Travel stories

Thailand
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This episode we’re all here sharing our favourite stories from some of our journeys abroad. Andrew talks about an interesting place he visited outside Berlin, Harp tells us about her search for tigers, and Maura shares a story about being lost in Thailand. We take turns interviewing each other to bring the stories to life. We dare you not to get the travel bug after listening to this episode!

sample dialog

Maura: And do you remember how you heard about this place?
Andrew: It was just my friend that was living there. She recommended that we go, and it took us maybe an hour and a half to bike it there. It was a really beautiful day and we biked through the German forest, and it was nice.
Maura: Ah nice. You know by the end of this episode, I’m sure I’m going to feel like booking a ticket and travelling somewhere again.
Andrew: Yeah. Definitely. You’ll get the travel bug.
Maura: Yeah. That’s right. All right. Good story.
Andrew: Yeah. Thank you.
Maura: So, Harp, are you ready?
Harp: I am.

Expressions from this episode included in the Learning Materials:

While you’re at it… Little travel story
Teufelsberg To get up to
Man-made To listen in
A music guy The travel bug
To backpack Sundaraban forest
To hook up WWOOF
To cross your fingers In the middle of nowhere

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That’s sick!

A sick guitar player
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There are tons of negative words that are used as positive slang. We’re looking at a few of the more popular ones in this episode. Andrew and Maura give you their take on sick, mean, and wicked. If you look these words up in the dictionary, you might not find these definitions, but if you’re travelling around Canada or the U.S., you might just hear them being used.

sample dialog

Maura: And the thing about these kinds of words is that they’re always changing. Every few years there’s like a new one of these that emerges and some of the other words we don’t use anymore and depending where you’re speaking English, different kinds of words are more popular.
Andrew: Mmhmm. That’s the funny thing about slang. It’s always changing with each new generation.
Maura: Yeah. When I was thinking about this episode, when I was preparing it, I thought about Michael Jackson. And you know in the 80s, he had that song “Bad”. And that’s really a prime example of this kind of slang.
Andrew: Exactly. Because “Bad” didn’t really mean bad. It meant good in the context of that song.
Maura: Yeah. Right. So he was singing about being bad, but he didn’t mean that he was negative or something was really bad. He meant that it was cool and awesome and, yeah, kind of maybe exciting.

Expressions from this episode included in the Learning Materials:

Time flies (by) A prime example
Sick – a sick guitar player – can be used on its own To be meaning
Break dancing To be mean – must be used with the object that is being described as mean
A lift Where ya going?
Wicked – as in intensifer Fresh powder
No doubt To be sold

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Word

Word
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This time we’re looking at casual ways to agree with a person. The expressions in this episode are cool casual slang, more often used by younger people. But if you’re older, don’t worry! These expressions can be found in music, movies, and on TV. Listen in to this episode to learn all about word, to be game, and to be down. Are you game for learning English?

sample dialog

Andrew: Yeah. It’s just a one-word expression, which is word.
Harp: Yeah. And so you use this expression to say yes when someone has said something. You say word.
Andrew: Right. So if you want to agree with a statement that somebody has made you can say word. And this expression is really a shortened form of a longer expression, which is my word is my bond.
Harp: My word is my bond.
Andrew: And this means that what you’re saying is true. You’re being honest. If your word is your bond, you’re telling the truth.
Harp: Exactly. So when you say word, you’re casually agreeing with what the person has said.

Expressions from this episode included in the Learning Materials:

To be laid back Word
My word is my bond To handle something
To grab To be a nightmare
To take on To be down
No way José Wine and cheese

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Money

USmoney
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Every place on earth has some sort of money system, but everyone does it a little bit differently. Listen to this episode where Harp and Andrew talk about their experiences with money in Canada. They talk about hourly pay and salary, the two major ways to be paid for work, and they also talk about how to spend money in the two most common ways: with card and cash. Another important thing to do with money is save it! Harp and Andrew share their budgeting strategies. Check it out!

sample dialog

Harp: Yeah. You like to use Interac or credit cards?
Andrew: Yeah. I’m in love with my debit card.
Harp: I have to agree with you. It’s so rare that I have cash on me now.
Andrew: Well, we should explain. A debit card is a way to pay for something automatically withdrawing the money from your bank account. So it’s a direct debit out of your account to pay for whatever you buy.
Harp: Exactly. And I would say almost every single store in Canada now has a little machine where you put your card in and then you put in your PIN number, which is a personal identification number it’s usually four numbers long or eight numbers max, and the money goes directly out of your chequing account.

Expressions from this episode included in the Learning Materials:

Money makes the world go round Salary versus hourly wage
To be at the bottom of the ladder To crunch numbers
To put your time in Interac and debit
To have cash on you A PIN number
Cheques and checks An allowance
A passbook Post-dated cheques
A budget RRSPs

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Hanging by a thread

hanging by the thread
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Do you use things until they almost stop working and become useless? Maybe you have a TV that’s hanging on by a thread. Or do you have an old t-shirt that’s on its last legs? This time Andrew and Harp talk about expressions used to describe these kinds of things. This episode might make you realize you’ve got some stuff that’s almost dead!

sample dialog

Andrew: That’s right. So, if we’re talking about a thing that’s on its last legs, it means it’s almost totally useless, and it’s broken.
Harp: Yes. That means that it’s still working a little bit, but really not very well or only a little bit. Or only one function of it is working. So maybe for our fridge, just the fridge works but the freezer doesn’t work anymore. That’s how you use this.
Andrew: Right. So a part of it is broken and you have the sense that it is going to completely break really soon. And then it is on it’s last legs.

Expressions from this episode included in the Learning Materials:

Super To be hanging by a thread
Here you go To be dead
Aw To make someone look bad
To run To be on its last legs
To skip To almost kill yourself
To have one foot in the grave Is that a …. you’ve got there?

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Home is where the heart is

Home_Sweet_Home
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Home is a special place, so it makes sense that we’ve got a bunch of expressions to talk about it. Andrew and Maura start by explaining the difference between house and home, then review the most popular expression with home. They also talk about their experiences being away from home, including culture shock and homesickness. Oh, there’s no place like home!

sample dialog

Andrew: Right. Expressions with home. So our first one is home sweet home.
Maura: And you see, there’s even a kind of way that you say it. You stop and you take the time to say home sweet home.
Andrew: Yeah. Because when you say home sweet home there’s a certain sentiment. A certain memory that’s attached to home, right. It’s special for me so, yeah, when I use this expression I’m sort of, it’s like what we were talking about earlier, how it’s a warm and cozy place, your home. Because you think about it differently than another place. This is a special place. It’s your home.
Maura: Right. This expression is used when someone is talking about their home and they love it and they think it’s a really great place. They might be saying this when they’re away from home because when you’re away from home sometimes you start to realize all the great things about it and you really start to miss it. So someone might start to use this expression, home sweet home, when they’re away from their home.

Expressions from this episode included in the Learning Materials:

To be near and dear to our hearts House and home
To house Home sweet home
To live out of a suitcase This is news to me
There’s no place like home Home is where the heart is
Hometown To know what you were getting into
Different strokes for different folks Culture shock and reverse culture shock
To push your horizons A home away from home

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Go call your folks

tight family
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Everyone’s got some kind of parental unit, so there’s gotta be some slang to talk about it. We’re talking about mommy and daddy in this episode and reviewing some of the fun names we can call them. We also review some of the standard names for these important people and the difference between using mom or mother. If you haven’t seen your old man lately, this episode will make you want to give him a call!

sample dialog

Maura: So in this example we heard from someone whose parents were coming to visit her and instead of saying my parents are coming, she says, “my folks are coming.” And in this case my folks just directly means my parents. It’s just a more casual, familiar way to talk.
Andrew: That’s right. And while we’re talking about folks maybe we should we talk about the word itself. So folks is spelled F-O-L-K-S. If you notice when you hear the word folks, you don’t hear an L sound, even though there is an L in the spelling. So when you’re reading this word, don’t say folks, it sounds strange, just say folks. Pretend the L is not there.
Maura: Right. That’s good advice. You know there are so many of these words in English that just have a strange spelling.
Andrew: Absolutely.

Expressions from this episode included in the Learning Materials:

To get the hang of Lingo
To get sidetracked A tight family
Mum or Mum Folks
To be in town The slopes
‘Rents Come to think of it
To get to it A hand
Mama and ma Pops and old man

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You pulled a fast one on me

trick someone
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Do you know someone who always likes to joke around? In this episode, we talk about expressions that can be used to describe when one person tricks another. It could be just for fun, or someone might intentionally try to deceive someone else. Whatever the situation, listening to this episode could help you figure out whether someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Listen and learn!

sample dialog

Andrew: So today’s expressions are all about tricking somebody.
Harp: Yes. And they all have the word pull in them.
Andrew: That’s right. So they have two things in common.
Harp: All right, so let’s get started with our first expression, which is to pull a fast one.
Andrew: That’s right. To pull a fast one on somebody.

Expressions from this episode included in the Learning Materials:

No? To stop and look at something
To pull a fast one To mail something out
To take a car for a spin The shop
A junker To pull someone’s leg
To kid To pull the wool over someone’s eyes
A toque To be up to no good
To deke

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High school cliques

High School Cliques
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High school is a special kind of world with all different kinds of people. If you’ve ever watched an American movie, you’ll probably recognize some of the characters we talk about here. In this episode, Andrew and Maura talk about high school stereotypes, and share their own experiences. Was Andrew a band geek? Was Maura a jock? Reminisce about your own high school days while you listen to this episode!

sample dialog

Maura: Let’s talk about some of the typical kinds of people or groups of people who you’ll see in high school.
Andrew: Yeah. So, one of the major groups that you always see in high school movies is jocks.
Maura: That’s right. Jocks are the athletes. They are the kinds of people who play sports; and usually not just one sport on one team, but often, a jock plays on a few different teams and is involved in whatever sport they can be a part of.
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. These are the people who really love sports, play on all the teams, watch all the games, and really sort of make it known throughout the school that they are the athletes. So they’ll wear their team jerseys all the time, even when they’re not playing sports, and they’ll always hang out together and talk about sports.

Expressions from this episode included in the Learning Materials:

To come together For better or for worse
A clique A jock
A nerd A stoner
A drama kid Black clothes
In the same vein A band geek
To have a hand in something At the top of the totem pole
You know what? A telltale sign
To get a kick out of something To pop up

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An interview with Roberto

Roberto
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In this episode, we interview Roberto, a Canadian who partly grew up in Trinidad and Tobago, spent 10 years in the Canadian Armed Forces, and is now known as the Vegan Yoga Dude. Roberto and Harp discuss his experiences learning French, and what it’s like to edit English-as-a-second-language textbooks. Oh, and did we mention that he was in Germany for the fall of the Berlin wall, and worked security for Celine Dion? Listen to this episode to find out more!

And check out Roberto’s blog, Vegan Yoga Dude, at veganyogadude.com. You can also find Roberto on Twitter @VeganYogaDude, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vegan-Yoga-Dude/1421251401426454.

sample dialog

Harp: And you were in the army for 10 years, you said?
Roberto: Ten years, but I broke it up. I have to keep things interesting. I broke it up into two segments of 5 years. I did 5 years, and then while I was in Germany, which was a wonderful posting, I left the Armed Forces to work for a while as a musician. And having had a very limited amount of success as a musician, I re-enrolled in the Canadian Forces and did another 5 years.
Harp: As a logistics officer again?
Roberto: As a logistics officer again, yes. While in the Canadian Armed Forces, they sent us to French school. And so I became bilingual, and that has been a huge addition to my life. I’m very grateful for that, to be able to speak English and French now.

Expressions from this episode included in the Learning Materials:

To follow in someone’s footsteps Off to
For all intents and purposes To take something for granted
Storybook To never step foot somewhere
By no means A groupie
Chapters A, B, and C
To put yourself in someone else’s shoes Off the top of my head
A baptism by fire The Vegan Yoga Dude

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