Listen to English A Christmas Story Lyrics
A Christmas Story - part 1
Friday 21 December 2007
[This podcast is longer than normal. The first part of the transcript is below. The second part is here and can also be download as a pdf file.]
When you learn a new language, often it is the little words that cause the big problems. I am learning German. The long words are not a problem, which is good because German has lots of long words. If I find a long word, and I don't know what it means, I can look it up in a dictionary. No, it is the short words that confuse me in German - words like "doch" and "schon" - what exactly do they mean? How can I use them?
Mariano has sent me an e-mail. He asks, please can I make a podcast about two little words that cause him problems. The two words are "still" and "yet". In this podcast, I shall try to explain how we use "still" and "yet", and I will tell you a Christmas story.
First, I will tell you what I am not going to do. I am not going to give you dictionary definitions of "still" and "yet". You can look the words up in a dictionary yourself. You do not need a podcast to do this for you. And I will not tell you about all the different meanings that "still" and "yet" have. The podcast would be very long, and use up all the spare memory in your iPod if I did that. Instead, I will take one of the common meanings of "still" and "yet" and explain to you how we use the words.
When I use the word "still", I want you to think of the words "nothing has changed". Like this. Kevin is unwell. He telephones his boss to say that he cannot come to work. The next day Kevin is still unwell. That means, he was unwell yesterday. He is unwell today. Nothing has changed. He is still unwell.
And how about "yet"? How do we use "yet"? "Yet" means "so far", or "until now". We generally use it in questions, and in negative sentences. What is a negative sentence? It is a sentence with "not" or "none" or "no" or another negative word in it. So, Kevin's boss asks him a question, "Are you better yet?" And Kevin replies with a negative sentence, "No, sorry, I am not better yet."
You have probably guessed this already - very often you can use "not yet" and "still not " interchangeably. Kevin says, "I am not better yet". Or he could say. "I am still not better". These two sentences mean the same.
Are you very confused? Are you thinking, why am I listening to this podcast? I understood about "still" and "yet" before the podcast began. Now I don't understand at all. Never mind. Sit back and listen to a story about a typical English Christmas.