English Listening Lesson 017 ‘Vertigo’

Story: I was sick! Did you wonder where I was & what happened to me during the summer?

Pronunciation Lesson: The reduced form of the conjunction or

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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:

At the beginning of June [2013], I experienced a severe episode of vertigo. One morning, out of the blue, I was startled awake. When I opened my eyes, the room was spinning. It was scary because I didn’t know what was going on. I couldn’t walk, stand, or even sit up. All I could do was lie in bed and try to keep my head straight. I didn’t go to the doctor right away because this had happened to me before. I thought the vertigo would go away on its own in a day or two. However, this episode was much worse than any before. I spent a week in bed waiting for the vertigo to go away.

I slowly got better, and I even taught a class, but then I had a relapse exactly one week after the first episode of vertigo. I couldn’t get an appointment with my family doctor, so I went to a walk-in clinic. I was diagnosed with a problem in my inner ear that affected my balance. The doctor said that there was nothing she could do. I just had to wait for it to go away.

Except that it didn’t go away. I was still very unsteady on my feet 2 weeks later. Three weeks after the first episode, I went to see my family doctor. She said it could also be an inner ear infection caused by a virus. She gave me some strong pills that helped me function better, but the pills made me very tired, and I had a hard time concentrating on things.

I still feel a little dizzy sometimes when I move my head. I can’t lie down with my head flat on a pillow. I sleep with my head propped up with pillows. I can work now and I have started driving on my own, but I still sit down in the shower and I still find it difficult to concentrate for very long. I’ve had to wait three months for an appointment with an Ear, Nose & Throat specialist. My appointment is this week. I really hope he can help me.

 

Pronunciation

Listen carefully to some sentences from the story:

I couldn’t walk, stand, or even sit up.

I thought the vertigo would go away on its own in a day or two.

Did you hear the word or in those sentences?

The conjunction or is a function word. It’s a grammar word. It’s not an important word, but it needs to be in the sentence so that the sentence is grammatically correct. Within a sentence, function words are unstressed, and they are often reduced.

The conjunction or is unstressed and reduced in a sentence. In natural spoken English, it’s pronounced /ɚ/, like the er sound at the end of a word. Or reduced to /ɚ/ becomes an extra syllable at the end of the preceding word.

Listen again:
I didn’t say “I couldn’t walk, stand, OR even sit up.” I said “I couldn’t walk, stand, /ɚ/ even sit up.

I didn’t say “I thought the vertigo would go away on its own in a day OR two. I said “a day /ɚ/ two.”

Can you hear the difference?

Hear are some more common expressions with or

sooner or later
right or wrong
this one or that one
today or tomorrow

 

Reference Vocabulary:

vertigo
At the beginning of June, I experienced a severe episode of vertigo.
“…but then I had a relapse exactly one week after the first episode of vertigo.
= a feeling of dizziness; a feeling that things around you are spinning or you feel like you’re spinning (moving in circles quickly)
= it often causes a loss of balance, and you feel like you might fall down.

relapse
“…but then I had a relapse exactly one week after the first episode of vertigo.
= the return of an illness; to get sick again (after you have been feeling better)

family doctor
I couldn’t get an appointment with my family doctor, so I went to a walk-in clinic.
Three weeks after the first episode, I went to see my family doctor.
= a general practitioner [GP]; a doctor who provides general medical advice and treatment; a doctor who works in a private office, not a hospital; a doctor who knows your medical history & your family’s medical history, and you see this doctor often for your medical problems
*In North America, only specialists and surgeons work in hospital.

walk-in clinic [adjective]
I couldn’t get an appointment with my family doctor, so I went to a walk-in clinic.
= a doctor’s office where you don’t need an appointment. You can just walk into the office & ask to be seen by a doctor.

unsteady
I was still very unsteady on my feet 2 weeks later.
= opposite of steady**
= weak, not balanced

dizzy
I still feel a little dizzy sometimes when I move my head.
= a feeling that you are spinning (moving in circles) or that things around you are moving in circles and you feel like you are going to fall.

 

Idiom:

out of the blue
One morning, out of the blue, I was startled awake.
= suddenly & unexpectedly, without warning

 

Phrasal Verbs:

go on
“It was scary because I didn’t know what was going on.”
= happen [“I didn’t know what was happening.“]

sit up
I couldn’t walk, stand, or even sit up.
= move from a lying position to a sitting position

go away
I thought the vertigo would go away on its own in a day or two.
I spent a week in bed waiting for the vertigo to go away.
= to end, to stop happening

lie down
I can’t lie down with my head flat on a pillow.
= move from a standing or sitting position to a lying position (a flat position)

prop up
I sleep with my head propped up with pillows.
= to stop something from falling or lying flat by putting something under or against it, in this case pillows. I use pillows to support my head from being flat or horizontal while I sleep.

sit down
…but I still sit down in the shower.
= move from a standing position to a sitting position

 

Core Vocabulary:

(What is core vocabulary?)
3***
experience [verb]
severe
room
walk
stand
lie [verb]
happen
worse
teach
exactly
appointment
inner
affect
balance
doctor
except
cause
virus
strong
hard
time
concentrate
head
flat
sleep
drive
ear
nose
throat

2**
episode
spin [verb]
straight
clinic
infection
function
shower
specialist

1*
startle
awake
scary
diagnose
pill
pillow

 

Collocations:

(What are collocations?)
open my eyes
all I could do
lie in bed
keep my head straight
right away
on its own
in a day or two
in bed
inner ear
a hard time
concentrate on
on my own

 

Listen to more lessons here!

 



 

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31 Comments on English Listening Lesson 017 ‘Vertigo’

  1. .ae
    October 7, 2013 at 10:15 pm (2 years ago)

    thank you teacher.

    Reply
  2. gil
    October 7, 2013 at 10:28 pm (2 years ago)

    Hope you get better. I had the same recently.

    Reply
  3. Fatemeh
    October 7, 2013 at 11:24 pm (2 years ago)

    Awww get well soon, dear Melanie!! :) I’m sure you will! There are MANY MANY people around the world who benefit from your awesome English lessons and everything, and I have no doubts that they all send you the most positive wishes.
    I, myself, will be “praying” for you! :)
    Cheers! :)

    Reply
  4. Esther
    October 7, 2013 at 11:36 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi Teacher,
    It’s great you’re getting better. Actually, my mom has gotten the same symptoms like u. the disease she get name Ménière’s disease. When it come in, u can not do anything , just take rest, and wait it go away.But, when u get cold, or under stress,and it easy to come in again.

    There is small signal before it come, like lightly dizzy , so, be careful the kind of signal, when u find them, just slow down your pace and get enough sleep , maybe take some necessary pill, it will be useful to keeping from serious vertigo.

    Reply
  5. Winor
    October 8, 2013 at 12:52 am (2 years ago)

    Hi teacher
    probably you will have to rest properly …this is an effective way to restore your balance please go to sleep at 10 pm …above all avoid all kind of trans-fat and sodas drink abundant coconut water also grape juice or grapefruit without artificial sugars
    eat more naturally (non artificial foods or fast foods)
    and last but not least add to your meals curcuma longa (turmeric)
    Trust in God the father Jesus and the holy spirit at all times ..sing songs to them and meditate in his love
    God Bless you

    Reply
  6. Winor
    October 8, 2013 at 1:16 am (2 years ago)

    TEACHER :
    I STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU WALKING AT LEAST FOR 3O MIN
    A DAY 3 OR 4 DAYS PER WEEK .
    ALSO BUY WHOLE FLAX SEEDS AND GROUND IT YOURSELVES AT HOME (USE A BLENDER) TAKE 1 OR 2 TABLESPOON DAILY.
    DO NOT USE HYDROGENATED FATS FOR COOKING, EAT AVOCADO INSTEAD.
    DRINK 8 TO 10 GLASSES OF WATER …AND MY SECRET WEAPON ..RAW JUICE OF CELERY(2 STICKS)
    PEACE….

    Reply
  7. Gamini
    October 8, 2013 at 2:02 am (2 years ago)

    These podcasts help us a lot to improve English. Thanks.

    Reply
  8. Marie-Danielle O'Reilly
    October 8, 2013 at 2:21 am (2 years ago)

    Your story about your health is scarry . I really hope that you fill better and No Up and Down. Yesterday, I read one of your story about a big plane … Very scarry!
    Take care and come back to us !

    Reply
  9. maaha
    October 8, 2013 at 2:44 am (2 years ago)

    thank you so much dear instructor.i am really gratifies to you to share this magnificent information.stay blessed and may God always keep you happy.

    Reply
  10. Purshotam
    October 8, 2013 at 6:55 am (2 years ago)

    Thank a lot mam,,, this is called study with fun …

    Reply
  11. Manuel
    October 8, 2013 at 6:58 am (2 years ago)

    My pretty girl:
    I don’t know a lot of English but I want to tell you that I wish your quickly recuperation.
    Bye from Spain.

