Episode 01

LearnEnglish Podcasts is back! Join Adam, Tess, Ravi and a new presenter for Series 4 as they talk about pets and whether it's true that the British are crazy about animals. Please join us, and let us know what you think!


Jo and Adam – Welcome back!

Adam: Hello! I’m Adam and I’m happy to say ‘Welcome’ to Episode 1 of the new series of LearnEnglish Elementary Podcasts. Yes, that’s right – we’re back! With all your favourites, too – Tess and Ravi, Carolina and her friends – and, of course, more of your comments to share. But first, let me introduce you to someone. This is Jo.

Jo: Hello everyone!

Adam: Jo’s going to be helping me with this series of Elementary Podcasts. She’s an English teacher, like me, and together we’re going to talk to you about some of the language that you hear in the podcasts.

Jo: That’s right. And I’m quite excited about it! I’ve been reading all your comments from the last series, and I think I’m going to enjoy working with you all.

Adam: Great to have you here, Jo. Now, if you remember the last episode of Series 3, Carolina, Emily and Jamie visited a city farm and had fun making animal noises. And Emily told them that she’s going on a first date with Jamie’s friend Cameron. So we asked you what noises animals make in your country and, also, where you think Emily and Cameron should go for a first date. Let’s start with a few animal noises! And I hope I get the pronunciation of these right!

Tanya Klimova from Russia said ‘A dog barks “gaf-gaf”, the sheep bleats “beeee”, a pig says “hru-hru”.’

Jo: (laughs) That’s a funny one!

Adam: Chihirochan89 from Vietnam says ‘In my country, dogs usually say “go go”, goats say “be be”, cows say “muz muz”.’ And in Turkey, according to M Nur, ‘dogs say “hav hav”, donkeys say “ai ai”, and sheep say “meee meee” ’.

Jo: So dogs can say ‘woof woof’ or ‘gaf gaf’ or ‘hav hav’ – they’re all quite similar. But then in Vietnam they say ‘go go’ – that’s completely different. In Spain, where I live, they go ‘guau guau’.

Adam: ‘Guau, guau’! And where to go for a first date? Most of you said a restaurant or the cinema. Hassan from Egypt would choose a restaurant because you can’t talk in the cinema, but if you are shy you can always talk about the food in a restaurant. Fred09 from Brazil thinks a restaurant is ‘too fancy for a first date’ and would choose the cinema. Yenson from Venezuela went to the cinema for his first date with his wife, but unfortunately it was a horror film and she was so scared that she dropped her popcorn! But she married you, Yenson, so it wasn’t a complete disaster!

Jo: That’s a good story!

Adam: And a lot of you left comments about how much you like the podcasts and how much they help you with your English and how much you wanted to hear Series 4. It’s important for us to hear that you like what we’re doing, so thank you very much to everyone.

Now it’s time to hear from Tess and Ravi. If you’re new to Elementary Podcasts, let me explain that Tess and Ravi always talk about something that people think is typically British – like the Royal Family or drinking tea, or even the Loch Ness Monster. Let’s hear what it is this time.


Tess and Ravi

Tess: Hello again, everyone. My name's Tess.

Ravi: And I'm Ravi.

Tess: And, as usual, we're here to talk about Britain. The things that you know about it …

Ravi: … and the things you think you know. We've already talked about a lot of different topics – things that you think are typically British. And today we've got something nice. Tess, how's Oscar?

Tess: He's fine, thanks. Why?

Ravi: I'm introducing the topic, Tess. Pets.

Tess: Ahh. Very clever.

Ravi: Oscar is Tess's cat.

Tess: And a member of the family.

Ravi: Hmm ... A lot of people believe that the British are crazy about animals. We're often called 'a nation of pet lovers'. But is it true? To begin with – do we have more pets than anyone else? So I did a bit of research. And yes, a lot of people in Britain have pets – 49 per cent of British homes – that's nearly half – have an animal.

Tess: Is that a lot?

Ravi: That's nearly 30 million pets – cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, parrots – but not including fish! That's a lot of pets. But there are a lot of other places with as many pets as Britain, or even more ... the USA, New Zealand, some countries in Europe – 62 million homes in Europe have pets. Britain isn't that unusual.

Tess: And it depends what you count as a pet.

Ravi: Well, yes, that's true.

Tess: Cats and dogs are the most common pets in Britain, right?

Ravi: Well, actually, they now think that the most popular pets in Britain are ...?

Tess: Well, if it isn't dogs or cats … um … I don't know. Rabbits?

Ravi: Nope ... Give up? ... Reptiles. Snakes and lizards and iguanas and things. And insects – spiders are really popular now.

Tess: Yeuk. I'm not sure I could love a spider.

Ravi: Nor me.

Tess: Do you want to know something interesting?

Ravi: Erm, yes.

Tess: Well, Britain was the first country to have an organisation to look after animals. The RSPCA. That's the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It was started in the nineteenth century when things were bad for animals in Britain – for horses, dogs, all of them. So some people started the RSPCA. But – and this is the important thing – there were no organisations or charities at that time to protect children or babies or people at all. And life was really hard in the nineteenth century.

Ravi: Wow.

Tess: So people started to say that the British care about animals more than people.

Ravi: But don't you sometimes think it's true? That the British like animals more than people? We give more money to animal charities, like the RSPCA, than to charities for people. That's a fact. And there are lots of programmes about animals on television and stories in the newspapers.

Tess: I know. It's true. And do you know, people who ask for money on the street, well, if they have a dog with them, then they get more money.

Ravi: Ha! Is that true? Money for the dog, but not for the person?

Tess: Yep.

Ravi: So we are crazy about animals. It's true. You'll have to go home and tell Oscar.

Tess: I think he already knows.


Jo and Adam

Adam: Do you have any pets, Jo?

Jo: We’ve just got some goldfish. Have you got any pets, Adam?

Adam: No, I don’t. We had dogs when I was living with my parents, but not any more. I’d like to in the future, but I think it’s a lot of work to care for a dog properly.

Jo: Yeah, I live in the country now, so it’s fine to have some dogs around. But when I lived in a big city, the dogs used to annoy me a bit. I don’t think that big cities are good places for dogs to live.

Adam: What about where you live? Are people kind to animals? Do people keep pets? Write and tell us. The address is www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish. And now it’s time to talk about some of the language that you heard in the podcast.

Jo: That’s right. Today we're talking about ways of saying how things are the same or different. Listen to Ravi. What does he want to know?

Ravi: A lot of people believe that the British are crazy about animals. We’re often called ‘a nation of pet lovers’. But is it true? To begin with – do we have more pets than anyone else?

Jo: He’s asking about the number of pets the British have compared to other countries. Listen again. What’s the question?

Ravi: A lot of people believe that the British are crazy about animals. We’re often called ‘a nation of pet lovers’. But is it true? To begin with – do we have more pets than anyone else?

Jo: He said ‘Do we have more pets than anyone else?’ ‘More than’.

Adam: You can say ‘He's got more money than me’, or ‘I like London more than New York’.

Jo: Now listen to the next comparison. British people have a lot of pets ...

Ravi: But there are a lot of other places with as many pets as Britain.

Jo: ‘There are other places with as many pets as Britain’. ‘As many as’. Britain has a lot of pets – but other countries have the same number. We use ‘as many as’ when the thing we’re comparing is countable – pets. But we use ‘as much as’ when we’re comparing something uncountable.

Adam: For example ‘I want to have as much money as Bill Gates’ – I want the same money!

Jo: Now listen to the last way of comparing things.

Tess: Cats and dogs are the most common pets in Britain, right?

Ravi: Well, actually, they now think that the most popular pets in Britain are ...?

Jo: Yes – ‘the most common’, ‘the most popular’, ‘the most’. Cats are popular, dogs are popular, but reptiles are more popular than cats and dogs – so reptiles are the most popular pets in Britain.

Adam: There are exercises on the website to give you practice with this, and other things, too. And please send us your comments about animals in your country.

Jo: And about your pets.

Adam: We’ll read some of them out on the next podcast. See you then! Goodbye!

Jo: Bye!

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Submitted by LaisCR on Tue, 30/01/2018 - 13:06

Hi everyone! I´m from Brazil and i have a dog, her name is Paçoca ( that is a very famous sweety em Brazil too), Paçoca is a sausage dog, very smart and lovely. Here in Brazil some people have pets in their houses and the moust common is dogs and cats. One day i knew a person that had a pig as your pet, in his home (not is a farm)! Very funny and a litlle bit weird!

Submitted by satishm1 on Fri, 12/01/2018 - 06:22

There is a rottweiler dog in my neighborhood. Although he is there from last 2 years, he still barks suddenly by looking at our family. At Many instance, he also finds our presence uncomfortable and get away from the place. It is scary sometimes. May be his natural instincts are the reason for his behavior. We are waiting for him to be more social. I hope his care taker will train him to understand things in proper way.

Submitted by imeneben on Sat, 06/01/2018 - 18:45

i like goldfish more than other pets

Submitted by Flávio Miguel on Sat, 23/12/2017 - 01:13

I'm a dog person. Most brazilian have a dog or cat in their houses. Because some cities are too danger, people use dogs to protect their houses. I'd like to get a goldfish for my son. He loves animals in general. I think dogs are more loyal and friendly than cats.

Submitted by René A Moreira on Fri, 15/12/2017 - 18:29

I love animals. I´ve been in Britain for 7 days and I didn´t see any animals, but I think that Tess and Ravi said the true, however I think tha there are people that love animals more then others. I live in Brazil and here most of the people love animals. The most common pets here is dog and cats. I don´t have anyone because I live alone and I travel a lot, but if I could I´d have a dog.

Submitted by simon lin on Sun, 26/11/2017 - 13:06

I had a dog several years ago, but I don't have anymore now. I miss the past time with it. In China, there are very different attitude to dogs. It depends on the economy level. Pepole who live in big cities look dogs as a member of family, however, in rural area, dogs are regarded as tools and meats. What a disaster!

Submitted by CintiaCamilaBoti on Fri, 24/11/2017 - 15:22

Here in Argentina the majority of people love dogs and cats. I have a dog, it's a member of the family. I love horses too, but I haven't one.

Submitted by stellamaris on Fri, 17/11/2017 - 12:06

I think people are crazy about dogs because they are so innocent and lovable all the time and people sometimens can hurt our feelings

Submitted by Lleha on Fri, 17/11/2017 - 05:14

I don't understand, why somebody loves pets more than people?

Submitted by hazelmongep on Wed, 15/11/2017 - 18:09

Hi I'm from Costa Rica but now I'm living in Bristol. A British friends told me one day that "british people prefer have a beautiful garden more than a pet" and in short experience here in UK , I believe that. I have not seen a lot of pet but I certainly see beautiful garden. In Costa Rica we have a wide variety of animals some of them can be found in another part of the world. And recently the government aprube an animal care law. I like pets, but some days ago I my dog died and I decided not to have another one because it was too difficult for me and my family.

Submitted by thoa dang on Tue, 07/11/2017 - 02:26

I'm really love animals .In my country ,the common animal are dogs and cats .I used to got 2 cats ,they are sisters and they are very cute and smart, because of my immigration so I can not bring them with me ,now I miss them too much .They are the most smart pets I ever got.

Submitted by Kijnai on Wed, 01/11/2017 - 17:01

I think that Britain it's really similiar to Italy. In my country there are a lot of people who cares about their pets but they aren't so interested to help poors. I always have had dogs and cats. When I was a child I remember we had 7cats and 2/3 dogs in the same times. Now my parents have a cat and a Fox Terrier. It is very old, the next year It will be 16 years. Despite that I am not a crazy pet lover.

Submitted by dheere on Sun, 29/10/2017 - 09:36

very great and thanks

Submitted by krishnasrihari on Thu, 26/10/2017 - 17:30

I love the pets but we don't have any pets in our home. I've been to London and I never seen any pets in our service apartment but not sure surrounding houses have pets. There very few people in our country have pets.

Submitted by Ahmad Adel on Fri, 20/10/2017 - 17:21

please Audios not played ,, can any one help be ?

Hello Ahmad Adel,

I'm sorry to hear you're having trouble with the audio on this page. I have checked it and it appears to be working correctly so the problem is rather a local one, related to your device, settings or service provider. One solution might be to download the audio file to your computer via the link on the page and then play the audio from your hard drive. This will avoid any streaming issues.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by ROLEXFUR on Wed, 18/10/2017 - 20:44

Excellent lesson. I had two betta fishes: Marc and Anthony, but they passed away and now I don´t have any pet. It is difficult for me have dogs and cats because I live alone and when I go to work, they couldn´t stand alone or take care by itself at home. I am from Venezuela and the most common pets are dogs, cats, parakeets or birds.

Submitted by Sylviecat on Fri, 13/10/2017 - 16:41

Hello, I do love pets. I have a cat. All my neighbours have a cat, and it gives us a good opportunity to chat or to be friend. I can't imagine my house without my cat. I love listening him to humming, it's very relaxing. Have a nice day. Sylvie

Submitted by BienDong on Fri, 13/10/2017 - 09:24

In my country, if you live in City and you have a dog, that mean a pet. But if you live in rural, you have a dog, that mean you have the guard.

Submitted by Gasudarjon on Tue, 26/09/2017 - 17:08

I have 2 tranantulas and one turtle and I am from Slovakia. I know one British youtuber that has tarantulas. You can find him on YouTube as "The Spiderman"

Submitted by menna2017 on Fri, 15/09/2017 - 13:19

The video is not active, Why?

Hello menna2017,

Our pocasts are audio-only so there is no video on this page. Podcasts are generally audio-only; when there is a video we call it either a 'video podcast' or a 'vodcast'.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by ngo_thao_112 on Fri, 08/09/2017 - 03:20

Hi everyone. I'm from Vietnam. In my country, people are keen on having pets. Well, cats and dogs are the most common animals that they keep. Honestly, pets live in freedom as people do. As I say, they can go everywhere they want without their owner observation.

Submitted by nanolakes on Sun, 03/09/2017 - 15:14

Hello everyone. The best pets are the ones that you rescue from the street.

Submitted by vishnujana on Sat, 02/09/2017 - 17:50

If you really love animals you should forbid the slaughterhouses! That is my opinion.

Submitted by Hidayatullah on Tue, 29/08/2017 - 12:18

Thank's Sir, from where I can check the dictionary

Submitted by Hidayatullah on Tue, 29/08/2017 - 12:07

I have don't like Pets to live with them

Submitted by Hidayatullah on Tue, 29/08/2017 - 12:06

I have learn a lot of things from the course than'ks Sir, your are so genius

Submitted by DropRain on Mon, 14/08/2017 - 09:44

hi there for me i wish i could have a pet but our home is narrow

Submitted by mikegasenga on Fri, 11/08/2017 - 17:15

hello our facilitator it's good to have this support of voice record but it's better to have video record in order to increase our listening skills because body language it can be help full

Submitted by josh2828 on Sun, 06/08/2017 - 13:38

How to I can improve my speaking skill

Submitted by Sam Bùi on Sun, 06/08/2017 - 11:40

Hello, My name is Vinh. I really love pet. My favorite pet is dog. I used to have a dog when I was a child. He like my family member and we usually take a walk together. In my country, Dog, Cat or another animal is like our friends but many people still eat dog meat. This thing is really bad. So I hope one day this thing will change in my country.

Submitted by vlvvardhan on Fri, 28/07/2017 - 11:53

I feel i need to be more concentrated while doing

Submitted by ahmed_ali on Thu, 13/07/2017 - 09:39

l'd like an arabic medical student to talk in English for emproving our language

Submitted by Ather9 on Tue, 04/07/2017 - 06:52

I don't like animals as pet, but I love to play with them. Spending some time with them makes your fresh. Cats, baby goats and chicks really freshen your mind.

Submitted by Ather9 on Tue, 04/07/2017 - 06:31

Oh my gosh!!! Elementary Series is back! I didn't know that you are here with a new series. I love to hear this series. Love to hear the conversion over and over again. I enjoy listening it. I'm in now.

Hello Ather9,

Series 4 was released a couple of summers ago and I'm glad you've discovered it and are enjoying it. Just so you know, we are currently working on Series 5. We still don't know when we'll be able to release it, but it will certainly be months from now (or longer), but I wanted to let you know to look for it in the future. Or if you're subscribed to our newsletter, we will certainly announce it there.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by pablolozanoz on Wed, 21/06/2017 - 14:50

Hi, I've just started listening all these podcasts and I'm here to say i'm a pet lover as well, despite the fact that I'm not british. I have two cats, both females. They're named Coco and Chanel, and they mean the world to me. When I step outside my house, I usually carry some cat food to give it to the abandoned cats who rarely have food to take to their mouths.

Submitted by Rokia Motawee on Sun, 18/06/2017 - 02:25

i love pets , but unfortunately I don't have one. in my country we don't care a lot about animals.

Submitted by Yelin on Tue, 13/06/2017 - 02:44

Where I live, the situation about animals is not the most important problem here, so, we do not care so much about animals. Nowadays, people from Bogota (the capital city) started to concern about it, and our mayor decided to open a hospital for animals. It is a nice point to start, at least here. I do not believe that in Colombia we have as many pets as in Britain. I have a dog and a cat, and they are part of the family. :)

Submitted by Gafin on Thu, 08/06/2017 - 14:13

Hello, My name is Rafa. I'm from Guadalajara (Spain). I've just listen this podcast. At home there is a Cat (Black Cat). He's 11 years old (I think). My wife love it, more than to me! Really he is the king of the house...... Bye..

Submitted by Shunlai on Tue, 16/05/2017 - 20:00

I am also a pet lover . I have never been to Britian .But I can easily know British is the country of pet lovers by watching a movie called" A street cat named BOb". In my country , only rich people can have pets bcoz it will cost alot of money to take care of them.And people can't give a space for them. More and more people don't like street cats and dogs and kill them. It breaks my heart whenver I hear that sad news. But alot of peple from country side loves dogs and cats and take care as their children. By the way , I have three cats now. One is male and he is absolutely Black. I named him Akon .The other two are female and yellow ,named Britiny and Amy. But I prefer dogs than cats ,coz dogs are loyal and best friends for humans .When I was kid ,I had alot of dogs and had a great time with them. I wish I could get that time again .

Submitted by MarinaMaki on Mon, 15/05/2017 - 11:48

Hello, I am new here but I am really enjoyed to listen this podcast. The exercise are so interesting und helpful.

Submitted by Florisvaldo on Mon, 15/05/2017 - 06:32

I'm not comfortable with animals like cats and dogs around me. I prefer them playing in the secure distance that´s because I have allergy and began to sneeze...lol. But in Brazil, many people have pets ,but there are thousands pf dogs on the streets abandoned by their owners...