Daily English
Cultural English
Practical English

0998 Meeting a New Neighbor

访问量:
Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 998 – Meeting a New Neighbor.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 998. 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. Become a member of ESL Podcast and download the Learning Guide for this episode. You can also follow us on Twitter at @eslpod and like us on Facebook at facebook.com/eslpod.

This episode is a dialogue between Nancy and Eric about meeting a new neighbor. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Nancy: Hello there! Hello!

Eric: Hello.

Nancy: I’m Nancy, your neighbor across the street. You’re new to the neighborhood.

Eric: Yes, I just moved in last weekend.

Nancy: That’s nice. How are you settling in?

Eric: Fine, thanks.

Nancy: Would you like to come over and have a cup of coffee? I can give you the scoop on the neighborhood and give you some tips on places to go and things to do in this area.

Eric: Thanks, but I’m kind of busy right now. I’ll take a rain check.

Nancy: No problem. Stop by anytime. We have quite a few social events in the area that you might be interested in.

Eric: I’m not much of a joiner. I tend to keep to myself.

Nancy: Oh, but we couldn’t let you do that. I’m appointing myself your new social secretary. As a new resident in a small town, you should know that everyone will want to meet you. You’ll be inundated with invitations. I can help you sort them out.

Eric: I appreciate your offer, but if I have to fend off neighbors, I’ll do it myself.

Nancy: Well, suit yourself. I don’t recommend turning down too many invitations, or you’ll get a reputation for being a recluse.

Eric: That’s okay with me. I’d rather not be the subject of talk among the busybodies.

Nancy: Busybodies! Well, some people!

[end of dialogue]

Our dialogue begins with Nancy saying to Eric, “Hello there! Hello!” “Hello there” is just an informal way of saying hello. We usually use that when we don’t see someone, and then suddenly we see them, and we’re indicating that we can see them. Eric says, “Hello.” Nancy says, “I’m Nancy, your neighbor across the street.” Your “neighbor” is the person who lives either right next to you or very close to you.

Nancy says, “You’re new to the neighborhood,” meaning you have not been in this area before. Eric says, “Yes, I just moved in last weekend.” “To move in” means to move to a new location. You can “move in” or you can “move out.” Nancy says, “That’s nice. How are you settling in?” “To settle (settle) in” is a two-word phrasal verb meaning to begin to feel comfortable in a new place, to begin to feel like this new place is now familiar to you. Eric says, “Fine, thanks.” He’s settling in just fine.

Nancy then asks, “Would you like to come over and have a cup of coffee?” “To come over” is a phrasal verb meaning to come to my house or to come to where I am. Nancy says, “I can give you the scoop on the neighborhood and give you some tips on places to go and things to do in this area.” The “scoop” (scoop) refers to information, what we might call “inside information” – information that is not available to everyone.

If someone says, “I want to give you the scoop on our new boss,” he’s saying, “I want to give you information about our new boss that nobody else knows” (or that perhaps few people know). Nancy invites Eric over to give him “the scoop on the neighborhood.” Notice the preposition “on” comes after “scoop.” If you’re going to give someone the scoop, you’re going to give them the scoop “on” something, or “on” someone. So, the preposition “on” almost always follows “scoop.”

Eric says, “Thanks, but I’m kind of busy right now.” “I’m kind of busy” means “I’m somewhat busy.” “I’ll take a rain check,” he says. “To take a rain (rain) check” is to say, “I can’t do that right now, but I will do it in the future.” When someone offers you something and you can’t do it immediately, you might say, “I’ll take a rain check,” meaning not now, but maybe later – maybe at a different time, at a later time.

Nancy says, “No problem,” meaning that’s okay. “Stop by anytime.” “To stop by” (by) means to stop at someone’s house or where someone is. You can stop by any place, really. “I’m going to the grocery store, and on my way there – before I go there – I’m going to stop by at the gas station and fill up my car with gas.” That’s also another way of using “stop by.” Here, Nancy is using “stop by” to mean come over to my house whenever you want.

