Cultural English

当前位置:首页>Cultural English>001-060
全部 603 001-060 60 061-120 60 121-180 60 181-240 60 241-300 60 301-360 60 361-420 60 421-480 60 481-540 60 541-603 63

上一篇:019 Topics: The Oscars, Pimps, "Down to the wire," "And so forth," and I or It?

下一篇:021 Topics: Minnesota, Interjections, Would rather, rather than, and rather prefer, "smoking gun"

020 Topics: Feeling under the weather, Common abbreviations, Using initials, Now vs. right now

时间:2018-05-01   访问量:2183   View PDF
Complete Transcript
You’re listening to ESL Podcast’s English Café number 20.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast’s English Café episode number 20. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

On this Café, we’re going to talk about a famous sports figure from my childhood, a woman by the name of Billie Jean King. We’ll also talk about some common abbreviations in English, and as always, we’ll answer a few of your questions. Let’s get started.

Billie Jean King was born Billie Jean Moffitt on November 22, 1943, here in California – in Long Beach, California. Long Beach is a city about a half hour from Los Angeles, about a half hour from where I live. Billie Jean King, as she was later known, was one of the greatest female tennis players of her generation.

She won her first major, or important, tennis tournament in 1961 at the famous Wimbledon Tournament in England. A “tournament” (tournament) is a large competition with many different players or teams, all of whom are trying to win a prize, to be the best. Wimbledon is one of the most famous tennis tournaments in the world, and if you follow tennis – that is, if you read about tennis or like to watch it – you know about Wimbledon. King played in the doubles tournament with another female player at Wimbledon.

In tennis (again, you might know this already), players can play “singles,” which is one player against another, or “doubles,” which is two players playing two other players. Sometimes the players are of the same sex – that is, two women or two men. Sometimes they are what we call “mixed doubles,” where one is a man and one is a woman. A person’s “sex,” of course, describes whether he or she is male or female.
King and her partner won at Wimbledon in 1961. They were the youngest team to ever win that tournament, at least up until that time.

King continued to play tennis and eventually began winning tournaments almost every year. She won 39 major titles – tournaments, basically – over the course of her career. 20 of those titles were at Wimbledon. The word “title” (title) refers to the prize that is won at the end of the tournament, which usually consists of money and some sort of trophy. A “trophy” (trophy) is like a little statue or sculpture that they give you that you can put in your house to show that you won this tournament.

King won a lot of different titles – not just doubles as she did in 1961, but also singles and mixed doubles at Wimbledon. She also won titles at other tournaments, including the U.S. Open, the French Open, and the Australian Open. She became the first woman to win more than $100,000 in prizes in just one season, or one year of playing.

In addition to being a great tennis player – and Billie Jean King was indeed a great tennis player – she also became a spokeswoman for women’s tennis. A “spokeswoman” (spokeswoman) is a woman who speaks on behalf of, or for, a larger group. We also have the term “spokesman.” “Spokesman” is the traditional term and usually included both men and women, but with the changes in language and the English language, we now sometimes distinguish a spokeswoman from a spokesman.

The general term that has replaced “spokeswoman” and “spokesman” is “spokesperson.” I really don’t like that particular formation – “spokesperson” – but that is what you will read, and it basically refers to any man or woman who speaks for a certain group. You could have a spokesperson for a church group, or a spokesperson for a political party – anyone who speaks “on behalf of” (that is, for) another group.

One of the things that Billie Jean King tried to do is to get female players the same kind of treatment as male players had in the game at that time. Women earned a lot less money as professional players, mainly because the prizes – the money for winning tournaments – for women players was much less than the prizes for men. But some people didn’t think that women should be treated the same as men because – they said – women were not as good as players as men. The most famous male tennis player who took this position was a man by the name of Bobby Riggs.

Bobby Riggs was an older player, older than Billie Jean King, and he was something of what I would call a “showman.” He was someone who liked publicity, who liked giving interviews, who liked talking to the camera. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the role or place of women in American society was changing. Some people didn’t like those changes and thought that women should have their more traditional roles, I guess, instead of having those roles changed as they were being changed during this time.

Bobby Riggs decided in 1973 to challenge King to a tennis game. In other words, he would play Billie Jean King and show that male players were better than female players. The game became known as the “Battle of the Sexes.” A “battle” is like a fight. I remember this even as a young boy during the early 70s. There was a lot of publicity, a lot of information in the newspaper and on television, about this famous Battle of the Sexes between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King.

Riggs gave a lot of interviews saying how much better men are playing tennis than women, and there was a lot of controversy about his statements. Riggs assumed that he would beat King quite easily. So when the actual game took place, there were a lot of people, including people who didn’t really care about tennis, who wanted to watch the match, the game.

The Battle of the Sexes tennis game was shown on national television. In fact, 50 million people were said to have watched the game. It was played in Houston, Texas, in the south-central part of the U.S. in front of more than 30,000 people. So, this was a huge event that almost everyone paid attention to. What happened? Well, Billie Jean King beat Riggs three sets to nothing. Riggs couldn’t believe that he had lost to Billie Jean King, and for the most part pretty much disappeared from the public eye – that is, the television and newspapers didn’t really talk about Bobby Riggs anymore.

King herself retired from tennis in 1984. “To retire” (retire) means to stop working, usually after a certain age. Before King had retired, however, she started the Women’s Tennis Association and was its first president. She and her then husband, Larry King, helped begin a tournament for tennis teams called World Team Tennis. King coached one of the teams, the Philadelphia Freedoms, which made her one of the first women to coach professional male athletes.

Because of her work for equality for women in tennis, Billie Jean King was honored with medals and inductions or inclusion into various halls of fame. A “Hall of Fame” (fame) is an organization that honors people for their accomplishments in a certain area. There’s a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There’s a Football Hall of Fame – American football, that is. There’s a Baseball Hall of Fame. I don’t think there’s a Podcasters Hall of Fame though – there should be, right?

In August of 2006, the home of the U.S. Open tennis tournament was renamed the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. That’s a little of the story of Billie Jean King, one of the great female tennis players of the twentieth century.

Our next topic is on abbreviations. An “abbreviation” (abbreviation) is a shortened form of a word or phrase. Often the abbreviation is formed by taking the first letter of the different words in the phrase or expression. Let’s talk about some of the more common ones that you will see in English, especially English writing. Two of the most common abbreviations are actually abbreviations of Latin expressions, not English ones.

The first one is “e.g.” (e.g.) stands for, or is short for, a Latin expression and is used when you are going to give a specific example. Now, I should point out that “e.g.” is normally only used in writing. You will occasionally have some people who say “e.g.” aloud when they are giving an example. For example, “He likes different kinds of sweets – e.g., chocolate cake, marshmallows, candy, and so forth.” The “e.g.” tells you that what follows next are examples of what you’re talking about.

A second common abbreviation in English is “i.e.,” and like “e.g.,” it is an abbreviation of a Latin expression. The Latin expression here is “id est” – “i.e.” means “that is.” We use “i.e.” when we want to say the same thing but in a slightly different way – to explain the same concept or ideas using different words.

So you could write, for example, “I’m going to New York City, i.e., the Big Apple.” “The Big Apple” is an expression that is used to refer to the city of New York; “i.e.” is telling you that what comes after that means the same thing as what came before it. You are giving the same idea in different words. Or you could say, “I’m going to go to Los Angeles, i.e., the City of Angels.” Although there aren’t very many angels here, honestly.

Another common abbreviation, also from Latin, is “etc.” That’s “etc” followed by a period “.” “Etc.” stands for the Latin expression “et cetera.” “Et cetera” means “so forth and so on.” It’s often used when we’re giving a list of things but we don’t want to write all the possible examples down, so we’ll use “etc.” to let you know that there are more examples of this than we are giving you.

So, for example, I could say, “I’m going to some of the states on the East Coast of the U.S. – Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, etc.” “Etc.” means there are more states I could list, but I’m only listing a couple of them. Implied in the use of “etc.” usually is the idea that you know the other ones. I don’t have to tell them to you. Though I suppose that’s not always the case.

Two other abbreviations that we use both in speech – when we talk – and in writing are “ASAP” and “FYI.” You will both hear and read these two abbreviations. These are abbreviations that use English expressions. The first one, “ASAP,” means “as soon as possible.” This is an abbreviation that refers to doing something as quickly as possible. If you say to one of your employees, “I need this ASAP,” you’re saying that the employee should do this “as quickly as possible” so that he or she can give it to you.

Another common abbreviation is “FYI.” “FYI” stands for “for your information.” This is an abbreviation we use to give someone additional information that they didn’t ask for but which you think might be useful or helpful to this person. So, if you know that your friend loves cake and you are going to go and buy a cake, you might say to your friend, “FYI, I’m going to go buy some cake.” The “FYI” assumes that the person you’re speaking to will find that information interesting, usually.

I should mention that the abbreviations “ASAP” and “FYI” are capitalized – that is, we use capital letters, usually without periods after the letters. However, in the case of “e.g.” and “i.e.,” we use lowercase letters with periods after each letter, and as I mentioned in the case of “etc.” (etc), it is followed by a period.

One more abbreviation I’ll talk about that has become popular much more recently – probably in the last, I don’t know, 15, 20 years – is “LOL.” “LOL” stands for “laugh out loud” and it is sometimes used in an email or in a phone text message to indicate something that is funny, something that you are laughing at. Just in the last 10 years, the number of abbreviations in English has increased significantly because of things like text messages and Twitter, where people are trying to say as much as possible using the fewest number of words.

So now we have the new abbreviations such as “BTW,” which means “by the way.” You will normally see these in emails, text messages, and tweets or on Facebook, perhaps. You won’t see them in formal writing (“e.g.” and “i.e.” are pretty much only used in formal writing nowadays). So it depends on the context, in terms of which of these abbreviations you might use. There are a lot of other abbreviations. I don’t know what a lot of them mean, to be honest. They were invented by the younger generation.

Now let’s answer some of the questions you have sent to me.

Our first question comes from Ambika (Ambika) in India. This is a question about a popular proverb. A “proverb” (proverb) is a famous saying or expression that people use to describe some truth or often to give some piece of advice to another person. Ambika wanted to know about the proverb “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” A “bird” is a little animal. “In the hand” means that you have the bird in your hand. You’re holding the bird. That’s simple enough.

But what does it mean to say “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”? “To be worth” something means to be as valuable as something or simply to have value. We can talk about what your car is “worth,” meaning how much money could you get if you sold it. “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” A “bush” (bush) could be a former president of the U.S., but here it refers to a small plant. So now you can imagine that there are two little birds in the bush and one little bird in your hand.

The proverb says that having one in your hand is worth just as much, or is just as valuable, as seeing two birds in the bush, even though there’s only one bird. Why? Because you actually have it. You actually possess it. It’s yours. You don’t have the two birds that are in the bush. You can see them, but you don’t own them. You don’t possess them.

When might we use this particular proverb? Well, we would use it when you are telling someone not to give up something that they have now in order to try to get something new because you may not be successful trying to get something new, and in the meantime you’ve given up what you had, which was valuable.

So if I have a job and I want to get a new job, I may discover that in order to get the new job, I have to quit my job and go apply for the new job and hope that I get hired. Someone may say to me, “Well, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Maybe you should not quit your job because you may not get the other job. Of course, if you’re someone who likes to take a risk – who likes to take a chance – then you might quit your job anyway.

Our second question comes from Mustafa (Mustafa) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Mustafa wants to know when we use the word “right” (right). Well, there are lots of uses of the word “right,” but he’s specifically referring to the case where it would be used in a sentence such as, “I am leaving right now.” He wants to know how this is different from the sentence, “I am leaving now.” It’s a good question. The use of the word “right” here is for emphasis – to show that it is something that is going to happen immediately.

If you say, “I’m leaving now,” you may mean that you’re leaving in five minutes or ten minutes. That’s close enough to say, “I’m leaving now.” If you say you’re leaving “right now,” you’re emphasizing that you’re leaving at this very moment – within the next, say, five seconds. That’s the difference between “now” and “right now.” It depends of course on the mind of the speaker, on what the person intends to say, and different situations will call for, or will require, different uses.

The word “right” is also used in another expression that means “immediately,” which is “right away.” “I’m going to leave right away.” That means the same as, “I’m going to leave right now.” Notice, however, that you can’t say “I’m going to leave away.” The word “away” by itself would not mean the same thing as the word “now” by itself. You would have to say “right away.”

If you have a question or comment. You can email us. Email us right now at

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

ESL Podcast’s English Café is written and produced by Dr. Jeff McQuillan and Dr. Lucy Tse. This podcast is copyright 2015 by the Center for Educational Development.

abbreviation – a shortened form of a word or phrase; a portion of a word or letters from a phrase that are used instead of the entire word or phrase to reduce or shorten how much of that word or phrase must be written

* When writing the address on the envelop, Shantell wrote “Rd.,” the abbreviation for “Road.”

e.g. – in Latin, "exempli gratia"; for example; an abbreviation used to introduce a specific example

* Manuel has a sweet tooth and loves all types of desserts, e.g. chocolate cake.

i.e. – in Latin, "id est"; that is; an abbreviation used to state or further explain the same idea already being discussed in a different way

* Annette is an English major, i.e. someone who studies the English language and English literature at a college.

etc. – in Latin, "et cetera"; so forth and so on; an abbreviation meaning that a list of items one has begun continues on in a similar manner, without actually stating the rest of the items on the list

* The entire family gathered for Bernie’s graduation party, including all of his aunts, great aunts, uncles, etc.

ASAP – as soon as possible; an abbreviation used when one needs someone to finish a task as quickly as possible

* Cecile’s manager did not give her an exact date to complete the project, but he did say that she should have it done ASAP.

FYI – for your information; an abbreviation used to give someone additional information that was not asked for, but which might be useful, helpful, or interesting to that person in some way

* When talking to his sister on the phone, Amian said, “FYI, Mom and Dad went to the store, so the house will be empty if you go home right now.”

LOL – laugh out loud; an abbreviation used mainly on the Internet as a way to state that one is laughing at something someone else wrote

* Martha told a joke to her cousin via text message, and her cousin wrote back, “LOL, I hadn’t heard that one before.”

IMHO – in my humble opinion; an abbreviation used before stating one's opinion about a certain topic, usually as a way of politely introducing a disagreement

* In his email, Jerry’s co-worker suggested that they work on researching the project first, but Jerry replied, “IMHO, I think we need to discuss the idea with management first.”

to be humble – to speak and act as though one does not believe oneself to be any better or more important than anyone else; to be respectful and not too proud when talking to other people

* Even though Leoma disagreed with her professor’s opinion, she was humble and stated her disagreement politely.

RSVP – in French, “répondez s'il vous plait”; please respond or please reply; an abbreviation used to ask someone to give an answer to an invitation (a request to visit or attend an event), letting one know if that person can or cannot come

* On Anisa and Derek’s wedding invitations, they wrote, “Please RSVP to 555-123-4567 by May 15th.”

initials – the first letters of each part of one's full name, including one’s first, middle, and last names

* Eduardo Miguel Hernandez usually signed letters with his initials, “E. M. H.”

to confuse (someone) with – to believe that a person is someone else; to make a mistake and think that someone is another person

* A man at the store temporarily confused Terese with a girl he used to go to school with, but he quickly realized his mistake as soon as they started talking.

right – exactly, directly, or immediately; a word used to suggest that an action is important or will occur immediately

* Mr. Sussman needs to leave for work right away and head right to the meeting or else he will be late.

What Insiders Know
The Many Meanings of the Letter “K”

The letter “k” is used as an abbreviation for a lot of different things, “standing for” (representing) many things that are not “related” (not connected to each other).

In baseball, the letter “K” stands for a “strikeout,” which is when a player tries but fails to hit the ball onto the field without it being caught during his turn. We use the verb “to strikeout” in daily English to mean that we have tried but failed to do something. This is often used to describe when a man (or a woman) approaches someone they feel romantic towards but fails to get that person’s interest. Here’s an example:

“My brother tried to put the moves on a beautiful model, but he struck out.”

“To put the moves on (someone)” means to try to become romantic with someone, and “stuck” is the past tense of “strike.” This sentence, then, means that my brother tried to get the beautiful model to be interested in him romantically, but he failed.

If we are talking about “gemstones” (stones that cost a lot of money and are used in jewelry) and valuable metals, such as gold, the letter “k” stands for “carat.” “Carat” is a measure of weight for a stone or metal. So, for example, you might read: “Joan’s new bracelet is made of 14K gold.” However, if we said or read this out loud, we would normally still say “carat” and not “k.”

We also use “k” as an abbreviation for the word “thousand. ” For example: “I bought a lottery ticket last week and won 20k!” When said aloud, Americans would say either “20k” or “20 thousand.” Both are common and acceptable.

上一篇:019 Topics: The Oscars, Pimps, "Down to the wire," "And so forth," and I or It?

下一篇:021 Topics: Minnesota, Interjections, Would rather, rather than, and rather prefer, "smoking gun"