Daily English
Cultural English
Practical English

080 Topics: Google Book Search, Clint Eastwood, village vs. neighborhood, to retrieve vs. to recover, cooking vs. cuisine

Complete Transcript
This is ESL Podcast's English Café episode 80.

This is English Café episode 80. I'm your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Remember to visit our website at eslpod.com and download the Learning Guide for this episode. You can also take a look at our new premium courses, as well as other new things we have now on our website.

Today we're going to talk about something called the Google Book Project - talk about what that is and why you may be interested in it. We're also going to talk about a famous actor and director in the United States called Clint Eastwood. And as always, we'll answer a few of your questions. Let's get started.

Our first topic today is one that you may know something about already, it's called the Google Book Project. Google, as you probably know, is the world's, or one of the world's, largest search engines. A search engine, “engine,” is what we call a website that allows you to search for things by name on the Internet. We use that word engine also when we are talking about a motor, such as the motor in your car. That's the little machine that allows the car to go forward - it makes the car go forward. So, the word engine is used in a couple of different ways.

Google, as I say, is a search engine, and a couple of years ago they decided that they were going to try to create a digital data base - or a record - of all or most of the books that have been published. This is a very ambitious project. We say something is ambitious, “ambitious,” we mean that it tries to do something that is very large or very great.

In this case, the Google company decided to talk to some of the big libraries - some of the big libraries here in the United States - and right now they are in the process of scanning hundreds and thousands of books. To scan, “scan,” means to put a piece of paper onto some sort of a machine - we would call it a scanner, “scanner” - and that converts - or changes - the picture into an electronic format.

Google is trying to produce what are called full text of the books. Full, “full,” meaning all, text, “text,” meaning the words, in this case. So, all of the words - the entire book - that will be stored in this digital library or digital database. The idea is that you can put in a keyword, “keyword,” or the word that you are looking for, or a topic that you are looking for, and you will be able to search for that in the Google book search. This has already started, and you can go onto Google and find this new service.

Right now, the service is in what's called the beta stage, “beta.” Beta is a term that websites use for their software that is still is not the final version, they're still testing it, we call that the beta version.

One of problems with this new project that Google is finding is that many of the people who make books - the publishers of the books - don't want their books to be scanned by Google. Now, Google is doing this scanning procedure on books that are in the public domain, as well as books that are no longer in copyright. The term public domain, “domain,” means that the material is free - that nobody owns it. For example, here in the United States anything that the federal government makes - anything they produce - any books, their websites - are all usually in the public domain, meaning anyone can use them however they want and they don't have to pay any money to the government.

There are other books and publications that are in the public domain. There are also some books that are so old that they no longer have what's called copyright protection. Copyright, “copyright,” is a legal protection that a government gives you when you publish a book or you produce something such as this podcast, you can copyright it, meaning no one else can use it without your permission.

The problem that Google is having is not with the public domain books or the out of copyright, meaning they're so old that they do not have the copyright protection anymore, but with books that are still copyrighted, and some publishers are saying that Google is infringing on their copyright. The verb to infringe, “infringe,” means something similar to violate, “violate.” To infringe or to violate copyright means that you are doing something illegal - something wrong - you are taking their copyrighted material and using it without getting their permission.

The Google people say that they try to err on the side of caution. This is an expression we use. To err, “err,” sometimes pronounced to err (air), it comes from the word error, “error,” which means a mistake. So, we err on the side of caution, “caution.” This is an expression that means we try to be as careful as we can - whenever there's a doubt, we'll try to take the safest route - the safest path. To err on the side of caution, for example, could be used when you say, “I'm not sure which one of my students stole my exam - tried to cheat. I'm going to err on the side of caution and write a new exam,” that's the safest way of solving the problem.

So, Google says it is erring on the side of caution, and is only allowing people to see snippets of a book. The word snippet, “snippet,” means a very small amount. Usually we use that word when we are talking about text - when we are talking about sentences and words. “This is a snippet from the book,” meaning is a few sentences or a paragraph from the book.

Well, it's interesting that Google is continuing to do this work very quickly. Some people say that they have a special camera - a special scanner - that is able to put in a thousand pages per hour into their database. They are currently spending more than 3,000 books every day, and the entire project will probably cost more than 100 million dollars.

So, if you're interested in this project - it is an interesting one - you can go to Google book search and find more information. The web page can be found by googling the words Google book search. Notice that we now use the word google as a verb. To google, “google,” means to look something up in the Google search engine.

Our second topic today is about a famous actor in the United States, who's been famous for many years. His name is Clint Eastwood.

Clint Eastwood has worked as a - an actor, and he was famous as an actor back in the 1970s for some movies that are called the “Dirty Harry” movies. “Dirty Harry.” And, these were movies about someone, what we would call a tough guy, “tough,” guy. A tough guy is someone who is strong and very masculine - very much like a man - and he, in this case, was a police officer who tried to stop the bad guys - the criminals.

Eastwood became famous as an actor in some of these movies. Clint Eastwood became a very rich star; we would say he was a bankable star, “bankable.” When we say a star is bankable - coming from the word bank, “bank,” where you keep your money - we mean that if he was in a movie it would probably be successful - the movie would make a lot of money.

In the last several years, Clint Eastwood has become a director, and he now is the person who makes the movie, not necessarily the person who stars in the movie. He is, because he has so much money, able to call the shots. The expression to call, “call,” the shots, “shots,” means you are able to be the boss - you can say what you want and what you don't want. Here at ESL Podcast, I do not call the shots!

But, Clint Eastwood does, and he has directed and won many awards for his movies. He made two movies last year that were very successful. One of them was called “Letters from Iwo Jima.” Iwo Jima was a famous battle site during World War Two, a famous place where there was fighting between the Japanese and the American soldiers. And, “Letters from Iwo Jima” is interesting because it is mostly in Japanese, about the soldiers on the island of Iwo Jima.

Clint Eastwood actually made two movies, one from the Japanese perspective, looking at the Japanese troops, and one looking at the American troops that was called “Flags of our Fathers.” But the “Letters from Iwo Jima” movie was considered one of the best movies last year, and so if you're interested in that topic, you can look for that movie.

Clint Eastwood is 74 years old. He's one of the older directors in Hollywood making movies today.

Now let's answer a few of questions.

Our first question comes from Marina, “Marina,” in Israel. Marina wants to know the difference between a village, “village,” and a neighborhood, “neighborhood.”

A village is a word that we use to describe a small group of houses or buildings. We don't use village very often in American English. The most common use of this word is in British English, where a village is a very small, little town. But in the United States we don't use the term village very often, we would say a town or a small town.

A neighborhood is usually part of a city or part of a town. So, inside a city or inside a town, you can have different neighborhoods - different sections or parts in the town. So, here in Los Angeles Hollywood is a neighborhood; it's not a separate city, it's part of the City of Los Angeles.

There's neighborhood here called Hollywood. There's a neighborhood called Venice, “Venice,” which is near the beach. There are many different neighborhoods here in Los Angeles. That's a neighborhood - part of a city or one section of a city. So, we have city, neighborhood, town, and city. A town is usually smaller than a city; a city is bigger than a town.

We also have suburb, “suburb.” A suburb is always outside of the big city or the main city. You can't have a suburb unless you have a big city next to it. So, Los Angeles is a big city, and around the City of Los Angeles there are suburbs. These are smaller cities - smaller towns - but they are close to Los Angeles.

Usually suburbs are where many people live because it is often safer than living in the big city. Often, the suburbs are more expensive. We use the term suburb in the phrase “Monterey Park is a suburb of Los Angeles,” so when you're describing the suburb, you usually say what it is a suburb of - “It is a suburb of Los Angeles.”

Our next question comes from Joel, “Joel,” in France. Joel wants to know the difference between the two verbs to retrieve, “retrieve,” and to recover, “recover.”

Both retrieve and recover mean to get something back or bring something back from a different place or, perhaps, because you lost it, and often they're used in the same way. So, you can sometimes say, “I retrieved something” or “I recovered something,” and it means the same thing.

There are some cases, though, where we use one verb instead of the other. Usually retrieve is used when you get something back that belongs to you that you were expecting to get back. For example, “Yesterday, I went to retrieve the lawn mower from my neighbor, who borrowed it three weeks ago.” A lawn, “lawn,” mower, “mower,” is a machine for cutting grass. So, I retrieved it from my neighbor - I was expecting to get it back, I went there and I brought back to my house. Or, “I was with my dog in the park, and I threw the ball, and the dog retrieved the ball” - he went and got the ball and he brought it back to me.

Recover is sometimes used when you get something back that you may have lost or something that was in serious danger of being damaged or lost. For example, a month ago, my computer stopped working - I talked about that on English Café number 71. I tried to recover my files - or my data. Fortunately, the computer repair store was able to recover my files - they were able to get them back for me; I thought that I had lost them.

Another example: about ten years ago, someone stole my car - someone took it from me without my permission - they stole it. This is true, actually; it happened here in Los Angeles. I called the police, and the police were able to recover the car - they found the car. Unfortunately, the car had been what we would call stripped, “stripped.” When we say your car has been stripped, we mean that the people whose stole your car - the thieves - took all of the good parts out of the car. So, I wasn't able to drive the car again, and I had to get a new car. But, at least I was able to recover the car - I was able to get it back even though I thought I had lost it.

Our final question comes from Nicolas, “Nicolas,” once again, in France. Nicolas wants to know the difference between cooking and cuisine, “cuisine.”

Cooking is a general term we use whenever you prepare food - get your food ready to eat, usually by using some heat to cook the food, such as in an oven or in a frying pan over some fire. That would be cooking. It's a word we use when we are talking about cooking your food at home often, sometimes called home cooking.

Cuisine is a style - one particular way of cooking food. Usually we talk about specific kinds of food, for example, French cuisine would be food that is prepared in a method or a style that is popular in France. You can also talk about low-fat cuisine - food that is prepared in a method so that you don't have a lot of fat in the food.

Cuisine is also used sometimes to describe food in a very nice restaurant. Not always, but you can also sometimes hear people say, “They have great cuisine,” meaning it's a very nice restaurant; they have very good food. McDonald's, for example, is not usually a restaurant where you would find cuisine, unless someone is using that word as a joke.

Cuisine is normally very good food that you would find at an expensive restaurant. The food that my mother made at home for her children, we would call that cooking. If I go to a nice restaurant with my wife to celebrate our wedding anniversary, I would probably call that cuisine. Of course, because I am such a good husband, I take my wife to a nice restaurant to celebrate, not McDonald's!

That's all we have done for today. Remember, if you have a question, you can email us at eslpod@eslpod.com.

From Los Angeles, California, I'm Jeff McQuillan. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next time on the English Café.

ESL Podcast's English Café is written and produced by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. This podcast is copyright 2007, by the Center for Educational Development.

search engine – a website page such as www.google.com or www.ask.com that allows one to enter words and receive a list of other websites that have those words

* Have you ever typed your own name into a search engine to see which websites your name is on?

ambitious – intending to succeed with a difficult or big plan; having or showing a strong wish to succeed; wanting to be very successful, powerful, or rich

* Leonel is very ambitious. He wants to go to law school and medical school so that he can work as a lawyer and as a doctor.

to scan – to put a piece of paper with text or a photo into a machine called a scanner, so that it is saved as an electronic computer file

* Please scan this letter and then email it to Dr. Vasquez.

beta – an unfinished software program that isn’t being sold yet, but people are asked to use it to help the company decide how to make it better

* This is a very popular email program, but so far it is available only as a beta program, so sometimes things don’t work perfectly.

public domain – something that can be used and shared by anyone

* The Internet has a lot of public domain software that you can use without paying for it.

copyright – legal ownership of the right to reproduce or copy someone’s writing, music, or artwork

* Who has the copyright to this song? We want to ask him or her for permission to use the song in a commercial.

to infringe – to not follow a law or rule

* The students infringed on the book’s copyright when they used its text for their school newspaper without permission.

to err on the side of caution – to be cautious; to be very careful and decide not to take a risk

* Even though it seemed like a good investment opportunity, he erred on the side of caution and invested only $150.

snippet – a small piece of information, music, news, or something similar

* There was an interesting snippet on the news last night about the elections in Panama.

bankable – likely to be profitable; something that will probably make money

* Isabel has a lot of bankable business ideas. She just needs to take the time to learn how to open a new business so that she can start to make money from her ideas.

to call the shots – to decide; to make important decisions; to be responsible for deciding something

* Even though Hank is supposed to be the leader, his assistant is the one who’s really calling the shots.

village – a small town in the countryside

* We visited a small, beautiful village in Germany last summer.

neighborhood – an area in a city or large town

* Washington, DC is made up of many neighborhoods, such as Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, and Mount Pleasant.

to retrieve – to get something back, usually from where it was lost or from where it shouldn’t have been

* The police helped us retrieve the stolen television and stereo from the thief.

to recover – to get something back after it has been stolen, lost, or missing

* Do you think we’ll be able to recover some of our losses from the stock market this year?

cuisine – a type of cooking, usually related to a specific country or area

* Do you prefer Chinese or Italian cuisine?

What Insiders Know
Spaghetti Westerns

A “Western film” is a movie about Western America during the 1800s, when there were many cowboys, Indians (now called “Native Americans” or “American Indians”), and “ranchers” (people who owned many “cattle” or cows). These movies were very popular in the United States until around the 1970s. Today people are still making some Western films, but the movies are not as popular as they used to be.

In the 1960s, many Western films were made by Italian “studios,” or companies that make movies. These Italian Western films are known by the “nickname” (informal name) of “Spaghetti Westerns.” This is because “spaghetti” is a common, long type of “noodle,” or pasta, from Italy.

Many Spaghetti Westerns were “filmed,” or recorded, in the Spanish “desert” (a hot, dry, sandy area), because it looked similar to parts of the American West. Also, because Spaniards spoke Spanish, they often acted in the Spaghetti Westerns as if they were Mexicans, usually fighting with the Americans.

Spaghetti Westerns usually had Italian-speaking actors and were very “violent,” with a lot of fighting. They were also filmed in a “minimalist” (simple) style and many people did not like these movies for that reason. But in the 1980s people began to “appreciate” (see as being good or worthwhile) Spaghetti Westerns because they recognized that the movies had changed American’s ideas about the American West.

One of the most famous Spaghetti Westerns is the “trilogy” (a series of three related movies) called "Man With No Name." Clint Eastwood, a very popular American actor who acted in many Western films, was the “star” (main character). The three movies in the trilogy are: "A Fistful of Dollars," "For a Few Dollars More," and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." The third movie is probably the most famous Western film ever made.