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Better at English

Podcast for EFL and ESL learners who want learn conversational English. Listen to our live, unscripted English conversations featuring authentic English vocabulary, slang, idioms, and more. Go to https://www.betteratenglish.com/transcripts for FREE transcripts and vocabulary notes. Have fun listening and learning English with us!

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043 – Real English conversations: Lori scores a year’s supply of toilet paper (archive)

A funny thing happened today when Lori was shopping for office supplies, and it involves an industrial-sized package of toilet paper rolls.

26 Jun 2017

Rank #1

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047 – The robots are coming. Are you ready?

A study predicts that all human tasks could be automated in the next 30 years. And that all human jobs might be replaced within the next 100 years or so. Holy crap! What will we do when the robots take over? A.I. is coming. The robots are coming. But are we ready? In this Real English conversations podcast from Better at English, Lori and her American friend Will talk about their questions and concerns about the rise of A.I. (Artificial intelligence) and the automation of human labor. You can find the full transcript in my archive of English conversation transcripts for language learners. Additional resources and supplementary material Humans need not apply Video about how automation and A.I. will affect the job market for humans https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq-S557XQU Robots will beat humans at every task https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/06/this-is-when-robots-will-start-beating-humans-at-every-task-ae5ecd71-5e8e-44ba-87cd-a962c2aa99c2 Traffic death statistics https://www.cdc.gov/injury/features/global-road-safety/index.html Dirty, Dirty robots. Funny (but still disturbing) video about A.I. from comedian Lee Camp https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyfxP6ZyNtw Link to original Yale / Oxford study about A.I. This is for learners of academic English. People in the videos about A.I. summarize findings from this study. This is the actual academic study for comparison. https://arxiv.org/pdf/1705.08807.pdf Elon musk on the Joe Rogan podcast, talking about A.I. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra3fv8gl6NE Elon Musk’s talk at SXSW https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-Osn1gMNtw Ted talk with neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nt3edWLgIg Sam Harris on the Joe Rogan Podcast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BChxQHyFIOI&t=1487s TED talk by Peter Haas A robot designer who is afraid of robots The Real Reason to be Afraid of Artificial Intelligence https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRzBk_KuIaM How frightened should be be of A.I.? Article in the New Yorker, free, with full text and audio so you can read along as you listen. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/05/14/how-frightened-should-we-be-of-ai Video about delivery robots https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujzjZuhE92g


1 Sep 2020

Rank #2

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Real English Conversations: Don’t step on the dog doo (2 of 4)

In today's conversation, which is part 2 of 4, my British friend Michael and I continue discussing dogs and cats, and which we prefer.

19 Oct 2008

Rank #3

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036 – Daily Rituals 1 – Real English Conversations