She says, “We have quite a few social events in the area that you might be interested in.” A “social event” would be like a party or anything where a group of people get together and have a good time. Eric says, however, “I’m not much of a joiner.” The word “joiner” (joiner) refers to a person who likes to participate in group activities, who likes to join groups to do things.

Eric says he is “not much of a joiner,” meaning he doesn’t like to join groups and spend time with other people, I guess. He says, “I tend to keep to myself.” “To keep to yourself” means to be a private person, a person who doesn’t like talking about himself or giving information about himself. Nancy says, “Oh, but we couldn’t let you do that. I’m appointing myself your new social secretary.”

Nancy is telling Eric that she won’t let him keep to himself, basically. She is going to appoint herself his new social secretary. “To appoint yourself” is to say, “I am going to do this particular job or this particular role, even though no one has asked me to do it.” That is “appointing yourself.” We often use this in a joking way – when someone says, “I’m going to appoint myself the king of this house, and everyone must do what I say.” I tried that. It doesn’t work so well with the queen of my house.

Anyway, Nancy has appointed herself the “new social secretary.” A “social secretary” is a person whose job it is to manage someone’s social appointments – where they go to lunch, the parties they attend, and so forth. Normally, only a very rich or important person would have a social secretary, someone who would handle things that were not related to the person’s business life, but to his or her personal life.

Nancy continues, “As a new resident in a small town, you should know that everyone will want to meet you.” A “resident” is a person who lives in a particular area. I’m a resident of California. When I lived in Minnesota, I was a resident of Minnesota. Nancy is saying that because Eric is new to the area, other people will want to meet him. She says, “You’ll be inundated with invitations.” “To be inundated” (inundated) means to be flooded by, or to have a lot of, something – too much of something.

“I am inundated with emails every morning.” That means lots of people email me, too many people – I can’t possibly respond to all of them. That’s “to be inundated.” Nancy is saying Eric will be inundated with invitations from other people in this small town where he has moved to. She says, “I can help you sort them out.” “To sort something out” is a phrasal verb meaning to look at a large amount of something – a large amount of information, for example – and decide how to categorize it, how to organize it. That’s what Nancy is suggesting she do for Eric.

Eric says, “I appreciate your offer, but if I have to fend off neighbors, I’ll do it myself.” “To fend (fend) off” is a phrasal verb meaning to protect or defend yourself against someone or something, especially if someone is attacking you. Eric, of course, doesn’t think his neighbors are going to attack him. He’s sort of making a joke, saying if he gets a lot of people who want to contact him, he’ll be able to take care of it himself. He will be able “to fend off neighbors” by himself.

Nancy says, “Well, suit yourself.” That expression “suit (suit) yourself” means if that’s the way you want to do it, then go ahead. It’s usually said when someone offers help to another person, and the other person rejects it. The other person says no, and the person who offered their help feels a little offended or a little upset that the other person didn’t accept his help. So, that’s probably why Nancy is saying “suit yourself.”

She’s saying, “Well, I tried to help you, but you say you want to do it a different way, so that’s okay. Fine.” But she’s also saying that that’s probably not a good decision. In a way, it’s a criticism of Eric. She’s saying, by this little expression “suit yourself,” that you are making the wrong decision, and you will probably have negative consequences because of it. That’s a lot to say in two words, but that is in fact what Nancy is saying here. I think.

She says, “I don’t recommend turning down too many invitations, or you’ll get a reputation for being a recluse.” “To turn down an invitation” is to say no to something, to reject something. “Reputation” (reputation) is how other people perceive you, how other people see you, the opinions of other people have of you. Nancy is saying that if Eric turns down a lot of invitations from his neighbors, he’ll get a reputation for being a “recluse” (recluse). A recluse is a person who spends most of his or her time alone without talking to other people.

Eric says, however, “That’s okay with me. I’d rather not be the subject of talk among the busybodies.” A “busybody” (busybody) is someone who gossips about other people, someone who wants to know what’s going on in other people’s lives even though it isn’t any of his or her business. You have no reason to know what is happening with your neighbor’s marriage. If you try to find out, you’re probably being a busybody. You’re trying to get information about the private lives of other people that you have no right to know and shouldn’t be interested in.

