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322 Topics: No-Tuition Colleges; the Sacco-Vanzetti Trial; crazy versus mad versus psycho versus mentally ill; using –ed words as adjectives; lo and behold

Complete Transcript
You’re listening to ESL Podcast’s English Café number 322.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast’s English Café episode 322. 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. Download this episode’s Learning Guide. You can also go to our website and take a look at our ESL Podcast Store, with additional courses in English. Don’t forget our ESL Podcast Blog. And, did I mention the ESL Podcast Facebook page on facebook.com/eslpod? I didn’t? Well, now I did.

On this Café, we’re going to talk about no-tuition colleges, colleges in the U.S. where people do not have to pay money to be students. We’re also going to talk about a very famous trial in the 20th century, the Sacco-Vanzetti Trial. And, as always, we’ll answer a few of your questions. Let’s get started.

We begin this Café with a look at no-tuition colleges. “Tuition” (tuition) is the money that someone has to pay to study at a school, a college, or a university. The cost of tuition has, in the United States, been increasing, or rising, a lot in recent years, and this has made it more difficult for students to go to college. You may know that in the United States it depends on where you live in terms of how much the public colleges and universities cost. Here in California, it used to be very cheap, now it has become much more expensive. The government helps students who are poor, and the colleges will sometimes will give money to very good students or students who have some special skill or talent. But many students find it difficult to pay for their own college tuition.

Well, fortunately, there are a few schools in the U.S. that don’t charge tuition, that are actually free. In English Café 293, I talked about the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. This is one of the military academies run by the national government. An “academy” is just another word for a college or university. Students who go to military academies do not have to pay tuition, because everything is paid by the U.S. government. However, they do have to work in the military for a certain number years after they complete their education, so it isn’t exactly free. However, it turns out that there are “a handful of” colleges – that is, a small amount of colleges or small number of colleges – where students do not have to pay tuition and they don’t have to serve in the military either. I’m going to talk briefly about a few of these, because I think it’s sort of interesting. I should say that for most of these colleges, it’s free if you meet certain conditions: if you live in that state, if you are an American citizen, and so forth. So, please don’t think that you can go to any of these colleges yourself for free; it depends on who you are and where you are.

The first one is called the College of the Ozarks, in the State of Missouri. Missouri is right in the middle of the United States, in the central part of the U.S. The Ozarks is the name we give for the large hills and mountains that are in that state – that area. The College of the Ozarks has free tuition – that is, students pay no tuition, but they have to work at least 15 hours a week on campus. The word “campus” (campus) can refer to the land where a university or college is located. It can also refer to one branch of the college or university. That is, for example, here near where I live in Santa Monica – close to Santa Monica – there is Santa Monica College. There’s a main campus, but then there are a couple other smaller campuses. That is, the school has buildings in other places; those could also be called campuses. Generally, though, a campus is the physical area where a university or school is located.

When I say that students have to work 15 hours a week on campus, I mean they have to work at a job for the university itself, not for McDonald’s or Burger King or some other private business. On-campus jobs could be working at the library, the cafeteria (the place where students eat), a research lab (or laboratory), an administrative office, just to name a few examples. I worked in on-campus jobs when I was a student at the University of Minnesota many years ago. I think I did a lot of things. I worked once in the Department of Microbiology, and I had to open letters from students from all over the world who wanted to study there and answer the letter. I don’t remember if I did a very good job, probably not. In any case, the students at the College of the Ozarks get a grade for their “performance,” or how well they do their jobs, just as they receive grades for how well they do in their courses. So, that’s an interesting system.

There’s another college here in California called Deep Springs College. It’s a two-year school – that is, it doesn’t offer a bachelor’s degree. It has what we would call an AA or associate of arts degree, or associate arts degree I guess it’s called. In any case, it’s a two-year program. However, there are only 10 to 15 people admitted or allowed to study there each year. It’s also a college just for men. The students work on the school’s ranch at least 20 hours per week. A “ranch” (ranch) is a large area of land used for raising cattle – cows for example.

There’s another school, Alice Lloyd College in Kentucky, which is in the southeastern part of the U.S., that requires students to work at least 10 hours a week and, in exchange, they receive free tuition. So this is one way that colleges – these colleges are able to give free tuition. We should also point out that they are usually rather small colleges.

Berea College, which is also in the State of Kentucky, also gives no-tuition education for students who work at least 10 hours per week on campus. This is possible because they have a large endowment. An “endowment” (endowment) is money that a university gets and invests in something, and they use the money from their investments, the interest they earn on that money, for a particular purpose. Cooper Union in New York City also has a large endowment, and that allows it to give students a no-tuition education in art, architecture, and engineering.

Another engineering college is Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts. Massachusetts is in the northeastern part of the United States. They are giving free tuition to their students, but they expect a lot back from the students. They expect students to go out and work and then give money back to the college, as well as to other places. They emphasize “philanthropy,” which is when you donate your time and money to projects or causes that you believe in.

Some schools offer a no-tuition education just to their first “class” of students, that is, the first group of students who start and finish their education at a particular school or university at the same time. So when we talk about a “class,” usually we identify the class with the year that a person graduates or finishes school. So when I went to high school I graduated way back in 1981; I could say I’m from the class of ‘81 or the class of 1981. Thirty years ago, wow, I am old! Anyway, the school that did this one example would be the University of California in Irvine. Irvine is a suburb, you could call it, of Los Angeles; it’s actually south of Los Angeles in what’s called Orange Country. The Irvine School of Law, when it first opened – the first year it opened did not charge tuition to its first class of students. This was probably a way of the university – the college getting good students. It was a way of recruiting, that is, of getting them to come there by not offering tuition during their first year – not charging tuition during their first year. Actually, it was for their first two or three years. It was to the first class, the first group to go through the college. The Central Florida College of Medicine – Florida is in the southeastern U.S. – did a similar thing for the first class that went through their school, what we would call the “inaugural class.”

Finally, there’s the Curtis Institute of Music, which is a very well respected institution that allows students to study for free; it even lends them a piano, it’s a music college. Students, in order to pay for their education, perform in more than 100 concerts for the public each year.

These no-tuition programs, you can imagine, are very “competitive,” meaning they’re very hard to get into, because many students apply – they try to get in there. And now, when we are recording this episode when the economy is not doing so well, they’re even more competitive. So those are some interesting examples of university life here, where students do not have to pay any money to study. Unfortunately, I had to pay money for all of my colleges, though I was lucky to get some scholarships. When the university gives you money to study there, that’s called a “scholarship.”

Now let’s turn to our next topic, which is the Sacco-Vanzetti Trial. A “trial” (trial) is the legal process where someone is brought before a judge and a group of people called a “jury” in court so they can determine whether or not this person broke the law – whether they did something wrong.

The Sacco-Vanzetti Trial refers to a trial – actually two trials – in the 1920s. It was one of the most famous cases in the 20s and 30s, in the early 20th century of the United States. I remember hearing about it when I was a child, although it took place many years before I was born. The Sacco-Vanzetti Trial was a trial of two Italian immigrants, Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. They were two immigrants who were accused of murder – of killing someone.

Here’s what happened: on April 15, 1920, two men were murdered or killed at a shoe company, a place that makes shoes. Sacco and Vanzetti were accused of the murder, and Vanzetti was also accused of stealing more than 15,000 dollars from the company. Now this is 1920, so 15,000 dollars was a lot of money, maybe 300-400,000 dollars or more in 2011 money.

What’s interesting about the Sacco and Vanzetti Trial was that these two men were anarchists. An “anarchist” (anarchist) is someone who believes that laws and government are unnecessary, that we shouldn’t have any organized government or law. Anarchy is a movement that was popular in this time period, after the First World War, at least in some places in the U.S. Many anarchists, even today, fight against laws and government, often using violence. In the 1920s, there were many Italian anarchists in the U.S. and there were people trying to fight back against them.

Sacco and Vanzetti did not have criminal records. In other words, there was no reason to think that they had broken the law in the past; they had never been arrested or done anything illegal before. But they were arrested, and when they were police said they found guns and books and brochures that made them believe that they were violent.

The first Sacco and Vanzetti trial was about the robbery – the stealing of the 15,000 dollars; the second trial was for the murders. The men were “convicted” or found guilty of the crimes in both trials. But the trials were controversial, and people disagreed about whether or not the trials were fair – whether they were just. A lot of the “evidence,” the things that were shown to the judge and the jury to prove that Sacco and Vanzetti were guilty, were according to some people very questionable – very doubtful. For example, there were questions about whether the men’s guns were connected to the murder. Also, the fact that they were Italian immigrants and anarchists probably changed people’s feelings about whether or not they were guilty or not. People, perhaps, assumed – guessed – that they were guilty because they were anarchists, and many anarchists were violent.

Internationally, in other countries, there was outrage at these convictions – these trials that ended in Sacco and Vanzetti being found guilty. “Outrage” (outrage) is very strong anger. This was especially true in Italy, in France, and in some countries in Latin America. More surprisingly – more “shockingly” we could say – another man, Celestino Madeiros, said that he had committed the crimes; he stole the money, he committed the murders.

However, the Sacco and Vanzetti “conviction,” that is the decision of the court that they were guilty was not changed. Sacco and Vanzetti appealed many times. “To appeal” (appeal) a decision means to officially ask the court to change its mind and perhaps to consider a new trial. Many people and newspapers spoke out and wrote in favor of Sacco and Vanzetti. Felix Frankfurter, who would later become a Supreme Court Justice, published an article saying that there should be a new trial for these two men. However, over a six-year period, all of the appeals failed, meaning the courts did not change their decision. Ultimately, Sacco and Vanzetti were “executed” or killed by the government as punishment, in 1927.

Both before and after their death, there were many protests. Anarchists even tried to bomb embassies and judges’ offices and homes. In 1977, many years later – 50 years later – the Governor of Massachusetts, who I think was Michael Dukakis at that time, named August 23rd Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti Memorial Day. He didn’t say whether he thought Sacco and Vanzetti were guilty or innocent, he just declared August 23rd a day when they would be remembered in the State of Massachusetts. Even today, the trials and executions of Sacco and Vanzetti remain controversial. Some people continue to believe that they were innocent; others believe that they were, in fact, criminals, and should have been executed for their crimes. Who was guilty? Who was not guilty? Well, I don’t know. But it was a famous trial and it had a lot of political implications because of the fact that Sacco and Vanzetti were anarchists, and it, for many people, brought up the notion of whether the American justice system was fair to people who had political ideas that were unpopular.

Now let’s answer some of the questions that you have sent us.

Our first question comes from Vasily from Russia. The question has to do with words in English that are similar to “crazy,” someone who has some sort of mental illness; we might call it a “mental disorder.” Well, there are a lot of different terms in most languages for someone who is crazy; not all of them are exactly the clinical or scientific term – that is, they don’t all have that meaning. When we say someone is “mentally ill,” that would be the scientific way of describing it; you wouldn’t just say, “he’s crazy,” even though it means the same thing.

Most of these words are considered insulting words, and they’re used not just to describe people who have mental issues – mentally ill people – but people who you think don’t think correctly, who don’t agree with you, or have ideas that you think are crazy. Some of the words would be “insane” (insane). “Insane” could also be a medical term. Sometimes when a criminal is arrested, say, for a murder, he might say, “Well, I was insane,” I wasn’t my real self when I committed or did the murder. “Insane” can also be used just to mean foolish or wild: “He’s an insane driver.” He doesn’t drive very carefully.

Of course, “crazy,” we’ve already mentioned, can relate to a mental illness, but is more often now used to describe something that is either very strange, very even disorganized. We could say, “Oh, the crowd (the number of people) at the concert, it was crazy.” We’re not saying that the people were mentally ill; they might be, but that’s not really what we’re saying. We’re saying that it was not organized; it was out of control. “Crazy” can also be excited about something: “I’m crazy about cars.” “I’m crazy about Hawaii.” Something that you love a great deal you can be crazy about. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing.

The word “mad” (mad) can mean very angry, but it has an older meaning of related to mental illness. We use it often now to mean the same as “crazy.” “Are you insane?” “Are you mad?” “Are you crazy?” All of these things mean the same thing. All of these things my wife says to me every other day!

“Psycho” (psycho) is also a very rude, mean way of describing someone. Someone who is “psycho” is often violent. We use the term as a short way of saying “psychopath.” But again, it’s used to describe someone who you think is acting in a very strange way: “That person next to me in the grocery store, she was psycho.” She was yelling and screaming and so forth.

Other words, insulting for the most part, that we use to describe people who are crazy or foolish are “nuts” (nuts), “cuckoo” (cuckoo), “batty” (batty), “wacky” (wacky), “whacko” (whacko), and “bonkers” (bonkers). All of these are informal words, sometimes used to be funny. This last group of words are usually used now almost as a joke – “nuts,” “cuckoo,” “batty,” “wacky,” “whacko,” “bonkers.” You don’t use all of them; you just pick one or two.

Our next question comes from Myo (Myo) in Myanmar. His question has to do with using “-ed” words, words that end in the letters “ed,” as adjectives.

Putting a “d” or an “ed” at the end of the word usually in English makes a verb a past tense verb. “I walk,” “I walked,” “ed” makes it something that happened in the past. Adding the “ed” also forms something called the past participle. You can say, “I walked,” you could also say, “I have walked.” There, “walked” is the past participle.

It’s these past participle forms that can also be used as adjectives sometimes. So, if we have the verb “require,” the past participle would be “required,” something that you have to do. A teacher may say that the required reading for this class is difficult, the reading that you have to do. “Required” is used basically as an adjective to describe the reading, the noun. You can also sometimes put this word after the noun. Normally, adjectives go before the noun in English. But you could say, for example, “The money required is five dollars.” Either would be correct in that case.

Finally, Abdullah (Abdullah) from Saudi Arabia wants to know the meaning of an expression he heard, “lo (lo) and behold” (behold). “Lo and behold” is a little old-fashioned; it’s not as popular as an expression as it once was. “Lo” is an old word of getting someone’s attention or expressing surprise. In some old poems you might read this sort of word. The word “behold” is also a little old-fashioned; it means to look or to see. Sometimes it’s used as a command form. Instead of saying “look,” you could say “behold.” But it’s now used, when you say “Behold, my new car,” you’re really making a joke about it; you’re trying to be funny by using an old word like that.

“Lo and behold” means, literally, something like “hey, look,” but people use it to express an idea of surprise, this is surprising or this is important. It’s usually used when you’re telling a story and you want to talk about something with emphasis – you want to show how important it was. For example: “I got home from work last night, and lo and behold, there was my brother Mark waiting for me in my house. I haven’t seen him in months.” It was surprising – lo and behold. Or, “I walked for hours and I was sure I was lost. But then, I went around a corner, and lo and behold, I saw my car parked on the street.” That’s how that expression might be used.

If you want to know how an expression might be used, 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.

tuition – the money one pays to study, usually at a school, college, or university

* This is a good private school, but we can’t afford the high tuition for our three daughters to attend.

a handful of – a very small number of; a limited amount of

* We asked for donations, but only a handful of people gave money to help.

on campus – within the land and buildings that is part of a college or university

* At our university, we have everything a student would need on campus: housing, cafeterias and restaurants, bookstores, and recreational areas.

ranch – a large area of land used to raise cattle (cows) or other animals for food or to produce other animal products

* To ensure that animals stay within the ranch, good fences are important.

endowment – an amount of money given to a school, university, or organization where the money cannot be spent, but is invested and the interest earned on that money must be spent for a particular purpose, usually for education

* Our college received an endowment to hire professors with expertise in ethics.

philanthropy – the act of donating time and money to important causes, projects, and ideas

* Our company spends a small percentage of our profits each year on philanthropy.

class – a group of students who start and finish their education at a particular school, college, or university at the same time

* We have a particularly large class of 300 students starting at our school this year.

trial – the legal process where a person is brought to court so people can determine whether or not he or she broke the law

* The trial lasted three days and the man was found not guilty of any crimes.

anarchist – a person who believes that law and government are unnecessary, and that society would be better if it were not organized by laws and government

* What would happen to our daily life if anarchists get their way and there is no government or other authority?

to convict – to be found guilty of committing a crime; for an official decision to be made that one has done something against the law

* Lesley was convicted of tax evasion, not having paid the taxes she owed to the government for two years.

to appeal – to officially ask a court to change its mind and to consider again whether a person did or did not commit the crime

* Will you appeal to the court on your parking ticket, or will you simply pay the fine?

to execute – to kill a person as punishment for a crime he or she has committed

* The angry townspeople wanted the murderer to be executed for his crimes.

crazy – having a mental illness or acting in a way that suggests mental illness; behaving in a very excited or very interested way; foolish

* When Karl has too much to drink, he behaves in a crazy way and no one wants to be near him.

mad – having a mental illness or acting in a way that suggests mental illness; very angry

* The mad scientist believed that he could build a robot wife.

psycho – having a mental illness or acting in a way that suggests mental illness; behaving in a very wild, violent and/or very unpredictable way

* The psycho ran into the school waving a gun and frightening all of the students.

mentally ill – having a medical problem involving one’s mind that affects the way a person feels, acts, or relates to other people

* Gemima’s brother is mentally ill, but when he’s taking his medication, he’s not dangerous to anyone.

lo and behold – an expression meaning “This is surprising!” or “This is important!” used most often when telling a story and wanting to emphasize the importance of what comes next

* I looked everywhere for my lost keys: my car, my house, and my office. I didn’t find them, but when I got home, lo and behold, they were still in front door!

What Insiders Know
Paying College and University Expenses

While some college and university students are “supported by” (have their expenses paid for by) their parents, many other students “struggle” (try to overcome difficulties) to pay for tuition and other expenses, such as books, materials, and fees. Many also have to pay for their own “living expenses,” such as rent, food, and transportation costs.

Students who apply for “financial aid” (help to pay expenses) from the college or university usually don’t have the “means” (ability) to pay for all of their schooling by themselves, or with the help of their family. A college or university may choose to help students pay for schooling in several ways. Students may receive a tuition “waiver,” which means they do not need to pay for all or part of their tuition. This is most likely to “occur” (happen) if the student comes from “modest circumstances” (have a family with little money). Students may also get “loans” (money lent to the student, which the student will pay back slowly after they graduate). These loans usually have lower rates of “interest” (additional money owed for borrowing money) than they would receive from a bank or other “financial institution” (business or organization dealing with money).

The college or university may also allow the student to work on campus in “work-study” jobs. These jobs on campus are “set aside” (given only to) students who receive these jobs as part of their financial aid. The jobs could include working in the library, in “food service” (in a cafeteria or restaurant), in the “athletic facilities” (where sports are played or exercise is done), for a professor, or wherever work is needed. Typically, students work a limited number of hours each week, such as 10 or 12, so that the work does not “interfere” (get in the way of; prevent the successful completion of) their studies.