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Episode 18

Adam reads your comments about families and we find out if Carolina is feeling any better.



Hello. Welcome to episode 18 of the Learn English Elementary podcast. I'm Adam. Rob is away again, but he promised me that he’ll be back soon.

We're going to hear from Carolina today. She wasn't very happy last time, so let's hope things are a bit better now.

But first, your comments on the last podcast. Tess and Ravi talked about the complicated British Royal Family. It was quite difficult for them to explain all the names and titles and the family relationships. S Kumar from India wrote "I got confused when Tess and Ravi talked about the names of the royal family. I had to repeat the recording to remember them, but it was fun."

Some of you told us about royal families in your countries from the past and the present. Isabelle described the Belgian royal family: King Albert II and his family. Sylfide wrote from Spain about the royal family there and her opinions about them. And, from the past, our old podcast friend tkazerooni from Iran told us about the last Iranian royal family. David Mahi and Kirankumar both talked about the old kings and queens of India, like Ashoka the Great. And Leonnidaz and Shahrazed both wrote about the ancient kingdom of Numidia in the north of Africa. Very interesting.

Other users like Michelle from Brazil, Bigoak from South Korea and DiR from Romania wrote about the political systems in their countries, which don’t have royal families. We learned a lot, so please keep on writing your comments.

You also told us about your families. Some of you have small families that aren't very complicated to describe, like Mariam from Egypt and Damoskhan from Iran, for example.

Bigoak talked about describing families in Korean. He says "We have different words for a boy who is the son of the sister of my mother, or a boy who is the son of the brother of my mother". Right…

And he says "We have different words for a girl who is the daughter of the brother of my father, or the daughter of the brother of my mother. Very complicated isn't it?" Well, yes, Bigoak, it is. But Bigoak explains that it doesn't matter if he forgets the words for his family members because everyone is very busy and so they don't meet very often!

Angelo from Italy sent in a logic puzzle like exercise 6 in the last podcast - thanks Angelo. "Sean is looking at a photo of a boy. Albert asks him ‘Who is the boy in this picture?’ Sean answers ‘I haven't got any brothers or sisters, but the father of this boy is the son of my father’. So who's the boy in the photo?"

Think about it! I'll tell you the answer at the end of the podcast.

Now it's time to find out how Carolina is doing. Carolina is from Venezuela and she's studying at Newcastle University in Britain. She lives with her friend Emily in a student house. Last time, Carolina was feeling homesick. You sent in lots of very good advice. You said she should talk to a friend, go out, talk to her family, listen to Venezuelan music… Let's see what happened.

Emily: Carolina? Carolina! It's two o'clock in the afternoon. Are you going to stay in bed all day? Are you ill? Come on Carolina! I'm worried about you.

Carolina: Come in, Emily.

Emily: What's the matter? You look terrible. You've been crying.

Carolina: Oh, Emily!

Emily: What?

Carolina: I'm feeling so unhappy.

Emily: Why? Whatever's wrong? Tell me.

Carolina: It isn't one thing. Yesterday was a terrible day. There was a horrible man in the shop – he said I should learn to speak English.

Emily: No! That's terrible. But you know that's just one person, Carolina. Most people are friendly, aren't they?

Carolina: Yes. But then I couldn't understand the man in the post office – I couldn't understand what he said. It was horrible. I felt so stupid.

Emily: You're not stupid. I don't understand people sometimes.

Carolina: But I'm a foreigner here – this isn't my country. It's difficult for me – I'm tired, Emily. I miss Venezuela. I miss my family. I want to go home. I just want to go home. My mother phoned last night and I just started crying when I heard her voice. It was horrible.

Emily: Oh, Carolina. I don't know what to say.

Carolina: You can't say anything.

Emily: You know there's a student counsellor at the university, don't you?

Carolina: A student counsellor?

Emily: For students who have problems. You can go and see him and talk. About your problems. Maybe he can help.

Carolina: No. I don't think so.

Emily: Are you sure? I can phone and make an appointment for you?

Carolina: I'm sure. Thanks, Emily. I'll be OK.

Emily: Look, why don't we go out for the day on Sunday? Do something different?

Carolina: I can’t. I have to finish my essay. That's another thing. My university work. Last year everything was OK, but this year, I don't know, I can't do things on time. Everything's late.

Emily: You're working too hard – you never have time to relax – that's why you're depressed. We'll go out on Sunday, I'll invite Jamie too. I know you don't have much time to see him.

Carolina: It's Sunday. He has his band practice.

Emily: Not this Sunday. They're not practising tomorrow.

Carolina: How do you know?

Emily: Cameron told me.

Carolina: Cameron told you?

Emily: Yes. Now get out of bed, have a shower, sit down, and finish that essay. You've got three hours before you have to go to work.

Carolina: OK.

Emily: Then, on Sunday, we'll go to the city farm.

Carolina: City farm? OK, I've never been. If I finish my essay.

Emily: You will. Come on. Shower. I'll make you some coffee.

Carolina: Thank you, Emily.



