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  Daily English 998 - Meeting a New Neighbor

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 998 – Meeting a New Neighbor.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 998. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Visit our website at ESLPod.com. Become a member of ESL Podcast and download the Learning Guide for this episode. You can also follow us on Twitter at @eslpod and like us on Facebook at facebook.com/eslpod.

This episode is a dialogue between Nancy and Eric about meeting a new neighbor. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Nancy: Hello there! Hello!

Eric: Hello.

Nancy: I’m Nancy, your neighbor across the street. You’re new to the neighborhood.

Eric: Yes, I just moved in last weekend.

Nancy: That’s nice. How are you settling in?

Eric: Fine, thanks.

Nancy: Would you like to come over and have a cup of coffee? I can give you the scoop on the neighborhood and give you some tips on places to go and things to do in this area.

Eric: Thanks, but I’m kind of busy right now. I’ll take a rain check.

Nancy: No problem. Stop by anytime. We have quite a few social events in the area that you might be interested in.

Eric: I’m not much of a joiner. I tend to keep to myself.

Nancy: Oh, but we couldn’t let you do that. I’m appointing myself your new social secretary. As a new resident in a small town, you should know that everyone will want to meet you. You’ll be inundated with invitations. I can help you sort them out.

Eric: I appreciate your offer, but if I have to fend off neighbors, I’ll do it myself.

Nancy: Well, suit yourself. I don’t recommend turning down too many invitations, or you’ll get a reputation for being a recluse.

Eric: That’s okay with me. I’d rather not be the subject of talk among the busybodies.

Nancy: Busybodies! Well, some people!

[end of dialogue]

Our dialogue begins with Nancy saying to Eric, “Hello there! Hello!” “Hello there” is just an informal way of saying hello. We usually use that when we don’t see someone, and then suddenly we see them, and we’re indicating that we can see them. Eric says, “Hello.” Nancy says, “I’m Nancy, your neighbor across the street.” Your “neighbor” is the person who lives either right next to you or very close to you.

Nancy says, “You’re new to the neighborhood,” meaning you have not been in this area before. Eric says, “Yes, I just moved in last weekend.” “To move in” means to move to a new location. You can “move in” or you can “move out.” Nancy says, “That’s nice. How are you settling in?” “To settle (settle) in” is a two-word phrasal verb meaning to begin to feel comfortable in a new place, to begin to feel like this new place is now familiar to you. Eric says, “Fine, thanks.” He’s settling in just fine.

Nancy then asks, “Would you like to come over and have a cup of coffee?” “To come over” is a phrasal verb meaning to come to my house or to come to where I am. Nancy says, “I can give you the scoop on the neighborhood and give you some tips on places to go and things to do in this area.” The “scoop” (scoop) refers to information, what we might call . . .
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Glossary (sample only)

neighbor – a person who lives nearby, usually on the same street or within a few blocks

* How often do you borrow tools from the neighbors?

to settle in – to begin to feel comfortable in a new place and familiar in a new area

* We just have to unpack a few more boxes and hang a few paintings, and then we should be settled into the new home.

the scoop – inside information; information that is not available to everyone, but is available only to people who are involved in a particular group or activity

* What’s the scoop on Professor Maser’s exams? Are they really difficult?

to take a rain check – to not accept an offer at this time, but make . . .
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Comprehension Questions (sample only)

1. What does Nancy mean when she says, “I can give you the scoop on the neighborhood”?
a) She wants to show him a map of the neighborhood.
b) She wants to show him where it’s safe to walk at night.
c) She wants to share lots of information about the area.

2. What does Eric mean when he says, “I’ll take a rain check”?
a) He isn’t interested right now, but . . .
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What Else Does It Mean? (sample only)

to settle in

The phrase “to settle in,” in this podcast, means to begin to feel comfortable in a new place and familiar in a new area: “Jean-Michel grew up in the countryside, so it took him a long time to settle into his new apartment in the big city.” The phrase “to settle down with (someone)” means to marry and start a family with someone: “Shane traveled and partied a lot in his 20s, but now he’s ready to fall in love and settle down.” The phrase “to settle down” means to calm down and become quiet: “The kids are so noisy! How are we ever going to get them to settle down?” Finally, the phrase “to settle the tab” means to pay the amount owed, usually at a restaurant or bar: “Don’t forget to settle the tab before you leave the bar tonight.”

to fend off

In this podcast, the phrase “to fend off” means to protect or defend oneself against someone or something, especially if it is very aggressive: “Our company is struggling to fend off a larger company that wants to buy us.” . . .
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Culture Note (sample only)

Welcoming New Neighbors

When people move into a neighborhood in the United States, they might expect to be “welcomed” (made to feel that others are glad to have one living nearby) or at least “greeted” (said hello to) by the other residents.

In the past, neighbors would traditionally bring a “casserole” (the main course of a meal, with many different ingredients mixed together and baked in the oven in one dish, usually topped with cheese) or a “pie” (a sweet dessert with a fruit filling between two round pieces of pastry) to welcome a new neighbor. The tradition is still “alive and well” . . .
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