53 Years Together | English Listening Lesson 07

Story: Last week, we celebrated a special day in our family. It was my parents’ 53rd wedding anniversary!

Pronunciation lesson: How to pronounce the word anniversary

 
This podcast is for intermediate to advanced English learners. I use core vocabulary to tell you a story about something that happened in my daily life in Canada. Each podcast also includes a pronunciation lesson that explains something I said in the story. You’ll hear the story twice. The first time, the story is a little slower than normal. After the pronunciation lesson, you’ll hear the story again, but at a regular speed. I speak naturally and with a standard American accent.

 

TRANSCRIPT

Last week, we celebrated a special day in our family. It was my parents’ 53rd wedding anniversary! Can you imagine living with someone for 53 years? That’s extraordinary! My parents are still in love and they still have a strong relationship. We’re a close family, so it was exciting to celebrate this day with them.

My parents met in the 1950s when they were both teenagers and they worked at the same place. My dad noticed my mom right away. He thought she was very attractive, intelligent, and fun to be with. When he asked her out on a date, my mom had to ask my grandmother for permission. Luckily my uncle (my mother’s brother) worked at the same place and knew my dad. My uncle told my grandmother that my dad was a good guy and it was OK to let my mother go on a date with him. My uncle still likes to remind my dad of this!

My parents dated for a few years before they married. From all the pictures I’ve seen, it looks like they had a lot of fun together when they were young. They would go on dates to the movies or to parties and dances, and sometimes they would double date with my uncle and his girlfriend. Sometimes my grandmother even made my mother take her two younger sisters with her on dates! Fifty-three years later, my parents still have fun together. Every day they go out for coffee and do crossword puzzles together.

My parents didn’t want to do anything elaborate for their anniversary. On the day of their anniversary, our entire family went to a local restaurant for dinner. We had drinks & a lovely meal. It was a really nice evening! My brother quietly told the waiter that it was my parents’ anniversary, and the waiter brought out a cake for dessert, on the house!

 
NOTE: I wrote fifty-three at the beginning of a sentence instead of the number 53 because I was taught in school that you could not start a sentence with a number. Many people don’t pay attention to this rule anymore, but I still do!

 

PRONUNCIATION

There are two ways to pronounce the word anniversary and they sound very similar. Listen carefully:
/ænə’vɚsəri/
/ænə’vɚsri/

The first syllable is the sound /æ/

In English, double consonants are only pronounced once, so there is only one n sound. The second syllable is pronounced /nɪ/ or /nə/. In an unstressed syllable, the two vowel sounds are similar.
/ænɪ/
/ænə/

The third syllable is the stressed syllable. It’s pronounced /vɝ/ and it is said louder and longer than the other syllables.
ænəvɚ

The sa can be pronounced /sə/ with the reduced vowel sound /ə/,
/ænə’vɚsəri/

… or you can skip this syllable and finish the word with /sri/
/ænə’vɚsri/

The y at the end of the word is pronounced /i/.
/ænə’vɚsəri/
/ænə’vɚsri/

 

REFERENCE VOCABULARY

double date [verb] / a double date [noun]
…and sometimes they would double date with my uncle and his girlfriend.
= two couples go on a date together

crossword puzzles
Every day they go out for coffee and do crossword puzzles together.
= a type of puzzle where you must guess the answers to a clues, and the answers are written in squares, so that some answers share letters

on the house
My brother quietly told the waiter that it was my parents’ anniversary, and the waiter brought out a cake for dessert, on the house!
= free/without charge in a restaurant, hotel, bar, club, pub, etc.

 

Phrasal Verbs:

ask (someone) out (on a date)
When he asked her out on a date, my mom had to ask my grandmother for permission.
= ask someone to go on a date

 

CORE VOCABULARY

(What is core vocabulary?)

3*** words
celebrate
special
parents
wedding
strong
relationship
close
place [noun]
notice [verb]
attractive
remind
date [verb]
marry [verb]
party [noun]
dance [noun]
entire
local
quietly

2** words
anniversary
extraordinary
teenager
intelligent
permission
elaborate

1* words
luckily
crossword
waiter

 

COLLOCATIONS

(What are collocations?)

live with someone
be in love
right away
ask (someone) for permission (to do something)
have fun
go on a date (with someone)
remind someone of/about something
make someone do something

 

LISTEN TO MORE LESSONS HERE!

 



26 Comments on 53 Years Together | English Listening Lesson 07

  1. semiotische dreieck
    September 15, 2010 at 3:45 pm (5 years ago)

    Thank you dear Melanie, it is a really great job, it is very very helpful for me.
    It is so pleasent to hear such a nice love story, unfortunatelly my parents are divorsed. nino tsamalaidze (from facebook)

    Reply
  2. Melanie
    September 16, 2010 at 10:13 pm (5 years ago)

    Hello Nino,

    Thank you for taking the time to listen & leave a comment! I'm happy to hear this was helpful. I'm sorry to hear your parents are divorced. Hopefully it was an amicable divorce.

    Take care,
    Melanie

    Reply
  3. Abdullahi
    June 8, 2011 at 11:28 am (5 years ago)

    Thank you for your effort….
    My parent had the same story like you and they were together until my Mother left this life and they had 11 (now fully grew) children…me as the last son of my Mother, I have married and my marriage lasted in two months, not my mistake anyway and have a child from this marriage …praise be to God now I am quite ok with my child and I visit my child every weekend once as I am busy with school and work. I have never celebrated my wedding anniversary as it is now about second anniversary and my child is now 1,6y..as well I have never seen my parent celebrating their wedding anniversary…thanks for asking.

    Reply
  4. Melanie
    June 13, 2011 at 11:56 am (5 years ago)

    Hello Abdullahi,

    Thank you for sharing your story! I'm sorry to hear that you have never celebrate a wedding anniversary. I hope someday you will find a new wife! You sound like a very dedicated father.

    All the best,
    Melanie

    Reply
  5. Mohammad
    January 26, 2012 at 5:43 am (4 years ago)

    Hi Melaine,

    I really like your method of teaching it's absolutely interesing and your accent is very clear and understandable.
    I hope that someday will be able to afford travling to toronto and enjoy finding out new cultures. going on a date with a canadian girl would be a real pleasure.
    Thank you so much for your effort and your great English lessons.

    Mohammad Al Qarni

    Reply
  6. Melanie
    January 26, 2012 at 6:28 pm (4 years ago)

    Hello Mohammad!

    Thank you for your kind words about my listening lesson! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I hope one day your dream will come true! Many people come to Toronto to study English!

    All the best in 2012,
    Melanie
    = )

    Reply
  7. Carol
    March 24, 2012 at 10:34 pm (4 years ago)

    Thank you so much for your helping. I greatly appreciate your kindness. I love the way you teach pronunciation that's so interesting.

    Reply
  8. Melanie
    March 25, 2012 at 7:07 pm (4 years ago)

    And I really appreciate your feedback! I am happy to hear you enjoyed this lesson & found it useful!

    Melanie
    = )

    Reply
  9. Renato Alves
    May 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm (4 years ago)

    Great podcast Teacher. Your voice helps alot to understand the context, besides you explain it beautifully.

    Looking forward to the next podcasts.

    If possible, cjeck out my future podcast website (still in development), where I’ll be posting podcasts in Portuguese to help Brazilians to improve their English.

    http://www.englishcast.com.br

    Thanks and cya! =)

    Reply
    • Melanie
      May 7, 2012 at 7:46 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi, Renato!

      I have subscribed to your new blog & I look forward to listening to your future podcasts!

      All the best,
      = )

      Reply
  10. Richard
    May 13, 2012 at 10:33 am (4 years ago)

    not many people celebrate their wedding anniversary in may country. but i knew one: they selebrated 50 years of marriage. they selebrated their wedding annivery at their house and made a big party, with beverages cakes and other things to celebrate our wedding anniversary we go out to a local restaurant or we leave to the my wife’s mother house and make a dinner there because we got marriage on dicember 31th and we don’t like to go too far in that date. i’m very happy because i have a beatiful woman and a beatiful daughter, we got 6 years together and our treasure is one year and 5 month she’s born on dicember 10th and we are cristian we worship God for this precious gift that has given us. thenks malenie don’t for get to take me as your student.
    God bless you. don’t forget you that you are a person very special

    Reply
    • Melanie
      May 13, 2012 at 2:28 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi, Richard!

      Thank you for your kind words! Congratulations to you & your wife on 6 years of marriage and your lovely daughter. On December 31, you can have a HUGE party to celebrate your anniversary AND New Year’s Eve! That must be so fun!

      I wish you all the best!
      = )

      Reply
  11. Andrew
    June 10, 2012 at 7:03 pm (4 years ago)

    That is a lovely story! In Russian speaking countries married couples usually celebrate 25th and 50th anniversaries calling them a ‘silver’ and ‘golden’ wedding respectively. I suppose many people use the same terms as well, but I am not sure. I can hardly remember anyone of my relatives who did celebrate their golden wedding, but me and my wife are certain about our being together till that anniversary (just 49 years are remaining :))
    I was wondering what the proper modern word for ‘to court’ is? Is it ‘date’? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Melanie
      June 11, 2012 at 9:34 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi, Andrew! It’s nice to hear from you again.

      Actually it’s the same in Canada, too, although I don’t think anyone bought my parents gold for their 50th anniversary!

      Congratulations on one year of marriage! Some celebrity couples don’t even last that long …

      You are correct! ‘Date’ is a more modern word for ‘court.’