Oh, good. Emily is organizing Carolina and she’s going to get up, have a shower, and write her essay before work. And on Sunday, they're going to the city farm; that will cheer her up. In case you don't know, a city farm is a farm, with animals like cows and goats and chickens, but in a city, so that children (and adults, of course) can visit and learn about nature and where milk and eggs and meat come from. What contact do people have with nature where you live?

I don't live near a city farm, but when I'm feeling a bit down, I always go cycling in the forest. What about you? Write and tell us about a place you go when you want to cheer up. Somewhere that always makes you feel better. Write and tell us at or join us on Facebook.

Now, let's talk about some of the language you heard. What forms of the verbs does Emily use?

Emily: Yes. Now get out of bed, have a shower, sit down, and finish that essay. You've got three hours before you have to go to work.

Carolina: OK.

'Get out of bed, have a shower, sit down, and finish that essay'. Emily used the imperative form of the verbs. She was giving Carolina instructions - telling her what to do. The important thing for you to remember is that she didn't say “'you’ get out of bed”, “'you’ have a shower”. We don't use a subject in the imperative. And the negative is 'don't'. 'Don't get out of bed', 'don't have a shower'. The imperative form is quite strong in English, and can sound very rude, so you can use 'please' to make it more polite: 'Pass me that book, please' or 'Please sit down.'

And sometimes we can say 'always' or 'never' with an imperative. For example, you can say 'Always tell the truth!' or 'Never tell lies!'

There are some exercises using imperatives on the website and other exercises on different topics in the podcast, too. You can do the exercises online or download them and do them on paper. And don't forget to send us your comments - we really enjoy reading them.

We'll be back next time with Tess and Ravi, talking about a very famous animal. She's very big and she lives in Scotland. Any ideas?

Oh, and the logic puzzle? Who's the boy in the photo?

Ah yes. He's Sean's son of course. Simple!

That's all for now… See you next time. Bye!



Language level

Intermediate: B1


Hello Mariam,
Nice to hear from you. I am glad you are enjoying the podcasts and I hope you find them useful. We have some new videos on LearnEnglish that you might enjoy as well - do you know 'Word on the Street'?
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

This scenario is exactly what will and is happening to every oversea student.
thanks for everyone who gave me a help when i live aboard and some words to oversea students:
1.You are brave, you should be proud for yourself.
2.I pray for the people like Emily, my angel you are so good-nature, you can get sincerely friendship from anyone. And in contrast, to the people who are rude to Carolina,  you guys are horrible person, you know what, you will suffer the same humiliation when you travel, work oversea---that is my curse!!

Great Emily you're a reliable friend. I would like to have this kind of friend.

Don`t worry Caroline. Everywhere there are people like that, impolite, rude, and with a less patient. When you are working face to face to the client,it is very common suffer this types of behaviors. But you thinks you have a family, friends, and a lot of things to enjoy.

A Queen's jubilee.
Hi everyone,
It' was very fantastic and enjoyable to see the queen and her family on their boat yesterday during celebration of the sixties years rules of Elisabeth II. Very interesting, those sounds and colors. I saw for the first time live, the tower bridge in movement. The  song of the fishermen was also great.
But, as usual, that british temperate climate couldn't be absent to that great appointment. Nevertheless, we had great moments.
Tess an Ravi I hope we'll hear from you next asap about that celebration. Sixty years of reign...
Hi again.

I am sorry to here Carolina....I am a Chinese girl and working in Singapore now.i also can't fully understand the people here too.but pls don't put it in mind.u are not stupid.we can't understand all the words especially some terminal words in some special situation...that is the reason why we need to learn.and we can't be better tomorrow than now.cheer up,don't let the depression eat u up.
I also felt depress when I just arrived here.,I am alone and new.I knew nothing about the country.but I found a church here.i go to the church every Sunday for service.and I got to know lots of friendly people.they help me to adapt tnto the new environment,encourage me,and listen to me.The service also help me to get the positive thoughts in life.So I like to go the church.

yes as you said we should not let the depression control us.
  we should struggle in life and draw the smile in our faces.   

This podcast is really interesting. I really enjoyed it.
about feeling upset..
when I feel something like this, I go out for walking and breath fresh air. While I walk I try to think positively. I mean think about something that makes me happy.
Another thing I usually  do is calling my friends to tell them to go out to the park ,chatting and having interesting times especially at night.
I wish everyone live with happyness. 

Hello everyone,
There was a word Jaunty,I really understood  its meaning in the following sentence. Beg everyone for help.
I have looked it up in Advanced Learner's English-Chinese Dictionary, it is an adjective and has two meanings, but i think they are both not suitable for the following sentence. 
One day, I told myself, one glorious day I will have a bike like that and I will wear long trousers with bicycle-clips and my school cap will sit jaunty on my head and I will go whizzing down the hill pedalling backwards with no hands on the handlebars!
thanks a lot.

Hi everyone 
As I’m Muslim I read holy Koran when I feel upset because in Koran I find the key of the happiness .and In the other hand I consider myself very lucky because I live near to the beach, sitting on a rock on the beach watching the waves and the seagulls fly elegantly across the sky and water can cheer up our self and make us happy. I think Carolina should follow Emily advice and didn’t forget that she is studying at the university, everything in life has a price, and she needs some patience if she wants to success.
Big thank to British council team .