Hi, my name is Steven French and I'm going to be producing this podcast with my colleague; Michael Dewar. Micheal, good morning. How are you sir?

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1 Transcript form News in Slow English Hi, my name is Steven French and I'm going to be producing this podcast with my colleague; Michael Dewar. Micheal, good morning. How are you sir? Good morning Steven. I'm very well, thank you. Fantastic! First of all, we're going to introduce ourselves. Then we're going to talk about the reasons for producing this podcast. I think these are exciting times. Don't you agree, Michael? I do Steven, very exciting times. This is our first podcast, and one which we hope that you the listeners, will enjoy over the next few weeks. Absolutely right. First of all, a little bit about myself. My name's Steve as I've said, and I'm the owner of stevenfrenchlanguages.com. I'm based in the South of the UK, in the North of London, in a small commuter village called Harpenden. I've been teaching languages for more time than I care to remember. That's to say, over 20 years. Before teaching, I worked in the city of London, for a large international bank. I'm trilingual, that's to say I speak French and Spanish and English. English is my native tongue, and I speak French and Spanish to C1, C2 level. These are levels in the European common language framework. That's enough about me Michael. How about you? Thanks Steven. Like I said, my name is Michael and I live in the South of London, in a place called Crystal Palace. Crystal Palace used to have an actual real crystal palace, and now it's just a big park, which is just a couple of minutes from my house, which is great! Like Steven, I'm a trilingual speaker of languages. I speak English, French and Spanish. I recently changed my career from being in Marketing and Sales, to being a teacher. Okey-doke then. A teacher without any words, very interesting Michael! That's supposed to be a joke by the way. Okay then, so the idea behind this podcast is simple. We aim to provide English learners with a regular weekly podcast, in slow English, with supporting materials and related exercises. Over time, the podcast will provide an excellent resource for language learners. Being based in the UK, there will be a UK bias, and the English that you will hear is basically the English variety. However, I'm certain that we will use the occasional Americanism, and will comment on it as appropriate. Without any further ado, I'm going to launch into our first segment on New Year's Resolutions. I suppose you've made lots of New Year's Resolutions, haven't you Michael? Perhaps we can talk about those a little bit, after my piece. Sure.

2 Yeah, let's dive in now. New Year's Resolutions: I don't know about you Michael, but I think every year in the press and the TV and on the internet and social media, there are a mountain of articles and comments about New Year's resolutions. As I sit here preparing this, I'm aware that I'm adding to that list. Do you know, I think personally that New Year's resolutions are very important. The problem, I'm sure you'd agree, is actually keeping them and keeping them going. How many... Absolutely For example, how many say that they're going to the gym. Then at the end of January, stop going? You've never done that, have you Michael? I'd like to say that I haven't, but I think the gyms have done very well out of me, financially. What, until the end of January or the middle of February, and then you stop? Yeah. In fact I remember a couple of years ago, after a particularly unhealthy Christmas in which I put on quite a lot of weight. I said to myself, "I need to join a gym, get fit and have a regular exercise routine." That was fine until the middle of January, when I realized that getting up in the morning before work, going to the gym was just a hassle, it wasn't that much fun. At the end of January, I'm ashamed to say that I did actually give up my gym membership. Although I've stayed fairly fit since then. Michael, you used the word there, Hassle. What is a hassle? Yeah, so a hassle is something that is unwanted and something that is tedious, something that is difficult to do. Yeah. For you going to the gym was a hassle? It was a hassle, that's right. Okay. One of my New Year's resolutions was to produce this podcast. Here it is in its fledgling state, ready to face the light of day. It's exciting and I'm determined that we will produce quality materials for language learning, and specifically for learning English as a foreign language. We know that there is a huge audience out there. That's my New Year's resolution. As language learners and serious language learners at that, listening to this podcast will perhaps make your own language learning aims and objectives, easier. I'm a man who likes lists, so perhaps I could make 3 specific suggestions. Firstly, spend 15 minutes every day, seriously devoted to your language learning. Not dipping in every now and again, doing it and not doing it, but doing it regularly. Psychologists tell us that we become a product of our own habits, good habits become good products. Why don't you turn yourself into