      = )

      Reply
  12. Yos
    June 12, 2012 at 3:53 am (4 years ago)

    Thank you teacher! this is exactly what I was looking for! I think I’m good with reading and I’m practicing my grammar, but I have troubles with listening, when I see movies in english I can understand almost all the movie with subtitles in english, but when I see the same movie without subtitles I feel lost :( so this is exactly what I need. I discovered that I just need practice it because I understand almost all your podcast :) by the way is a lovely story <3.

    P.S. Did I write correctly my comment? haha

    Thank you, Take care :)

    Reply
    • Melanie
      June 14, 2012 at 7:58 pm (4 years ago)

      Hello Yos!

      Thank you for your kind words! I am always so happy to hear that these lessons are useful. I hope you continue to enjoy the stories!

      “by the way is a lovely story” – remember that in English, every sentence needs a subject! You need to say “By the way, IT’s a lovely story.”

      = )

      Reply
  13. urroosa
    June 25, 2012 at 7:43 am (4 years ago)

    hi melanie
    your teaching is very nice
    this year my parents celebrate their 30th anniversary and i’ll give them surprise thanks for ur teaching

    Reply
    • Melanie
      June 25, 2012 at 8:56 pm (4 years ago)

      Hello Urroosa,

      Thank you for your kind words! A very big ‘Happy Anniversary’ to your parents! I hope that they enjoy your surprise.

      = )

      Reply
  14. Yarslav
    July 25, 2012 at 2:52 am (4 years ago)

    Hello Melanie
    Recently I saw your website and decided to try learn English from it. My English is not very well but I make try to improve it. This story was told by you it’s so beautiful and useful for learn language and lifestyle.
    I know only one partners from my family who’d celebrated 50 Years anniversary. That were my grandparents, parents my dad.
    In our country we also celebrate Days of wedding and years of life together has own names. For instance 1y is Chintz wedding, 2 is Sheet married,…, 5 is Wood,…, 50 is Gold, 75 is Brilliant. At this day we have a custom to give a gifts which madden from material name year wedding.
    I have married about 11 year, have two daughters and last year my wife and I had celebrated 10 years ours life of together. We had great day. Early morning I gave my wife 9 Pink roses (even number is not polite for celebration in our place except it’s possible to visit graveyard, and give more is unwanted, too) and Pink wallet. Then we had a nice night at local restaurant, only my wife and I…
    Melanie I have one question for you, could please tell me about use two words ‘fun’ and ‘funny’ and different between them when we have chat on English.
    Thank you very much. Take care.
    Yaroslav, Ukraine
    p.s. excuse for my mistakes

    Reply
    • Melanie
      July 30, 2012 at 10:20 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi, Yaroslav, & welcome!

      Congratulations to you & your wife on your 10th anniversary! It sounds like you are very romantic.

      Here is a great video (not mine) about fun, funny, & interesting:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhM4w5hF950

      I hope my blog is helpful to you!
      = )

      Reply
  15. yoon mi, lim
    August 30, 2012 at 2:51 am (3 years ago)

    first podcast of your listening is called ” 53 years”
    it is very useful for me

    I have written answers for discussion questions
    Answers are as follows:

    1. We give gifts to each other to celebrate the wedding anniversary

    for example,

    Such as rings, necklaces, Book as a gift and
    Bag as a gift. Etc.
    In addition, we go to eat a nice dinner
    And for a wife or husband sing a song at the live cafe

    2.  if i am married, I will prepare dinner for my husband

    And I will say that thank you for staying with me

    Finally, I will give the ling is prepared for him

    thank you for my answers

    1. We give gifts to each other to celebrate the wedding anniversary

    for example,

    Such as rings, necklaces and given as a gift
    Book as a gift and
    Bag as a gift. Etc.

    In addition, we go to eat a nice dinner

    And for a wife or husband sing a song at the live cafe

    2.  I will prepare dinner for my husband

    And I will say that thank you for staying with me

    Finally, I will give the bag is prepared for him

    Always good luck to you

    bye

    Reply
  16. kamel frenchman
    September 9, 2012 at 7:13 am (3 years ago)

    Thanks for all your efforts that you made for website and to enable to learn English
    I love you dear Melanie

    Reply
  17. naheed
    September 23, 2012 at 11:22 am (3 years ago)

    due to your this informative website i could learn more and encourage too.THANKS FOR YOUR THIS effortsI WAS COMPLETELY disappointed but now i really eager to learn english more

    Reply
  18. jhon
    November 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm (3 years ago)

    well, to tell you the true my parents never celebrate this day because they are not married, and here in my country is very usual that people live together without get marry.

    thank you for your classes. you are great MELANIE

    Reply
  19. yousef
    June 25, 2013 at 2:58 pm (3 years ago)

    what great teacher you r..thank you alot

    Reply
  20. julio
    October 9, 2013 at 4:12 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi Melanie, after listening in to this podcast I thought that our teacher is “a chip off the old block” , you excel both as a person and a teacher . Congratulation to your mom and dad.

    Reply

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