Hi, I'm Nancy Buswell and I've been teaching people how to improve their English for over 16 years! I'm an American who teaches in a university in southern China. The Ten Questions ESL (English as a Second Language) Podcast is for people around the world who want to improve their English listening comprehension and English accent (intonation). I produce two kinds of podcast episodes. 1) TQ: My original idea was the Ten Questions ESL Podcast. I interview native and non-native English speakers and ask them the same ten questions. You can practice your listening comprehension and learn about other people and other cultures at the same time. 2) LnR: These podcasts are for people who want to improve their intonation and pronunciation. I say a sentence or phrase and you can repeat after me. The LnR podcasts with even numbers (such as 042, 044) have dialogues that I write that use informal speech, that is, the kind of language that friends use with each other. The LnR podcasts with odd numbers (such as 043, 045) use selections from novels, poems or speeches. In December I simplified my podcasts and stopped making the Sun3 episodes, and changed LnR into two kinds: formal and informal language. I'm just one person doing all of this,because I like podcasts and I love helping people to improve their English. My goal is that my podcasts will help individuals around the world as well as English teachers around the world. If you are an English teacher, please share these with your students and/or use them in class. If you are an English-language learner, please share these with your friends, classmates and teachers.
TQ Sven and Erna
TQ Sven and Erna
Sven from Switzerland and Erna from Indonesia stayed with me in December 2018, just a month before I left China to live in the US. They were my last visitors there. Listen as they talk about their countries, how they met, and the trips they have taken. Sven is special, because he stayed with me nine years ago! It was such a thrill to see him again and to meet his wife.
If you are new to my podcast, this is a "Ten Questions (TQ) episode. That's where I interview people so that you can learn from them and also hear different English accents. Most of the time I post "Listen and Repeat (LnR) episodes, which can help you improve your pronunciation and intonation. Since I left China two years ago I have been posting old episodes. This is the first one that is new. Soon I will be making new podcast episodes for you, but I haven't decided what kind they will be!
LnR Black Beauty 32 (End of Series)
LnR Black Beauty 32
"Thank God!" said my master. "You Beauty!" said John, and took the bridle and gently turned me round to the right-hand road by the river side. The sun had set some time; the wind seemed to have lulled off after that furious blast which tore up the tree. It grew darker and darker, stiller and stiller. I trotted quietly along, the wheels hardly making a sound on the soft road. For a good while neither master nor John spoke, and then master began in a serious voice. I could not understand much of what they said, but I found they thought, if I had gone on as the master wanted me, most likely the bridge would have given way under us, and horse, chaise, master, and man would have fallen into the river; and as the current was flowing very strongly, and there was no light and no help at hand, it was more than likely we should all have been drowned. Master said, God had given men reason, by which they could find out things for themselves; but he had given animals knowledge which did not depend on reason, and which was much more prompt and perfect in its way, and by which they had often saved the lives of men. John had many stories to tell of dogs and horses, and the wonderful things they had done; he thought people did not value their animals half enough nor make friends of them as they ought to do. I am sure he makes friends of them if ever a man did.
At last we came to the park gates and found the gardener looking out for us. He said that mistress had been in a dreadful way ever since dark, fearing some accident had happened, and that she had sent James off on Justice, the roan cob, toward the wooden bridge to make inquiry after us.
We saw a light at the hall-door and at the upper windows, and as we came up mistress ran out, saying, "Are you really safe, my dear? Oh! I have been so anxious, fancying all sorts of things. Have you had no accident?"
"No, my dear; but if your Black Beauty had not been wiser than we were we should all have been carried down the river at the wooden bridge." I heard no more, as they went into the house, and John took me to the stable. Oh, what a good supper he gave me that night, a good bran mash and some crushed beans with my oats, and such a thick bed of straw! and I was glad of it, for I was tired.
LnR Black Beauty 31 (Replay)
LnR Black Beauty 31
So back we went and round by the crossroads, but by the time we got to the bridge it was very nearly dark; we could just see that the water was over the middle of it; but as that happened sometimes when the floods were out, master did not stop. We were going along at a good pace, but the moment my feet touched the first part of the bridge I felt sure there was something wrong. I dare not go forward, and I made a dead stop. "Go on, Beauty," said my master, and he gave me a touch with the whip, but I dare not stir; he gave me a sharp cut; I jumped, but I dare not go forward.
"There's something wrong, sir," said John, and he sprang out of the dog-cart and came to my head and looked all about. He tried to lead me forward. "Come on, Beauty, what's the matter?" Of course I could not tell him, but I knew very well that the bridge was not safe.
Just then the man at the toll-gate on the other side ran out of the house, tossing a torch about like one mad.
"Hoy, hoy, hoy! halloo! stop!" he cried.
"What's the matter?" shouted my master.
"The bridge is broken in the middle, and part of it is carried away; if you come on you'll be into the river."
LnR Black Beauty 30 (Replay)
LnR Black Beauty 30
"I wish we were well out of this wood," said my master.
"Yes, sir," said John, "it would be rather awkward if one of these branches came down upon us."
The words were scarcely out of his mouth when there was a groan, and a crack, and a splitting sound, and tearing, crashing down among the other trees came an oak, torn up by the roots, and it fell right across the road just before us. I will never say I was not frightened, for I was. I stopped still, and I believe I trembled; of course I did not turn round or run away; I was not brought up to that. John jumped out and was in a moment at my head.
"That was a very near touch," said my master. "What's to be done now?"
"Well, sir, we can't drive over that tree, nor yet get round it; there will be nothing for it, but to go back to the four crossways, and that will be a good six miles before we get round to the wooden bridge again; it will make us late, but the horse is fresh."
LnR Black Beauty 29 (Replay)
LnR Black Beauty 29
A Stormy Day
One day late in the autumn my master had a long journey to go on business. I was put into the dog-cart, and John went with his master. I always liked to go in the dog-cart, it was so light and the high wheels ran along so pleasantly. There had been a great deal of rain, and now the wind was very high and blew the dry leaves across the road in a shower. We went along merrily till we came to the toll-bar and the low wooden bridge. The river banks were rather high, and the bridge, instead of rising, went across just level, so that in the middle, if the river was full, the water would be nearly up to the woodwork and planks; but as there were good substantial rails on each side, people did not mind it.
The man at the gate said the river was rising fast, and he feared it would be a bad night. Many of the meadows were under water, and in one low part of the road the water was halfway up to my knees; the bottom was good, and master drove gently, so it was no matter.
When we got to the town of course I had a good bait, but as the master's business engaged him a long time we did not start for home till rather late in the afternoon. The wind was then much higher, and I heard the master say to John that he had never been out in such a storm; and so I thought, as we went along the skirts of a wood, where the great branches were swaying about like twigs, and the rushing sound was terrible.
LnR Black Beauty 28 (Replay)
LnR Black Beauty 28
"Steady, steady, my boy," he would say; "wait a bit, and we will have a good swing, and soon get the tickle out of your feet." Then as soon as we were out of the village, he would give me a few miles at a spanking trot, and then bring me back as fresh as before, only clear of the fidgets, as he called them. Spirited horses, when not enough exercised, are often called skittish, when it is only play; and some grooms will punish them, but our John did not; he knew it was only high spirits. Still, he had his own ways of making me understand by the tone of his voice or the touch of the rein. If he was very serious and quite determined, I always knew it by his voice, and that had more power with me than anything else, for I was very fond of him.
I ought to say that sometimes we had our liberty for a few hours; this used to be on fine Sundays in the summer-time. The carriage never went out on Sundays, because the church was not far off.
It was a great treat to us to be turned out into the home paddock or the old orchard; the grass was so cool and soft to our feet, the air so sweet, and the freedom to do as we liked was so pleasant--to gallop, to lie down, and roll over on our backs, or to nibble the sweet grass. Then it was a very good time for talking, as we stood together under the shade of the large chestnut tree.