Episode 14

Episode 14

Rob and Adam see what you have to say about politeness, and Emily and Carolina discuss a certain boy...


While you listen

Elementary Podcasts are suitable for learners with different levels of English. Here are some ways to make them easier (if you have a lower level of English) or more difficult (if you have a higher level of English). You can choose one or two of these suggestions - you don't have to do all of them!

Making it easier

  • Read all the exercises before you listen to the podcast.
  • Look up the words in the exercises that you don't know in a dictionary.
  • Play the podcast as many times as you need.
  • Play each part of the podcast separately.
  • Read the transcript after you have listened to the podcast.

Making it harder

  • Listen to the podcast before you read the exercises.
  • Only play the podcast once before answering the questions.
  • Play the whole podcast without a break.
  • Don't read the transcript.

Now, listen to the podcast and do the exercises on the following tabs.


Adam and Rob

Both: Hello!

Adam: I’m Adam.

Rob: And I’m Rob.

Adam: And welcome to episode 14 of the Learn English Elementary Podcast.

Rob: In a few minutes we’ll be hearing the latest news from Carolina and her friends – Carolina and Emily are at the seaside today.

Adam: But first, as usual, let’s take a look at some of your comments from the last podcast. We asked you to tell us what you think about British politeness. Are British people really very polite? And how about people in your country? Are they polite or not?

Rob: You know, one of the things we love about reading your comments is seeing answers from so many different countries and this time we had answers from all over the world: Madagascar, Colombia, Georgia, Djibouti, Nepal, Vietnam… It’s always really interesting to hear so many different opinions.

Adam: And we were surprised to hear how many of you do think that British people are very polite. Negrota in Colombia, Angelo in Italy, Sakine in Turkey and Zineb Zineb in Algeria – to name but a few – all said that it’s true that British people are really polite. Were you surprised by that, Rob?

Rob: You know I was, yes, and another interesting thing I noticed was that several of you said that young people in your country are not as polite as they were in the past. Osmide in Spain said “Nowadays young people are impolite, and they almost never say ‘thanks’ or ‘sorry’.” And Awatefromdhani in Tunisia says “Personally, I think people are no longer as polite as in the old days” and it’s the same story in Vietnam.

Adam: Wywy in Egypt makes an interesting point. She says “I think Egyptians in the past were more polite than now but I’ve noticed that some of us have become more polite after the 25th of January revolution”. That’s an interesting idea, don’t you think?

Rob: It is. We did hear too about polite people in different countries. “Malagasy people are very polite and respectful” says Tianakely and tankamani tells us that the culture of politeness in Nepal is similar to that in Britain – namaste!

Adam: But I think we need to give the last word to two comments. Sirinel in Algeria says “I think it’s not fair to judge any country for being rude or polite. It depends on the people themselves”.

Rob: And Felix in Spain says: I don't believe in stereotypes. There are polite people from everywhere. We must not believe in stereotypes because normally they aren't totally true.

Adam: You know, Sirinel and Felix, I agree with you. I’ve met very polite people in every country I’ve ever visited – and some not so polite people!

Rob: Thanks for all your great comments, please do keep sending them. I’ll remind you of the address. You can write to us at www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish.

Adam: Now, time again to listen to Carolina. If you’re new to the podcast, I’ll tell you that Carolina is from Venezuela, but she’s studying at Newcastle University in the north-east of England. Last time we listened, Carolina went to the cinema with her boyfriend, Jamie, her friend Emily and Jamie’s friend Cameron. And Emily is quite… interested in Cameron. Let’s see what happens this time.


Carolina: Brrr. It's cold.

Emily: That's the sea air Carolina. It's good! It clears your head. You work too hard. You need to relax sometimes.

Carolina: I know. But… brrrrrr. But it is beautiful here. It's nice to see the sea. Ha! 'see the sea'. I like that.

Emily: My grandfather used to sing a song. I can't remember it all, but it was "And what did we see? We saw the sea."

Carolina: "And what did we see? We saw the sea". What a silly song. I'm going to find it on the internet when we get home.

Emily: Yeah. Perhaps Jamie and Cameron's band could play it. A cover version.