INTRODUCTIONHi English learners! Lori here, your teacher from Betteratenglish.com. In this episode of Real English Conversations, you'll hear me talking to Kyla, a fellow musician. We met up to talk about a book that we both really like. It's called Daily Rituals, and was written by Mason Currey.But as it turned out, Kyla and I had a lot more to talk about than the book. In fact, we didn't even start talking about the book until several minutes into the conversation. So you'll have to wait until part two for that. In this first part, you'll hear us breaking the ice by talking about guitars and practicing and other things we have in common. This was a normal thing to do because it was the first time we ever spoke to each other.You'll be hearing lot of informal American English, including tons of phrasal verbs. I think the best way to really learn phrasal verbs is in context, so I've highlighted most of them for you in the transcript, along with the other vocabulary.As always, you can find the full transcript, including a bonus vocabulary lesson at betteratenglish.com/transcripts.OK, let's get this conversation started!CONVERSATION TRANSCRIPTLori: Okay, great. Yeah! It was really, really cool that you– you stepped up to the plate and got in touch about– about talking about this book.Kyla: Good. Yeah! It's kind of...it's a– it's a book that I– I've read. I have...I own a copy. And coming up with rituals, I'm always looking for better ways to work and better ways to be creative, so it's a...yeah. It's a – when I saw your post, I was like, "Oh! I love that book!" [laughs]Lori: Oh! Yeah, great! Yeah, at that point, I don't even think I'd read more than, like, a quarter of it, and I was like, "Oh! This is such a cool book! I really want to talk to somebody about it."Kyla: Excellent.Lori: So yeah, but before we get into that, tell me a little bit more about what you're doing with guitar.Kyla: Well, I'm a...I was sort of trained as a classical guitarist as a kid and moved on, started playing electric in, like, some folk rock band in, you know, like, 15 years ago and just sort of...I've always been listening to metal so I think it was sort of natural that I got into playing– into playing metal. Now I play in a really, really proggy sort of a death metal band –Lori: Oh wow.Kyla: – called Molt. And we, after much strife, finally released an album a couple of years ago. But yeah, I mean, I'm always– I'm always striving to sort of streamline how I practice because I've always got, you know – actually, I just quit a job about a month ago to sort of start to...now I'm teaching myself Java and Python, and I'm working on...I'm actually working on writing an app to generate guitar practice exercises.Watch the video version with CC subtitleshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTUynHNPNP8Lori: Oh!Kyla: But yeah, so I'm just always– I'm always, you know, looking for ways to work, looking for ways to fit my practice time in the continual quest for speed. [laughs] I do have to thank you for your little...your post about using a 1-minute timer.Lori: Oh yeah!Kyla: I do that every day. That's– [laughs] that's really become– that's really become a part of my– my practice regimen.Lori: Oh, super! I'm glad that was useful.Kyla: Yeah, that was– that was extraordinarily useful. [laughs]Lori: Yeah, it's – it's one of the things about playing guitar if you're trying to achieve, yeah, higher than average level of technical mastery is that – you find that unless you're like one of these freaky people who seem to be just super, super gifted, it takes an inordinate amount of practice.Kyla: Yeah. Yeah, it's...and focused, focused practice.Lori: Yeah, and not just kind of going over the scales or the things that you like to do that are easy for you. You have to sort of get into the edges, and push yourself into the areas where you're not comfortable and where you start fee...


23 Feb 2017

Rank #4

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033 – Lori burns her arm – Real English Conversations

Lori burns her arm while making a cup of tea, and can't sleep because it hurts so much. Her mother tries to help her find a way to get through the night. The real English conversation is between Lori and her mother the following morning, discussing what they did to relieve the pain and whether or not it worked.

9 May 2014

Rank #5

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034 – Showing up for English learning success

Lori talks to you about one of her favorite quotes: 80% of success is showing up. You'll learn what it means and who said it. And if you're feeling discouraged with your English progress, you'll learn how resolving to keep "showing up" can get you back on track with your learning.

26 May 2014

Rank #6

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035 – There’s nothing like a good night’s sleep – Real English Conversations

In this Real English Conversations podcast, you'll hear Lori and her mom talking about their bedtime routines and what they do to get good night's sleep. The conversation includes lots of idioms and phrases related to going to bed, sleeping, waking up, and daily routines, and these interesting language items are listed in the vocabulary notes.


8 Jun 2014

Rank #7

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037 – Daily Rituals 2 – Real English Conversations

Hi English learners! Lori here, your teacher from Betteratenglish.com. In this episode of Real English Conversations, you'll hear part 2 of my conversation with Kyla. We're discussing a book that we both really liked. It's called Daily Rituals, by Mason Currey. The book describes the daily routines and habits of 161 creative people, people like writers, painters, musicians, philosophers, and scientists. Now, while I love the book, I don't recommend it for English learners at lower levels. This is because it has a lot of quotations from sources that are very old, and some of that language is very difficult. But if you are an upper-intermediate to advanced learner of English who needs to read English literature from different periods, it might be a great place to start. The chapters are very short — sometimes only a half a page. That means you can have the satisfaction of finishing a chapter without having to spend too much time. And it's easier to do deep language analysis and study if the text is not too long.Right then...in this conversation you'll hear a lot of American English idiomatic expressions and a bit of slang. There are also many examples of a politeness strategy called "hedging." Remember, this was the first time Kyla and I ever spoke, so we were being careful not to be too direct. Listen particularly for language like "kind of," "sort of," and "I think." Hedges like these keep us from sounding to direct or firm in our opinions. As always, you can find the full transcript, including a bonus vocabulary lesson at betteratenglish.com/transcripts.OK, here comes the conversation!CONVERSATION TRANSCRIPTKyla: Well, I was just going to say, that book came out of blog posts, didn't it? Like, was he blogging? [note: you can find the original blog here]Lori: I believe the story is, he's – he's a...he's actually a published author; quite a prolific author, I think, in– in, like, magazines and things like that. And he did have this blog that, I guess, started out just as some kind of personal interest.Kyla: Right.Lori: And then someone got in touch with him saying, "Hey, do you...this would make a really cool book," and so he did the extra work too to turn it into a book. And I'm glad he did because it's really fascinating.Kyla: Yeah. [laughs]Lori: [laughs] Really interesting.Kyla: It is —Lori: Um...Kyla: Well, it's — oh, you go ahead.Lori: No, no. Go ahead.Kyla: I was– I was just going to say, it actually kind of makes me really..."Why wasn't I a writer?! It seems like they have it so easy!" [laughs]Lori: [laughs] Is that based on– on reading about the habits of writers in the books or the book, I'm —Kyla: Yes. Yeah, exactly. That was...by – by the end of it, it was just like, yeah.Lori: That's funny you had that reaction because I actually thought that writing seemed really, really freaking hard.Kyla: Oh, yeah. [laughs]Lori: [laughs] Like, really hard. I guess, some of the things that– that struck me that all the things that the writers do to try to make it easier on themselves, like, I really [laughs] — one thing, I can't remember which person it was, but there was someone who was, like, totally taking Benzedrine which is, I guess, apparently, Adderall.Kyla: Right. [laughs]Lori: And after reading that passage, I was like, "Hey man! I want to get me some of that stuff! [laughs] How can I...that's my problem too! I can't focus. I can't concentrate. Like, sign me up!" [laughs] And coffee, as well. I was surprised at how many people really depended on stimulants like coffee.Kyla: Yeah. And it seems like, every, like, pretty much every ritual was like, "Well, I have my coffee," and then, like — Oh, who is that? Like, the guy that would have...maybe it was, who would have, like, I don't know. His butler had to choose the coffee each day and then justify his choice. Like, "This is —Lori: Oh,

27 Feb 2017

Rank #8

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051 – The good, the bad, and the flat-out liars. Real English Conversation

Imagine if you will, the following scenario. You’ve volunteered to take part in a psychology study, say, at your university. All you have to do is show up to the lab, sit by yourself in a little booth and play a very simple game of chance, something like flipping a coin, where there’s no skill involved, only luck. You get paid one dollar just for showing up, that’s guaranteed. And if you’re lucky and win the game, you’ll get paid 5 dollars cash. But if you lose, you get nothing. Here’s the kicker: it’s up to you to tell the researchers if you won or lost, they won’t be able to tell. So there are three possible outcomes: you can win and get 5 dollars, you can lose and get nothing, or….you can lose, but lie and still get the 5 dollars. And nobody will know. What would you do? What do you think other people would do? As it happens, a recent study just looked at this, and there was a cunning little twist: those crafty researchers actually DID know if people won or lost. So they also knew if people told the truth about it or if they lied. The study, called “Cheaters, Liars, or Both? A New Classification of Dishonesty Profiles” is absolutely fascinating. And today you’ll hear a conversation ‒ in American English – with some people discussing it. The conversation is from one of my favorite podcasts, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe. It’s a podcast featuring smart people having interesting discussions about science, technology, and critical thinking. If you are at all interested in those topics, I highly recommend it for your English listening practice. This is definitely a show that will make you smarter, and will teach you lots of vocabulary. The episodes don’t always have transcripts, but I’ve transcribed the part you’re going to hear today and put it in the show notes, which you can find at betteratenglish.com/transcripts. You know, if you like, you can turn this episode into a more challenging task for yourself. In the show notes you’ll also find a link to a New York Times article about the study. In the conversation you’ll hear a woman summarizing this same article to her friends. So before you continue listening, you can hit pause and go read the article yourself. Then imagine how you might summarize it for friend and what you might discuss. What language would you use? What vocabulary would you need? Spend a few moments imagining how you might talk about it with a group of friends. Then listen to the rest of this podcast and compare your ideas with what you hear in the conversation. All right, let’s get to it. You’ll hear a woman named Cara doing most of the talking. She explains the study’s findings to her friends Steve, Bob, Jay, and Evan. They they all discuss what they make of it. Are you ready? Let’s go: TRANSCRIPT PREVIEW Get the full transcript here Steve: All right, Cara, you’re gonna tell us about the psychology of lying and cheating. Cara: Right! So this is a field of psychological inquiry that goes back basically to the beginning of experimental psychology, right? Psychologists, psychologists have always been interested in deception. So a new paper said, OK, well, we want to do is we want to see if we can sort of beef up and retest some old concepts in the kind of construct of lying, cheating deception, but we want to go beyond that. And we want to say, Okay, this is not an all or nothing phenomenon, right? Like, you could say, That person’s a liar, or that person lied, or that person’s a cheater, that person’s dishonest, but there are shades of grey, aren’t there? Steve: Mm hmm. Evan: Of course, of course. Bob: Yeah, absolutely. Little white lies. Cara: Totally. There lies that actually help us. Bob: There are lies that actually get people killed. Cara: Yep. Lies to get people killed and lies that we can’t help but but commit, that’s not a good word. But tell? Yeah, because they’re the only they’re the best of a bad situation we’re dealing with or something like that. So they set up, you know, a standard classic laboratory psychology paradigm, which does not necessarily translate to the real world. So let’s keep that in mind. And they set up two paradigms. One of them was a coin flip paradigm, and one of them was a die roll paradigm. And basically, they said, you know, if you roll heads, you get money. If you roll tails, you get no money. Or if you flip heads, if you flip tails, and then on the die paradigm, they went into levels. So they said, you know, if you roll a one, you get $1, a two, you get $2, a three $3. But if you roll a six, that’s unlucky, so you get no dollars. So those are basically the two experiments that they ran. And they found that people by and large, had similar response. There were people who were totally honest. So they would flip the coin, they would hit heads, and they would say, got heads, give me my five bucks. Or they would flip tails and they would say, you know, I flipped tails. I don’t get any money. Okay, cool. All right. So you could flip a coin, and you’re gonna be lucky enough that you flip heads you’re, and that’s where you get a $5 payout, you’re probably gonna say, hey, look, I flipped heads, you’re gonna be honest about that, because you want the money. So they decided, let’s take all those people out of the equation. And let’s just look at the people who flip tails. Because now all the sudden there’s incentive, right? You could either flip tails, and not get the money and be honest about it. And that is what 41% of the people in the lab setting where they did it in front of actual researchers said, only 37% of people in a Mechanical Turk situation. So Mechanical Turk, have you guys ever used that? I think it’s Amazon’s like survey, study software. And so this is like it’s a coin flip simulation online. So it was this slightly lower number, it was 37%. But still, less than half of the people who flipped tails reported honestly that they flipped tails. Then there was another group that they called the “cheating non liars.” I love this. So these people flip the coin got tails, and were like, “Crap, I’m just gonna keep flipping until I get heads,” which was breaking the rules, the rules was you flip once, but they said, screw it. I’m just gonna keep flipping. And then when they finally got heads, they were like, Hey, I got heads, let me have my $5. So this was 17% of the people in front of researchers. 7% of the people online, and another group were what they called “the liars.” So these people flipped the coin got tails, and just straight up, go, “No, I got heads.” 23% of people just straight up lied. And then they found a fourth group. And this group is fascinating, you guys. They called them the “radically dishonest people.” And this is the group that I’m really interested in, like, can we develop a psychometric tool so that we can test these people and then start learning about them? So these people didn’t even bother to flip the coin! Group: Wow! Whoa! Cara: They just go, “Oh, yeah, I got heads.” Group: Wow. Whoa. Cara: So it’s like, they were like double liars. They lied about participating, and they lied about the outcome. Steve: What about “lying sack of shit?” What group were they in? Group: [Laughter] Cara: I think that’s radically dishonest, the lying sack of shits. Evan: Oh, man. Cara: And so this is really fascinating, because I think there are two components here that we we maybe intuitively thought about, just like Bob mentioned earlier, you know, there’s the lies that could get you killed. There’s also the lies that just feel cruel, or they feel like pathologically dishonest and then there are the lies where it’s like, I understand the ethical or moral reason that this person lied. And I think we can start to dig deep into just this very clean laboratory experiment to tease out some of those issues. For example, you’ve got your straight-up honest people, you’ve got straight-up lucky people, then you’ve got your just straight-up liars. END TRANSCRIPT PREVIEW If you are enjoying this Better at English podcast, please take a moment to rate it, review it, or share the love :-) LINKS TO SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL PDF transcript of this podcast episode Link to the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe Podcast episode https://www.theskepticsguide.org/podcasts/episode-793 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/15/science/psychology-dishonesty-lying-cheating.html The Good, the Bad and the ‘Radically Dishonest’ – New York Times article Link to full text of the actual study “ Cheaters, Liars, or Both? A New Classification of Dishonesty Profiles.” https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343591254_Cheaters_Liars_or_Both_A_New_Classification_of_Dishonesty_Profiles Link to the actual game website used in the study. Try playing it yourself! http://rollandflip.com GENERAL ENGLISH LEARNING RESOURCES Loserthink This is a great book by Scott Adams (creator of the Dilbert cartoons) about critical thinking and all the ways our brain tries to fool us by Scott Adams. This link is to the summary version on Blinkist, which contains audio so you can listen as you read. https://blinkist.o6eiov.net/loserthink