    Reply
  12. hakim
    October 8, 2013 at 10:26 am (2 years ago)

    thanks
    my sweet teacher
    i am really appreciate from your teaching i love you.

    Reply
  13. edon
    October 8, 2013 at 10:27 am (2 years ago)

    Hello teacher, I wish I could say what I feel about you. first of all I’d like to thank you for the great help you freely offers us . As you know there are a very small number of people who reserve a little of their precious time just to help others. I deeply believe that you will get better soon, because you deserve it. You are a great person, a strong human soul. God Bless you!

    Reply
  14. Maxim
    October 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm (2 years ago)

    That’s a pity that you caught such an awful virus. Hope you’ll get better in no time!
    Thanks a lot for your work, i just recently found your blog and i’ve already learnt a lot from it. Especially i like the lesson about silent T, it’s awesome :)

    Reply
  15. julio
    October 8, 2013 at 4:57 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi Melanie, i am praying to God that you may get over your vertigo very soon and start living a normal life again .

    Reply
  16. peter
    October 9, 2013 at 1:45 am (2 years ago)

    thanks Melanie, very good lesson and hope you well soon.

    Reply
  17. adelmo
    October 9, 2013 at 4:39 am (2 years ago)

    Melanie,
    Get well soon, we can’t countinue without your help. God bless you.
    Adelmo from Italy

    Reply
  18. Samuel
    October 10, 2013 at 12:15 am (2 years ago)

    Good day Melanie… hope you’re okay now. Thank you for another interesting and educational lesson. Another podcast to download [I download all your podcast lesson including Life in Canada lesson]..by the way I’m located here in PH. Thank’s a lot again and TAKE CARE!!!

    Reply
    • Senchumnith Hor
      October 11, 2013 at 3:38 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks teacher Melanie for a lesson to me…!

      Reply
  19. susan
    October 13, 2013 at 3:06 am (2 years ago)

    Thanks Melanie,god bless you and Take care, we(all)need you so much….I hope you are better now.

    Reply
  20. dai
    October 14, 2013 at 4:51 am (2 years ago)

    hello!Melanie. I am sorry to hear your true story.I hope you will get better soon,this time you should take rest to recover your health,don’t try to work hard.
    I hope to receive more your lessons after you feel well.

    Reply
  21. Bontot
    October 14, 2013 at 9:27 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi,Melanie :-)
    yeah I always wondering why I didn’t receive your mail lesson lately..and as I got this mail lesson from you I know now that you have a problem with your health as you had mentioned in your lesson before.
    Nice lesson I downloaded all your listening lessons and revise them :-)
    keep healthy we love you ^^
    Terima Kasih.

    Reply
  22. yousef
    October 16, 2013 at 3:30 pm (2 years ago)

    thank you teacher melanie

    Reply
  23. Renata Vieira
    October 28, 2013 at 11:18 am (2 years ago)

    Hello Melanie!
    I’m glad to know you are getting better! Hopefully you will be 100% very soon!
    Your lessons are really helpful for me and I’m sure they are helpful for other people too.
    Thanks!
    Renata

    Reply
  24. c.thomas noble
    November 3, 2013 at 12:00 pm (2 years ago)

    thanks a lot.

    Reply
  25. Mahmoud
    December 26, 2013 at 5:20 am (2 years ago)

    thank u teacher < Allah bless you

    Reply
  26. Willingmax
    December 27, 2013 at 7:35 pm (2 years ago)

    That’s bad teacher, I feel sorry for you. I hope you get better,
    Brazil.

    Reply
  27. student
    May 23, 2014 at 2:47 pm (1 year ago)

    Hi
    I found your website recently while listening aisensei podcast.
    Great work
    is it possible to get transcript of your podcast in .pdf
    Thanks,

    Reply
    • Melanie
      Melanie
      June 2, 2014 at 6:47 pm (1 year ago)

      Thank you for the suggestion! I’m not sure how to make a .pdf available on my website, but I will look into i!

      = )

      Reply
  28. thaer
    September 3, 2014 at 3:30 am (1 year ago)

    thank you Mr.about this ways to learn english but I have problem to save the vocubulary after limit time because I don’t use them in my life and at sametime I want to take IBT exame.what is your advise to me.thanks

    Reply
  29. Tareq Battah
    June 21, 2015 at 8:03 am (3 months ago)

    Dear melanie,

    Thanks for your effortes in this Podcast,i hope you a good health always.

    Thanks a lot

    Reply

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