Decades - The 1980s with Alex

155 - Decades: The 1980s with Alex


Words that are bolded in red are suggested vocabulary words for this episode.


Hi everyone! How are you? How’s the weather where you’re at? Is it sunny? Is it cloudy with a chance of showers? Do you have snow? I find it funny talking about cold weather and just winter in general, when half of you are in the southern hemisphere spending days on the beach in the hot, hot sun. So for right now, we’re going to change that topic, and we’re going to immerse ourselves in another time entirely: The 1980s.

Were you alive in the 1980s? If you were, or if you weren’t, hold on to your seats! This is going to be a very fun episode.

First, let me give you some context.

Earlier this year, I asked some friends and family members if they could write a short story about their favorite decade. Now, a decade is a ten-year time frame. So for example, 1970-1979 is a decade. 1980, 1989 is another decade. I asked some friends and family members if they could write a short story about their favorite decade.

My thought was, well, other than it being interesting to hear about their stories, I also thought it would be interesting to step out of the 2020s and relive a decade in the life of someone else.

What would their world look like? Culturally? Politically? What were they doing? What is it that made that decade so memorable? That’s interesting, isn’t it?

Because this is an English lesson, I thought, well, they can paint this picture for you in their own words, their own voice, so you’ll be exposed to new voices and vernacular, and decade-specific vocabulary! Do you know what a Walkman is? You will by the end of this episode.

Today you’re going to immerse yourself in the 1980s with my Uncle Alex. This lesson will be divided into a few sections. First, I’ll teach the words we use to talk about decades in English. Then, you’ll hear his story, after which you’ll get further explanations so that you understand the story on a deeper level. Last but not least, you’ll hear the story one last time.


So, are you ready? Let’s begin with the names of the decades, and we’re going to start 100 years ago.

All right, so the 1920s, we often also call the 20s. So…

  • The 1920s were known as the "Roaring 20s" in the United States.

That decade was characterized by the rise of jazz music and economic prosperity, as well as lots of cultural change.

Next, we have the 1930s or the 30s.

  • The Great Depression characterized much of the 1930s in the United States.

It wasn’t such a great time. There wasn’t much economic prosperity, like in the 1920s.

Then we have the 1940s or the 40s.

  • Because of World War 2, the 40s were a difficult decade for many.

Then, we have the 1950s or the 50s.

  • The baby boom was prevalent after World War 2, most definitely in the 1950s.

Then we have the 1960s or the 60s.

  • The Beatles rose to fame in the 60s.

Of course, the 60s were also known as a time of significant social change in the United States with [00:05:00] the Civil Rights Movement. You probably remember that from my episode with Rosa Parks.

Then we have the 1970s or the 70s.

  • The first Star Wars movie came out in the 1970s.
  • The 1980s witnessed the rapid growth of the video game industry.

The 1980s or the 80s, which we’re going to talk about today. 

Next we have the 90s, the 1990s. So…

  • The widespread adoption of the internet began in the 1990s.

Then we have the 2000s. Now, if we want to refer to that time frame between 2000 and 2010, we usually say the early 2000s.

  • In the early 2000s, we listened to NSync and Backstreet Boys on our CD players.

Then we have the 2010s referring to 2010 to 2019. Same goes for other centuries, so we had the 1910s, the 1810s, 1710s, et cetera.

  • The magnificent Titanic sank in the 1910s.

So let’s go through them all:

The 10s, the 20s, the 30s, the 40s, the 50s, the 60s, the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, the early 2000s, so on and so forth. All right, so let’s head to the 80s.

Are you ready? Let’s begin.


That’s it for the free part of this transcript. For the vocabulary, definitions, quiz, full transcript and more, be sure to sign up to Season 4.