Episode 19

Episode 19

Tess and Ravi finish up Series 4 talking about myths about British people, while Jo and Adam speak about false friends and how to use the word 'actually' to give true information about something.



Hello and welcome to Episode 19 of Series 4 of LearnEnglish Elementary Podcasts. My name is Adam and my colleague Jo will be here later to talk about some of the language from the podcast.

Last time, Carolina and her friends were at the end-of-year university party. Things were going well until someone told Jamie a joke about orang-utans and said 'Let's have a night out before you go'. Go where? To Borneo?! Carolina wasn't laughing, but it was a funny orang-utan joke. So we asked you to send us in some jokes that make you laugh.

Selviferawaty from Indonesia sent this one. A husband is very mean with money – 'stingy' as Selviferawaty says – and before he dies he tells his wife to put all his money in his coffin with him. At the funeral, the wife's friend asks her 'Did you put all his money in the coffin?' and the wife says 'Yes'. The friend says 'Are you crazy?!' and the wife says 'No. I took all his money to the bank and put a cheque in his coffin.'

Manasset from Cameroon wrote that a man found his child standing in front of the mirror with his eyes closed. When the father asked him what he was doing, the child said 'I want to see what I look like asleep.'

Some of you sent some very clever jokes in which play with words, maybe a word with two different meanings. Ayat Hasan from Bangladesh says 'I was always the most outstanding student at school – you could always see me standing outside the classroom.' And Farkhanda Bashir sent this joke: 'Employer: We need someone for this job who is responsible. Applicant: Your search ends here, sir. In my previous job, whenever anything went wrong they said I was responsible.' I like that one.

I know that some of you have listened to Series 1 and 2 of Elementary Podcasts. So you must remember Gordon, who used to come along and tell a joke in every episode. Lolachannel from Saudi Arabia sent in her favourite Gordon joke from Series 2 – it's one of my favourites, too.

A man goes into the library. People are sitting at tables reading and studying. He walks up to the desk and says to the woman (In a loud voice) 'I'd like a train ticket to Manchester, please.' The woman looks shocked and says 'I'm sorry, sir, this is a library.' The man looks confused and then says 'Oh, I'm terribly sorry. (Whispering) I'd like a train ticket to Manchester, please.'

And Lydouch from France remembers Gordon's joke about a chicken who went into a library and said 'Book, book, book'. Not all Gordon's jokes were about libraries – have a listen to some of them if you haven’t heard them before.

NewAgeEnglish sent in some funny stories from a Chinese newspaper about mistakes that English learners sometimes make. I like this one – A man went to an airport and asked where his check-in desk was. The man at the information desk asked him who he was flying with (meaning which airline). The man didn't understand and said 'By myself'!

Muhamad Ali from Syria has some interesting things to say about jokes in different cultures. Maybe a joke that's funny in Arabic wouldn't be funny translated into English – or any other language, because of differences in culture. I think that's probably true – I know that some people think the British have a very strange sense of humour – something for Tess and Ravi to discuss, maybe.

And as usual, let me remind you about the Elementary Podcast app, which has a lot of helpful features for you. You can follow the link from the LearnEnglish website or you can find it in the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

And now it's time to join Tess and Ravi again, talking about things that people think are typically British. Today they're in a philosophical mood – what does 'typically British' really mean? Let's listen.


Tess and Ravi

Tess: Hello again. I’m Tess.

Ravi: And I’m Ravi. And welcome back for the last time in this series.

Tess: Have we really been here twenty times already?

Ravi: Yep – we’ve talked about nineteen things that you – our listeners – think about when you think about Britain. This is the twentieth, and we’re going to take a look back.

Tess: So here are some of the things we talked about – some of the things that are ‘typically British’ – fish and chips, bad weather, drinking tea, a country full of animal lovers …

Ravi: … bad food, good music, big red buses, Big Ben, the Loch Ness Monster, polite but reserved people ... You know, Tess, none of this really sounds like me.

Tess: Me neither. I don’t drink tea, I hardly ever eat fish and chips.

Ravi: You are an animal lover though. But, yeah, some of it is true – I do think the weather here is terrible.

Tess: No, it isn’t. Anyway – it’s not about what is true about Britain, it’s about stereotypes – things that people think are true. The truth is always more complicated than the stereotype.

Ravi: So – people think British food is terrible but it’s actually easy to eat really well here and loads of people are really interested in food and cooking.

Tess: And there’s what you said about football fans – lots of people think British football fans are all hooligans causing trouble, but that’s not actually true, is it?

Ravi: No – it takes longer for the idea of Britain and the British to change than it does for the reality to change. So when people think about Britain, they might be thinking about twenty years ago or thirty years ago.

Tess: Like the London buses – we don’t really have those ‘typical’ London buses any more but people still think about them when they think about London.

Ravi: So do you think people’s ideas about Britain will change, then?

Tess: Well, I think most people already know that real life is more complicated. They know that not all British people are really polite or reserved but it’s just a, kind of, traditional idea.

Ravi: Yeah. And the world’s getting smaller, isn’t it? It’s easier to find out what is and isn’t true and to meet people from different countries. I chat online to people from all over the world.

Tess: I think that sounds like a good place to finish. Maybe you’re right – the world’s getting smaller and maybe these ideas about Britain will change in the future.

Ravi: And we’ll come back and tell you about them then. Well, that’s all for now – it’s been great – I’ve learnt a lot about Britain!

Tess: Me too – thanks for listening. Bye!