Carolina: Talking of Cameron…

Emily: Yes?

Carolina: You know. Do you like him?

Emily: Well, I don't not like him, if you know what I mean. He's very attractive, and he's a singer – that's cool – and he works in a bookshop, he likes books, he likes science fiction…

Carolina: But?

Emily: Well, that laugh! He's got the most awful laugh I've ever heard.

Carolina: Oh dear. I know. But he seems like a nice guy, and he is attractive and he likes you. Just don't tell him any jokes.

Emily: Actually, he sent me a friend request on Facebook yesterday.

Carolina: Did he? No!

Emily: Calm down. It was just a friend request. Like 'friend'.

Carolina: Oh no, he likes you. 'Friend' doesn't mean 'friend'. That's it. So did you accept?

Emily: 'Friend' means 'friend'. And I accepted.

Carolina: Yippee!

Emily: Stop it. I think he's a nice guy – it's no big deal. Look at that ship. Isn't it beautiful? I wonder where it's going.

Carolina: Why don't you phone him?

Emily: I'm not going to phone him. Stop it. Now.

Carolina: Hello Jamie. We're at the coast, having a walk. Really! That's great! She's here. With me. Wait a minute. Emily, Cameron has asked Jamie for your phone number. Emily! Can Jamie give Cameron your phone number? I'll call you back Jamie.

Emily: Eeeek!

Carolina: Ha ha! Told you so. "Friend means friend". I don't think so. Not now.

Emily: Stop it. You're making me nervous.

Carolina: There's nothing to be nervous about. Just give the guy your phone number! Emily! You're always saying that your love life is a disaster. This guy likes you, you like him. Give him your phone number!

Emily: OK.

Carolina: I’ll tell Jamie to give it to him.

Emily: OK.

Carolina: Phew. That was hard work. Listen!

Emily: What?

Carolina: I can hear Cameron.

Emily: What are you talking about?

Carolina: See?

Emily: You're terrible! 

Adam and Rob

Rob: That’s a bit unfair to say that Cameron’s laugh sounds like a foghorn. He does have a slightly strange laugh but it’s not that bad.

Adam: No… Anyway, so now Cameron has Emily’s phone number. And they’re friends on Facebook. Are you on Facebook Rob?

Rob: I am actually.

Adam: Got many Facebook friends?

Rob: No, unfortunately.

Adam: And what do you think about what Carolina said about social networking – ‘friend doesn’t mean ‘friend’’? Are your friends on Facebook people you know in real life?

Rob: No, not all of them. Actually, some of them I’ve only met once. That’s something I’m not sure I like about Facebook.

Adam: I’m not on Facebook, so I sort of have the opposite problem. I don’t have anyone following me that I don’t know, but sometimes it’s a bit hard to keep in touch with everyone I want to keep in touch with.

Rob: I see. What about you, listeners? Do you have lots of online friends? And do you know all of those friends in real life? Is online friendship different from real life?

Adam: We’d love to hear what you think. Why not write and tell us at www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish and if you’re on Facebook, remember to look for Tess and Ravi there. They sometimes answer your questions there, so watch out for that.

Rob: Now, did you hear Emily sing a little song today? Listen again. Emily: My grandfather used to sing a song – I can't remember it all, but it was "And what did we see? We saw the sea." Carolina: "And what did we see? We saw the sea".

Adam: ‘What did we see? We saw the sea’ ‘See’ the verb and ‘sea’ – the big area of water, sound exactly the same: they are homophones. Two words that have different spellings and different meanings but sound exactly the same are homophones and there are lots of them in English.

Rob: ‘Sun’ – in the sky – and ‘son’ – a boy – they’re homophones for example – piece and peace, week and weak – but of course they sound exactly the same so you need to see them in writing to understand better or understand the context. So you’ll find some activities on the website to tell you more about homophones.

Adam: You’ll also find an exercise on some of the strange noises we make in English. Listen to this:

Carolina: Brrr. It’s cold.

Adam: Carolina said ‘Brrr – it’s cold’. ‘Brrr’ is a noise we make when we’re cold. And there are other noises – do you know what these noises mean?

Rob: Hmmm.

Adam: Ow!

Rob: Oops… Any ideas? Check the website to find out the answers. And that’s all we’ve got time for today.

Adam: We’re looking forward to hearing from you and we’ll be back next time with more from Tess and Ravi talking about a famous British city. Any ideas? See you next time.

Both: Bye! 

Task 1

Task 2

Task 3

Task 4

Task 5

Task 6

(Note that this exercise is designed to work with most English accents – some words may sound different in other accents.)


Task 7

Task 8


Leave a comment below!

Do you have lots of online friends? And do you know all of those friends in real life? Is online friendship different from real life?

Language level


Average: 3.9 (7 votes)

Submitted by eldi on Mon, 03/12/2018 - 22:27

Hi , i don’t know if i am getting better with lessons..but i feel like i can’t organize my time in learning .. so can you give me advice..like "how many hours should i take , and what should i focus in it ?"

Hello eldi,

I can't give you any really specific information because I don't know you well enough. I don't know how you learn, what your strengths and weaknesses are and how busy you are. In general, the more time, the better. However, motivation is important and spending too long doing something can mean that you get tired or bored. I think it's helpful to organise your time so that you study regularly, and to study in a place where you will not be disturbed. At the moment, for example, I'm learning German and I make sure that I have some time each day for study. During that time I turn off my phone and make sure that no emails or messages can interrupt me. If I feel tired then I stop.

We have a page with some tips and suggestions for learning English here.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by User_User on Thu, 29/11/2018 - 18:03

Hello About my social networking activities: I've thought it would be a good idea to communicate via facebook and later on skype. A few hours after I have filled in the form with my name, email and set my settings the access to facebook was prohibit. They believe that I'm not the person who is accessing their site. I haven't posted anything and I hadn't had any friends on facebook. I've just dowloaded two times a picture from me for my profile and searched the words 'British Council' several times. I was looking for Elementary Podcast. Meanwhile I've sent facebook a copy of my identity card and an explanation why my email address is real. It seems to me that they don't need me as a member. People have more than 2,000,000,000 profiles on facebook. I would prefer to use facebook with my real name but I may use it later with a fake name. Meanwhile I've enough to learn so I don't care about it now. Bye
Profile picture for user Kostya B

Submitted by Kostya B on Sun, 18/11/2018 - 19:46

I have very few friends in online none of them I met in real life, in the internet it is simpler to make friends and to communicate with people, but it's different experience than in real life.

Submitted by Shiiya on Mon, 07/05/2018 - 13:13

Hello folks, I have account on Facebook too , but I don´t use it so much and I just use to do a networking because nowadays you can´t avoid this kind of digital media , I do believe that on social media people have a lots of notorious and known not a really friends , in your entire life you can count your really friends just on finger of hands

Submitted by Hal55 on Wed, 11/04/2018 - 08:48

Hello, Everyone. I have an account on Facebook. but I don't update my page nowadays. I have so many friends on Facebook. Unfortunately, it's not like my real life. I don't have so many friends in my real life. but it's not disappointing for me.

Submitted by Muhammad Erad on Sun, 11/03/2018 - 09:15

Glad to have a platform like this. I want to know the difference between "Got" and "Became"? For example, we use "God became pleased" or sometimes we use "God got pleased". Which one is better or if one of them is incorrect then do educate me. Thank you.

Hi Muhammad Erad,

Both 'get' and 'become' have several uses. In this case, they both mean 'start to be' and you could also say 'was' here. In the sentence you ask about, I would probably use 'was', but 'became' is also correct. 'got' isn't very appropriate in more formal contexts, which this one seems to be.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user alberto bastos

Submitted by alberto bastos on Fri, 23/02/2018 - 21:10

Hi everbody! I have lot of online friends and i know great number of them. They are not different of real life because between them are my classmates, children, cousin, nephew, old colleagues of work , brothers, sisters,neighbor and i see normally. so then which i do not know in real life i think that opinion or think it is not most important that my real friends. Anyway thing is necessary in my life i am sheltering in my heart and unnecessary opinion i forget for always. Thanks.
Profile picture for user Vadim V

Submitted by Vadim V on Wed, 24/01/2018 - 16:53

One of my online friends became my girlfriend in real life. Like this :)