21 Sep 2020

Rank #9

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049 No excuses – The best place to get FREE speaking practice right now

This is NOT a sales episode, I promise! Seriously, I have found and tested the BEST place to find people to practice speaking English with for free. It only takes 5 minutes to set up an account, and you’ll be up and running, practicing your English with nice people from all over the world. No hidden charges, no sales, I promise you…as of September 2020 when I am publishing this podcast, it’s 100% free. There aren’t even annoying ads! No excuses. Start speaking NOW. :-) You can find free4talk.com here. It’s a great place to practice speaking with other non-native speakers. If you prefer to have structured lessons with a native speaker teacher, italki is probaby still the best value. But for FREE speaking practice, definitely check out free4talk! For my list of other places where you can practice your English online, see this page. TRANSCRIPT Hi, English learners, Lori here, your teacher from betteratenglish.com. Today I have a very short and simple episode for you. Now, I know a lot of you really want to get more English speaking practice, because you’re mainly concerned with becoming more fluent with your English speaking. But the problem is that you have a hard time finding people to practice with, especially since, you know, it can be expensive to get an online teacher, and you don’t have money and I totally, totally understand. So what if I told you that five minutes after listening to this podcast you could be online, joining in a whole community of people just like you who want to practice their English. And you could actually be practicing, literally within five minutes. I swear it blew my mind when I found this site. It’s called Free4talk.com, and it’s 100% free. And I promise you, I have no vested interest in this website. I don’t know them. They’re not paying me anything. I don’t make any money for recommending it to you. I just think it’s such an amazing resource that I would actually feel really bad if I didn’t tell you all about it. Now, if you’re already listening and thinking, “Oh, no, no, that’s not for me. I’ve already tried conversation exchanges and it’s a real pain in the butt because I have to first log in and look at a bunch of profiles and then find somebody and then send a message and, and hope that they’re going to get back to me and then we have to arrange a time and then more often than not, when I show up for our appointment, there’s nobody there, they’ve totally flaked on me.” And I get it. That is a real pain, and that is frustrating. And you’ve spent all this time and still not gotten any practice. I promise you free4talk is 1000 times easier. Literally, within five minutes, you can find the site, create an account, log in, find a room and start talking to people. And the big difference between free4talk and these other conversation exchange sites is that it’s based on chat rooms. And that makes it super, super easy. I’ve been logging in off-and-on over the past couple of weeks and giving it a try. And the good news for all of you who are listening who are learning English, is that English is by far the most popular language. Every time that I’ve logged in there’s been at least 40 different chat rooms. Sometimes there’s been close to 100 different chat rooms of learners all over the world, people just like you who are on there to practice their English. So I hope this is getting you excited. And that you’re thinking “Yeah, cool. I want to go try it.” So here’s what you’re going to need if you want to try it. All you need is a computer with a mic. Or you can also use an Android phone or an iPhone. And you’re going to need a Google account because that’s how you log in. I think the site is actually based on the same engine that drives Google Hangouts. So you can’t use it if you don’t have a Google account. I won’t bore you by explaining every detail about how you log in and create your account and all that. I trust that you are competent enough as a user of the internet to be able to figure that out yourself. All I want to do here is just encourage you to take action and actually give it a try and get on there and start practicing your English. And if you’re listening to this thinking, “Oh, but no, I’m still too shy. Oh, that sounds too scary. I don’t want to go on there and speak to people I don’t know”. In my experience, it’s OK to join one of the rooms and just type in the chat that you’re shy and you really just want to listen. I’ve actually tested that myself. And in the rooms where I’ve tried that, the people there have totally understood and it’s been totally fine. So if you are shy, and it still feels a bit too scary to go on and start talking to people, you can go on and just try some rooms, join and say, “Can I just listen please?” and just get used to the idea and learn how to use the site. And then when you feel ready, you can start talking. It’s really that simple. And you really have nothing to lose by giving this a try. I hope this is getting you excited about it and that you’re really keen to finish this podcast and just head over to free4talk.com and sign up and give it a try. I think I should warn you though, that there are a couple things to watch out for, just like anywhere on the internet. It’s mostly nice people, mostly people just like you who all they want to do is practice their English with other nice people. The vast majority are like that on free4talk. But like anywhere else on the internet, there are also jerks and idiots and trolls who are there to just cause trouble, make other people feel bad. And that’s how they get their kicks. So just beware that you might run into the occasional person who is going to be not very nice. The good news is, is that free for talk has mechanisms in place to help you kick people out and block people if they’re causing trouble. So please, please don’t let that stop you from using this amazing and fantastic resource. Now, if this hasn’t convinced you yet, I’ll tell you about my experience yesterday. I knew I wanted to record this podcast. So I wanted to make sure that I had really tested the site properly, and that I knew how everything worked. So I logged on and I quickly created an English chat group and I named it “Just Testing.” And I thought, “OK, that’s safe. I can go on here and it’s called ‘Just Testing’ so I don’t have to worry about wasting people’s time by having them join my group and find out that I’m just testing my mic and trying things.” That’s what I thought. I kid you not, within 20 seconds — I had not even really had time to get started with my tests — there were already people joining my group to practice. I talked to two people from Iran. And they were the most lovely people. It was a guy and a girl. And we were there talking for close to 40 minutes, I think it was, and I had the most lovely conversation with them. It was really not how I had planned to spend that 40 minutes, but once I started talking with them, they were so interesting. And we had such a nice discussion. It was really a wonderful experience and they were so, so nice. So I hope that this will encourage you to go on there, give it a try, and please, let me know how it goes for you. You can go to my website betteratenglish.com and let me know how it goes for you. And, and who knows, I might even see you on there. And we might even have a little chat because I do log in from time to time as Better at English and join chat rooms to be of any help that I can be, or just enjoy listening to the non-native speakers helping each other. It is truly heartwarming, especially in these horrible times when there’s so much awful stuff going on that I hear how the more advanced learners are there and they’re helping the ones who are not as advanced. And they’re playing games with each other and doing pronunciation practice and having conversations and working on grammar and I can’t say just how wonderful I thought the whole thing was. Again, they’re not paying me to say this. There’s no check in in the mail, I just sincerely am hoping that I, that this will get you excited about it and that you’ll want to give it a try. So that’s it for me for this time I am working on a new conversation episode for you and I should have that up in another couple of days. But for now, I just wanted to give you this tip about how you can get — today in the next five minutes — how you can be practicing your spoken English with other real, live people just like you. So give it a try. And until next time, this is Lori signing off from Better at English headquarters, wishing you and inspired and productive day. Bye for now.


14 Sep 2020

Rank #10

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031 – Telling Time in English – Real English Conversations

Lori invites her mom onto the podcast to discuss telling time in English, focusing on some of the differences between American and British English usage.

