Daily English
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384 Topics: The Hatfields and the McCoys; serving in the military to obtain U.S. citizenship; consistent with, in agreement with, coincide with, and identical to; software versus application versus app; to run out of versus to be out of

Complete Transcript
You’re listening to ESL Podcast’s English Café number 384.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast’s English Café episode 384. 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. Download this episode’s Learning Guide, where we provide additional help in improving your English. You can also take a look at our ESL Podcast Store, which has some additional courses in business and daily English.

On this Café, we’re going to talk about the Hatfields and the McCoys, two of the most famous or infamous families in the United States, who fought each other for many years. We're also going to talk about programs that allow people who are part of the U.S military - who serve in the military - to become U.S citizens more quickly. And as always, we'll answer a few of your questions. Let's get started

This Café begins with a discussion of the Hatfields and the McCoys. The Hatfields and McCoys were two families living near each other, near the border – the dividing line – between the states of West Virginia and Kentucky, which are located in the eastern part of the United States, the central eastern U.S. The Hatfields lived in West Virginia and the McCoys lived in Kentucky.

The Hatfields and the McCoys are famous in American history because of a very long period where they had a feud. A “feud” (feud) is a very angry fight or argument between two groups of people for a very long time. It’s not the same as a war. A feud usually implies, perhaps some violence, as indeed there was violence in the case of the Hatfields and McCoys, but not a war between two countries. Two countries could have a feud over, for example, who is the owner of a certain island that is between the two countries.

You might have a feud that could become more serious, of course, but a feud usually is a smaller disagreement and often between families rather than between countries, although it’s possible if you use the term for countries as well. In this case, it’s what we might call a “family feud.” It’s a disagreement between two families that takes place over many years, often.

It’s difficult to say exactly how this feud, this long-term argument, between the Hatfields and the McCoys started. I mentioned that the families lived right across from each other, across a small stream, a small river, between Kentucky and West Virginia,. Presumably there were tensions between the families. “Presumably” means we don’t know exactly what happened, but we can guess.

One of the tensions or one of the disagreements was over the Civil War. In the 1860’s, you probably know, the United States had a war between the northern states and the southern states, what we call the “Civil War.” The northern states, sometimes called the “Union” states, won the war. They beat the “Confederacy” or southern states. One story says that the feud started because the McCoys fought for the Union side – the winning side – and the Hatfields fought for the Confederate side – the losing side. Some say that one of the McCoys who came back from the war was killed by one of the Hatfield relatives, one of the members of the Hatfield family.

Others say that the feud started a little later, in 1878, when one of the Hatfields stole one of the pigs from the McCoys. They stole some animals. This eventually led to a murder, where one of the McCoys killed one of the Hatfields. Remember, one of the Hatfields killed one of the McCoys back in the Civil War, we just mentioned. Now, a McCoy kills a Hatfield over the stolen pig.

Now, the feud escalates. “To escalate” (escalate) means to become more serious. “To escalate” means to become bigger, involving more people. The family feud between the Hatfields and McCoys escalated after one of the Hatfields was killed by the McCoys over the stolen pig. That was in 1878. A few years later, in 1882, one of the Hatfields was killed by one of the McCoys in a fight. The Hatfields then came back to the McCoys, in a group, and they found three of the McCoy brothers and they shot them. They killed them dead. They murdered them.

These murders in 1882 increased and escalated the violence even further. Finally, in 1888, we get to what is called the New Year’s Night Massacre. A “massacre” (massacre) happens when many people are killed violently, usually when it is unexpected and those people had no way to protect themselves, no way to defend themselves. In the 1888 New Year’s Night Massacre, a group of Hatfields attacked the home of the head of the McCoy family, who we may call the “patriarch” of the McCoy family – the oldest and most powerful man in the family. They attacked his home. They didn’t kill him but they did kill his son and his daughter and burned down his houses.

Well, this produced even more violence. Because so many people had been killed, the leaders – the government leaders, the governors – of Kentucky and West Virginia, the two states where the Hatfields and the McCoys lived, asked their state militias to get involved. A “militia” (militia) is a group of people who trained to be soldiers but they’re not part of the regular army. Individual states have, or used to have, things called “militias.” They would have their own militia.

Now it’s more part of the regular army system and we call them the “National Guard.” But every state has its own National Guard, its own group of soldiers, if you will, that are often used in the state for emergency reasons. It may be for security. It may be for safety, depending on the situation. Here in Los Angeles, for example, in 1992 when we had violence, we had riots, the National Guard came to the city of Los Angeles and helped the police control that violence. That would be an example of using the National Guard. But these were called “militia.” That’s the word that was used. Basically, they were serving as police or extra police in a given state.

Now, the McCoys lived in the state of Kentucky and the Hatfields lived in the state of West Virginia. So, after the McCoys’ patriarch’s son and daughter were killed, the McCoys got the help of the Kentucky militia to cross over the border and go into the neighboring state of West Virginia and find the men who had committed these crimes, had committed this violence. This became a legal issue because the state militia of Kentucky had gone across state lines – from one state to another – and the state of West Virginia said this was illegal. They could not come into their state, take someone, and bring them back to the state of Kentucky. They had to go through, if you will, the government of the state of West Virginia.

Well, this case – legal case – became a national case because it involved matters involving the Constitution. The United States Supreme Court, the highest legal court in our country, became involved in this case and decided that it didn’t matter whether the individual – the person – was taken across state lines legally or not. Kentucky could still hold these men and try them or take them to a court of law for the crime they committed. So, even though they were captured, perhaps not in the most usual manner, the state of Kentucky had the right to keep these men and to put them on trial.

And put them on trial they did. They were sentenced to spend most of the rest of their life in prison and one of the men was hung. “To be hung” (hung) means that you are killed by having a rope around your neck and the rope is pulled tighter. Usually, they put you on a chair or something and then they kick the chair from underneath you and that is how you are hung. You are killed because, of course, you can’t breathe.

The entire country found out about the Hatfield and McCoy feud during this national court case over the prisoners in Kentucky – the Hatfields were captured by the McCoys. Many stories were written about the events of this feud. For some reason, it captured the imagination – that is, it got people interested and excited and thinking about – the story of these two feuding families.

This is a theme you find, of course, in history and literature in many different countries, of two families that fight. Most famously, at least in English literature, we have the story of Romeo and Juliet, about the two families in “fair Verona,” in Italy, who fight each other. There was even a case of a romance between one of the Hatfields and one of the McCoys. This was a brief romance around 1880 between one of the Hatfield boys and one of the McCoy girls. Of course, the families were not very happy about that, but the newspapers turned it into, or made it sound like, a Romeo and Juliet romance. The families were fighting not over the romance, of course, but over all of these other things.

Although after the 1888 Supreme Court decision, the violence between the Hatfields and the McCoys were never as strong as it was before that time. They did continue fighting, continue feuding, at least until the early part of the 20th century. Americans now look at the story of the Hatfields and the McCoys as an example of how trying to get vengeance usually is not a very good idea. “Vengeance” (vengeance) is wanting to do something bad to another person because they’ve done something bad to you, especially when it involves someone you love, someone in your family, for example.

I should mention, before we leave this topic, that one of the reasons, I think, Americans got interested in this family feud, in this one particular feud, was because it took place in a part of the country that even today, Americans think of as being what we would I guess describe as “backwards;” that is, a part of the country where people don’t have very much education, where they’re poor, where there isn’t a lot of businesses, a lot of jobs. People still live in small towns. People live up in the mountains. I’m not saying that’s the way this part of the country still is, but that is America’s image of this area – West Virginia, Kentucky, what we would call “Appalachia” (Appalachia). The fact that the feud took place in this one part of the country sort of added to people’s ideas about its backwardness, how it wasn’t as modern as the rest of the country. And so, of course, they would do this destructive vengeful behavior involved in a family feud.

Our next topic – briefly – will be talking about a special program that is part of the U.S military. We talked about the militia earlier on. Well, military comes from the same word as “militia,” meaning army – people who are soldiers, people who are involved in fighting. Normally, to become a U.S. Citizen, you have to go through a lengthy or long process that requires a lot of time and a lot of paperwork and sometimes a lot of luck. You have to demonstrate or prove that you have lived in the United States for a certain amount of time, legally, for example, as well as take a test and do other things. Now there is an option available in the U.S. military to fast track immigration applications. “To fast track (track) something,” means to make it go faster than normal. “Fast track” means going through the process, usually a government or official process, more quickly than you would normally go through it. Instead of taking several years, in other words, it might take half that time or considerably fewer number of years.

Some immigrants who come to this country and agree to serve in the military – in the Army, in the Navy, in the Marines or in the Air Force, as well as the Coast Guard – let’s not forget the Coast Guard, the people that guard the coast around the United States where the oceans are. If you join the military, you can apply for this special program. I believe right now the program is just in the Army and in the Navy.

Immigrants who, as I say, agree to serve in the military can begin working on their naturalization paperwork very early on – sooner than they would otherwise, if they were not in the military. “Naturalization” (naturalization) is the process of becoming a citizen, in this case, a U.S. citizen. This naturalization process is “fast tracked” or “expedited” (expedited). “To expedite” here means the same as to fast track – to make it go faster. This is especially a possibility if the immigrant has some sort of needed language skills or other technical skills that the military is looking for.

Participants in these programs can become U.S citizens once they graduate from basic training. Basic training is the first set of training or first period of when they are in the military and getting the skills they need to be part of the military. After they graduate from basic training, these soldiers can become naturalized U.S. citizens but they have to serve at least five years in the military. If they don’t, then they can lose their citizenship. So, the price is you have to be in the U.S military for five years.

The U.S government sees these programs as a way to encourage more people to serve in the military, especially when the U.S military is involved in so many different places in the world. The military becomes what we would call “stretched thin.” “To be stretched (stretched) thin (thin)” means that you don’t have enough people or enough money to do all the things you want to do. So, offering U.S. citizenship to those who are immigrants and serve in the U.S military is one way of solving this problem of getting more people to join.

Now, before you buy your plane ticket to come here to Los Angeles and become part of the U.S. Army or Navy, let me warn you that there are lots of other things you’ll have to do, lots of other restrictions and typically – I’m not exactly sure because the details of this program are hard to find, but typically – these immigrants are already people here, legally, in the U.S. Most of them, I’m guessing, didn’t fly here and then go down and join the Army or join the Navy. So you should probably go and talk to at least the U.S. embassy in your country if you’re thinking of this idea, and remember, you have to be part of the U.S military for five years.

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

Our first question comes from Changsup (Changsup) in South Korea. The question has to do with four different phrases or four different expressions: “consistent with,” “in agreement with,” “coincide with,” and “identical to.” All of these expressions have some meaning related to being the same – two things being the same or being similar.

Let’s start with “consistent (consistent) with.” “Consistent with,” means that it has the same form or the same idea or simply agrees with some other set of specifications or requirements. For example, we might say, “His skills are consistent with the requirements of this job.” In other words, what this job requires, he has. His skills are consistent with, he has, them. Or you might say, “My friend and I don’t always agree on everything but his political views – his views of the government – are consistent with mine.” They’re very similar or the same as mine.

The next phrase is “in agreement with.” Here, it also means to be the same as, usually when we’re talking about accepting other people’s ideas or plans. It’s often used in business situations or business settings – formal descriptions: “Our plans are in agreement with yours,” meaning they’re the same. Or “I listened to his ideas for our new project and I decided that they were in agreement with my ideas.” I had the same or very similar ideas. It means, really the same as “consistent with.” In fact, in many cases, you could substitute “consistent with” for “in agreement with” and they would mean the same thing. “His ideas are consistent with mine.” “His ideas are in agreement with mine.”

The third phrase is “coincide with.” “To coincide (coincide) with something” means to be at the same place or same time and, sometimes, to be of the same opinion. For example, if you were born on July 4th, as my father was born on July 4th, we could say that your birthday coincides with Independence Day in the United States – the Fourth of July. Or, we might say, “I’m going on vacation next week and you’re going on vacation next week. Our vacations coincide.” “My vacation coincides with your vacation.” Or you could say, “I’m going to be in Chicago next week and my brother is going to be there, too. His visit coincides with mine” – both in place and in time.

“Identical to” is the last phrase. And that means to be exactly the same as – not just similar to, but identical to – the same. “This office is identical to the office across the hall or on the other side of the building.” They’re exactly the same. They have the same desk. They have the same chairs. They have windows that look the same. They’re identical. We can talk about identical twins – two babies, two boys or two girls who are born from the same mother at basically the same time. We could say they’re identical if they look exactly alike. Not all twins are identical. My brothers, Mark and Mike, are identical twins. “Identical,” then, means exactly the same. So “identical to” is when you’re saying that this thing is exactly the same as another thing.

All three of the first phrases – “coincide with,” “in agreement with,” and “consistent with” are used mainly in formal and business English. We won’t hear them as much in conversational, everyday English, if you will.

Juan (Juan) from Colombia wants to know the meanings of the words “software,” “application,” and “apps.” This is a good question because one of these words, “apps,” is fairly new, fairly recent, and can cause a little bit of confusion.

Let me start with “software.” “Software” (software) is a program that is used by a computer. You’re familiar that computers have hardware – that’s the physical aspect of the computer – the electronic circuits and so forth. Computers, however, use what’s called “software,” which is a program, a set of instructions really, that tells the computer what to do.

An “application” is a shorter version for “application software” – computer software that helps you accomplish some task. In reality, most people, when they say “application,” mean the same as software. The two are, I think, nowadays used mostly interchangeably, at least among the average computer user. That might be different among experts in information technology but the average person, when they say, “I have a new piece of software,” they would probably say just as well, “I have a new application to do something” – to send my email, to write letters, and so forth. The differences that we would probably use a phrase like a “piece of” software; we wouldn’t say “a software.” “Software” is not a noun that you can make plural – “softwares.” Well, someone probably does somewhere n the Internet.

“Apps” (apps) is a newer word. It is simply a shorter version of “applications.” So, if I have an “app,” I have an “application.” It’s become very common to refer to the software that runs on mobile phones and mobile devices as “apps.” It’s also now become common to talk about applications on what we would call a “desktop” computer, like a laptop or other types of computers that typically stay on your desk. Applications running on those computers can also be called “apps.”

One possible difference here is that software is a very general term. It might refer to computer programs that you don’t use to do one specific thing. They are used to help the computer run better or run in a certain way – operate in a certain way, whereas application software is something that is used specifically for a given purpose – to send an email or to write a letter and so forth. That might be one way of distinguishing “software” from “application.”

Finally Miguel Angel (Miguel Angel) from Spain wants to know the difference between two expressions: “to be out of” and “to run out of.” “To be out of something” means you no longer have any of it. You don’t have any more in your possession. Your mother makes an apple pie and your brothers and sisters eat it all and when you get home, you want a piece of apple pie and your mother says, “Oh, I’m sorry, we’re out of apple pie. Would you like some other kind of pie?”

In that example, I use a family as the setting, or the situation but it’s probably more common that you will hear that expression in a store. You go somewhere, say to a restaurant, and you order some food. They say, “I’m sorry, we’re out of that.” We don’t have any in our kitchen right now.

“To run out of” also means not to have any of something but the idea is that you just had some recently. So, in the case of the apple pie, my mother could also have told me, “We’ve run out of apple pie,” or the restaurant could say, “We’ve run out of chicken.” We used to have some, maybe an hour, two hours, or three hours ago, but now we have run out and therefore, we are out of that thing.

The difference in meaning then is rather small. “To run out of” implies that you had something and now suddenly you don’t. “To be out of” just means you don’t have any. It doesn’t imply that had some yesterday or you had some this morning and now you don’t. Usually, if you run out of something, you will go get some more. That’s the idea. The same could be said also of being out of something. Again, the implication is that normally, you have it but right now, you don’t.

We never run out of wanting to hear your questions. 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 and
Dr. Lucy Tse. This podcast is copyright 2013, by the Center for Educational

feud – a very angry argument between two groups for a long period of time

* The neighbors have had a feud for more than 10 years, ever since the Hamiltons’ tree fell on the Balantines’ car.

presumably – assumptions or things that we think are true, even though we don’t have any evidence or proof

* The girls presumably swim very well, or their parents would never have let them go waterskiing with their friends.

to escalate – to become bigger and more serious, involving more people or other resources

* At first, the computer virus only affected the sales computers, but the situation escalated very quickly, with all of the office computers affected.

massacre – when many people are killed violently, especially when it is unexpected and those people had no way to protect or defend themselves

* No one knows who committed the massacre of over 100 people in this village.

militia – a group of people who were trained as soldiers, but are not part of the army

* The townspeople were trained as militia to defend their homes in case the army couldn’t get there soon enough to help them.

across state lines – moving from one state to another; crossing two or more states

* If they try to transport that stolen merchandise across state lines, they’ll be breaking laws in two or more states.

to be hung – to be killed by having a rope pulled tight around one's neck so that one cannot breathe and/or so that one's neck breaks

* The people in the town didn’t want to wait for the sheriff to arrive and thought that the killers should be hung right away.

vengeance – the feeling of wanting to do something bad to another person because he or she did something bad to oneself or one's family

* If anyone tried to harm Jim’s children, Jim would not hesitate to get vengeance.

to fast track – to make something go faster than normal; to achieve something more quickly than normal

* We need to hire three new drivers this week, so please fast track these applications through the personnel department.

naturalization – the process of becoming a citizen of a country

* His parents are American citizens, so even though he was born in Thailand, he doesn’t have to go through the naturalization process.

to expedite – to cause something to move more quickly than normal; to make an action or process move more quickly

* If we expedite these requests, we can have the project finished by next week.

to be stretched thin – to have less of something, such as patience or resources, than is needed or required

* With so many people left homeless after the bad storm, the city’s resources for temporary housing are stretched very thin.

consistent with – agreeing with; having the same form or idea as

* These new tax laws are not consistent with the laws that already exist.

in agreement with – being the same as; accepting others ideas or plans

* Changing the museum’s hours was in agreement with the board’s suggestion.

to coincide with – to be at the same place or time; to be of the same opinion

* My father’s visit will coincide with the basketball playoffs games.

identical to – being the exact same as; being no different than

* Chang’s new girlfriend looks identical to his ex-girlfriend!

software – a program that is used by a computer

* This new publishing software is difficult to use and no one feels comfortable with it yet.

application – short for “application software”; a piece of computer software that helps the user with a task

* This application allows me to organize my photos and videos.

app – short for “application”; a piece of computer software that helps the user with a task

* I downloaded an app to my phone last night, but I can’t find it now.

to be out of – to no longer have any

* The storeowner said that he was out of fans, but he has ordered some more.

to run out of – to no longer have any, having just had some

* Don’t you hate it when you’re in the bathroom and you run of toilet paper?

What Insiders Know
John Denver and “Country Roads”

John Denver is a singer and “songwriter” (one who writes songs) who was most popular in the 1970’s and 1980’s. He wrote most of the songs he sang. He also played the “acoustic” (without using electricity) guitar and was in a few films.

Most of John Denver’s songs were about “nature” (trees, land, and animals) and the “environment” (nature). He often wrote songs about some of his favorite places, such as the States of Colorado and West Virginia.

One of John Denver’s most popular songs was “Country Roads.” John Denver and two other songwriters wrote this song about the State of West Virginia. John Denver was the first person to “record” (sing a song to be sold) the song. It became his most popular song. “Country Roads” is still the song that John Denver is most known for. In this song, John Denver sings about the “landscape” (mountains, rivers, and trees) of West Virginia. The “lyrics” (words to a song) talk about the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah River, both considered beautiful parts of the “scenery” (the parts of an area that you see when you visit, such as mountains and rivers) of West Virginia.

One part of the song talks about “misty taste of moonshine.” Moonshine is a strong “spirit” (type of alcoholic drink) that is illegal to make. Some people in the mountains in West Virginia still “brew” (making a drink using a specific process) moonshine.

John Denver won many awards for his songs. He was very popular among many different people of different ages. Sadly, John Denver died in 1997 when a small plane he was flying “crashed” (fell to the ground).