Ravi: Bye!


Jo and Adam

Adam: And here's Jo again.

Jo: Hi Adam! It's nice to be here again. So that was the last Tess and Ravi of this series.

Adam: Yes, that's right. The time has passed really quickly, hasn't it?

Jo: It has. And they've talked about such a lot of different topics.

Adam: Which was your favourite?

Jo: Ooh, I don't know. I liked the one about Shakespeare – I like it when I learn something I didn't know before.

Adam: Like the one about shopping and Covent Garden Market? The pineapples?

Jo: Yes, I liked that one too.

Adam: I hope all of you enjoyed the topics too. Which ones were your favourites? Write and tell us. And we'd like you to tell us what topics you'd like Tess and Ravi to talk about if we make another series.

Jo: I'm sure you've got lots of good ideas.

Adam: The address is www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish. Register and leave a comment. And now, as usual, it's time to look at some of the language from this podcast.

Jo: Listen to Tess and Ravi. What does the word 'actually' mean?

Ravi: So – people think British food is terrible, but it’s actually easy to eat really well here and loads of people are really interested in food and cooking.

Tess: And what you said about football fans – lots of people think British football fans are all hooligans causing trouble, but that’s not actually true, is it?

Jo: 'Actually' means 'in fact' – 'in reality'. We use 'actually' when we want to give the true information about something.

Adam: For example – 'People sometimes think Celine Dion is American, but actually she's from Canada'.

Jo: 'Actually' doesn't mean 'nowadays' or 'at the moment' in English. In a lot of languages – like Portuguese, Spanish, German or Czech, for example – there's a word that sounds like the English 'actually' but has a very different meaning. There are a lot of words like this, in a lot of different languages.

Adam: For example 'gimnazjum' in Polish sounds like 'gymnasium' in English. But in English a gymnasium is where you go to do exercise – a gym – but In Polish gimnazjum is a type of lower secondary school. Very different.

Jo: We call these words 'false friends'. They look the same as a word in your language, but the meaning is completely different. And you have to be careful with them.

Adam: As always, there are some exercises on the website to help you with the language from the podcast – including some common false friends. So take a look.

Jo: And perhaps you could write and tell us about false friends in your language. I'd be interested to hear them.

Adam: And that's all for today. Next time, we'll hear the last episode about Carolina, Emily and Jamie.

Jo: Will Jamie go to Borneo?

Adam: Will Emily go to France? See you next time.

Adam/Jo: Bye!


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Average: 5 (1 vote)
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Submitted by dhiyaa on Fri, 15/09/2023 - 20:40


Hello British Council I enjoyed with you very much I was learned many things now the date is 16/9/2023 i very glad to listen to your podcasts but everything has started and it has ended bye Tess and Ravi by Mr Jo and Mr adam
I love so much

Hi dhiyaa,

Thank you for listening to our podcasts. We are happy to hear that you enjoyed them!

If you are interested in more things to listen to, I can make a couple of suggestions from our site.

I hope you enjoy them.


LearnEnglish team

Submitted by jmajo on Thu, 15/04/2021 - 14:51

The episode one about pets was interesting and how people behave differently with cats and dogs or when they have another unusual pet like spiders or snakes. Also episode nine was really good for me because I used to drink a lot of beer when I was younger and nowadays are way more options to drink than that time. I enjoyed this episode(19) as well because we usually judge people based on the stereotypes we built in our societies. Thanks for the episode. Great site!!

Submitted by May Thida Su on Thu, 21/01/2021 - 12:27

Hello, everyone! Nice to see you ! I have been listening this podcast for a year. I like this very much and this help me to improve my English skill. So, I want to talk a word: ' False Friends '. My nationalities is Myanmar. In Myanmar " လက် " is the same pronunciation with " leg " in English. But " လက် " means the hand in English and " leg " means the part of the body: foot. See! They are very different and completely opposite. I really like this podcast and I'm looking forward to seeing next series. Bye!
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Submitted by danisep on Mon, 23/11/2020 - 21:37

First at all I going to miss Tess and Ravi I was looking for some good podcast but this series it was really good and it is really helpful to my English cause I’m still repeating some episodes. my favorite episode that I can remember is when Tess and Ravi talk about Britain music and Ravi start to sing, to me was really fun listen him sing yesterday from Beatles. I would like to hear a new series related with this and if it's possible with Tess and Ravi.

Submitted by Marey Saad on Tue, 13/10/2020 - 23:15

I am a bit sad because I am not gonna listen to Ravi and Tess again, but a big Thanks to all of you for this impressive work, I suppose you helped a lot of people improve their language even a bit. Answering the question of today's podcast, the most topic I like is British people politeness. I would be happy if someone corrected my mistakes.

Submitted by SamerTJ on Thu, 25/06/2020 - 07:56

I want to thank you for this great work, It was a very amazing series as usual. Everything was well-done in a way that everyone can understand and react with it. I would say that I was really confused and messy before following your website because it is very easy to use since separating it into different sections due to skills and levels was very useful, in addition to your joyful and fun topis. Actually I was really stuck at the same level for years but you helped me to take a step forward. Thanks once again, we look forward to a new series.

Hello SamerTJ

Thanks very much for telling us this -- we're so glad to hear that you've benefitted so much from LearnEnglish.

I'm afraid that there won't be a fifth series of Podcasts, but we are working on a related series that hopefully will be published later this year.

Thanks again and best wishes


The LearnEnglish Team