However, sometimes it’s very interesting what’s happening with our neighbors, but we should not be busybodies. Nancy is insulted by this term because it is an insulting term. If you say to someone, “You’re a busybody,” that’s an insulting term. That’s a criticism of that person. Nancy says, “Busybodies! Well, some people!” That expression “Some people!” is used to show how you are shocked by what someone has said or what someone has done. You can’t believe it. And that’s what Nancy is saying here.

She is shocked that Eric would basically insult her when she thought she was just trying to be nice to Eric. I have to say, I think Eric is being a little cruel here. Nancy might be a busybody, but it’s probably not a good idea to insult your neighbors the first time you meet them, unless your neighbor is a cat.

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

[start of dialogue]

Nancy: Hello there! Hello!

Eric: Hello.

Nancy: I’m Nancy, your neighbor across the street. You’re new to the neighborhood.

Eric: Yes, I just moved in last weekend.

Nancy: That’s nice. How are you settling in?

Eric: Fine, thanks.

Nancy: Would you like to come over and have a cup of coffee? I can give you the scoop on the neighborhood and give you some tips on places to go and things to do in this area.

Eric: Thanks, but I’m kind of busy right now. I’ll take a rain check.

Nancy: No problem. Stop by anytime. We have quite a few social events in the area that you might be interested in.

Eric: I’m not much of a joiner. I tend to keep to myself.

Nancy: Oh, but we couldn’t let you do that. I’m appointing myself your new social secretary. As a new resident in a small town, you should know that everyone will want to meet you. You’ll be inundated with invitations. I can help you sort them out.

Eric: I appreciate your offer, but if I have to fend off neighbors, I’ll do it myself.

Nancy: Well, suit yourself. I don’t recommend turning down too many invitations or you’ll get a reputation for being a recluse.

Eric: That’s okay with me. I’d rather not be the subject of talk among the busybodies.

Nancy: Busybodies! Well, some people!

[end of dialogue]

She has the reputation for being the finest podcast scriptwriter on the Internet. I speak of course, of our one and only scriptwriter, Dr. Lucy Tse. Thank you, Lucy.

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

English as a Second Language Podcast was written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2014 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
neighbor – a person who lives nearby, usually on the same street or within a few blocks

* How often do you borrow tools from the neighbors?

to settle in – to begin to feel comfortable in a new place and familiar in a new area

* We just have to unpack a few more boxes and hang a few paintings, and then we should be settled into the new home.

the scoop – inside information; information that is not available to everyone, but is available only to people who are involved in a particular group or activity

* What’s the scoop on Professor Maser’s exams? Are they really difficult?

to take a rain check – to not accept an offer at this time, but make arrangements so that the offer will be available in the future when one might be more interested in it

* A: Do you want to go to the movies tonight?

B: Can I take a rain check? I’m really tired and have a ton of studying to do.

joiner – a person who likes to participate in group activities and be involved with other people

* Mariah has always been a joiner. She must be involved in at least five clubs and be a member of several sports teams.

to keep to (oneself) – to be a private person who enjoys spending time alone, not participating in activities with others and not sharing personal information

* Ed tends to keep to himself at work, so none of his coworkers know much about him or his family.

to appoint (oneself) – to accept a particular role or a set of responsibilities even though one has not been asked to do so

* Those cookies smell delicious! I’m going to appoint myself the official taste-tester.

social secretary – a person whose job is to manage someone’s social appointments and meetings in order to maintain important relationships and build a network

* Nancy always remembers her friends’ birthdays and anniversaries. It’s almost as though she has a social secretary to help her.

resident – a person who lives in a particular building, community, or city

* The mayor should represent the interests of all residents in the city.

to be inundated – to be flooded by; to have a lot of something, too much to manage or handle

* After the news story profiling our business, we were inundated by requests for product samples.

to sort (something) out – to review and organize a large amount of something, categorizing them in some way and possibly deciding which ones must be dealt with and which ones can be discarded

* How are we supposed to sort out thousands of job applications for just one position?

to fend off – to protect or defend oneself against someone or something, especially if it is very aggressive

* Brett is such a handsome young man! In a few years, he’ll have to fend off women.

to turn down – to reject; to say “no” to something; to not accept or have something that has been offered

* Everyone was surprised when Jacques turned down the job offer.

reputation – how one is perceived by others, especially by those who do not know one directly

* Hal has a reputation for being a wise, ethical leader.

recluse – hermit; a person who spends most of his or her time alone and does not want to be with other people

* Has Ulysses always been such a recluse, or is his recent withdrawal a sign of depression?

busybody – a gossip; a person who is overly interested in other people’s personal life and wants to have information that does not really affect him or her

* Meghan is such a busybody! At work, she spends more time gossiping about other people than she does doing her job.

some people – a phrase used to show shock and possibly frustration due to another person’s behavior, often used humorously

* Did you see what he just did? Some people!

Comprehension Questions
1. What does Nancy mean when she says, “I can give you the scoop on the neighborhood”?
a) She wants to show him a map of the neighborhood.
b) She wants to show him where it’s safe to walk at night.
c) She wants to share lots of information about the area.

2. What does Eric mean when he says, “I’ll take a rain check”?
a) He isn’t interested right now, but maybe he will be later.
b) He wants to wait until it stops raining outside.
c) He thinks Nancy should pay him some money.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to settle in

The phrase “to settle in,” in this podcast, means to begin to feel comfortable in a new place and familiar in a new area: “Jean-Michel grew up in the countryside, so it took him a long time to settle into his new apartment in the big city.” The phrase “to settle down with (someone)” means to marry and start a family with someone: “Shane traveled and partied a lot in his 20s, but now he’s ready to fall in love and settle down.” The phrase “to settle down” means to calm down and become quiet: “The kids are so noisy! How are we ever going to get them to settle down?” Finally, the phrase “to settle the tab” means to pay the amount owed, usually at a restaurant or bar: “Don’t forget to settle the tab before you leave the bar tonight.”

to fend off

In this podcast, the phrase “to fend off” means to protect or defend oneself against someone or something, especially if it is very aggressive: “Our company is struggling to fend off a larger company that wants to buy us.” The phrase “to fend for (oneself)” means to do something by oneself, without help from others: “You’re 25 years old and you should be able to fend for yourself by now. Stop relying on your parents.” Finally, a “fender” is the long piece of horizontal plastic or metal on the front and back of a car, designed to absorb the impact of a car crash: “The front fender was destroyed in the accident, but the rest of the car was in surprisingly good condition and the driver wasn’t hurt.”

Culture Note
Welcoming New Neighbors

When people move into a neighborhood in the United States, they might expect to be “welcomed” (made to feel that others are glad to have one living nearby) or at least “greeted” (said hello to) by the other residents.

In the past, neighbors would traditionally bring a “casserole” (the main course of a meal, with many different ingredients mixed together and baked in the oven in one dish, usually topped with cheese) or a “pie” (a sweet dessert with a fruit filling between two round pieces of pastry) to welcome a new neighbor. The tradition is still “alive and well” (still happening; still common) in smaller towns and areas, but it is becoming less common in large cities, where people are less likely to know their neighbors.

Today, it is more common for residents to “introduce themselves” (say “hi” and state their names) to new neighbors. They might “inquire” (ask) about the new neighbor’s name, family, and “occupation” (job). And a friendly neighbor might say something like, “Let me know if you need help with anything,” or “Let me know if you ever need to borrow an egg.”

On moving day, when the “moving truck” (a large truck used to move one’s possessions from one apartment or home to another), a neighbor might offer to move boxes or watch the children while the family is moving in, but this is uncommon and the person making the offer probably “would not be sincere” (would not really expect the new neighbor to accept the offer).

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - a