Talking about birthdays, knitting, family quiz, favourite food, Carolina goes shoe shopping, pronouns, uses of 'poor' and 'old'.

Elementary Podcasts: Tess & Ravi
Audio icon Download audio 13.83MB (right click & save)

Task 1

Section 1 - Conversations in English

“Happy Birthday!” – speaking about birthdays

Part 1 is based on the Introduction. This section looks at how to ask someone about their birthday and what to say if someone asks you about your birthday.

Suggestion: One way to use this is to read the Transcript, and then look at Tom's tip in this section. You can then do some exercises to help you to learn the common phrases. A good idea is to practise these with a friend who speaks English or is also learning English.

Tom’s tip
Speaking about birthdays:

In social terms, when a child becomes an adult, they stop wanting to have presents on their birthdays.
This, of course, is not true. But it does mean that we have to pretend that we don't want presents, and when we give them, we have to make them look not very important.

Practice materials: exercise 1

Put the sentences in a conversation in the correct order.


Practice materials: exercise 2

Can you match the lines of dialogue with their functions?


Task 2

Section 2 - I'd like to talk about

Section 2 is based on someone talking about something that they’re interested in – it could be anything – a hobby, a person, a place, a thing – something that they know a bit about and would like to share. It helps you to practise speaking for a little bit longer – for example, when you're explaining something, or telling people something about yourself.

Suggestion: The best way to practise is with a friend who speaks English or is also learning English. However, if you can't find someone you can use the comments section at the bottom of the page to talk to us by writing a paragraph there as you would say it. It's also very useful to speak to yourself in English. This can really help you to become more confident and more fluent.

You listened to Esther who lives in London and is studying a Masters degree in chemistry. Esther told us all about knitting, and promised to send us some links. Well, she sent us three links to information as well a link to some photos.

The Cambridge Learner's Dictionary ( says:

The verb "to knit" means "to make clothes using wool and two long needles to join the wool into rows". The noun "knitting" is defined as "when something is being knitted or the thing that is being knitted".

Esther recommends these two articles about knitting from Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia:

She sent in a link to some great knitting photos, with a comment:

People have amazing ideas. Look at some of these tiny hats!

Have you got a hobby that you can write about? If so, make some notes to answer the questions that you can find in the Support Pack.

Now put your notes together to write a paragraph about your hobby and add it as a comment at the bottom of this page.


Task 3

Section 3 - Quiz

Section 3 is based on the Quiz. This helps you to learn the meaning of new words and how to remember them.

Suggestion: You can write your answers in our Support Pack.
You might want to use a notebook or part of your folder to make your own word lists and maps.

You heard Mark playing 'Hot Seat'. All of the questions were connected with people in your life.

Practice materials: Exercise 1

Look at a family tree and complete sentences about it.


Practice materials: Exercise 2

For further practice activities please download and print the Support Pack. 

Task 4

Section 4 - Your turn

Section 4 is based on 'Your Turn'. It helps you to listen and understand people giving their opinions.

Suggestion: Download the Support Pack and look at the phrases that the people use. Sometimes they don't use complete sentences. Write down notes and then say what you think.

In Your Turn you heard 6 people answer this question: ‘Which country’s food is your favourite and why?’

What about you? Do you agree with what any of the people said in the podcast? Is your favourite food Italian, Vietnamese, Thai, French, Indian, Chinese, Mexican? Or maybe even British! Or is it the food from your own country?

So, write down what you think, explain why, and leave this as a comment at the bottom of the page.

Task 5

Section 5 - Carolina

Section 5 follows Carolina – a girl who has come to the United Kingdom (UK) to live, study, and to have fun exploring a different country and culture. Listening to this can help you if you find yourself in a similar situation. You will see that there is often more than one way of saying the same thing in English.

Suggestion: listen to Carolina's conversations in the shoe shops and then do exercises 1 and 2.

Practice materials - Exercise 1

Complete the sentences with the correct phrases.


Practice materials - Exercise 2

Choose the phrases that can correctly complete each sentence.


Practice materials - Exercise 3

For further practice activities please download and print the Support Pack.

Task 6

Section 6 - Tom the Teacher

Section 6 is Tom the Teacher. These are more traditional exercises. They look at being accurate in English, and often use the type of exercises you may find in English tests and exams.

Practice materials - Exercise 1

Complete the sentences with the correct pronouns.


Practice materials - Exercise 2

Complete the mini-dialogues with phrases from the podcast.





My favourite food is the Colombian food, mainly the beans. It is a typical food in Antioquia, one department of my country. Generally is served with rice, pork, arepa, chorizo, egg, aguacate and beef; all of them in the plate receipt the name of Bandeja Paisa. It is so delicious and has a variety of food. Here in Colombia it is so common. You have to try it!

My favourite hobbie is waching soccer matches; and my favourite national team is Santa Fe of Bogotá. In that team the best player is Omar Pérez, an Argentian player. Santa Fe has been champion eight times in the local tournament.

hi every one,
can you please tell me what is the meaning of (for a while ) !!

Hello abullooth,

The meaning here is 'for a time'. Depending on the context, this could be a short or long time in the opinion of the speaker, but it usually refers to a time which is longer than they would like. For example:

I've been waiting for the bus for a while.

Take a seat, please, as this may take a while.

Look, I've been on hold for a while now. How much longer do I have to wait?


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello everyone,
I'd like to tell you which country's food is my favorite.
I prefer light, tasty and not spicy food with vegetables and rice. That's why I like Thai food.

hi i would like to download serious in mp3, before one week i did and it was very helpful, but now i can't because there is no option, also i am not sure to forget how to download so i need help how to download.

thank you.

Hello Hamseabdi,

You can download every episode by pressing or clicking on the words 'elementary-podcasts-s02-e01.mp3' (under the audio player) and choosing the 'Save as' option. You can also find this series in the iTunes store, where you can download the episodes a bit more easily, and as an app.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much mr Kirk, I understand now!

I'd like stitching. It's really great! I started stitching when I was five. It is not very complicate, but you have ti be very accurate and have a lot of time.

I'd like to talk about my favorite food. As an iranian i was brought up by persian traditional foods. However, firstly i prefer european food especially mideterranean ones and italian foods. Secoundly As i'm a multi-choice man, i like mexicians,too. In addition as i love fresh fryed spicy vegetables, i'm into chinese or thai foods,too. In one word: all traditional ones