Simple English Listening

Improving PRONUNCIATION 2, American Politics - How Does it Work? My Current Life Direction (Pre-int / Intermediate)

November 01, 2020 Tristan Palumbo
Simple English Listening
Improving PRONUNCIATION 2, American Politics - How Does it Work? My Current Life Direction (Pre-int / Intermediate)
Show Notes Transcript

Join us every Sunday. Topics: improving PRONUNCIATION 2, my current life direction, how does American politics work?

New vocabulary includes: election, vote, elector, populous, senator, sustainable, transparent

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Here, I speak in SIMPLE English about interesting topics. The best way to learn is to listen to as much English as possible which is ONE level above your level. This way you pick up maximum amounts of new language and pronunciation naturally. 

Hello community, how are you today? I hope things are going well and that you're feeling good, inspired, excited. We're really gonna go wild learning pronunciation. Today, I'll give you some more tips to improve your pronunciation. We will also learn American politics and how it works. The election is this week, how exciting! I'll also bring you up to date with my life a bit and with Simple English listening developments.

Welcome to another sweet Sunday on Simple English Listening. I'm your host, Tristan, we have podcasts every Sunday and every third Sunday, we release a YouTube video about a special topic with pictures, video clips, subtitles, word definitions, etc. Next week will be a YouTube video, we will learn what do the different vitamins do vitamins like vitamin C, Vitamin A, and all the rest. There will be lots of new vocabulary about health, about nutrition, your body and different food groups, so don't miss next week's show! 

So friends, let's give you a quick update, a quick catch up with my life. I'm still at my teaching position at my lovely school in Hanoi in Vietnam. Right now I have to decide if I should re-sign my contract for next semester. Will I work another year at my school? Or not? Should I shouldn't I?

I just can't decide what to do. On one hand, I love my job. I've been there for four happy years, I know the students well, I'm settled there, I'm comfortable there. I get on well with my colleagues, it's usually fun. On the other hand, I would love to be able to concentrate more on Simple English Listening, I'd love to have time to teach the students that have contacted me through Simple English Listening. Also, I have some exciting ideas to make a unique English learning website and app for Simple English Listening. I'd love to try it! But as long as I stay at my very busy full time job, I just don't have time to try these exciting ideas I've got as well as my weekly podcast and the YouTube videos and my music. You know I have like zero, like zero free time right now and I'm always tired, always in a rush. always in a hurry, waking up super early, going to bed super late. Sometimes I feel like my mind and my memory is just turning into vegetable soup. Heinz vegetable soup. 

So what I'm doing now is not sustainable, not sustainable means it cannot continue forever. healthily, healthily. I've bitten off more than I can chew - bitten off more than I can chew. A great idiom there! Already, I just don't have time to properly promote and advertise Simple English Listening more. Unfortunately, I still haven't even had time to start an Instagram and some very basic things you need to market and advertise a channel or a podcast. So now, I'm just thinking, thinking hard, what to do? There's not enough time to do everything. I feel like Simple English Listening is suffering because of my job but also, my job is suffering because of Simple English Listening.

Actually, a few of my work colleagues are listening to this right now. The ones learning English probably. Hello guys! Well, it's it's good to be transparent. There's a new adjective for you - transparent. 'Transparent' means to say the truth and not hide anything. 'Transparent' also means something you can see through. For example, glass is transparent. Actually, last week, I asked my boss if I could have six months off to make my website, and she was like, 'Uh, no, I'm sorry, that's not really possible.' Yeah, well, you've got to try, right? It doesn't hurt to ask, as mother has always said. 

Another option for me is to get another job with less hours where I make less money, a lower salary but then have more free time for Simple English Listening. I have thought of that, too. I've also just thought of just working both my full time job and Simple English Listening, work myself to death for one year and try to manage my time more effectively. Anyways, I'll, I'll let you know what I decide. I've got until the 16th of November to make my decision, whether I should continue at my lovely school or try to do my own projects for a little while. Okay, now to give you more pronunciation tips and tricks. Last week, we learned about shadowing. Shadowing is a great way to improve your pronunciation while listening to podcasts, especially if you missed last week's podcast, have a listen and learn this great technique. 

Now I'll teach you a new technique that you can practice today. Okay, tip one, record yourself reading something on your phone, on your phone recorder app. If you are reading something, you don't have to think about what to say. Rather, you can fully focus on how you are pronouncing the words rather than what you are saying. So read and record at least 30 seconds. After you've recorded yourself, listen carefully to it. And make a note of any problem areas. Try to write down the top three to five problem areas. Not too many. But enough to work on today or tomorrow. Another thing you can do is record it, then listen to it, work on your problem areas, and then re-record the same 30 seconds and then you can hear how you've improved. So you can hear yourself improve in just one day, you can do this. This way you'll know your weaknesses, and you'll know what you must strengthen. Maybe it's the TH sound th-think or th-that. Th-think th-that th-think th-that you can shadow me for a little bit, I'll take you through the different pronunciation sounds and copy what I say just after I say it to improve your pronunciation. Or the R sound where you put your tongue back and down into the back of your mouth.

So the only thing I was moving then was my tongue. My tongue going back and down into my mouth. Or maybe it's your P's and B's. The B is vocalised. The P is not vocalised. So for the P, only air comes out. Maybe your problem is the V and F sound. So, the mouth is exactly the same for V and F but the V is vocalised and the F is not vocalised. So for the F only air comes out. A fun way to practice a V sound is to pretend that you are riding a motorbike.

I do that with my younger students sometimes, and they really enjoy it. They think it's fun. It's a fun way to learn the V sound. I'll do a YouTube video on pronunciation sometime in the future with little tips and tricks and tips. techniques to practice it. Also, maybe it's vowel sounds that are difficult for you. Another thing you can do to practice is find a piece of spoken English by a native speaker. Listen to how they speak it and then record yourself speaking the same words. This way, you can compare what you've said, with what a native speaker has said. Listen carefully and study what is different between how you pronounce the words and how they've pronounced the words. Luckily, you can do this for free on this podcast! Go to my podcast website. There is a link in the description to the podcast website. And also the link is on the Simple English Listening Facebook page. The last three or four episodes on this podcast website, all have transcripts, we use the word transcripts when talking about podcast scripts, transcript, it's all completely 100% free. Thank you, Tristan, you're amazing. My pleasure. So try recording yourself. And please let me know how it went in the comments on the Simple English Listening Facebook page. I love hearing from you. And I'm keen to know if this exercise was useful to you. I'll give you more pronunciation tips in the next podcast. 

Now, let's talk about US politics and learn some new vocabulary at the same time. It's all over the news right now. The US election 2020 and election is when is the time when people vote for their favourite politician to be the next leader. American elections happen every four years on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November. To vote is when people, on election day, people write the name of their favourite candidate or party on a piece of paper and put it in a box all over America. They will do this on Tuesday, they will vote for their favourite political party. The two parties that are most popular in America, well, probably also the two richest ones are the Republicans and the Democrats. Every American president since the year 1853, has been either a Republican or a Democrat. This year, Donald Trump, otherwise known as 'the orange man' is the Republican candidate. And Joe Biden is the democrat candidate. 

Actually, my little sister met Joe Biden, back when he was the vice president for President Obama. Yeah, my sister worked at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC, New York City for two years. And he visited the museum in that time. My sister, I'm very proud of her, you know, she has a very cool job! She gets old historic artefacts such as old stuffed animals and Egyptian mummies, bird feathers, fossils, etc. And she restores them 'restores' them, meaning she cleans them, adds more colour fixes them. She makes these historic natural artefacts beautiful again. Very cool! Okay, let's go back to the US election. How does it work? What happens? I hear you ask. I'll summarise it for you. So, in all 50 states, you have electors, the amount of electors a state has reflects the roughly reflects the population of the state. So for example, California is the most populous state with 40 million people. Wyoming, Wyoming is the least populous state with only 500,000 people. California has 55 electors because it's the largest, Wyoming only has three electors, because it's the smallest. In total, there are 538 electors in the whole country.

If you get the highest percentage of electors in each state, you take the rest. For example, if the democrats win 30 electors in California, and the republicans only get 25 the democrats take all the republican electors, then the democrats would get all 55 electors in California. On the other hand, looking at Wyoming, if the democrats get two of the only three electors in Wyoming, then they take all three, so they win only one extra. This is how most states do it. This is tradition. 

Many people think this system is not fair, because it doesn't accurately represent the population. For example, four years ago, Donald Trump beat the Democrat Hillary Clinton, but but Hillary Clinton had 3 million more votes in the whole country. But Donald Trump still won. 

Now, I'll tell you about the senate and the house of Congress. The Senate and the House of Congress are where government makes new laws. They discuss and sign new laws in these two places - the Senate and the House of Congress. Every district in America votes for a congressman or congresswoman to represent that district in the House of Congress. Now, above the House of Congress, you have the Senate. So, laws are discussed in the House of Congress and then usually signed in the Senate. It's the exact same word as in ancient Rome. Also, they had a senate. Every four years every American state votes for two senators to represent the state in the Senate. Politicians that are voted into the senate are called senators.

Another way people think the US system is not fair, is that every state, every state has two senators. So even though California has a population of 40 million people, and Wyoming only has 500,000 people, both states equally vote for two senators, two senators to represent them in the Senate. So every state gets two senators and there are 50 states. So in total, there are 100 senators. 

So, this week, Americans vote for the new president,  390 million people in the country will vote. If their favourite party has the largest amount of electors in the state, they will win all the electors in that state. Whoever gets the most electors in the whole country wins the presidency. Last election against Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump won 324 electors. And Hillary Clinton just 227. 

I was in New York during the last election and the people I was staying with in this apartment in Brooklyn, they were more democratic, they were more left-leaning and they stayed up throughout the whole night, and they were really, really sad and disappointed. Actually, when Donald Trump won, like they couldn't believe it! I remember that. Well, that was four years ago. Now. Of course, we didn't know back then how Trump would turn out. 

Okay, please subscribe on your app if you haven't already and feel free to get in touch on the Simple English Listening Facebook page. It's nice to hear from you. And I love hearing your feedback. Lots of you have given me some great feedback, some great advice and tips of how you find Simple English Listening useful. Yeah. And some ideas for topics. Love it guys, love it! Okay, hope you learned something today about pronunciation and about American politics and current events. So, all the best everyone, miss you. Until next time, okay. Lots of love. See ya.