3 a good language learning product? What do you think of that, Michael? Good idea, bad idea? I think it's a great idea. I think that the key here is, spending a little time doing something, but making sure that you stick to it. Absolutely! It's stickability, and I suppose at this time of year, everything is about stickability. That is to say, the ability to stick or keep on doing something. Here's a second... Agreed! Here's a second idea. Why don't you have a place in your house which is like a shrine to the langue you are learning? In the case of English, why don't you have an English newspaper and an English dictionary, and even an English flag in a certain part of your house, so you know where you are that you are, as we say, in the zone? Now I must admit, this is not an original idea. I've taken this one from Benny Lewis. In the show notes, we'll put a link on to his website because Benny Lewis knows what he's talking about when it comes to learning foreign languages. Have you heard of Benny Lewis, Michael? I haven't heard of Benny Lewis, no. I must admit, I like that idea of being in a language zone, being in a place where you are committed to learning the language in that particular space. I like that! Yeah. I think it can work because we are creatures of habit. When you're in that particular part of your house or your flat or wherever, you are in the zone. A quick third point; actively reproduce the language. By this I mean, speak in English, even if it is to yourself. I can remember, when I was learning French and Spanish in my mid-teens, I would go for a walk and speak to myself. Is that the sort of thing that you did, Michael? Me too, me too. I would have many an imaginary friend. I have friends in French, in Spanish, and even a little bit of Arabic, which I've been learning in the past couple of years. Fantastic! It really is the best way to keep practicing. Have a voice where you can just start to speak in that language, it's great! Absolutely right, absolutely! Just 3 practical ideas though, hopefully you can take them on board. I think sometimes, a small short list is better than a long list. Listeners, we'll leave that to you. Michael, let's have a look at the news this week. Now, I suppose the big news event of the week, well it's been the awful events which have taken place in Paris. In fact as we go to press, the story keeps on developing. From my own perspective, this really does hit home.

4 I was lucky enough to live in Paris for 2 years in the last century. Yes, the last century, and was a regular reader of the satirical magazine: Charlie Hebdo. I enjoyed the magazine and it definitely improved my French. Just before I ask you for your comment Michael. For English learners, the English or the UK equivalent of Charlie Hebdo or Charlie Hebdo, is Private Eye. Private Eye is a satirical weekly journal which looks closely at political life, amongst other things in the UK. I must admit, it's not that easy to understand, as there are a lot of social context and on occasion, school boy humour and puns. If you do not understand some of the expressions that I've used, we'll add them to the notes to help you understand. Michael, any thoughts from you about the events in Paris? Steven, that's a horrible business, as to what exactly has happened in Paris. It may be that listeners haven't been following the news or in a few weeks, this story might have been pushed to the back of our minds. This story is about 2 men, who armed with heavy weapons and wearing balaclavas to disguise their identities, went into the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and shot dead 12 of their editorial staff. Yeah. Now clearly, when any act of violence is broadcast through our media, we're angry, we're shocked. Only just a few weeks ago, there was the terrible case of the girls who were executed in a terrible way, by the Taliban in Afghanistan. That shocked the whole world for some days. I think this particular event has really shocked a lot of us, and left us asking some serious questions. Absolutely. The attackers reportedly told their victims that they were avenging the cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, which the magazine published in We've just been asking ourselves in the past 48 hours, "How can this happen? How can such an event happen?"... And. Surely the offense which words or in this case cartoons can cause, does not equal taking another person's life. Yes. I must agree Michael, this is something which is going to run and run. I can see that some people are calling this the French 9/11. Perhaps we'll only see in time, what actually happens. I can just see, I'm watching the clock here and we're trying to keep the podcast to 15 minutes, and we're just coming up to the 15 minutes. I hope you've enjoyed that, listeners. That's a flavour of what we're going to be producing in the future. I'll just be signing off. We're going to be producing the next podcast, and it'll be uploaded on to the

5 internet on the 16th January, I'd just like to sign off. That's goodbye from me:steven French. Michael, perhaps you'd like to sign off? That's goodbye from me. That's Steve and Michael from newsinslowenglish.co.uk, and we look forward to seeing you in the very near future. Stay safe out there. Bye now.

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