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0640 Being Genuine and False

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 640: Being Genuine and False.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 640. 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. Why? Well, because if you do, you can download a Learning Guide for this episode that will help you improve your English even faster. Even faster than what, you ask? Even faster than just listening to the episode, you see!

On this episode we’re going to listen to a dialogue between Javier and Floriane. It’s going to be about people who are genuine – people who mean what they say, and people who are false – who say one thing but mean something else. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Javier: I saw Terry cozying up to you this morning. What was that about?

Floriane: He was just offering me some advice on my first proposal.

Javier: Sure, he was. What were his true intentions?

Floriane: I think he was being upfront about wanting to help a new employee. I don’t think he had an ulterior motive.

Javier: I wouldn’t take Terry at face value. He has a reputation around the office of being two-faced. He’ll try to get to know you under false pretenses and then stab you in the back.

Floriane: I don’t get that feeling from Terry. He seemed genuine and open. By the way, was there something you needed?

Javier: Me? No. I was just trying to watch out for you.

Floriane: In that case, I’d better get back to work, and I’ll keep your warning in mind. I’ll beware of anyone giving me advice who may have an ulterior motive.

[end of dialogue]

Javier says to Floriane, “I saw Terry cozying up to you this morning. What was that about?” “To cozy (cozy) up to (someone)” means to do and to say things to try to have a close relationship with the other person, usually because you want something from that person. So, the woman sitting in your office wants to get information from you about your clients – who you are working with. So she comes up to your desk, and she’s very friendly: she brings you a doughnut, she laughs at all of your jokes – you get the idea – she’s cozying up to you. It could be a man with a woman; it could be two women or two men. It’s not a romantic thing, although it could lead to something romantic I suppose. The word “cozy” can also mean comfortable. “To be cozy” means to be comfortable, for example sitting on a comfortable chair.

Well here, someone – Terry – is cozying up to Floriane. Floriane says, “He was just offering me some advice on my first proposal.” A “proposal” is a written document that presents some solution to a problem. Often, it is asking for money in order to carry out – in order to do that solution. You may write a proposal, for example, to get money for a new product, and you give that to your boss or your boss’s boss and someone says yes or no to your proposal. If you are a charitable organization and you want to get money from some rich person, like Bill Gates for example, you would write a proposal and send it to him. I’m not sure if he’ll say yes! That’s what a proposal is, at least in the business sense. In the personal sense, a proposal is when typically a man asks a woman to marry him, but in the business sense it’s something different.

Javier says, “Sure, he was.” Remember Floriane said that Terry was just giving her some advice on her proposal; he wasn’t trying to cozy up to her she says. But Javier doesn’t believe her; he says, “Sure, he was.” Notice he seems to be agreeing with Floriane, but in fact he means the opposite; it depends on the way you say it. If a husband comes home late from work and says that he was working late on a project, if his wife doesn’t believe him she might say, “Sure, you were.” It’s the tone – it’s the intonation that determines what the meaning is here, and here Javier is doubting what Floriane is saying. He says, “What were his true intentions?” “His true intentions” are the real reasons why he was doing something.

Floriane says, “I think he was being upfront about wanting to help a new employee.” He was just trying to help her – he was being upfront. “Upfront” (upfront – one word) means direct, honest, without trying to hide anything. Floriane says, “I don’t think he (Terry) had an ulterior motive.” An “ulterior motive” means a secret, hidden reason for doing something, especially if it has negative consequences for someone else. If someone says, “Oh, I will help you for free,” they might have an ulterior motive; they might have some other reason why they are helping you, not just because they are nice.

Well, Floriane does not think that Terry has an ulterior motive. Javier says, “I wouldn’t take Terry at face value.” “To take (someone) at face value” means to understand or to accept something as it appears, without thinking there is a hidden meaning or hidden explanation. If someone says, “I’m busy, I’m sorry I can’t help you,” you will probably take their word at face value, meaning okay, they’re busy; I believe that. But, Javier says that you should not take Terry at face value. He says that Terry has a reputation around the office for being two-faced. A “reputation” is what other people think about you, it’s other people’s opinions about you. “To be two-faced” means that you are dishonest; you are not trustworthy. You say things to one person, and then you’ll talk to someone else about the same subject and you’ll say something different. You tell one person that you like your boss, you tell another person that you hate your boss; that’s being two-faced. Javier says that Terry will try to get to know you under false pretenses and then stab you in the back. Wow, this Terry’s a pretty evil person! The expression “false pretenses” (pretenses) means dishonestly, not honestly, someone pretending to do or to be something that isn’t real – isn’t true.

Javier says that Terry will try to get to know Floriane under false pretenses. Notice we use the word “under” with this phrase – so under false pretenses. And then, after he knows her, he will stab her in the back. The expression “to stab (stab) (someone) in the back” means to suddenly do something that will hurt the other person. You’ve been very nice to someone, but then when you see an opportunity perhaps to get something you want you will stab that person in the back. You will do something mean – something bad to them in order for you to get what you want. The verb we would use here is “to betray” (betray); “to betray (someone),” to do something that the other person is not expecting in order to hurt them after you have been nice to them. Literally, “to stab someone in the back” would be to take a knife and put it into the back of the person, obviously trying to kill them.

Floriane says, “I don’t get that feeling from Terry.” She doesn’t agree with Javier. She says, “He seemed genuine and open.” “To be genuine” means to be real, to be true. Here, really it means to be sincere; someone who is “sincere” is telling the truth, means what they say. “Open” here means willing to share information with another person, not hiding anything. The word “open” has a couple of different meanings, as does the word “upfront,” which we talked about earlier. Those can be found in our Learning Guide.

Floriane says, “By the way, was there something you needed (Javier)?” Javier says, “Me? No. I was just trying to watch out for you.” “To watch out for (someone)” means to do something to protect the other person, to keep them safe. Floriane says, “In that case, I’d better get back to work (since you don’t want anything else), and I’ll keep your warning in mind.” A “warning” is when someone tells you about something that could go wrong, some potential problem. She says, “I’ll beware of anyone giving me advice who may have an ulterior motive.” “To beware of (someone)” is a phrasal verb meaning to be careful or to be cautious because you know there is a possible danger in this situation.

What we, of course, think here is that Javier is romantically interested in Floriane, and he doesn’t like another man in the office trying to get close to her. Floriane realizes this, and at the end of the dialogue says, “I’ll beware of anyone giving me advice who may have an ulterior motive,” meaning, of course, that Javier has an ulterior motive. He isn’t just trying to protect Floriane; he’s trying to get her to be romantically interested in him. I think he will probably succeed, and one day they’ll get married!

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

[start of dialogue]

Javier: I saw Terry cozying up to you this morning. What was that about?

Floriane: He was just offering me some advice on my first proposal.

Javier: Sure, he was. What were his true intentions?

Floriane: I think he was being upfront about wanting to help a new employee. I don’t think he had an ulterior motive.

Javier: I wouldn’t take Terry at face value. He has a reputation around the office of being two-faced. He’ll try to get to know you under false pretenses and then stab you in the back.

Floriane: I don’t get that feeling from Terry. He seemed genuine and open. By the way, was there something you needed?

Javier: Me? No. I was just trying to watch out for you.

Floriane: In that case, I’d better get back to work, and I’ll keep your warning in mind. I’ll beware of anyone giving me advice who may have an ulterior motive.

[end of dialogue]

The script for this episode was written by our genuinely nice scriptwriter, 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 2010 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
to cozy up to (someone) – to do and say things to try to have a close relationship with another person, often because one wants something from that person; to be very friendly, warm, and open with a person

* Hamed always tries to cozy up to his aunts when he needs money.

proposal – a written document that presents a solution to a problem, usually asking for money in order to implement that solution

* The city has received proposals from five constructions companies that want to repair the bridge.

true intentions – the real reason why someone is doing something; the real purpose of one’s words and/or actions

* When you’re very rich, it’s hard to date, because you never know the other person’s true intentions. Does he love you, or does he just love your money?

upfront – direct, straightforward, and honest, without trying to hide anything

* If you had been upfront about the price from the beginning, we wouldn’t have needed to negotiate for so long.

ulterior motive – a hidden, secret reason for doing something, especially if it has negative consequences for another person

* If a technician offers to fix your computer for free, he may have an ulterior motive, like wanting to see the personal information stored in your files.

at face value – to understand or accept something as it appears, without thinking there is a hidden meaning or explanation

* When he said, “I’ll call you,” Shelly took it at face value, and she was very disappointed when he didn’t actually call her.

reputation – the way one is perceived or thought about by other people, often when they do not know that person well

* Albert has a reputation for being a good student, although he doesn’t study very much.

two-faced – insincere and untrustworthy, often saying different things to different people

* I can’t believe Jeremiah was so two-faced, dating two women at once without letting them know.

false pretenses – dishonestly; with hidden reasons; pretending to do or be something that isn’t true

* Yoland applied for the job under false pretenses, pretending he was interested in the company, but really wanting to learn about its products so that he could copy them for his own company.

to stab (someone) in the back – to betray someone; to unexpectedly do something that another person is not expecting in order to hurt him or her, often after one has been very nice to that person

* After everything we did for that boy, he stabbed us in the back, stealing money from Mariah’s purse when she wasn’t looking.

genuine – real; true; authentic; sincere

* Were you being genuine, or were you just saying that to be nice?

open – willing to share information with another person; not hiding anything

* My brother said that if I want to have more friends, I need to try to be more open and let people know about my hobbies and interests.

to watch out for (someone) – to do something to protect another person from dangers or risks

* Ever since Helena was a little girl, her older brothers have always watched out for her.

warning – caution; a written or spoken statement letting someone know about a potential danger or risk

* Warning! This coffee is hot.

to beware of – to be cautious or careful because one knows there is a potential danger or risk

* Beware of eating wild mushrooms. Some of them are poisonous.

Comprehension Questions
1. What does Javier mean when he says, “I saw Terry cozying up to you this morning”?
a) He saw Terry trying to develop a close relationship with Floriane.
b) He saw Terry standing very close to Floriane, almost touching her.
c) He saw Terry trying to get Floriane to do his work.

2. Why does Javier say Terry is two-faced?
a) Because he isn’t always honest about his intentions.
b) Because his face value is twice that of other people.
c) Because he thinks Terry has a big nose and chin.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
upfront

The word “upfront,” in this podcast, means direct, straightforward, and honest, without trying to hide anything: “If you don’t like something about my writing style, please be upfront and tell me, so that I can try to change it.” When talking about billing or payments, “upfront” means ahead of time, or before goods or services are received: “Marty asks his clients to pay 40% of the total cost upfront before he begins a project, with the other 60% payable upon completion.” As two words, “up front” can mean ahead of someone else, or near the front of a room: “The best students tend to sit up front in the classroom.” Or, “We were sitting up front, very close to the movie screen.”

open

In this podcast, the word “open” means willing to share information with another person and not hiding anything: “Girls really like it when guys are open about their feelings.” The phrase “open to” means willing to consider something, because one hasn’t made a decision yet: “We’re open to working with your company, but we need to consider your competitors, too.” Someone with an “open mind” is willing to consider other opinions and ideas: “Nikolas has an open mind and is friends with people who have many different religious beliefs.” Finally, the phrase “to keep (one’s) eyes and ears open” means to be observant so that one will notice important things: “If you keep your eyes and ears open, you can learn a lot about your new neighbors.”

Culture Note
There are many “counterfeiters” (people who try to make money, documents, and other things look real when they aren’t) who try to “fool” (trick; make someone believe something that isn’t true) people into buying things that are not genuine. When making a “major purchase” (something expensive), it’s important to identify whether the “item” (thing; product) is genuine or “false” (counterfeit; fake; not real).

Many people just rely on the “brand name,” or the name that a company gives to a product. For example, Nike is a brand name. “Theoretically” (in theory; as an idea, but not necessarily in reality) only products produced and sold by the Nike company should have the Nike brand name, but many counterfeiters “copy” (make something similar to) Nike products and put the Nike brand name on them. In this situation, it’s important to examine the product “features” (characteristics) to “differentiate” (tell the difference between) genuine and false goods.

When purchasing a “replacement part” (a new piece used when an old piece can no longer be used) for an automobile, machine, or equipment, “OEM” (original equipment manufacturer) “indicates” (shows; demonstrates) that the replacement part is made by the same company that made the original part, and that there is no difference between the replacement part and the parts that are used when making new products.

When buying gold jewelry, buyers need to know how “pure” (made of only one thing) the gold is. The “carat” is a measurement of the purity of gold. A 24-carat gold ring is 99.9% gold, but an 18-carat ring is only 75% gold. If getting a genuine 24-carat gold ring is important to you, have a “reputable” (reliable and trustworthy; with a good reputation) “jeweler” (a person who makes or sells jewelry) examine the piece for you.

Comprehension Answers
1 - a

2 - a