Daily English
Cultural English
Practical English

0747 Visiting a Ranch

访问量:
Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 747: Visiting a Ranch.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 747. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Did you know that we are on Facebook? Oh yes, we are! Go to facebook.com/eslpod. You can also follow us on Twitter @eslpod. And, most importantly, you can go to our website at – what else – eslpod.com.

This episode is a dialogue between Piero and Annie. They’re going to something called a “ranch,” basically a large farm with many different kinds of animals. Let’s get started. Yee-haw!

[start of dialogue]

Piero: What’s all this?

Annie: I’m visiting my sister and brother-in-law’s new ranch next month and I’m getting ready for it. I know I’m a city girl, but I plan to fit right in on that ranch and work alongside all of the other cowboys.

Piero: Well, you look the part. You’ve got your cowboy hat, a lasso, and are those chaps?

Annie: Yes, of course. How else could I ride with them on the cattle drive?

Piero: Cattle drive? Are you sure it’s a working ranch?

Annie: I think so. Why would they buy a ranch if they don’t plan to have horses and livestock?

Piero: Don’t ask me. What’s all that stuff in the bags?

Annie: That’s all equipment I’ll need to ride a horse: a bridle, a bit, and ta-da – my own saddle!

Piero: This is all stuff that they should have at the ranch already, don’t you think?

Annie: Yes, but I’ll need to go horseback riding this weekend to practice.

Piero: That’s a good idea. Have you been riding horses long?

Annie: This weekend will be my first time.

Piero: You’re riding a horse for the first time this weekend and you plan to work at your sister’s ranch next month?

Annie: Sure, how hard could it be? It’s just like riding a bike, right?

[end of dialogue]

Piero begins by asking Annie, “What’s all this?” What is all of this stuff? What are all of these things? Annie says, “I’m visiting my sister and brother-in-law’s new ranch next month and I’m getting ready for it.” A “ranch” is a large farm that usually has lots of cows, horses, and other large animals on it. We often talk about ranches especially here in the western part of the United States, where there used to be very large amounts of land owned by one or two people – a family typically – and they would use that land for cows and horses and growing food. The word “ranch” is, in American English, typically associated with states like Texas or Arizona or California, where there were these large pieces of land that you would find animals on.

That’s where Annie’s going; she’s going to a ranch owned by her sister and her sister’s husband, which would be Annie’s brother-in-law. She says, “I know I’m a city girl” – that is, she’s someone who is raised in a city, not out on a farm, we would call that, perhaps, a “country girl” or “boy” – “but I plan to fit right in on that ranch and work alongside all of the other cowboys.” “To fit in” or “to fit right in” means to be the same as everyone around you. So, you’re wearing same kinds of clothes, you’re acting the same, you’re doing the same things; that’s to fit in. Annie wants to work alongside all of the other cowboys. “Alongside” (alongside – one word) means together with someone else; doing something with someone, standing next to them, or working with them. “Cowboys” are people, usually men, that ride horses, and they take care of the cows and other large animals when they’re riding on their horses. Cowboys are an important part of Western United States culture, and that’s what Annie wants to do.

Piero says, “Well, you look the part.” The expression “to look the part” (part) means that you look the way people expect someone to look, to dress, to act for that particular situation. The word “part” here refers to an actor or an actress who is playing a certain character in a TV show or movie or play. Someone who, for example, is in the play Romeo and Juliet and is playing the character of Romeo would have what we would say the “part” of Romeo. “I have Romeo’s part,” meaning that’s the person I’m going to be in the movie or in the play. “To look the part” means that you look just like that person should look.

Piero observes that Annie has a cowboy hat, a lasso, and chaps. A “cowboy hat” is a very large hat; I’m sure you’ve seen one. It is made of a thick, soft fabric, traditionally worn by men although women can wear them, too. They’re very much associated with Western U.S. culture. You’ll see them in movies about the West. A “lasso” (lasso) is a long rope with a large circle on it that can be used to throw at an animal, for example, in order to catch the animal. “Chaps” (chaps) are clothing that’s similar to a pair of pants. They’re often made of leather. They’re actually worn over your pants to protect them while you are riding a horse. I do not have a cowboy hat, a lasso, or chaps, and I’ve never ridden a horse, but I’ve seen movies, so I know what they are.

Annie says, “Yes, of course (she has these things). How else could I ride with them (the cowboys) on the cattle drive?” A “cattle drive” refers to a process where you have several cowboys who work together to move the cows – we would also call them “cattle” (cattle) – from one place to another over a very long distance. So, it’s how you would move the animals if you were moving to another ranch, for example, or if you were taking them to be sold somewhere.

