Learn How To Speak English While Listening To A Topical Discussion Ep 346

A photograph of a woman wearing masks and gloves while buying bananas in a food shop during the lockdown, a topic for English listening practice.

📝 Author: Hilary

📅 Published:

💬 2298 words ⏳ Reading Time 12 min


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Most Unusual Words:

Lockdown
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Takeaway

Most common 3 word phrases:

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Of Our Economy4
Most Common Words3
Face-To-Face3
I Think That3
The Service Sector3

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Transcript: Learn How To Speak English While Listening To A Topical Discussion

Hi there and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. If you want to learn how to speak English, then Adept English is here to help you. Once you’ve got basic English, we provide you with really good, interesting listening material, so that you can increase your understanding of spoken English – and learn to speak English fluently.

In our twice weekly Adept English podcasts, I give you help with English, observations about language learning – and sometimes just a good conversation topic, so that you’ve got something interesting and hopefully current to listen to. And you learn the vocabulary so that you can have interesting conversations. And if you’re a student of English, what I cover will help you speak in your English language tests too and I’ll be giving you useful vocabulary for that.

Recommending the 500 Words Course

Now if you find the podcasts difficult to understand and it takes you a long time to work through them, you would find our 500 Words course useful. The Most Common Five Hundred Words Course is a course specifically designed to help you learn the most common words in English. The words on this course account for a very high percentage of what’s written in English, but even more of what’s spoken in English! Any English sentence is mostly made up of these 500 most common words – so learning them, makes sense. It will speed up your language learning. And then it will be much easier to enjoy our weekly podcasts. The 500 Most Common Words Course is available to buy right now on our website at adeptenglish.com. Learn how to speak English fluently and confidently. See you on the course!

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Learn through listening – topical discussion

So in today’s podcast I’m going to give you a conversation topic. I’m going help you learn how to speak English, by listening to me talk about some current observations about our 2020 situation with the virus and the lockdown and some of the effects on our society, which are really interesting. Of course, there are a lot of negatives from this year’s virus and lockdown – the most obvious one being the number of people who’ve died – and of course, the impact on each country’s economy.

There are going to be difficulties ahead for sure. And the situation isn’t finished, is not over. We wait and see what the result is of lifting lockdown. How many more people will become ill as a result? Even the scientists cannot give reliable estimates. Nobody knows.

Society is changing

But what is beginning to be more obvious, more apparent, more visible is certain changes in our society. Of course, we’re all using online more for social meetings – and thank goodness that that’s been an option. Otherwise we would’ve been isolated. But through that, we’ve learned also the value of face-to-face meetings. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve met people in person – in a socially distanced way, of course – and it’s so lovely to have an actual conversation in person.

Meeting face-to-face is best, but meeting online is sometimes more practical and it’s probably going to change our working habits for the better too. People like a balance, and for some, working from home means less stress, more balance, greater productivity, as well as the opportunity to go cycling in your lunch hour. So let’s not lose the opportunity of this greater flexibility. A mix of online and face-to-face meeting is now more of a norm.

Spending less has a positive side

But I think that people are re-evaluating their lives in other ways too. ‘To evaluate’ means to ‘to assess, to judge, to count the numbers’ – so ‘to re-evaluate’ means ‘to assess again’, to rethink. There is so much that we’ve done without, there are so many things which we’ve not done or not bought. ‘Expenditure’, E-X-P-E-N-D-I-T-U-R-E, expenditure means the total amount of money that you spend, your ‘outgoings’.

And if you look at the average person’s expenditure per month since the lockdown, it’s reduced considerably for most people. We’re spending less. And if you’re in the very fortunate position of still being able to earn, of still having money coming in, you’ve probably been able to save some money. In this context, the verb ‘to save’, S-A-V-E means to ‘let money build up in your bank account’. That’s something that we don’t do very much of in the UK at least – we tend as a country to spend what we earn.

What have we been missing and what have we not really missed?

It’s a common conversation topic, to talk about what we’ve missed in the lockdown. What things have you wished for and not been able to have? For some people, it’s a beer in the pub as discussed last week. For other people, a haircut is what they’ve looked forward to. So all got longer hair and beards that we would normally have, we’re more hairy! But actually, a common conversation amongst people is about what it’s been OK to do without. That actually, a lot of the things that we buy, things that we consume – we’ve not missed them not that much, not as much as we expected. And our expenditure has been much less for not buying them.

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Learn How To Speak English While Listening To A Topical Discussion Ep 346 Article Image ©️ Adept English 2020
Description: A photograph of a man dressed in a smart business suit standing in a rubbish dump full of plastic. Part of a topical discussion designed to help practice English listening.


So maybe we ask – ‘Do we really need those things?’ And I think that this is starting to reshape the way we think. Do we need to buy new clothes all the time? It becomes slightly ridiculous to feel that you have to have that expensive handbag or pair of shoes, when you’re not actually going out. A pair of trainers and jogging bottoms have felt much more practical and relevant in our lives recently. Do we really need that new car – or actually is the one that we have already OK? Those things don’t matter so much, when we’ve been more worried about our friends and family, about people’s health. And we’ve had a lesson in ‘making do with what we have’ – especially back when there were worries about there being enough food in the supermarkets. It’s made us more aware of waste – and that ‘making do with what we have’, conserving isn’t so bad. And actually it’s quite satisfying in some ways. Waste and rampant consumerism start to look more obviously undesirable and a bit silly.

Encouraging spending on products and services – a good thing?

The problem is that we’re now being encouraged to spend our money again. The UK economy, just like the economies of many countries around the world depends upon us buying, upon retail and the service sector. ‘Retail’, R-E-T-A-I-L – means the part of our economy which depends upon shops selling us goods, products, things we wear, consume or put in our house. And actually, it’s been OK to do without some of these things. We aren’t harmed by buying fewer products.

On the other hand, the service sector means the part of our economy which depends upon services – like haircuts, transport, cleaning, travel and companies which give us ‘experiences’, entertainment, healthcare. Service, S-E-R-V-I-C-E means when we pay someone to do something for us. So we’ve done without services as well. We’ve done without haircuts, without restaurant meals and without travel. And when you listen to people, it’s the haircuts, the travel and the restaurant meals with friends and going to see relatives which they’ve missed most of all. So it’s experiences that we’ve missed more than things.

So while each of us has things, products or services that we really have missed, I think there’s an opportunity in this reset of our experience, of our expectations. Do we really need to continue to damage the planet, so that we can have a new pair of shoes, or a new T shirt or a new dress each week? Do we need to eat out of takeaway packaging as much? Do we need to burn quite so much petrol?

Video

What is the government doing and what could they be doing instead?

The UK government is spending billions, of pounds propping up, supporting various sectors of our economy, in the hope of ‘things returning to normal’. And of course, the people who work in these industries need to have jobs. But I think that the government should be careful in its expenditure. The world is changing, attitudes are changing – and there’s little point supporting parts of our economy which are no longer going to be sustainable - or which may need to naturally reduce in size.

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Supporting private businesses is not the best use of public money, unless those private businesses can in time support themselves again - and continue to employ people and repay what’s been spent! Let’s be honest with ourselves – some of the changes which have happened because of the lockdown are actually for the better, even if they do initially reduce the size of our economy. Having an economy, which is based upon us buying ever more stuff – that’s not OK. That doesn’t work. So let’s have a rethink – let’s make the most of the positives in people’s change of attitude.

Let’s not make it some kind of moral obligation to return to frivolous and unnecessary consumerism! Isn’t there here an opportunity to change what our economy rests upon? To use this reset, this experience to change for the better? I think the government would do better to use that money instead to directly support people whose jobs and livelihoods are affected by these changes, to soften the effect – and support people to start new businesses, new sustainable ways of making income, or to be trained to work in new industries. I hope the service sector is here to stay – we’ve realised how much we value our experiences. But if we all consume fewer products and live more sustainably, then that’s got to be a good thing, hasn’t it?

Goodbye

Let us know what you think. Learn English speaking and improve your spoken English with Adept English.

Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Founder

Hilary

@adeptenglish.com

The voice of Adeptenglish, loves English and wants to help people who want to speak English fluently.
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