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306 Topics: Ask an American: Health effects of city living; how do you say versus what do you call; résumé

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Complete Transcript
You’re listening to ESL Podcast’s English Café number 306.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast’s English Café episode 306. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Our website is eslpod.com. Go there to download a Learning Guide for this episode and help support us here at ESL Podcast.

On this Café, we’re going to have another one of our Ask an American segments, where we listen to other native speakers talking at a normal speed. We’re going to listen to them and then explain what they are talking about. Today we’re going to listen to people talking about the health of those who live in the cities – the big cities of the United States.

Our first section in this Café will not be done by me, but by our own Dr. Lucy Tse. So, we’ll be listening to her explain the Ask an American segment, and then I’ll come back at the end and answer some questions. Let’s get started.

Our topic on this Café’s Ask an American segment is how living in a city can have negative effects on health, or how and why people who live in cities are generally less healthy than people who don’t live in cities.

We’re going to begin by listening to Dr. Jo Boufford, who is the president of the New York Academy of Medicine. She speaks very quickly, so it might be hard to understand her. Listen first and try to understand as much as you can. Then I’ll go back and explain what she said before we listen to her once again. Let’s listen:

[recording]

All of those things are playing out in the urban environment in a way that they don’t play out outside of cities, and they have an effect on people’s health, on people’s well-being, and on, you know, daily life. But the real thing that runs through higher incidence of disease is largely poverty. I mean, that’s the bottom line.

[end of recording]

She begins by saying that all those things, referring to things that are present in cities, are playing out in the urban environment. “To play out” means to occur or happen and have different consequences, especially when we don’t know exactly what will happen or what the final results will be. For example, if you’re reading an interesting mystery novel – and you know I love mystery novels – it may be hard to put it down and stop reading because you want to see how everything will play out.

Dr. Boufford is talking about how things play out in the urban (urban) environment. Something that is “urban” is related to cities, not the countryside. The opposite of urban is “rural” (rural). When we think of urban environments, we might think of subways, tall buildings, and great restaurants. Dr. Boufford says that things play out in the urban environment in ways that they don’t play out outside of cities or in rural areas.

She says that the way these factors play out in urban environments have an effect on people’s health, well-being, and daily life. “Well-being” refers to how happy, healthy, and comfortable a person is. Health usually refers to someone’s physical health, how their body feels. But well-being is bigger because it refers to not only physical health, but mental health, emotional health, and spiritual health. People who talk about well-being are recognizing the fact that physical health isn’t enough, for example if people are physically healthy, but have serious mental or emotional problems they may not be healthy, happy, and comfortable.

Then Dr. Boufford talks about how poverty affects disease. “Poverty” (poverty) refers to the condition of being very poor and not having enough money to pay for food, clothing, and “shelter” (shelter) or a place to live. She says that poverty is associated with a higher incidence of disease. “Incidence” (incidence) refers to how common something is or how often it happens. If there is a low incidence of yellow fever, very few people are sick with yellow fever. If there is a high incidence of yellow fever, a lot of people are sick. Dr. Boufford says that where there is poverty, there is a higher incidence of disease. Where people are very poor, more people tend to be sick more often.

She ends by saying, “That’s the bottom line.” “The bottom line” refers to what is most important. In business, the bottom line refers to how much money a company has made after paying all its expenses and taxes. In other contexts, or in other situations, the bottom line is what’s most important. In this case, the bottom line is the fact that poverty is associated with a greater incidence of disease.

Let’s listen to Dr. Boufford say all of that again.

[recording]

All of those things are playing out in the urban environment in a way that they don’t play out outside of cities, and they have an effect on people’s health, on people’s well-being, and on, you know, daily life. But the real thing that runs through higher incidence of disease is largely poverty. I mean, that’s the bottom line.

[end of recording]

Now let’s listen to Dr. Boufford talk about how businesses are reacting to the ways in which living in a city affects their employees’ health. She’s going to talk about the things many companies are doing to improve the health of their employees who live in urban areas.

[recording]

They provide health education opportunities for their own employees. Many of them provide programs in-house for people to stop smoking. They provide programs for people that feel they may be depressed or they may have substance abuse problem to get help, weight-loss programs, exercise programs, giving people a break at lunch hour to go out in the community and walk and get exercise. So, the return on investment is pretty clear at this point in time.

[end of recording]

Dr. Boufford says that companies provide health education opportunities for their employees. She says many of the employers have in-house programs to help people stop smoking. An “in-house” program is something that is offered in the business, in the company where the people go to work. Lots of programs are available in the community, at medical clinics or through nonprofit organizations. But an in-house program is something created and operated by the employer for his or her own employees.

Dr. Boufford says that some companies provide programs for people who feel depressed. Someone who is “depressed” (depressed) or who suffers from “depression” feels very sad, usually for no reason. Those feelings last for a long time and may make it hard for that person to get out of bed, to go to work, or to lead a normal life.

So, some programs help people who feel depressed. Other programs help people who have substance abuse problems. “Substance (substance) abuse” (abuse) refers to people’s addictions to alcohol and other drugs, where they need to have more and more alcohol or drugs in order to feel good and to make it through the day. They aren’t able to stop drinking alcohol or using drugs on their own, so the employers here have programs to help their employees overcome (overcome) their substance abuse problem and become healthy again.

She also mentions programs to help people lose weight and exercise, and she talks about how some companies let their employees take a break at lunchtime, or stop working for a while so they can leave the building and walk outdoors to get some exercise.

She says that the return on investment is pretty clear at this point in time, or now. The “return on investment,” or ROI, is another phrase from the business world, like bottom line. The return on investment is a calculation that helps us understand how much money we have made in relation to how much we have spent. For example, if you spend 10,000 dollars on a marketing campaign and sales increase by 40,000 dollars, then you have had a 400 percent return on investment. Dr. Boufford isn’t referring to specific numbers here, but she means that companies are realizing that their investments in programs that improve their employees’ health actually end up saving their company money, probably because the employees take fewer sick days, or days off from work because they’re sick, and because they’re more productive, or able to do more work more quickly when they’re healthy.

Let’s listen to Dr. Boufford as she talks about this one more time.

[recording]

They provide health education opportunities for their own employees. Many of them provide programs in-house for people to stop smoking. They provide programs for people that feel they may be depressed or they may have substance abuse problem to get help, weight-loss programs, exercise programs, giving people a break at lunch hour to go out in the community and walk and get exercise. So, the return on investment is pretty clear at this point in time.

[end of recording]

Now let’s listen to Javier Lopez, who is the director of New York’s Strategic Alliance for Health. He’s talking about what schools can do to improve the health of students in an urban “setting” (setting) or environment.

[recording]

So then you have to look at opportunities outside of the school day for physical activity. You have more bike lanes, for instance, in some urban settings now. So you have to think about what programs that are going to bring young people use those bike lanes. You have to think about what bike-sharing programs are available in urban settings and thinking outside of the box to using the landscape to be more effective for physical activity.

[end of recording]

Javier says that what we have to look at are opportunities for physical activity and movement outside of the school day, or when children are not at school. As an example, he says that some urban environments now have more bike lanes. A “lane” (lane) is one section of a road for cars going in a particular direction. Most roads are two-lane roads, with one lane of cars going one way and another lane of cars going the other way. A “bike lane” is a narrower section of road that is specifically for bicycles, so that they don’t have to share the lane with cars.

Javier says that having bike lanes isn’t enough. He says people need to think about what kinds of programs are going to encourage young people use those bike lanes. He says you have to think about what bike-sharing programs are available in urban settings. A bike-sharing program allows people to use a bicycle for a short period of time, maybe for a small fee – that is, pay just a little bit of money to use it, and then leave it somewhere for someone else to use.

Javier talks about the need to think outside of the box. That means to think in new and unusual ways, and to have ideas that other people may have not had before. He says we need to think outside the box about how we can use the landscape to encourage more physical activity. The word “landscape” (landscape) refers to what we can see around us, and it is often used to talk about large natural areas, like a mountain landscape. But there are city landscapes, too, and Javier is talking about looking for ways people can engage in more physical activity, they can do more physical activity in those urban landscapes.

Let’s listen to Javier again as he talks about this.

[recording]

So then you have to look at opportunities outside of the school day for physical activity. You have more bike lanes, for instance, in some urban settings now. So you have to think about what programs that are going to bring young people use those bike lanes. You have to think about what bike-sharing programs are available in urban settings and thinking outside of the box to using the landscape to be more effective for physical activity.

[end of recording]

The speakers we’ve listened to today work in New York, but their concerns about health and city living are very similar to the concerns we have here in Los Angeles and in other large cities throughout the United States and in much of the rest of the world.

I’ve enjoyed sitting in for Jeff today. Thank you Jeff for letting me come and visit here on the English Café. But now I’m going to turn it back over to you to answer a few of our listener questions.

Our first question comes from Irene, from an unknown country. We’ll call it the Country of the Unknown! Irene wants to understand the meaning of two phrases – two ways of asking a question, really. The first is “how do you say” and the second is “what do you call.” Both of these are useful questions when you are learning a language and you want to ask someone else, perhaps a teacher or another speaker, to help you. Let’s start with “how do you say.”

“How do you say” is another way of saying what is the word to use for saying a certain thing. For example, let us say – let us imagine that you are learning French. You might ask your teacher, “How do you say ‘friends’?” or, “How do you say ‘friends’ in French?” Your teacher might say, “Mon ami.” That’s how you say “friends” in French. “How do you say,” that question, can also be used to ask how you pronounce a word. You might be reading something and you don’t know how to pronounce a word, so you say to your friend, pointing with your finger at the word, “How do you say that?” or, “How do you say (amie) in French? Is it ‘amie’?” That’s another way of using that question.

“What do you call” is also used when you don’t know the word in the other language for a certain thing or concept; you could use it in the same circumstances as the previous question. You could say, “What do you call a ‘friend’ in French?”

Now, normally when we use this question “what do you call,” you only use it when asking about a singular – that is, one of a certain thing. Notice when I said, “How do you say,” I said, “How do you say ‘my friend’?” There was no “a” or “an” in front of the word I was – or phrase I was looking for. When you use “how do you call” you’re asking about something singular, and so you’re going to use the singular article, either definite or indefinite, in front of the thing that you don’t know how to say. Let me give you an example: “What do you call a ‘table’ in Spanish?” The answer is “mesa” or “una mesa.” Now, I can also say, “How do you say ‘table’ in Spanish?” Notice, however, that I didn’t say “a table.” So the general rule is this: if what you are asking about is singular, you can use the questions “how do you say” or “what do you call a (something).” If it’s plural, you can only use “how do you say,” you can’t use “what do you call.” For example, you can’t say, “What do you call ‘my friends’ in French?” That’s incorrect, or it means something different than what you’re trying to ask. You would have to say, “How do you say ‘my friends’ in French?”

“What do you call” can also be used when you’re asking about the name of someone or something. For example: “What do you call your dog?” You’re asking what is your dog’s name.

Liang (Liang), from another unknown country – probably the same country Irene is from, maybe they know each other! In any case, Liang wants to know the parts of a standard résumé in English.

A “résumé” (résumé) is a piece of paper or papers, or nowadays file, that you give to the person or the company that you want to work for; so, when you are applying for a job, when you are looking for work. For many kinds of jobs, you have a résumé that you can give them, and the résumé includes all of the important information about you and why they should hire you, in a way, for this job.

The most important parts of the résumé, the ones that are absolutely necessary – essential – are sections about your work experience, especially your work experience related to the job for which you are applying. So if you want to become a computer engineer, your work experience should include things that you have done related to computers. If you want to work on a farm, your résumé should include things related to farms, not computers – unless you use a computer on a farm. You understand what I’m saying.

Another important, necessary section is one with your education. If you’re an adult, the person will want to know if you finished high school, if you went to college, or if you have some other training for the job that you are applying for.

The experience and education sections are the most important usually on a résumé. There are other things that you might want to put in there. Some people give a short summary, one sentence or two sentences of their work experience. Some people put down an objective. This is the kind of job that you want to get so even if the job isn’t exactly that, if it’s related or if that’s one of the possibilities for future advancement – future employment at that company. For example, you start as a computer engineer but your real goal is to be a…I don’t know…website developer. Well, that could be your objective – your long-term, we might say, objective for the future.

You can also put down any special skills you have. For example, are you fluent in English? Do you speak Japanese? These are skills that you might have. Or, if you are applying a secretary job, you might want to indicate how fast you can type – how fast you can keyboard I guess we say now. If you are applying for an academic job – a job at a school, especially a university, you would put down perhaps presentations or publications that you have.

Some résumés include a list of your hobbies or activities. This isn’t essential; this is not necessary. Those are often put on résumés when the résumé is short. For a young person who doesn’t have a lot of experience, they want to put something down so they put that down.

Finally, some people, when they hand in their résumés, also give a list of references. These are people that the employer, the person who’s hiring, can call to talk about your experience. These could be people you worked for; these could be professors that you had in school. The reference will, in part, depend upon the job that you are applying for.

Liang had a specific question about languages, where that would go on the résumé – what section? I would say that could go under special skills, or simply skills that we talked about earlier.

Finally, Mario (Mario) from Italy wants to know where we put the word “too” (too) in a sentence. He saw it in the middle of a sentence; he also has seen it at the end of a sentence.

Where you put it depends on the meaning. One meaning of “too” is also. Your husband or wife says to you, “I love you,” and you say, “I love you, too.” “Too,” when it means also, usually goes at the end of a sentence or a clause within a sentence. You can put it, however, between the subject and the verb. For example, you can say, “I, too, love you” instead of “I love you, too.” That is not quite as common; it was more common, perhaps, many years ago. Sometimes people will use that for emphasis: “I, too, love you,” you’re emphasizing the “I” part. But as I said, typically if it means also it goes at the end of the sentence or clause.