Piero is surprised, he says, “Cattle drive? Are you sure it’s a working ranch?” That is, it’s a ranch that is still operational, that is still functioning as a ranch. Annie says, “I think so. Why would they buy a ranch if they don’t plan to have horses and livestock?” “Horses,” you probably know, are large animals with four legs. “Livestock” are animals that are raised – are born and grow up on a farm – usually for food or for something the animal produces. Livestock could be anything from cows, sheep, pigs, goats; these are all possible animals that we would call “livestock” (livestock – one word). Piero is asking Annie if this is, in fact, a real ranch with horses and animals. Annie says, “I think so.” Why would they have a ranch without these things?

Piero says, “Don’t ask me. What’s all that stuff in your bags?” In your luggage, the things you use to carry your clothes when you travel. Annie says, “That’s all equipment I’ll need to ride a horse: a bridle, a bit, and ta-da – my own saddle!” A “bridle” (bridle) is something made of leather that you put over the horse’s head, and it allows you to control the horse more easily. There’s another word that is also pronounced “bridal” (bridal), which refers to a woman who’s getting married; we call that woman a “bride.” So, “bridal” would be the adjective referring to the things related to the bride. You wouldn’t want to put a bridle on the bride, of course, unless perhaps you’re the future husband! Annie says that she has a bridle and a bit (bit). A “bit” here is a metal bar that goes in the horse’s mouth, and is used along with the bridle to control the horse. “Bit” has many meanings in English however; take a look at our Learning Guide for some of those. The expression “ta-da” (ta-da or ta-dah) is something we use when we are introducing something surprising, but we’re doing it in sort of a humorous way. It’s an expression that perhaps used to be used by magicians when they were about to do something surprising for the audience. But now, we use it in a humorous, joking way to show something to someone that they might be surprised to see. You want to show someone, for example, your new pair of sunglasses. So you turn around away from them, and you put them on, and then you turn back around and you say, “Ta-da! What do you think?” And they say, “Oh! They’re beautiful,” even if they’re not, because, of course, you don’t want to insult the person. Right? Well, Annie is surprising Piero by saying and showing that she has a saddle (saddle). A “saddle” is the thing that you use to put on top of the horse to sit on the horse so you don’t fall off.

Piero says, “This is all stuff that they should have at the ranch already, don’t you think?” Annie says, “Yes, but I’ll need to go horseback riding this weekend to practice.” “Horseback (one word) riding” is when you ride a horse. You get onto the horse’s back, literally, and you ride the horse; you make it move and you go with it – usually. I have never been horseback riding, and I really don’t want to go horseback riding!

Piero says, “That’s a good idea. Have you been riding horses long (for a long time)?” Annie says, “This weekend will be my first time.” Piero says, “You’re riding a horse for the first time this weekend and you plan to work at your sister’s ranch next month?” Piero’s surprised since, of course, Annie doesn’t have very much experience riding horses; she’s never done it before, and she wants to work on the ranch riding horses. Annie says, “Sure, how hard could it be?” This question is asked when we think something will not be very difficult. She says, “It’s just like riding a bike, right?” It’s similar to riding a bicycle, which I don’t think it is. But what do I know? I’ve never ridden a horse.

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

[start of dialogue]

Piero: What’s all this?

Annie: I’m visiting my sister and brother-in-law’s new ranch next month and I’m getting ready for it. I know I’m a city girl, but I plan to fit right in on that ranch and work alongside all of the other cowboys.

Piero: Well, you look the part. You’ve got your cowboy hat, a lasso, and are those chaps?

Annie: Yes, of course. How else could I ride with them on the cattle drive?

Piero: Cattle drive? Are you sure it’s a working ranch?

Annie: I think so. Why would they buy a ranch if they don’t plan to have horses and livestock?

Piero: Don’t ask me. What’s all that stuff in the bags?

Annie: That’s all equipment I’ll need to ride a horse: a bridle, a bit, and ta-da – my own saddle!

Piero: This is all stuff that they should have at the ranch already, don’t you think?

Annie: Yes, but I need to go horseback riding this weekend to practice.

Piero: That’s a good idea. Have you been riding horses long?

Annie: This weekend will be my first time.

Piero: You’re riding a horse for the first time this weekend and you plan to work at your sister’s ranch next month?

Annie: Sure, how hard could it be? It’s just like riding a bike, right?

[end of dialogue]

If you want to fit right in with all the other kids speaking English you should listen to the scripts by our wonderful writer, 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
ranch – a large farm where many cows, horses, and other large animals are raised

* When Victor got a job working on a ranch, the first thing he did was to buy a good pair of boots.

to fit right in – to be the same as everyone or everything else; to appear to belong in a particular place or situation; to be dressed as other people are dressed and act as other people are acting

* Reya was worried about how her son would do on his first day at school, but he fit right in.

alongside – together with another person; doing something next to or at the same time as another person

* Little kids often play alongside each other rather than playing alone.

to look the part – to appear the way people expect one to appear; to dress and act as one is expected to dress and act

* When Pepe was auditioning for a role as a hippy, he decided to look the part by letting his hair grow long and growing a beard.

cowboy hat – a very large hat made from felt (thick, soft fabric), traditionally worn by men who work outdoors with cows and sheep, used to protect one’s face and eyes from sunlight

* A lot of people wear cowboy hats when they go to country-western dances.

lasso – a long rope with a large circle tied at one end that is thrown to fall over the horns or neck of a cow and then pulled so that the circle becomes smaller and the animal cannot run away

* When Marty was just learning how to use a lasso, he threw it at objects before he started trying to throw it at live animals.

chaps – a piece of clothing similar to pants and made of leather, worn over one’s pants to protect them while riding a horse

* Chaps are great for riding horses, but they make it very difficult to walk.

cattle drive – the process where several cowboys work together to move many cattle (cows) over a long distance

* How many cows die on a typical cattle drive?

horse – a large animal with four legs, used to pull heavy things, such as farm equipment or carriages, and ridden on by people

* If you give a horse an apple or carrot, it will eat it out of your hand.

livestock – animals that are raised on a farm, usually for food, such as cows, sheep, pigs, or goats

* They have many different kinds of livestock on their farm, but they’re considering specializing in sheep.

bridle – the pieces of leather that are placed over a horse’s head and held in the rider’s hands to control where the horse goes

* Make sure the bridle isn’t too small, because you don’t want it to hurt the horse.

bit – the metal bar that is put in a horse’s mouth and held between its teeth, attached to the bridle and used to control how the horse moves

* Sarah thinks it isn’t right to use a bit while riding a horse. After all, would you want to have to hold a piece of metal in your mouth?

ta-da – a phrase spoken or sung when introducing or showing something in a surprising or humorous way

* Ta-da! What do you think of my new dress?

saddle – the large piece of hard leather placed on a horse’s back for a rider to sit on

* After spending all day sitting on the saddle, Mohammed’s back, bottom, and legs were sore.

horseback riding – the practice of riding horses, usually for fun

* They opened a business to offer lessons in horseback riding to children, but they won’t teach children less than six years old because of the risk of falling.

Comprehension Questions
1. What does Annie plan to sit on during the cattle drive?
a) A horse.
b) A truck.
c) A cow.

2. Which of these things goes into a horse’s mouth?
a) Bridle.
b) Bit.
c) Saddle.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to look the part

The phrase “to look the part,” in this podcast, means to appear the way people expect one to appear or to dress and act as one is expected to dress and act: “Alexei believes that if he wants to succeed in the business world, he needs to look the part, so he always wears nice suits and expensive ties.” The phrase “to take part” means to participate or to be involved in something: “The university encourages students to take part in extracurricular activities. The phrases “to play a part” or “to have a part to play” means to have a role in some activity: “Every employee plays a part in our company’s success.” Finally, the phrase “round these parts” means in this local area: “Very few rich people live round these parts.”

bit

In this podcast, the word “bit” means the metal bar that is put in a horse’s mouth and held between its teeth, attached to the bridle and used to control how the horse moves: “Is it difficult to teach a horse to use a bit?” A “bit” also means a small piece or a small amount of something: “This room would look better with a bit of color on the walls.” The phrase “to do (one’s) bit” means to do what one is supposed to in order to help a group reach a goal or as part of a project: “Some people think that they’re doing their bit for the environment by recycling, but that’s just the beginning.” Finally, the phrase “a little bit” means somewhat or maybe: “Nick was a little bit sad when he heard he didn’t get the job, but he’s confident he’ll find something soon.”

Culture Note
Cowgirls in the Old West

When people think about the “Old West” (the lifestyle in the Western United States in the late 1800s), they often “picture” (imagine; see images in their mind of) cowboys, but cowgirls were often working “alongside” (next to; with) them. This was especially true on smaller ranches, where there wasn’t enough money to hire men for all of the work, so the wives and daughters had to help, too.

One of the “challenges” (difficult things; obstacles) for women working as cowgirls in the 1800s was that women were expected to wear long, heavy skirts, and a traditional saddle was “indecent” (socially unacceptable and scandalous or shocking). The “sidesaddle” was a special kind of saddle that allowed a woman to ride a horse with both legs on one side of the horse, but it wasn’t “practical” (able to be used in a real way) for working on a ranch.

Around 1900, cowgirls began wearing “slit skirts” (pants with very wide legs that appeared to be a skirt), which let them ride horses “in public” (where they could be seen by other people). Around the “turn of the century” (late 1800s and early 1900s), Wild West Shows became popular. At these shows, people could watch cowboys and cowgirls “show off” (demonstrate) their skills. One cowgirl in particular, Annie Oakley, became very well known for her “shooting skills” (ability to shoot a gun).

The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas tries to collect stories about cowgirls’ “role” (what one does and is expected to do) in the Old West and educate people about their “contributions” (how someone helps a group achieve some goal).

Comprehension Answers
1 - a

2 - b