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0715 Outsiders Moving In

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 715: Outsiders Moving In.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 715. 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. Go there to download a Learning Guide for this episode, and to help support this podcast by becoming a member.

This episode is called “Outsiders (people who live in other places) Moving In (to a new place; a new neighborhood).” Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Leti: I am sick and tired of people coming from the big cities into our small town and buying up all of the houses and acting like they own the place.

George: This is a dying town and it needs fresh blood. I don’t hear the business owners complaining about the new infusion of money into the town.

Leti: Oh, yeah? Well, the flip side is that their spending is jacking up prices and making it harder for families who have lived here for generations.

George: The times are changing and we need to adapt.

Leti: I say that the newcomers are the ones who need to adapt. After all, they’re moving to our town.

George: With that kind of us against them mentality, there may be a day when you succeed in driving out those newcomers.

Leti: I look forward to that day.

George: All I have to say is beware what you wish for!

[end of dialogue]

Leti begins by saying to George, “I am sick and tired of people coming from the big cities into our small town.” The expression “to be sick and tired” doesn’t mean you’re actually ill; you’re not really sick and you may not even be tired. It’s an expression we use to show that you are angry, that you are frustrated, especially about something that continues to happen over a long period of time. “I’m sick and tired of hearing you talk about your dog and how wonderful it is.” I’m tired of it; I don’t want to hear it anymore, you’ve been talking about it for many days now. Leti is sick and tired of people moving from big cities into her little, small town. She says they are “buying up all of the houses and acting like they own the place.” “To buy up” means the same as “to buy.” The “up” has a certain sense of emphasis, that it’s happening quickly perhaps, or that you are buying all that remains of something, not leaving anything for anyone else. The “outsiders,” people from outside of the little town, “are buying up all of the houses and acting like they own the place.” “To act like you own a place” means to feel too comfortable, or perhaps too confident in a place where you don’t really belong. If you visit someone else’s house that you don’t know very well, and you come into the house and say, “Hey, where’s the refrigerator? I’m hungry,” well, that’s acting like you own the place. It’s also considered rather rude to do such a thing. So, “to act like you own the place” would be to do things that you don’t really have a right to do.

Leti is angry at these outsiders, but George has a different opinion. George says, “This is a dying town.” “To die,” of course, means to end one’s life; a “dying town” would be a town that is no longer doing very well economically; people are leaving, there aren’t enough jobs, things like that. George says the town “needs fresh blood.” “Fresh blood,” here, means new people, people who have not been present before. He says, “I don’t hear the business owners complaining about the new infusion of money into the town.” The business owners, the people who own the stores and other businesses, are happy. They’re not complaining about the new infusion of money. An “infusion” (infusion) really in this case just means addition, something that is added to it larger or bigger. In this case, the town is getting richer because new people are coming in and bringing their money and spending their money in the town.

Leti says, “Oh, yeah? Well, the flip side is that their spending is jacking up prices.” The “flip (flip) side” of something is the opposite side of a certain argument or issue. I could say, “Well, it’s a beautiful, sunny day,” and you could say, “Well, the flip side is it’s going to be very hot.” So it’s the aspect or the thing that you’re not thinking about, usually opposite of what the other person is talking about. It could be positive; it could be negative. Back in the old days, when I was a child, they would sell records, and the records would have a song on each side, especially the small what were called “45s.” So you may have a very popular song on one side, and on the flip side another song by the same singer, perhaps a little less popular; we also called it the “B-side.” In any case, “flip side” here is used generally to mean the other aspect of something that you haven’t considered. Leti says the flip side of these new people moving in – these outsiders – is that their spending is jacking up prices. “To jack up” is a phrasal verb meaning to increase. It’s normally used with the word “prices.” We talk about “jacking up prices,” we’re talking about increasing prices, things are getting more expensive. When you have more people wanting to buy the same amount of things or the same things as other people the price will usually go up, because there are people who are willing to pay more money now. This makes it harder, Leti thinks, for the families who have lived here for generations. A “generation” is usually people who are born around the same time; some people consider 20 years a generation. But in any case, the term here means people who have lived here a long time. My family has lived in the United States for eight generations, which is about right, a little more than that maybe. In any case, a long time is what is meant by this expression. Within a family, a generation are the people who are all born as brothers and sisters or cousins. So my parents is one generation, and my brothers and sisters were the next generation, and my nieces and nephews – the sons and daughters of my brothers and sisters – are a separate generation. So when I say that we’ve lived here for eight generations, I mean my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather – actually grandmother came to the United States; that was the first McQuillan that arrived here, at least from my family. So that’s what a generation is. Anyway, enough about my family; let’s get back to the story. Where were we? Oh, yeah.

George says, “The times are changing and we need to adapt.” “The times are changing” means the world is changing, things are not the same as they were before. He says we need to accept that, “we need to adapt.” “To adapt” (adapt) means to change in response to the changes in your situation or in your environment. “Adapt” has a couple of different meanings; take a look at our Learning Guide for some additional explanations.

Leti says, “I say (meaning my opinion) is that the newcomers are the ones who need to adapt.” The “newcomers” (newcomers – one word) are the people who have just moved into an area; they are new to the area. She says that they are the ones who need to change, to adapt themselves to the small-town life rather than changing it and making those who have lived there for generations adapt. She says, “After all, they’re moving to our town.”

George says, “With that kind of us against them mentality, there may be a day when you succeed in driving out those newcomers.” Let’s start with “us against them mentality.” “Us against them” is the idea that you and your group are opposed to another group, that you have opposite interests or perhaps competing interests; what’s good for them is not good for you, and what’s good for you is not good for them. That’s “us against them” or “us versus them.” “Mentality” is the way of thinking about something; we might call it your “perspective.” George says that with kind of thinking – that kind of perspective, “there may be a day when you succeed in driving out those newcomers,” meaning in the future – some day – you may be successful, you may actually drive out the newcomers. “To drive out” is a two-word phrasal verb that means to do something to make other people leave, especially a neighborhood or a town, to do things that will make them want to leave. There are other meanings of the verb “to drive,” and “to drive out,” as well as the verb “to adapt” that we talked about earlier. All of that information can be found in the Learning Guide for this episode.

George says that Leti and her attitude may drive out these newcomers. Leti says, “I look forward to that day.” “To look forward to (something)” is to be excited about it, to be waiting for it to happen, to want it to happen now. George says, “All I have to say is beware what you wish for!” George is telling Leti that she should “beware” or be careful of what she wishes for, or wants to happen. It’s a phrase we use to warn someone that if he or she gets what he or she wants there may be some bad things that they haven’t thought of, things that you may not expect, so that sometimes we need to be careful about wanting to change things.

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

[start of dialogue]

Leti: I am sick and tired of people coming from the big cities into our small town and buying up all of the houses and acting like they own the place.

George: This is a dying town and it needs fresh blood. I don’t hear the business owners complaining about the new infusion of money into the town.

Leti: Oh, yeah? Well, the flip side is that their spending is jacking up prices and making it harder for the families who have lived here for generations.

George: The times are changing and we need to adapt.

Leti: I say that the newcomers are the ones who need to adapt. After all, they’re moving to our town.

George: With that kind of us against them mentality, there may be a day when you succeed in driving out those newcomers.

Leti: I look forward to that day.

George: All I have to say is beware what you wish for!

[end of dialogue]

We hope you look forward to listening to our scripts by our wonderful scriptwriter, Dr. Lucy Tse.

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

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan, copyright 2011 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
sick and tired – very frustrated and upset about something that continues to happen or has been happening for a long period of time

* I’m sick and tired of hearing Isaac complain about his job!

to buy up – to purchase all of something, so that nothing remains for sale

* Whenever we’re expecting a big storm, people buy up all the flashlights, bottled water, and canned food at the local grocery stores.

to act like (one) owns the place – to seem too comfortable or confident in a place or situation where one does not really belong

* I know she’s the new manager, but I didn’t like the way she walked in on her first day and acted like she owned the place.

dying town – a town or city that is not doing well economically or socially, with few businesses and many empty homes, often because large employers have closed and young people have moved to other places

* Ever since the factory closed, Springfield has been a dying town.

fresh blood – new people or participants; people who have not been present or have not been involved in some activity before

* This company needs some fresh blood with new ideas to increase sales.

infusion – addition; something that is added to something else to make it larger or greater

* Scientific research projects often benefit from the infusion of new technology.

flip side – the opposite of something; a phrase used to present an advantage when one has been talking about a disadvantage, or vice versa

* Desman always speaks with a lot of enthusiasm, but the flip side is that he speaks too quickly.

to jack up prices – to increase the price of something, usually by a large amount; to raise the amount one charges when selling something

* Gasoline stations are using the rising price of oil as an excuse to jack up prices.

generation – a group of people born around the same period of time, such as grandparents, parents, children, and grandchildren

* Why does the younger generation think it is more comfortable with mobile technology than older generations?

times are changing – a phrase used to show that things change over time, especially traditions, behaviors, attitudes, and values

* In the past, women had to wear skirts or dresses, but times changed and now women can wear shorts in public.

to adapt – to change in response to the changes happening in one’s environment; to change in ways that allow one to better fit into society

* This department has a very different way of doing things than my old department, but I think I can adapt.

newcomer – a person who has recently moved to an area or joined an organization

* Levi is a newcomer who has been working here for only a few weeks, but he has already impressed everyone with his management skills.

us against them – the idea that one belongs to a particular group of people fighting against or disagreeing with another group of people

* Managers keep trying to take away our benefits, but I’m a union member and it’s us against them.

mentality – a way of thinking about something; perspective

* My mother always said that a positive, optimistic mentality can help you overcome any problem.

to drive out – to do something that makes other people leave a town or area and not come back; to do or say something that makes a situation so unpleasant for another person that he or she must leave

* Those birds make so much noise that they’ve almost driven us out of our home!

to look forward to – to anticipate something with eagerness and excitement; to be excited about something that is going to happen in the future.

* Thank you for taking the time to read this proposal. I look forward to receiving your response soon.

beware what you wish for – a phrase used to warn someone that the consequences of what he or she is hoping for may not be what he or she expects, and may actually create problems

* Sure, it might be nice if it were sunny every day, but beware what you wish for! Without rain, all the plants would die.

Comprehension Questions
1. What does George mean when he says, “This is a dying town and it needs fresh blood”?
a) Everyone in the town is sick and needs blood.
b) The town is experiencing high unemployment.
c) People are moving away, so new people need to come in.

2. Who are the newcomers?
a) Babies who were born in the past year.
b) People who are moving to the town for the first time.
c) The oldest generation.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to adapt

The verb “to adapt,” in this podcast, means to change in response to the changes happening in one’s environment: “Do you think the water plants in this area will be able to adapt to rising sea levels and warmer ocean temperatures?” The phrase “to adapt” can also mean to change something for some purpose: “How much does it cost to adapt a typical home for wheelchair access?” Or, “We need to adapt these exam materials for non-native speakers.” Finally, the phrase “to adapt a (book/novel/play)” means to change something that was written to prepare it for filming as a movie or TV show: “Ramona was thrilled when her literary agent said a film studio was interested in adapting her book for TV.”

to drive out

In this podcast, the phrase “to drive out” means to do something that makes other people leave a town or area and not come back: “The people of Salem, Massachusetts used to drive out young women whom they thought were witches.” The phrase “to drive (something) up/down” means to make something increase or decrease: “Unrest in the Middle East is driving up gas prices.” Or, “The large number of houses on the market is driving down home prices.” The phrase “What are you driving at?” is used to ask someone what he or she really means, or what his or her main point is: “You’ve been talking for 20 minutes, but I still don’t understand your point. What are you driving at?”

Culture Note
The Consumer Price Index and the Cost of Living Allowance

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measurement of how the prices of “consumer goods” (things bought by individuals and families, not by businesses) change over time. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies a “market basket” (a group of items that are bought and sold) of goods and services and determines how much it would cost to buy all of those goods and services each year.

The CPI is used to measure “inflation” (the decrease in the purchasing power of money over time). It is also used to indicate changes in the “real value” (how much an amount of money in the past is equivalent to today) of prices and income.

The Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) is similar to the CPI. It addresses how much the “cost of living” (the amount of money needed to purchase housing, food, clothing, transportation, etc.) is in different parts of the country. The COLA is used to “adjust” (make changes to) “salaries” (the amount of money one earned for working), usually once a year.

Many web pages help people compare the cost of living in different parts of the country. The cost-of-living “calculators” (formulas) can help people determine how much money they would need to maintain a “comparable” (similar) lifestyle in a different part of the country. For example, one calculator shows that the cost of living in Houston, Texas is 40% lower than the cost of living in Los Angeles, California. Therefore, someone living in Los Angeles “on” (with a certain amount of money) $60,000 per year could maintain the same lifestyle on $36,000 in Houston.

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - b