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Old things vs new things

Part 3

This episode's vocabulary


  • Tangible (adj.) - real and not imaginary; able to be shown, touched, or experienced.
  • Roots (plural noun) - family origins, or the particular place you come from and the experiences you have had living there.
  • Be tempted - to want something or to want to do something.
  • Efficient (adj.) - working or operating quickly and effectively in an organized way.
  • Durable (adj.) - able to continue to exist for a long time.
  • Novelty (noun) - the quality of being new and unusual.
  • Accompanying (adj.) - appearing or going with someone or something else.
  • Cumbersome (adj.) - awkward because of being large, heavy, or not effective.
  • To replace (verb) - to take the place of something, or to put something or someone in the place of something or someone else.
  • On-trend (adj.) - very fashionable.
  • Billboard (noun) - a very large board on which advertisements are shown, especially at the side of a road.
  • Personalization (noun) - the process of making something suitable for the needs of a particular person.
  • To moralize (verb) - to express judgments about what is morally right and wrong.
  • Keychain (noun) - a brand name for a system developed by the Apple company that allows users to store passwords, credit card numbers, and other important information safely on their computer, phone, etc.
  • Impulse buying (noun) - the act of buying something that you had not planned to buy, because you suddenly want it when you see it.
  • Psyche (noun) - the mind, or the deepest thoughts, feelings, or beliefs of a person or group.

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Questions and Answers


M: Rory, tell us, is keeping old things in a family a good way to connect with the past?

R: Well, it can be. Though I doubt it's the only way in the age of photographs and social media. People can share memories between generations and across families. I read somewhere recently that a couple had an AI of their son who passed away created. So, having something tangible can be a good way to connect with your roots, I suppose.

M: Which are better, old things or new things?

R: Well, I can appreciate why so many people might be tempted to see newer products are better, because they always seem so up to date and faster, or more efficient and effective. However, older items can be more durable. I mean, if you look at the old Nokia phones, they could really take a beating before they fell apart. They're also simpler and fewer things could go wrong with them. And I think you could say the same thing about older things now.

M: Why are children attracted to new things such as electronics?

R: Well, there's an endless amount of novelty that computers, phones and their accompanying software offer, isn't there? Unlike a book, you don't really need to go out and buy a new one. If you have a tablet you can upload a new digital one in seconds or a new ebook in seconds. Similarly, you can download the latest game instantly and play with it. It's difficult for something old and relatively more cumbersome to compete with the novelty that sort of setup offers.

M: Why do some grownups hate to throw out old items such as clothes?

R: Well, there's a connection to the past there, sort of sentimental value. I still have some clothes from when I was at school, which I will never wear again. And I think my mum still has my first milk tooth that I lost when I was a child. So in the days before fast fashion, many of these things would never be so easily replaced too. And will never be seen again. So in order not to lose that memory, people keep physical reminder of it. It seems a little silly, of course, because everything falls apart eventually. But there is something good in trying to make them last as long as possible, as if that makes the memory more alive somehow.

M: What makes people buy new things?

R: Well, the old ones fall apart, probably. So they must be replaced. Similarly, if we speak about clothes and other things that change with age, they might no longer be suitable or even the right size or fit with the latest trends and fashion. Speaking of fashion that tends to move on too. And people might want to stay on-trend.

M: How do shops attract customers?

R: Well, in a word, advertising, I suppose. They have all those billboards and posters and sales, telemarketing, and emails. Some of them even call customers, like I said with telemarketing, or at least they used to. But I don't know if it's so common now, because people find it annoying.

M: And how do you think shops will attract customers in the future? Will they change their ways?

R: Well, probably the advertising will become even more targeted and personalized, just based on the information that's, well, mined online. I don't know, it might be more useful as well. I don't know. Does anyone actually use any of these adverts that appear based on their data? I certainly don't, I just find it really quite freaky.

M: How has the way of shopping changed over the years?

R: Well, compared to when? I think the most obvious change is the shift to online shopping. But that's been happening for years, a more recent change might be the increasing personalization and moralization of shopping choices. You can, I don't know, pick the color of your environmentally friendly, ethically sorted smartphone, for example.

M: And do you think that people these days have things that they don't need?

R: Yes, there's all sorts of tat that people have. And I don't think it's necessary. Off the top of my head keychains. Why do you need a keychain? I don't understand.

M: And will it be worse in the future?

R: Oh, I hope not. I think people are more aware of like mindless, like buying mindless garbage and like impulse buying and impulse purchases, I suppose. And the negative effects that has on your psyche, on your psyche and on the environment. So I hope it will occur less often.

M: Thank you Rory for your insightful answers!


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Discussion


M: So old things versus new things, right? So when you keep old things in a family, this could be quite good. Right? So you said that people can share memories between generations, and across different families, for example, yeah? And it's nice to have something tangible, that can be a good way to connect with your roots. So could you comment on tangible and roots?

R: Something tangible is something that you can touch, and your roots are just where you come from, like the history of your family and your family name.

M: And then which is better? Like an old thing, or a new one? Well, you can say that many people might be tempted to say that newer products are better. So people might be tempted.

R: Well, they might initially want to say that.

M: And then we can give examples like phones, computers, software, yeah. So like, new things might be better. And then unlike a book, and book can be quite old, right? And old things might be cumbersome.

R: Yes, cumbersome just means it's, well, difficult to use, or relatively more difficult to use or move around. So if you think about how fast or how easy the access is, with an ebook, compared to, you know, having a book in your bag and then having to take out, you know, and you can see why it's more cumbersome.

M: And to paraphrase new things, you can say the novelty, right? So it's the novelty that attracts people, or novel things, can I say like novel things?

R: You could. Novelty isn't really so much about new things as the experience of newness or things being new.

M: Yeah. So some people prefer new things because they are attracted to novelty. An interesting question is like, oh, why do grown-ups stick to the old things? You know... But it's true, that's like, children. Do children stick to old things? Or they throw them away?

R: I think they're more likely to be willing to change compared to adults who are more set in their ways.

M: Yeah, and you can say that, okay, there's a connection to the past here. This sentimental value, our favorite phrase, right? So, people might still have some old clothes, yeah? Clothes. And things can be easily replaced, right. So we can talk about replacing things. So old things can be easily replaced. And then you might keep old things not to lose a memory. Right? So to keep the physical reminder of something, so I, I keep my old clothes to keep this physical reminder. So I remind myself of something, of some moments, by keeping old clothes.

R: It keeps the memory alive.

M: Yay. So people buy new things because the old ones fall apart. So they break down or another synonym is to fall apart. Oh, the old things fall apart, and they must be replaced. You see. So again, phrasal, passive voice, not phrasal verbs. Passive voice is here for you. Do we have any phrasal verbs?

R: Well, I was about to ask, is "have to" a phrasal verb? Could we say that?

M: Which one?

R: Have to. Like the, it's similar to must. It's got a verb and a particle.

M: No, come on. It's a model verb.

R: Well, no, it's not because a modal verb is one thing. So you could say it's a modal structure. But is it like "used to", where it started off as a phrasal verb and it's become a modal structure?

M: Yeah, but we can't say that they're phrasal verbs. No.

R: I know. Why can't we? It's got a verb and it's got a particle. Why can't we do it? Why can't we do it, Maria? Why? Why not?

M: Because it's your own English, it's your own grammar, you know, like I don't know why. For example, like "move on". Yeah, that's a phrasal verb. So like speaking of fashion, that tends to move on.

R: Can grammar not move on, Maria? Can we not change it? We can have a revolution.

M: Let's change the grammar. Yeah.

R: Yes. Let us do it.

M: Grammar revolution on Speaking for Success podcast.

R: We are absolutely qualified. No, come on, I'm gonna check. Is "have to" a phrasal verb?

M: So any verb from now on together with the preposition is going to be called a phrasal verb. Yeah. No dear listener, we are speaking nonsense. Okay? So just forget about what we've just told you. We're just having fun. Anyway, yeah. You can say that people buy new things because they may no longer be suitable. So things may no longer be suitable. And then examples about not the right size or they may not fit with the latest trends. So the latest trends, the latest fashion, right? So and there's just old things don't fit with the latest trends. That's a nice one. Rory, are you still googling the crazy phrasal verbs?

R: No, I had a look for "have to" there and it was basically exactly what you said. But I still think it can be a phrasal verb. I believe.

M: Ah, no way. In your Rory special grammar.

R: Well, no, I mean, the real reason is because the "to" represents an infinitive, whereas it's not a particle here. So yes...

M: There you go. There you go.

R: But I believe, I believe in the "phrasalverbichness".

M: Yeah, we love phrasal verbs on this podcast, dear listener, as you know, so yeah. Anyway, so billboards. Right? So how do shops attract customers? You say surely advertising, right? Pronounce it correctly, advertising. So all those billboards? No, no, no, no. No. Billboards, posters, and then sales pop up ads. Yeah, these crazy ads that which pop up suddenly online. And yeah. And some of them even call customers. Rory, in Scotland, do you get calls from different shops and services?

R: Not as much as I used to. But sometimes that happens, and I'm very quick to hang up.

M: Are you rude?

R: Sometimes. It depends on how silly they are. If someone says like, oh, we're calling about this accident that you had in your car? And I'm like, well, I'd love to hear about that because I can't drive.

M: Yeah. And then we can make impulse purchases, right? So we can react to this advertising and we make impulse purchases.

R: Yeah. So impulse purchases or impulse buying is just, you see the thing and you're like, I want this. I must have it.

M: Yeah, I usually make impulse purchases of shoes. What about you, Rory?

R: I try not to. I'm pretty good at planning what I need and not buying too much. I can't remember the last thing, that was an impulse purchase for me, to be honest with you.

M: Good for you. A good synonym to change is a shift. So we can talk about a shift to online shopping. Right? So there's been a shift to online shopping in the recent years.

R: Yes. So a shift is just like a change. And then I talked about change a bit more by saying increasing personalization and moralization. But personalization just means it's more with your preferences. And moralization just means it's more with your morals.

M: Yeah. Alright, any synonyms that we can use about new things and old things so I just kind of wrap it up.

R: Old, traditional, conservative, new, novel and latest, up to date.

M: Up to date. And old things - useless, thrash.

R: That's got nothing to do with being old.

M: Oh, what about, what about this verb that you use to say that people just stick to the old things like they are hogging, to hog something, right? Hog?

R: No, it's more like they're set in their ways. Oh, hoarding, did you mean?

M: Hoarding. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, hoarding, there we go. Hoard. Yeah, hoarding. So old people tend to hoard different things, like books and you see so many books and the full room is full of books, because some people never throw anything away. So you can call it hoarding, hoarding, yeah. Hopefully, you are hoarding our episodes and you're saving them and you're cherishing them. And it's a good idea to listen to some old episodes. Again, topics do change. So hopefully, you like this, a bit, like a touch of novelty, because of the topic change. Thank you very much for listening! Thank you very much for being with us. We love you! We hug you! Rory, do you hug our listener?

R: I send hugs and kisses!

M: Thank you! Bye!

R: Bye!

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