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0579 Telling People Where You’re From

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 579: Telling People Where You’re From.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 579. 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. You probably already know that, but did you know that we also have an ESL Podcast Store, where you can buy additional courses in English? Yeah? And our ESL Podcast Blog, where a couple of times a week we provide even more help in improving your English.

This episode is called “Telling People Where You’re From.” The U.S. is a land of immigrants (people from other countries), but also a country where people move to different parts of the country frequently. This is going to tell you how you tell someone where you came from before you got to where you are now. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Cora: Hi, I’m Cora.

Antonio: I’m Antonio. Nice to meet you.

Cora: Same here. Are you from around here?

Antonio: No, I’m originally from Arkansas. How about you?

Cora: I’m a native Californian, but I grew up in the Middle East. My parents were in the military, so we moved quite a bit, but mainly around the Middle East.

Antonio: That’s really interesting. I spent some time in Jordan myself a few years ago doing research for my company. But I’ve lived in Los Angeles for over 10 years and consider it my adopted hometown.

Cora: Isn’t that funny? Even though I was born here, I only moved back here two months ago. I’m sure you know the city much better than I do.

Antonio: I’d be happy to show you around, to help you get reacquainted with L.A.

Cora: I was only eight years old when my family moved away, so I have a lot of catching up to do.

Antonio: Let’s start next weekend. I’ll show you some of the places where the locals like to hang out.

Cora: That sounds great. Is this how all Angelinos treat newcomers?

Antonio: Absolutely! I’m the city’s one-man welcome wagon.

[end of dialogue]

Cora begins our dialogue by saying, “Hi, I’m Cora (my name is Cora).” Antonio says, “I’m Antonio. Nice to meet you.” Cora says, “Same here,” which is an informal way of saying nice to me you, too: “Same here. Are you from around here?” “To be from around here” means from that local area, born in this particular town or city. So if someone says after meeting me, “Are you from around here?” meaning Los Angeles, I would have to say, “No.”

Antonio says, “No.” He says, “I’m originally from Arkansas.” Arkansas is a state in the central part of the United States, south of Missouri, north of Texas I think. Arkansas is where Antonio is originally from. “Originally from” means the place where you were born. Usually we say that when you haven’t spent a lot of time in your new location. But even now, I’ve been in Los Angeles almost 20 years, if someone asks me where I was originally from I would say St. Paul, Minnesota.

So, Antonio is originally from Arkansas. Cora says, “I’m a native Californian.” “To be native to (some location)” means to have been born in that particular place. In California, most of people who live here – well maybe not most – a lot of the people who live here are not native Californians. They weren’t born in California; they came from other states or other countries. “Native” has a couple of other meanings in English as well, and those are in your Learning Guide for this episode.

Cora says, “I grew up in the Middle East.” So she was born in California, but she “grew up,” she spent her childhood in another place – in the Middle East, referring to the part of the world that is southeast of Europe, northwest of Africa: places like Iraq and Iran and Israel. Those are countries in the Middle East. Well, Cora says that her parents were in the military (the army, or the navy, or the marines), so we moved quite a bit, but mainly around the Middle East. This is not unusual for military families; they get assigned to different places in the world, sometimes frequently. In this case, Cora moved “quite a bit,” meaning a lot.

Antonio says, “That’s really interesting. I spent some time in Jordan myself a few years ago doing research for my company.” “To spend some time” means to do something for an amount of time, usually not very long, but you don’t say exactly how much: “I’m going to spend some time working on my email this afternoon,” maybe 10 minutes, maybe an hour. Or, “I spent some time in New York City.” A couple days, a week, could be longer, you’re not really sure.

Antonio says that he spent some time in Jordan, which is another country in the Middle East, “But I’ve lived in Los Angeles for over 10 years and I consider it my adopted hometown.” Your “hometown” technically is the place where you were born, so my hometown is St. Paul. Your “adopted hometown” is another city that you move to that perhaps you love so much that you say, “Well, this is my hometown now.” I’m going to adopt it, like you would adopt a child I guess or a puppy. I don’t know why you would adopt a puppy, but – well, a cat. Why you would adopt a cat I have no idea! But this is different; this is adopted hometown.

Cora says, “Isn’t that funny (isn’t that interesting)? Even though I was born here, I only moved back here two months ago. I’m sure you know the city much better than I do.” So Cora has been away for all these years, and she’s now coming back to Los Angeles. Antonio, obviously interested romantically in Cora, says, “I’d be happy to show you around, to help you get reacquainted with L.A.” “To show (someone) around” means to take someone to different parts of the city, or to help someone become familiar with the most important things or places. If you come to Los Angeles, I could show you around. I could take you to the beach, I could take you to downtown, to Disneyland, tell you where the good restaurants are, and so forth. That’s to show someone around. This verb “to show” has a couple of different meanings however. This meaning, in this dialogue, is a phrasal verb; for some other examples with different meanings take a look at the Learning Guide.

