Better At English - Free English Conversation Lessons Podcast



Better at English podcasts are for EFL and ESL learners who want learn conversational English. Listen to our live, unscripted English conversations featuring authentic English vocabulary, slang, idioms, and more. Go to for FREE transcripts and vocabulary notes. Have fun listening and learning English with us!


  • 055 – Could you kick a robot puppy?

    30/11/2020 Duración: 21min

    Hello my lovely English learners! Lori here, your teacher from I love technology, so we’re talking about robots today, but not in the way you might expect. A lot of conversations about robots have to do with whether or not a robot or machine could ever develop genuine feelings or emotions. But today we’re going to be thinking about our own emotions and feelings toward robots, particularly empathy. Can we feel empathy toward robots? And if so, why? Links to pre-listening background -- to get the most out of this podcast: Short video of someone “torturing” a robot dinosaur (part of a research experiment). Make sure you watch it with sound. What do you feel as you watch this? Kate Darling: Why we have an emotional connection to robots (TED talk) Yasmin's profile on italki Full transcript of this episode Allow me to introduce you to Kate Darling. Sh

  • 054 – What in the world is leaf peeping?

    11/11/2020 Duración: 20min

    Episode summary Autumn is in full swing here in the northern hemisphere, so this Real English Conversations episode is full of vocabulary related to the colors, weather, moods and feelings associated with this time of year. Lori and her friend Eliza talk about exercising outdoors, the health benefits of spending time out in nature, and whether or not it’s a good idea to pick and eat wild mushrooms. Are you feeling tired and drained? Grab your audio player and some headphones, get yourself to a park or forest, and have a nice walk while practicing your English listening! I guarantee you'll feel better after you do this than you did when you started. :-) Get in touch with Eliza Eliza on Udemy Eliza’s instagram Eliza’s teacher profile on italki Supplementary material for further study How nature affects our health and well-being What is leaf peeping? Read this article in The Guardian and find out. Includes a wealth of adjectives relate

  • 053 – Is seeing believing? Deepfakes and the information apocalypse

    24/10/2020 Duración: 31min

    When you watch the news these days, do you trust your eyes and ears? Do you think what you’re seeing is real and happened the way it is being shown? Or is your first reaction to think: Hmm, I wonder if this video is fake? That’s what today’s episode is about, so stay tuned. TRANSCRIPT PREVIEW - Get the full transcript here: Before we get started, I hope you’ll indulge me in a little Better at English background info. I don’t do Better at English for the money, but some of you have been going out of your way to send me thank-you gifts. So thank you so much to Charles for his very generous Paypal donation, and to the mystery person who sent me the Handbook of Self-Determination research from my Amazon wish list. I honestly didn’t know that it was even possible to find my Amazon wish list anymore, so getting a mystery book delivered was a real surprise! I’d also like to thank Zhuo Tao (I hope I’m saying

  • 052 – The Other F-word: talking about fat

    07/10/2020 Duración: 28min

    Talking about fat and fat bodies is a tricky area to navigate in English because the word FAT is so laden with meaning, associations, emotions, and feelings -- and these are different for everyone. In this episode, you'll hear a wide variety of people who self-identify as fat talking about their experiences. You'll hear how they think, feel and talk about their own bodies and how they experience things as a person of size. There are many registers (styles) of English represented here, as well as many different regional dialects. Links to all sources are provided, and most of these are videos. I encourage you to watch the videos to see the language being used in context. A transcript preview is below. You can find a pdf of the full transcript here: I hope you find this episode thought provoking and useful. TRANSCRIPT PREVIEW Hi English learners, Lori here, your teacher from In today's episode you are goin

  • Get FREE podcast transcriptions with (it’s super cool, I promise).

    29/09/2020 Duración: 03min

    Did you know that you can get FREE transcriptions of any podcast in English, and that it's fast and easy to do? That's right, ANY PODCAST! And did I say FREE? If you are serious about your English learning, you will love -- a FREE online service that transcribes audio files. This means podcasts, audio taken from videos, anything at all where the language is fairly clear. All you do is upload the file to, and then let the A.I do the rest. It's unbelievably awesome. You can watch my little YouTube demo video demo here: You can find here: Note: This is not a sales pitch, I don't have any involvement with other than being a very satisfied customer (I use their paid plan because I need the extra features. You won't need extra features unless you want to transcribe more than 10 hours of audio per month, or if you need to transcribe files that are longer than 40 minutes each.) The transcript of this audio podcast is

  • 051 – The good, the bad, and the flat-out liars. Real English Conversation

    21/09/2020 Duración: 15min

    Imagine if you will, the following scenario. You’ve volunteered to take part in a psychology study, say, at your university. All you have to do is show up to the lab, sit by yourself in a little booth and play a very simple game of chance, something like flipping a coin, where there's no skill involved, only luck. You get paid one dollar just for showing up, that’s guaranteed. And if you’re lucky and win the game, you’ll get paid 5 dollars cash. But if you lose, you get nothing. Here’s the kicker: it's up to you to tell the researchers if you won or lost, they won't be able to tell. So there are three possible outcomes: you can win and get 5 dollars, you can lose and get nothing, can lose, but lie and still get the 5 dollars. And nobody will know. What would you do? What do you think other people would do? As it happens, a recent study just looked at this, and there was a cunning little twist: those crafty researchers actually DID know if people won or lost. So they also knew if people told the t

  • 050 – Help! I have a horrible neighbor (fixed)

    17/09/2020 Duración: 19min

    Neighbors can be great friends, but let’s face it: sometimes they can be absolutely horrible. But what do you do when you’re stuck living next to a neighbor who you just can’t get along with, no matter what you try? In this episode of Better at English, Lori introduces you to the “How To” podcast with Charles Duhigg. It’s a conversational podcast that covers ways to deal with all kinds of life problems, and does so in an entertaining and fun way. And best of all, it has free transcripts that you can use for your English learning. Lori plays some extracts from the conversation, and looks at some of the interesting language. The full transcript of this episode is here: TRANSCRIPT PREVIEW Hi English learners! Lori here, your teacher from So nice that you’re here! Come on in, kick off your shoes, sit back and get ready for some English listening practice. Today I’m going to play you some bits of conversation from one of my current favorite podcasts. It’s not a special English learning podc

  • 049 No excuses – The best place to get FREE speaking practice right now

    14/09/2020 Duración: 08min

    This is NOT a sales episode, I promise! Seriously, I have found and tested the BEST place to find people to practice speaking English with for free. It only takes 5 minutes to set up an account, and you'll be up and running, practicing your English with nice people from all over the world. No hidden charges, no sales, I promise of September 2020 when I am publishing this podcast, it's 100% free. There aren't even annoying ads! No excuses. Start speaking NOW. :-) You can find here. It's a great place to practice speaking with other non-native speakers. If you prefer to have structured lessons with a native speaker teacher, italki is probaby still the best value. But for FREE speaking practice, definitely check out free4talk! For my list of other places where you can practice your English online, see this page. TRANSCRIPT Hi, English learners, Lori here, your teacher from Today I have a very short and simple episode for you. Now, I know a lot of you really want

  • 048 – The Robots are Coming – part 2

    07/09/2020 Duración: 18min

    Here comes part 2 of Lori and Will's discussion about A.I. and automation. If you enjoy these podcasts, please take a moment and rate or review. You can find the full transcript at TRANSCRIPT PREVIEW Lori: I heard that...I think it's Pizza Hut already has... or no... Domino's is already experimenting with robot pizza delivery vehicles. Yeah. I mean, this this is happening now. Will: Well, you know, a main...I've been talking about this whole automation thing....oh, by the way, jot this down. If you've never seen it. There's a, there's a short 15-minute video on YouTube called Humans Need not Apply. And it puts the entire conversation and frames it into a perfect, digestible, understandable video that explains automation for anybody who's interested and doesn't have, you know, hours of time to spend on the topic. Lori: Oh yeah, great, thanks! Will: So jot that down. Yep, no problem. Lori: Done. Will: But Amazon, which everybody knows who Amazon is, the compan

  • 047 – The robots are coming. Are you ready?

    01/09/2020 Duración: 18min

    A study predicts that all human tasks could be automated in the next 30 years. And that all human jobs might be replaced within the next 100 years or so. Holy crap! What will we do when the robots take over? A.I. is coming. The robots are coming. But are we ready? In this Real English conversations podcast from Better at English, Lori and her American friend Will talk about their questions and concerns about the rise of A.I. (Artificial intelligence) and the automation of human labor. You can find the full transcript in my archive of English conversation transcripts for language learners. Additional resources and supplementary material Humans need not apply Video about how automation and A.I. will affect the job market for humans Robots will beat humans at every task Traffic death statistics

  • The robots are coming – pre-listening task

    29/08/2020 Duración: 03min

    Hi English learners! Lori here, your teacher from better at English dot com. This little update is just to let you know that new Real English Conversations are coming. I know you love the conversations, and I do love making them for you, but they are quite a lot of work, let me tell you! In fact, I just invested in some fancy new recording equipment that’s going to make it much easier for me to record and transcribe the conversations in the future. Because hey, let’s face it, what good is a conversation episode with out a transcript that you can use to learn from? The first new conversation is coming in the next couple of days, and I’m letting you know in advance because I think you’ll get more benefit from the conversation if you can familiarize yourself with the general topic before you listen. “Hey Lori, what’s the topic?” Oh yeah, what’s the topic? You’ll be hearing me and an American friend talk about AI, or artificial intelligence, and the automation of human labor. Yes, the robots are coming and

  • 046 – Five American English slang expressions

    18/08/2020 Duración: 11min

    Hey there English learners, Lori here, your teacher from I've got a different type of episode here for you today. I'm gonna go through some American English slang expressions, some really common ones that you hear all the time if you're watching American English sitcoms or dramas on TV or Netflix. They're ones that have been in use for quite a few years, and that you hear people in a wide range of ages using. So it's not just super new ones that are just used by teenagers and younger people. They're a lot more, I think, general and for me that means there are a lot more useful. So I hope that you will enjoy this episode. It's a bit scary for me because it's different from what I normally give you. But, you know, when I think about it, I'm always encouraging you to try new things with your English learning and to risk embarrassment, to risk failure. So all I can do is try to lead by example and hope that you enjoy this episode. The expressions we're going to look at are: - Oh my go

  • 045 – Stupid English grammar rules – is it OK to break them?

    10/08/2020 Duración: 08min

    The data is clear: some English grammar rules are stupid. Is it ever OK to make a grammar "mistake" on purpose? Is it ever OK to know a grammar rule and break it anyway, even when you know that some people will strongly disapprove? In this episode I talk about English grammar rules that (I and many people think) are stupid, and discuss whether or not it's OK to break them. You'll also hear a short extract from a podcast by Scott Adams, a well known cartoonist and professional writer, talking about breaking a grammar rule on purpose. His opinion might surprise you! And you'll also learn the (somewhat vulgar and offensive) slang term douchebag, and hear a really great example of how it's used in context. “Hey Lori, what’s a douchebag?" I hear you asking. Listen to the episode and find out! If you enjoy the show it would totally make my day if you could leave a review or at least some stars on Apple Podcasts or Spotify or basically, anywhere you can leave a review. I’m not picky! It’s an easy thing you can d

  • 044 – A very embarrassing mistake

    02/08/2020 Duración: 10min

    Hi English learners! Lori here, your teacher from Better at English dot com. It's story time here today, something I don't think I've done here on the podcast before. I'm going to use natural English, but will try to speak just a little more carefully than I normally would, so that more people can follow along. You can find the full transcript of everything I say on my website: Today I've been thinking about mistakes, mainly how the fear of making mistakes in English really holds some learners back. Believe me, I know how this feels. I've made plenty of embarrassing mistakes myself in my target languages. Luckily, most of the time I'm able to just laugh them off, and they don't really get me into trouble. But sometimes mistakes lead to a total breakdown of communication. And that's no fun at all. I thought you might like to hear about one of my more memorable mistakes, a mistake that actually caused a real problem and made me feel super embarrassed. It happened over 30

  • 043 – Real English conversations: Lori scores a year’s supply of toilet paper (archive)


    A funny thing happened today when Lori was shopping for office supplies, and it involves an industrial-sized package of toilet paper rolls.

  • 042 – Make the Most of your Motivation part 2 of 2 – Real English Conversations


    Introduction Hi English learners! Lori here, your teacher from Last week I shared the first part of a cool conversation I had with Dr. BJ Fogg, all about making the most of your motivation. Today you’ll be hearing part two, the final part of this conversation. If you missed the first part, make sure to go back and listen to part one before you listen to part two. At the end of part one, BJ was telling me about his goal to get better at writing neatly on a whiteboard. He knew that he needed to practice a lot if he wanted to improve, so he wanted to make it as easy as possible to practice every day. In this part of the conversation, you’ll hear what he did to change his environment to make practicing easy, even on days when his motivation is low. You’ll also hear about how his practice routine is working for him. As always, you can find the full transcript of this conversation, including a bonus vocabulary lesson at Are you ready for the conversation? Le

  • 041 – Make the most of your motivation – a conversation with BJ Fogg (part 1 of 2)

    28/03/2017 Duración: 11min

    What can you do when you're not feeling motivated? What is the best way to use your motivation when you ARE motivated? Find out in this episode of Real English Conversations from Better at English. Lori talks to Dr. BJ Fogg about how to make the most of the motivation that you have, no matter if it's high or low.

  • 040 – Daily Rituals part 5 of 5 – Real English Conversations

    19/03/2017 Duración: 11min

    Introduction Hi English learners! Lori here, your teacher from In this episode of Real English Conversations, you'll hear part 5 of my conversation with Kyla. This is the final part of our conversation about the book Daily Rituals by Mason Currey. In the previous episode we talked about dealing with distractions and interruptions when you're trying to work. This time we talk about one of the biggest interrupters of all: email. We also talk about ways to structure your day to make it easier to do important things. If you want to read along as you listen, you can download the full transcript, including a bonus vocabulary lesson at After the conversation I'll be back with three questions you can use for speaking practice. Oh, and one final note: I've marked this episode as explicit because near the end of the conversation I say a couple of mildly vulgar words. They're very common slang words that you hear all the time on TV, but I'm playing it safe and warn

  • 039 – Daily Rituals part 4 – Real English Conversations

    12/03/2017 Duración: 10min

    Introduction Hi English learners! Lori here, your teacher from In this episode of Real English Conversations, you'll hear part 4 of my conversation with Kyla. Up until now we've been talking about the book Daily Rituals by Mason Currey. But in this part of the conversation we digress [go off topic] and talk about dealing with distractions and interruptions when we're trying to work. That's one of the fun things about conversations: you never know where they are going to go! What kind of things do you find distracting when you are trying to work or study? How do you feel when you get interrupted when you're trying to concentrate? Do you think you have anything in common with Kyla and me? Listen to the conversation and find out! If you want to read along as you listen, you can download the full transcript, including a bonus vocabulary lesson at After the conversation I'll be back with three questions you can use for speaking practice. OK, let's get on wi

  • 038 – Daily rituals part 3 – Real English Conversations

    05/03/2017 Duración: 11min

    Introduction Hi English learners! Lori here, your teacher from In this episode of Real English Conversations, you'll hear part 3 of my conversation with Kyla. We are talking about the book Daily Rituals by Mason Currey. In this part we talk about the routines and practices that many creative people have in common. Now before you listen I have to warn you: this is a particularly challenging conversation. Here is why: because both Kyla and I read the book, we have a lot of shared information in our heads. When speakers have a lot of shared information, they often leave out details. They know that the other person already knows the information, so they don't have to say it. If only one of us had read the book, this conversation would have been very different. We would have had to do a lot more explaining, and mention a lot more specific details. What does all that mean for you? As you are listening, don't worry too much if some things are unclear, or if you feel that you are missing inf

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