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Lesson Transcript

Kellie: Having a Job Interview in Britain.
John: In this lesson, you’ll learn about uncountable nouns.
Kellie: The conversation takes place in the office, and is between Lucy and Jessica, a manager at the bank and Lucy’s potential employer.
John: The two of them are strangers, and this is a job interview, so they will be speaking formally.
Kellie: Let’s listen to the conversation!
Jessica: Thank you for agreeing to the interview, Lucy. I must say, I was impressed with your application and your CV. On paper you seem like a very good candidate for our graduate programme.
Lucy: Thank you. The programme really appeals to me so I was very happy to receive the letter inviting me to the interview.
Jessica: I see from your CV that you have recently graduated with a degree in business. What made you interested in our bank?
Lucy: I did some research into the company and I saw that there was a lot of opportunity for somebody that was willing to work hard. I want to learn more about business, and I’m not afraid of hard work.
Jessica: Glad to hear it! You can also make lots of money! Once the graduate programme is completed successfully, you would be placed on a fast track course to higher management. That means long hours and lots of pressure, but also the pay packet and benefits to go with it. Is that what interests you?
Lucy: Yes, the fast track course is what really caught my eye.
Jessica: The path to that course is a difficult one. Until you complete the graduate programme, you have to be willing to listen to those around you, remember their advice and opinions and improve day by day.
Lucy: I’m willing to accept any advice and wisdom given to me.
Jessica: Then you’ll make an excellent tea maker (laugh). We expect hard work from you, but you can also relax and enjoy your time here. The graduate programme is a chance to learn all aspects of the business; including how everyone likes their cups of tea.
Lucy: (laughs) I’ve been told that I make an excellent cup of tea!
Kellie: Job interviews seem like scary things.
John: They can be! Although most of them follow the same pattern and have similar content, you can never be quite sure what will happen.
Kellie: What’s the usual job interview like?
John: The candidate will probably be asked about things on their CV, such as education or relevant employment. They’ll be asked about the company they’re applying to, what they know about it and why they want to work for it.
Kellie: So it’s important to write a good CV first and to prepare?
John: Yep, doing some homework and researching the company is a very good idea.
Kellie: Jessica was making jokes about Lucy making tea. I wouldn’t expect that in a formal situation.
John: Job interviews are stressful and scary so sometimes people will make jokes to make other people feel at ease. This is especially true in Britain as the British sense of humour never really takes a holiday!
Kellie: Making jokes even during a job interview!
John: Yep! This interview didn’t seem that bad as it was only Jessica doing the interviewing and only Lucy answering the questions.
Kellie: There can be more people?
John: Some employers will use a panel for interviews so Lucy could have been sat in front of three, four or maybe even more people. Now that’s scary.
Kellie: Sounds like too much stress for me!
John: There are also group interviews. If Lucy was going to be working in a group, say the bank set targets for a group to achieve, she may have been asked to do a group activity to see how well she works with others. The employer would look for co-operation skills and if she listened to others.
Kellie: Okay, good to know! Now, onto the vocab
John: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson. The first word we shall see is:
Kellie: candidate [natural native speed]
John: a person who applies for a job, election, prize or honour
Kellie: candidate [slowly - broken down by syllable] candidate [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: programme [natural native speed]
John: a plan of activities or events to achieve an aim or a goal
Kellie: programme [slowly - broken down by syllable] programme [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: to invite [natural native speed]
John: to ask someone to attend
Kellie: to invite [slowly - broken down by syllable] to invite [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: fast track [natural native speed]
John: a course or method that allows you to achieve a goal quickly
Kellie: fast track [slowly - broken down by syllable] fast track [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: to catch one’s eye [natural native speed]
John: to attract one’s attention
Kellie: to catch one’s eye [slowly - broken down by syllable] to catch one’s eye [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: pressure [natural native speed]
John: expectations of performance
Kellie: pressure [slowly - broken down by syllable] pressure [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: benefits [natural native speed]
John: things other than the contracted wage that the employer can give
Kellie: benefits [slowly - broken down by syllable] benefits [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: chance [natural native speed]
John: an opportunity or possibility
Kellie: chance [slowly - broken down by syllable] chance [natural native speed]
Kellie: The first vocab word from this lesson is “pressure”.
John: Jessica says that the job will mean “long hours and lots of pressure.” In this case, she’s warning Lucy that there will be a lot of responsibility and a lot of expectation on her to deliver. “Pressure” means those expectations that she will do her job and do it well.
Kellie: Is Jessica trying to talk her out of applying?
John: No. Jobs that are considered “high pressure” are difficult and demanding jobs, but they also have the best rewards. Having a “high pressure” job is what some people want because they like those expectations and stress, or because they think the rewards are worth it.
Kellie: I’ve heard people say that they are “feeling the pressure”.
John: Yeah, that’s when those expectations are starting to be felt. For some it’s a problem, for others it’s the push they need to work harder.
Kellie: In the dialogue, Jessica also mentioned “benefits”.
John: Ah, another thing that comes with high pressure jobs are good benefits.
Kellie: What are benefits?
John: In this context they are things given to an employee as a kind of payment for their work that isn’t their salary or cash bonuses. So, things like a company car, health insurance, gym memberships, store discount schemes, fuel allowance… those are benefits.
Kellie: So things other than money?
John: Yes. They’re still taxable, mainly, but they’re a good bonus and incentive for employees. The bigger companies and better paying jobs usually have a wide variety of benefits for their employees. A statement listing how much the benefits are worth needs to be submitted to the tax office every year.
Kellie: Ah, so you can’t divert wages into benefits and avoid tax.
John: Don’t even try it! Now let’s move on to the grammar.

Lesson focus

Kellie: In this lesson, you’ll learn about uncountable nouns.
John: Yes. Most nouns are classed as countable, or count nouns, and we can make them plural simply by adding an “s” to the end of the word.
Kellie: Like noun and nouns.
John: Good example! We can separate “nouns” into individual units so it’s countable, but other nouns can’t be separated and are called uncountable, or mass nouns.
Kellie: Are there examples of uncountable nouns in the dialogue?
John: Of course! Jessica says “You can also make lots of money”. As money is an uncountable noun, she couldn’t have said “you can also make lots of moneys”.
Kellie: It has to stay in its singular form.
John: That’s right. Another example is “That means long hours and lots of pressure.” Again, pressure is uncountable so you can’t say “lots of pressures”. However, “hours” is a countable noun so it’s okay to say “hours” in this sentence.
Kellie: How can we tell the difference between countable and uncountable nouns?
John: Unfortunately it’s largely a case of learning whether a noun is countable or uncountable. There are some general rules though.
Kellie: Okay, let’s hear them.
John: Generally liquids, like milk or water, are uncountable. Materials such as wood and iron are
also uncountable.
Kellie: How about concepts, such as pressure?
John: I think that’s the biggest group of uncountable nouns. Ideas and concepts can’t be separated into little units so they are uncountable. So things like patience, experience, information, work and research are also uncountable.
Kellie: If I have more than one chair, I can say I have two chairs, with an “s”. I’m guessing that saying “I have two researchs” would be wrong.
John: Yeah, you’d guess right! You’d have to use a quantifier first and for research, you’d use pieces so it should be “I have two pieces of research”. Still no “s”. Or, if you didn’t want to be so specific you could just a generic qualifier such as “lots” – “lots of research”.
Kellie: Like Jessica did in the dialogue.
John: Yes. It’s the easiest way - just remember not to add an “s” when it isn’t needed.


Kellie: Alright! Well, that’s all for this lesson, so thanks for listening, everyone, and be sure to check the lesson notes. Bye!
John: See you next time!