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129 Topics: Norman Vincent Peale, Japanese internment camps, straightforward, to tap into, made by versus made of versus made in

Complete Transcript
You’re listening to ESL Podcast’s English Café number 129.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast’s English Café episode 129. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Visit our website at eslpod.com. You can download this episode’s Learning Guide; we have a Learning Guide for all of our current episodes that gives you additional help in improving your English, including a complete transcript of this episode. You can also take a look at our ESL Podcast Store, with additional courses in English.

On this Café, we’re going to continue our series on famous Americans, focusing today – talking about today Norman Vincent Peale, who was a very famous author – writer – in the 20th century. We’re also going to talk about the Japanese internment camps and a famous book about those camps, called Farewell to Manzanar. We’ll explain what that is all about. As always, we’ll answer a few of your questions as well. Let’s get started.

As I mentioned, this Café begins with a continuation of our series on famous Americans. We’ve talked about several famous Americans on the Café in the past. Today we are going to talk about a man named Norman Vincent Peale.

Norman Vincent Peale was born in the state of Ohio in 1898. Ohio is in the eastern part of the United States, next to Pennsylvania and Indiana. Peale became a famous Protestant preacher. The word “Protestant” (Protestant) is a general term for a Christian who is not a Catholic. The word “Protestant” comes from the verb “to protest,” which means to oppose something – to be against something. Protestants separated from the Catholic Church in the 1500s – the 16th century. Today there are many types of Protestants. You may have heard of Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and other denominations. A “denomination” is a religious group. These are all types of Protestants, then. The majority of Americans are Protestants of one type or another, those who are religious that is. For many years, American culture was described as “white Anglo-Saxon (meaning coming from England) Protestant,” or simply by the acronym “WASP” (WASP) – white Anglo-Saxon Protestant.

Norman Vincent Peale was a Protestant preacher. A “preacher” is a religious leader who speaks in front of people who belong, usually, to a church. The preacher is there to instruct the people – to tell them about their religion so that they can become stronger in their religious faith, or religious belief. A preacher is similar to a minister, a pastor, a priest, a rabbi, or an imam; these are all religious leaders, and a preacher is like those in the sense that he or she is the leader of a certain religious group.

Norman Vincent Peale was raised, or grew up, in the Methodist church and became a Methodist minister when he was 24 years old. The Methodists were one of these many Protestant groups in the United States – they still are. Norman was a minister; a “minister” is like a preacher. Ministers are leaders of their religious groups; we sometimes called these groups “congregations.” A “congregation” is the members of a specific church, usually a small group relatively. Norman changed his religious affiliation later in life. An “affiliation” (affiliation) is the connection that you have with a certain organization or a certain group of people. ESL Podcast has an affiliation with the Center for Educational Development, for example; we are connected to them. Norman changed his religious affiliation and began to work as a pastor at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, which is part of New York City. So, he began to work as a pastor – a preacher or minister – at this church in New York.

He was a very successful preacher and he attracted many new members. To “attract” means to bring people toward something or someone, usually because they are very interesting or appealing. The church where Norman was the pastor attracted many new members, in fact, it grew from just 600 members in their congregation – their group – to more than 5,000 members during the 52 years that Norman worked as a pastor in that church.

Norman became very interested in the “interplay,” or how things work together, of religion and psychiatry. “Psychiatry” (psychiatry) is the study of mental illnesses; it’s the study of the human mind and how it affects the way we act. Norman’s popularity grew, and eventually he started a radio show and a television show and began to write many books. He became very famous in the 1950s. His most famous book is called The Power of Positive Thinking; it was published in 1952. Most Americans of my father’s generation, and my generation, have heard of Norman Vincent Peale and The Power Of Positive Thinking.

What is positive thinking? According to Peale, “positive thinking” is the ability to be “optimistic,” or always to think positively. For example, if I hear that it is going to rain, I might say, “Oh, good! The rain will help my flowers in my garden grow better.” This would be an example of positive thinking, because I’m thinking about the good things that may happen. An example of negative thinking would to be to hear that it is raining and then say, “Oh, no! It’s raining! Now I can’t play baseball.” That would be a very sad thing!

The Power of Positive Thinking presents many techniques – many ways of helping people learn to think positively. A “technique” is a method, a specific way of doing something. My technique for teaching new vocabulary is to use the word in a sentence, repeat it, sometimes spell it, and then describe what it means. Norman’s main technique for learning to think positively was to repeat what he called “affirmations.” An “affirmation” (affirmation) is a positive statement about something. People are supposed to say these affirmations until they begin to actually believe them. For example, his idea was that if you are bad at math like me, you can’t add up numbers very well – without a calculator, of course! If you are bad at math but you want to become better through positive thinking, you might repeat an affirmation to yourself, something like “I am good at math.” You repeat that affirmation over and over again until you start to believe it. Norman believed that this could actually make something come true, no matter how difficult the situation might to be. Norman’s book, The Power of Positive Thinking, also says that positive thinking was a way to become closer to God.

I’d like to share with you one of Norman’s most famous quotations. A “quotation” is a phrase that someone said or wrote once. Norman’s most famous quotation is “Change your thoughts and you change your world.” He really believed that positive thinking could make things happen even if they seemed impossible. This was a message – a powerful message that many people responded to. His book became very popular, and his television and radio shows had millions of people listening and watching them.

In 1984, the then president Ronald Reagan gave Norman the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is one of the high honors that you can receive from the U.S. government. A “medal” (medal) is a piece of metal (metal) that is put around your neck or pinned to your clothing as an award for having done something very well. An “honor” is something you are very proud of. So the Presidential Medal of Freedom is a great honor that you would receive from the U.S. government. It’s considered the highest civilian honor in the United States. A “civilian” (civilian) means someone who is not in the military – someone who is not in the army or the navy. Norman received this honor because of his contributions to theology. “Theology” is the study of faith and religions. Nine years after he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Norman died in New York. He was 93 years old.

Norman Vincent Peale had a great influence on many Americans. I have to admit that I have never read his book, although it was very popular in the 1950s and 60s. However, like most Americans of my age, I know who he is and a little bit about his ideas. In the United States, self-help books have always been very popular. “Self-help” means that you try to make yourself better – improve yourself somehow, and Norman Vincent Peale was one of the great masters of that sort of writing.

Now let’s change the subject, or begin to talk about a new subject. We’re going to talk about the Japanese internment camps. As you probably know, during World War II the United States and Japan were enemies. An “enemy” (enemy) is a person or a country that fights another person or country, during a war usually. During World War II, the United States government was very worried about being betrayed by people of Japanese ancestry in the United States. “To betray” (betray) means you do something so that another person can no longer trust you. “Ancestry” is one’s family history, or the history where your family came from. For example, my ancestry is Irish and German, because that’s where they came from originally, from the countries of Ireland and Germany. That’s “ancestry,” we call those people your “ancestors” (ancestors). The United States, then, was worried about being betrayed by people of Japanese ancestry, people who were American citizens living in the United States, but whose parents, or grandparents, or great grandparents were originally from Japan. The country’s leaders at the time, President Roosevelt and others, thought that people who had Japanese family members would somehow not be loyal – not be true to the United States; they would share some secrets, for example, with Japan.

In the early 1940s there were about 120,000 people with Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast of the United States. The West Coast is Washington, Oregon, and California – those three states. To mitigate the risk that these Japanese Americans might betray the government, the president, President Franklin Roosevelt, decided to move these people from their homes – from their cities into special places. I said he wanted to mitigate, “to mitigate” means to make a risk smaller or less important. About 10,000 of these Japanese Americans moved to other parts of the country, away from the West Coast. The rest were put in special places called “internment camps.” An “internment camp” is a place where the government says you have to go and stay until they decide you can leave. It’s really a type of prison where people are sent; they don’t volunteer to go there – they don’t want to go there usually, but the government makes them go there. These camps were officially called “War Relocation Centers.” “To relocate” means to move to a different place. People of Japanese ancestry were not allowed to be anywhere in Washington, Oregon, or California, except in these prisons – these internment camps.

Many Americans were against this idea; they thought it was wrong to think that just because someone was from Japan or whose parents were from Japan that they would somehow betray the United States. However, at the time, the United States Supreme Court, which is the most powerful legal body in the country, said that putting people with Japanese ancestry into internment camps was “constitutional,” meaning it was allowed by the Constitution of the United States. They said that this was because of the war and the “urgent,” or very important, needs of the time. More than 60 percent of these people in the internment camps were American citizens.

In later years, people began to realize that the government’s actions were a terrible example of racial prejudice, or beliefs about a group of people based only, in this case, on their skin color or their ancestry. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan officially “apologized,” or said that he was sorry, on behalf of the United States government. Some of the people who were forced to live in internment camps were given some money in 1948 and later in 1990, but most people believe these payments were too little, too late. The expression “too little, too late” means it wasn’t enough, and it came too late.

One of the people who lived in an internment camp was named Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston. She wrote a “memoir,” or a book about her experiences and memories. Her memoir is titled Farewell to Manzanar. “Farewell” (farewell) is an old-fashioned word meaning goodbye. This memoir is about her and her family’s experiences in the internment camp. She was born in America, spoke only English, and was only seven years old, but because of her Japanese ancestry the U.S. government thought she was a “threat,” or someone who could cause trouble for the country during the war. Manzanar was the name of the internment camp where she and her family were sent.

The book Farewell to Manzanar is very “moving,” or emotionally powerfully. Today, it is required reading in many high schools and colleges in the United States; many students are required to read this book. It has also been made into a movie. I can highly recommend this book, Farewell to Manzanar, about this dark and unfortunate period in American History.

Now let’s answer some your questions.

Our first question comes from Jorge (Jorge) in Spain. Jorge wants to know the meaning of the word “straightforward.”

“Straightforward” means honest, clear, and direct – uncomplicated. For example: “The philosophy professor was able to explain difficult ideas in a straightforward way, which made him popular with his students.” “The mayor was admired for her straightforward answers to the questions that people asked her.” “Straightforward” is honest, clear, uncomplicated – the sort of thing you never hear from a politician!

Jing (Jing) in China wants to know the meaning of an expression he heard, “to tap into.”

“To tap into” is a phrasal verb in English; it’s an informal expression used to mean to make use of or to access something. This expression is often used in situations where it’s hard to define exactly how one thing creates an effect in another, or how one thing uses something else. For example: “The politician tapped into the public’s desire for change” – he tapped into their desires, he somehow made use of them, got access to them. “The novel tapped into my feelings about my mother” – it somehow made use of them, accessed them in a way that affected me.

Finally, Roberto (Roberto) in Italy wants to know the differences in the expressions “made by,” “made of,” and “made in.”

“Made by” describes who or what made something – created something. For example: “This bowl was made by an artist,” or “John explained the comments made by his mother.” The artist created the bowl, the mother made the comments.

“Made of” describes the material that something was created from. For example: “This shirt is made of cotton.” Cotton is the material that was used to make it.

“Made in” describes where something was made or created. “This chair was made in China.” “This table was made in Mexico.” You could use all three of them together: “This bowl was made by an artist, it was made of clay, and it was made in China.”

You can email us your questions or comments, we’ll try to answer as many as we can on the Café. Our email address is 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 and
Dr. Lucy Tse. This podcast is copyright 2008, by the Center for Educational

Protestant – a Christian who is not Catholic

* Protestants believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and that they can have a personal relationship with him.

denomination – a religious group that has slightly different beliefs than do other groups in the same religion

* Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Pentecostals all represent different Christian denominations.

affiliation – a connection or relationship with an organization, movement, or group of ideas

* What is your political affiliation: Democratic, Republican, or Independent?

interplay – the way that two or more things work together and/or affect each other

* The interplay of temperature, rainfall, and soil quality affects plant growth.

technique – a specific way to do something; method

* The tennis player is learning a new technique for hitting the ball with more strength.

affirmation – a statement that something is true; a statement that one believes something

* Dennis said that he believed the business would be a success, and he showed his affirmation by writing us a check for $2,000 to help us get started.

civilian – non-military; not related to the army, navy, or other parts of the military

* The soldiers enjoy putting on their civilian clothes and spending time in town on the weekends.

to betray – to do something to lose another person’s trust; to do something so that another person can no longer trust oneself; to be disloyal

* Ida felt betrayed when her boyfriend kissed her best friend.

ancestry – one’s family history; where one’s family came from in the past

* Bernice is studying her family’s history and has traced her ancestry to Portugal in the mid-1600s.

to mitigate – to make something, especially a risk, less serious, harmful, damaging, or important

* Wearing a seatbelt can mitigate your risk of being hurt in a car accident.

internment camp – a place where Japanese and Japanese Americans were sent to live in California, Oregon, and Washington during World War II

* Were any of your grandparents sent to live in the internment camps?

memoir – a book about one’s life, experiences, and memories

* One of my favorite memoirs is Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom.

to tap into (something) – to use a resource or ability

* They have decided to tap into their savings to buy a new car.

made by (someone) – a phrase used to show who made something, or who was the creator or producer of something

* Hal’s office walls are covered with artwork made by his young children.

made of – a phrase used to show what something consists of, or what its ingredients or parts are

* Most cakes are made of flour, milk, eggs, and sugar.

made in – a phrase used to show where something is made

* Many of the toys that American children play with are made in China.

What Insiders Know
Famous Preachers

In the United States, there are many famous Christian “preachers” (religious leaders). These individuals are very “charismatic” (with the ability to attract other people and make them want to admire and listen to oneself) and they attract many people to Christianity.

One of the most famous preachers is Billy Graham. He is a Baptist and an “evangelical Christian,” or a Christian who tries to get other people to become Christian, often by “preaching” (speaking on religious topics) in front of large audiences. He has many radio and television programs, and he is “credited” (publicly acknowledged) for having “converted” (made to become part of a religion) more than 2.5 million people to Christianity as a result of hearing him speak. He has also been a “spiritual” (relating to faith, religion, and spirit) “advisor” (a person who provides advice and suggestions) to U.S. presidents. When magazines create lists of the most-admired people in America, he is usually near the top of the list.

Jesse Jackson and Martin Luther King, Jr. were both famous Baptist ministers and “civil rights leaders” who fought for equal treatment for black Americans. They are more famous for their civil rights work than for their “ministry” (preaching), but their beliefs and teachings were based on their religious faith.

Tammy Faye Messner was a different kind of famous preacher. She was a “televangelist,” or a Christian who uses the power of television to try to share information and faith with people of all religions, encouraging them to become Christian. There are many televangelists, and some television channels show their programs all day long. Tammy “founded” (created) the 700 Club, perhaps the most well known Christian television program.