Better at English
050 – Help! I have a horrible neighbor
Neighbors can be great friends, but let’s face it: sometimes they can be absolutely horrible. But what do you do when you’re stuck living next to a neighbor who you just can’t get along with, no matter what you try? In this episode of Better at English, Lori introduces you to the “How To” podcast with Charles Duhigg. It’s a conversational podcast that covers ways to deal with all kinds of life problems, and does so in an entertaining and fun way. And best of all, it has free transcripts that you can use for your English learning. Lori plays some extracts from the conversation, and looks at some of the interesting language.
The full transcript of this episode is here:
Hi English learners! Lori here, your teacher from betteratenglish.com. So nice that you’re here! Come on in, kick off your shoes, sit back and get ready for some English listening practice.
Today I’m going to play you some bits of conversation from one of my current favorite podcasts. It’s not a special English learning podcast; it’s a podcast for native speakers of English. But if you can follow along with the conversations in my own podcast, you should be able to follow this one as well. Just like I do, they have free transcripts available on their website, so you can use them to support your English learning. I’ve put links to everything in the show notes.
The name of the podcast is “How to with Charles Duhigg”. If the name Charles Duhigg is familiar to you, it could be that you’ve heard of his book “T he Power of Habit.” If you’re an upper-intermediate or advanced learner and you’re interested in psychology, I can highly recommend it. The Power of Habit is one of those books that teaches you something useful and just makes your life better. Charles’s podcast is the same: it’s entertaining, of course, but it also teaches you useful strategies that you can apply in your own life.
“How to” is an interview show, so it’s very conversational. Charles helps people figure out how to deal with difficult or awkward problems. He usually has a co-host who is either a celebrity or some kind of expert.
In the episode called “How to confront a crazy neighbor,” Charles’s co-host is comedian and actor Tig Notaro. Their guest is a woman named Sarah. Sarah is in the middle of a very unpleasant and stressful conflict with her neighbor. Charles and Tig are going to help her figure out what to do. First let’s listen to Sarah giving some background information about her living situation:
“My name is Sarah and I’m a college counselor. I work with high school students who are low income, and I just bought a condo this year. This is the first time I’ve ever owned a house or anything. So that was pretty exciting. It’s a small building, there are just three units in it. So it’s me living on the first floor and then a guy who lives behind me and then a family who lives upstairs.”
Sara mentions that she lives in a condo. Condo is short for condominium. In the US, a condo is like an apartment or flat, but with one big difference. Do you know what it is? Can you guess from what you heard? Listen again:
“I just bought a condo this year. This is the first time I’ve ever owned a house or anything. So that was pretty exciting.“
The key word is bought. Sarah said she bought the condo, not that she rents it. So the difference between a condo and an apartment or flat is that in a condo, you own the space that you live in – the unit. You actually buy it, and you can sell it. But in an apartment you just pay rent every month. You don’t actually own an apartment unit. So buying a condo is a much bigger deal than just renting an apartment because it’s such a big financial investment.
In Sarah’s condo building,