jesse: Yes.

Andrew: I think traditional American cities had more space, and many of them are still like that. So, for example, in the middle of the country, in the midwest cities like St. Louis or Chicago, tend to have more space and so they have more single family homes with yards. In cities that are denser like New York or like Seattle or San Francisco, there's not as much space to have a yard and to build out, and so they build up instead, and that's why town homes have become more popular. But, they're also very nice because they are built with the newest technology.

Jesse: Yes.

Andrew: So, they have bigger windows, they have better insulation so they don't get as cold or as hot in the weather, and they're cheaper to run, so it costs less money to keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. And, they stand up to weather well, as well.

Jesse: That's right. You talk about yards. Now, how do you feel about yards?

Andrew: I personally don't care much for them. I don't-... Let me say that differently, I don't value them very highly because I don't spend my time out in them. I am usually out in the city, and when I want to go out into nature, I drive to the mountains and the forests nearby. So, to me the yard is pretty to look at, but it also means a lot of work. I need to mow the grass, I need to pull weeds, I need to plant flowers or a garden, and these are things that I would not want to do normally for myself. So, they are kind of a responsibility that I don't want. I like living in the city because I am close to everything that I like to do, so bars, restaurants, theater, bands, and other performances, and also to be close to my friends. And, so, I don't feel like it is as important to have an estate, a big piece of land to live on, as well.

Outro [Jesse]: Thank you for listening to this episode of LPLE, Let's Practice Listening in English, from Dialog.FM. Subscribe to LPLE on iTunes to hear the latest episodes, or listen to past episodes on our website, Dialog.FM. That's d-i-a-l-o-g-dot-f-m. If you have questions or comments about English, or if you would like for us to use a word, grammar, or idiom in our conversation so you can learn how to use it correctly, we would love to hear from you on Twitter at @dialogdotfm or Facebook at facebook.com/dialogFM.

Mar 23, 2016

Welcome to LPLE, "Let's Practice Listening in English!"

Andrew talks about hiking and enjoying the natural beauty of Washington State. Jesse talks about his hobby of salsa dancing, and how it helps him exercise.

Join in the conversation! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to ask us questions about English conversation and meet other English language learners all over the world.

TRANSCIPT

Intro [Jesse]: Hi everyone. My name is Jesse Robbins, and welcome to LPLE from Dialogue FM. We're the podcast that lets you practice listening in English. We speak English slowly and clearly so that you can follow along and understand native English speakers more easily. I'm excited to help you improve your English listening skills, as well as help you learn new vocabulary, grammar, and idioms commonly heard and conversation among native English speakers. If you want to practice listening in English, then we invite you to join our conversation.

Jesse: Andrew!

Andrew: Jesse!

Jesse: Tell me, what do you like to do on the weekend?

Andrew: On the weekend, most of the time I am trying to catch up on exercise because I work at an office and sit or stand at a desk most of the day. So, on the weekend, usually I'm trying to find a way to go outside and hike in the mountains or go for a run depending on who is available to join me in these activities.

Jesse: Nice! Living in Seattle, there's many places to go hiking nearby.

Andrew: Yes! We're very close to a lot of mountains, and for running there are beaches and a lot of pretty scenery to look at when you're outside.

Jesse: Tell me, why do you like hiking?

Andrew: I like hiking because it is close and also because it is good exercise with new things to look at each time you go out. So, for example, if I were to go on a run near my house, I would have to run by the same things everyday and it gets boring. When I go out hiking I can go in a different direction each day. I will drive to a different mountain, and I can climb to the top and see different views, and also there are different trails with different conditions. So, some are rocky, some are dusty, sometimes there is snow, and that makes each hike new and fresh.

Jesse: When you go hiking, do you like to take a lot of pictures?

Andrew: Yes, usually-... Well, on the pretty days I like to take pictures. At the top, if it is sunny and bright and you can see clearly for a long way, the pictures look amazing and you can see not just the mountains nearby but sometimes very far away. Even if the hike is a long way away from the city, like 30 or 60 minutes drive away, sometimes you can still see from the top of the mountain the skyscrapers in the city of Seattle, or our famous mountain, Mount Rainier, nearby all the way away down to the south and east.

Jesse: When you go hiking, how long do you usually hike and what do you usually bring with you?

Andrew: That's a good question. The hikes are sometimes nearby and they take only 30 to 45 minutes to drive to. But, sometimes when I go with more enthusiastic friends we might go somewhere further away that might take two or three hours to get to by car. Once we're there, usually we are hiking for about four or five miles up and then four or five miles back, and that takes about two or three hours to go up, and then it is usually a little bit faster to go downhill back to the car. So, these are long trips; they take most of a day to complete, between the driving and the hiking. That means that you need to bring food and prepare to be out all day. So, we dress in layers to stay warm while we're cool and to take some of them off when we are working hard and get hot and sweaty. And, we also take water and snacks like granola bars or chips. We will also bring a meal sometimes for the top, a sandwich or something like that, for lunch, and we usually bring extra just in case something might happen, or if we meet someone else who does not have enough food along the way.

Jesse: Who do you usually go hiking with? How many friends and how often?

Andrew: It depends on the season. In the summer, it is warmer so we can get to more places that are not covered with snow and ice and are dangerous to drive to. And, in the winter, sometimes with extra preparation--bringing things like snow shoes or spikes to put on your shoes so we don't slip--we can go out into snow hikes. During the summer, we usually try to hike once every one or two weeks, usually on the weekend. And, in the winter, it is probably closer to once each month.

Jesse: Nice. When are you going to go hiking again this year?

Andrew: Right now, I am training for some runs, so I am running more than I am hiking. But, once the weather warms up again, it is January now, so maybe April or May I will probably start hiking again more regularly.

Jesse: Excellent. During the weekend, my favorite hobby is salsa dancing. I've been salsa dancing for about 10 years now. And, it's a very invigorating activity. Invigorating means I use lots of energy, I use a lot of body energy, I'm moving around a lot.

Andre: And, how does it make you feel?

Jesse: It feels like--... Probably it feels the same way you feel when you're jogging. You're breathing heavily, you're sweating, your heart is beating very fast--your heart is racing. But, it's also very fun for me. So, it's a similar activity in that I can move my body around a lot, but it's also very fun because I get to listen to very, very fun and exciting music, and I can be creative, matching my body movement and dance steps to the music, and also I get to make new friends and meet old friends. In Seattle, we have a salsa dancing community. That means that whenever there's a salsa event during the week, there is a good chance that I will meet the same people again and again and again. And, because I get to meet them multiple times, I learn their name, I learn more about them, and then we become friends. So, now it feels like I'm not dancing with strangers all the time, but I'm dancing with people who I feel very comfortable with. It's a very fun activity.

Outro [Jesse]: Thank you for listening to this episode of LPLE, Let's Practice Listening in English, from Dialog.FM. Subscribe to LPLE on iTunes to hear the latest episodes, or listen to past episodes on our website, Dialog.FM. That's d-i-a-l-o-g-dot-f-m. If you have questions or comments about English, or if you would like for us to use a word, grammar, or idiom in our conversation so you can learn how to use it correctly, we would love to hear from you on Twitter at @dialogdotfm or Facebook at facebook.com/dialogFM.

Mar 23, 2016

Welcome to LPLE, "Let's Practice Listening in English!"

Jesse and Andrew talk about how they celebrated Christmas and the turn of the New Year. Jesse introduces the concept of a "bachelor party."

Join in the conversation! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to ask us questions about English conversation and meet other English language learners all over the world.

TRANSCIPT

Intro [Jesse]: Hi everyone. My name is Jesse Robbins, and welcome to LPLE from Dialogue FM. We're the podcast that lets you practice listening in English. We speak English slowly and clearly so that you can follow along and understand native English speakers more easily. I'm excited to help you improve your English listening skills, as well as help you learn new vocabulary, grammar, and idioms commonly heard and conversation among native English speakers. If you want to practice listening in English, then we invite you to join our conversation.

Jesse: Andrew.

Andrew: Jesse.

Jesse: Happy New Year!

Andrew: Same to you.

Jesse: We are in January; it is 2016. I'm curious, how was your holiday vacation back in December?

Andrew: Very good. It has been a busy couple of weeks, but I had a lot of time to visit family and friends, and, so, in addition to the Christmas holiday at the end of December, I also went to a wedding that happened on New Year's Eve, and then celebrated the New Year before coming back to work in January.

Jesse: That's fantastic! Whose wedding?

Andrew: This was a wedding for two of my good friends who live across the border in Canada. We are here in Seattle, and the wedding and the New Year's Eve celebration we had was up in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada, about 2 to 3 hours drive away.

Jesse: How long did you stay in Canada?

Andrew: Let me see... We went up the day before New Year's Eve, so December 30th, the wedding was on December 31st, and, so, we had the wedding ceremony during the day, and after the wedding was finished we went to downtown Vancouver to watch the fireworks at midnight to celebrate the New Year, and then went home with lots of traffic in the early morning of January 1st.

Jesse: For New Year's celebration, every year my wife and I go to our friends' house. Our friend lives in a neighborhood called Capitol Hill. They live in an apartment and their apartment has a rooftop that people can go on to to have a beautiful view of downtown Seattle.

Andrew: So, this is a tall building on a tall hill in the middle of the city.

Jesse: Correct.

Andrew: And there's a good view of the downtown city area where the fireworks happen.

Jesse: Yes. So, we hung out at a friends' place for a few hours. And then, 15 minutes before midnight we took a bottle of champagne, we went up to the rooftop, and we waited for the fireworks. The fireworks event was happening at a place in downtown called Seattle Center. On the rooftop of our friend's apartment there were many people, so it was a little bit crowded. However, we had enough space to have a clear view of the Space Needle.

Andrew: That's great!

Jesse: So, we waited, and then when it was New Year's we all drink champagne and we gave each other a hug, we wished each other "Happy New Year," and then after that I quickly went back inside the house because it is very cold outside...

Andrew: ...in December in Seattle, yeah.

Jesse: How was your Christmas?

Andrew: My Christmas was also very good. It was a little bit busy because this was the first year that my girlfriend and I were trying to see both my parents and her parents all on the holiday. So, on Christmas Eve we went down to my parents' house, which is about 30 minutes away, and spend the night there to get up in the morning, and exchange gifts, and have a Christmas dinner meal in the middle of the day. And, my dad's parents--my grandparents--were also there to celebrate with us.

And then, we had to leave that evening to go to her parents' house up north of the city, about an hour away. So, there was a lot of driving involved, but we got to see everyone and have dinner with both sides and get back in time to jump into the other activity that I had to fit into this busy season, which was the bachelor party for my friend who was getting married. So, December 25th and 26th it was Christmas celebrations, and December 27th and 28th, which was the weekend, my friend from Vancouver came to Seattle with some friends, and we went around the city to drink and celebrate his wedding that was coming up very soon.

Jesse: Let's explain a bachelor party really quickly. A bachelor party in American society is when the groom--the guy who is, the man who is going to get married--has a party with his guy friends before the wedding. Sometimes it's the night before the wedding...

Andrew: And that's a bad idea [haha].

Jesse: Sometimes it's the week before the wedding. Sometimes it can even be a couple of months before the wedding. Typically a groom has a bachelor party, and usually a bachelor party includes drinking alcohol and beer, going out into the city, or...or even going to a destination, a far away place like a cabin or...

Andrew: Another city to take a vacation.

Jesse: Exactly.

Andrew: And, usually there are other activities to celebrate the occasion of his getting married like going out to dance, or going to a show, or celebrating at someone's house. We did a lot of those things and had a very good time. Although, some of the guests had a little bit too much to drink and had headaches the next day, they had a hangover.

I believe the bride also had her version of this party, so she had a bachelorette party that was up in Vancouver. So, they were separated to celebrate on their own independently, and then came back together for the wedding the next week.

Jesse: Typically, for a bachelor party there are no women in the group

Andrew: Correct.

Jesse: Likewise, typically, for a bachelorette party for the bride there are no men in the group, it's only women.

Andrew: Correct.

Jesse: For my Christmas holiday, it was very relaxing. We had Christmas dinner at my wife's family's house. They live very nearby. And then, throughout the day I relaxed at home and watched four movies.

Andrew: [haha] That's a long...a long day!

Jesse: Four movies, back-to-back-to-back-to-back.

Andrew: Eight hours or so of film?

Jesse: Yes. Whenever I have a holiday vacation like Christmas, or like Thanksgiving, or like New Year's, I like to spend time watching movies at home. It's a chance for me to catch up on many movies that I missed over the past four or five years.

Andrew: Four or five years?

Jesse: Yeah! Not just this past year, but over the past few years. So, I stayed at home watching movies and just relaxing. That was it.

Andrew: Sounds like a good time and a good way to relax before coming back to work and your normal life after the holiday.

Jesse: Exactly.

Outro [Jesse]: Thank you for listening to this episode of LPLE, Let's Practice Listening in English, from Dialog.FM. Subscribe to LPLE on iTunes to hear the latest episodes, or listen to past episodes on our website, Dialog.FM. That's d-i-a-l-o-g-dot-f-m. If you have questions or comments about English, or if you would like for us to use a word, grammar, or idiom in our conversation so you can learn how to use it correctly, we would love to hear from you on Twitter at @dialogdotfm or Facebook at facebook.com/dialogFM.

Mar 23, 2016

Welcome to LPLE, "Let's Practice Listening in English!"

Jesse and Andrew talk about their coffee and tea preferences, and what it was like to experience tea and coffee in different countries.

Join in the conversation! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to ask us questions about English conversation and meet other English language learners all over the world.

TRANSCRIPT

Intro [Jesse]: Hi everyone. My name is Jesse Robbins, and welcome to LPLE from Dialogue FM. We're the podcast that lets you practice listening in English. We speak English slowly and clearly so that you can follow along and understand native English speakers more easily. I'm excited to help you improve your English listening skills, as well as help you learn new vocabulary, grammar, and idioms commonly heard and conversation among native English speakers. If you want to practice listening in English, then we invite you to join our conversation.

Andrew: Last night, my girlfriend and I went to dinner and a movie, and we went to eat at an Indian style restaurant. And, at this restaurant they serve tea Indian style, which they called chai, and they're very nice about making sure that you always have a full cup, so I love going there.

But, while we were eating, it made me think about all of the different ways that coffee and tea are served in different cultures and places in the world. I take my Indian tea hot with milk and sugar so it's sweet and creamy, and I've always had it that way. My girlfriend asked me at dinner why I like drinking tea with milk and sugar when I like drinking my coffee black without any milk and without any extra sweetness in it. And, she's right; I like my coffee bitter but hot, and I like my tea creamy and sweet.

But, there's actually a lot of different ways to take coffee or to take tea and it varies by custom. When I'm in Vietnam, for example, or eating at a Vietnamese restaurant even in the United States, they serve Vietnamese coffee, which means a different kind of coffee; it's brewed stronger they brew it into the glass that you're going to drink it directly, and they pour it over condensed milk, so again it is creamy and sweet, and usually you serve it with ice, so it's actually cold. So, I like coffee and both of these cases.

But, in my morning routine when I am having breakfast and getting ready for the day, the kind of coffee I want is black and bitter, and I only want coffee Vietnamese-style when it is served at a Vietnamese restaurant with a Vietnamese meal or when I'm visiting the country directly. And, I think that's true of most people, so I wanted to ask you how you take your coffee and how you like to drink at another places.

Jesse: That's a really good question. Let me just say that on rare occasion will I ever drink drip pour coffee straight black. So, if I go to Starbucks and I ordered a tall drip [coffee], I will always put a little bit of half-and-half [milk] and one package of sugar--raw sugar, the thick, brown granulated sugar.

Andrew: This is raw sugar, but it's not molasses sugar, right? This is just...

Jesse: Right, it comes in that brown package, I think, it's called Sugar In The Raw. I can't remember the name.

Andrew: Right. This is a form of unrefined white sugar.

Jesse: Right. Whenever I have drip coffee, it's always with that small combination; a little bit of cream or milk and a little bit of sugar--just the right taste. When I'm in Vietnam, it's always iced coffee with condensed milk. On rare occasion if I'm in someplace cold like Da Lat or in the winter time, then I'll remove the ice; then you could take it just straight drip coffee with condensed milk, hot. Generally speaking, when I'm at a Vietnamese restaurant here in Seattle, it's always the iced...Vietnamese iced coffee. In fact, that Vietnamese iced coffee is very popular among non-Vietnamese, because they know it is very, very strong right.

One of my favorite memories with coffee and tea was when I was in India. So, remember, back in the MBA program at the University of Washington, we had Study Tours, right?

Andrew: I went to Brazil and you went to India, yes?

Jesse: No, well you went to Brazil and I led China...I co-lead China. Right before, in our first year I went to India as a participant. And, in India, by luck, I was going to be in India during the time that one of my friends was getting married--one of my Indian friends was getting married.

Andrew: You got to go to an Indian wedding?

Jesse: I got to go to a traditional Sikh wedding. So, when we think of Indian weddings we think of the big parties, very, very elaborate. And, I'm sure he had that, but, from what I remember and what I understand, this was a wedding that took place over a few days and the Sikh part of it, this one was more religious, a religious ceremony at his house. Smaller, intimate; close friends and family.

Andrew: How many people, about?...

Jesse: I want to say about 50 to 70 people there.

Andrew: That's the "small" version?...[hahaha]

Jesse: And then, after that, there was a wonderful banquet afterwards in his backyard. And, I remember one of the wait staff coming around with a big jar of chai tea.

Andrew: This is served hot with milk?

Jesse: Hot with milk, correct. He'll give you a clay--a very, very rough feeling, very rough clay cup. A small cup. A very, very small cup. If you think of that Chinese tea cups that you get at a Chinese restaurant--about that size, if not smaller. And then, he'll pour it, and then you just sip it. Unlike my natural tendency to shoot it as if it were an alcoholic shot, use just casually sip on it. And, mind you, it is a very hot day, so you're not trying to consume a lot of hot liquid at one time. That was delicious; I made sure to find him again multiple times during my visit to my friend's house to get more of that chai tea. Very, very good!

Andrew: Excellent. I think it's funny, the different ways we expect to receive our drinks depending on where we are and our circumstances. Even in the United States, the way people drink tea is different by custom. In Seattle, here, we're usually drinking tea as a substitute for coffee because we have a strong coffee culture.

Jesse: Right.

Andrew: And, so, we take our tea hot in water and maybe with sugar. And, that's different from, for example, how it is taken in the United Kingdom or in Britain, where the expectation is that tea is served hot with milk, for example. Or, even in the south or the southern part of the United States where tea is served as a refreshing drink in the hot summers where it's almost always iced tea and it's very, very, very sweet. So, they add lots and lots of sugar. And, if you asked for tea in, for example, Georgia in the middle of the summer and you're expecting to get a hot chai or chamomile, potentially served with a little bit of sweet, you would be very disappointed to receive this, this cold beverage, instead.

Jesse: That's right. You raise an interesting point. For example, you go to--let's say you are an Indian native from India. You come over, you come to Georgia, you're invited to someone's house. And, someone asks, "would you like some tea?" And, in your mind, you have one definition of the word "tea." You--when you think of tea, you think of it based on your culture and the context of your culture, based on your experience with tea from your native country. And then, when you're served, chances are it's cold and in a big glass with lots of sugar and a slice of lime.

Andrew: Right. Think about how disappointed you would be, right?

Jesse: Absolutely. One of the interesting coffee-tea combinations here in Seattle that I really enjoy and that I also want to recommend is 'matcha latte.'

Andrew: 'Matcha latte.' What goes into a matcha latte?

Jesse: "Matcha" is Japanese-style green tea. That takes care of the 'tea' side, right? And then, 'latte' is your standard form, your regular espresso-style drink.

Andrew: Regular in Seattle. So, that is pressure-brewed coffee, very strong, mixed with hot steamed milk.

Jesse: Right, exactly.

Andrew: And then, so, matcha co-... matcha latte?...

Jesse: Yes.

Andrew: A matcha latte, if I'm understanding right, is tea instead of the coffee? Or is it tea plus coffee and the steamed milk?

Jesse: Tea plus coffee--... matcha green tea powder mixed in with an actual latte with the caffeine. That's my understanding.

Andrew: OK. So it has both. You're getting a little bit of both sides at the same time.

Jesse: Yes. And the matcha latte comes out green. So, for anyone unfamiliar with drinking anything that has a green color to it, I think people who drink matcha latte for the first time are a little scared.

Andrew: Right. Of the color...

Jesse: Of the color, right. However, when you drink it, it's--... it's absolutely delicious. A little sweet. It has the green tea flavor and yet has the warm texture and feel of a latte. Overall, I highly recommend it. There's a few places in Seattle that serve matcha latte.

Andrew: Is this a Starbucks option or do you have to go somewhere locally?

Jesse: No. You have to go to a small café. The café I like to go to is called Panama Cafe. Panama Cafe is in the International District in Seattle, and there, that's the only place I know right now that has matcha latte. Now, before, a few years ago, Starbucks used to sell--and I still think that they do sometimes, maybe during the summer--Starbucks sells a matcha Frappuccino, and that came from Japan. I remember--... I remember--this is going to sound very hipster--I remember drinking matcha Frappuccino in Japan before it was ever introduced to the American Starbucks.

Andrew: ...And then you came back and they brought it to the stores in Seattle.

Jesse: Yes. I think they brought it back from me. I don't know.

Andrew: [hahaha] But you like them. The Frappuccino is a sweet--... Almost like a sweet milkshake kind of drink, right?

Jesse: Yes. Coffee milkshake, yeah.

Andrew: ...With whipped cream on top?

Jesse: Yes.

Andrew: And, so they added the matcha power to that, as well.

Jesse: Yes. So it's green. It's very green. It's tastes delicious. I highly recommend it. If you're ever in Japan or here in Seattle during the summer, I recommend you try it.

Andrew: I'll have to try the matcha latte or matcha Frappuccino soon.

Jesse: Great.

Outro [Jesse]: Thank you for listening to this episode of LPLE, Let's Practice Listening in English, from Dialog.FM. Subscribe to LPLE on iTunes to hear the latest episodes, or listen to past episodes on our website, Dialog.FM. That's d-i-a-l-o-g-dot-f-m. If you have questions or comments about English, or if you would like for us to use a word, grammar, or idiom in our conversation so you can learn how to use it correctly, we would love to hear from you on Twitter at @dialogdotfm or Facebook at facebook.com/dialogFM.

Mar 20, 2016

Welcome to LPLE, "Let's Practice Listening in English!" Jesse and Andrew, your LPLE hosts, talk about their favorite foods and travel experience.

Join in the conversation! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to ask us questions about English conversation and meet other English language learners all over the world.

 

Transcript

Intro [Jesse]: Hi everyone. My name is Jesse Robbins, and welcome to LPLE from dialogue FM. We're the podcast that lets you practice listening in English. We speak English slowly and clearly so that you can follow along and understand native English speakers more easily. I'm excited to help you improve your English listening skills, as well as help you learn new vocabulary, grammar, and idioms commonly heard and conversation among native English speakers. If you want to practice listening in English, then we invite you to join our conversation.

Jesse: Andrew, what is your favorite food?

Andrew: Pizza is the first thing that comes to mind.

Jesse: Why do you like pizza? Why is that your favorite food?

Andrew: I think it has all of the things that are unhealthy for me and all of the things that taste good all at the same time.

Jesse: For me, I also like pizza. But, I like my pizza to be very simple--Not a lot of ingredients. My favorite pizza is pepperoni and sausage; very basic, very simple, any pizza place has it. What is your favorite kind of pizza?

Andrew: I think I am the same. I usually order pepperoni and sausage and cheese. I also like pizzas that have everything on it. Everything on the menu, though; pepperoni, sausage, peppers, onions. They call it a supreme usually; a supreme pizza.

Jesse: When people think of a popular pizza, they usually think Chicago or New York; most likely New York over Chicago...

Andrew: Most likely Chicago over New York.

Jesse: Exactly. That's one of the funniest debates when it comes to food between two cities: it's who has the best pizza in New York or Chicago

Andrew: It's a point of pride.

Jesse: Very two--two very different styles of pizza. New York pizza is very wide and very thin, right? And, in Chicago, has their Chicago deep-dish pizza, which actually doesn't really resemble a pizza once you cut into it.

Andrew: It is more like a meat and cheese pie that is baked all together with sauce and spices. It is delicious.

Jesse: I preferred New York pizza, and I've had both. I've tried Chicago deep-dish pizza and I've tried New York pizza, and I favor New York pizza. Sometimes I also eat fast food delivery pizza. But, yet again, here is a point of difference between you and me. Between Domino's Pizza and Pizza Hut, I prefer Pizza Hut.

Jesse: Alright, let's talk about travel.

Andrew: OK.

Jesse: Most recently, a couple of months ago, I travelled to Japan. That was my most recent international trip. I was in Japan for one week and it was very fun. The weather was hot. It was the end of summer, so of course it was also very humid. But, I still had a great time. I got to see friends. I got lots of delicious Japanese food. I got to sing karaoke--very fun. And, I did a little sightseeing. Not a lot, only a little. Primarily because when I lived in Japan about 10 years ago, I live in Japan for 3 months. So I had plenty of opportunity to sightsee. So, what about you? What was your most recent international trip?

Andrew: I haven't travel internationally in a little while. The last trip I took was about two years ago, but it was a longer trip so I got to see more places. I was traveling with a friend and we went through many countries in Southeast Asia. We flew to Laos, and then took a train to Thailand, and then flew to Bali/Indonesia, and from there I actually met up with you in Vietnam for the last week of our trip. And, I had a great time. I actually miss traveling and I want to do it again soon. I'm actually planning another trip back to Thailand early next year.

Jesse: Why are you going back to Thailand? There's many other countries in the world for you to travel. Thailand is a fantastic country. You're going back. Is there something about Thailand that you really like? Is it more to introduce Thailand to somebody else?

Andrew: Both, actually. Thailand is a great place to start traveling because the people are very friendly and there are a lot of hotels and tour guides and is easy to get around to travel to see sites and see the country. And, I'm also traveling with some friends who have not traveled outside of the United States very often and so this is a good place to start. So, I'm happy to go back. I love Thailand. I'm also excited to show parts of Southeast Asia to friends who haven't been there before. And, this is a good chance to do both of those things at once.

Jesse: How long is your trip this time?

Andrew: We are going for a little bit less than two weeks, so I think about ten to twelve days. And, we are going to start out in Bangkok, we're going to spend a few days at a city by the beach, and then for some of them--some of the people I'm traveling with who are leaving early--we are going to go to Singapore for a few days to show them the city. And then my girlfriend and I are going to stay and go back to Thailand to go to the north part of the country to a town called Chiang Mai and see more of what the north part of the country has, which is different weather, different culture, and just a different feeling than the big city of Bangkok.

Outro [Jesse]: Thank you for listening to this episode of LPLE, Let's Practice Listening in English, from Dialog.FM. Subscribe to LPLE on iTunes to hear the latest episodes, or listen to past episodes on our website, Dialog.FM. That's d-i-a-l-o-g-dot-f-m. If you have questions or comments about English, or if you would like for us to use a word, grammar, or idiom in our conversation so you can learn how to use it correctly, we would love to hear from you on Twitter at @dialogdotfm or Facebook at facebook.com/dialogFM

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