Storycorps: An endless supply of listening/reading material | Bangkok Post: learning

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Storycorps: An endless supply of listening/reading material

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Storycorps provides an endless supply of short (2-3 minute) stories told by ordinary American people of all ages and from all parts of the country. Best of all, you can see what is being said. Here's an example with a Bangkok connection. 

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This was first published in September, 2012

Listening/reading: Speeding up the learning process

When I was learning to read Thai back in the late 1960's I was impatient. To speed things up, I had some of my students use my old tape recorder to record short easy Thai texts. I still remember the beginning of the first one: กาเป็นนกชนิดหนึ่ง เราเรียกมันว่ากาเพราะมันร้อง "กา" "กา".

I used to listen to each story again and again – sometimes 10 times – and before long I could read, and I also could understand much better what people were saying to me.

That is a big reason why I have included sound files with the stories we use on the bangkokpost learning website. It is simply a great way to improve your understanding of a second language.

With the internet, there is a huge amount of listening/reading material available and today I want to introduce you to an endless supply of short stories told by ordinary people from all parts of the United States. There are also transcripts for each story so you can see what is being said.

The organisation that produces the stories is called Storycorps and its website is: http://storycorps.org. Some of the stories have been animated and that is where we will start. Tomorrow, we'll explore the website in more detail and I'll show you how to find hundreds more stories.

The animated stories are found here: http://storycorps.org/animation/.  I have chosen one example because it has a Bangkok connection. It is called To RP Salazar, with Love.

You can click on the "cc" symbol to see the text, but I have also transcribed the text below, so you can read through it as well. I have also explained a few words that you might not know.

This love story starts with a typo
In 2007, Rachel Salaar lived in Bangkok, Thailand
Ruben Salazar lived in Waco, Texas
Their email addresses were nearly identical.

RUBIN: Get to work, first thing I do is turn on my email, and I discovered this one. I didn’t know who it was from.
RACHEL: My coworker sent you that email by mistake.
RUBIN: And I was like, Here’s another R.P. Salazar. Imagine that. And so I forwarded it, I wrote a little message: “Hi Rachel, it seems as if this message came to me instead of you. I’m in Waco, Texas, U.S.A. Have a great day. P.S. How’s the weather there in Bangkok.
RACHEL: I replied to you, “Weather in Bangkok is lovely. Gracias, Rachel.”
RUBIN: So began a chain of emails.
RACHEL: The first couple of emails you started describing yourself, and that kind of encouraged me to be open about myself, too.
RUBIN: I was excited that this person is halfway around the world. It’s kind of like sending a letter in a bottle. I happened to hover my mouse over your name on one of those emails and a picture of you popped up. It was like “Wow, she’s really beautiful. How can I make this picture bigger?” I would stay up late at night, which was your morning and we would chat for like four or five hours.
RACHEL: You had started to play an important role in my life, even before I consciously realised it. I knew that I was falling love but there’s still that tiny little bit of doubt that, this might not work because we’re 8,000 miles away from each other. But at some point, I finalised my plans to visit the U.S.
RUBIN: And you didn’t tell anyone.
RACHEL: Because everyone would tell me “You’re foolish to go halfway across the world to meet some strange guy you have not met. That would be crazy.”
RUBIN: And on my end, every relative, every friend, coworker – everyone knew.
RACHEL: We were together for eight days.
RUBIN: We were dancing one night and you mentioned something to the effect that…
RACHEL: I said you were the sweetest guy I’ve ever met.
RUBIN: I knew right at that moment I need to say or do something so I don’t lose her. And so I got on my knee and asked you to marry me.
RACHEL: Deep in my heart, I knew it was coming and it was the right thing, and it was the best thing.
RUBIN: People didn’t believe me when I told them I proposed to Rachel. Some of them had second thoughts for me followed by five minutes of laughter.
RACHEL: They now all tell us, “You’re perfect for each other. You found the right match!

Learn from listening

Click "play" to listen to Storycorps: An endless supply of listening/reading material and "Download" to keep this file for educational purpose.

Vocabulary:

animated: consisting of a series of drawings that are shown quickly one after another so that they look as if they are moving - ภาพวาดเคลื่อนไหวได้

chain: a series of connected things or people - โซ่

consciously: being aware of something; noticing something - อย่างตระหนักได้

doubt: a feeling of being uncertain about something/someone or not believing something - ความสงสัย

encouraged: having more confidence or hope about something - มีกำลังใจ

explore: to examine something completely or carefully in order to find out more about it - สำรวจ,ตรวจ

finalise: to complete the last part of a plan, trip, project, etc - ทำให้เสร็จสมบูรณ์

foolish: not showing good sense or judgement - โง่

have second thoughts: to change your opinion about something or start to doubt it - เริ่มสงสัยว่าสิ่งที่ทำอยู่ถูกหรือเปล่า

hover: to stay over the same place for a period of time - อยู่เหนือ

identical: exactly the same, or very similar - เหมือนกัน, แบบเดียวกัน

impatient: wanting something to happen as soon as possible - ใจร้อน

improve: to make better - ทำให้ดีขึ้น

in detail: in a very thorough way and with careful attention to facts - อย่างพิถีพิถัน

match: a person or thing that combines well with somebody/something else - คู่ที่เหมาะ (กับ), คู่รักหวานชื่น

mention: to say something during a conversation, but not discuss it much or give many details; to refer to something in a written document without giving many details - พูดถึง, กล่าวถึง, อ้างถึง, เอ่ยถึง

moment: a very short period of time; a particular time or occasion - ชั่วขณะ, โอกาสสำคัญ

ordinary: not unusual or different in any way - ธรรมดา, ปกติ

play a role: to carry out a particular function or duty - มีบทบาท

process: a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result - แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ

propose: to ask someone to get married to you - ขอแต่งงาน

realise: to know about - ตระหนัก  รู้

transcript: a written or printed copy of words that have been spoken - บันทึก

typo: a typing mistake -

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