This episode's vocabulary
- Hand deliver - to take something to someone yourself.
- Seldom (adverb) - almost never.
- A great deal - a large amount.
- Advent (noun) - the fact of an event happening, an invention being made, or a person arriving.
- Select (adj.) - of only the best type or highest quality, and usually small in size or amount.
- Calligraphy (noun) - (the art of producing) beautiful writing, often created with a special pen or brush.
- Magnificent (adj.) - very good, beautiful, or deserving to be admired.
- Targeted (adj.) - directed.
- Obsolete (adj.) - not in use any more, having been replaced by something newer and better or more fashionable.
Questions and Answers
M: Do you often send cards?
R: Not very often. I usually make them by hand and then, well, hand-deliver them. It's more reliable than the Postal Service here. And, to be honest, I think it gives you a much more meaningful connection to the person that you're giving a card to.
M: How often do you write letters or send cards?
R: Very, very seldom. I think I did it three times in the last year. For me, it's got to be a very special occasion for or with someone that's close to me. And I think that demonstrates the effort you're willing to make for someone when you do something like that. But it's not something that I do a great deal. I don't think anybody does it a great deal anymore.
M: On what occasions do you send cards?
R: Probably just birthdays and Valentine's Day, to be honest. When I have a valentine. We used to do it more often, but I think with the advent of email and social media, it's become something reserved only for select occasions. Some older people still do it. My aunt is a great calligraphy fan. So she does it all the time. Her handwriting is magnificent, but for me personally, I don't do it so often. It's just these two classes of occasion, basically.
M: Do you prefer to receive cards or emails?
R: Well, emails are more efficient and they're easier to respond to. You can copy and paste them and then reply to each point in turn. So you make use of your time more effectively and you give a more targeted response. Cards take up a lot of space and use lots of paper. And I only ever keep the ones that mean something special to me, like the ones my best friends make for me, for example, or maybe somebody special sent me a card. Then I'll keep it. Then, but other than that, not really. My preference definitely lies with emails.
M: Is sending cards common in your country?
R: It's not overly so these days. Technology is pretty much taking care of that, like I said. There's this sort of generation gap. But even older people are sending more emails these days, maybe with the exception of my dad, who will probably die before he learns how to send a text message or send an email. But most people are, are slowly letting go of this habit.
M: Will people stop sending cards and letters in the future?
R: Well, I said people were letting go. I suppose what I should have said was they're becoming more relaxed in the number of times that they send them. They probably won't send as many as they do. But, for example, people still use telegraphs and radios, and those have been obsolete for decades because they were replaced by other things. So probably they'll still exist, just in smaller amounts and the dominant medium will become electronic, basically.
M: Rory, thank you so much for your answers.
R: It's OK.
M: So cards, such a strange topic, right? Like, and buy cards, what kind of cards do you mean like birthday cards, St. Valentine's Day cards, right?
R: Well, they're all cards and we all have them.
M: So if you basically take some people and you make this paper into a card and you write something inside. You colour, you put some nice stickers and you give it to somebody, this is called giving a card to a person.
R: Yeah. It's called making a card as well. And you can make a card by hand or you can get a premade card from a card store, which is what I'm going to do for my friend because I'm lazy.
M: Yeah, actually, I got one card from you on the New Year. Handmade.
R: Oh my God.
M: Yes, you made me a card.
R: Years ago.
M: Years ago.
R: Do you still have it?
M: Of course, I keep it on my wall. It's framed. It has your fingerprints on it.
R: That's creepy. Moving on.
M: Right, so cards do take up a lot of space and use lots of paper.
R: They do. So something takes up a lot of space. It means it, well, it uses space. So, for example, on my shelf, there are several cards and they're quite big. So that means I can't fit other things onto them. So if they do this, then they take up a lot of space.
M: Making cards takes up a lot of your time, and energy, and creativity.
R: Well, maybe not for my cards. They're not very creative.
M: No, but some people kind of...
R: I like that. Your cards are rubbish, but the other people's are quite nice.
M: No, I actually enjoyed your card. It was like blue and it had some drawing and very nice, like New Year wishes. Yeah. You can also get your cards delivered or you can make them by hand and then hand-deliver them to the person.
R: You can have them delivered as well.
M: But if you deliver this to the person yourself, you say I hand-deliver them, hand-deliver them, or if you pay other people to deliver your cards, then you get your card delivered using Postal Service.
R: Yes, the postal service.
M: In Moscow is one of the best in the world. Yeah.
R: It's one of the worst postal services I've ever encountered. People say it's getting better, but that's a lot of nonsense. The postal service here is absolutely abysmal. And abysmal is another way of saying it's very bad.
M: You've mentioned calligraphy.
R: Yeah, calligraphy is. Oh, God, I'm going to butcher the meaning here. It's like, it's like handwriting, but in art, like artistic forms. So you make, like, very fancy handwriting. It looks nice. It doesn't, I'm not selling it very well here, but it looks great. My Aunt Hilda is amazing at this kind of thing.
M: Yeah. And you can just go and learn calligraphy just for fun, you know.
R: You can, there's lots of books for it.
M: And you can say, for example, I don't enjoy making cards because my handwriting is horrible. Handwriting.
R: My handwriting is horrible. And we have an episode about handwriting.
M: No, I love your handwriting. Your handwriting is good. It's very neat and very nice.
R: It's awful. I have the worst handwriting in the world.
M: Oh, he's too modest. Yeah.
R: It's terrible. Seriously.
M: Anyway, we can say that Rory's handwriting is magnificent and magnificent is a nice word. Like fantastic.
R: My auntie's handwriting is magnificent. Mine is absolutely awful, like I say.
M: Rory, you've used this word seldom. But really? Is it a popular word to use? Don't we say hardly ever?
R: Uh, well, yeah, you could say hardly ever. But if you want to paraphrase effectively, then you need a backup plan. And seldom is the only other one I could think of.
M: What about rarely?
R: Rarely also. But like...
M: But people do say seldom like in, like naturally in the conversation.
R: Yeah. Seldom is usually used to stress. It's usually a stress word and usually it's used in formal contexts. And it's a less common piece of vocabulary for a high score. So I used that. And if you want to take issue with that, then come and fight me in the ring, bro.
M: Ok, ok.
R: Fight me irl.
M: Boxer. Yeah. So we do have some special occasions when you make cards or you send cards to people. These occasions might be Birthdays, Saint Valentine's Day, New Year's Day or just for fun. Why not. Maybe it's a secret love letter.
R: Who sends love letters these days?
M: Really. Yeah, that's a question. Do we send love letters? Do we send this like love notes? Or do we just, like, send emails and texts and WhatsApp messages, Telegram?
R: I think most people just send messages to each other now, which is a little bit unfortunate, but what can you do?
M: So this is something that's dying now and we can call it obsolete. So when something is dead, it's obsolete. We don't use it anymore. Like telegraphs. Sending cards to each other is becoming obsolete. So technology has pretty much taken care of that. So taken care of the fact that sending cards is becoming obsolete and now we prefer emails. And Rory has used a very nice expression. My preference lies with emails now.
R: Yeah. So that's like a really formal expression, isn't it? This is another way of saying like I prefer emails, but if you want to sound posh, then you say my preference lies with the e-mails, darling.
M: Yes. So now you know how to sound posh.
R: Don't say darling to your examiner or he'll kill you and me, probably. Why did one of your students call me darling?
M: Because Rory on IELTS Speaking for Success podcast said to sound posh.
R: You need to use the word darling.
M: After everything you say. So, dear listener, if you want to make us a handmade card and send this card to us, you can hand make this card, take a photo and send this photo to our Instagram.
R: That doesn't sound very nice. We really should have a postal address thinking about it, actually.
M: No, but why not? You know, like I used to have a friend. He would buy me a card, he would write on this card, then he would take a photo and then he would send this photo on my Facebook to just make sure that oh Maria, I'm sending you these cards, you know, so he killed all the joy. But anyway, dear listener, you can make the cards for us, for Rory. Rory, what's your birthday again? I forgot.
R: I'm not telling you that.
M: Wait, wait. I think I now can remember your name. Rory Fergus Duncan-Goodwilly.
R: Hey, finally.
M: I can't remember your birthday.
R: It only, it only took you five years.
M: Five years. Ok, anyway, dear listener, send us an e-cards. Yeah. You can send us an e-card, electronic card, which are actually quite popular.
R: Allegedly. Anyway, it seems like the end of our episode is on the cards as opposed to being in the cards.
M: What is that on the cards?
R: If something is on the cards, it's just like saying it's on the schedule or it's in the future, and it's probably going to happen. If something is in the cards, then it's like a prediction that you make. It's like tarot cards, for example.
M: That's nice.
R: It is. I'm pretty good at this, when you, when you think about it. It's almost like it's my job.
M: It is, isn't it?
R: It is.
M: You are with this podcast forever and ever. Thank you very much for listening and for all your support. We are sending you hugs, kisses, smiles, smileys, smiley faces and good vibes. Bye!
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