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0197 An Apology

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 197, “An Apology.”

You're listening to English as a Second Language Podcast episode 197. I'm your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Today's podcast is about someone who is making an apology, saying that they are sorry to another person. Let's get started.

[Start of story]

Becky: Curt.

Curt: Oh, hi.

Becky: Can I talk to you for a minute?

Curt: I’m really busy right now.

Becky: Just one minute. I promise it won’t take long.

Curt: Okay. Let’s talk over here.

Becky: Curt, I’m really sorry that I told Joyce that you had a crush on her. We were just talking last Friday and it just slipped out.

Curt: But, I told you about Joyce in confidence.

Becky: I know. It’s totally my fault. I really regret saying anything. I wish I could take it back. I just want you to know that I’m really sorry and I hope that you’ll accept my apology.

Curt: What’s done is done. I was really pissed off when I found out this morning but I’m over it now. [cell phone ring] Hold on a sec. [long pause, muttering in background] Guess who that was?

Becky: Who?

Curt: Joyce. She wanted to know if I’d like to have lunch with her today.

Becky: It was? That’s great, maybe…

Curt: And, maybe not. Maybe she just wants to tell me she’s not interested in me.

Becky: Or, maybe she likes you, too.

Curt: Don’t let your imagination run away with you.

Becky: I won’t but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

[End of story]

This podcast is called, “An Apology.” An apology, “apology,” is when you do something wrong and you tell the other person that you are sorry, that you feel badly and that you did not want to hurt them. Those would be examples of an apology - to say that you are sorry.

Well, in this dialogue, we hear Becky and Curt talking. Becky asks Curt if she can talk to him “for a minute.” When we say the expression, for a minute, we mean for a short time, not necessarily 60 seconds. Usually, it means for a very short time. You wouldn't use it for things that would take a long time, such as apologizing to your wife or girlfriend.

Well, Curt doesn't seem to want to talk to Becky, he says, “I’m really busy right now.” Becky says, “Just one minute,” meaning just a short amount of time, “I promise it won’t take long.” To promise, “promise,” means that you make a commitment to another person. You are saying that it will happen the way you say it will happen. So, Becky promises Curt that “it won't take long,” their conversation won't take very much time. Curt says, “Okay. Let's talk over here.”

Becky then apologizes to Curt. She says, “Curt, I’m really sorry that I told Joyce you had a crush on her.” To be sorry means that you regret doing something. It's part of the apology. To have a crush, “crush,” on someone is when you are romantically interested in someone. Often times we use this word, crush, to mean the very beginnings of your interest in someone else. This is also a term we use sometimes with high school students or junior high school students. They have crushes; they're not in love, but they have romantic interest.

Becky then says that she and Joyce “were just talking last Friday and it just slipped out.” Notice the use of the word just, “just,” here. In the first case, “we were just talking,” means that we were only talking - we weren't doing anything else. The second part of the sentence says, “it just slipped out.” Here, just means it accidentally happened, or it happened without me wanted it to, or without me having that intention - I didn't necessarily want it to slip out. The expression, to slip, “slip,” out, “out,” two words, means that you tell someone something that you didn't plan on telling them. You weren't supposed to tell them; it was a secret, but you were talking and it slipped out. You said it even though you wanted to keep it a secret.

Curt then says to Becky, “But, I told you about Joyce in confidence.” In confidence, “confidence,” means that I told you as a secret; I told you something as a secret that you did not want them to tell anyone else. So, when someone tells you something in confidence, it means that they don't want you to tell anyone else.

Becky says, “I know. It’s totally my fault.” Totally, here, means it's completely my fault. It's somewhat of an informal use. It started out as something that you would only hear young people say - high school students - but now it's more, becoming more common. So, “it's totally my fault” means it's completely my fault. Becky says, “I really regret saying anything.” To regret, “regret,” means the same as you're sorry, that you wish it had not happened. In fact, Becky says, “I wish I could take it back.” To take something back means that you wish something didn't happen. “I wish I could take it back,” I wish I had not said that. Becky says that, “I just want you to know that I’m really sorry and I hope that you’ll accept my apology.” To accept an apology means to forgive the other person, to say, “it's okay, no problem,” when they apologize to you.

Curt says, “What’s done is done.” What's done is done means that we can't go back and change history. We can't change what happened. It's too late. This expression, what's done is done, actually comes originally from Shakespeare, from the play “Macbeth,” when Lady Macbeth says, “What's done is done,” in the middle of the play. Later, she also has a famous quote, “What's done cannot be undone,” meaning once you do something, you can't go back and change it. So, Curt says, “What's done is done. I was really pissed off,” he says, “when I found out this morning but I’m over it now.” The expression, to be pissed, “pissed,” off, “off,” is an informal expression, not something you would say to your boss or perhaps your mother even, and it means that you are very angry, that you are very mad, something that you would use with a friend perhaps, that expression. It means that you are very angry. Well, Curt was very angry, but he says, “I'm over it now.” To be over something means that it no longer bothers you it. “It's okay now, it doesn't matter to me.”

The cell phone then rings and Curt says, “Hold on a sec,” or he could have said, “Hold on a second.” Hold on a sec or hold on a second means wait for a short amount of time. When you say to someone, “hold on,” you mean wait, I'm busy, I'm doing something else right now; I will get back to you in a very short time, in a second. A few seconds later, Curt comes back and says, “Guess who that was?” Guess who means I want you to guess, I want you to think of who that was talking to me. Guess who that was?

Becky says, “Who?” and Curt says, “Joyce.” It was Joyce on the telephone who called him. She wanted to know if Curt wanted to have lunch with her today. Becky says, “It was?” meaning it was Joyce really. “That's great, maybe...” and then Curt says, “And, maybe not.” When Becky says, “maybe,” she's saying maybe she likes you, and Curt immediately says, “And, maybe not. Maybe she just wants to tell me she’s not interested in me.” To be interested in someone means that you like them romantically, that you have a crush on them perhaps. “I'm interested in you,” means I am interested in you romantically. Becky says, “Or, maybe she likes you, too,” and Curt says, “Don’t let your imagination run away with you.” That means don't be thinking about things that may not happen; don't try to imagine something that isn't likely or isn't possible.

Becky says at the end, “I won’t,” meaning I won't let my imagination run away with me, “but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.” To keep or to have your fingers crossed, “crossed,” means that you are hoping for something good to happen. To cross your fingers means to hope that something good will happen in the future. “I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will win the lottery this weekend.” If I do win the lottery, there probably won't be an ESL Podcast next week, so if you hear one, I didn't win.

Now let's listen to the dialogue at a native rate of speech.

[Start of story]

Becky: Curt.

Curt: Oh, hi.

Becky: Can I talk to you for a minute?

Curt: I’m really busy right now.

Becky: Just one minute. I promise it won’t take long.

Curt: Okay. Let’s talk over here.

Becky: Curt, I’m really sorry that I told Joyce that you had a crush on her. We were just talking last Friday and it just slipped out.

Curt: But, I told you about Joyce in confidence.

Becky: I know. It’s totally my fault. I really regret saying anything. I wish I could take it back. I just want you to know that I’m really sorry and I hope that you’ll accept my apology.

Curt: What’s done is done. I was really pissed off when I found out this morning but I’m over it now. [cell phone ring] Hold on a sec. [long pause, muttering in background] Guess who that was?

Becky: Who?

Curt: Joyce. She wanted to know if I’d like to have lunch with her today.

Becky: It was? That’s great, maybe…

Curt: And, maybe not. Maybe she just wants to tell me she’s not interested in me.

Becky: Or, maybe she likes you, too.

Curt: Don’t let your imagination run away with you.

Becky: I won’t but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

[End of story]

The script for today's podcast was written, as always, by Dr. Lucy Tse.

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

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. This podcast is copyright 2006.

Glossary
to promise – to guarantee; to tell someone you will do something

* Gwen, please promise that you won't tell anyone about the mistake I made in the report before I have a chance to fix it.

sorry – regretful; feeling bad about something; usually used in cases when someone did or said something wrong

* She was sorry to have broken the vase that belonged to her friend’s grandmother.

a crush – to think someone is attractive, usually used for teenagers who feel a temporary attraction; to want to date someone

* Dana has crushes on three players on the baseball team.

to slip out – to say something accidentally, without intending or wanting to

* She didn’t plan on telling anyone that she was quitting her job, but during a lunch meeting, it just slipped out.

in confidence – in secret, so that no one else knows

* If I tell you something in confidence, I don’t want you to repeat it to anyone.

totally – completely

* I totally forgot that I was supposed to go over to Martin’s house today to help him set up for the party!

to regret – to feel sorry for something; to wish that something had not happened

* After losing the most important game of the year, the team regretted not practicing more.

to take it back – to wish that you had not done something after you’ve done it; to want to make things as they were before

* I was trying to help him when I told his boss that he was sick, but his boss fired him. I wish I could take it all back.

to accept (someone’s) apology – to forgive someone; to recognize that someone has regret; to not feel angry with someone anymore

* Will you accept my apology for insulting you earlier tonight?

what's done is done – you cannot change what is in the past; now that an action has been taken, you cannot change the results

* What's done is done. It won’t help anyone to be angry about it.

to be pissed off – to be very angry

* Of course I’m pissed off at you. You said that my husband eats like a pig!

to be over it – to stop being angry; to feel little or no emotion about something that made you very emotional in the past

* She was very disappointed when she wasn’t given the job, but she’s over it now.

hold on a sec – wait a moment; please wait

* Hold on a sec. Let me see if I can find that contract.

guess who…? – do you know who…?; asking someone to guess the identity of someone else

* Guess who tried to take credit for my work during the meeting?

to be interested in – to be romantically interested in someone; to want to date someone

* Ronald asked me out, but I'm really interested in his brother.

Don't let your imagination run away with you. – don’t let yourself believe what you imagine; don’t believe that something is there when it is only in your mind

* You think that at the concert, you’re going to get to meet the band? Don’t let your imagination run away with you.

to keep (one’s) fingers crossed – to be hopeful, to wish someone good luck

* Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the teacher won’t find out about the trick we played on her until after the school year is over.

Comprehension Questions
1. Why is Becky apologizing?
a) She knows Curt's secret.
b) She told Curt's secret to Joyce.
c) She told Joyce to call Curt.

2. How does Curt feel about Becky at the end of the conversation?
a) He is still angry that Becky shared his secret.
b) He is angry with Joyce.
c) He was angry but he is not angry anymore.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to slip out

The phrase “to slip out,” in this podcast, means to say something by accident: “I didn't want to tell him that I like him, but it just slipped out.” This phrase can also be used to talk about physical things, like when you accidentally let go of something you are holding or something falls out of your hand: “The pot slipped out of my hand when I was carrying it across the backyard.” The phrase is also used informally to mean to leave a place quietly, without many people knowing: “I didn't know Dan left the room. He must have slipped out through the backdoor.” Or, “The speech was so boring that during the middle of it, my friend and I slipped out.”

to take it back

In this podcast, the phrase “to take it back” means to make things as they were before the action was done, to take away the meaning of the act. It is used for things that were done that should not have been done, or for things that someone regrets doing: “I was wrong to insult you. I wish I could take it back.” This phrase can also be used to talk about objects that need to be returned to their original place: “This book is on the wrong shelf. Could you please take it back to the right one?” Another meaning of “take it back” is to return an item to the store where you bought it so that you can get your money back: “I bought the wrong case for my cell phone. I need to take it back to the store.”

Culture Note
Many governments around the world have made “reparations” for things that the government has done wrong in the past. Reparations are usually made with money paid to the “victims,” or people who were harmed, and by giving them a formal apology.

In the past 30 years in the U.S., the government has made reparations to several groups. One case of official U.S. government reparations occurred in 1988. In Word War II, Japanese Americans were put into internment camps and held prisoner because the U.S. government thought that they would be dangerous during the war. The U.S. government formally apologized to these Americans and passed a law that gave payments of $20,000 to each of the “survivors,” or people still alive, who had been put into the camps. This was not the only reparation for this mistake. When Japanese Americans were moved into the camps, they had to leave behind most of what they owned, including their land. In 1968, the government began reparations for the property that Japanese Americans lost.

In the 1980’s, Native Americans also began receiving reparations for being forced to leave their land more than 100 years before. In many cases, there were “treaties,” or formal government agreements, that the government signed to get Native Americans to leave their land, but that they did not “honor,” or follow. In many cases, reparations were decided by the terms of these old treaties. The reparations included large sums of money and the ownership of their own property to live and to work on.

Comprehension Answers
1 - b

2 - c