Daily English
Cultural English
Practical English

1082 Traveling to a Remote Island

访问量:
Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 1,082 – Traveling to a Remote Island.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 1,082. 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. When you do, you can download the Learning Guides for these episodes. Our Learning Guides contain a complete transcript of everything we say, as well as additional cultural notes, definitions, sample sentences, and a whole lot more.

This episode is a dialogue between Leandro and Alysson about going to an island far, far away. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Leandro: When you said you got a plum job working abroad, I thought you were going to Europe or Asia. Where exactly is Hueller Island?

Alysson: It’s in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Here, I’ll show you on the map.

Leandro: Wow, I had no idea you’d be working in such a far-flung place. It’s a bit remote, isn’t it?

Alysson: It is, but it’s also unspoiled and beautiful. I’ve seen photos and it looks like my idea of paradise. See? After I get settled, you should come for a visit.

Leandro: It looks a little desolate. Is it hard to get to?

Alysson: You would need to take a 19-hour flight from here to the mainland and then a two-day boat ride to reach it.

Leandro: Aren’t you worried about living in such isolation? It’s so far from civilization.

Alysson: There are other people living on the island, you know, so it’s not like I wouldn’t see another living soul for days.

Leandro: Oh, I’m glad there’s a community living there. What is the population of Hueller Island?

Alysson: It’s small, which isn’t unusual for an island this size.

Leandro: How small?

Alysson: When I move there, it’ll increase to seven. And if you visit, you’ll make eight.

Leandro: I’ll give the idea of that trip all the consideration it deserves.

[end of dialogue]

Leandro begins our dialogue by saying to Alysson, “When you said you got a plum job working abroad, I thought you were going to Europe or Asia.” A “plum (plum) job” is a very desirable job – a good job that perhaps pays a lot or has a lot of benefits. This expression “a plum job” is actually quite old in English. It goes back at least to the nineteenth century. A “plum” is a small, sweet fruit that was considered very desirable, and so we have a “plum job,” meaning a very desirable job.

Leandro is asking Alysson about a plum job that she got working abroad. The term “abroad” (abroad) means in another country – in a “foreign country,” we could also say. Leandro thought Alysson was getting a job in Europe or Asia. Instead, she appears to be working somewhere called “Hueller Island.” An “island” is a piece of land surrounded by water. Leandro wants to know where Hueller Island is. Alysson says, “It’s in the middle of the Pacific ocean. Here, I’ll show you on a map.” A “map,” of course, is a diagram or drawing of a certain place, a geographical location.

Leandro says, “Wow, I had no idea you’d be working in such a far-flung place.” The term “far-flung” (flung) means very far away, at a very long distance from here. We might also use the term that is used in the title of this episode, “remote” (remote). Something that is remote is very far away from other people – very far away, often, from cities or what we might loosely call “civilization.” It might be a place that is “isolated” – that is, it’s not next to anything else. It is at a great distance from other places.

Leandro says it’s a very remote place – he says, “It’s a bit remote, isn’t it?” “A bit” means a little bit, a small amount. Alysson says, “It is, but it’s also unspoiled and beautiful.” Something that is “unspoiled” is something that is not spoiled. So, you need to know the definition of “spoiled.” Something that is spoiled is something that is ruined, something that has gone bad, something that is in a very poor condition or state. So, “unspoiled” would be a place where very few people have gone – a place that is still, in this case, beautiful.

Alysson says, “I’ve seen photos,” meaning photographs of this island, “and it looks like my idea of paradise.” “Paradise” (paradise) is a perfect place, an ideal place. In some religions, it’s associated with the idea of heaven – a place where you go when you die (if you’re good, of course). But we also use it to describe a beautiful place to visit or often to go on vacation.

Alysson says, “After I get settled, you should come for a visit.” “To get settled” means to become comfortable in a new place or a new position, especially if you are moving from one place to another. If you move from one city to another, it takes a while for you to get settled – to get everything in the right place, to figure out where everything is in your new city, and so forth. Alysson is inviting Leandro to come and visit her.

Leandro says, “It looks a little desolate.” “Desolate” (desolate) means empty. It’s a negative way of describing a place that looks like it doesn’t have very much there. If you drive out into the middle of the desert outside of Los Angeles, many parts of it seem desolate. They seem as though there is nothing there. There is nothing interesting there, although some people love the desert, and so for them, it’s not desolate at all. Leandro says, “Is it,” meaning the island, “hard to get to?” “Is it hard to travel to?” is what he’s asking.

Alysson says, “You would need to take a 19-hour flight from here to the mainland and then a two-day boat ride to reach it.” We use the term “mainland” (mainland) to describe a country that includes one or more islands. However, most of the land of the country is on one of the seven continents: North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Europe, Antarctica, and Australia.

So, in the United States, for example, the mainland consists of the parts of the United States that are part of the North American continent. It does not include the islands, say, of Hawaii, or of Puerto Rico, or of Guam, or of the U.S. Virgin Islands, or other U.S. territories. The mainland, then, is the main part of the country that is located on one of the seven continents. Now, it gets a bit confusing, of course, because Australia is also an island, but you understand the general idea here.

The mainland is the main part of the country. Unless, of course, the country is itself mostly an island. Then you wouldn’t talk about the mainland, since the entire country is an island. It’s only used when a country has both islands and a significant amount of land on one of the continents. Alysson is describing this island and is telling Leandro that he has to fly to the mainland of whatever country this island is part of and then take a two-day boat ride – a ride in a small ship – in order to get to the island.

Leandro says, “Aren’t you worried about living in such isolation?” “Isolation” is when you are alone, when there is no one else around you. He says, “This island is so far from civilization.” “Civilization” means society – a well-developed culture that people have, usually with some sort of established government and social rules and so forth. The word “civilization” can be a tricky one to use nowadays, because traditionally it has been used to describe more industrialized, more Westernized countries and societies versus those that were less so.

More generally, the term is used to describe a place where there are “services,” shall we say: electricity and water and food and stores and houses – things that we associate with modern society. Alysson says, however, “There are other people living on the island, you know, so it’s not like I wouldn’t see another living soul for days.” The expression “another living soul” (soul) means another person, another human being.

Leandro says, “Oh, I’m glad there is a community living there.” He’s glad. He’s happy that there are lots of other people there on this island as well. He then asks, “What is the population of Hueller Island?” “Population” is the number of people living in a certain place. Alysson says, “It’s small, which isn’t unusual for an island this size.” Leandro then asks, “How small?” meaning exactly how many people are we talking about here.

Alysson answers, “When I move there, it’ll increase to seven,” meaning the population will go up to seven. “And if you visit, you’ll make eight.” “You’ll make eight” here means that we will have that number of people. In other words, this island only has six people living on it. If Alysson goes there, the population will go up to seven people, and if Leandro visits, there’ll be eight people there. Now, normally if you visit a place we don’t count that as part of the place’s population, but Alysson is speaking in more general terms here.

Well, Leandro clearly is not very interested in visiting Alysson on this very small island. He says, somewhat sarcastically – somewhat jokingly – “I’ll give the idea of that trip all the consideration it deserves.” “Consideration” means careful thought, when you think about the advantages or disadvantages, the pluses or minuses of something. Leandro is saying that really, he’s not going to think about this at all because it’s not an idea that appeals to him, that he thinks it would be a good one. He’s not going to visit Alysson on this very small island named Hueller island.

Is there a Hueller Island? Well, no. We just made that name up (though there are people named “Hueller”).

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

[start of dialogue]

Leandro: When you said you got a plum job working abroad, I thought you were going to Europe or Asia. Where exactly is Hueller Island?

Alysson: It’s in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Here, I’ll show you on the map.

Leandro: Wow, I had no idea you’d be working in such a far-flung place. It’s a bit remote, isn’t it?

Alysson: It is, but it’s also unspoiled and beautiful. I’ve seen photos and it looks like my idea of paradise. See? After I get settled, you should come for a visit.

Leandro: It looks a little desolate. Is it hard to get to?

Alysson: You would need to take a 19-hour flight from here to the mainland and then a two-day boat ride to reach it.

Leandro: Aren’t you worried about living in such isolation? It’s so far from civilization.

Alysson: There are other people living on the island, you know, so it’s not like I wouldn’t see another living soul for days.

Leandro: Oh, I’m glad there’s a community living there. What is the population of Hueller Island?

Alysson: It’s small, which isn’t unusual for an island this size.

Leandro: How small?

Alysson: When I move there, it’ll increase to seven. And if you visit, you’ll make eight.

Leandro: I’ll give the idea of that trip all the consideration it deserves.

[end of dialogue]

Listening to the scripts of Dr. Lucy Tse, our scriptwriter, is a bit like being in paradise – a wonderful place. 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 2015 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
* Cassie got a plum job that lets her do what she loves best.

island – an area of land that is completely surrounded by water, especially the ocean

* The Hawaiian Islands were formed by underwater volcanic eruptions.

map – a diagram that shows the location of things and that can be used to determine how to go somewhere

* This map shows the capitals of each country in Africa.

far-flung – very far away; remote

* Jamison’s far-flung adventures have taken him to the highest mountains, the deepest oceans, the center of the rainforest, and the North Pole.

remote – very far away from other people; not near cities, civilization, or other people

* Why did they open a store in such a remote location, where there are so few customers?

unspoiled – not ruined, especially not affected in a negative way by humans

* This forest is one of the last remaining unspoiled places in the country.

paradise – heaven; a place and/or situation where everything is ideal, beautiful, and perfect

* Spending a week on a sandy beach with no responsibilities sounds like paradise!

to get settled – to become comfortable in a new place or position, especially after one has moved and/or started a new job

* It took Tamara a few weeks to get settled at college, but now she’s comfortable and doing well in her classes.

desolate – without any people or things; empty and barren

* This apartment feels so desolate without any furniturem or paintings on the walls.

mainland – a very large area of land that makes up most of a country’s territory; not an island

* We sailed out into the ocean until we couldn’t see the mainland anymore.

isolation – the state of being alone, without other people, or with the feeling of not being able to connect with other people

* Sometimes the prison uses temporary isolation as a punishment for prisoners who break the rules.

civilization – society; a well-developed group of people living together with an established government rules and social norms

* Many of the ideas behind American democracy come from Greek civilization.

another living soul – another person; another human being

* We went hiking in the wilderness and didn’t see another living soul for four days.

population – the number of people living in a particular area or country

* As the population increases, the city will have to create new housing.

to make – to be a certain number or amount of something; to achieve a certain level

* When Frank and Holly announced they were expecting a baby, we sent them a balloon with the words “Baby Makes Three.”

consideration – careful thought, especially about the advantages and disadvantages of something, often before making a decision

* Thank you for your consideration of my application. I hope you’ll call me to schedule an interview soon.

Comprehension Questions
1. What is a plum job?
a) A job in the food industry.
b) A job that allows telecommuting.
c) A job that is very good and pays well.

2. What does Alysson mean when she says, “After I get settled, you should come for a visit”?
a) She wants him to visit once she has received her first paycheck.
b) She wants him to visit once there are more settlers on the island.
c) She wants him to visit once she feels comfortable in her new environment.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
remote

The word “remote,” in this podcast, means very far away, not near cities, civilization, or other people: “On a bad day, Brett wishes he could run away to a remote cabin where no one could find him.” The phrase “to work remotely” means to telecommute, or to work from home, not at the main office: “All our employees are allowed to work remotely one or two days per week.” A “remote” is a remote control, or a small, wireless device with many buttons used to control a TV, DVD player, stereo, or other electronic device or machine: “The volume button on the remote isn’t working anymore. Maybe it needs new batteries.” Finally, a “remote possibility” is something that is very unlikely to happen: “Since I don’t meet most of the qualifications, getting that job seems like a remote possibility.”

to make

In this podcast, the verb “to make” means to be a certain number or amount of something, or to achieve a certain level: “Wow, the Madisons just said they will come to our Thanksgiving dinner, so that makes 23 guests!” The verb “to make” also means to be promoted or to receive a position or honor: “She is the youngest person ever to make vice president in this firm.” The phrase “to make (an event)” can also mean to be able to attend something: “I won’t be able to make the meeting. Can you take notes for me?” Finally, the phrase “to make believe” means to use one’s imagination and pretend that something is real or true: “We all tried to make believe this plan could work, but I think we all knew it would fail.”

Culture Note
Remote U.S. Possessions

A U.S. “possession” or “territory” is an area that is “governed” (ruled) by the United States, “whereas” (while in contrast) a state shares “sovereignty” (the right for an area to govern itself) with the “federal” (national) government. The “better-known” (known by many or most people) U.S. territories include Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, as well as American Samoa. But there are many “lesser-known” (not known by as many people) possessions, too.

Several U.S. possessions were “taken” (made part of the United States) under the Guano Islands Act, which was “enacted” (made into law) in 1856. The law allowed the United States to take possession of “uninhabited” (without anyone living there) islands with “guano deposits” (large amounts of bird poop) that could be collected and used as “fertilizer” (substances that improve the soil for growing crops) and as a “component” (ingredient; part) of “gunpowder” (the explosive substance used in guns and other weapons.

More than 100 islands were “claimed” (taken and declared as U.S. property) under the Act, but only a few of them “remain” (are still) U.S. possessions today. These include Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands, the Johnston “Atoll” (a ring-shaped island made of coral), Kingman Reef, the Midway Atoll, and Palmyra Atoll in the North, Central, and South Pacific Ocean. They are almost “equidistant” (the same distance to two points, one on each side) between Asia and North America. Another possession, Navassa Island, is in the Caribbean Sea, but its possession is “disputed” (being argued about), because Haiti also claims it.

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - c