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English Dialogues

Follow a story in English through free English Dialogues. There are three levels:

Real Conversations

Recordings of real conversations and interviews, with transcripts of the conversations so you can read and listen at the same time. It is a good way to learn real English.

English Lessons

Dozens of useful English lessons and ideas for teachers and students of any language. Explore the variety of free English lessons and learn!

Interactive Stories

We use stories to learn. The stories contain questions. Learn a new technique for learning languages. It is fun and educational at the same time!

Easy English

Recordings of Easy English Lessons for Beginners.

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Learn ANY language through our bilingual English/Other Language (EOL) files and LLL Service (Live Language Link-up Service).

Almanac

Learn the language of news and weather and world events while following news and weather and world events, and learn to understand and write about them in the English Conversations Almanac.

Road Trip to the Beach

Are you in the club?

Passive Voice

Ok Elsa. I just wanna say for the record that I am really excited.

I am thrilled to be getting out of Arendale.

Present Perfect Continuous

I have been wanting to get out of Arendale.

Relative Clauses

I just want to know where we are going. I don’t understand why it has to be a surprise.

Present Continuous Tense

And you are driving so fast.

Relative Clauses

I don’t know where you learned to drive.

Present Perfect Tense (simple)

I have never even been in a car.

But you seem to know what you are doing so that is good.

Past Continuous Tense

But back to what I was saying.

Present Simple Tense

I don’t understand.

Relative Clauses

Is there any reason why I can’t know where we are going?

Present Continuous Tense

You are still driving so fast.

What do you say Elsa, can you tell me?

No, Anna! It has to be a surprise. No more questions.

That was a pretty firm “no”.

Appropriate

I just hope that where we are going is appropriate for somebody who is wearing a hat and mittens.

It seems like we have been in the car for a really long time.

Metaphor – Figurative Language


Have I ever steered you wrong?

I am your date!

No. You have never steered me wrong.

The Beach

Ok We are here. The beach!

This is so great.

I cant believe we are here. This is so beautiful.

I just wish I had a bathing suit.

Present Perfect Tense (simple)

Don’t worry Anna. I packed everything we need.

Wow! I love my suit. I love yours too.

This is also nice.

Keeping me warm and cosy with my mittens and my hat.

Past Continuous Tense

Anna! I was protecting your beautiful royal skin from the harsh rays.

Future Tense

No w you go and sit over there sand I am going to get in the water.

Past Simple Tense

The water felt so great.

You really should think about getting in the water

Hey Anna! How does the water feel?

I don’t know, Elsa. Still a little hot. I am wearing a hat and mittens with my bathing suit.

No problem, Anna.

Ahhh I am gonna get you for this.

What do you think she did? (Did she throw water on her?)

Link to dialogues with audio and transcript: Mosquito City

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Listening – The Sanskrit Tradition


Look at this template. Can you fill in the blanks?

Presenter: Hello I am ….

Our topic today is …

My guest today is …

Welcome ….


Now Read and Listen:

Guest: I am very glad to be here.

Presenter:It is a pleasure to be with you. You know I think many people who speak English do not realize that our own language as well as most western languages have their origins in what is sometimes called the proto-Indo-european language, which is really the same language from which Sanskrit and the Hindu traditions are derived.

Guest:Yes, English, Russian, Icelandic, French, Greek are all dialects of a mother tongue that is spoken very widely in India and many parts of the world.

Presenter:We think of our language as being western and we think of India and its culture as being eastern but actually they have not only a common linguistic origin but a common cultural basis as well.

Guest:Yes common thought. If we divide east and west I would put the boundary between India and China perhaps. India is western, by my way of thinking.

Presenter:Well, Buddhism which was born in India and then moved to China bridges that gap as well.

Guest: Buddhism is the west and went to the east.

Presenter: There we have an example of how we are much more intimately related to eastern culture than we realize. And many many words in the English language have Sanskrit origins or origins that are traceable to the Sanskrit tradition and the earlier proto-Indo-european language.

Guest: Yes, most of the words in English go back to the Teutonic northern European Icelandic root to the Indo-european root to the Sanskrit or the Vedic …

Listening for Gist


The two speakers speak slowly.You can listen to the conversation and understand most of it if you know the vocabulary. If you do not know vocabulary, it does not matter. You can still note patterns and phrases that are familiar and develop listening skill. Listen for phrases you understand:

we think of ..

the language in which ..

the great equation

is an artificial language

spoken in the wisdom traditions

spoken in the street

a synthetic language

not the street language

a formal language

used by the priests and the philosophers

what is actually spoken in the bazaar

concepts like …

the terms are so precise

they are used

the English equivalents do not exist

states of consciousness

precision for thought and consciousness

you have translated the Upanishads

you have described to me

and then they realized

if they are written down

an oral tradition

to give you an idea

the beginning of the

the sound of the universe

everything has come out

in the world

should be enveloped

only for performing good deeds

only thus and in no other way

it actually is in some ways reminiscent ..

there is something a little deeper

the word “sutra” is interesting

means a string

a string of pearls

nuggets of wisdom

if you pause

the word “human”

a Sanskrit word

the eternal sound

everything that is alive

humanity will ..

the Vedic tradition

eternal cycles

better times are coming

a career in theoretical physics

how the universe came about

there is a sense

the depth of insight

Did you find this helpful? Tell us how you feel about listening in the comments section. Then listen and read with the links below:

More Conversations with Audio and Transcript

1. What is your first language?

2. Twenty four hours I am on the job

3. The Five Elements

4. The Same Thing


5. Chanting the Vedas

6. The Same Thing – Again

Vocabulary Tests

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General

Design

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Time and time again

“Time after time” means “time and time again”. It is another way to say “always” or “forever”.

Poetry and song are an abbreviation of prose. Prose is ordered thought.

Present Continuous Tense and Present Simple Tense

I am lying in my bed.
I hear the clock.
It is ticking.
I am thinking of you.

Link to present Continuous Tense Lesson

Passive Voice

I am caught up in circles.

Link to Passive Voice Lesson

The Use of Nothing

Confusion is nothing new.
It is not new.

I am having flashbacks (memories) of warm nights.

Metaphor

I was almost left behind.
I have a suitcases of memories.

Link to the metaphor page.

Present Continuous Tense and Modals

I am walking too far ahead.
You are calling to me.
I cannot hear what you said.

First Conditional

If you are lost, you can look and you will find me.

Future “will” Continuous Form

I will be waiting.

Time after time.

First Conditional

If you fall, I will catch you.

Time after time.

I will be waiting.
Time after time.

Reported Speech

You said: “Go slow”.

I fall behind.
I get left behind.
I am too slow.

Clock Vocabulary

The second hand unwinds.

There are three hands on a clock face. They are the hour hand, the minute hand and the second hand.

The hour hand, which measures the hours, is not really a hand.
It is an arrow.

The minute hand moves faster than the hour hand.

The second hand moves fastest of all. It counts the seconds.

Link to the Time Page


Link to the Hour Page

Vocabulary Tests

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General

More Songs


Beat – Power words with songs

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You are Beautiful

Transport

I saw you on the subway ..

In New York we call it “subway”. In Paris we call it “metro”. In London we call it “tube” or “underground”.

James Blunt is British but he uses the American term for the urban rail system. Which variety of English is more popular in your region, British or American?

Link to London Accent


Link to French Accent

Link to New York Accent

Non-standard Language

I won’t lose no sleep on that
I won’t lose any sleep over that

A Reference to Drug Use

I was fucking high – I was stoned.


Many young people smoke marijuana in Britain.

Was he high (stoned) on marijuana or just “high on life”?

What do you think?

The Use of Rhyme

I saw your face in a crowded place
I don’t know what to do
I will never be with you

Rhyme is used in Poems. Listen to this poem. Banjo Player’s Brother

The Transcendent Nature of Beauty

In “You are Beautiful” James Blunt writes (and sings) about somebody who he saw on the subway. He was deeply effected by the experience of having seen beauty. Whether it be a human being, a natural place, an object or an idea, the experience of beauty can have a powerful and transcendent effect on our emotional life.

When we arrive at a new mental state we can be aware of what has changed our mood or emotional perspective, but we can also be aware of the mental or emotional state which we were in before the experience of beauty and the change that it wrought.
If the earlier mental state is significantly different from the later one, then it seems more significant for the extent of the change which has come upon us.

Perhaps the author was feeling low or cynical or unable to believe in the possibility of love. Perhaps he was alone or lonely and felt down and dejected and his vision was locked on to a limited perspective of what life can be.

But then he saw a beautiful human being and his perspective was changed. He became aware of another possibility. If somebody as beautiful as this existed, perhaps he could find her or someone like her to fill an emptiness that he felt in his life. Perhaps.

When a person is surrounded by beauty such as when one lives in a magnificent city with an exquisite urban panorama or a hidden valley where the wonders of nature are abundant and ubiquitous, might one become blase and immune to beauty? If one is able to see beautiful things every day, might one become inured to it and in a certain sense, immune to it?

Certainly lack of exposure to beautiful things and the experience of ugliness, whether visual or emotional, will create a certain mental framework which makes the experience of beauty all the more remarkable. And if the beauty which one beholds is human beauty, then how wonderful that moment when one senses the existence of beauty, particularly as one emerges from an ugly place.

Surely human beauty is the supreme expression of that quality which touches our hearts. Human beauty is allied to the faculties of admiration, desire and love. It hints at the possibility of a different life, which is, after, all just another way of viewing this life that we already have.

When we look into the eye of another with trust and admiration and love, do we gaze on god?


Link to the Heart Page

Link to More Songs


Man in Black


Twenty five Minutes to Go

Vocabulary Tests

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How long do we have left?

Johnny Cash sings about a condemned man’s last minutes.

Well they are building a gallows outside my cell and I have got twenty-five minutes to go.

A gallows is a frame to hang a man. Hanging was used to kill convicts in the US. Was the death penalty ever used in your country? Is it still used?

And the whole town is waiting just to hear me yell and I’ve got 24 minutes to go.

“Yell” and “shout” generally mean “speak in an extremely loud voice” for example when shouting for help. “Scream” is usually an expression of emotion which has no intelligible words. But it can also be “a scream for help”.

The Last Meal of a Condemned Man

Well, they gave me some beans for my last meal with twenty-three minutes to go.

Do you like baked beans? They cause flatulence.

And nobody asked me how I feel – I got twenty-two minutes to go.

Government Officials – Mayor, Governor, Sheriff

I sent for the Governor and the whole durn bunch – I got twenty-one minutes to go.

The Governor is the executive head of the State. “”Whole durn bunch” is a non-standard way to say “the whole damn group (of people)

Johnny Cash is from the southern US and often uses southern turns of phrase.

Link to North and South.

Out to Lunch

and I called up the Mayor but he is out to lunch – I got twenty more minutes to go

“He is out to lunch” can also mean “he is not mentally acute” or “he is a fool”.

and the Sheriff said “Boy, I am going to watch you die” with nineteen minutes to go.

So I laughed in his face and I spit in his eye with eighteen minutes to go

Note the non-standard use of the verb “to spit”. It us usually “spit spat spat”

Spanish Language Interference

Now here comes a preacher for to save my soul with thirteen minutes to go

Note the non standard use “for to save” which would usually be “to save”. Is it a grammatical borrowing from Spanish because the southern US is near Mexico where Spanish was spoken? Much of the southern US once belonged to Spain and Mexico. Do you speak Spanish?

Link to the Spanish Page.

Heaven and Hell

and he is talking about burning but I am so cold – I got twelve more minutes to go

It is hot in hell. We talk about “burning in hell”.

Of course heaven exists, but does hell really exist or is it just a creation of the mind?

The Gallows Mechanism

Well they are testing the trap and it chills my spine with eleven minutes to go

A “trap” is a trapdoor that you fall through.

Have you ever used a trap to hunt animals. (different meaning of trap)

and the trap and the rope, well they work just fine – I got ten more minutes to go

A Pardon

I am waiting for the pardon that will set me free with nine more minutes to go

A pardon is a message to exonerate you from a crime. It comes from the Governor or the President.

Non-standard Pronunciation

but this ain’t the movies so forget about me. I got eight more minutes to go.

Note the use of “ain’t”, which means “is not” here. Life in Hollywood is not the same as reality.

with my feet on the trap and my head in the noose – five more minutes to go

Won’t somebody come and cut me loose?
four more minutes to go

I can see the mountains I can see the sky. Three more minutes to go

and it is too durn purty for a man to want to die. I got two more minutes to go.

Note the non-standard pronunciation of “too durn purty” which means “too damn pretty”

Carrion Eaters

I can see the buzzards I can hear the crows with one minute to go

Crows and buzzards are types of birds which eat carrion (dead bodies)

and now I am swinging and here I go o o o o

(the sound of applause)

Thank you … all right!

You can video, audio and notes on culture at this link: North and South.

Johnny Cash

Here is a link to another Johnny Cash Song: Man in Black

Vocabulary Tests

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Beat – Power words with songs

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Advice – What should I do?

Describing People

First guy: Gentlemen. Excuse me. My girlfriend of six months is going away to Paris, France for three months. She is beautiful, young, intelligent and very conscientious. She says she loves me and that she will miss me terribly. She has also got this ex-boyfriend in Paris.He is real smart, talented successful. He is a real nice guy.

Asking for Advice

Before she leaves, she wants me to tell her if there is a future for us. For me and her. My question is, am I wrong in wanting more time, more proof. Is it wrong of me to be so scared?

Giving Advice – Practical Advice

Second Guy: It is important to keep the girl constantly within your sphere of influence. Of course this is difficult to do if she is in another country. I would write many letters, daily if possible. And I do not think it inadvisable to let her know frankly and before she leaves that you have these fears of losing her. She is young. Perhaps she is impressionable. This sounds manipulative but remember she is not just going anywhere. She is going to Paris, France.

A Philosophical Approach


Third Guy:
Relinquishing a hold on someone is an act of love. The giving of affection and the determination to provide comfort are the two practisable elements of love. Love requires no proof. Seen in this light love is a sort of faith since a faith that requires proof wouldn’t be a faith at all. But I will make this distinction: Love is an act. Faith is an ability.


Link to the Philosophy Page

A Realistic Approach

Fourth Guy: The best of all possible approaches to this dilemma is for the two of you to firmly embrace reality for what it is; cruel brutal cold and totally unconcerned with the individual.

Third Guy: I don’t want to sound despairing or at a loss of ideas but the fact is you can do nothing to retain this girl’s love except be the best man you know how to be.

Literature

Do you like reading? Read extracts of literature to increase your vocabulary:

Mailer – The Naked and the Dead

Kerouac – On the Road

http://englishconversations.org/lessons/english-conversation-course/vocabulary-unlawful-and-illegal-a-conundrum/selected-readings-in-literature-1-norman-mailer/

Do you want to find Love? Link to the Romance Page

Do you need advice? Link to the Advice Page

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Power Words – Beat

Some words have many meanings. Learning a few different meanings can stop confusion and increase your vocabulary. This gives you more power to express yourself and also more power to read and understand other people. Look at the word “beat” in this song:

The word “beat” has many meanings. In the song above we hear Buddy Holly sing about the beat of his heart. Listen to the song and read the lyrics.

Look at these words and phrases related to heartbeat:

his heartbeat is irregular
he has no heartbeat
my heart beats for you
My heart is beating faster and faster.
My heart misses a beat when I see you.
with every beat of my heart, I think of you
Kriemhild’d heart beats only for Siegfried

We talk about heartbeat in the context of love but also in the context of medical problems.

Link to a conversation about medical research with audio and transcript.

Michael Jackson

In the song “beat it” , the phrase means “Leave!”, “Go away!” or “Get out of here!” Listen to the song and read the lyrics.

The verb “beat” can mean “subdue” or “defeat”. Look at these phrases:

Sport

The Yankees beat the Mets.
The Yankees were beaten by the Mets.

Dimitrov beat Federer in the tennis.
Federer was beaten by Dimitrov in the tennis.

Grammar Note

Note that the the past simple tense of “beat” is “beat”. The pronunciation does not change and the spelling does not change. The present tense and past tense forms are identical.

War

The government forces beat the rebels.
The rebels were beaten by the government forces.

When the army marches to war, the drummer beats a drum and the soldiers march in time to the beat of the drum.

Johnny Cash

In the song Man in Black, the phrase “beaten down” means “subdued”, “defeated” or “humiliated”. Listen to the song at this link: Man in Black

Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation

A counterculture movement called the Beat Generation was the predecessor of the hippies. Jack Kerouac talks about the Beat generation and the meaning of the word here at this link: The Beat Generation

You can read an extract of Jack Kerouac’s famous novel of the Beat Generation here: On the Road – Selected Readings in Literature

Idioms

“Don’t beat around the bush!” means “Don’t delay!”, “Get to the point!”

Look at these phrases:

Stop beating around the bush and get to the point!
Stop beating about the bush and tell me what is on your mind!

“I am beat” means “I am tired”.

Phrasal Verbs – beat somebody up

“Somebody beat him up” means “somebody hit him many times”.

Word Family


Adjective

He is unbeatable – nobody can defeat him.


Past Participle

He remained unbeaten for his whole career and retired as the world champion at the age of 45.

Verb

He beat me in the test this time but I beat him last time and I will beat him again next time.

Noun

His heart has stopped. There is no heartbeat. Call the ambulance.

Link to more Power Words


Power Words – cell

Link to Vocabulary Tests:

Vocabulary Test – Add

Vocabulary test – Employ

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Man in Black

Listening to songs is a good way to develop pronunciation ability and improve vocabulary.

Listen to the song and read the lyrics.

Look up new words in the dictionary.

Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash is a famous American singer and song writer. He died in 2003.

Do you like the song? Did you learn any vocabulary?
Do you have any questions?
If you have a question, write it in the comments section below.

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