Here are all previously released episodes of Better at English podcasts. Make sure you download the PDF file for each lesson, so you will have the full transcript and vocabulary notes.

REC004: Language Mining with Carsten Peters

EPISODE SUMMARY
In this episode of Real English Conversations, Lori talks to Carsten Peters of the Language Mining Company. This is the very first time Lori and Carsten ever spoke to each other, so it’s an authentic example of two people getting to know each other. A native speaker of German, Carsten is a podcaster, published author, language coach, entrepreneur, and is keenly interested in the science and practice of language learning and acquisition. He’s a great example of a successful learner of English as a foreign language. This episode presents the first part of the conversation in which you hear them getting to know each other, and then moving on to exchange their ideas about how adults and children learn languages, and the role of motivation and structure for adult language learners. The vocabulary notes for this episode focus on phrasal verbs, as well as informal words and phrases that might be difficult to understand.

REC003: There’s nothing like a good night’s sleep

In this Real English Conversations podcast, you’ll hear Lori and her mom talking about their bedtime routines and what they do to get good night’s sleep. The conversation includes lots of idioms and phrases related to going to bed, sleeping, waking up, and daily routines, and these interesting language items are listed in the vocabulary notes.

LT002: Showing up for English learning success

Lori talks to you about one of her favorite quotes: 80% of success is showing up. You’ll learn what it means and who said it. And if you’re feeling discouraged with your English progress, you’ll learn how resolving to keep “showing up” can get you back on track with your learning.

REC001 – Lori burns her arm

Lori burns her arm while making a cup of tea, and can’t sleep because it hurts so much. Her mother tries to help her find a way to get through the night. The real English conversation is between Lori and her mother the following morning, discussing what they did to relieve the pain and whether or not it worked.

Real English Conversations: Perfectionism and procrastination 3

Lori and her Dutch friend Yvette return to finish their conversation about perfectionism and procrastination. This time they focus on the strategies that have proved useful in their own battles with this debilitating problem.

Real English Conversations: Telling time in English 1

Lori invites her mom onto the podcast to discuss telling time in English, focusing on some of the differences between American and British English usage.

Real English Conversations: Perfectionism 2

Lori and her Dutch friend Yvette continue their discussion of perfectionism, focusing on how it can cause problems for foreign language learners.

Real English Conversations: Perfectionism and Procrastination 1

Do you ever procrastinate? Lori sure does! She and her Dutch friend Yvette talk about what procrastination is, why we do it, and what we can do about it.

Real English Conversations: Don’t step in the dog doo (4 of 4)

In today’s conversation, which is part four of four, my British friend Michael and I wrap up our lengthy conversation about the pros and cons of dogs, dog ownership, and dog owners. Warning: some of the vocabulary we deal with in this episode is a bit vulgar, so if you are sensitive or easily offended I suggest you stop listening now.

Real English Conversations: Don’t step in the Dog Doo (part 3 of 4)

Michael and Lori continue their discussion of dogs and cats, focusing on the tendency for humans to get emotionally attached to their pets.

Real English Conversations: Don’t step on the dog doo (2 of 4)

In today’s conversation, which is part 2 of 4, my British friend Michael and I continue discussing dogs and cats, and which we prefer.

Real English Conversations: Don’t step on the dog doo (part 1 of 4)

My British friend Michael and I begin by talking about whether we are dog people or cat people. Then we move on to discuss the social etiquette of dog walking, particularly picking up after them in public places.

Real English Conversations: Weird food

In this episode, Michael and Lori talk about weird food combinations — you won’t believe what some Americans like on their hamburgers!

Real English Conversations: 20 questions game

Lori and Michael talk about 20Q, a fun electronic game that Lori got to try while she was on her recent vacation in the USA.

Real English Conversations: Itchy palms (superstitions)

Learn about the idiom “to have itchy palms” and more on the topic of superstions.

Real English Conversations: Lori wants a naked cat

Lori wants a pet cat, and not just any cat, but a naked Sphinx cat. Michael thinks they are ugly. A heated discussion ensues…

Real English Conversations: What leads to success?

Everyone wants to be successful, right? But have you ever wondered what it is that leads to success? Lori and Michael discuss their reactions to a presentation about “What leads to success,” given by Michael St. John. Richard St. John spent several years interviewing hundreds of successful people, trying to find out the secrets to their success.

Real English Conversations: junk food (part 3 of 3)

The third and final part of Michael and Lori’s discussion of the English government’s ban on commercials for junk food before 9 pm, when children are likely to be watching.

Real English Conversations: junk food (part 2 of 3)

Part two of Michael and Lori’s three-part discussion about the English government’s decision to ban junk food ads on television before 9 pm, when children are likely to be watching.

Real English Conversation: junk food (part 1 of 3)

In the first of this three-part conversation, Lori and Michael talk about junk food and television advertising. In a nutshell, they don’t like it.

Real English Conversations: The pre-Google Dark Ages

How did we ever get along without Google? Lori and Michael about how much they depend on the Internet in their daily lives. In this completely unplanned and spontaneous conversation, they use quite a few phrasal verbs. These phrasal verbs and additional idiomatic expressions are highlighted in the vocabulary notes. As always, you can find the full transcript and vocabulary notes at www.BetterAtEnglish.com.

Real English Conversations: TV adverts, advertisements and commercials

In today’s episode, Michael and I exchange some opinions about television, particularly with respect to commercials and advertising. In this conversation we discover some differences between British and American English vocabulary, and use some everyday phrasal verbs.

Real English Conversations: The customer is always right, right?

Have you ever had to deal with unpleasant customers? Lori and her British pal Michael compare working in an office with working at home, and talk about how difficult it can be to put up with rude treatment from nasty customers when you work in a job providing service. As usual, they end up touching upon some of the differences between British and American English vocabulary.

Real English conversations: pumping up in the buff

In the previous episode I had wanted to talk to Michael about about a gym in Holland that offers its clients an unusual way to exercise. But we got sidetracked talking about dogs and chick magnets. Luckily, this time we are back on track talking about gyms, a topic that brings up some idioms and slang related to fitness, exercise, and human bodies.

Real English Conversations: Chick Magnet (idiom)

Lori and her English friend Michael and talk about the irresistible attraction power of dogs and puppies, and how you can exploit this if you’re in the market for a romantic partner.

Real English Conversations: Cultural Differences (part 3 of 3)

This is the third and final episode of a three part series in which Michael and Lori discuss some of the potentially embarrassing differences between British and American English dialects.

Real English Conversations: Cultural differences (part 2 of 3)

This is the second in a three part series in which Michael and Lori discuss some of the differences between their British and American English dialects. This edition takes up right where they left off in part one, so if you are a new listener you might want to go back and listen to part one before you listen to part two. In this podcast, they focus on some pronunciation differences between British and American English, as well as one potentially embarrassing difference in vocabulary.

Real English Conversations: Cultural differences (part 1 of 3)

Michael and Lori discuss how native speakers use fillers such as “umm” and “uh” and “mmm hmm” in conversations, and how these fillers are not always the same in different cultures. This is the first part of a series of three: in parts two and three they go on to discuss some rather amusing pronunciation and vocabulary differences between British and American English.

Real English Conversations: What was he thinking?

Michael and Lori discuss a disturbing video that Lori saw on Youtube, in which a teenage boy inserts a firework rocket into his rear end and burns himself. Sensitive listeners may find this podcast offensive, so use caution when listening.

Real English conversations: Do men prefer real or fake?

Lori asks Michael a rather saucy question: do men prefer real or fake breasts on their women? The answer might surprise you…

Real English Conversations: skill or luck?

Michael and Lori discuss the game (sport?) Rock Paper Scissors, and debate whether it involves skill or luck.

Grammar mistakes that make you look like a dork: its vs. it’s

Some grammar mistakes are surprisingly frequent even among educated native speakers of English. When it comes to written English, a lot of these mistakes involve words or phrases that sound the same but are spelled differently…One of the most notorious of these grammatical pet peeves is when people write the wrong form of its/it’s. That’s what I will try to help you with today. This may be a bit difficult to follow if you are just listening, so I suggest you go to the betteratenglish.com and have a look at the transcript.

Real English Conversations: noisy neighbors

Today’s conversation is between me and my friend Michael. We discuss my annoying neighbor and his habit of playing a very irritating song at very high volume, usually on Friday and Saturday evenings. I’m pretty sure it’s a live version, too, so it’s much longer than the original, thus extending my torture.

My best guess is that he plays it to get himself in the party mood. Here in Sweden, people usually “party” at home, that is,…

Real English Conversations: Office Pranks

Lori and Michael discuss office pranks.

Real English conversations: Lori scores a year’s supply of toilet paper

A funny thing happened today when Lori was shopping for office supplies, and it involves an industrial-sized package of toilet paper rolls.

Real English Conversations: annoying coworkers

There’s one annoying jerk in every workplace, isn’t there! Lori and Michael talk about their experiences with annoying coworkers.