6 May 2010

Rank #11

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046 – Five American English slang expressions

Hey there English learners, Lori here, your teacher from BetterAtEnglish.com. I've got a different type of episode here for you today. I'm gonna go through some American English slang expressions, some really common ones that you hear all the time if you're watching American English sitcoms or dramas on TV or Netflix. They're ones that have been in use for quite a few years, and that you hear people in a wide range of ages using. So it's not just super new ones that are just used by teenagers and younger people. They're a lot more, I think, general and for me that means there are a lot more useful. So I hope that you will enjoy this episode. It's a bit scary for me because it's different from what I normally give you. But, you know, when I think about it, I'm always encouraging you to try new things with your English learning and to risk embarrassment, to risk failure. So all I can do is try to lead by example and hope that you enjoy this episode. The expressions we're going to look at are: - Oh my god- that sucks- tell me about it- to bomb, and = bummer / bummed / to bum someone out You can find the full transcript for this episode at https://www.betteratenglish.com/transcriptsIf you benefit from this episode, please consider leaving a review (or at least some stars) :-)


18 Aug 2020

Rank #12

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029 – Perfectionism and Procrastination 1 – Real English Conversations

Do you ever procrastinate? Lori sure does! She and her Dutch friend Yvette talk about what procrastination is, why we do it, and what we can do about it.

21 Feb 2010

Rank #13

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039 – Daily Rituals part 4 – Real English Conversations

IntroductionHi English learners! Lori here, your teacher from Betteratenglish.com. In this episode of Real English Conversations, you'll hear part 4 of my conversation with Kyla. Up until now we've been talking about the book Daily Rituals by Mason Currey. But in this part of the conversation we digress [go off topic] and talk about dealing with distractions and interruptions when we're trying to work. That's one of the fun things about conversations: you never know where they are going to go!What kind of things do you find distracting when you are trying to work or study? How do you feel when you get interrupted when you're trying to concentrate? Do you think you have anything in common with Kyla and me? Listen to the conversation and find out!If you want to read along as you listen, you can download the full transcript, including a bonus vocabulary lesson at betteratenglish.com/transcripts.After the conversation I'll be back with three questions you can use for speaking practice.OK, let's get on with the conversation!Conversation transcriptLori: Yeah, it's, I think, really important. I found that it kind of made me feel a little bit better about myself because I find that if I'm going to sit down and do something, maybe not necessarily– necessarily creative, but that really requires my full attention and concentration, I cannot handle distractions and interruptions...Kyla: Yeah, yeah.Lori: ...at all.Kyla: They've even done studies where, I think when you're trying to do something, every distraction, it takes you about 15 minutes to get back...Lori: Right.Kyla: ...to what you were doing? Like, that's the amount of time it takes your brain to handle, "There's been a distraction! What was I doing before? Where was I? Oh yes, here we are..."Lori: Yeah. It's –Kyla: "...now we're going again." And so that, having that sort of place to make sure that no distractions bother you.Lori: Yeah, it's really important. And I think nowadays, you know, people with families, and not to mention just our little devices going off and pinging us all the time. You know, it's– it's getting harder and harder to create that– that block of undisturbed, focused, uninterrupted time for yourself, I think.Kyla: It is. It– it really is. And I was, you know – Google just had their...just released their news on their, sort of their new gadgets; the new Android, the new apps they're coming up with.Lori: Okay.Kyla: And one of the things they're doing is they're trying to integrate all of your electronic devices so that if somebody calls you on your phone, it will alert you on your laptop.Lori: Nooo!Kyla: And I was just like, "That's a terrible idea!" [laughs]Lori: It's...I think it's a horrible idea.Kyla: Like, in order to get anything done, you pretty much have to disconnect from the internet if it's not required for what you're doing. [laughs]Image courtesy of Wilengebroed on flickr.comLori: Yeah, totally. And you know, I've really come full circle when it comes to things like the internet and being connected in social media. I mean, in the beginning back in, well let's say, 10 years ago when it was still fresh and new and people were talking about web 2.0., it was this fantastic thing. And now I find, oh my god, I just, I don't want all that distraction and all those little tiny calls to my attention throughout the day that I've almost become anti- [laughs] internet. Which is, I mean, there's some kind of irony there because I also am running a website, and of course I want people to look at my website and listen to the podcasts. So it's kind of a, um – yeah, almost hypocritical but...Kyla: No, I'm the same. I mean, for...and I'm sort of like, I'm not a...I'm a great– I'm a great social person in person but I'm not– I'm not entirely sold on this social networking business. But I'm a musician! [laughs] So...Lori: Yeah.


12 Mar 2017

Rank #14

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030- Perfectionism and Procrastination 2 – Real English Conversations

Lori and her Dutch friend Yvette continue their discussion of perfectionism, focusing on how it can cause problems for foreign language learners.

15 Mar 2010

Rank #15