The word “too” (too) can also mean too much or an excess of something. You might say, “Oh, it’s too cold outside to take a walk.” “It’s too hot in the sun; I’m going to go and swim in the pool.” Well, there “too” goes before whatever adjective you’re talking about: “It’s too hot.” “It’s too cold.” “Hot” and “cold” are adjectives; “too” goes before them.

Usually “too” implies something negative, however that’s not always true. Someone could say, “Oh, you’re too kind.” They don’t mean that as a negative thing; they’re complimenting you. They’re saying that you are kinder than perhaps you need to be.

If you have a question, you can email us. Our email address is eslpod@eslpod.com.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again here on the English Café.

ESL Podcast’s English Café is written and produced by Dr. Jeff McQuillan and Dr. Lucy Tse, copyright 2011 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
to play out – to occur or happen and have certain consequences, especially when one doesn’t know exactly what will happen or what the final results will be

* Let’s wait a few weeks to see how the negotiations play out before making any major decisions.

urban – related to cities; not related to the country or the countryside

* Urban home prices are normally much higher than rural home prices.

well-being – how healthy, happy, and comfortable a person is; the combination of one’s physical health, mental health, emotional health, and spiritual health

* Ingrid wants to improve her well-being, so she’s trying to find a less stressful job.

poverty – the condition of being very poor and not having enough money to pay for food, clothing, and shelter

* Niko grew up in poverty, but because he studied hard, he was able to get a good education and a good-paying job.

incidence – how common something is or how often it happens

* We’ve seen a rise in the incidence of robberies over the past two years.

bottom line – what is most important; how much money a company has made after paying all its expenses and taxes

* Many people say that they need to make important calls, but the bottom line is that it is very dangerous to have people talking on the phone while driving.

in-house – something that is offered or done within a business or organization for its employees or members, without sending them to another place

* Wouldn’t it be great to work at an office that offered in-house childcare for employees’ children?

depressed – feeling very sad, usually for no reason, so that it affects one’s ability to lead a normal life

* Many people become depressed in the winter when there is less sunshine.

substance abuse – an addiction to alcohol or other drugs; the practice where people drink alcohol or use drugs to feel good and make it through the day

* Do you think people who drink several glasses of wine with dinner every night have a substance abuse problem?

return on investment – a calculation that helps us understand how much money we have made in relation to how much we have spent

* We’re not expecting to see a positive return on investment until at least the third year we’re in business.

bike lane – a narrow section at the edge of a road created specifically for bicycles, so that they do not have to share the same part of the road with cars

* Never turn right without first looking to see if there are any bicycles in the bike lane!

to think outside of the box – to think in new and unusual ways; to have ideas that other people have not had before

* Successful politicians are now thinking outside the box and using Twitter and Facebook to attract voters, for example.

landscape – what can be seen in one’s surroundings, especially when talking about large, open natural areas

* Colorado has some of the most beautiful landscape I’ve ever seen.

how do you say (something) – How do you pronounce a word? What is the correct word to talk about something?

* How do you say “podcast” in Spanish?

what do you call (something) – What is the name for this thing? What word is used to talk about this thing?

* I know that is a spatula and that is a potato masher, but what do you call this?

résumé – a short list of work experience, education, and other aspects of a person that make him or her qualified for a job

* Thomas has a fantastic résumé, so he always gets called in for an interview.

too – also, as well, or in addition; very

*Rupert was lying, too, so someone decided to throw a pie in his face as punishment.

What Insiders Know
Dystopian Films

Many people “dream” (think hopefully; wish for) about “utopia,” or a society where everyone is happy and there is no war, fighting, or sadness. Other people focus on “dystopia,” or a society where everyone is unhappy, usually because they are “oppressed” (controlled and treated unfairly by others), sick, or very poor.

Many “films” (movies) have been made about dystopias. They usually show what life is like in the future, often in a “planned society” (a society where the government controls everything, deciding what people will do, when, and how). Others “depict” (show) dystopian societies that develop after a “complete” (total; entire) “breakdown” (the point at which something stops functioning) of government, for example after a natural disaster. Still other dystopian films imagine the societal “devastation” (destruction) caused by “extreme” (major; very large or great) pollution and “overpopulation” (having too many people on Earth).

Many of the most popular dystopian films are part of the “science fiction” (related to science and technology, especially showing how they might develop in the future) “genre” (a type of film or books). Many of these films show how “robots” (machines that can do the work of humans) become “increasingly” (more and more) human-like until they begin to use their “superhuman” (superior to or better than human) strength and intelligence to oppress and/or try to kill humans. In these movies, often only a small group of humans is aware of what is truly happening or has the intelligence or strength to fight against the robots.

Some popular dystopian films include The Matrix, Alien, RoboCop, Blade Runner, Planet of the Apes, and even the “animated” (shown with moving drawings, not actors) film WALL-E.