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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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Now displaying: April, 2016
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.

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