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A miniature town





This is a miniature town. You can see houses in the background. The houses are painted in a variety of colors: yellow, turquoise, purple, green, blue and gold. You can see train tracks in the foreground and in the middle. You can see the game house on the left side, which is the building with the chessboard rooftop.



Miniature: small, tiny
Background: the area in the back, a compound word
Variety: different ones
Tracks: the train path
Foreground: the area in the front, a compound word



Words and phrases that you just heard
Suppose we talk about
A compound word
Two words
Several examples
Chessboard and rooftop



This miniature sailboat is moving gently around the lake. The day is sunny and peaceful, and the water in the lake is moving gently. In contrast, the littered east end of the lake is not moving. This is litter that we humans carelessly discard. We discard cups from the latte we drink; we discard cigarette butts; we discard plastic bags. Now maybe you put all your trash into the garbage. Maybe the wind takes your trash and morphs it into litter.








Litter: trash on the sidewalk, street and other places where it should not be
Miniature: small, tiny, mini
Contrast: difference
In contrast: an idiomatic expression meaning on the other hand
Discard: throw away, abandon
Morphs: changes



Words and phrases that you just heard
To assure you
New phenomenon
Littering for thousands
Governments address
Culprits are food wrappers
Mechanical sweepers
Debris every year

City backyards


If you live in San Francisco, you might have a city backyard like this one. You might have a small pond under a fruit tree. Ferns and rocks surround the pond. You might have a brick walkway leading to the pond and potted plants might dot the walkway. Plus you might have a gate under a wooden arch, just a small arch. This is a lovely city backyard.






Backyards: area behind a house or apartment
Ferns: green plants
Surround: around
Walkway: a path
Potted plants: plants growing in pots
Dot: a few along the path
Arch: a curved entry way



Words and phrases that you just heard
For a city
Not about parks
Trees and greenery
I sometimes wonder
Walk on sidewalks
Link us to other living creatures
Unnatural environments






The minutiae of life take up a tremendous amount of time. Minutiae? Is that a new vocabulary word? Minutiae mean small details. What are the small details of life? Completing forms, cleaning off your desk, getting a haircut, washing your car, filling up the tank with gas. The minutiae of life take time and effort. Minutiae are the small tasks we all have to do each day.



Minutiae: small details
Tremendous: huge, large
Completing: finishing
Tank: the place in your car where gasoline is stored
Effort: attempt, try
Have to do: must



Words and phrases that you just heard
This is Jenna
A coffee shop
Sips coffee
What human beings do
The question for you
Just part of

Summer activities

So what do you do on a sunny summery Sunday afternoon in San Francisco? You take your catamaran on the bay for the afternoon. You can sail out to Angel Island, which is at the top left of the photo or to Alcatraz, which is at the top right. You can go hiking on Angel Island, or you can see Alcatraz Prison, which is now a state park.





Summery: summer in adjective form
Catamaran: a boat with more than one hull



Words and phrases that you just heard
California cuisine
Locally grown fruits
And fusion
Kind of cuisine
California style pizza
Artichokes and spinach

Good fences


American poet Robert Frost wrote this: Good fences make good neighbors. He probably meant that fences give people some privacy. Neighbors do not usually walk into your garden if you have a fence. Good neighbors are people who understand the difference between where they are welcome and where they are not welcome. Good neighbors avoid barging in.






Probably: most likely
Meant: past tense of mean, intend
Privacy: space to yourself
Neighbors: people living near you
Avoid: keep away from
Barging in: entering without permission



Words and phrases that you just heard
We humans
Separate traffic
Although no one
Mark our territories










This is not how we eat every day, but this lunch was unusual. We had a Halloween party and fifty or so people came for lunch. These were giant subs, which were being cut into smaller sizes. Some of the giant subs were filled with turkey and cheese. Some were tuna with celery and lettuce. Another had lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and pickles. They are all gone now. We served punch, a pasta salad and apple pie a la mode.


Unusual: not usual
Giant: big, huge
Subs: Submarine sandwiches
Punch: fruit drink
Apple pie a la mode: apple pie with ice cream on top



Imagine the size
Grocery stores have
Large packages of cookies
Wrapped in cellophane
Two dozen-cartons
Large bottles of catsup

My lunch




This is what I had for lunch, a hummus sandwich. I know you do not see the sandwich. That’s because this is an open faced sandwich. The bottom piece of bread is there but the top is not. Hence, the sandwich is called open faced. At the bottom is a piece of brown bread. On top of the bread is a layer of hummus. On top of the hummus are cucumbers, avocadoes and tomatoes. On the side is quinoa with greenery.



Hummus: a spread made from chickpeas, olive oil and garlic
Open faced sandwich: a sandwich with the bottom slice of bread but without a top slice
Brown: in this context, whole grain
Quinoa: a grain similar to rice
Greenery: in this context, raw green vegetables such as lettuce, arugula and parley



Words and phrases that you just heard
Quinoa is a relatively
Colombia and Peru
Essential amino acids
A complete protein source
U.S. space agency



Introducing Dallas



This is Dallas, who is from New Orleans. You may be wondering why his name is Dallas because he is not from Dallas, which is a large city in Texas. His father’s name was Dallas, but his father wasn’t from Dallas either. Each of our names has a history, and your name history may be interesting to hear.



Dallas: large city in the state of Texas
New Orleans: large city in the state of Louisiana
Texas: one of the 50 states in the United States



Words and phrases that you just heard
Hurricane Katrina hit
Still a mess
Both city employees
There are no jobs
Here in San Francisco
To do next

women, men and children語順


I Have a Dream




You have probably read or listened to Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech. In August 1963, approximately 250,000 women, men and children marched in Washington for civil rights and equality for African Americans. Imagine so many people peacefully marching for civil rights and equality. Now think of the city you live in. I live in San Francisco. Imagine a third of the people in San Francisco marching.


Approximately: about
Civil rights: the rights we get as citizens
March: to walk for a special reason such as civil rights and human rights


Usage note: You can see ‘women, men and children’ above. Traditionally, this was men, women, and children. Today, some people use the former and some use the latter. This is part of moving toward equality, except for children…


Traditionally: since long ago
Former: the one before
Latter: the one after