Premium Transcripts
Part 3

Big companies

This episode's vocabulary


  • To enforce (verb) - to make people obey a law, or to make a particular situation happen or be accepted.
  • To fine (verb) - to charge someone an amount of money as a punishment for not obeying a rule or law.
  • Penalty (noun) - a type of punishment, often involving paying money, that is given to you if you break an agreement or do not follow rules.
  • Catch-22 (noun) - an impossible situation where you are prevented from doing one thing until you have done another thing that you cannot do until you have done the first thing.
  • To exploit (verb) - to use something in a way that helps you.
  • Palatable (adj.) - acceptable.
  • Promotion (noun) - the act of encouraging something to happen or develop.
  • Job stability (noun) - the fact of an employee, or a group of employees, being able to keep the same job for a long time.
  • Liability (noun) - the fact that someone is legally responsible for something.
  • Cumbersome (adj.) - awkward because of being large, heavy, or not effective.
  • Bureaucratic (adj.) - relating to a system of controlling or managing a country, company, or organization that is operated by a large number of officials.
  • Stagnant (adj.) - not growing or developing.
  • Conservative (adj.) - not usually liking or trusting change, especially sudden change.
  • Tap into sth. (phrasal verb) - to manage to use something in a way that brings good results.
  • Established (adj.) - accepted or respected because of having existed for a long period of time.
  • Norm (noun) - an accepted standard or a way of behaving or doing things that most people agree with.
  • Procedure (noun) - a set of actions that is the official or accepted way of doing something.

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Questions and Answers


M: Rory, should big companies be punished more seriously than small companies, if they break the law.

R: I don't see why they should, to be honest. The law is enforced in proportion to the crime, not the body that commits it. It's a bit like saying, like, fat people should be fined more than skinny people for committing crimes. If a big company commits a small crime then it should pay the same penalty as the small business that did the same.

M: Should big companies donate more to charities do you think?

R: If they want to. Again, I don't, I like, I don't see why not. Though they often find themselves in sort of like catch-22 situations when things like this come up, don't they? Either, they pay a lot and they're seen as trying to exploit the charity to make their image more palatable and sort of public friendly, or they don't donate and then they get it in the neck for being selfish. I don't see how companies are supposed to win in this respect.

M: What are the benefits of working for a big company?

R: Well, I suppose with greater size, theoretically comes like much greater access to resources and opportunities for promotion, and greater job stability, although arguably these could all be undone quite easily, couldn't they? I mean, I think as companies, over time companies become progressively less stable.

M: What are the differences between big companies and small companies?

R: I think I just described them there, I suppose you could probably sum it up as having more. More resources, but greater liabilities, more employees, but a larger number of problems. And I think business, big business tends to be more cumbersome in a bureaucratic sense too, doesn't it?

M: Is it hard to get a promotion at a large company?

R: Well, truth be told, it might actually be easier if the company is large and expanding, then there should be a larger number of opportunities to take advantage of, though, that's assuming the company isn't sort of stagnant and conservative. Um, I used to work in a place that would never employ Catholics, for example. It's hard to get a promotion when you kind of get a job to begin with, isn't it?

M: Are there many big companies in your country?

R: I would say it's probably proportionate to the size of the population in the country. Um, we definitely have fewer large companies than in America or Russia, for example. But we've got more than Wales or Liechtenstein. I think that's true for most reasonably stable countries, isn't it?

M: What help do young employees have from old employees?

R: Well, they can sort of tap into the wealth of experience of the older employees. And they can learn from the mistakes that they've made. The other, the older employees have made. And they can tap into the knowledge of how a company works outside of its established and published norms and procedures. That can definitely help them get ahead, I think.

M: Rory, thank you very much for your answers.

R: Let's talk about grammar and vocabulary for big company, shall we?

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Discussion


M: Okay, so big companies, how can we paraphrase big companies? We can say large companies.

R: Yes.

M: We can say big businesses.

R: Yeah. Although we can say big businesses, but we can also talk about big business, which is the way of describing the concept of having large companies.

M: Yep. Multicol corporations? Something like this?

R: Multinational corporations.

M: Multinational, multinational corporations. Yeah. So in this episode, Rory has used loads of topic-related vocabulary, okay? And phrases about different companies and businesses. So for example, pay the same penalty, yeah? The question has break the law, but then we go pay a fine. So companies should be fined, it means they have to pay. And then paraphrasing - pay a penalty. Penalty is the same as a fine.

R: Um, yeah, basically, isn't it? It's like, way to talk about punishment.

M: Yep. The law is enforced in proportion to the crime. Wow. That's a nice sentence.

R: That's just another way of saying like big crimes have big punishments and small crimes have small punishment. Yeah,

R: It's not... It sounds, it sounds lovely, but it's not very complex in terms of the concept.

M: So big companies should pay big money. So the law is enforced, like forced in proportion to the crime. Excellent. Then big companies should donate more to charities, yes, no. And there's a nice sentence, companies are seen as trying to exploit the charity. So exploit the charity, to make the image more palatable, and public friendly.

R: So if we take apart that clothes, to begin with, it's got passive voice, hooray, to be seen by, or are seen as...

M: Companies are seen as. Yep.

R: And then trying to exploit the charity that just means trying to use it for their own purposes. And then to make their image more palatable, which just means nice.

M: Oh, so palatable is nice.

R: And public-friendly, which is another way of saying palatable.

M: What else can be palatable?

R: Food. It's usually used to talk about food, or how things taste.

M: So food is palatable, image is palatable. Can people be palatable?

R: Probably, although it's usually used to talk about things rather than people. People are just, I don't know, you could say like, they're interesting, or they're off-putting.

M: So companies donate money to charity, that's the phrase, or they get it in the neck for being selfish.

R: Yeah, if you get it in the neck, i's just, it's like an idiomatic expression for people complain about you, or people tell you that you did something wrong.

M: Yeah, for example, if McDonald's doesn't take part in charities, McDonald's get it in the neck. Or Rory can get in the neck for what?

R: I'm very well behaved.

M: Yes, you are. You're an angel, Roro. How many birthday parties did you have? 25?

R: 5, in the end.

M: Just 5 this year? Oh... Not counting pre-birthday parties. All right?

R: Yeah, thinking about it.

M: Anyway, talking about big companies, we talk about access to resources. So if you work for a large corporation, you have access to resources, you have opportunities for promotion, and you have greater job stability.

R: Yes. But that's just another way of saying that you're not at risk of being made unemployed. So that's job stability, what else, opportunities for promotion, that's just the chance to be more senior. And access to resources. You can get more stuff.

M: Yep. Yep. copy something for free. Take the...what, book, company. Oh, you can have perks, like a company mobile phone, a company car, different perks. Perk. Also, you said, with more resources, we have greater liabilities.

R: Yeah, but liabilities is just another way of saying potential problems or things that are a drain on resources.

M: Yeah. So liabilities are things that take your money away. And you go like, oh, I think big business tends to be more cumbersome in a bureaucratic sense. Cumbersome. That's a nice word.

R: Yes. But it just means slow. It's like not, it's not, it's not very advanced concept. To be cumbersome is just like to be slow, or difficult to move.

M: Oh, I thought it's also like complicated, you know. Like cumbersome this like something ambiguous, cumbersome.

R: Yeah, well, it's the same idea if it's something as complicated that it's difficult to move.

M: So we can say for example, in big companies, so they have cumbersome bureaucracy. So bureaucracy. Yeah. Or you can say I have cumbersome equipment, for example, yeah, like diving equipment. Yeah.

R: We should talk about bureaucracy in terms of how I phrased it. So I said like in a bureaucratic sense. Um, but it doesn't have to be just in a bureaucratic sense. It can be in a logistical sense, in a lexical sense, in an employment sense, like so all of these are just other ways of saying like, in another way, or in a way like this, so you don't just have to say the bureaucracy is cumbersome, you could say like, it's cumbersome in the bureaucratic sense, for example.

M: Yeah, then you can use other adjectives to describe companies. For example, some companies are stagnant. Stagnant? Yeah?

R: That just means they're not expanding. In fact, they're at risk of contracting getting smaller, decreasing in size.

M: Yeah, some large businesses are stagnant or conservative.

R: Yes.

M: So like, for example, stagnant economy.

R: Yeah. And then conservative just means they don't change or they're less willing to change.

M: I like the expression you used for the last question. So what help do young employees have from old employers? And you go like, they can tap into the wealth of experience. Nice.

R: Yes.

M: Very nice. Tap into something.

R: It's a phrasal verb, isn't it?

M: It is a phrasal verb.

R: But it's not very complicated. It just means like they can take the thing. You tap into experience, you tap into, well, money, tap into water. Turn on the tap.

M: So young employees can tap into the wealth of experience and learn from old employees. Can I say they can pick the brain?

R: Yes. They can pick the brains of older employees. Really should have said more experienced though, because older makes it sound like they're just, it's like it's talking about their age.

M: So more experienced or senior employees, yeah? And Senior employees can teach the young ones about the procedures.

R: Less experienced.

M: Yeah. Mistakes, yeah. How to get promoted, for example. So how can we paraphrase employees? Workers?

R: Workers. People who are employed if you want to, like, stretch that out into a phrase.

M: Yep. Yeah. People who are employed by a large corporation.

R: Yeah. It's a relative clause.

M: It is. Yeah-yeah. People who are employed. Perfect.

R: So that's quite sophisticated in terms of grammar.

M: Yeah, if we talk about the future, so do you think in the future, we'll have more large companies? Are they gonna be expanding? Expanding.

R: I don't know. Do you mean, well, they'll be greater number or the companies we have now will be greater in size?

M: Yeah, greater in size. I think like McDonald's will... It's always McDonald's with me. Why?

R: Because we like McDonald's.

M: Google will be dealing with, you know, taxis. And I don't know, banking.

R: I don't know. I think that's a bit unlikely, to be honest with you. Because if you look at like the fortune of 500 companies, the ones that are there, the ones that were there 20 years ago are not there now, basically. So I have a sneaking suspicion that that trend continues. It's always like that, you have like a large company, and it does really well with its first generation of staff. But as the company becomes older, and more generations come in, and they have less of this personal connection to a business, it causes the business to collapse, basically.

M: Oh, yeah.

R: Now that's not to say that that's one of the only cause. But that's what happens really. You tend to find that like big companies start fantastic and then they just completely go down the tubes.

M: So, dear listener, feel free to make some examples and talk about Google, Uber. What else do you have? McDonald's?

R: You might want to talk about your own like local company too. Like I talked about DC Thompson, for example, and Masha, Maria, you can talk about Yandex. And if you're from Japan, you can Toshiba. Toshiba is Japanese, isn't it?

M: Yep. Yep. Cool. Now, dear listener, you are all equipped with very nice phrases about large businesses and different companies. Okay? So take some time to write things down. What companies can you talk about, what company you have in your own area that you can talk about in speaking part two. Okay? And be ready to make some examples about companies. Again, take like Google as an example to illustrate your ideas in speaking part three.

R: That's all for now.

M: Thank you very much for listening.

R: We hope we were good company. Haha.

M: Ah, we're always good company.

R: Bye!

M: Bye-bye!

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