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0473 Showing Respect and Disrespect

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 473: Showing Respect and Disrespect.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 473. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California, here in the United States.

Our website is eslpod.com. Go there to download a Learning Guide for this episode, an 8- to 10-page guide that will help you improve your English even faster.

This episode is called “Showing Respect and Disrespect.” It’s a dialogue between Kadir and Melissa about not being “respectful,” not being nice, not giving someone the proper respect, and the vocabulary related to that. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Kadir: Stop that! Stop snickering! Gabriel Voltaire is an author of great acclaim. You should show a little reverence.

Melissa: Yes, but he seems to have a bad case of stage fright. I know it’s an honor to hear him speak, but it’s hard to show reverence when the man is sweating like a pig!

Kadir: He’s not sweating like a pig. He’s just talking passionately about his writing. I, for one, appreciate his level of dedication to his work.

Melissa: I admire his work, too, but he’s making a fool of himself. Really, who can pay attention to what he’s saying when he’s stuttering like that.

Kadir: Unlike you, I can listen to the genius of his words without worrying about a little stuttering.

Melissa: The man is making a spectacle of himself. I think he needs to stick to writing and give up public speaking.

Kadir: Shh! That’s enough. I won’t hear another word said against him.

Melissa: Whatever you say. I’ll leave you to your hero worship. For me, enough is enough!

[end of dialogue]

Kadir begins our dialogue by saying, “Stop that!” “Stop that” means stop doing what you are doing. “Stop snickering!” he says. “To snicker” (snicker) means to laugh quietly, but in a mean way when you’re making fun of someone else. We sometimes use this verb for children who are laughing at other children, being mean to them. “Gabriel Voltaire is an author of great acclaim,” Kadir says. They’re listening to a speech by Gabriel Voltaire; he’s an “author,” a writer of great acclaim. “Great acclaim” means very famous for doing something well, someone who people have praised. He says, “You should show a little reverence.” “Reverence” is another word for respect, admiration. It’s usually something we use when talking about God, showing reverence to God. But it can also be used to mean to show serious respect to someone who is very important or very famous and deserves our respect.

Melissa says, “Yes, but he seems to have a bad case of stage fright,” he seems to be afraid of giving a speech. Melissa says, “I know it’s an honor to hear him speak, but it’s hard to show reverence when the man is sweating like a pig!” To say something is “an honor” means that it is something you should be thankful for, something that you should be proud of usually because you have done something good or admirable. In this case, “it’s an honor to hear him speak,” means that Melissa should be grateful – should be thankful for this rare opportunity. She says, “it’s hard to show reverence when the man (Gabriel) is sweating like a pig!” “To sweat” means to have water that is coming out of your skin because you’re hot, or perhaps because you’re nervous. In the case of Gabriel giving his speech, he’s very nervous, so he’s sweating like a pig. The idea is that pigs sweat a lot; they may or may not, but that’s the expression. “To sweat like a pig” means to sweat a lot.

Kadir says, “He is not sweating like a pig. He’s just talking passionately about his writing.” “To speak passionately about (something)” is to speak with a lot of emotion, often a lot of love for what you are talking about. Kadir says that Gabriel is just talking passionately about his writing, “I, for one, appreciate his level of dedication to his work.” The expression “I, for one…” is a somewhat formal phrase we use when we are about to give our opinion, especially in situations where other people might not agree with us. I, for one, think that my neighbor’s dog barks too much; he probably doesn’t agree with me! Kadir says, “I, for one, appreciate his level of dedication to his work.” “Dedication,” here, means his commitment, his hard work, his effort in his writing, in doing his work. The word “dedication” has several different meanings in English; take a look at our Learning Guide for some additional explanations.

Melissa says, “I admire his work, too.” “To admire” means to respect, to think something is good, to think something is impressive. You could admire a beautiful painting; you could admire the work that your colleague – your co-worker does. Anything that is admired deserves great respect because it’s so good, because it is, perhaps, so excellent. Melissa says, “I admire his work,” meaning Gabriel’s writing, “but he’s making a fool of himself.” “To make a fool of yourself” means to do something that other people may laugh at you for, and you don’t want them to laugh at you. To make a fool of yourself means to look silly – to look foolish in front of other people. If I try to play baseball, I make a fool of myself – that’s why I only watch it on television! Melissa says, “Really, who can pay attention to what he’s saying when he’s stuttering like that.” “To stutter” means to not speak properly; to repeat sounds, that is stuttering. Someone who goes: “Uh-uh-uh-uh-I,” that would be to stutter.

Kadir says, “Unlike you, I can listen to the genius of his words without worrying about a little stuttering.” “Genius” means very smart, very intelligent. Kadir says he can listen to the “genius of his words,” meaning the intelligent things that are in his writing or in his speaking. Melissa says, “The man is making a spectacle of himself.” “To make a spectacle of yourself” means to do something that would make other people look at you and think that you are stupid or foolish; they may even be laughing at you. It’s similar to making a fool of yourself. Melissa says, “I think he needs to stick to writing and give up public speaking.” “To stick to (something)” means to continue to do something without changing what you are doing. I should stick to podcasting; that’s what I should continue doing because, perhaps, I’m not very good at other things. Which is true; I’m not very good at most things!

Melissa wants Gabriel to “stick to writing,” meaning he should continue to write but not public speaking – not giving speeches to people. Kadir says, “Shh (be quiet)! That’s enough. I won’t hear another word against him,” meaning I don’t want to hear any other criticisms of him. Melissa says, “Whatever you say,” meaning I’m not going to argue with you. “I’ll leave you to your hero worship,” she says. “Hero worship” is the practice of admiring someone very much, maybe too much. You think of this person as being so great that you might lose perspective; you might not see the truth. Melissa says, “For me, enough is enough!” The expression “enough is enough” is an informal one used to show that you have had enough of something; you no longer want to be part of this situation. For her, it means she doesn’t want to listen to Gabriel’s speech anymore.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Kadir: Stop that! Stop snickering! Gabriel Voltaire is an author of great acclaim. You should show a little reverence.

Melissa: Yes, but he seems to have a bad case of stage fright. I know it’s an honor to hear him speak, but it’s hard to show reverence when the man is sweating like a pig!

Kadir: He’s not sweating like a pig. He’s just talking passionately about his writing. I, for one, appreciate his level of dedication to his work.

Melissa: I admire his work, too, but he’s making a fool of himself. Really, who can pay attention to what he’s saying when he’s stuttering like that.

Kadir: Unlike you, I can listen to the genius of his words without worrying about a little stuttering.

Melissa: The man is making a spectacle of himself. I think he needs to stick to writing and give up public speaking.

Kadir: Shh! That’s enough. I won’t hear another word said against him.

Melissa: Whatever you say. I’ll leave you to your hero worship. For me, enough is enough!

[end of dialogue]

It’s always an honor to listen to one of the scripts written by Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us next time on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan, copyright 2009 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
to snicker – to laugh quietly and in a mean way, making fun of another person

* The children snickered when their classmate made a mistake while doing a math problem on the blackboard.


acclaim ­– praise; fame for having done something very well

* Will any scientists of great acclaim be at the conference?


reverence – respect, admiration, and love for another person or for a god

* The children were all born in the United States, but they show reverence for the culture and traditions of the country where their parents were born.


honor – something that one is proud of and grateful for, usually given because one has done something good or admirable

* It is an honor to receive this award tonight.


to sweat like a pig – to be very sweaty, with a lot of water on one’s skin, usually because one has done a lot of physical activity, or because one is very nervous

* After two hours in the gym, he was sweating like a pig.


passionately – with a lot of emotion and love for what one does

* We had never heard a politician speak so passionately about health care reform before.


I, for one,… – a formal phrase used to state one’s opinion, especially when one knows that other people probably will not agree with it

* I know that most people disagree with me, but I, for one, believe we’re making a huge mistake.


dedication – commitment; hard work; the effort that one makes to do something, especially if it is difficult

* Jaime shows a lot of dedication to his job, staying at the office until midnight when he has a lot of work to do.


to admire – to respect; to think that something is good and impressive

* Many historians admire Harriet Tubman for helping slaves leave the southern states.


to make a fool of (oneself) – to do something that makes one seem silly and that makes other people laugh at oneself

* You’re making a fool of yourself by singing that way in public.


genius – extreme intelligence

* Most people would agree that Albert Einstein was a genius.


to make a spectacle of (oneself) – to do something that makes other people pay attention and think that one is silly or foolish so that they want to laugh at oneself

* They made a spectacle of themselves when they got into a big fight in the restaurant on Valentine’s Day.


to stick to – to continue to do something, without changing what one is doing

* Some of the employees think the company should open new stores, but the president has decided to stick to the original strategy and have only one store in each state.


hero worship – the practice of admiring someone very much, maybe so much that one does not see anything bad about that person and think that he or she is perfect

* Many teenagers engage in hero worship of famous musicians and actors.


enough is enough – an informal phrase used to show that one has had enough of something and does not want or need any more of it

* We’ve been very patient with you, but enough is enough! Please stop complaining about your job.

Comprehension Questions
1. Why doesn’t Melissa respect Gabriel Voltaire?
a) Because she doesn’t like his writing.
b) Because she thinks he looks like a pig.
c) Because he looks very nervous on stage.

2. Which of these things might be part of hero worship?
a) Showing reverence.
b) Snickering.
c) Making a spectacle of oneself.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
dedication

The word “dedication,” in this podcast, means commitment or the effort that one makes to do something, especially if it is difficult: “The company appreciates your dedication to the project, and we’re going to raise your salary because of it.” As a verb, “to dedicate (something) to (someone)” means to show that one has built, made, or written something to show respect to another person, or in another person’s honor: “This song is dedicated to my mother.” Or, “Have you decided who you’re going to dedicate your book to?” A “dedication ceremony” is a special celebration when a new building is finished and it is named after someone: “The university is planning a dedication ceremony to name its library after the state’s governor.”

to stick to

In this podcast, the phrase “to stick to (something)” means to continue to do something, without changing what one is doing: “She doesn’t like new technology, so she’s sticking to her typewriter.” The phrase “to stick to (one’s) guns” means to not change one’s opinion, no matter what happens: “The author’s ideas are very unpopular, but he’s sticking to his guns and won’t apologize for the article.” The phrase “to stick it out” means to keep doing something that is very difficult or unpleasant and not give up: “Shelia hated biochemistry, but she stuck it out and did very well in the class.” Finally, the phrase “to stick it to (someone)” means to do something that creates an unpleasant situation for another person, especially if he or she has to pay more for something: “The taxi driver really stuck it to the tourists, charging them twice the regular price.”

Culture Note
American authors “promote” (advertise) their books in many ways, trying to increase sales and “readership” (the number of people who read something). One common way to promote a book is to go on a “book tour,” where the author travels to many different large cities over a few weeks or months, having events in each place. Authors may have “book readings” where they read “excerpts” (small parts) of their book to an audience. People can ask the author questions afterward.

Another common way to promote a book is to have “book signings” where authors sign copies of their books for their readers. Book signings are often held in bookstores. Many people come to the signing, buy a copy of the book, and wait in line for the author to sign it. Most book signings are small events, but sometimes they are very popular. For example, people line up for hours when J. K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter “series” (group of books with the same characters), has her book signings.

Some authors also choose to “appear” (be on a program) on talk shows, either on TV or on the radio. National Public Radio, a radio “network” (station heard or seen in many cities), often invites authors to be on its shows, speak about their books, and “take questions” (answer questions) from listeners who call during the show.

These days, some authors try to use the Iinternet to promote their books. They might offer the first few chapters of their book online for free, either as a PDF file that can be downloaded, or as an “audio book” (a CD or mp3 file where one can listen to the author reading his or her book).

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - a