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English Teacher John Show 68

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Today we talk about babies, birth and borrowed words.

  • Interview with Elmar
    (interview starts at 2:20)
  • Idioms:
    born to do <something>
    a born <something>
  • borrowed words (from German):
    schadenfreude, zeitgeist
  • see episode transcript below

== FULL TRANSCRIPT for English Teacher John Show 68 ==

Hey, Elmar dropped by the studio and he doesn’t have much time, so let’s get right to it. It’s Elmar, you, me and all sentient beings. It’s the English Teacher John Show No. 68.

[intro music]

Welcome everyone to the English Teacher John Show No. 68. My name is John Koons and I’m your host. Our show is for everyone, yes, but especially for English learners of all abilities. We try to use clear and easy-to-understand English.

Our podcast is produced right here in our humble studio in Matsumoto, Japan. Alright well let’s look at our show index; we’ve got three segments today.

[Show Index]

First, an exciting and newsworthy interview with Elmar, a good friend of the English Teacher John Show. Then, [phone rings] I’ll talk about a couple of idioms. And finally in segment three, it’s words, words, words. We’ll talk about a couple of words borrowed from German. Alright, let’s do it.


Recently we sat down with Elmar who some of you may remember from show number 62, and show number 51 and show number 31.

===== INTERVIEW: start =====

John: All right, we’ve got a special guest today. It’s my good friend, Elmar. Welcome to The English Teacher John Show, Elmar!

Elmar: Hello. Hello.

John: Good to see you again. You were our guest right here in this very café a couple of years ago. One of our early interviews on The English Teacher John Show.

Elmar: I remember very well. The situation I remember, but I can’t remember what we were talking about.

John: Anyway, also I did one about transportation at my house, I think.

Elmar: Transportation, ah yeah. Ah, yeah.

John: Anything new in your life these days?

Elmar: Yeah, you could say so.

John: Let’s see–work? Play? Life? Family? Job? Marriage? What’s going on?

Elmar: There’s lots of small waves and one big wave rushing over my life, which is the birth of my son.

John: Oh my God! Omedetou gozaimasu! [Japanese]

Elmar: Thank you.

John: All right. Yes, the birth of your son.

Elmar: Birth, yes.

John: Very recently.

Elmar: Very recently, yeah. About three weeks ago now. Three weeks ago. We’ll soon have the first celebration of his first month.

John: Ah, he’ll be one month. One month old.

Elmar: One month, yeah.

John: And what did you name him?

Elmar: His name is Jakob.

John: Jakob in German?

Elmar: Jakob in German, and in English you would pronounce it ‘Jacob’.

John: Jacob. So tell us a little bit about whatever you want to share about the birth of your son, the recent birth.

Elmar: Oh, that’s a difficult issue because this whole process of giving birth was a very, very intense experience, and fortunately I could be with my wife during the whole process. And, well, these days a lot of men choose to be there, but when you actually are in the delivery room and you experience the birth, you suddenly understand why there are cultures where men are not allowed in this process.

John: What surprised you or what was difficult about being in the delivery room?

Elmar: Well, the first difficulty of course is that you can’t help much. You can’t do much. Your presence is important. And especially for my wife, she says my presence was very important for her psychologically to get through the whole birth. So that’s one thing.

But of course there are many people involved whose function is far more important than yours, of course. You are standing by. You just watch the whole process more or less. Of course, you do a lot of massaging and helping, but you can’t do the really important stuff. That’s something that experienced people…

John: Maybe you don’t want to do it, either.

Elmar: Yeah, probably.


John: And how many people are running around in this operation, in this process?

Elmar: Well, it depends on the stage [Laughter] of birth. And also it very much depends on how things are going. If things are going very, very well, if things are going optimum, then there is just the midwife and maybe another nurse or something. But things are getting complicated, it may be that a couple of people are running around, like six, seven.

John: Six, seven people running around–

Elmar: Yeah, frantically.

John: –working on the mother of your child.

Elmar: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Which means everybody’s moving around but you and your wife, you’re the only persons who are kind of standing, lying. [Laughter] Not moving.

John: What’s your main emotion when you’re there? Is it excitement or worry or happy or… What kinds of emotions do you have while this is all happening around you?

Elmar: Retrospectively, it was very interesting for me to not…how can I put that…to see this big emotional difference before the child is there and after it is there. It’s not only that the birth is over and you kind of… The huge difference is that you suddenly–for me it was our first child, and you feel that there’s something very fundamentally changing in your life. That’s the big difference. And living through this process, getting to this point was something that is very, very hard to describe. Very hard to describe.

John: About how long did this whole process take?

Elmar: In this case, 17 or 18 hours from…

John: And you were in the delivery room pretty much the whole time, most of the time, or some of the time?

Elmar: The whole time. The whole time. I haven’t been out for one minute. I’ve been there all the time. Which is very important, by the way. Which is very important, I think, because for the wife it can be a very frustrating experience if the husband’s going out just having a coffee or eating something. But leaving her there, leaving her back in the delivery room, that’s something that must be very, very hard. Yeah.

John: All right. Well, Elmar, thank you for sharing a little bit about the recent birth of your son and the experience there.

Elmar: Well, you’re welcome.


John: Thank you for joining us on The English Teacher John Show.

Elmar: Thank you. Thank you very much for having me.

===== interview: end =====

===== start: IDIOMS =====
Our two idioms today have the word “born”, B-O-R-N.

idiom: BORN TO DO something
And their use and meaning is very similar. OK, our first idiom is “Born to do something.” “Born to do something.”

She was born to sing.

It means that she has natural ability.

My brother was born to lead.

He’s always had leadership skills. So he was born to lead. “She was born to sing” or “born to teach.”

idiom: TO BE A BORN something
OK and that brings us to our second idiom which is very similar, just the grammar is a little different – “to be a born something.” For example, “He’s a born leader.”

He’s a born leader.

Again the grammar is slightly different from our first idiom but the meaning is pretty much the same. When you are “a born something”, you have obvious natural ability.

I am not a born guitar player.
I am not a born singer.

But I am trying to do those things. Let’s see. How about “He’s a born winner” or “He’s a born loser.” That’s not very nice.

She is a born leader.
She is a born teacher.
He is a born tennis player.

OK so it’s all about natural ability.

Back to Elmar, if it’s really like father like son, then I think his new son Jacob is probably a born good guy.

OK, that’s it for idioms. Next up after the short break it’s words, words, words.


===== start: WORD WORDS WORDS =====

Well this segment is about words, words, words. Today we have two interesting words that have been borrowed from German. I think it’s kind of cool to throw some of these borrowed foreign words into your casual conversations. It has a bit of coolness or hipness about it. You know what I mean? Kind of cool or hip.

Alright, the first one’s “schadenfreude“. Pronunciation “shah-din-froyd-ə” I think is the pronunciation which sounds a bit German and of course it’s a German word.

It’s spelled S-C-H-A-D-E-N-F-R-E-U-D-E. That’s schadenfreude. The meaning is actually not very nice but I think you can find an opportunity to use it. “Schadenfreude” is the delight in another person’s misfortune. So delight or joy or pleasure because of another person’s bad luck or misfortune. Something bad has happened to someone and you are actually feeling good about that. Hey, that’s not nice. How about an example.

Feelings of schadenfreude arose when she saw that her ex-husband had lost his job and gained a lot of weight.

That’s not very nice. “Feelings of schadenfreude arose when she saw that her ex-husband had lost his job and gained a lot of weight.”

Yes, it was definitely schadenfreude when they told us that the top-ranking team had dropped out.

Hey you shouldn’t feel good about their bad luck or misfortune. “Yes, it was definitely schadenfreude when they told us that the top-ranking team had dropped out.”

OK let’s move on to our next word, also borrowed from German – “zeitgeist“. It means the spirit of the times; the spirit or spirit characteristic of an age or generation.

I got these explanations from answers.yahoo.com:

General trend of thought and feeling at a particular time.

The zeitgeist of a particular place during a particular period in history is the attitudes and ideas that are generally common there at that time. Especially the attitudes and ideas shown in literature, philosophy, and politics.

OK and on the net, also from answers.yahoo.com I got:

The prevailing mood or attitude of a given period.

That is the “zeitgeist.”

Examples from Google News Search, I found this sentence in the media:

Sir, rarely has a photograph captured the zeitgeist as accurately as the one featured with your article.”

So there we have “captured the zeitgeist.”

Next one, from purpleslinky.com. (whatever that is):

The zeitgeist of today is ever-changing. What’s cool today is old tomorrow.

And from Yahoo News Search, I got:

Until, of course, the angry zeitgeist cranks out our next set of villains.”

Villains are the bad guys. “Until, of course, the angry zeitgeist cranks out our next set of villains.

And finally, from a Google Search, I came up with this from The Durango Herald, which I believe is a newspaper in Durango, Colorado, the place where I have been, a very nice place. Here’s the quote:

He was victimized by the youth sports zeitgeist – that spirit of the time that makes what a parent has or who a parent knows as important (sometimes more important) to a young athlete’s success as the athlete’s ability.

Alright, I’m going to shorten it out a little bit, one more time. “He was victimized by the youth sports zeitgeist – that spirit of the time that makes what a parent has or who a parent knows as important to a young athlete’s success as the athlete’s ability.”

OK, and that’s it for “zeitgeist” and that’s it for words, words, words.


===== start: SIGNOFF =====

That brings us to the end of Show No. 68. You can find our blog, all of our video and audio podcasts, some transcripts, other language help and more at englishteacherjohn.com. In fact, I just uploaded the transcript for our last episode no. 67. And you’ll also soon find the script for this episode, all at englishteacherjohn.com.

Our email address is  p o d c a s t -at- english teacher john -dot-  c o m . And just a warning, I get a lot of spam in that account so I apologize in advance if I have not properly responded to your email. Sometimes the spam is a tough problem. But please keep sending us anything you want to tell us. So that’s p o d c a s t -at- english teacher john -dot-  c o m . Thanks to you all for listening.


Thanks to Elmar and to our music man Martin Chenhall. Catch you next time.

Hey and here’s a little secret. Now, our music man, Martin Chenhall and his friends Will and Shou have put out a few new songs.

So we’re going have a listen to those in our next show.

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