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Episode 14

Elementary Podcasts

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

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 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

Intermediate: B1


Hello nguyenlykimngan,

That's great. I just wanted to tell you that we have a Facebook page, so please be sure to take a look at it some time if you want to see of us!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I don't have many friends from internet, but I would like meet several nativer speakers to speak and improve my skill English. In my country there aren't person that to speak English.

hii everyone, I am new to here and posting my first comment...
talking about social media, yes I have lots of Facebook friends. and the reason behind connecting them is that, most of them are very good writers, poets, photographers. everyday they posts there real life experiences, so I am learning lots of from those.
and before a year ago I used to like chat with girls on Facebook. and once I met a girl online on Facebook. so first we became friends then good friends then close friends and finally fall in love with each other. of Course our love is true love, I had met that girl means now gf, and we were planning to get married. but something is going wrong.
so I found Facebook is very useful for me, and its not bad thing to connect people socially or online. it may bring you some good opportunities like me !!!!

Hi everyone....I have many online frieds. But is not the same that the real life. I think is very important the real contac. Meet people on line is good but sometimes is impersonal and you can'tt understand people very well

I don't have too much online friends. I rarely use the Facebook.

Facebook and instagram are not accessed in China, it is a really great shame. Chinese people use Wechat, most of the young people and some old people all have an account. In my account most of the members are my real friends, I'd like to see their shares every morning, it even become my first thing when I open my eyes. When we become adult and form our own family, most of us have little time to meet frequently, so wechat is a very good application to gather some friends have a chat. When someone share his memorable matter, all the friends will leave some funny messages below his sentence, some of the message is amazing will agitate some laughing. The wechat takes us pretty good convenient.

I don't have many onlie friends because I'm not on facebook,instar or something.
I have only kakao, is famous mssenger of my country and there are some friends.
They are also my real life friends. I don't much like online friends sicn it's not necessary, I suppose.
I want to know many friends in real life, not online so I don't have many online friends.

Hello guys. I have a medium amount of friends on facebook. Not all are very good friends, much are former colleagues of work or people that studied with me, but I know all of them. I like the facebook and the instagram because I always can see what my friends are doing when I cannot see them frequently, and I can talk with friends who are already not in my country. It is a way of maintaining the contact.

I think there no real friends in social networks. Friendship is something more great than exchange of messages and pictures. Besides now networks have become too obtrusive.

Actually I don't work a lot on Facebook. I have account on it but I do not make friends I just have this account to visit some useful pages. Here some people don't use Facebook in right way, they just purplish some silly things and want the other to comment on them and give a like to the picture. I think friendship on Facebook is different from real life friendship in many aspects.