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Lesson Transcript

Jonathan: Making Tough Choices in the US. Welcome Upper Intermediate Season 1 listeners. I’m Jonathan.
Dede: And I’m Dede!
Jonathan: In this lesson, we’ll listen to a conversation between Sheila and Dave at their apartment and learn how to talk about others' opinions using reported speech.
Dede: Dave and Sheila are discussing a decision made by the Supreme Court.
Jonathan: As usual, they will be speaking quite informally, though the topic demands some amount of professionalism,
Dede: All right, you ready?
Jonathan: Let's listen to the conversation!
Sheila: Hey Dave, did you hear about the decision in the Supreme Court case?
Dave: Yeah! I was shocked!
Sheila: I can't believe they said that it was unconstitutional...
Dave: Yeah, I was listening to a political radio show about it.
Sheila: What did they say?
Dave: Well, the host said that the majority of the justices felt that any gun control was a violation of the Second Amendment.
Sheila: The second amend states "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
Dave: Yeah, I don't really get how the government requiring an ID check to buy an assault weapon violates this...
Sheila: Me neither... All the liberal journalists say that the court has gone way off the deep end.
Dave: It sure sounds like it...
Dede: Is it really possible that guns are so unregulated in the United States?
Jonathan: Well, gun control, or lack thereof, is a big issue in the United States.
Dede: There are a lot of instances of gun-related crime, isn’t there.
Jonathan: Unfortunately, that’s true. It has one of the highest rates of gun-violence for industrialized countries in the world.
Dede: So why don’t they want to restrict guns?
Jonathan: A lot of people do want to, but there are many who fight gun control under the idea that the American constitution protects the rights of citizens to maintain weapons.
Dede: Why is that even in the Constitution?
Jonathan: Some of the early leaders of the United States thought that a well-armed populace was necessary to protect freedom.
Dede: I’m not so sure I agree.
Jonathan: I know what you mean. But the struggle between gun-owners and gun-rights supporters and those who see guns as primarily threats to public safety is an important debate in the United States.
Dede: I can understand that…
Jonathan: Anyhow, ready to move on to the vocab?
Dede: Sure thing!
Dede: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
The first word we shall see is:
Jonathan: case [natural native speed]
Dede: a legal dispute brought to a court
Jonathan: case [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: case [natural native speed]
Jonathan: unconstitutional [natural native speed]
Dede: does not obey the rules of the Constitution, the founding document of the United States
Jonathan: unconstitutional [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: unconstitutional [natural native speed]
Jonathan: in violation [natural native speed]
Dede: against, not in accordance with
Jonathan: in violation [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: in violation [natural native speed]
Jonathan: amendment [natural native speed]
Dede: a change to the Constitution
Jonathan: amendment [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: amendment [natural native speed]
Jonathan: to bear [natural native speed]
Dede: to hold, to keep, to support
Jonathan: to bear [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: to bear [natural native speed]
Jonathan: arm [natural native speed]
Dede: weapon, gun
Jonathan: arm [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: arm [natural native speed]
Jonathan: infringed [natural native speed]
Dede: violated, impeded on, taken away
Jonathan: infringed [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: infringed [natural native speed]
Jonathan: militia [natural native speed]
Dede: small, informal army made of non-professional soldiers
Jonathan: militia [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: militia [natural native speed]
Jonathan: liberal [natural native speed]
Dede: on the left side of the political spectrum
Jonathan: liberal [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: liberal [natural native speed]
Jonathan: deep-end [natural native speed]
Dede: the deeper side of a pool
Jonathan: deep-end [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: deep-end [natural native speed]
Dede: That’s it for our vocab. Let’s take a look at some of the words and phrases we have from this dialogue.
Jonathan: Sure thing. We have two and our first is…
Dede: "amendment".
Jonathan: "a change to the Constitution." How was this used in the conversation?
Dede: “The majority of justices felt that any gun control was a violation of the Second Amendment.”
Jonathan: As we learned, an amendment is an official change to the Constitution, the basic law of the United States. Justices of the Supreme Court have the ability to decide if laws obey the Constitution. If they believe they do not, they can declare them unconstitutional and they are made invalid. The next phrase is…
Dede: "gone off the deep end"
Jonathan: As we learned, the deep-end is the deeper part of a swimming pool. In the dialogue, Sheila says “the court has gone way off the deep end.” When we say someone has “gone off the deep-end” it is an expression to say that someone is acting in an unusual or crazy manner.
Dede: Oh… So I think this is a great way to describe you…
Jonathan: Well, I may have gone off the deep-end, but you were the one that pushed me.
Dede: (laughs) I will have to take responsibility for that, won’t I…
Jonathan: You definitely well. I may have gone off the deep end, but I think we’re ready for our grammar.
Dede: Sure thing!

Lesson focus

Jonathan: The focus of this lesson is reported speech.
Dede: You'll be learning how to use reported speech with and without backshift.
Jonathan: Backshift is a term that we use to describe changing the tense of what a person said when we report it.
Dede: When we report someone’s speech, we sometimes have to change the pronoun.
Jonathan: Right, so when Dede says…
Dede: I like cheese.
Jonathan: To report her speech, I would say “She says she likes cheese.”
Dede: As you can see, the pronoun changes. We usually use third person pronouns when reporting speech.
Jonathan: This means we talk about what “he”, “she”, “it”, or “they” said, when talking about someone else.
Dede: The first thing we need when we are reporting speech is a verb.
Jonathan: Most frequently, we hear “to say”, but we can also use “to tell”, “to state”, “to report” or many others.
Dede: Let’s look at some examples of reported speech without using backshift.
Jonathan: Dede will say some sentences and I will use reported speech to tell you what she said. OK, let’s go!
Dede: I love peanuts.
Jonathan: She says that she loves peanuts.
Dede: We will play at the playground.
Jonathan: They say that they will play at the playground.
Dede: I ate breakfast already.
Jonathan: She says that she ate breakfast already.
Dede: As you can hear, only the pronoun changes during these examples. The tense stays the same.
Jonathan: To report speech in this manner, we take the reporting verb, like “to say” and use it in present simple tense.
Dede: Then we state “that” and follow it with what the person says.
Jonathan: This is the easiest way to form reported speech because the tense doesn’t change.
Dede: But often when we hear reported speech, we use backshift.
Jonathan: To indicate that someone said something previously, we use the past simple “said” or “told me” rather than the present simple we talked about before.
Dede: In this lesson, we are only going to look at the present tenses.
Jonathan: When the speaker said something in present simple, using backshift we report it by using the past simple. So if Dede said…
Dede: I love peanuts.
Jonathan: I would report it by saying…
Dede: She said that she loved peanuts.
Jonathan: Or if I said “I eat fish every day”
Dede: I could report it by saying “He said that he ate fish every day”
Jonathan: Great! Now if we have an original statement in present-continuous tense
Dede: Like “I am running”
Jonathan: We report it by using the past continuous.
Dede: She said she was running.
Jonathan: I am getting tired…
Dede: Jonathan said that he was getting tired… I am getting tired too…
Jonathan: So as you heard, we said that we were getting tired…
Dede: Check out the lesson notes for a clearer explanation of backshift and non-backshift reported speech.


Jonathan: And with that, it’s all the time we have for this lesson!
Dede: He said that it was all the time we had for this lesson, so we have to go!
Jonathan: Keep studying, and we can’t wait to see you soon.
Dede: Good luck!
Jonathan: Bye, everyone!