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Lesson Transcript

Jonathan: Hello everyone! This is Jonathan.
Dede: And I’m Dede! Happy Hours for Happy Days in the US.
Jonathan: In this lesson, we’ll listen to a conversation at a bar in Washington, D.C. and learn about using noun phrases in sentences, and how to gossip about politics.
Dede: This conversation takes place between Sheila and Dave.
Jonathan: They’re good friends and relaxing at a bar, so it’s going to be the most informal conversation we’ve had yet.
Dede: Alright, let’s listen to the conversation!
SHEILA: I'm glad we could meet up for Happy Hour today, I almost couldn't get off work in time.
DAVE: Me too. I love drinks that cost less than three dollars.
SHEILA: Haha... Oh Dave... I forget that you were a frat-boy.
DAVE: Sure was! Delta Tau Chi all the way! So did you see the State of the Union?
SHEILA: Oh my goodness, yeah. He will say anything to be re-elected won't he?
DAVE: He's a total flip-flopper. He said that he was pro-choice. Then he passed a law restricting abortions!
SHEILA: Ugh, utterly spineless. It's like his opinion comes straight from the polls.
DAVE: Isn't democracy amazing?
SHEILA: Sure is! Let's drink to that.
DAVE: Cheers to democracy!
SHEILA: Long live the Republic!
Dede: Okay, so in this dialogue, we have a lot of cultural concepts that might not be familiar to our listeners. First, what’s a happy hour, and what’s a flip-flopper? Also… what is Delta Tau Chi?
Jonathan: Very good questions, there is a lot of culture in this dialogue, isn’t there? Happy hours are special times at bars that usually have cheap drinks and are crowded; a lot of flirting and gossiping is fueled by the alcohol and there is a whole D.C. culture that surrounds them.
Dede: OK… But what about a flip-flopper?
Jonathan: We’ll we will get to that more in the vocab, but in short, it is a favorite criticism for political people to call someone a “flip-flopper”. It means that they change their views and do not have a firm moral center. This is seen by a lot of people as even more negative than someone holding a view opposite to theirs. People feel that flip-floppers lack principles and dignity.
Dede: Got it, so their views are always changing.
Jonathan: Right. As for Delta Tau Chi, it is the name of a fraternity. Fraternities are social organizations that exist at universities.
Dede: I see… and they like cheap beer?
Jonathan: Well, who doesn’t? But yes, they are known for that. Alright, are you ready for vocab?
Dede: Let’s go!
Jonathan: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Dede: The first word we shall see is:
Jonathan: happy hour [natural native speed]
Dede: a time period at a bar (usually 1-2 hours in the early evening) when drinks are at a lower price
Jonathan: happy hour [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: happy hour [natural native speed]
Next is:
Jonathan: frat-boy [natural native speed]
Dede: A male who is/was a member of a fraternity, an all-male social organization at universities known for partying. The female equivalent is a sorority.
Jonathan: frat-boy [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: frat-boy [natural native speed]
Next we have:
Jonathan: the State of the Union [natural native speed]
Dede: A speech the President of the United States makes every year to talk about his accomplishme nts and plans
Jonathan: the State of the Union [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: the State of the Union [natural native speed]
Next is:
Jonathan: to be re-elected [natural native speed]
Dede: to be elected again
Jonathan: be re-elected [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: be re-elected [natural native speed]
Next we have:
Jonathan: flip-flopper [natural native speed]
Dede: a politician that changes his or her views on issues
Jonathan: flip-flopper [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: flip-flopper [natural native speed]
Next is:
Jonathan: pro-choice [natural native speed]
Dede: supportive of abortion rights for women
Jonathan: pro-choice [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: pro-choice [natural native speed]
Next we have:
Jonathan: spineless [natural native speed]
Dede: without firm ideals or morals
Jonathan: spineless [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: spineless [natural native speed]
Next is:
Jonathan: poll [natural native speed]
Dede: a survey conducted to measure public opinion
Jonathan: poll [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: poll [natural native speed]
Next we have:
Jonathan: cheers [natural native speed]
Dede: a common toast
Jonathan: cheers [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: cheers [natural native speed]
Next is:
Jonathan: Republic [natural native speed]
Dede: a system of government which elects people that then make laws
Jonathan: Republic [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: Republic [natural native speed]
Jonathan: Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Dede: The first word/phrase we’ll look at is....
Jonathan: Cheers!
Dede: This is a common toast made when drinking. But in the dialogue, Dave doesn’t just say Cheers, he says “Cheers to democracy”
Jonathan: Right - Here Dave is somewhat sarcastically toasting the system of government of the United States. As we just learned, “Cheers” is a common toast in the United States when we are drinking. We can also say “Long live” something that we like and personally want to last a long time. What do you like Dede?
Dede: Uhmm… kittens!
Jonathan: Okay then - Cheers to kittens!
Dede: Haha, and Long live cats!
Jonathan: Haha, let’s move onto the next phrase then.
Dede: State of the Union
Jonathan: How was it used in the dialogue?
Dede: Dave asks Sheila: “Did you see the State of the Union?”
Jonathan: As we mentioned in the vocab section, the State of the Union is an annual address that the president gives to the nation. It used to be written most of the time but in the 20th century most presidents have delivered it orally and it draws tens of millions of viewers every year. Presidents outline their plans for the next year and review their successes and challenges.
Dede: So if you were president, what you would talk about during your State of the Union?
Jonathan: Mostly about how the world needs to learn English…
Dede: With EnglishClass101.com?
Jonathan: Of course!!
Dede: Cheers to EnglishClass101.com!
Jonathan: And with that, let’s move onto the grammar.

Lesson focus

Dede: The focus of this lesson is using noun phrases in sentences.
Jonathan: Dave says “I love drinks that cost less than three dollars.”
Dede: In this sentence, we hear a noun phrase used as a direct object.
Jonathan: But we’ll start by discussing their use as the subject of a sentence.
Dede: A noun clause is a phrase that functions as a noun in a sentence. When we say…
Jonathan: “People who are tall often play basketball”
Dede: We are using the noun clause…
Jonathan: “People who are tall”
Dede: By itself, this phrase is not a sentence, but we use the entire phrase as the subject of the sentence. Let’s look at some examples of noun clauses as the subjects of sentences
Jonathan: Animals that live in people’s homes must be well-trained.
Dede: The noun clause here is…
Jonathan: “Animals that live in people’s homes”
Dede: The next example is…
Jonathan: "Bags made in Italy are very expensive."
Dede: The noun clause there is…
Jonathan: “Bags made in Italy”
Dede: Noun clauses can also be used at the end of a sentence as a direct object. In the example from the dialogue, Dave says that he likes “drinks that cost less than three dollars.” “drinks that cost less than three dollars” is a noun clause functioning as an object for the sentence.
Jonathan: Exactly. Noun clauses, either as objects or subjects, they are a great way to spice up your speaking and writing. Use them to conserve words and to make your communication more effective and targeted.
Dede: Right. Instead of these two sentences.
Jonathan: He bought a car. It was made in Japan.
Dede: We can say…
Jonathan: He bought a car made in Japan.
Dede: See how it can make our writing and speaking more economical?
Jonathan: Yeah, it’s a great way to sound more natural and use more complicated sentences, especially when writing.
Dede: Try some out today!


Jonathan: Well, that just about wraps it up!
Dede: That’s right.
Jonathan: We’ll be back next lesson for more English learning fun!
Dede: See you soon!