Antonio says he can help Cora get reacquainted. “To be acquainted with (something)” is to know something, to have some information about something or to know someone, but perhaps not very well. “To get reacquainted” means that you are going to try to become familiar again with someone that you knew a long time ago, or some place that you were in a long time ago, and that is the case with Cora. Antonio is going to help her learn again about Los Angeles.

Cora says, well, “I was only eight years old when my family moved away (moved out of L.A.), so I have a lot of catching up to do.” The expression “to have a lot of catching up to do” means that you need to learn a lot of things in order to become as familiar with something as the other person is, or you need to learn all about these things that have happened when you were gone. “To catch up” is a phrasal verb that in this case means to get up to the same level of knowledge as another person after being gone for some reason. If you watch a television series and you miss a couple of weeks, you may ask your friend to tell you what happened so you can catch up.

Well, Cora has a lot of catching up to do because she’s been away from Los Angeles for so long. Antonio says, seeing an opportunity, “Let’s start next weekend. I’ll show you some of the places where the locals like to hang out.” A “local,” as a noun, is a person who lives in that area. It’s especially a term that you will hear in places where there are lots of tourists. There are the people who come and visit, and then there are the locals, the people who actually live there.

So Antonio is going to show Cora where the locals like to hang out. “To hang out” is a phrasal verb meaning to spend your free time – your leisure time doing things that are fun but aren’t necessarily important. Going with your friends to a café or to a restaurant, those are places where you hang out. It can also be used as a noun; a “hangout” is a place where a particular group of people often go to. That term is especially popular when we are talking about adolescents, high school, and college kids.

Cora says to Antonio, “That sounds great. Is this how all Angelinos treat newcomers?” “Angelino” is someone like me, who lives in Los Angeles. “To treat (someone)” is to act toward someone in a particular way, to behave towards someone: “You should treat other people nicely,” you should be nice to them. Or, “He treated his dog very badly,” he wasn’t very nice to his dog. Maybe the dog wasn’t very nice to him! A “newcomer” (one word - newcomer) is a person who is new to an area, someone who has lived somewhere else and now has come to live in this particular town or city.

So, Cora is asking if all Angelinos treat newcomers, like her, so nicely. Antonio says, “Absolutely! I’m the city’s one-man welcome wagon.” One-man” means one person doing something alone; not necessarily a man, could be a woman. A “welcome wagon” is a service, if you will, that welcomes people who have recently moved to a new area. There isn’t really anything like a welcome wagon in modern America. But sometimes when you move to a new city, the local businesses might send you flyers – might send you advertisements; your neighbors, perhaps, might come up and talk to you and greet you. That would be sort of the idea of a welcome wagon. A “wagon” (wagon) is like a big a big cart that would be pulled by a horse for example, or it could be pulled by humans, and you ride inside of it. If you think back in the 19thcentury in the U.S., when people were coming from the east coast of the U.S. out to the west, out to places like California, they had horses and the horses pulled this mode of transportation called a wagon. It has four wheels on it; usually the wagon was “covered,” meaning there was a top to it. That’s a wagon.

Of course, Antonio is not really being nice to Cora just because he’s nice to newcomers. We get the idea maybe he has some romantic interest in Cora!

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

[start of dialogue]

Cora: Hi, I’m Cora.

Antonio: I’m Antonio. Nice to meet you.

Cora: Same here. Are you from around here?

Antonio: No, I’m originally from Arkansas. How about you?

Cora: I’m a native Californian, but I grew up in the Middle East. My parents were in the military, so we moved quite a bit, but mainly around the Middle East.

Antonio: That’s really interesting. I spent some time in Jordan myself a few years ago doing research for my company. But I’ve lived in Los Angeles for over 10 years and consider it my adopted hometown.

Cora: Isn’t that funny? Even though I was born here, I only moved back here two months ago. I’m sure you know the city much better than I do.

Antonio: I’d be happy to show you around, to help you get reacquainted with L.A.

Cora: I was only eight years old when my family moved away, so I have a lot of catching up to do.

Antonio: Let’s start next weekend. I’ll show you some of the places where the locals like to hang out.

Cora: That sounds great. Is this how all Angelinos treat newcomers?

Antonio: Absolutely! I’m the city’s one-man welcome wagon.

[end of dialogue]

Los Angeles is my adopted hometown, and that of our scriptwriter, Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I am 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 2010 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
from around here – from the local area; born in the surrounding area; born in this town or city

* I’ve lived here most of my adult life, but I’m not from around here.

originally from – referring to the place where one was born, usually when one has not spent very much time in that place

* He’s originally from Delaware, but he has spent most of his adult life in North Dakota.

native – born in a particular place

* Her ancestors for the past 200 years have been natives of Texas.

to grow up in – to spend one’s childhood in a place; to become an adult in a particular place

* Megan grew up in Idaho with her grandparents.

quite a bit – a lot; a large amount

* They ate quite a bit of the casserole, but you can have what’s left.

to spend some time – to do something for an undefined period of time, usually not for very long

* Carolina spent some time working as a waitress before she decided to go back to school and get her nursing degree.

adopted hometown – the town or city where one has chosen to live and where one has now lived for so long that it feels like one has always lived there

* Even though Craig was born in Alaska, he has lived here since 1963 and now he considers Trenton, New Jersey to be his adopted hometown.

to show (someone) around – to take someone to many different places in a city or area, helping him or her become familiar with the most important things

* Sun was really grateful to her co-workers for showing her around Minneapolis when she first moved there for her new job.

to get reacquainted – to become familiar with someone or something after a long period of separation

* We haven’t seen each other in years, but I don’t think it will take us very long to get reacquainted.

to have a lot of catching up to do – to need to learn many things in order to be as familiar with something as another person is, or to learn about all the things that have happened while one was away

* Karina missed about one month of school while she was sick, so now she has a lot of catching up to do if she wants to graduate with her classmates.

local – a person who lives in the local area; a person who is from a particular place

* When they travel on vacation, they try to eat where the locals eat, avoiding the touristy restaurants.

to hang out – to spend one’s free time doing fun but unimportant things, usually with friends

* Do you want to hang out at my house this weekend?

to treat – to act toward someone in a particular way; to behave in a particular way toward another person

* Why are you still dating him if he always treats you badly?

newcomer – a person who is new to an area, having moved there recently from another place

* All the newcomers to New York City get lost the first few times they try to take the subway.

one-man – one-person; doing something alone, without help from others

* That was a great performance by a one-man band. I had no idea one person could play the drums, guitar, and harmonica at the same time!

welcome wagon – a service that welcomes people who have recently moved to a new area, often by giving them food and/or coupons for local businesses

* We weren’t expecting a welcome wagon, but it would have been nice if the neighbors had come over to introduce themselves when we moved into our new home.

Comprehension Questions
1. Which of these people is a native?
a) Someone who is new to the area.
b) Someone who needs someone to show him around.
c) Someone who grew up there.

2. Where is Antonio going to take Cora?
a) On a tour of the local surrounding area.
b) To all the best restaurants in town.
c) To the places where he and his friends like to go.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
native

The word “native,” in this podcast, means born in a particular place: “Natives of Portland, Oregon, tend to be very proud of their city.” When talking about plants, a “native” plant is a plant from a particular area: “They’re trying to attract more local wildlife by planting only native trees and bushes in their yard.” A “native tongue” or “native language” is the first language one learned and spoke as a child: “English is his native language, but he’s also conversant in Portuguese, Mandarin, and French.” Finally, “native” can refer to the cultural traditions of the people who were in a country before Europeans arrived in that country: “Do the people there still wear native clothes, or do they prefer Western jeans and t-shirts?”

to show (someone) around

In this podcast, the phrase “to show (someone) around” means to take someone to many different places in a city or area, helping him or her become familiar with the important things: “This is a small town, so it won’t take long for us to show you around.” The phrase “to show (someone) the door” means to make it obvious that someone is no longer welcome in a particular place and should leave: “When Becca found out her boyfriend had cheated on her, she showed him the door.” The phrase “to show (someone) who’s boss” means to use one’s power and authority over another person: “You have to show your teenage children who’s boss, or else they’ll take control of the entire family.”

Culture Note
Many people “immigrate” (move to another country) to the United States for one reason or another. Some of them even become “quite” (very) famous. A few have become well-known politicians, “shaping” (forming; influencing) the government of their adopted country.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a good example. He was born in Austria in 1947, but moved to the United States in 1968. He became a well-known “bodybuilder” (someone who lifts weights to make one’s muscles larger and more beautiful) and later an actor. Schwarzenegger became involved in politics, sharing his views at important events like the 2004 Republican National “Convention” (meeting). He became the Governor of California in 2003 and he continues to “hold” (have) that “position” (government job) today. The last time California had a “foreign-born” (born in another country) governor was in 1862, when it elected Governor John G. Downey, who was born in Ireland.

Another “notable” (noteworthy; worth noticing; important) foreign-born politician was Henry Kissinger, who was born in Germany in 1923. He was National Security Advisor for the “Nixon Administration” (the government when Richard Nixon was President of the United States) and he later became the Secretary of State. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for his efforts to end the Vietnam War.

The United States has been called “a nation of immigrants,” a country where everyone is themselves an immigrant or is the “descendant” (a blood relative of someone from an earlier time) of an immigrant. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Henry Kissinger are just two of the many immigrants who have made important contributions to their adopted country.

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - c