AE 535 – Expression: A Fly on the Wall
Well, this is Outback Australia. Look at these flies.
Yeah, try not to eat too many, ‘cause if you get stuck, I think you’d get a feed off of these fellas.
Eventually, you get used to them and you don’t blink. That hasn’t happened to me yet. I still blink.
I don’t think they’ve got anywhere to go. (It’d) be a good place to test fly spray.
Anyway, Outback Australia.
G’day, you mob. How’s it going? Welcome to this episode of Aussie English.
Man, I have just gotten back from whisking Kel off, taking Kel, driving Kel to the station. So, I get to do that a few times a week as she goes off into Melbourne, which is about an hour and a half’s drive from here. Although, we don’t drive the whole way. I take her to the station. She gets on the train. The train takes it to Melbourne. She crosses the road and she gets to class. So, she’s up there at business school at the moment studying. Anyway.
So, I hope you guys are going well. Welcome to the Aussie English Podcast. If it’s your first time listening, it is an absolute pleasure to have you here. Thank you for joining me. If you are a long-time listener, thank you for joining me once again.
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And there’s a bit of news, there’s a bit of news, guys. I have my guys working on merging these websites. So, before we get into the episode, I’ll tell you a little bit about that and what I’ve got planned. I want to merge these two websites together so that they’re all in the same place. (I) Don’t know why I didn’t think of that earlier. And then, I want to turn this into an app that you can use on your phone. So, you’ll be able to listen to the podcast directly and you’ll also obviously be able to sign up to get the transcripts and the MP3 downloads as well as sign up to the classroom too all through this app. So, that is coming this year. I’m not sure when. I going to do my best to get it done ASAP, but you’ll just have to wait and see. Anyway.
With all that aside, guys, big intro. Thanks for putting up with it. Let’s get into the expression episode today.
So, the video at the start there was from Gavin Clark’s YouTube channel. There’ll be a link in the transcript if you want to go check out his channel and have a few views. And it shows how numerous and invasive the flies in outback Australia can be. They have no sense of personal space. If you come to Australia, especially in summer, you’re going to be swatting your face, you’re going to be giving “the Aussie salute”, as we call it, quite a lot.
Anyway, let’s dive into an Aussie joke. And I had to tie this in with flies today for obvious reasons.
What do you call a fly without wings? What do you call a fly without wings?
Are you ready for this? Hold your sides, hold your sides, because it’s going to be funny.
What do you call a fly without wings? A walk. A walk.
Do you get it? Because a fly flies, and if he can’t fly, he can’t fly anymore, obviously, he’s got no wings, so he is “a walk”, because he has to walk. Oh my gosh! So, terrible! So, terrible but hopefully you guys like these ‘punny’ jokes, right. These jokes that are funny because they are puns.
So, today’s expression is “to be a fly on the wall”, and it was suggested by Vivian in the Aussie English Classroom group. So, good job, Vivian. It was a great suggestion. And she won by a landslide. She won. Everyone voted for her expression. So, I’m happy to be doing it.
So, let’s go through the words in the expression, okay. A fly. *Bzzzz*. A fly. I’m sure you guys know what a fly is. It’s a flying insect in Australia. There are heaps of different kinds of flies. They normally land on poo, on your food, in your face, everywhere, and they’re trying to, like, suck up moisture with their sucking mouthparts, right. That is a fly.
‘On’. I’m sure you guys know the preposition ‘on’, right. My hand is on the table. It is physically in contact with and supported by a surface. ‘On’.
The last word here a noun, ‘the wall’, ‘a wall’ is a continuous vertical brick or stone structure, right, something that encloses an area. It could be land, it could be the walls in your house, right, (they) are enclosing a room. But that is ‘a wall’.
Alright, let’s move on to the expression. So, have you guys heard the expression “to be a fly on the wall”, right. If I said to you, “Man! I would love to be a fly on the wall.”, do you think you know what that means, right. If you’re a fly on the wall, if we say that you are a fly on the wall, it means that you would like to hear what is going to be said or done without being noticed, right. So, it’s to be an unnoticed observer of a particular situation. And we’ll go through some examples of that in just a sec.
But expression origin wise, it alludes to the position, right, of being on our wall as a small fly and being freely able to observe some kind of situation without being noticed. And it dates back to about 1920-1921 when it was used in America in the Oakland Tribune, which I assume’s a newspaper, and they said “I’d just love to be a fly on the wall when the right man comes along.”.
So, let’s go through some examples, guys. Imagine, example number one, that you are an architect or an engineer or a scientist, right. You have a job, you have a career, as one of those. You’re working hard to advance your career. You know, you’re putting in the extra hours, the extra… you’re going the extra mile, you’re putting in a lot of extra hard yakka, right, meaning working hard, you’re working really, really hard, and your manager or your boss, the people above you, have a meeting each week to discuss their employees and discuss what needs to be done that week. So, you don’t get invited to that meeting, but if you wanted to go, you might say to the other employees, to the other architects, engineers, or scientists, “Man! I would kill to be a fly on the wall in that meeting. I would kill to be a fly on the wall and be able to hear what they’re talking about or to see what they’re doing, right, but without being noticed. I wish I could be a fly on the wall.”.
Example number two. Imagine you’re out with your mates, you’re having a drink, right. You’re sinking some piss, as we say, which means to be drinking some alcohol. So, you’re at a pub or you’re at a party or you’re at a barbie hanging out with your mates and you get a call from your missus, right, from your wife, from your girlfriend, from your better half, from your partner. She is raging up at you because you meant to be home with her for date night, but you forgot and you went out with your mates and you started drinking some beer with them. So, you hang up the phone and you say, “Look, guys, I’ve got to bail. I’ve got to go home. My missus is really pissed. She’s really angry and I need to hang out with her tonight or I’ll be sleeping in the dog house, right.” That means I won’t be in the bedroom with her, I’ll be sleeping somewhere else because she’ll be so angry. So, when you leave, your friends might all turn to one another and say, “Man! I would love to be a fly on the wall when he gets home. I would love to be a fly on the wall when he opens the door and she loses it. You know, I would love to see what’s going to happen between those two, all the drama, everything that’s going to go down, I would love to see that but without being noticed. I’d love to be a fly on the wall.”
Example number three. Imagine you are a coach of some kind of sports team, maybe a footy team, right, AFL footy, Australian Rules Football. Imagine you’re a coach and you’re trying to train your team with a bunch of new training techniques, you know, different kinds of drills, in order to sharpen their skills up and give them a better chance of dominating this year in the footy season. So, other coaches from other teams hear about this. They hear about your plans through the grapevine. They’d heard it through the grapevine, right. You know, they hear it through a whole bunch of other people, and they want to sneak into the stadium and see what you’re doing, to learn what you’re doing, to see the techniques you’re using in order to learn from them and beat you, right. Fortunately, they can’t get in, but I’m sure they’re all thinking, “Man! I wish we could be flies on the wall to be able to see what he’s doing, right. We would love to see what he’s doing, we’d love to take his ideas, to steal his ideas, to flog his ideas, to learn from them, and then beat him this season.”.
So, that’s it, guys. Hopefully now you understand the expression “to be a fly on the wall”. If you say you wish you were a fly on the wall, it means you wish you were an unnoticed observer of some situation, some particular situation.
So, as usual, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise where you guys can practice your pronunciation, and then after that, we’ll smash out the Aussie English fact and I’ll let you guys finish up your weekend, okay. Let’s go.
A fly on
A fly on the
A fly on the wall x 5
I’d love to be a fly on the wall.
You’d love to be a fly on the wall.
He’d love to be a fly on the wall.
She’d love to be a fly on the wall.
We’d love to be a fly on the wall.
They’d love to be a fly on the wall.
I’d love to be a fly on the wall.
Good job, guys. Good job! There’s a lot of connected speech going on there with some contractions as well. And remember, I’ve just released a course in the Aussie English Classroom about spoken English where you will learn heaps and heaps of different contractions, how to contract words, how to use connected speech, in order to sound more like a native speaker, but also to tune in your listening comprehension so you can hear when native speakers use those kinds of contractions or connected speech, right. “I’d love to be a…” “I’d love to be a…”. So, anyway, let’s get into the Aussie English fact and finish up.
So, today I wanted to give you the lowdown on flies in Australia. ‘The low down’, that is like information about them details about them. The lowdown on flies in Australia. And I’m also going to tell you how flies will help turn poo into birds. That’s right. They can turn poo into birds.
So, no summer barbecue in Australia would be complete without a certain uninvited guest who always shows up before the meat even hits the barbie and begins to sizzle, and has you giving the great Aussie Salute to keep them out of your eyes, ears, and mouth. The Australian fly. However, there isn’t just one type of fly. There are estimated to be more than 30,000 species of flies in Australia more than enough species to make sure every single cubic inch of Australian airspace is occupied whether in the desert, rainforest, or at the beach.
Despite the extensive fly diversity in the Land of Oz, in the land Down Under, you’re only likely to come across four different groups of flies, which aren’t necessarily all equally as annoying. And these groups are: the bush fly, the housefly, the blowfly, and the mosquito. Yes, the mosquito is in fact a species of very specialized fly, right. The mouthparts of mosquitoes have obviously changed to become much more about injecting, well, piercing, and then sucking blood.
So, why a fly population skyrocket in summer. This occurs because of the warmer temperatures, which really speed up the life cycle of flies as well as other insects, obviously. So, it allows their numbers to explode into fly-swattingly irritating proportions. Their life cycle from egg to maggot to pupa and to adult is only between 7 to 14 days usually. So, imagine when that speeds up, right. Imagine how many can breed and how quickly their numbers can increase.
How long have flies been pissing off the average Australian? Well the earliest records show that from the moment Europeans set foot on the Land of Oz in Australia they were wholeheartedly welcomed by millions sweat-thirsty flies invading their eyes, ears, mouths, and any part of their body that they could get their suckers on to. Their aptitude at being a formidable nuisance was instantly noticed by Captain Cook who discussed them as being “horrendous”. Needless to say, though, Indigenous Australians would have been thinking, “Yeah, mate! No shit Sherlock! We’ve had to deal with these pesky things for 40,000 years or more.”.
Although, I am sure most of you think flies are incredibly irritating and you wish they would just buzz off–Get it? “Buzz off”.–they’re actually an integral part of the Australian environment and without them, we’d be up to our necks in poo.
So, what would happen tomorrow if flies just disappeared from Australia? Well, I’ve been a number of year thinking, “Pete, they’d probably just cross the ocean from Indonesia or Papua New Guinea from our neighbouring countries and repopulate the country within a few weeks.” Yes, okay. You got me. Well done. But let’s imagine that their return was indefinitely put on hold. Their absence would lead to a number of unpleasant and unforeseen issues.
So, there’d be a cascading effect on the food chain, right? And it would sort of be a cascading upwards effect, because flies are at the bottom of the food chain. So, you may not realize it, but flies are actually an integral part of the ecosystem because they feed so many other animals like spiders, reptiles, frogs, and birds, and other insects, and those animals would all be affected and they may die off. Animals that feed on these flies would all die if they no longer had food.
As this famine started picking up pace and more and more bodies started dropping–“dropping like flies” you might say–there would be no flies to lay their eggs on the carcasses of these dead animals as well as the poo that these animals had deposited prior to kicking the bucket, prior to dying. And normally, these eggs would hatch into larvae, into maggots, and then consume the poo or the rotting carcasses of these animals, and then themselves grow into nice juicy flies that can continue the cycle of life as they get eaten by birds or spiders, etc..
So, that is why flies in Australia may be an incredibly irritating pest, you may have to swat your face a little bit when you get here and it’s summer time, but they are definitely an important part of the ecosystem in Australia, and we should all be thankful that we have flies here, because without them, we’d be up to our necks in poo.
Anyway, guys, I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. I hope you have an amazing weekend. I hope to see you in the Aussie English Classroom. And I hope to see you next week as well. Peace out.
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AE 534 – Interview: Gary the Goat, Rude Comedy & How to Swear Like an Aussie with Jimbo Bazoobi
G’day, guys! What’s going on? Welcome to this interview today.
Now guys, ***WARNING WARNING WARNING***. There is a lot of swearing in this interview. Okay.
I got Jimbo on because I had been following him for a while and he has an amazing Australian accent, he’s an amazing Australian guy with a lot to share and an interesting story of his own as he will get into in this interview, but he swears a lot as do I in this interview.
Now, it is not necessarily because I’m trying to encourage you to speak like us, but I want you to have exposure to this kind of language because it is the kind of language that, especially, Aussie blokes are going to use in Australia. So, you are going to come across it.
But if you are a young child, please do not listen to this episode without your parents’ permission. And if you don’t like swearing, please don’t listen to this episode. Okay.
So, warning aside, let’s get into it. I give you Jimbo the owner of Gary the Goat. Let’s get into it.
G’day, guys! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English, second try, Jimbo second try! We had a really bad connection last time, but this time it’s going to work, it’s going to be perfect! How are you going mate?
Yeah. Good. I’m all set. Kids are in the other room. I reckon we can do this uninterrupted.
Because you’ve locked the door, have you? Got a doorstop that you’ve wedged under the door there so, they can’t open it?
Rope and gaffer.
Duct tape them, have you?
They won’t remember this shit from when they’re three.
So, mate I wanted to get you on the podcast because you must be one of the most interesting Aussies that I’ve seen online, right? In social media. You have a YouTube channel and Facebook page and website called Gary the Goat. Can you tell us what it is and tell it tell us how it started?
I mean, I’m just basically a comedian, you know, who’d been doing comedy for years and I just can’t keep…. this comedy scene wants you to be sort of… the money, the agents get… the money’s in attracting corporate clients and getting on TV and I was just to feral, I was getting the laughs, but I was just… they weren’t going to put me on TV, I just swore too much and talked about sex too much and got people to burn pubes on stage in the end.
What is with that? Can I just interrupt there? Why…Because I was talking to my wife recently who’s Brazilian and I was saying to her…
That she hasn’t got any pubes, you know.
I was saying to her, I think Australian comedy there’s a certain genre of it that is very Australian, right? The Rodney Rude types, they’re really, really crass, sex talk, racism and it’s pretty easy for outside it’s the kind of see that and think it’s absolutely horrible, but why do you think it is that Australians have that side of comedy and what would you say to people who say it’s just, you know, for the lowest common denominator etc.? Because I haven’t any Americans…
I’d just say don’t turn up. That’s it. You know, don’t turn up and then if they then go outside the comedy room and try and stop other people going in you just whisper in their ear ”how about you just get a life?”. All they’re doing is making people laugh and if it’s not your cup of tea, go home and watch Bill Cosby because he’s got really safe comedy, but you know he rapes women on the side and that might be more your cup of tea. Whereas these guys get up and do really crass jokes, but they go home to their wife and look after their kids.
And then go to church on Sunday.
Yeah. Well Rodney probably doesn’t go to church on Sunday, but Rodney and Kevin “Bloody” Wilson, obviously, but they didn’t, they did it themselves, they didn’t come up through the industry, they just went straight to the people and in a way I’ve done the same thing where I got…the industry just said ”no way” and then suddenly this social media came up and I just happened to have a goat and I broke through all the barriers and I basically…I got a bit of fame, not the money, but I got a bit of, you know, I got yeah, that space, and now social media has been censored as we all know and it’s probably going to go the same way as mainstream media, but there’s definitely still chances on social media.
So, why do you think it is though that Australians like that sense of humour? Especially, I guess Australian males, although women show up to the shows as well and they get it. What is it about that sort of crass humour that you think is very uniquely Australian?
Because everyone’s got, everyone’s got genitals and everyone’s like, you know, you have moments where… it’s a reality of life. It’s a chakra and it’s like…They’re basically just talking in the way that you talk with good mates anyway. So, everyone just goes ”oh you can’t say that”, but it’s like every little group is saying that. So, they’re just basically getting up there and everyone is…and, you know, as far as it being racist and sexist, I mean, I don’t know, it’s not as bad as they say, I don’t think, but it’s just labelled as dumb humor, but the bottom line is they’re making like Rodney Rude and Kevin “Bloody” Wilson have made more people laugh than anyone in Australia, and surely, if they were real dickheads that wouldn’t happen.
Well, that’s one of the funny things that I was learning about… I was listening to a political commentator talk about Brexit and Britain and its relationships with Scotland and Ireland and one of the biggest thing that keeps them together, even though they are different, is the fact that they can take the mickey out of each other, they can take the piss and, you know, a Scotsman can make fun of an Englishman who can make fun of an Irishman and that’s what bonds them together and they were like as soon as you stop people from having the ability to make fun of each other and their differences, as well as their similarities, you build a wall.
Yeah, but they’re taking the piss out of other white people, basically. I mean you can do that. You know, we can take the piss out of Kiwis, but you basically can’t really take the piss out of a different identity groups, especially if you are from England and Australia. I mean, you know, it’s talked about a lot. It’s basically…can you just take the piss? And if it’s a bad joke surely it comes back on the person who does the bad joke. If you’re up on stage and it doesn’t work or you’re with your mates and you tell a bad joke, that should be just the cost of it, shouldn’t be like you’re going to court, you know, that’s you know it’s got to the stage… I got… with the Gary (the Goat) thing I got charged for offending a cop.
Well, they were trying to set me up on this other thing and then they said…long story, but they basically set up all these are serious charges like using a carriage service to offend a cop and it was, the joke was, and I had it on tape, this guy introduced me to a local cop and she is 22 year old spunky cop in Bourke and I just looked at her and said, she was in plainclothes, I just said you’re the cop, right? And I just said oh no wonder so many break and enters in this town is just to be handcuffed by you. It was a fucking joke and she laughed, she wasn’t even offended, but later on the cops are using… and they drop that because they knew they didn’t have a case, but it’s like if she laughed… and then you go to court on you who have I offended? There’s no one I’ve actually offended here and then it gets to the stage where… does it get to stage we’re having jokes, you’re about to say jokes with your mates around the barbecue and then you go, guys before I say this joke can you sign is indemnity form, just in case you don’t like it and you get upset? I mean it kind of spoils a punch line of it. But yeah that’s just the level it is. Technically when you get into the letter of the law, offensive behaviour is defined by you’re literally…it’s defend, if the judge thinks you offended someone who literally was on a Clapham train in the 1800’s, that’s the definition of a normal person. So, it’s basically whether the judge likes you or not.
So, why do you think this is sort of…do you have headphones by the way? Because I can just hear a bit of an echo.
No, I don’t.
Bugger. Just turn it down a little bit.
Ok, yeah, I’ll turn it down.
It should be all good, should be all good. So, what do you think this has come from, the sort of political correctness all of a sudden? Is that something you’ve noticed growing over time or has it always been there where people just haven’t liked your comedy and they’ll take umbrage and be like, you know, I’m going to do what I can to take you down?
I mean, if you go… if I do a comedy set and no one’s upset I feel like I haven’t really given the crowd value for money. I mean, come on. I mean Jordan Peterson has basically said it with this thing about where he just drew the line. It’s an offense, potentially a criminal offense if you don’t address a transgender person by the right gender pronoun or whatever, but it just basically says it’s, it’s the beginning of totalitarianism where they control your speech. It’s basically the eroding of what is it? The first amendment of freedom of speech. And once you do that it’s just downfall of Western culture, which I don’t know whether it’s the aim or not, but you know, it gives creed to the conspiracy theorists who think it is, I can’t think of any other reason apart from it just being insane, like I want…someone should have the right to offend me. How do you learn? How do you grow? How do you change your ideas If…you know, imagine having a friend who never, ever offended you or confronted you on anything? Like…fuck.
Well, and it gets to that point, right, where you need to find that zone of uncomfortableness where you are getting challenged and you may get offended by certain ideas, right? Like how on earth do you teach about the Holocaust or about Communism in Russia and everything or the USSR and not offend people when you tell certain stories? You’re going to have to sort of completely censor everything so, have you noticed since this sort of started coming up I think like post 2014 where people started getting very politically correct, especially online, have you noticed yourself having to censor jokes or are you pushing back even harder now?
Oh, I mean, once you start censoring jokes, you’re not funny anymore, really. I mean it’s not… I just keep doing it, but I’ve noticed… I mean my YouTube channel got demonetized and then it was like I can’t even get into it now. And there’s, and then you look around and you see the amount of deplatforming there is… I have no, there is a fear, not so much of a joke, but if I give it… it’s more political opinion. If I give up certain political opinion which isn’t, which isn’t words that would come out of Hillary Clinton’s mouth, there’s a threat that you’re going to be shut down. So, that is a real fear for me and it’s a real pullback and it’s a real… I’ve got a Facebook account, I used to use my YouTube. Facebook it’s got one point seven million and YouTube and a hundred and 50 thousand, but I used to have, because it was a smaller channel for me, I used to muck around on the YouTube going, I’ll take some really big risks here, and that was more challenging for me, but yeah you definitely got it… It’s pretty shit at the moment the censorship, but you know, you just got to keep going really.
And that’s it, don’t let them win. So, back to back to Gary the Goat. Why a goat and not a sheep or a cow or a donkey?
I just find goats more sexually attractive, you know, Kiwis have got there thing, and each to their own, but, I basically… when I got kicked out of Sydney, not kicked out, but pretty well banned from every venue, and I had the choice to atone my act down and I just went, 2004, I’ll head off on a three month tour around the country, where I can just country pubs and just do whatever I want and no one’s going to get offended. And I just was selling shirts that said I fucked a goat.
What made you decide to make those?
Well it was… you know, I’d say I could do something like, back then I could have ideals weapons of mass deception or something slightly clever, but no one’s going to fucking buy it. And then what people bought was I fucked a goat, which people were buying and they were basically going ”what I love about this shirt is I don’t give a shit what you think of me”, I fucked a goat, what are you going to say behind my back? That’s on the front of my shirt.
So, like that was the joke and that just got me petrol and food around Australia for seven years and then some guy just said ”mate, why don’t you back it up by having a goat at a gig?” and I just thought, fuck, as if I’m going have a goat in the car, it sounds like a nightmare, but the next day I just bought a goat off him as a joke because a dog’s not for Christmas, but hey, a goat is are feral animal, you can just kick it out at the nearest farm so, and then it just grew on me and we became mates and then, you know, we were best mates and then I had him for two years and then I just did a Youtube thing and just a Facebook thing and started videoing and it went off so, that’s how the goat thing happens.
So, what were you expecting, though? When you got this goat and were you expecting it to be a massive burden that it’s completely different from having any other kind of pet and were you surprised about that?
I wasn’t expecting anything, I was in my 40s, didn’t have a girlfriend, didn’t have kids.
Oh, you had a goat.
No, but before I had that, I didn’t have, I didn’t have an address. I was just the solo man going around so I’m going ”fuck, I got to look after this goat” and then the first thing that got me was he waited until, I let out of the car to do piss and shit and that’s when I went ”oh that’s a massive tick, he’s not going to piss and shit in the car” and then he just started following me around and then he was just enough company for me on the road not to just… I could just focus on my work a lot more than rather than just sort of hanging around parties and you know get your social interaction, I had a goat and then he attracted different people and I quickly realized that the joy I got out of looking after him was way more than the hassle of the responsibility and like long term for that. You know, a few years later I transferred that idea to kids as well. It really opened me up to the idea and I think having a kid might be better than, you know, so you know some people say they have a dog before they have a kid, I’ve got a goat before I go one.
Well, you had a kid, right? You had a kid before you had a kid. What was it like compared to having a dog then, having a goat? Are they affectionate? Are they a pain in the arse? Do they try and have sex with other goats at the goat park or…?
He didn’t have his balls, but later on, I did record him getting one in, which was pretty impressive, but he did, he had a fuck before he died, but it was like he was in this farm at Linders mate’s place and there were 13 horny goats all just backing up to him. And he just had to root them all, and then after, he’s sitting down like a middle-aged man, just going, can you just leave me alone, bitches. But, like, he got one in.
He’s got 13 in. Anyway, how we… we digress. What was the question again?
So, how was it compared to a dog? What was it like having a goat?
Yeah, basically a dog, you know when you call a dog it’ll come to you? A goat won’t come to you, but a goat won’t piss off like a dog. So, they kind of in an orbit of you, they’re kind of like guy like a special kid really and they also, they just get you into a little bit more trouble than a dog, like they’ll…basically when I go for a walk, a walk with the dog they’ll follow you, with a goat they’ll follow you, but at some point they’ll go ”no mate, you’re following me now”. And then you know you end up in someone’s house or like in a rose garden and surrounded by cops or…basically we had to move from a lot of towns pretty quickly.
But I take it, though, it would be a sort of a good conversation starter with a lot of strangers, right? Like the dog on a lead that runs around another woman’s leg and you talk to them. That’s a cliché, but surely if it’s a goat that’s definitely going to get you into a lot more conversation with a lot more people.
Yeah. Yeah, like it especially, you know, as sort of a 40-year-old bloke…. You know, people came to you on a different level. Yeah and people talk about I grew up with a goat and yeah it just opened up a whole lot of new interaction with people. So, it was great, but goats go spare if you don’t… you’re not with them all the time. So, like a dog you could leave it and it really suited me on the road, but people try and have a goat at home and they just go bleet, they… it’s not like a dog you can leave it, but I highly recommend goats. They’re just that bit different.
So, when did you realize that you could make videos with Garry in them and, you know, that he was going to be a bit of a classic bit of entertainment for other people online?
Not really, I had a Facebook page for about two years and it was just still photos and I didn’t really get much action and then I literally got a camera upgraded and had a video thing on it so I just put on moviemaking. I just happened to be going down the dog park and I just started using the video and then I just put Gary in his dog park with all these dogs and then I just ended up with video one night and just uploaded it. Not really thinking much of it and I came down in the morning and he’d gone from 5000 followers to 60.000 overnight. And I just felt like ”shit, they ike this goat”.
More than me.
Yeah and then I just started doing goat videos and they just wanted more and more. It just went up to nearly 2 million in the space of a couple of years and that that’s when I knew that people like this goat. But I think in retrospect I had him for two years so, he was really humanized by the time I’m just suddenly doing goat videos and I just took it for granted that he was a goat that followed me around and that was pretty weird, especially to my city people and I’d been out in the outback with him.
Yeah that is so funny because the way that I got onto you was obviously seeing these videos go around on Facebook and I think the first one that I ever saw was Kevin is a cunt and I remember just…
I mean Kevin was almost as bigger than Gary, yeah he was…again that was just video I just went down and then…Kevin the cunt.
Can you tell us that story? What exactly happens in that video?
Well, I was down to Jindabyne. I remember I had a bad back and I was just so worn out from doing videos and I parked myself in a caravan park because they had goats next door on a paddock and I just said ”mate, can I put my goat next door in your paddock? So, he’s got a bit of company? So, I can just chill out a bit?” and then I went and fed him and there was two goats and a sheep and, you know, called one Barbara, the babe, and made jokes about how that was my girlfriend and the other one was Alex, the hermaphrodite, and Gary in there, and then the fourth one was Kevin, his name was Kevin and he was like the alpha goat in the paddock and when I had a Wheatbix, he’d just butt everyone out of the way and I was just trying to share that Wheatbix, and I was just saying, “Get away Kevin, you cunt! Stop being a cunt!”, which was one minute of me just be using this goat calling him a cunt. And then the next day it got up to 15 million views that video, but I think in retrospect it got there because everyone in their life wants call someone a… I don’t know whether I’m going to say that word on your podcast.
You might as well, man, you might as well. That’s the whole point is that people can learn all sorts of things in English so, use it in the context.
The beauty of the word “cunt”…you know, you can say “cunt”, which is really like… but “cunt”… and you know, yeah, you don’t even have the T at the end, it’s a bit softer for anyone out there. I had my grandmother on my, it was really nice on Facebook ’cause I got a bit of shit from swearing, but.
I can’t imagine, I can’t imagine.
She actually wrote in saying, ”At first I thought this was so disgusting, because I don’t listen to people who swear” and then she goes ”after a while I realized it was just nothing. It was just a word and I really like your humor and I’m kind of desensitized to swearing now, thank you, I don’t really think that all people swear are terrible”.
Can you talk a bit about that? Because I feel like Australians do swear a lot more than a lot of other Western countries like the UK or America. Why do you think that is? And what would you recommend for foreigners learning English, obviously? Would you recommend that they just learn to swear or obviously it’s context dependent?
Well, even Australians, you’ve got to learn to swear, even as a young fella, you know, if you haven’t been around and growing up you go out and learn to swear like the same way you can learn to drive a car, like out in the country, you know, a lot of parents swear around their kids, but there’s a rule you don’t swear.
So the parents can do it, but the kids can’t.
Yeah and the kids really listen to it and the parents really enforce it. So, when the kid, you know, stories of it, a mate told me about how he bought, you know, they went out on a fishing trip with his mates and they’ve invited their 13-year-old son. And you know and he’s never sworn in his life, but he’s around all the boys now and he pulls a fish out and he just looks, and it’s a big fish, he just looks at his dad and his mates and just goes ”it’s a big fucker, isn’t it?”.
And they’re just going yeah that’s how you swear. You know what I mean? He’s using it context and everything so, it’s a comma in a sentence, I think, swearing, and it’s as much, as crass as it is, I think the people who really swear and people write them off as just being uneducated idiots, people you really get to the point when someone swears much easier. Like say someone comes at you and goes “look, cunt, fucking”. Like, look, cunt, fucking, that’s three words. You know whatever’s going to happen after ”look, cunt, fucking”, you mightn’t agree with what they’re saying, but you’re going to be in no question about what’s on their mind and they’re going to get to the point straight away. Whereas if someone comes up to you and goes ”oh excuse me, I just kind of want to talk to you about a certain issue some time and is there any….” just say it, mate! There’s a real intelligence in swearing thing as well which is if you don’t get it, you probably just don’t swear and the irony is, yes, learn to swear.
Is it one of those things that really bonds you together? Because that’s what I think especially around Australian men, I remember growing up and always… it was always context dependent, right? You wouldn’t necessarily do it with people in your parent’s generation, you wouldn’t necessarily do it with your sister and her mates, but you do it with your mates and it kind of bonded you together. Do you think there’s kind of that aspect of it where if everyone’s swearing, then there’s no one who isn’t? It’s kind of like they’re drinking rule, right? If everyone goes out to go drinking and there’s one guy who says ”na, na I’m good, I’m not going to drink tonight” you kind of, everyone feels uncomfortable.
I think if someone doesn’t swear, it’s cool, it’s not like you expect someone else to do it, but if someone’s swearing there is a, especially amongst the boys, there’s a feeling that everyone’s being honest.
And it’s a relaxed kind of situation, where it is like ok, informal, casual.
You don’t have to worry about offending someone and also you want a controversial comment, you know, and you know so… yeah and also a lot of the women say, that is stereotype of the older women who doesn’t wear, a lot of them only, like to say the word cunt, they think it’s a really angry word, but 99 percent of the time cunt is actually used is ”how are you going, you cunt? Fucking, yeah, she’s a bit of a funny cunt”. So, it’s a positive thing and they don’t hear it they just hear the angry things, but most of it it’s a beautiful multi-faceted word.
It’s almost like being able to paint with another colour, right? As soon as you start swearing like that in these sorts of situations because it sort of allows you to emphasize things. It allows you to become sort of that extra level more casual and informal, right. And I remember my dad always saying that Australian anguishes is so funny because you can use, you know, the rudest word, but it can mean… if you call someone a cunt, it can either mean that someone is the worst thing imaginable or if you call someone a mad cunt, it’s the best thing imaginable, right? And so there’s kind of like that that contradictory nature in swearing in English you can use it horribly. You can also use it in a very positive way too.
Well, it’s a complex word, like when you said you can paint in another color like this color, it’s just two words fuck and cunt that those two words are like a rainbow, like you can, like you said it’s got so many different meanings and depending on the context and the way you say it. And that’s why when you say learn to swear it’s like learn to drive, like you’ve got to practice and you’ve got to be around people who teach you how to drive and you got to be around people who swear to be able to do it, but yeah, it’s definitely an art form, but it’s basically just fun, really.
And what would you suggest to people? You’d say okay like you can you can do this, but make sure you’re in very, very, very informal, casual situations. Don’t just, you know, walk into a job interview and say ”what’s up, cunt?”.
I mean, obviously, I mean if you don’t know that, you’re an idiot and like and technically you can push it there. Like if you go into a job where you don’t really give a fuck about and you just go ”So, mate, cunt, what do you want of me?” Right, the attitude is “He’s probably… this guy doesn’t really think much of this job, maybe, you know, he’s overqualified”, I don’t know.
He’s taken a bit of a gamble.
I like a risk taker, you know what I mean? But like, you know, if it’s for a customer service job, you’re probably not going to get it, but like it’s, you know, like it’s… I don’t really swim much in my personal life, like it is not really necessary, but you know when I’m doing comedy though, I swear a lot more, but people obviously know that there are contexts to say certain stuff. I’d rather someone who was honest and swearing, than someone who was polite and just didn’t get to the point.
It is funny how it becomes one of those things, right? As soon as I hear people swearing like that, especially not in a horrible way, you can tell they just being conversational and just throwing in more F bombs and C bombs. You do feel like ok, these are going to be just open honest people and there’s not going to be any bullshit from these people usually, right? They’re just going to tell you exactly what they think because they obviously don’t care enough to censor themselves and not swear, right?
Yeah, well, yeah you’re thinking this is going to be interesting really, you know, like is an attractive to us. So, if someone’s trying to shut it down simply because you swear, I think shut down someone because their ideas, the basis of their ideas, challenge them on that, but if you’re just going to simply challenge them on the fact that they swear, it’s like… get out of the room, cunt, you’re boring.
So, what’s the rule with your kids? Because you’ve got two young kids.
I got a three-year-old right next to me now, right? He was asleep. He’s probably just faking, just going, “No cunt, I’m awake!”. But like they don’t swear and I just, you know, when it comes up to it I…my five-year-old daughter did say the other day ”what does I fucked a goat mean?”.
I guess, who did she ask, you or?
Yeah, me and I explained to her that it means giving a goat a cuddle, which technically isn’t too far off the true.
But that’s a bit of a dangerous thing, though, right? Because if she is going to go around and be like I actually want to cuddle, that goat over there you’re going to set her up to make a fool of herself.
No if I’ve got a video camera, it’ll probably go viral, like… you know, like, obviously I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. It’s not… I’m more interested in whether they’re… I’m not too… If she starts swearing in inappropriate places, I’ll tell her, but it hasn’t got to that stage yet, but it’s not really… because when you think about it, it’s not…you’re swearing it doesn’t actually… it probably doesn’t register in their mind as a it’s not a noun, it’s not a…It’s just kind of like it’s a comma in a sentence, but I’ll get to that point, but I’ve got worse issues, I’m more worried about other stuff than whether they can swear and, but I’ll definitely not encourage them to do that.
I take it they are pretty switched on, right? They’re going to know when to do it when not to do it and that’s how they learn, as opposed to, you know, it’s kind of like…never teaching your kids not to do drugs and then they’re finally confronted with drugs. It’s kind of like well you set him up to fail really if you don’t sort of give them some exposure to it and context as to when and when not to do it.
Yeah, yeah. I mean, like, you know… if my three-year-old is going into town and just telling people can you pass me the fucking ball…
Yeah, yeah surely there’s a bigger issue in that statement than swearing. So, yeah it’s, but you know half the thing is, if we’re all meant to be so politically correct where we don’t do anything, you just get your… all humanity taken out, you know? Like we’re talking previously to this whole assault on masculinity now is like at what point do you want to just take out your name your edge as female or your femininity as a female and you’re…there’s bigger issues in the world than swearing and so, fuck them if they’re offended, basically. But obviously, you know, if you’re in court and you just going “G’day, judge, how are you going, cunt?” you’re really going to score an own goal, I think, when it comes to sentencing.
That’s it, he’s not going to have any excuses not to give you a few extra years so, far out, man. So, switching gears, you’ve travelled around Australia, obviously a shitload doing comedy in different pubs and stuff. How would you say Australia differs when you go out of the city? Because I think a lot of foreigners, especially a lot of people listening to this podcast, will probably be living in places like Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Are they good representatives of the rest of Australia?
Oh no, obviously not. There’s more difference going out to Windorah or some outback town between Sydney and that town and there is in between Sydney and Melbourne and London and Moscow or whatever. So, I think there’s just…There’s a huge difference. It’s just there’s a total relaxing of the laws, but more of a personal responsibility from people and the humans a lot more broader, they’re politically a bit more conservative, but just open minded in a different way. But yeah, it’s just… But the big killer is to drive out to these towns. It’s huge petrol costs and in the hotels and all these towns about 100 bucks a night. I mean I do mine on vegetable oil and I just camp, but yeah, it’s definitely and I think that’s what my videos did, aside from the goat, it was documenting country towns and country people. I suppose the stereotype of country towns, even in Australia, like outback towns is you’ve got this Wolf Creek element, like you don’t go out there, there’s crazies and psychos, but in my experience doing it for so (many) years it’s just so full of people who would just go out of their way to help you. If you’re broken down on the side of the road, they’ll not only tow you, they’ll probably fix it up before you need towing.
So, they’ll tow your boot out of the mud, won’t they? They’ll tow your boot out.
Yeah, you saw that.
That was a good video where you were stuck, you (?) your car, right? And it was in the middle of nowhere, looked like he was surrounded by desert.
Yeah. Oh, that was Cameron’s Corner, that was in the top corner of New South Whales. You know, I was glad that car could turn up and then he just, they got the time to pull you out and like he said, he goes, “No, it could happen to anyone” and in a time a car out and he towed my boot out. He could have just gone ”you bloody idiot! I’m in a hurry to get back to my farm” and then someone else turned up and took the goat back and try to get Gary to root their goats, it was just a whole lot of female goats, and Gary nearly got raped and that was my punch line. So, you know, and then you know like it’s all on video, edit it up, yeah, I like that video.
Yeah, it’s crazy. Do you feel like the rest of Australia, especially in those sort of suburbanized and you know the cities of Australia, do you think we’re sort of missing that community nowadays? Because there’s just so many people around all the time and we’re so interconnected that we almost don’t need to know our neighbors anymore, right? I kind of feel nostalgic for a time that’s probably even before I was born where people actually knew the names of their neighbors.
Yeah, I mean they’re sort of the cliché you go the country and everyone says g’day, and you go to the city no one does it, but the reality is there’s not as many people around, especially when you get right out there.
So, you do say g’day, but I mean if you walk down Martin Place in the city and just started saying g’day to everyone and having a chat with everyone you just wouldn’t get anything done. The practicalities of it is there’s basically… I’ve been like, I travel around country towns and you get the best of it, but you know people say it’s different if you live in it like you gets circled up into gossip. There is a bit of a hassle and everyone knowing what you’re doing and also making up shit about what you’re doing as opposed to the city where you can die and three years later they find your rotten body in there. So, there’s benefits both ways, but it’s it’s basically not practical in the city to just say g’day to everyone, you won’t get anything done and…
Well, people will think you’re a weirdo, right? Because the rest the people are all keeping to themselves so, you deviate from the norm everyone’s like wha is this guy’s issue?
Yeah, I mean, you know, you just got, exactly, so you just got to cut through that by just going ”how are you going, cunt?” and you’ll find out pretty early whether they want to be friendly or not. If you said it with a smile and a twinkle in your eye, you might get away with it and not be put in the paddy wagon. So, it’s you know it’s hit and miss. Some days you’re hot, some day you’re not.
So, are there any like hidden away areas in Australia that you’ve sort of found? Like hidden away gems, diamonds that you’re like ”holy crap! this town is here!”
I like the opal mining towns like Grawin, which is just near Lightning Ridge. Lightning Ridge and Coober Pedy are obviously the most famous ones.
So, these are in South Australia, right?
Yeah, South Australia, back in NSW there’s a few, and in Queensland. Yeah, I like the back of Queensland, they just… most of the houses are built by people before. So, they’ve got… and they’re all digging and it just got a sense of, you know, if you do something wrong, you know, if you steal someone’s opal or fuck someone’s wife or you shouldn’t have, you know, you’ll be put down a hole, but other than that, everyone is just like… you know, if something happens do you know why, it’s not going to be a random act. I remember I went to… out the back of Grawin, I love that town near Lightning Ridge, a mining town, opal mining and it’s not big industrial mining, opal town is still individual people, unlike gold mining which is all super industrial now. So it’s all massive company so, there’s still that individual have a go spirit and you’re sitting around with these guys, you’ve just been down their tunnels and all these guys are big bushy beards and no teeth and I like it, when I went out when I first left Sydney, people go oh don’t go into these small country towns, be careful, you know, you’ll be squealing like a pig, deliverance and all this and then yeah and then you go out to these towns. Like, you say, you know, I’ve been down a mine, these guys with big beards and no teeth, and you ran a campfire, and you’re cracking a beer, and they go ”where you’re from?” and there you go ”Sydney” and they go ”oh, Sydney, scary place, you walk down the street and some random will shoot ya!’.
So, it’s the opposite, the complete opposite, right?
Yeah, they’ve got the same base fears about being killed, but just in a different way. And so, you realize they’re all the same. We are all projecting shit. It’s just funny, really. You just go and everyone is deep down scared of it, but really you’re not going to, it’s pretty safe walking through Sydney, but if you grew up here, you’re know really paranoid about being shot and you go out in the local town and you’re really paranoid about someone throwing in a mineshaft. So, it’s just funny how the commonality between everyone is special the more you travel. It’s great.
So, what are some of the lessons you’ve learnt? And what are the best and worst things about being a comedian who’s travelled all around Australia?
Probably the worst thing is having no money, but when you have no money that’s when you look back, that was when the best or wildest time happened. Especially when you have two kids you look after. I suppose the thing for me travelling obviously introducing my kids, my girlfriend and Gary knew it instinctively being a goat, is don’t worry about stuff, like if aren’t going your way, it’s because there’s something there coming up around the corner, just ride out the lows and just amazing things will happen and you get addicted to that rhythm. And that’s really the only the privilege of people who travel unended, it’s not like most people go I’ve got two weeks to do a holiday and I’ll do a full itinerary and make sure everything goes right, but if you go away on a holiday and everything goes right, it’s probably been a pretty boring holiday.
So, where would you suggest people go in Australia if they are to sort of, you know, disappear, and how would you suggest they do it? Just plan to go somewhere, but don’t plan how you’re going to do it.
Well, just give up your job, your relationship and everything so, you’ve got nothing that ties you to coming back at a certain date.
That’s how good road trips begin.
Yeah. Tell your husband all you miss that straight out, I might come back, but you just go…
Don’t count on it.
Yeah, like, but if I have to you a date when I’ll come back is really going to spoil this trip so, can you please understand me? Or I’d just say go to the towns that you haven’t heard of before, don’t go to…just drive and just, drive it’s safe and just stop and and just get out there and do a bit of part time work or just keep going, don’t have an itinerary, just get in the car and drive. It’s not that bad. Nothing really can go wrong. No one starves to death and unless you’re messing with anyone out there no one’s really going to do anything.
Just take a lot of water, you know, have 30 liters of water in the car.
Not even that, really, people, I mean even in that spot in Cameron’s Corner someone would stop every half a day, they’re like yeah, obviously take water and people go ”I’ve got to get my car right”, but if you break down, you break down, so many people go ahead you end up in this town. Twenty years ago, I was driving through, I broke down and got my car fixed here, I was stuck here for a week and then I saw a part time job for three days, I took it. And then I met a girl I stayed here a bit long. Anyway, got her pregnant and here I am 20 years later.
You know like so, you just…most of the country people there’s no plan in their… so many people have no plan and you wouldn’t know what’s ahead of you in the future, but I think it’s a wonderful thing not knowing what the fuck is going to happen, but you can put yourself out there and travel and just keep doing it until, you know, that like the John Walker guy, he’s just traveling, He’s been walking around Australia for 35 years.
There’s no end point, he’s just going to do until he dies on the side of the road.
Just cutting laps.
He’s cutting laps, alright, with his feet.
So, man, finishing up, what happened to Gary?
I thought he had, he was only six, I thought he had bloat and then I thought he had pneumonia and then they said take him down to this specialist and they said he had a whole lot of blood they had to drain. They did this test and then and then he was riddled with cancer. Then we had to put him down the next day so, I filmed it and I’ve got the movie done, but I need about 20 grand for post-production which Im working on.
Can you tell us about the movie, what exactly is it?
Oh, before everyone said “oh, do a movie on the life of Gary”, but it just would have been a highlights reel, but I just filmed, I filmed him when he was getting sick and the whole process and I filmed his death when he was euthanized. He went out not giving a fuck, just the way he lived, and that gave the whole… you know, and then I’m just tied… It’s basically a belly full of laughs and a bucket full of tears. It’s the life of Gary and it’s also showing Australia or this Australia that we’re talking about so, I’m hoping it’s… a production company just basically want to own it and then change the script. I want to do it so, it’s my script and I’ve just got to keep inching ahead. If there’s anyone out there want to give me funding, I’ll give you return. People will watch a movie, but yeah.
Maybe you just just have to invest some time in learning how to use the programs in order to make it yourself and then just smash it out.
Oh yeah, I can. I’m just full time looking after the kids at the moment, I’m just yeah, I’ll get there. Exactly, so I’ll just go to… that’s the movie, it’ll come out in about the 2050, stay tuned.
Is that going to be a sequel?
Oh, well, if I get Kevin the cunt, they’ve offered me Kevin the cunt, but Kevin the cunt is probably just in a nursing home now so, yeah. If I get clear of my debts and, you know, I’ve got three and five-year-old and girlfriend is sort of semi into it, I’d love to just get a goat and hit the road again. But yeah…
10 and 10 would recommend get a goat and hit the road and you’re going to have a good time in Australia.
Get a goat When in doubt, get a go and hit the road, especially, especially if you’re single and just fucking don’t know what to do. Just get a goat. You’ll have so much fun.
And just swear a little bit more in casual situations and relax.
Awesome, mate! Well, how can people find out more about you? How can they find you on the social medias?
Well, not on my Youtube, you can see my YouTube, you can’t contact me through it, just Facebook Gary the Goat.
And obviously find you on YouTube as Gary the Goat as well.
Yeah. So, and that’s about it, really.
Brilliant. Well, Jimbo, thank you so much for joining me today and thank you so much for expanding the rude vocabulary for the listeners. It’s been well overdue, I think.
Yeah. Any time, Peter. Thanks. This is the first podcast I’ve ever done, I’ve had fun, cheers!
Yeah, it was fucking mad. Thanks, you’re a mad cunt!
Fuck you for offending me, cunt!
Thanks again, man!
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AE 533 – Expression: Once Bitten, Twice Shy
My home Australia is the land of ‘the deadlies’, in fact, what I’m going to show you next is the second most deadly snake in the world, our common brown snake. (There’s) nothing common about his poison, though. (It) kills you dead.
I’ll just slip him out on the ground here. You can see they’re quite quick by snake standards, even though snakes are reasonably slow.
See, unlike the cobras, these things want to run away all the time. But (they’re) pretty quick, as you can see.
Some people mistakenly think that little snakes are more dangerous or deadlier than big snakes. The venom’s exactly the same potency, but this thing’s got longer fangs and a lot more venom than a little one, so that’s a silly notion.
I say it’s like putting Mohammad Ali in a ring with a kid, so the kid hits harder. (It) ain’t true.
G’day, you mob, and a welcome to this episode of the Aussie English Podcast.
I hope you guys have had an amazing week. Hope you guys are going well. It’s been a little while since I’ve put an expression episode up. I’m still sort of getting into my rhythm of things at the moment in 2019. I tell you what, guys, I’ve been doing a lot of interviews recently, as well as My Country episodes. There’s so much content that I’ve sort of built up. I have this folder full of episodes that I need to finish and put on the podcast. So, there’s a lot coming back and there’s a lot more interviews coming as well. I’m looking forward to chucking those up. Anyway.
This is the Aussie English Podcast, guys. If you’re listening for the first time, guys, welcome to the Aussie English Podcast. The podcast is focused on Australian English, although, it will help you improve your English in general.
If you want to get access to the transcripts and the downloads for this episode, check out TheAussieEnglishPodcast.com where you can sign up for the price of a coffee a month. And if you would like to get access to all of my courses in the Aussie English Classroom, you can try that at the moment for one dollar for your first month, just head over to TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com, and you’ll get access to all of my courses. So, that means bonus content for these expression courses, which includes videos and quizzes, stuff built to improve your vocabulary and speaking abilities. And then, there’s a whole bunch of other courses in there put together to help you improve your speaking and listening comprehension. Okay? So, go check that out, guys. It’s a dollar for a month and it’s an amazing deal you, can cancel at any time, and you’ll get to upgrade your English.
Anyway, you mob, that clip at the start today was Rob Bredl. It was his YouTube channel that I took that clip from. So, go over there and check that out where he handles the second deadliest snake in the world. And… if we’re talking venom that is, and the snake in Australia that causes the most deaths, and we’ll talk a bit more about that at the end of this episode. But go check out his channel, subscribe, and you’ll get to tackle the Broad Aussie accent. Okay. So, it’s worth it. Go check it out.
Alright, so the introduction aside, guys, as usual, I have a joke for you guys, I have a joke, and I was thinking I have to find an animal that can bite me, because the expression is related to biting today. So, I was on there. I was searching, you know, “big cat joke”, “leopard joke”, and here we are. Here’s the joke, okay. It’s atrocious, but it’s a joke.
Why can’t a leopard play hide-and-seek?
You know that game hide-and-seek where it counts to 10 with your eyes closed as a kid and the other one has to go hide somewhere, and then you have to go try and find them, and then “(I) found you!”, and they, you know, you switch turns.
Why can’t a leopard play hide-and-seek?
Are you ready for this?
Because they’re always “spotted”. Because they’re always “spotted”.
So, the joke there, guys, “spotted” in this case is an adjective, right, but it can mean two different things. If you’re a leopard and you are spotted, it means you’ve got spots on your body, right. A leopard is a big cat from Africa covered in spots, as opposed to, say, stripes like tigers.
But if you spot something, and that thing is spotted, we can use that verb to mean that you see the thing, you’ve noticed the thing, you’ve found the thing, right. So, in this case the leopard is always spotted, because it’s always found. Right? So, that’s why he’s so bad at hide-and-seek.
So, anyway, today’s expression is “once bitten, twice shy”, “once bitten, twice shy”. This was suggested by my lovely wife in the Aussie English Classroom. She’s been winning a few of these in the last few months. So, good job, Kel.
So, let’s go through and I will define the words in the expression “once bitten, twice shy”, I’ll go through the expression definitions itself, talk about its origin, give me some examples, do a pronunciation exercise, talk about an Aussie fact, and then we’ll finish up, okay?
Alright. So, “once”, “once”. “Once” means one time a single time.
“Bitten”. “Bitten” is the past participle of the verb “to bite”, which is when you seize something with your teeth or your jaws so as to enter, grip, or wound that thing, right? To bite.
“Twice”, as opposed to “once”, “twice” means two times, you know, two times.
And the last word “shy” is an adjective for when you are nervous or timid, right, in the company of other people. You’re incredibly shy. So, kids are often shy. They don’t want to talk much. You know, they kind of hide behind their parents when they meet new people.
So, let’s define the expression “once bitten, twice shy”. I wonder if you guys have heard this one before. “Once bitten, twice shy”. If you say that someone is “once bitten, twice shy”, it means that they have been hurt once, and as a result of that, they are doubly cautious in the future. Right? So, you use this, you say this when you’re frightened to do something, because the last time that you did it you had an unpleasant experience doing it, right? So, you have to be cautious, you have to be vigilant. So, an unpleasant experience that induces caution. “Once bitten, twice shy”.
So, this would probably originate… expression wise, it would probably originate from the observation that when you walk up to an animal and it bites to you, you’re going to probably be shy about touching that animal again, you know, whether it was in a zoo back in the day or someone’s pet. But it dates back to the 1800, the late 1800s. So, this expression is 100 or so years old.
So, let’s go through three examples guides of how I would use this expression in everyday life, “once bitten, twice shy”.
Alright, so example number one. Imagine you’re in your first relationship. So, you’re a teenager, you know, a young boy or a young girl, and you’re with your first boyfriend or girlfriend ever, things are going well, but after a little bit of time, as always, or pretty much always, the relationship fails, it falls apart. Maybe because something bad happened where things got rocky after one of you cheated on the other one, right? You burned the other person, you upset them. Maybe you dumped them all of a sudden. You know, it doesn’t have to necessarily be cheating on them. Or you strung them along and then you lost interest in the person. Either way the person who’s been hurt could say if they’re sort of avoiding getting into a relationship in the future, they could say, “Well, once bitten, twice shy”. So, because I was rejected or hurt the first time, i.e. I was once bitten, I now find it difficult and I am reluctant to get into a new relationship, i.e. I am twice shy, right. I don’t want to fall in love again. So, once bitten, twice shy.
Example number two. Imagine you’re a young kid and you’ve grown up without any pets in the house, right? So, you’re a little naive when it comes to dogs or cats or, you know, more exotic pets like lizards and snakes, ’cause you just have never been around them. Your parents take you to a dinner party. You get to… you get to hang out with friends and they happen to have some pets. They have a dog or a cat. So, you don’t really know how to behave around these animals. You don’t know that you shouldn’t pull the tail. You shouldn’t pat them too roughly. They may get narky. They may get angry. And worst-case scenario, they may have a swipe at you or scratch you or even nip or bite you if they’re really upset. So, you do something like that where you pull the cat’s tail and he turns around, scratches you or bites you, you might get scared to pat the cat in the future, because you’re worried you’re going to get bitten. So, once bitten, twice shy. In this case, literally and figuratively, right. Once bitten, twice shy. I want to touch the cat, because it bit me. So, once bitten, twice shy.
Example number three. This is a real-world example. Okay, because I’ve been doing so many interviews recently. I had one of my mates who recently got his black belt in jujitsu, and I thought, you know what, I’ll try and get him on the podcast so I can talk about his journey learning a martial art and fighting in Australia, and ’cause he’s got a pretty good accent. Anyway, so I organise this interview and organise the time, told him to add me on Skype, everything like that, it was all set. The time came up and he was a no show. He didn’t show up. So, I sent him a message and said, “What are you doing, (are) you coming to the interview? We’re on for three o’clock today.” And he said, “Oh, I forgot about it. I’ve got a meeting at work. Sorry, man.” And just left it at that. So, now, I’m a little bit sort of reluctant to get him back on or to try and organise another interview in the future, because I can’t rely on him being there when I want him to be there. So, once bitten, twice shy.
So, hopefully now, guys, you understand the expression “once bitten, twice shy”. It’s effectively that you get hurt whether physically or metaphorically, and then as a result of that, that event where you’ve been hurt or upset or scared, you’re doubly cautious in the future. So, once bitten, twice shy.
All right, guys. So, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise where you guys can practice your pronunciation. As always, guys, if you want to nail your Aussie pronunciation, well, first and foremost, jump over to the Aussie English Classroom. Get in there and do the courses in there. But secondly, copy my accent as best you can. Okay? If you’re not after an Australian accent, because I’ve seen plenty of you guys listening to this podcast from places like America, Canada, and New Zealand, and plenty of other countries around the world, if you guys don’t want an Australian accent, just practice, just work on whatever accent it is that you are perfecting. Okay. So, let’s go.
Once bitten twice.
Once bitten twice shy x 5
I was once bitten twice shy
You were once bitten twice shy
He was once bitten twice shy
She was once bitten twice shy
We were once bitten twice shy
They were once bitten twice shy
It was once bitten twice shy
Good job, guys. You might notice there too that I’m sort of pausing between “once bitten, twice shy”, and that’s because there’s a comma between these two, okay. They kind of opposing clauses or phrases in the single expression “once bitten, twice shy”.
Anyway, guys, let’s go through the Aussie English fact today where I want to talk to you about snakes and snake bites in Australia. Okay? And then we’ll finish up.
Alright, so why is Australia renowned for its snakes?
Australia has approximately 140 species of land snakes, just land snakes, and 32 recorded species of sea snakes, and they’re recorded because there are other species that scientists are sure they haven’t found yet.
So, a hundred of these are venomous snakes, although, only 12 of those are likely to inflict a bite that could kill you. And there are many different types of snakes in Australia including solid-toothed non-venomous snakes such as pythons, blind snakes, and file snakes; as well as the venomous rear-fanged snakes, snakes with fangs at the back of their mouth, at the rear of their mouth, such as brown tree snakes and mangrove snakes; and then, we have the venomous front-fanged snakes, and these are the ones that are the most numerous. The elapids. Okay. And they include things like tiger snakes, brown snakes, taipans, death adders, and some sea snakes.
So, of these, the most dangerous snakes are the last mentioned, the front-fanged snakes, the elapids. These snakes are found all across Australia in most if not all of the different habitats in Australia, although, the warmer areas, the places with a warmer climate in the north, are going to have many, many more species that are more active in general compared to the south, you know, in places like Tasmania.
So, as a result of their ecological diversity, Aussie snakes have a really wide-ranging palette, meaning they eat a very wide range of different animals from tiny insects, frogs, crustaceans, lizards, birds, fish, rats, mice, and even larger animals like crocodiles and kangaroos. You know, some of these huge pythons will actually eat kangaroos and crocodiles. So, if you can pass through their jaws, they’ll pretty much eat it.
How many people are bitten by snakes down under?
So, approximately 3,000 people are bitten by snakes each year, between 3 to 18 per 100,000 people, but only 200 to 500 of these people receive antivenom. So, these are the ones that end up in hospital. On average, only one to two bites are fatal annually. So, in comparison, and this is, you know, to give you an idea of how many deaths occur from other things, heart disease kills 20,000 people, between 10-20,000 times as many people die from heart disease as they do snakebites. 1,200 people die in car accidents. And 190 people die at work every year.
So, how do they stack up though against other animals? Snakes kill about as many people as crocodiles and sharks, between one to two year, as we’ve said, granted sharks and crocodile attacks are much fewer in number, but much more likely to kill you due to the fact that they’re large animals treating you as prey compared to small snakes that are defending themselves against you with venom. However, you might be surprised when you compare this with other animal-related deaths in Australia where you’re much more likely to be killed by things like horses, from falling off of horses while riding them, or cows and kangaroos, albeit, when you’re driving a car and you hit one during the night, and even bees, bees are more likely to kill you than snakes. And in fact, dogs kill as many people as snakes at about 1 or 2 a year.
So, why are Aussie snakes so venomous? The most venomous snake in Australia is the Inland Taipan, which has a venom strong enough that a single bite could kill 250,000 lab mice. That said, this snake lives in the desert on the, you know, inland of Australia and far, far, far away from most humans. And interestingly, there is not a single recorded death attributed to this snake. Number two on the list, however, is the Eastern Brown snake. That one you heard about at the start, which does leave around humans and claims the deaths of about 65 percent of human snake bite sufferers.
So, these snakes have such potent venom, one, because it has evolved to target rodents. So, no surprise that the lab mice were particularly susceptible. But, two, snakes use their venom to either incapacitate or kill their prey as fast as possible. You know, they want to be able to safely consume their prey without the chance of that prey inflicting injury on themselves. This obviously makes life much easier when you have no arms and legs, right, to secure your prey. You just inject them with venom, the thing dies, and you swallow it.
Furthermore, it’s likely that there is an evolutionary arms race going on between natural prey of these snakes and the snakes themselves. So, this is where you have the prey item of a snake, for example here, evolving some resistance to the snake’s venom over time, and in return, the snake has to evolve a more and more potent venom. And this keeps escalating.
Anyway, that’s a little window into the world of snakes in Australia, guys. I recently interviewed a guy called Ross McGibbon, and he talked was all about snakes. That interview will be out soon. So, stay tuned for that.
Thanks again for joining me, guys. Don’t forget to review the podcast on Facebook, on iTunes, or whatever platform it is that you’re listening to this podcast on. Join the Aussie English Classroom, guys, get access to all my courses. This is the best way to help me keep doing what I’m doing as well as improve your English at the same time. And other than that, have a ripper of a day and I’ll see you soon! Peace out!
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AE 532 – Interview: American vs Australian English and Learning English in 2019 with Stef the English Coach
AE 532 – Interview: American vs Australian English and Learning English in 2019 with Stef the English Coach
G’day, guys. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. I have an amazing episode for you guys today where I get to sit down with Stephanie, the English Coach. Now, you may have seen her on YouTube. She’s got an amazing channel on YouTube and you can also check her out at EnglishFullTime.com.
But today, we sit down and talk about her philosophy when teaching English and for students learning English. We talk about learning languages ourselves, as Stephanie is married to an Argentinean and speaks amazing Spanish, and obviously, I’m learning Portuguese and I’m married to a Brazilian. And, we also talk about cultural differences between America and Australia, and differences between the language, you know, how English differs between these two countries.
Anyway. Intro aside, let’s get into it. I give you Stephanie from EnglishFullTime.com, The English Coach. Thanks for joining us.
G’ day, guys! Welcome to this episode of the Aussie English podcast. Today our special guest for you guys Stefanie Klenner. I hope I said that right.
Yes. Is that German, Klenner?
Yeah, it is actually.
So, how do you introduce yourself when you’re like, you know, I’m an English teacher online, what do you normally say your business is or how do you sort of get that conversation going?
Depends who I’m talking with because a lot of people don’t understand what it even means to work online or run a website or offer courses or anything like that. So, if I’m introducing myself in a video, for example, I’m just like ”hey, what’s up? Stephanie, the English Coach here from Englishfulltime.com and then I go right into the content of my video, but if I am talking to someone who has no clue what I’m doing, it’s confusing it’s even hard for me to explain because they go so you teach English online, you offer one on one classes, right? And I’m like err…. no. I don’t know, how do you handle that? Because I think that’s something we both struggle with.
I try and avoid it, I think like you especially with family, right? I always get that around the dinner table because they’ll be like “so, Pete, still don’t have a job” and you’ll be like…. dude, I got a job. I just I work for myself.
Yeah. You know it’s hilarious? Is when I get comments like on Instagram and people are like ”wow you’re so passionate, you do all of this work like so, what do you work as? What’s your job?” and I’m like ” are you kidding me?” I do this 24/7, this is my job, like how can you think anybody would do this just because you have that much time in a day like we probably work more than normal people because it takes that much time to get something up and running.
Well that’s the feedback I tend to get from my family because quite often I’m chatting with my sister, her husband and my parents and they all have full time, you know, nine to five jobs and they’re they always give me the whole ”I could never do what you do” like it’s… ”you just work all the time and like you just can’t turn off” and I’m like it’s kind of true, but at the same time I kind like it because it’s sort of… I don’t, I feel like I’d never work because it’s just kind of me mumbling about and having fun and doing what I need to do when I do it and not quite up and take breaks and go for a walk or just bugger off and do something, how do you how do you find teaching online? Do you find it difficult to turn off at night? You know, when you want to go to bed.
Yeah, because since you have all this passion and all these things that you want to teach other people, it’s like you can’t stop thinking about it because you’re like ”oh my gosh…” Like, right before you and I started talking I started taking notes, you said, ”Hey, what’s the goss?” and I was like ‘what does that mean?” and you’re like ”oh that’s what, what’s the gossip, what’s going on, what’s up?” and I’m like okay I just learned something new in English I bet this is something my audience would want to know or hear about. So, I start taking notes. So, it is hard to turn off because you’re constantly thinking about sharing with other people, but at the same time, I don’t know, maybe I wouldn’t want to turn it off it’s so fulfilling I think what I do and what you do that what’s like why would we want to turn it off? We have so much fun doing it, it’s hard but we also have fun.
Exactly, and that’s the difference I think. Like my parents and my sister always get home now like ”oh, thank, God, work is over!”, you know, and I just have never had it, at least with Aussie English, I’ve never had that attitude where, I mean, there’ll be bits and pieces that I’ll be working on that I’m like ”oh thank God that’s done!”, but it’s never ”oh my God, now I can turn on the Xbox and don’t have to think about work!” you know? I kind of enjoy the process because it’s that constant creativity, right?
Yeah, I know, actually speaking of Xbox I have a friend who we see quite frequently and he’s constantly playing video games and I’m like… I just…I just think of all the wasted energy. I’m like ”oh my gosh, if I had another version of me that I could just give tasks to or whatever” like, imagining all that time and energy that’s getting wasted, all the things he could do with that time and I’m like ”no, I can’t believe it!”. So, there’s lots of activities that I think people use as escape or fun or something like that, that I don’t even think to deal because in many ways my own work is fine. You know, imagine getting to talk with amazing people from all around the world all the time. Imagine getting to create things that you know is going to change someone’s life. Imagine getting to share stories that other people are going to love listening to. I think just the thought of that for me is enough to make me want to not do something like video games or computer games and say well that’s just a waste of time, I’d rather, you know, produce something or learn and hone in on my skills so I can get even better and get it to more people.
It becomes a bit obsessive compulsive, right? The self-improvement and generating an income from your time and I found the same thing, I used to love playing games, video games and even going to the gym quite a lot in training jujitsu and now like, nowadays I’m like… I want to do that stuff, but I have to remind myself it’s a hobby and that I can’t just dive in and do eight hours a day because there is no income from that and I could be better spending my time, you know, working on material that’s going to grow the business and everything so, do you think that’s just a business man, business woman kind of attitude that grows on you?
I think it is because more and more I realise that normal people, in quotes, you know, don’t think the same way that I do and it’s like everything that I do, I’m not just thinking about today or this week or this month or even this year, I am literally thinking decades ahead of time, I’m asking myself ”hey, is what I’m doing today going to prepare me for where I want to be a decade from now? For how I want my career to go or for how I want my reputation to build or for how I want to be known twenty years from now? 30 years from now?”, it’s like I have all these ideas of what I could do based on the reputation that I’m creating for myself now and I just don’t think most people think in that way, does that even make sense?
Definitely, I feel the same, to some extent, maybe not 10 years or 20 years ahead, but I definitely have that idea now of ”what am I doing? Where am I going?” and I’m constantly trying to sort of assess that and I get this over impending sense of doom or gloom or guilt when I spend a lot of time not thinking about it, like relaxing, I can’t just take off an entire day like I feel like a holiday for a week would be a nightmare for me where if someone just said no computers, no thinking about Aussie English, no thinking about your business, nothing, I’d be like ”oh my God, I don’t know what to do”, I feel like I’m stressed out. I mean, can I vlog it? Can I make material? Can I make content while I’m doing that?
Oh, I think you’re a lot better at creating content than I am. Ok, what I do is I think a lot. I spend a lot of time thinking some people ask me like ”hey, how did you get your business to be so successful so fast?” and I’m like honestly, I think the truth is that I just think a lot and I analyse and I play situations out in my head before they even happened in 10 different ways so, I can assess before I even take an action, what is going to be the most successful, right? So, I don’t know, like I think a lot so, I do take a lot of downtime like I haven’t posted on Instagram in a few days and I am getting that guilty itch like ”oh, I should probably show up and post something”, but I also realise that sometimes the downtime is the most important because it’s like your brain really needs that time to come up with the best ideas.
And it feels less forced, right? If you can just sort of be ”I can’t think of anything right now, just give it a break”. I’ve done that with YouTube recently where I’m like…. I wasn’t feeling it, so I’ll just give it some time and I’ll come back to it when I have the inspiration, that spark, you know, just appear. So, how did you get started, Steph? What’s the original story? Everyone that teaches English especially as a sort of content creator online always has an interesting story that sort of… it came out of left field, right? where you’re just like “oh, I was just doing this thing and then boom, you know, now I teach online!”.
Yes, I think very few people get started… I don’t know, like intentionally, like knowing exactly where we want to go. I mean, if, you know, a year ago or two years ago I knew where I wanted to go, but it took me a while to get to that place so when I originally started online completely as a newbie, my whole thing was I married a foreigner, I married someone from Argentina and I was hit with this fear, I was like, “What are we going to do? Are we going to settle in the USA or in Argentina?” and that’s the question everyone was asking. So, I felt like I needed to give the answer. So, basically it was like settle in Argentina, ok? That’s nice. I love Argentina. I have family that lives there, my husband’s family lives there, but that would mean that I’d have to get a job there I’d be stuck in their economy, which if you know anything about Argentina is completely unstable and it would be very difficult to see my family. So, I was like ”that’s scary. I don’t want to do that!” and then I was like well, what if we settle in the USA, that means that we’re going to get jobs in the USA and my husband is rarely going to see his family and well, I don’t want to do that either. Plus, it was like my second international trip in my entire life that completely changed my life and my outlook on everything, business time etc. and I just decided, you know what, I don’t want to be stuck in something, like the same way other people are. I want to have the freedom to create, the freedom to earn money no matter what I’m doing throughout the day etc. So, I started thinking and asking myself ”how can I create this? What do I need to do in order to achieve that?” and then I started looking at how other people are doing it and I remember my first thought was ”I know people get paid for making blogs, I wonder if I could do that?”. I literally read two full books on blogging and how to get started, and then, I came to the conclusion, ”you know what, I don’t really like writing that much” so, maybe I shouldn’t be a blogger and basically over the course of a year, one thing led, actually two years, I think, one thing led to another. I did tons of research and I just started learning about the opportunities that are available to people working online and when I finally realised ”oh my Gosh, I could create an entire business and offer something and make money that way”, that’s when I was like ”ok, this is my golden ticket, this is what I have to do” and then I was like ”well, what am I going to offer? Who’s going to listen to me?” at that time I think I was like 22, 23 years old when you’re that young you feel like you have no credibility.
So, because I had worked in education for a few years, because I had learned a foreign language myself and because I had worked online as an English tutor for a while I was like ”I’ll just do English, I’ll just teach English!”. So, that’s how it came about, but it’s so funny because when I started my business a few years ago as The English Coach I realise I’ve changed completely, even in some the things that I teach, like I used to teach like don’t do that method, it’s not effective, and I’ve completely changed my philosophy because I learned from my students that actually it is effective, you know, or something like that. So, even as I have gone through this business I have evolved, but that’s pretty much how I got started.
That’s life, though, right? You know, you have to be open and changing and adapting. Going back to the start there, when you first went to Argentina, what was that like? And you know, culture shock, language wise, what was it like as an American or an outsider to some degree, going over there and sort of having to adapt?
Yeah, I think there’s things that you could never expect even if you watched all the videos possible on YouTube about what to expect. There’s just things that you’re going experience from your own perspective that will shock you and it’s funny looking back now I’ve lived there for six years so, it’s not… like sometimes we forget what even shock you in the beginning because it becomes your new normal, but I think one of the things that I was not expecting at all was the amount of overwhelm that I experienced from being immersed in the language itself and I don’t think people talk about this enough. When your goal is to learn and speak a language and then you go to a foreign country to immerse yourself in that language, that can actually like overwhelm your brain to the point where you start rejecting that language. That’s what happened to me with Spanish, I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want to speak it. I didn’t want to learn it. I didn’t want to study it, at that point I had studied Spanish for years and then… and then the other frustration was ”hey, I studied this language for years and then you get to the country you’re like ”oh my Gosh, I don’t understand a damn thing! or ”I only understand half of what they’re talking to me” like, I studied this for years, it shouldn’t be like this and so your expectations you realize don’t match reality and that’s very frustrating. So, basically, you’re faced with all these situations you didn’t even expect and so for me that that overwhelm of the language, I wasn’t expecting that, nobody told me that would happen, I think people don’t even realize it or they don’t know even how to explain it if they realize it, but that was very hard to overcome.
What did you do in order to overcome that?
Honestly, I think it just took time and it took time for me to relax inside, internally and to be ok with my progress because you want to progress so quickly, right? You want to instantly be able to speak like the people around you and then just realizing that ”hey that’s not reality, that’s not how it’s going to happen” and being ok with that then you’re able to enjoy the journey and let your brain absorb the language at a natural rate. But now when I speak Spanish, you know, people go ”wow, are you from Argentina?” and it’s like ”no, not from Argentina, you know, I just let my brain absorb the language the way a child’s brain would absorb it” and then I just mimicked people and imitated them until I learned how to sound exactly like they sound.
Far out! So, did that give you… going through that process and, you know, moving abroad to a foreign country, learning the language and getting immersed in it, did that give you insight into how you now teach English? Because you’ve obviously gone through the process of what many of your students are going through or have gone through in the past.
Yeah, absolutely, I think I’m able to relate to them on a level that most English teachers aren’t because, first of all, most English teachers have never learned a foreign language and then, second of all….
That shocked me so much! When I was studying a lot of these guys and you realize that they’re teaching something that they haven’t done themselves, right? It’s a bit…
Yeah and so then they place the emphasis on English as if you were a native English speaker learning Literature or something like that and what you have to learn as a non-native speaker vs. a native speaker of that language it’s completely different, so anyways, that help me relate to my students a lot more. I understood their struggle, I understood were they were coming from, not only that, but a lot of I think English teachers maybe they dabble in a language, but they don’t reach fluency and the way I compare fluency is a lot different than the way other people do it. Like my standard is very high. I don’t consider conversational language skills to be fluency. I think fluency as when you can confidently handle yourself in almost any given situation, that you can naturally handle in your native language. So, if you’re an expert in sales and you can handle sales calls well in your native language, then you’re fluent in English when you can also do that and achieve that in English as well. That to me is fluency basically where your language skills are the same across different languages, naturally you’re going to have one language that’s a little bit more dominant than the other, but you should be able to get to that level like that’s fluency, anyways. So, being that, that’s my standard that’s also how I different from other, differ from other language teachers because I don’t think they have that standard, but the reason I have that standard is because I lived in a Spanish speaking country I worked in a Spanish speaking country and I know you can’t get by with conversational skills, if you’re going to work as a professional, you need to be able to be compelling when you talk, you know, right? In a certain way, speak in a certain way and you don’t just get that from conversational language skills. Does it make sense?
Yeah, absolutely. How did you go, though, when you when you first moved to Argentina and you obviously, you know, those conversational skills kind of arrive first, how do you ensure that you can keep pushing through that barrier of discomfort to keep evolving and learning as quickly as possible to get to that really high level of proficiency or fluency? Did you have to sort of keep a conscious check on yourself and be like ”ok, things are getting easy, I need to keep expanding my abilities”.
That’s a really, really good question and what I usually tell my students is there are things we have control over and there are things we don’t have control over. So, for example, you have control over what you do with your time. If you are consuming the language and if you are studying the vocabulary, for example, if I do a sales call in English then what do I need to do? I need to write down, you know, the common questions that people usually ask me, how I should respond etc. I need to translate that on paper or something and make sure I know how to answer those questions effectively. In the other language, right? And so, we have control over what we do with our time or study methods how we learn. We don’t have control over how long it takes our brain to insert that into our long term memory and not just words like ”oh I remember, I studied this yesterday” and you’re pulling it from your short term memory, but where it becomes an integral part of you, to the point where you can open your mouth and just talk as easily in that foreign language as you can in your native language and that takes time. The brain needs time to absorb that and sometimes, actually all the time, we don’t have control over how long it takes our brain to absorb that. All we can do is control the factors that we can control. Does that make sense?
Yeah. It’s funny for me I feel that in Portuguese right now like… I’m at a conversational fluency kind of level where I feel incredibly comfortable talking about stuff that I talk about all the time with my wife, but if she were to suddenly throw a curve ball and want to talk about politics or physics or something, I would just be like ”I’m out of my depth”. So, it feels almost like I’m a blind man in a house and this is my house and I know everywhere in the house, but you take me outside and put me down a side street and I’m lost. So, what do you recommend for students wanting to get better at those sorts of other topics that they may not necessarily have coming up in conversation every day? What would your advice be for how to sort of go out there and explore them? They just have to get online and start doing the research?
So, first of all what I usually tell people is think about what you actually talk about in any given day, for example, if you’re the kind of guy that talks about politics in your native language, then you’re going to have a pretty big vocabulary and you’re probably naturally going to be inclined to learn those words in a foreign language because when you’re looking for material to read, you’re going to go to political websites in Portuguese or whatever and you’ll end up picking up that vocabulary. If there’s a subject that you struggle to talk with in a foreign language a lot of times it’s because it’s not even something you really talk about in your native language. So, for example, for me if somebody wants to sit down and debate politics with me, they’re going to realise that my vocabulary is very general, my ideas are very general because I don’t have well defined ideas in politics because I don’t talk about politics and I don’t care about politics as much as some people care about politics.
Haven’t you been chatting about Trump recently, have you?
No, like, I’m like ”who is Trump?” honestly, for better or for worse, you know, my focus in my life is my business and what I’m doing, you know, and then politics is something completely unrelated. So, when someone talks me up about politics in English I might say, you know, well…for example I’m kind of like very skeptical about things. So, I say ”it’s is hard to know who to believe because everyone seems to be lying” that’s a sentence that I could translate into Spanish and it’s hard to know who to believe because everyone seems to be lying so, I can talk about politics in Spanish the same way I talk about them in English and I’m going to lack the same vocabulary that I lack in English because they don’t talk about politics in English so, I don’t have a lot of vocabulary in English. So, a lot of times people go I don’t know how to talk about astronomy or something I’m like geez! Neither do I! I’m like there’s a star, there’s the sun, there’s the moon, what else do you need to know? There’s the galaxy, it’s like five words and that’s all I can talk about related to that topic, but again naturally I think if you’re interested in something, you’re going to gravitate towards learning that vocabulary and if you have a reason, I know I’m going on and on, but I’m going explain one more thing. If you have a legitimate reason to talk about it, you will learn the vocabulary because as a necessity, I think when you try studying stuff that’s not a necessity, your brain is not going to remember it because your brain is more likely to remember essential information. So, marketing, I would know a lot about marketing, love marketing, love teaching it, love talking to people about it. I am going to struggle a little bit in Spanish when I talk about marketing because so far, I’ve been consuming all of my information in English and I haven’t had very many conversations with people in Spanish about marketing. I can still get by, but if someone invited me today to like the biggest marketing conference in South America and said we want it to give you a speech, I think hey, maybe that’s a really great opportunity. I’m going to prepare my speech and I’m going to make sure I’ll learn all the words that I would say in English because as far as grammatical structures and sentence structure are concerned, I have those in Spanish, but I’m just lacking a little bit of grammar. I’m sorry not grammar, vocabulary, I’ll go find those words, I’ll plug them in, you know give my speech to few people practice and then boom there you have it. Does it make sense?
Exactly, so you have to use that as an excuse to kind of, you know, quickly brush up on all those things and learn them because you have that necessity now. So, what are your thoughts on grammar and learning grammar? Because there’s often those students who are either grammar obsessed or never touch it all? Were you with Spanish when you at least landed in Argentina, were you at a level where you still had to worry about grammar? And if you did, did you specifically do anything or did you just let it happen passively?
Ok, so you’re asking really good questions. I just have to make this comment about that. This grammar question is a great question.
These are the questions I get asked by my students so, that’s why I’m sort of passing them on and letting someone else answer them.
Oh my gosh, I’m sure everyone has a different perspective on this, but I’ll just speak from experience. So, I had studied the grammar for years. I knew the grammar like the back of my hand. I was the student in Spanish class that I got all A’s that got everything right on a test I did not miss anything, my grammar, in many ways was perfect. What happened? I went Argentina and I realized ”Oh my gosh, people don’t talk like that!”. There were entire grammatical constructions in the Spanish language that I was required to learn that people didn’t even use on a daily basis, that were actually considered weird, like if you use this grammar, you’re going to sound like a robot, you’re going to sound weird because nobody actually says that in daily life. Ok, so, here’s how I feel about grammar. I feel like my grammar is important because if you’re supposed to say like, you know, she helps you want to add that S on the end, you know, third person singular or whatever. She helps. You don’t want to say she help because that’s wrong and it makes your English sound like a little less educated. So, you do want to have correct grammar and, in those instances, but personally the best way I think to learn grammar of a language is to learn through patterns and not policing such an emphasis on the name of the grammatical construction. Because when you start saying, you know, the third person this, that, past perfect, present, whatever for students who have never heard this in their life, you’re first causing them to all learn what these names are and then learn how they’re used, rather than just explaining ”hey this is this is the pattern, this is how it’s used. This is the pattern. This is how it is used. This is the pattern, this is how it’s used”.
This is one of the biggest things I have to juggle with when teaching on the podcast, in the classroom, on YouTube is always like how deep down the rabbit hole do I go with terms and you know, ’cause seems like there’s a lot of superfluous names they just don’t need to know this, it’s like guys just look for this construction, look for this pattern.
Do you think that that’s sort of the new direction that English teaching is going, where it’s more utility based and less focused on, you know, make sure you learn all these constructions that are never used in real life, you know?
Yeah. I mean I hope so, because at the end of the day do we want to help people speak a language or do we want to help them become linguists? I don’t think people are trying to become linguists and forcing them to learn all of this unnecessary information, it is possible to teach language and help people acquire language actually facilitate the acquiring of a language without forcing all of this jargon down their throat. That’s really difficult to understand because it’s so not just complex, but ambiguous, you know, like they just don’t get it. And I have so many students were like ”I’ve never studied grammar in my life” and you know what? I’ve discovered through holes with these students and studying their language skills is that the people who’ve never studied grammar are often the ones who sound the most natural.
Why is that? Because they just pick it up through context, through patterns, they pick it up the way children pick it up, even a native English speaker, even an adult who’s educated, you know, they might not even be able to explain the grammar behind the way that they speak.
The majority won’t, right?
Yeah. So, why are we forcing language learners to be able to do something that native English speakers can’t even do?
Well, my sort of suggestion and what I sort of carry out is quite often if I notice myself doing the same mistake all the time and Kel will pick up on it if I’m chatting to him Portuguese, say for example, I’m trying to use the past subjunctive when talking about like if I do this or if I did this or whatever, I’ll go away and then practice that one specific thing and sort of get an idea of the patterns and then ignore it again and just try and use it. But I won’t just sit there and go through a book, you know, from start to finish because I realised that some of my grammar isn’t perfect, but the funny thing is when you when I sat down for example to chat with Kel, she would just be like ”yeah we don’t use that”, I’ll be like… but that’s what the grammar is that, right? And she be like ”yeah, yeah, but no one says that”.
And so, you think that there needs to be a lot more of a focus for English learners on learning how English is actually spoken, than actually worrying about the books because that’s something I’m always trying to tell them and it’s annoying that all materials, at least with regards to books and everything, seem to avoid teaching how English is actually spoken, which you would imagine is how people are going to spend the majority of their time using the language, they’re not going to be they are writing emails every day to everyone that they have any interaction with.
Yeah, well that’s one of the major problems I have with academics in general. It’s like it’s so academic, it’s unrealistic. You know, and I went to college, I paid for this awesome program to learn Spanish, supposedly, I thought hey, you know, if I study this for four years I’m going to become a Spanish speaker and then I found myself in classes studying like Don Quixote and I don’t know if you know who that guy is, but, or the book is, but basically ancient Literature. It’s like imagine forcing your students to study Shakespeare in order to learn English.
This is my story with French. I went to university and was like ”oh yes, I’ll do French” and I remember sitting there one day and they were making us read poetry from the 17th century and I’m like ”what the hell am I doing, man? I just want to be able to talk with people, I don’t want to learn this crap!”.
Yes, and I do think, I do think that there is value in both things like preserving history, valuing history, but we need to create a separation. You know, there needs to be real English that people can use, functional English that people can use and then there needs to be the, oh and by the way, if you’re interested in ancient literature, if you like history, you can also study this, but making sort of that what they call correct grammatical constructions and the other thing too, I just have to vent about this because it’s like who determines what is correct anyways? The grammar did not come first. The written form of the language did not come first, spoken language always existed before any written language existed and languages are in constant evolution and we know this. It’s obvious. I mean, just go look at election forms of English, you can’t even understand a dang thing that they say and then as people separated around the world and as languages evolve, I mean, you and I use phrases where sometimes we have to be like ”I’m sorry, what?”
We don’t even understand each other. So, like it just sucks that these people, these academic, I don’t know what they’re called, committees are creating this super unrealistic stupid standard. That’s not helping people with what their real goals are. Look, someone that wants to learn English, they want to get a good job, they want to make good money, they want to provide for their families and forcing them to read Shakespeare and learn grammatical constructions that nobody even uses is actually holding them back. It’s doing them a disservice and it makes me angry that that even happens.
Yes, it can be frustrating.
It’s not helping.
Well, I think it becomes one of those things where it’s like are you studying the language and how it’s used or are you studying how to use the language in a natural kind of way? Right? Because the majority of people I know, you know, there are plenty of Australians that make grammatical errors every time they speak, they’ll say, you know, ”I want them ones”, “Are yous going out later?” that sort of stuff and you’ll be like…like apart from the fact that it gives you this sort of cringe, but you be like they’re communicating. It doesn’t matter. They don’t need to be perfect.
Yeah. Another one that people are making more and more in English and I don’t know why this happens in Australia as much as I here in the US, but they say something like ”she had wrote it” , she had wrote, it should be she had written.
The Americans do that with the, what is called? With the present perfect and using the wrong past participle, that always gets me, I’m just like…
So, here’s the thing, though, and I have to be honest, I catch myself making this mistake, right? I’m like the English Coach, right? Shouldn’t be making mistakes or whatever, but what I what I realise and what people have to realise is that this is natural and if everyone is making these mistakes, it stops being a grammatical mistake or like a mark of a certain people from certain parts of society and, you know, sometimes they say less educated people will make more mistakes, right? it stops becoming that and it really becomes the language itself evolving in its natural process that it always does because this mistake I just mention, like she had wrote, she had ate that or whatever, guess what? I am hearing this mistake and I pay attention because this is my job, I’m hearing this mistake from people in all walks of American life from, you know, all levels of success, from the most successful, the most high up, to people at the bottom, for lack of a better way to say it. So, it’s not a lack of education because I’m hearing stuff like this from very educated people, it is the language.
So, do you have something sort of interesting happening in the US too with black culture, right? Where they’ll almost intentionally change the language, come up with their own words and slang and everything to kind of differentiate themselves. They even have their own sort of accent, right? With that African Americans.
I think it’s called Ebonics. Here’s the thing. My sister studied linguistics in college so, I would ask lots of questions about this. I am not necessarily qualified to speak on their way of speaking because I haven’t studied it enough, but from what my sister has studied and from what she has told me, it’s actually not just like, it’s not like these people agreed and said ”Hey, we’re going to talk like this.” It’s literally a derivative of English. It is considered a real dialect in and of itself. I don’t even, I don’t know another way of explaining this, but because of how you know segregation and slavery existed in the history, the way language was used among the blacks in the USA was different than it was used among the whites. And those differences, you know, happened because they were bringing people from foreign countries who were then forced to learn this other language and stuff and so, languages got mixed, accents got mixed and then through the generations it persisted. So, it is a legitimate dialect in and of itself.
And it’s almost a point of pride, though, right? Where people will actively pick this up. You see at least from my you know sort of naïve point of view in Australia in American TV shows and movies that the black culture tends to emphasize this to show off, you know, how they are part of this culture. You won’t hear Obama say using that kind of language, right? Because he’s, you know, gone through Harvard or whatever it was and is probably actively tried to avoid it, but when you see people in places like the Bronx they’ll be like speaking that way to show this is the group that I kind of belong to. So, it’s it’s really fascinating how it evolves and even in music, right? In music I hear it all the time. “She do”, instead of “she does” or “stay woke”, right? “Stay woke”, instead of “stay awake”. They just used the past participle, you’re just like what?
It’s kind of like a culture within a culture, if you can imagine that, right? And the same thing happens with Hispanics that come here, immigrate from Spanish speaking countries and it’s really interesting because let’s say that the great grandchildren of Mexican immigrants that came here, you know, couple generations ago. Let’s say they actually don’t speak Spanish, but they’re still going to carry an accent as if they did, many times, because they’re raised around people with accents and that is the culture the subculture that they identify with. Another thing people don’t realize is that people use language and their tone of voice, their way of speaking even how clear their words are as a way of identifying who they are and what group of people they identify with. You know, Obama isn’t going to use that kind of language probably mainly because it’s not socially accepted. If you’re going to work as a professional, you’re expected to have a certain type of English.
If you’re the president of the United States it’s a bit weird if every time you have a speech you start with “Yo, yo, yo what’s up?!”.
I mean, I think that might be pretty cool, like, very diverse.
I’d pay to see Trump do that, to be honest.
You probably would, oh my Gosh!
So, but, anyhow it’s interesting to see how culture and language, how they play a part together and in the U.K, for example, you have different kinds of accents that are considered like socially more acceptable than others. I’m not an expert on this, but I feel like the Cockney accent, right? Is kind of maybe like the black accent of the U.S.
Which ironically is the accent that underpins the Australian accent. That’s why we got a lot of con convicts that were Cockney or spoke with that accent and that’s why we pronounce things like water, instead of water or water, but I think you’re right and it’s funny even here in Australia we have a lot of immigrants after the Second World War we had a lot of Italians, Lebanese, Vietnamese who at the time were called “wogs” and it was an incredibly bad term, you know, for white Australians to refer to them as that, but they’ve kind of like the N word in America but a bit less. They’ve adopted that word and now you’ll just meet people and be like, yeah, I’m a wog”, you know my parents are Lebanese. But the funny thing is they have a completely different accent and you’ll hear from their kids who are third generation and have grown up in that suburb and they’ll be like ”Yo, what’s up? We’ll go out. The subwoofer! Sick, uleh” and you’ll be like…”man, you grew up in Melbourne. What are you doing?”.
Like, yeah, why are you trying to talk like that? But it’s because of the culture that they identify with and that’s another thing too, like you mentioned “wog” used to be a completely derogatory term and now it’s just like ”yo, what’s up? I’m a wog” and like there’s nothing, they feel no shame.
It’s adopted, right?
It’s adopted, it’s ok, and that’s another thing about language is that the connotation of words changes over time. A word, apart from its connotation or whatever it is, it’s literally just a sound that a mouth makes, but the meaning that a society gives to it can either create an offence or not, it can mean one thing or not.
There’s a lot of good examples of that, right? I think when I was growing up saying S H I T, saying the word shit, you know, alright, we’re going to put expletives on this episode when shit was a very sort of serious thing you didn’t just see it on TV shows that often without it being M rated, my parents wouldn’t say it, but nowadays it seems like it’s used everywhere and it’s a lot less, like people aren’t as offended as they used to be and the same with the word fag? right? Which is from a very bad word faggot, which I don’t really mean to use, but it’s for homosexual people, but gay people kind of took that word and now refer to themselves as fags quite often. And there was even that movement of people using that to refer to things they didn’t like, right? Where there was a South Park episode where the kids keep calling really annoying bikers who want attention. They keep using the word fag to refer to them and everyone gets upset because they think that the kids are being really homophobic and horrible and the kids are like ”no, no, no we just think they’re annoying” you know, and so, it’s funny that also there’s this movement not wanting the language to change when people do try to start using these words differently, away from their original offensive meanings, for example and say ”no, no, no you can’t use it that way because it is offensive”.
You know what’s funny? Because there’s always a resistance. The new generation is changing things and the older generation goes ”no, no, no that’s not how we use it”, what the older generation forgets as they did the exact same thing! This is how languages evolve and I find it I find it so fascinating and I’ve even gotten very curious and I’ve Googled articles about English words that we no longer use, that were used in the 1920s like if you Google English slang from the 1920s or the 1930s you’ll find all kinds of words and you’re like “oh my, this is what they used to call that?” and this is why it’s so weird.
We used to have rhyming slang in Australia, that was a big thing because they think the Cockney British used to use rhyming slang to refer to things so, we would have people calling tomato sauce dead horse or the cheese and biscuits for what was it? For your missus or something like that, but it’s so funny cause if you use that now it’s like…”dude, that is so lame!”, it sounds stupid, but you go back 40, 50 years and everyone was using these rhyming slang words so, it is funny that it changes. I wanted to ask you what do you think is going to happen with language in the future with the Internet and the amount of connectivity that we have today? Do you think it’s still going to evolve like it did in the past where, obviously, if it wasn’t written or you lived in a small tribe where you’re not, you know, mixing with everyone else, the language would have evolved a lot more quickly which is I would imagine why the UK has all those accents? They were, you know, small, integral towns for a long time. Do you think that language like English is going to evolve even faster because of connectivity or do you think it might go the opposite direction where it just won’t change that much at all?
Ok, so I think that, if it’s even possible, I think both things are true. Like with the invention of the Internet in the last what? 20 years, how many words do we now have in the English language that never used to exist?
Even things like LOL or whatever, all of that is new, a new form of communication.
Or Google something, just YouTube it, just YouTube it.
Yeah or an emoji or this or that. All of these are new words so, it is bringing new words into existence very, very quickly. There are there’s always going to be a portion of the population that doesn’t travel or doesn’t really it like connect with people from around the world. So, if you’re constantly with your click of people, you know, let’s say you grew up in New York and you’ve never really connected with anyone outside of your neighborhood, then that language in that section of town or a part of town or whatever is going to continue to evolve, I think the way languages have always evolved, and then when you go to that part of town, you know, people are going to say things and you’re going to be like ”oh, what does that mean?” oh well, around here it means X Y Z. So, I think there’s always going to be that element, but at the same time I do feel like we are reaching a point where language is, at least English, is going to in some way become standadised, like this is kind of like what everyone says like… there is going to be a way for you to speak where you know everyone that speaks English will understand me and I’ll understand them and I feel like this has even started happening to me because one of the comments I get on my YouTube channel is ”you’re so easy to understand! Why do we understand you?” I made an entire video about this and part of the reason is that I speak clearly and, you know, all these other things, but then I’m like, you know, maybe there’s more to it that I’m missing. I realize that you know the way I speak it is very expressive. You know, a lot of things, but I don’t think I use nearly as many idioms as most English speakers. I don’t think I use nearly as many expressions as most English speakers and I wonder is that because of my international audience and maybe, subconsciously, I’ve changed the way that I’ve spoken in order to cater more to them and I’m I’m wondering, I don’t have proof, I don’t know…
I think most people are like that, right? I notice myself, if I’m walking around the street, you have someone come up to you and ask for directions and you can tell like hey this person doesn’t speak English as a first language. My automatic reaction isn’t to be like ‘hey, how’s it going, mate? No worries” , you know, just rattle off everything as if they were a really proficient speaker of English, it would be you know, you slow it down, you don’t use as complicated phrases and you, you know, and I think most people have that in their language. So, it is interesting, but I wonder with English if you’re going to have the grammar kind of get stamped in time so, you have all the common words like I, do, you, went and everything that stays the same, but nouns change. So, things like Google or YouTube and expressions will change through time because it would be amazing to fast forward 500 years and see if we can understand English speakers because maybe they’ll be writing perfectly understandable English, but they’ll have completely different accents and be using nouns that way just like ”what the hell?”.
Well, I do think that the accent is going to change. I’ve even noticed that the way I pronounce certain words has been changing, the way my family pronounces it. It’s so weird because when you’re, when you’re a language teacher and you’re looking for these things and language to be able to explain them to other people, you find things that most people completely overlook. So, for example, for example the other day my sister was like ”oh my Gosh, I have a headache again” and I was like… ”a headache? Headache? Do you mean you have a headache? Llike an ache, ache, ache headache?” and she said ”I have a headache” and then for e-mail, you know we say e-mail, she said ”I need to send that ”e-mail, e-mail”, like Mel, some guy’s name, Mel, right? And I’m like ”e-mail, headache…”.
It’s Mel Gibson sending it through.
Yes, exactly and so, it’s funny because I even start catching myself and these small changes over a lifetime and then over two to three generations completely change and then I mean, we haven’t even talked about like vocal fry, you know a lot of celebrities speak with and stuff like that.
Can you give an example of that at all?
Well, do you know Kim Kardashian?
Yes. Not intimately, but I know of her.
All the Kardashians speak like this, I’m actually very terrible at imitating them because I make a conscious effort to not let that slide into my way of speaking because so many people talk like that and when I hear it greets my nerves and I feel like when I hear someone speaking like that to me it sounds lazy and it lacks confidence and I want to come across as a hardworking, confident person, because that’s what I am, hey! So, I am going to put that effort into my speech and my words and how I pronounce them so, that it comes across like that, but yeah, it’s like when you just sort let your… how do you describe that? Like…
Oh, is it when they do that ”you know what I mean…
Yeah. ”Today I was at the store and…” it’s like, because it just sounds like…
Because I know fry and singing is where you get that AHHHHHH, like that crispiness in the voice, far out! Finishing up…
Sorry, you go, go for it.
Finishing up, I was going to ask what is your sort of M.O. with teaching English? You come at it from a relatively unique way that you know it has exploded on YouTube. So, props to you which has been amazing. What was…did you have a certain method that you had in mind when you started because your channel took off or did you just keep doing what you were doing and it was just a natural process of how you like to teach? That is obviously really, really effective for a lot of people.
I think it was a combination of luck and skill. To be honest, right? If I said ”oh that was all me, like in one year or less than a year we hit were over 3 hundred and 50 thousand and I’m just that amazing” I think that would be, you know, yeah, no… it was a combination of like luck, skill, well-timed things.
It’s so funny because there are certain things I did that ended up being like I never intended for them to turn out as well as they did. There were like three videos, for example, where I was like ”you know what? I literally don’t have time to record anything, I’m just going to look for something on my hard drive and I’m just going to post that” and those videos that were essentially practice videos or never meant to be shared in public or whatever ended up becoming my most popular videos on my channel. Ok, so that to me is a stroke of luck. But, at the same time, if I made a video like that it also shows that I was aware of problems and things people wanted to know about. I just had no idea they would appreciate it on YouTube. So, once I started uncovering, you have to be like a detective, right? You have to figure out what people even want to know? What do you want me to make videos about?
I was going say, this is part of the hardest, this is the hardest part about being a content creator, right? Because you’re like I want to help people and in order to help people I need to get to, you know, the computers of as many people as possible so, that they see it, but there’s so many like how do I go viral? And you can go down the trap of just overthinking it and then sometimes you won’t even, you’ll be like ”ah I just feel the creative urge to do this today, do it, put it up online and it goes nuts!” and you’re your dislike racking your brain, it’s like how, how do I repeat this? Because I want to be, you know, I want to be successful, how do you do that? So, what’s the process like for you? Do you find it frustrating or do you find it really rewarding because it’s almost like a strategy game where, you know, you have to try and come up with a method, give things a go, sometimes they go well, sometimes they don’t and you’re like oh… if it was easy all the time you’d probably be like, ah, bored! Next!
Exactly, ok, so you know me, I love marketing! I studied marketing, I studied psychology. So, if let’s say a lot of English teachers don’t even think that ”oh maybe I should study marketing”. I see all of social media as, I don’t know, like this the same way. How do I even explain this? Basically, I’m thinking strategically from the title of the video, to the thumbnail that I put, to the content that’s inside, to what I said at the beginning, middle and end to the feeling I want people to have when they’re watching my videos. I don’t think people realise how much I strategize this stuff. It is not an accident. Now, what is natural is that I am naturally very interested in my audience, I am naturally, I don’t know, if you see me make a mistake in my video and I laugh at myself. I laugh at myself all the time. That’s natural. So, those things are natural, I’m not like forcing that, and I think people can tell what’s forced and what’s not. So, I’m very authentic in front of a camera, but I’ve had to learn how to get good at being relaxed in front of the camera. I’ve had to… I’ve had to learn to like a lot of, a lot of different things, let me see… oh man, I feel like this, I could talk about this forever! But the other thing I was going to say is like teaching, I have a lot of experience teaching and it’s not like I just decided I’m going to teach on YouTube. It’s like no, I was teaching since I was 18 years old. So I had well over a decade. And when you have to teach in front of classrooms also, which is something that I have experience with, you and little kids and older kids, you realise what it’s like to hold someone’s attention span, what works and what doesn’t. You know, so by studying that and then by studying the, you know, psychology of storytelling and marketing and what works and what doesn’t, you learn how to hold people’s attention because if I really tie exactly what people wanted to know, it might be kind of boring! I can’t just teach what they want to know. I have to teach in a way that people also like consuming the information and that will impact their minds in such a way where they won’t forget me. You can’t be forgettable, you know because if you are, then they’re not going to remember what you taught or who you are. So, you know that’s one of the reasons why I incorporate lots of stories into what I teach because people aren’t likely to forget stories and they repeat stories. They say ”oh I heard that story the other day, where did I hear that? Oh yeah that was as you were I was listening to”. So, yeah combination I think of just experience, strategy and some good strokes of luck I think has really helped it grow. Help my channel grow at the rate that it’s been growing.
Far out! it has been amazing. It’s been a wild ride. Steph, I’ve almost robbed you of an hour of your day so, I might leave it there. Where can people find out more about you?
Oh ok, so, obviously on my YouTube channel it’s the English coach and on Instagram the English Coach, on Facebook Stefanie, the English Coach, with an F, and finally my website englishfulltime.com.
Yeah, brilliant, guys! Definitely go check out her YouTube channel and the videos are very compelling and you’ll have a good time listening to a lot of stories especially the most recent ones, right? Where you were walking around Argentina.
Yeah, that was interesting, there as a friend of mine who kind of pushed me to do something a little different and I was like alright, what the heck, I’ll just do it.
They looked really good, they were really good! It reminded me when I was watching it because you were walking through the streets and I had been watching some documentaries on Rome recently where the lady giving the documentary would just walk through the streets and I’m like that’s really, like, obviously you just need a camera and someone to talk about and it’s very compelling ’cause you can see the world going by.
You know it’s crazy is that those videos were done with almost zero prep on my enf and so, what I tell myself is, you know what, Steph? Good job! If you can get people to like your rough drafts, like imagine what is going to happened when you start producing your top-quality work because I feel like everything I’m doing, I’m so rushed, I’m always trying to produce or whatever. I always feel like everything I do is a rough draft and I’m like “damn it! Thank God, they like my rough drafts!” because sometimes you just don’t have time for absolute perfection.
It goes to show probably don’t overthink it too much.
Yeah. I guess so! Anyways, Pete, thank you so much. I think this interview is really great. You ask such great questions. It’s been an absolute pleasure to talk to you and to your audience.
No worries, any time! I’ll have to do it again! Thanks, Steph.
No problem, take care!
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Learn about Australian English, news, and current affairs in this episode of My Country on the Aussie English Podcast where I talk about Australian weather in 2019.
AE 531 – My Country: Australian Weather 2019 – Droughts, Bushfires, & Floods
What’s going on, guys? I was inspired to jump on today to do another episode on here about my country, about Australia, because the weather has been going crazy, right? Across the nation, there’s been a whole heap of different events and I thought it would be worth sort of showing you them and talking a bit about them. Let’s get into it.
So, at the moment, we have 28 bushfires raging through Tasmania. So, it’s really dry down there at the moment, in the height of summer, just after the height of summer I guess, we have 28 of these fires that are raging all around Tasmania and threatening a lot of households and there’s been quite a few buildings that have obviously been burnt down and damaged and yeah it’s been going on for about a month or so now so, it’s crazy and that is due to the hot temperatures, the dry climate down here, although I don’t think that Tasmania is currently experiencing a drought. I know that in New South Wales we have been experiencing a drought, ok? So, Australia is one of those countries where we don’t have very much water. We’re not always in drought like it’s a very, very dry country and there are definitely parts of the country where you just don’t expect water, but I guess drought, and again I’m not an expert, but I would imagine when when a place is in drought, it’s experiencing less water than usual, right? Less rainfall than usual. It’s not that it doesn’t have much rainfall or that it has a lot of rainfall it’s more about the average, ok? And if a certain period of time, say five years in a row, which has been happening for New South Wales is experiencing less than the average amount of rain each year.
So, that’s happening in New South Wales at the moment and there’s been quite a lot of stress on farmers. There was this photo that was shown recently where a woman was helping her her father and she captured an image of him. This photo here where he’s on his knees praying in the fields, hoping that rain will come because it’s affecting, it’s affecting the crops that a lot of these farmers are planting where if it doesn’t rain early on enough or even during that crop, the crops can’t grow to be harvested and then sold in order to make money and generate income for these farmers. The animals are really expensive to feed in these sorts of times because the price of the food that they get the hay and everything goes through the roof because you have farmers who make that hay obviously struggling as well to make it because of the drought.
And on top of that, you… if you can’t afford that sort of stuff, you have very little in the way of grass and hay on your own property, then the cows and the other livestock that you’re going to have tend to obviously get smaller and not grow as large, they’re not as healthy, and so when you try and sell those each year, you’re going to get much of a reduced sort of price for those animals too. So, for the last few years we’ve been seeing that farmers, especially on the interior of the West Coast of Australia, right? So, we have the Great Dividing Range in Australia. See if I can show you a map of that let me tell you you’ll see here on the screen. Right so we have what we call the Great Dividing Range which goes from about here in Cairns all the way down the East Coast. A few, maybe, a 100 or so kilometres in, maybe a few hundred kilometers in New South Wales, down into Victoria. And what happens is that that causes air to go up into the sort of higher level of the atmosphere, and I’m not a meteorologist, but my basic understanding is because of that mountain range, you get water generated or rainfall rather generated and it comes down and goes down both sides of the mountains into rivers and you have the Murray Darling Basin, which is this big base in New South Wales where you, and in the interior of Queensland as well as Victoria, the Murray Darling Basin, the Darling River and the Murray River and you have the water coming off the Great Dividing Range going west across those farmlands and you also have it going east down to the ocean on the other side of the Great Dividing Range. So, that’s why we have that green line or strip of forest up the east coast of Australia because there’s rainfall because of the mountains, right? You’ll talk about the Murray Darling Darling Basin and the other issues there. So, anyway there’s farmers on the interior there. There’s not enough rainfall down in New South Wales and South Western Queensland at the moment so, we’re having this drought and a lot of the farmers are obviously under pressure because they’re finding it very hard to survive.
They’re getting support from other farmers, they’re getting support from the government. I think they’re getting a lot of donations though as well, although I’m sure it’s not enough and they’re really battling, but hopefully the drought will break soon and they’ll get through that. You might be asking though at the same time is having this drought, especially if you’re in Australia at the moment, you might be thinking well… I’ve just heard of all these reports that places like Cairns and Townsville are being flooded, right? So there’s all this stuff going on in Queensland with ridiculous amounts of rainfall and I guess I can show you that on a map here, I had it up here. So, this is the 2018 Australian rainfall decile map so you’re going to see here rainfall across the continent, where it’s blue it is up to, highest on record so, very good amounts, above average, right? And beyond, and where it goes from white to dark red it’s below average, right? So, you can see there on this map that most of Southern Queensland here almost all of New South Wales as well as Victoria are all experiencing droughts as well as South Australia here on the eastern side. And so a lot of our farming land is in this area and that’s why the farmers are having such trouble, but you’ll also see up here in the top of Australia that they’re receiving very much above average rainfall and there are even some places here that seem to be receiving highest on record levels of rainfall and even in the interior here in southern Western Australia.
So, what’s happening now is that you have all of these different weather systems, I guess, happening or going on at the same time you have flooding up in Townsville at the moment, in Queensland, where I was hearing crazy stories of them getting something like a year’s worth of water in a week. It may have even been less than a week. There were stories of, I think, 20 different suburbs around Townsville that have had to evacuate. They’ve had to take the people out because the water levels of the river are rising after the River has broken its banks, the water is rising, it’s going to submerge these houses and people just have to get out while they can. There was a woman saying that in her house she had to escape and leave, she went to drop the kids off at school, I think, and then came back after half an hour and the water had risen three metres in half an hour. So, imagine that a metre every 10 minutes, that would be visible, you would imagine the speed at which the water is rising and so, in the case of these floods as we were talking about on the podcast recently when we were talking about floods, these are fast onset floods where you have these… this weather with a severe amount of rain and the river systems can’t cope. So, the rain comes down and the water just rises, the rivers break their banks or even the rain ends up in the streets, right? Because you just have consistent rain that the drains can’t handle and the rivers can’t handle, they can’t drain away all that water. So, that’s what’s happening in Townsville at the moment, but yeah it is just, it’s crazy to see across the monsoon tropics there you have heaps of rain. Meanwhile, you know, 1000 kilometers or a few hundred kilometers below the monsoon tropics that northern sort of stretch of Australia, that sort of banana across the top, you have all of this dry, dry, dry drought sort of conditions as well hammering the country at the same time. So, Australia is very unique in that respect, I think, that you can have flooding in one part of the country, even within the same state. Meanwhile, you also have droughts in the same state, Queensland for example here. So, it’s very it’s a very crazy time.
I also want to touch on what’s going on in the Murray Darling Basin. So, there’s been story after story of these fish killings recently in the Murray Darling Basin and if I can go back to this map here, the Murray Darling Basin is let me just zoom out here a bit, it’s this section of Australia here. So, you have the Darling River I think coming from up here and going all the way down and joining with the Murray River, which is the border here of Queensland and the Murray flows from the Great Dividing Range, the Alps up here, all the way between Victoria and New South Wales into Adelaide and then out into the great Australian bite here. So, this whole section here is the Murray Darling base and you have a lot of farming there. You have a lot of cotton farms and I think they have been the biggest problem that I’ve heard so far with regards to taking water from the Murray Darling system.
So, a lot of the farmers that are there rely on the water in the Murray Darling system to feed their cattle or their livestock or water their crops, right? For Irrigation and that sort of stuff. Now obviously when you have a drought you have a lot less water in the system and so, the cotton crops, which I’m not 100 percent sure on their location, but I would imagine they’re further up the system further to… and again I’m not sure, I’m just double, I’m just double checking, I have to have a look, but I think they’re up sort of further in the north here and they had been, it’s been found as far as I’m aware that they’ve been taking more water at least some cotton farmers had been illegally taking water out of the system in order to grow their cotton. There might have been other types of farms as well. Effectively, what’s happened, though, is that you have had this blue green algae, this algae grow in the water and it’s boomed in the water as a result of the conditions that have occurred and this has led to massive, massive amounts of fish dying because when the algae blooms in the water, it sucks the oxygen out of the water and the fish simply suffocate. So, we’ve had the Darling River with extensive mass deaths of fish that’s been occurring for weeks now, you know, and you would just see millions of dead fish, some of them are up to 40 or even 50 years old, you know, like massive fish. So, it’s really tragic.
Another problem is that the fish that are surviving tend to be invasive species and I think I was reading something the other day about the carp, which is a problem species in Australia because it digs up all the soil on the bottom of these river beds and it leads to them becoming very muddy and silty and it’s just they outcompete the native species, anyway, it seems like those species are actually surviving better than the native ones and this thing is spreading down the Darling River. So, we’re having areas where there are fish kills upstream and then I think that the algae is spreading downstream in these same conditions are occurring more and more and we’re getting more and more fish deaths. So, just one more thing that’s happening to the Australian environment at the moment.
The last thing that I wanted to touch on was the feral brumby culls that are finally coming in. So, we have a problem in Australia where in the south east part of Australia we have feral horses. These are horses that have been released into nature, into the wild and they live there, but they damage the river systems. They eat a lot of the plants, the native plants, they… the hooves on the animals, destroy the ground because Australia, before Europeans came, had no livestock at all, had no source of animals that had hooves like horses, sheep, cows those kinds of animals, donkeys etc. And so the land, the plants and the soil system effectively wasn’t used to these animals and this the sort of I guess the hardness of their feet compacting the ground and so, quite often we have a problem where if you get lots of these animals feral in an area, they can actually destroy the soil and the ground systems and the plant systems and so it’s a sort of cascading effect. It’s almost from the bottom up, disturbing sort of the balance of the ecosystems so, there was a massive sort of to do recently about this brumby death that they… someone stumbled upon in Santa Teresa here where this drought is going on in New South Wales and southern Victoria and north western Victoria, southern western Queensland, and these these feral horses had obviously been everywhere doing their thing and then when a few hot days rolled through, which recently occurred, where we had like days up to 49 degrees, I think, in South Australia, it was definitely over 40 here in Victoria and NSW hit it as well so, that centre of Australia definitely got really hot, we had a heatwave and tragically or, you know, I guess it depends if you like horses or not, but these these brumbies that were spread out in this landscape went to where they thought water was and there was no water there because of the drought and because of the temperature and they all died in this one location. So, someone obviously found, them took these photos, a lot of people were sort of… I don’t know necessarily if they were outraged, but they were definitely upset because people tend to like horses, right? You don’t really think about rats and other animals that live there naturally that have probably died as well, but horses people like.
The problem that I have, though, is that we have a lot of horses here and people won’t allow the government to kill them or to cull them or to reduce the numbers because their horses and people have it in their head that horses are these cute cuddly animal, whereas the native animals like kangaroos and dingoes and wombats and those other animals that also live in the environment, that are also cute and cuddly, are sort of competing with these horses, anyway. It looks like the government has decided to roll out some culls in order to control the numbers of Brumby’s which I wholeheartedly support. I don’t like… I don’t like animals… feral animals in our environment destroying the environment or competing with native Australian animals and I also hate the idea of these feral animals suffering in this kind of way. So, I’m sure that a bullet and a humane death is much, much much, much more of a… what would you say? A better option than dying of dehydration in the heat.
Anyway, that is it for this my story about Australia guys and their sort of climate and weather that’s going on, I hope you enjoyed it. If you find any good articles feel free to send them my way. I’m going to start rabbiting on I’ll let you get on with your day. Thanks for joining me! See you later!
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AE 530 – Interview: Growing Up as a Gamer Down Under with Rory Douglas
G’day, guys! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English! Today I have the pleasure of interviewing my brother in law, Rory. So, today we went out for my sister’s 30th birthday so, we went to a vineyard and brewery. I think they brew cider, a place called the Flying Brick, which is near Ocean Grove where we live on the ballerina peninsula. So, we went out there. It was really good. Got to see my grandparents, my folks, obviously. Kel and I went and my sister Annika and her partner Rory and their daughter Isabel were all there as well. So, yeah it was pretty good fun, we got to hang out, and it reminded me that I needed to put this interview up on the podcast with him. So, today we chat all about gaming and I thought he would be the perfect guy to get on the podcast to talk about what it’s like growing up being interested in games or somewhat addicted to games, which I was back in the day when I was younger and had a lot more free time. And yeah, he’s very much into his games. He has also learnt Japanese and I thought he’d be the perfect person to get on the podcast to give you guys more access to more Aussie English accents. Now I do want to apologize that I haven’t sort of gotten into a rhythm yet this year with staying, I guess, in a rhythm with the podcast episodes, the expression episodes in particular. Now, I’ve been working on a lot of different things in the English classroom. I recently put up the Shadowing Course.
There’s also now a spoken English course in the Aussie English classroom so, I’m putting up a lot more content focused on improving your accent, improving your spoken English, the use of contractions, the use of your pronunciation in general and so, that’s why I’ve sort of been out of kilter, out of rhythm, a little bit with the different kinds of episodes that I put up. Anyway, that’s a big intro, guys, I kind of just wanted to tell you what I’ve been up to give you an update. Now let’s get into it and I give you my brother in law Rory and me chatting about games and growing up in Australia. Let’s go!
Welcome to this episode of Aussie English, guys. I have my, I guess you would say brother in law, right?
Yeah, I guess so.
You aren’t married, but yeah, is that position.
So, I thought I’d get Rory, my sister’s husband. I don’t, it’s not really right to say boyfriend, right?
Partner is good.
I thought I’d get you on to chat about video games in Australia and growing up with them because you’re a bit of a gamer.
Just a bit.
I was a bit of a gamer, but I just haven’t done it in a long time.
You’re on a hiatus.
Exactly, well, that’s it. Does it ever stop, right? Does it ever wear off? Is it like alcoholism?
It’s a bit like that. You regress from time to time.
So, what was it like growing up? What was your first introduction to gaming? Do you remember at all?
Yes, my dad was big into I.T. so, he always had a good, for the time, a good computer and used to sit me on his knee and play some little rudimentary video games with me. Little MS DOS games.
Yeah, far out, I think I remember going across the road to my friend’s house and he had like an IBM. I don’t know if it was Microsoft back then or not…
(??) was a really popular computer at the time.
And he had so many of these old school video games that were like that arcade type thing and I remember just blowing my mind and like always wanting to go over and we’d just be like ”can we just play the game straightway?”
We used, I think it was like even Snake like, the MS DOS version of Snake, that used to be on the phones, used to play that.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, my mum used to play that a lot, she loved it.
And then went on to like the Aladdin game, The Lion King game. All the little kids games.
And so, do you remember being in primary school and the first person to introduce you to the Game Boy or did you get one of those?
No, I didn’t actually get one, but I remember seeing some of my friends getting one and the Game Boy color, the semitransparent ones, they used to play Pokémon on. I never got one.
You never got one?
It’s disappointing. I remember when I was in primary school there was a kid called Jared who was the first person had one of those old black and white Game Boys and he brought it in and I remember that he had Pokémon Red, the very first version of Pokémon and he used to allow us to play it if we paid a dollar to get like five minutes.
That’s amazing! What a great business idea! How old was he?
He would have been like grade four or five and like I remember Mum and Dad would give you a few dollars each day to go to the tuck shop and buy a packet of chips or a potato cake or something, right?
So he was running an arcade in the primary school?
Yeah exactly and so, we would go and pay him to use his game and play his game, though, right? It wasn’t like we could start from the start and have our own. It was his game that he’d already like leveled up a bit.
Not only Is he getting money, he’s having his game played for him by other people.
Exactly. He’s getting other people to pay for the right to level up his Pokémon. So, that was, I remember that was my first introduction to poke my read and I decided after that I had to have it and I think within like the next six months the Game Boy Color came out and we I had a purple one and I think Annika had a green one, I can’t remember which one she had, my sister got one, and she got Pokémon blue and I got Pokémon red and I think that was my first introduction to sort of gaming, gaming. Did you ever play those games? Did you ever end up with one?
Well, I never played them on the computer as an emulator. I think my first console was the PlayStation one.
Wouldn’t get a console for a long time. I guess when you talk about these things it’s always generational, right? ‘Cause I… we were 90s kids so…
I had a PlayStation 1, too, I would’ve got that think after the Game Boy. What games were you playing on PlayStation 1, Crash Bandicoot?
Yeah, we had so many games because dad went over to Vietnam and he bought all these little games for two dollars, one dollar, all those pirated ones, and we had a mod chip in the PlayStation.
So, we had hundreds of games.
Because it used to be a thing, right? Where you could get your…you could buy a PlayStation for several hundred bucks and then each game would be like 60 to 100 bucks and then I remember at least with the PlayStation 1 and the PlayStation 2 that there was a business where people could mod them or like you would send your PlayStation to a friend’s house.
It cost about 40 dollars or something like that.
And they put some sort of chip in. I never actually saw how it was done, but I remember friends doing that and it meant that they could play games from overseas or something or.
You could burn them yourself. You’d borrow games from the local Video Ezy or whatever and you could, if you had a CD burner on your computer, you could burn the games and then play on your PlayStation.
Far out, that’s right! Yeah because there would be, back in the day, that was when there were video like VHS stores, right? Renting out videos and I guess DVDs too at the end.
And consoles, and video games… I think, yeah, I remember going in borrowing videogames like Tekken, the fighting games, before we actually ended up buying them, but yeah I remember that and thinking that my friend had a lot of games that he’d somehow acquire without buying them and then he was like ”oh I just borrow them and burn them”.
Yeah, they were all good, but it was sort of like… I always felt like the 64, the Nintendo 64 was the better quality, the better-quality games on the Nintendo. Now, some my friends had that and we would end up just all night playing Super Smash Brothers or.
And James Bond, right?
Bond. Yeah, Perfect Dark. And so, I always wanted one of them as well. But yeah it was good having lots of games because you’d just play five minutes at least one, but I think the quality was really on the 64.
That was a difficult one too, you’d get bored pretty quickly, right? You play…. This was before the time of like those really addictive games like Call of Duty and Battlefield where you could be on there playing, I think as soon as they brought in that online component where you could interact with other people, before then, these games or relatively… you could play them, but you couldn’t really sit there for an eight-hour binge, right? You’d get really bored.
I think they sort of… they realized that if they put in a levelling system that doesn’t really end, you just keep getting experience, you keep getting points the more you play, people just got addicted to it. Whereas before I was sort of like you play to unlock a bunch of stuff, it might take you know 20, 30 hours and then you’ve got everything and you’ll play it because it’s fun, but you’re not playing it to unlock everything else like in Call of Duty when they figured out you could give people a slightly different variation of a color on their weapon and they’ll spend hundreds of hours trying to get that.
Or even pay for it, right?
Nowadays you can unlock things like that in these games, but you can pay to have those things and that was when it clicked, right? When they were like ”oh my Gosh, we can sell the game, but then it’s all the other added components within the game like expansion packs, everything like that that we can make all of the money on.”.
And it’s so insidious now, but back then it was just… it’s nice to think of those times, it was a bit more quaint, but…
So, were you always a PlayStation guy, you made the switch, didn’t you? I was always a PlayStation, I bought a PlayStation I, I bought a PlayStation 2, I bought a PlayStation 3. I never got a 4. Unfortunately, that was when I fell off the wagon and was just like… I don’t have time for this anymore, dammit and Kel won’t let me spend that kind of money on a PlayStation anymore.
We don’t even have a TV! But did you make the switch, because I know you got an Xbox today, right? Well, you got the computer too.
I’ve got so, I got a PlayStation 1, aside from my computer which I’ve always had, PlayStation 1 and then I got a Game Cube instead of a PlayStation 2, which the game keeper is the Nintendo console and then I got an Xbox 360 so, I’ve had all three and then I went back to… now I have a switch.
Which is Nintendo, right?
So, what were the benefits and why did you go back and forth? Were you following games or franchises that you really liked or was there some other aspect to the different gaming systems that made you think these ones are way better, like the way it feels in my hands with the controls all of? What was it?
It was… I got a PlayStation 1 because, like I said, we got all the burned games. And then because I like the 64 so much, I thought, right, I’ll get a Game Cube this time and then the Xbox 360 I bought on a whim because it was on sale on JB (HiFi). That was when I moved out of home, so it was pretty late in the Xbox lifespan, I think. Then this time I went for a Switch because all the standard PlayStation, Xbox games there were a couple of exclusives, but for the most part they come out on PC as well.
And it’s cheaper, is it or you’re just used to that system?
It’s usually cheaper, but the PC has a lot of other benefits so, I’ve got a PC. For those sort of games and then the Switch offers are a completely different experience.
So, what are the benefits of playing on PC, because I remember they used to be those sort of two factions. You would have your console kids who would play on things like Game Cubes , PlayStations, Xboxes and then you would have your computer kids and it always seemed to me like… for some reason I got sucked into the consoles, but the computer kids were always a lot more full on.
We call them PC master race.
What was the difference between the two and what were the benefits of playing on computer compared to console?
Without mentioning any of the downsides, which there are some, it was always like you don’t upgrade to the next console and lose all the games that you had on the last one.
I remember that being really irritating.
So, I’ve still got really old get games, I’ve at Commander Keane, from the nineties on my computer now.
And you can still play it?
Yeah and in 20 years I’ll still be able to play it.
Yeah so, the operating system is the same which means you can play all these games.
Yeah and they just sort of keep them running on the latest operating system, but it’s also that games were a bit cheaper and you can use any input device, you can use mouse and keyboard, which is much more accurate for (?).
Are they cheaper too because you can just download them on the computer, right? You don’t need to get CDs or any kind of DVDs?
Actually, digital games are usually more expensive.
So, say, on the Switch. If I walk into J.B. Hi-Fi and I buy a brand-new Nintendo game, it might cost me 80 dollars, but if I buy it through the Nintendo store online it will usually cost about 100.
What? How does that make sense?
It makes no sense because you think the distribution and the production of the CDs and everything would be pretty expensive.
Yeah. I’m not sure. They just, they get away with it because they can.
Is there just fewer people doing that too and maybe they don’t have to compete with as many other different consoles that have games at are similar price point or?
That’s very weird.
Yeah, I’m not sure that’s a very good I guess is that the retailers themselves aren’t involved.
Yeah, the retailers are competing with each other. So they want to keep dropping the price. Whereas if you’re selling it through your store, the Nintendo store, just have this box, you can buy it.
I would so be just like… I’m just going to go down the store and buy them, and screw you.
Well, it’s also that like… I’m so lazy, I hate going up to the TV and swapping the disco, swapping the disk or swapping the cartridge.
I’ll pay twenty dollars for this, you know, less of an inconvenience.
Exactly and particularly with the switch because it’s a portable. So, I hate having to carry a little case of games with me everywhere. It’s much easier to have it all on there.
Far out! So, what are the other downsides of playing on a computer then? Because I know that the other positive side is having loads more people, right? Because the computers are way more powerful than consoles with RAM and speed and internet connection, right?
Yes, so you can have much better graphics.
But what are the downsides then?
And the other thing I should mention is you can use any controller, so I could use a PlayStation controller.
You can connect it up to the computer?
Yeah, I can you just a switch control, even I can use some old USP Nintendo, Super Nintendo controller or a joystick or whatever you can think of, they’re pretty much all supported, but the downsides are that you have to like usually a lot of those games now that are on consoles as well have a smaller player based on PC, for the multiplayer and also you can, it’s not as prevalent as it used to be, but you can run into errors. Say, you… games might crash and then you’ve got to go why is it crashing? I don’t understand, I might have to change some settings on my PC.
So, do the games tend to be a bit more buggy on the computers instead of the consoles? Because they can be sort of updated and everything online as opposed if it comes out on a CD it’s pretty hard to…?
It’s more that, because everything’s updated online at the moment, on consoles it’s more that you’ve got one set of hardware. So, if I’m developing an Xbox game, there’s one set of hardware to optimize it for, whereas with the PC who knows how many combinations you could have, it’s like Android apps vs. iPhone. You’ve got so many different versions of an Android phone that you have to optimize it for all these different things and you’re always going to miss some and make some mistakes. So, I think it’s the same with PC, but it’s not nearly as bad as it used to be. The downside is that you’ve got a lot of launches so, you have like say the steam is the main one. So, you have the online store fronts that you purchase your games through and launch your games through. There’s not just one, you might have say like Fortnight, which is really popular that uses the Epic Games Launcher, and now you’ve got Steam and Epic, and if you want to play Overwatch, then you have to have the Blizzard Game Launcher. So, you’re managing your games through all these different fronts and there are certain launches you can get that sort of bring them all together and it’s just a bit more complex, is a bit less user friendly than the consoles.
Far out! So, where do you see it going? Like, do you see it all sort of moving on to one console? Is one console going to win out or computer or do you think there’s going to be this, you know, I guess compartmentalisation of all these different games on different consoles, on consoles, and that’s going to maintain each of them because of their own individual popularity?
Well, they’re talking about… the game consoles are moving more towards PCs in that they upgraded more often and then they’ve got, they’ve been playing around with having changeable components and things like that, but it’s also that the main game companies are all talking about cloud gaming as the next big thing where you won’t have a particularly powerful console, you’ll just have one that connects to the Internet and you have a subscription like Netflix.
Yeah. So, everything is in the cloud. You can access any game, anywhere and as long as you get the internet connection you can play it.
Yes, all the processing, you won’t have to have an amazing graphics card or anything like that on your local, on your local computer or console. So, it’ll all be done by sort of a computer farm.
So, this just depends on the fact that you have a really fast internet connection, though?
Basically, yeah and I think in Australia especially we’re going to struggle with that.
Yeah. So, do you think we’re going to be left behind a bit if America gets to that point?
Probably. The idea is that all the processing is done offshore and then you’re just essentially getting the images and sending the inputs through your controller back to the server.
When is that going to that going to come in, do you think?
There are experiments with it right now. You can play…there was a project we could play Assassin’s Creed, the latest Assassin’s Creed, through Chrome on your computer.
Through Chrome? Wow, just your Internet browser.
Yeah, I don’t think it was available in Australia. It might have been in Japan or something like that, but it’s pretty impressive what they’ve been able to do with it.
And so, growing up as a kid and sort of obviously starting out, I guess, we would have been the generation after the Arcade sort of got up and running, right? That was the early 80s, when people start to have Pinball and everything or maybe even the late 70s. So, we sort of grew up and then slowly computer, laptops, consoles, gaming and Game Boys and all of that came out. Having lived through that, where do you think it’s going to go for your children, right? For the next generation, do you think it’s going to be even more invasive with regards to, like, obviously where originally you had to go to a location where they had these huge gaming things, now it’s like they’re getting smaller and smaller more and more powerful and they can be anywhere at all times, right? Like your phone is probably more powerful than the laptops we had as a kid.
Do you worry about that with your daughter and future kids as well? Do you worry about how addictive it could be or how insidious it will be in our culture?
Yeah, for sure. And I think the further we go, the more these game companies are coming up with sort of like the casino strategies to get you hooked and get you paying money again and again and again it’s getting a bit over the top and it’ll be interesting to see how much of a backlash there is.
Because that’s the thing that’s really started irritating me because of the pay to play games, where it’s no longer about skill and you don’t all start from the same position anymore, right? So, there is no… the game tends to be free. You can download it on your phone, at least with phone games, and I was whinging to you about this recently and it’s like you get to a certain point where you’re far enough in and you like the game and you want to keep playing and then all of a sudden the difficulty goes up exponentially and you have to pay to unlock certain things or to get to the next level. And so, they’re obviously setting up these games where it’s more about finding the one in a hundred that’s going to spend a heap of money on it.
The Whales. Yep
Than it is worrying about all of the dolphins, I guess all the small guys who just want to play it and aren’t going to spend that amount of money because I would probably spend 50 bucks on a good game, but the fact that it’s free and I think okay and I get used to that and then play it and they’re trying to use frustration to get you to sort of start lashing out a dollar here or 14 dollars there or just… here, buy a thousand dollars of, you know, online game currency that you can spend! How do you feel about that? Do you think it’s going to get to a point where it’s going to get regulated because people are going to be like this is gambling for kids or an addiction, you’re using gaming mechanics and addictive processes to get children hooked and spend money, whether it’s their money or not, their parents money on this stuff, and it’s getting out of control?
There is a bit of a case in Australia about this. I think it’s like a Senate inquiry on whether or not loot boxes should be considered gambling. So, loot boxes are where you have like a digital, digital box and you maybe pay for it or you pay for a key for it.
Or you unlock it or you get it.
And it opens and you get a random item, usually cosmetic, doesn’t really do anything in the game, but…
Or you’ll get like, at the moment, with angry birds that I’m playing, you get points or there’s certain coins or crystal that you can then use to unlock other things. But yeah it constantly asks me and prompts me like ”you’ve got this one box, but just pay five dollars and you’ll get this other one with even rarer items”. and t’s sort of randomises what you get.
Yeah, it’s sort of like the same thing as a booster pack in a collectible card game. That was the old school version of it, but it’s it’s worse, partly because it’s so available now and you don’t have to go down to the shops and purchase it physically, it’s right there on your phone or your computer and it’s also that they’re using those gambling strategies to make them more appealing so, that the lights and sounds like you’d get on a slot machine.
In a pokies.
In a pokies. Yeah, that’s exactly what you get when you open a loot box in something like Overwatch. It’s just…
It is pretty bizarre, isn’t? Because when I was growing up playing these games I never thought about, I never made the connection between those two things, but it obviously some entrepreneurial businessmen quickly realised we can just apply the gambling mechanics or, you know, gamification the same way that it’s done in casinos into these games and we’ll make a lot more money.
And they’ve got to constantly find the line for their particular market as to what people will put up with. So, like mobile gamers will put up with almost anything, you can do whatever pay to win strategies you want. People still, still play it, still play for it, whereas the console and PC game is a bit more savvy and probably more likely to give you a bit of backlash.
That’s really bizarre, isn’t it? Why do you think it is that there’s a difference between phoning, phoning, being on your phone and playing these games? I just made it a verb, and playing it on consoles. Why do you think people playing phone games are more, I guess, accepting of these ‘pay as you go’ strategies?
Well it’s partly because they’re not traditional gamers they haven’t you know maybe they mucked around with them a little bit when they were younger, but if you’ve been… if you’re a console gamer or a PC gamer, you’ve been playing a lot of it for a long time and you do remember when games weren’t like this and suddenly you go ‘Hold on. This is no good’. I’m not okay with this and I’m going to, you know, whether it’s complain on a forum or you know refuse to buy the game, there’s a bit more backlash. Whereas the mobile gamers are just happy to make the little lights go and click the button.
Far out! I wonder where it’s going to go and I think part of the problem too is that kids have more and more powerful phones, right? And especially phones that their parents have probably entered their card details and bank details into it so, they do have the capacity to just ”mum, can I use your phone?” and they get into a game and it’s like ”spend fifty dollars, fifty dollars!” and you’ll be like ”oh my Gosh! My bank account is emptied!”.
There’s some little features that, say like the Nintendo Switch, has some really good parenting features where you can, you can control the console from your phone and say ”Right, I want my kids to be playing this much per day” and when they go over the limit, it either gives them a warning, minus five minutes left or it just turns off the console and they can’t turn it back on.
So, they’re doing some good stuff as well, but yeah…
I wonder how much I’m going to have to sort of police that with my kids too because it’s so important to obviously encourage them to go outside, but you don’t want to at the same time control every minute of their life that they spend doing what activity.
And say something like Fortnight, which is so ubiquitous with kids, you don’t want to say to your kid ”you can’t play it” and they’re not cool because they’re not playing it, they don’t know what the other kids are talking about.
They don’t know what the other kids are talking about.
I always remember that as a kid, right? You had those parents who were like ‘we don’t have a TV. The kids aren’t allowed to play games” and you’d be like…’I don’t want to hang out with these kids”.
You don’t want to make you look like a secluded.
Exactly! An outcast, right? An easy target.
Yeah. So, that’s difficult. Well, I guess finishing up, what sort of games are the most popular games at the moment style wise? And which ones are you most into? Like, I know there’s, you know, you’ve got your shooters, your RPG. What is it? Role playing games, strategy games. What are you into?
It sort of depends on the console as to what’s really big at the moment, but I guess the new hotness is, not so new anymore, but over the past couple of years the most recent popular genre is Battle Royale, where it’s like you start with maybe it’s a hundred, maybe 50, maybe it’s 10 players, and when you get killed that’s it. You’re out of the round and you have to wait for another hundred people to play again.
So, it’s always like a, what is it? A death match? Where you have just the last survivor, right? And they get certain points by being the last person and there’s a series of those different rounds.
So, if you’re the final survivor you get, say in PUBG (Player Uknown’s Battlegrounds), you get ”winner, winner chicken dinner” on the screen and you get, you might get a whole lot of points. It is very satisfying to know that you’ve bested 99 other people and that’s what’s addictive about it.
So, you get that often? To beat 99 other players?
What do you do? You just have to hide for the entire round, right?
Yes, that’s actually one of the most effective strategies.
Come out at the end.
But there’s a whole range of different games under that banner that are all very different, but yeah that’s probably the genre that I’m enjoying at the moment is because it’s fresh.
Rory, thanks for joining me and chatting about gaming today.
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AE 529 – Interview: A Brazilian Bloke Born in an Aussie Body with Hugo Groom
G’day guys. Welcome to this episode of the Aussie English Podcast. I have thrown an introduction onto this episode because I want to give you a swear warning.
So, in this episode, I sit down with Hugo from Ozueiros Gringos, they are a group of two Australian guys who teach Brazilians English. So, these guys speak Portuguese. They’ve spent time over there. But we had a rather laid-back relaxed conversation that does include a little bit of swearing.
So, I just wanted to let you know so that if you are not interested in listening to a conversation where I drop the odd S-bomb or F-bomb, then skip this episode, listen to some others. If on the other hand you would like to hear how Australians speak to one another more naturally in a very informal kind of environment, then this is going to be the interview for you.
So, sit back, relax, and let’s get into it!
G’day, guys! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English! Today have a special episode for you guys where I’m going to be chatting to Hugo Groom about how on earth you learnt Brazilian Portuguese to such a level and how Ozueiros Brasileiros, Ozueiros Gringos*, sorry. How Ozueiros Gringos started. So, man, introduce yourself. How did you end up here today?
Alright, Pete, here we go! Long story short, essentially my first, end of my first year of university I met some Brazilians when I was doing homestay at my mate’s place. Pretty funny because I’m now better mates with the Brazilian than I am with my Aussie childhood friend, whatever. Met him, he told me there’d be a bunch of Brazilians living on my street. Met them fell in love with the culture straightway, the musicality, the fun, the good vibe. One thing led to another. Initially, it was just a bit of a muck around in summer and suddenly decided I want to learn the language. After a year got pretty decent, made some videos that went viral and then finished university spent a year in Brazil, absolutely loved it. And then I sort of dropped off for a bit. Focus on other things, but it was always going to parties and everything and then I met Simon, who was just begun to getting into it himself and he said, he lived with me for a month and he said ”let’s do it!”. So, at the moment, we’re on a Christmas hiatus just sort of wondering what our plans for the next year. We joined forces to make videos and yeah, we went on SBS radio, we did a lot of things together and we just love Brazilian culture, it’s a lot of fun.
Where did you end up over in Brazil?
So, I started… it was pretty exciting, actually. I started off in Rio with a few mates then I went down to São Paulo, I love Sertanejo music.
You know Sertanejo. And then I travelled around Brazil, I went to the Amazon, I went south, I went to Goiânia, went North East, I ended up on the Morning Show in Rio, on Fátima Bernades.
Was that before or after learning Portuguese to fluency?
That was after, I was a bit disappointed because she kept asking some very basic gringo questions and I thought, c’mon! I already speak the language.
Well, what kind of questions was she asking you?
Oh, just like ”what does this mean?” and like, you know, just very basic like I was a dumb gringo and fair enough, but, not a problem, I was sort of…
Did she ask this one? (shows hand gesture).
No, learnt that one.
Sorry for those of you who can’t see with doing sort of rude symbols with the hands, so…
Yeah, no, so, yeah. I had an absolute ball. So, now I sort of live this, as Australian as I am, I live a double life, I’d say.
So, what was the bigger shock for you, going over to Brazil and what was the process of learning the language and the culture when you in when you went over there? Had you any experience to it prior to landing there in Brazil or are you just sort of, you know, practiced a bit at home and then went over did some Duolingo?
Well, to be honest, is my camera gone here or something?
No, I can see you.
Oh, sweet, ok. Ok, to be honest I was already quite fluent before I got there, but it was more the cultural shock which got me so, I realised that Brazil and Australia’s a completely different cup tea. Brazilians change here, they are a bit different. I honestly, I… yeah, I think you see, to be blatantly honest, I mean, controversial, I think you see the best of Brazil in Australia, you have the best of both worlds.
Really? So how do they change when they get here? I need ask my wife this, I have to be like, Kel, when I take you back to Brazil, what is going to happen?
So, am I allowed to be honest?
Man, go to town! I’m sure that even the Brazilians listening are going to want to hear the truth. So, you just be as honest as you want.
What happens in, obviously Brazil is a developing country with a huge social difference. What happens in those sort of with huge social divides is people who have a lot of money can often be quite snobbish or a lot of people, you know, basic education and politeness sometimes goes astray because people are used to sort of, how would I say, crapping on each other in a way. You know, and whereas we don’t realise sometimes a lot of Australians complain about what’s beautiful about our country is the way that, even though obviously there are differences, but the way you treat each other is very egalitarian.
I’m always saying that a people I’m like, you know, when you come over here you need to learn the slang, you need to sort of dive in a bit and be informal to kind of be more accepted, the more formal you are it’s kind of like you’re putting up walls and barriers and it feels uncomfortable.
I agree. And what I noticed in Brazil was that a lot of people were caring about image, how they’re seen, how much money and what they can afford. And for me, you know, as a just young Aussie bloke, I actually went to a private school here, the idea of me showing off…
Like a shirt or something seems absolutely stupid. Whereas in developing countries in places like Brazil it’s great. However, the Brazilian vibe, the sense of fun, sometimes I wish my Aussie mates had that and they don’t. So, for me, it’s the best of both worlds you find in Australia.
So, did you find yourself getting used to that after a while and becoming a bit more snobbish and wanting to show up a bit after you’ve been in Brazil for a while?
To be honest I went the opposite, I actually got a bit pissed off with it ’cause I thought ”Geez, where am I? What’s happened all the Brazilians I met in Australia?”. I mean, I absolutely had a ball, but sometimes I think…why did you just throw that rubbish, piece of rubbish on the ground? Controversial, why are you so religious? Please, relax. And after a while that actually started to grind on me. It really grounded me and I’m yeah, I’m not going to beat around the bush. I’ve caused a lot of issues here on these sort of points, but you just sort of realise a lot of differences and I absolutely love certain aspects of the culture, in fact most of it I do, but sometimes I go, oh Geez…and vice versa with Australian culture too, I just think, do we….I was in Brazil and I thought ”wow! people here when they get drunk kiss each other and hug each other and don’t bash each other!”.
Yes, it’s fantastic, you know. Whereas here we’re all… we can’t even have a night out here in Sydney without fear of someone bottling. You know, it’s stupid. So, it all depends. It’s all… what I thought was I thought Brazil was going to be this paradise. It is a fantastic place, but honestly, I thought… I probably, in my mind, in some dream world…
Well, that’s the same anywhere, right? Like, any time, you have, you’ve never been to a place you sort of have an idea in your head and I think too, the problem with Australia and the migrants we meet I think wherever they’ve come from they always tend to be the best of the batch, right? They always tend to be the creme de la creme. The best of them and so you think ”oh, everyone’s like this, everyone is really friendly and loving and outgoing”.
Exactly, well everyone was telling me, but in your mind when everyone is treating you fantastically at barbecues, you have Brazilian girlfriends, you’re playing music and having a great time, it’s very hard to accept that there might be issues.
Well, they probably have that in reverse, right? Where they meet Australians over there and they’re like ”oh these guys are so awesome and down to earth” and then they come to Australia and they’re like ”oh my Gosh! there’s all sorts here!”.
They find it hard to make friends at times and everything, I mean, they think we’re all blond surfers or whatever, just having fun on the beach and that’s fair enough. Same sort of thing. You know what I mean? So, yeah obviously I’ve been quite honest in the interview, but I absolutely loved it, it’s this sort of this passion. I’ve just gotten in a relationship now, but sort of been the first sort of relationship that’s never died for me.
With a Brazilian?
Yeah, it’s always been strong, she’s never left me so to speak.
So, what’s the hardest thing about being in a relationship with a Brazilian? And obviously you and I can probably tell a few stories, good and bad.
Ok. My girlfriend at the moment is extremely chilled, I must say, she’s fantastic. However, there are some little cultural differences like, for example, in Australian culture posting a mooning, stuff like that, it’s not a big deal, whereas I was going to post on Instagram and I copped a hiding, saying how dare you show your arse to anyone else? Just little things or if I’m too nice sometimes and say hey to other girls or whatever sometimes I cop a little… you know, ”what are you doing?” and I think, I was just being nice, but I can understand how that may be, that may come across as me being a bit cheeky.
But you need to take that as a compliment because that means she sees other people as a threat because you’re such a high-quality husband or boyfriend, right?
I absolutely agree with you.
That there’s a fine line, though, you’ve got to balance that fine line, you want other people to want you, but not too much.
I do I like to keep it, a little bit of jealousy is healthy, just so she knows, you know.
She’s not going to want to be with someone who every time they try and talk to a woman the woman, the woman runs, right? Or is like ”no way!”.
Exactly. No, I agree with you, Pete. And am I allowed to ask you about your story.
I don’t know. Mine was interesting so, I met her online through Aussie English teaching English and we just hit it off chatting, and she was just… I think, just no bullshit. Just didn’t take any shit. Had a good sense of humor, and is still like that now and isn’t afraid to sort of give me a slap if I do something wrong. And I think there was a bit of a cultural difference and I think too that the language really drew me in. I’d learn a little bit because I did Jiu Jitsu before meeting Kel so, I knew a bit of Brazilian Portuguese, but before, probably this year, I didn’t speak it fluently at least to have conversations all day with other Brazilians. But I loved that aspect of it and having the opportunity, now she’s pregnant, four months pregnant to have a kid.
To have a kid that will be able to raise with two languages, you know, that aspect of it.
Are you sort of in the same boat now that you’ve learned a foreign language and have obviously had relationships with foreigners, do you think you’ll ever go back to Aussies, if, God forbid, anything ended currently?
Okay. To be honest, I don’t know how like what sort of barriers are put up in the interview, but…
Man, just by you. These people are… most of the people listening are obviously wanting to learn about the culture, they want to know about everything so,.
Okay, firstly, to be blunt, I realized that I actually despite being a very white guy and myself. I don’t dig white chicks, like my girlfriend at the moment has a slightly darker skin and I just love it, and I always tell her, like, please, you know, just get as much sun as you like.
Is that a grass on the on the other side is greener, the grass is always greener where it’s like okay….
I grew up with everyone being… the same, in Brazil I know that white skin and everything blue eyes whatever is very prized over there because it’s different, but for me yeah, I really like coffee with milk so to speak. And I love the sort of musicality, the fun, that sense of excitement. I… to be honest, it’s been a while since I’ve gone back to the origin, so to speak. So, I’ve always been a…
It’s very weird, isn’t it? I mean, and as a Australian who’s dated people from overseas, I’ve dated French people and Spanish people, and then Brazilians, and you realise how much more sort of in touch they are with their sexuality and they’re much more blunt and open, I think, than a lot of westerners and that’s a bit of a shock quite a bit too to quite a lot of people.
That’s interesting, I completely agree with you there, Pete, because what I noticed was a… feel like… this could be very controversial, but I feel like we have actually a very prudish sexual culture. I don’t know about Melbourne, in Sydney where it’s almost frowned upon to sort of make a move and be upfront sometimes when obviously you’ve got to have this fine line, you’ve always got to be respectful, but I feel like I never learned how to talk to a girl.
It’s gone crazy with, you know, social justice warriors and political correctness these days with anything can be seen, anything now that can be interpreted as sexual harassment whatever is always, it’s always the worst side of the story is assumed and so men, I think, a lot of men these days are afraid to do any of that.
Well, that’s it, I look at a lot of my friends and the girls clearly keen on them and they don’t make a move, I’m like…man! If she says no just bugger off.
That’s it, leave her alone.
Yeah, just leave her alone go away. But I think a lot of guys now are just afraid of coming off as, you know, being a misogynist or whatever and they are afraid to make the first move, but then ironically you meet people who like my wife Kel from Brazil and they were like ”if you had never made the first move, there was no way I would have gone there. You are the one who had to like get off your arse” and you know, say ”G’day” and get into it and pursue me, I’m not chasing you kind of attitude and you sort of like that is how it should be.
I was actually very slow, I remember the first, my first Brazilian girl sort of semi girlfriend when I was 19 she actually complained, she said “Geez… You are the hardest and slowest dude ever”. Because it took her 3 months to get me because I just, I was clueless and then obviously it took me a couple of years and after a couple of years I sort of learned how to do it and then I learned, look, always treat them with respect and if the person just says no, you say ”I’m very sorry, I hope you have a lovely night” and move on, you know what I mean. It’s as simple as that, always respectful, but have a crack.
Obviously, you don’t grab someone, but you say, look, I thought you were really beautiful and…
Well, you’ve got to be forthright, right? You got to be respectful and forthright and usually don’t go wrong, but that’s a good point, I guess, for anyone who’s come over to Australia and is meeting, wanting to meet Australian women or even Australian guys, they’re probably going to have to juggle with that kind of thing where the Australian women are probably not used to men just coming up to them and being incredibly blunt like I think I’ve heard of a few women saying ”Jeez Brazilian dudes are full on!” you know but vice versa. If you see a guy who sort of seems to like you, but is too seems to be too afraid to, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want to ask you out or whatever, but he needs…
And I’m just learning now. This Brazilian friend of mine, she was just messaging me like 10 minutes ago asking ”oh, I’m with this dude and like, what’s going on? He’s not making a move”, I said ”just grab his shoulder and have a crack!”.
I think the physical contact is a big thing like you have to like break down those barriers and like, you know, joke around and touch them on the shoulder and then you see it sort of develop, but yeah it is pretty funny how kind of… you notice once you start learning about other cultures, you notice how different Australia is or Western culture. And yeah how not necessarily…. I don’t know if I’d say really prude, but I would say kind of naive quite often, right?
That’s why I feel like…. I don’t know, I mean I don’t want, I don’t want to complain, but I feel like, compared lot of cultures and I didn’t have a… I didn’t grow up in like a sexually active, sort of, whereas encouraged to go out and go out with your mates and with the girls and hook up with each other and I wish that’d be the case. And I’m very happy and it was funny because my girlfriend before she became my girlfriend actually helped me with the girls. So, it kind of made a funny story and then…but I always let her know, I said ”look, when I do meet you personally, I think I’m going to get you”, and she said ”’yeah, good luck!” and I was like….
That’s the cat and mouse thing, right? That’s the cat and mouse chase.
Yes, so, she lives in Brisbane so, that’s why she had time to sort of build up the defenses.
Man, these Brazilians that end up in Queensland, Kel, my wife, was in Townsville before moving down here. So, yeah, it’s funny how that happens. How did you learn Portuguese? Tell me that story.
So, I learnt French at school.
Oh, man you sound like me.
Yeah. I love it so, I learnt French at school, but I’ve gone off French. I did a French exchange and I went to, I had some good mates there, but I went to a bit of a snobby conference and I sort of lost the love of it a bit, you know what I mean I got over that having wines in turtlenecks and…
Was this in the North? Was this in the North?
Yeah, there was this… I was a bit, obviously, hindsight is great, but I wish I’d had a different experience in some way, it turned me off it, and obviously, I was loved language, I did love different cultures, and then I just started hanging out with the Brazilians and I thought ”alright, since we’re a big group and then no one really cares about speaking English, which is good for me, I’m going to learn the language!”.
So, I just, every day, I would just ask ”how to say, “I want”?”, I’d go, and I’d use what I learned in French, to have age, things like that and I just kept learning, and then I noticed that after about eight months one day it just clicked and suddenly… sorry, my screen’s mucking around here.
And then, I noticed after eight months I could understand what everyone’s saying and then it was just, it was always, it was ever a chore for me is always fun because Brazilians love their emotional posts and I was reading or learned how to read and write from them. And I love romantic music. It’s weird being an Aussie guy, but I was born a dramatic romantic bugger and I just listened to Sertanejo 24/7. Even one of the criteria, I told my girlfriend, was ”look, if you don’t like Sertanejo I don’t think it’s going to happen” and lucky she’s from the country and she loves it so, she deals with me, but that’s the only music I listen to.
Before I knew how to say, what, an apple, it was funny, took me two years because I never had a lesson. It took me two year to say, what an apple (is), say an apple, whereas I could talk politics, I could talk about the night out perfectly, but two years I didn’t know what an apple was because I never needed to learn.
I always seem to notice that with Kel, we are always talking in Portuguese at home, I pretty much, I’m just like in the house and I, to the detriment of her English, because she is always like ”all we ever do is speak Portuguese” and I’m like yeah because we’ve got a kid on the way and I’m trying to get as higher level as I can. Not having anyone else to talk to, but all we end up talking about is the same stuff. Do you want to get lunch? Do you want to clean the dishes? Do you want me to go out and buy this? And so it’s the same language all the time. So, how did you develop your language without going to Brazil? Like, at home, was it just through conversations and interactions or did you study?
It’s funny because a lot of people said ”I’d love to think highly of myself and say I was some amazing…”. Mate, I do, I know I have a knack for languages, however I’d love to like brag about it, but really you don’t need to go to Brazil to learn Portuguese, ’cause there are thousands of Brazilians here. They’re a very warm culture. So, honestly, I was living in Brazil here. You know what I mean? Because I was going to Brazilian parties, I was speaking, I was exposed to Portuguese 24/7 so, it was never, you know what I mean, it was never, I never went out of my way. Whereas like, at the moment, I’m trying to learn Spanish and I recently came back from a trip.
But for me it’s a effort. Because I’m not in the community. It’s an effort, it is a chore for me to maintain.
So, that’s what I was going to ask. So, for people listening to this podcast who are learning English and they’re living in their countries, you know Brazil, Indonesia, wherever it is, their home without that many, ,I mean there’ll be English speakers around, but they may not come into contact with them that often. What can they do in order to level up their English? What advice would you give someone asking you that?
The good thing about English is you have to it’s everywhere. So, honestly I’d be watching TV shows and subtitles, I’d be listening to the songs, just media, reading articles and honestly, the key to learning languages it should never be…”oh, I have to learn this language”, it’s not a chore. Learning a language is because you want to learn, you want to communicate. So, for me, it’s finding a interest. Mine was, honestly, romantic music and that’s what kept me going in Portuguese, whereas…and the parties and the fun, whereas if, I don’t know, if you like cars, I don’t know, whatever the interest, find that and I guarantee you that’s going to lead to English somehow.
So, how did you go finding…. Did you ever try and find resources for learning Portuguese? Because I found, after French, doing that at school and then studying that more recently a few years ago, there is a plethora of material despite it being only, you know, whatever it is a hundred million people in the world who speak French and yet Portuguese there’s what 270 million people across the world who speak it and I swear there is nothing, there is like a few tests books…
You’re right, French it’s got, well, was the world language a hundred and something years ago, it was, it’s very prestigious. Whereas Portuguese is only, Brazilian Portuguese is sort of hybrid in itself and only, you know, I obviously give Portuguese classes to gringos, to boyfriends and girlfriends, and yes, it’s a real struggle of material sometimes.
Yeah, so what do you suggest, if someone’s wanting to learn things like grammar and everything like that, if they’re find it hard to find the material, maybe they can’t afford them, is there other sort of ways to get around that or you would just say just dive in, don’t worry about grammar as much, practice it, you know?
The grammar comes with the interest, for me that was… I want to say ”the party was good” and asked ”how do I say was?” and you just go from that. Honestly, I wouldn’t…I really don’t, a lot of people ask me what material, but I think that deters us, it actually impedes learning. So, what I do is always find your interests and from there it extends. So, what I was doing was I was, before I, because I’m a bit of a perfectionist in some ways, I still make mistakes, I laugh at them, but I don’t like to make mistakes, because as my levels good enough now that I actually seem like an idiot when I make it, whereas it’s cute when you’re first learning
I’m still at that stage, I am still at that stage where I say, you know, I like ‘eu quero comer pau” and she’ll be like…. which, ‘pau’ in this case means, you know, a rude word for penis.
At that stage you’ve got to enjoy it, you can enjoy it, whereas for me now, since I am a quite high level with it, when I make a mistake everyone is like “geez, that was dumb” so I… so what I used to do was I always used to double check, because I have so many Brazilians (??) ”hey, mate, could you please double check this for me” before I post it, and just doing that repetitively, all the time, I just didn’t make mistakes…
It’s like a self…how would you say it, it’s kind of like cleaning. It’s a self-cleaning process, right? You’re constantly carving away the fat and getting better and better and better and Kel is always doing that with me. She’s always like ”can I say this?” to the point where I’m like ”Kel you know it’s going to be perfect, stop asking me” and it’s like… it’s really funny when I get frustrated with her because she’s, you know, too good and I forget the fact that it’s a second language, it’s almost like ”jeez, you should take that as a sign, don’t get angry at me for getting angry at you, but take it as a sign of, you know, I’m holding you to the same standard than any other English speaker is being held to”.
I agree with, so well, you’ve only been learning for how long?
Well I did it a few years ago maybe…. 2014 I started fiddling around with Duolingo because I was doing…
Exactly, it’s always a start.
I was doing jujitsu and just met, all of a sudden, never knew any Brazilian, start doing jujitsu in the city and every day you I’d bump into five or ten of ten, so I was just like ”ok…” and I’d been studying French for a year or so because I was like ”you know what? Screw this, I’m just going to finally get the fluency in this bloody language that I studied for six years at school” you know, and we’re just doing that on line again through speaking and a few other websites where you could have, you could kind of meet partners in trade time learning English and French and then just started learning it, but tried doing the Duolingo and like books and everything, but just got bored and then with Kel once I had a girlfriend that I was chatting to every day I would just be like just constantly be instigating, speaking in Portuguese with an almost getting annoyed if she switches to English, because she’ll often forget words, she’ll be like… you know, she’ll say a sentence and then just throw English words in there and I’ll be like ”don’t do that! Just think for a moment!”
I agree. I agree with you. What I noticed was I… I’ve noticed Brazilians are actually like, the analogy I use, the metaphor I use, is that they’re like vampires, in every vampire, you notice, once the guy discovers the vampire world, there are millions of them. You don’t think, you don’t know they’re there, but once you meet one, you meet a million Brazilians, it’s like a vampire. It’s like Blade.
You get sucked in, right?
Yeah, you’re sucked in and then suddenly they appear every restaurant, every function, every day you’re walking on the street there’s a Brazilian and it’s great. It’s a fantastic world to be involved in. You’re right, it’s just sort of focus on the learning as in just what you’ve got to do is you’ve got a lot of people seem to, and a lot of Brazilians have this, obviously we don’t, we have the luxury of English being the world language in that way so, we don’t have to worry about it.
I think it’s a gift and a curse, though, right? It’s a gift and a curse because if you want to learn another language, no matter which language you pick, there’s almost certain to be less resources or less movies or less music, right?
Oh, exactly, but in terms of we don’t feel the pressure of like ”I have to learn this” where, you know, it’s more of that pursuit of a bit of fun, whereas a lot of Brazilians have issues, they get worried about being judged and I think you, honestly, the way I learned Portuguese was taking the piss out of myself.
And I’m going to make that funny and yeah at the start I used that and girls loved it. How can I have fun making myself look like an idiot? What benefit? And I thought these people find me funny.
And what are other people going to say, right? If you’re making yourself look like an idiot, what else can others say?
Exactly, so you know if you’re taking the piss out of people will love that, whereas if you take yourself seriously and then make a stupid error, you look like an idiot.
So that’s what I always say…
How do you manage the relationship with regards to languages? If you’re both native speakers of different languages do you switch between them on different days? Do you just focus on one? Is one of you improving a lot more than the other one is at the moment in one area? How do you manage it?
To be honest, I’d love to… sort of, I know obviously as a language thing, I’d love to say that now we’re practicing 50 50, but what’s happening is that because I sort of speak Portuguese to the level of almost sort of native, people don’t even try to speak English with me. I don’t actually know, I know this is terrible, I’ve been seeing my girlfriend for seven months, but we’ve been official for one month, I’ve heard her speak English three times.
I don’t actually know matter what her level of English is. To be blatant honest, and I know that’s terrible, she said to me recently, she said ”maybe we should practice”, I said ”sure!”, I want to see, it would be very selfish of me not to say it, but it is like two Brazilians speaking, because we’re speaking so often, but I’m more than happy to help and a little help. I remember in the first one, I had a, not girlfriend, but close to when I was 19 like six years. She didn’t like it, on an off…
I can always edit it out!
She had a bit of an ego and she’s like ”oh I lived in America”, bla bla bla, but to be honest she used to make a lot of silly mistakes, and I used to make fun of her of course, ’cause, sorry, you know the Australia thing, if you’re going to think highly so, you got to walk the walk, you know what I mean?
Well, can you talk about that for a second? What’s the deal with Australians and ragging on each other, giving each other shit, why do we do that.? And how do you sort of avoid it or attract it? In that case, ‘cause this is something I always get asked about and it’s sometimes hard to answer.
I actually did research on it to wonder why it comes from that convict thing that everyone not liking people above us. But I obviously think, just like political correctness, goes a bit out of control and I notice like a lot of people especially, I remember, with my own thing, I went to that, I lived in that private school bubble and then when I came suddenly everyone thought It was funny when I started hanging out with Brazilians. But then they saw the good looking girls in the photos, suddenly started attacking me and I thought hold up and then people would be like ”oh, why don’t you speak English?” and I said sorry, I actually beat you in the 12 tests, but whatever, I remember for a while it’s amazing how people from having a laugh to ”oh, you’re a dickhead, you’re dumb, bla bla bla” and i think no no no, you’re just jealous. So, I think sometimes it is that, it’s a cultural thing that tall poppy syndrome. Sometimes it’s good, because I also think you’re a tool as well if you’re going to drive around a nice car just to show you can get one, I think you’re a tool. But sometimes, if someone’s doing well for themselves and happy about it and obviously not showing off in a stupid way, but if they’re genuinely happy and they’re living their life, I think who are you to attack that person, out of your own insecurity. So, I just say like, to be honest, I’ve developed pretty thick skin now so I just have a laugh and I go, ”sorry, look at you, you look a bit boring.
I think it’s one of those things too, right? Where, obviously, we were all convicts and on the same level like we’re all prisoners, we’re all slaves. And I think it would have been the case of anytime someone tries to step up and say ”I’m better than everyone else” everyone’s like wait a second… just remember, you’re one of us. Like pull them back down.
And from that we didn’t like authority or anything like that as simple as that.
Yeah. And one of my friends I remember going to jiu jitsu when I first started and they were always hanging shit on me and they were always teasing me and I was always like ”guys, what’s your issue?” I mean and that’s an ignorant question coming from me and they were like ”Dude, we wouldn’t tease you if we didn’t like you, we wouldn’t even talk to you!”. So, I was always saying that to some of my friends, I mean, you can tell when people are doing it in from a good-hearted kind of place vs a really nasty kind place.
Now, I’ve got both sides of it so, I can tell, I’ve also, ’cause like some people have a laugh about and I think it’s funny as well. I was the goon-drinking, you know, rugby/footy guy. Suddenly I’m going they’re speaking Portuguese and singing and dancing, but with some people, I could see, like, when they had the girls from the photos, suddenly, “oh! Why you speak English?!”, or girl friends of friends I’d gone to school were attacking me. I was like please! Get out of it. People didn’t like that I was doing well for myself, if you get what I mean.
I think they always get scared of that, right? It’s almost that’s the dark side of the tall poppy syndrome, it’s not even necessarily that you’re flaunting it, but if they see that you’re doing well in society or in life, quite often the first instant reaction is ”how do I bring them back down?” as opposed to ”how do I bring myself up?”
Exactly, I think it’s got a, I agree, it’s got its good side and it’s got a terrible side as well, which is reflected in Australian culture, but to be honest I think it would be a lot less if we didn’t have it.
So, what do you think about Australian culture and language learning in general? When you went through school and everything, what was your experience like with that? Was there a lot of people learning foreign languages? Was it a nerdy thing to do or a cool thing to do and what languages where they learning? Because I get that question ”do Australians just learn, you know, Indonesian?”, because it’s right there.
To be honest, I was actually caught in that like last, ’cause I finished school what, eight years ago now, I was actually caught in that last generation of the classical French and German. And to be honest they’ve lost their real relevance for us, you know, 50 years ago it was quite important. What’s happened now, so my sister has just finished school, Spanish, Chinese I think are a lot more useful now that’s become trendy, you know, Despacito, before learning Spanish and trying to be bloody Don Juan or you are going to put on a white shirt and play the guitar. You know, there’s a bit of it. And French was like ”oh, your fancy bugger!” and to be honest, I was always a down to earth fun kind of guy, but I remember I did high level French university and it was a snobbish, posh thing to do. I was the only guy who didn’t up with a scarf and a beret every morning, talking about how I did Law/Arts.
And to be honest, that deterred me, I quit after two years, because that’s what language is about, it’s not being snobbish, it’s living a language, communicating. You know, I didn’t…so, I quit French for that reason. I didn’t feel comfortable in that sort of environment, but I think that it’s very weak and a lot of people come up with these excuses ” oh, learning a language is so hard!”, but we live in a place where there are a lot of foreigners and if you go out of your way, it’s very easy, it’s just like learning a puzzle, learn the skills, it’s just practice, but because people don’t have practiced they’re all ”oh, it’s so hard!”, but it’s not really and I think now there’s a, back in when I was at school, it wasn’t… it wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t like the most popular thing, but one of the other big rugby hotshots also learned French with me so, that they gave it a bit a status.
There’s two of them! There’s two of them now, we can’t bully them!
Do you know what I mean? So, again, you know, we did exchange together and everything. His mum was a language teacher, but I think now it’s changed, suddenly it’s trending now to be learning Chinese. I think people finally clicked and got ‘hold up, it’s actually pretty useful. Pretty cool thing to do”.
Yeah, exactly. I always find it… sorry?
I reckon it’s definitely in the last five years, at least, change a lot, it’s suddenly a lot cooler and suddenly a useful, interesting thing and a lot of people still go ”oh, I live in my own world”, but I realise that, even if you hang out in other cultures, if you don’t speak other the language, you’re very restricted because it’s more the cultural understanding. It’s very easy to say ”oh, I understand these people, we have dinner at such a time, whatever”, but when you sit… speak, you know what I mean? ”oh no, in China they do this, I understand” no, you don’t, whereas when you speak a language you feel, is different grammar, a different way of viewing things. Everything is different and you see another world in the way, your own culture changes.
So, did you have those moments with Brazilian Portuguese? Did that happen while you were in Australia learning the language or did it happen, if it did happen, when you were in Brazil and you were like ”oh my Gosh, we do this?”?
No, it was already happening because I remember I…because I was yeah, I was like a bit of, to be honest grew up and that sort of GPS jock, rugby world and I started, I just realised, like I was a terrible offender, I was getting smashed to passing out, I thought that was cool, because in our culture it’s lionised and yeah, I was one of the worst. I was a hero. You know what I mean? And then I started hang out with Brazilians and I did that they all looked at me going ”what are you doing?” and then I realized like why actually… You know, and I know it sounds obvious to say it’s not cool, but when that’s what you’ve done for years, it is cool.
Well, when you’re in that group, right? When you’ve got that group of people who are all sort of giving you a pat on the back for doing X,Y, Z of course you’re going to do it, but then as soon as you step out and you’re like ”wait, the rest of the world doesn’t do this?”
Yeah, and then I started to hang out with Brazilians and I realised ”wow, it’s so easy to have fun with the guitar, a good bunch of people”… and (??) I don’t want to rag on my mates, but I saw a lot of my friends and I was like. You don’t even compliment each other, talk to each other and then suddenly you’re talking about drugs, whereas Brazilians you just get a bunch of Brazilians in a room, everyone is playing guitar, everyone’s happy, laughing. At about midnight, everyone starts it kissing each other and dancing. That is fantastic! And no one’s getting smashed. No one’s passing out vomiting, no one is fighting. I got my Aussie mates sometimes and there’s no vibe and people, not all of them, as I said, but people are just dead and ”(?) so, what are we getting on tonight?” and I just think, wow, how was your week? Like, how are you? What have you been doing? No one’s got any stories. Obviously, this is years of a bit of a mix of frustration, different sort of views. This has just been years of analysing and I look at people and I’m just like “Geez, man, how can you walk around so smashed and think that’s cool?”.
Everyone needs to be learning Portuguese or Spanish, right? They just need to get a dose of that.
After twenty or so years of getting smashed, you know, I can’t erase my whole… you know, it’s always going to be with that like unable to control the drinks sometimes, but I know now and not just drinking, it’s just different ways of enjoying ourselves and different ways of viewing things and personal space.
What was that like, personal space wise? ‘Cause I always have that thing of, when I go to Melbourne and… it’s probably going to come off bad, but I feel like Chinese people don’t have the same appreciation for personal space and I can imagine it’s because they come from big cities, where there are loads of people and they’re just, they don’t have a problem with bumping into people, whereas I have this sort of anal retentive attitude, if see people near me, I make a concerted effort to avoid ever touching them or, you know, you get around them and stuff. Were there any things like that?
Some cultures just stroll along the street, Spanish included, that was shocking and it’s like ”can you walk a bit faster, please, or go to the left?”
We’re going on a mission. I’m going home. Get out of my way!
Yeah, I was like… Are you serious? How can you take up….? But, anyway, that’s another story. I what I noticed was I was… I think maybe because my mum comes from an European immigrant family, she was born in the country, my dad’s not from Sydney, that I was but probably a bit warmer than the average Sydneysider. And I was, came from big, sort of hugging family and my mum was one of 12 and I think that sort of…
Yeah, big country. There was no TV, that’s the joke and I want what I noticed was I was always felt a bit ill. People always said at school I was a bit different, but then I started hang out with Brazilians I just clicked because I knew that was me. Hugging… I love, I don’t, you know, I always love to give people a hug or pat on the back and I noticed that when I went back to uni, for example, I remember just finishing him so clearly, I was taught in school. On graduation day. And for me I was in an appropriate distance talking to her, but she was backing away. I was like ”hold up…geez, how can you…?” and I’m not going to lie, my first thought was ”how can you be so cold? Like, it’s graduation day, give me a hug!”.I would have been like a good 30 centimetres just talking and she was backing and I thought…”hold up, what’s going on with me?”
It must be so weird having to juggle those two things, it’s almost like being pulled out of the Matrix, right? You’ve certainly got to be like how do I tackle with these different cultural things and have to worry about juggling this in my brain every time I meet someone from Australia vs. Brazil.
I noticed that. I remember one time at uni as well, nearly started a fight, I met these Chinese people and at the end I tried to give one of the girls a kiss on the cheek to say goodbye and she flipped out and her boyfriend came and I was like…”err, we’ve just been talking for two hours, I gave you a goodbye kiss on the cheek”. You going see even Australia that’s not you know like you made good friendship with you. And then it was all what I said and I went well sometimes but now I’m I think I’m sharp enough to pick up on it but I still get a bit lazy I just slightly but I’m naturally a solar colour warm kind of guy I don’t like. And I don’t like it when people take too long to become friendly I think life’s too short, I don’t want to be 50 by the time I can be friends with you.
Man, I have a short story for you with regards to that. Kel and I were out walking around this lake and we kept seeing the same bloke, he’s an Australian bloke who’d been to Brazil and so, we would chat to him every time we’d see him every few days there and I remember after like the third time he’d seen us and he was like, his house was right there, so he’d always be like ”G’day!” or he talked to us over his fence, and I remember Kel getting home being like ”why hasn’t this guy asked us over for lunch yet? In Brazil, we’d be practically living at his house, having like food with him every day! We see him all the time and he doesn’t invite us in!” and I was like, what are you talking about?
Yeah, no, it is, It is. I agree with you, I mean, to be honest now… obviously there’s two sides of it, a lot of people say, well, what I noticed was Melbourne people are a lot more friendly, a lot frendlier than Sydney people.
See, I don’t have that experience, yet, that deep experience, I know a lot of Melbornians, I’ve met some Sydneyans , but I don’t know… Have you noticed that when you’ve come down here or is that just meeting them?
I’ve only spend a couple of weeks in Melbourne here and there but I spend a week there last year. I was amazed…I don’t want to be… but in Sydney it’s a very cliquey, you stick up with your mates, you stick with the mates you grew up in or sport, like that’s it. You go to uni, I was a antisocial, I hardly made any friends and I did arts, whereas I went to Melbourne for a week and I just went to the restaurant was talking to the waitresses and the waiters and suddenly we’re all exchanging numbers and hanging out, I was like ”what?” and this was the whole week in Melbourne. Everyone was just so down to Earth, so easy to make… and I thought ”hold up…” and apparently it’s more so in Brisbane, but I just couldn’t believe it whereas Sydney they just look at you like ”hummm” and I struggle with Brazilians at the start, like showing emotion. I don’t want to speak badly, because, I remember ini Sydney, the world I grew up in, if you show too much emotion or you’re too keen to meet someone, everyone thinks there is something wrong with you.
This guy is a weirdo!
Yeah! Everyone is like ”what’s wrong with… this guy’s, like, obviously got no friends or whatever” and then I would like a couldn’t imagine my life now, when hang out with some of my mates from back then, I can’t imagine I’m like ”How can you be so cold?. I know you, I have known you for 10 years? How can you not give me a hug when you see me?’, you know what I mean? like, I just look at them like ”wow! can’t you be excited to have a friend?!” people out there, a lot of people don’t have friends and I just, I don’t know, I personally get…but at the same time I don’t like, sort of, am I allowed to? I don’t like bullshit friendships. “Hey man!” when you don’t care. It can be like this, I know I’m not your friend, but you can listen ‘hey how you going?”.
You can see it in their eyes, right? You can see when they giving you the BS they’re looking through you and you’re just like ”you’re not…’.
No please, just be genuine, you don’t have to be my good mate, you can say ”hey, how are you going?” I don’t want that. And that happens a lot with Brazilians, but most the time they’re great and sometimes they’ll make, they’ll try a lot of it…. and sometimes a lot of Brazilians say that it’s just in Brazilian culture that they’re be like sly, well, it’s in every culture, but Aussies are just a bit better at hiding it, I think. Whereas a lot of Brazilians will talk to me and be like ”hey bro, how are you going?” and I think ”here we go…”. It’s cause I haven’t spoken to them in six months, and I know…, and then, suddenly, without a please or thank you I’d get a ”can you correct this for me?”. And, I’m thinking “I am sorry” and I used to help because I feel bad, I was an honest guy, but now, I just sort of, *click*, ignore. If you said please or sorry to disturb you, sure! So I’m very serious. I can’t get rid of that Aussie side, if you’re like… if you don’t say please and thank you with me you’re getting nothing.
I know, it’s a bit like that at times that I’ve had that with some mates from high school where there’s ones you kept up with, I’ve been out of high school now 12 years, there’s ones you keep up with and you chat to all the time and there’s others that are like ”hey man how’s it going? Can you do this for me?” and you’re like ”dude! I haven’t spoken to you in three years! Could you at least like, you know, say ‘G’day’ before you start asking for favours?”.
And I know you want something, but just a bit of courtesy. I mean, I personally, it’s weird. As much as I did go to Rugby School where it’s sort of like you had to pay each other out. I still get offended. I still that kicks through the thick skin that sort of stuff. And when Brazilians did to me, I get even madder. It’s like ”don’t you even try.”.
I think it’s just Australians. well, most people don’t like BS, right? There’s sort of an…and I think is the good thing about Australians is at least for most of them they’re not afraid to call it out. So, there’s I think there’s a lot of cultures out there where you can get away with being kind of cold or doing things and it’s kind of like culturally inappropriate to address someone who’s done that.
I noticed, I noticed that in… a lot of… I found it weird because I remember there’s this couple, this happens you know every now and then, with every couple , but a few times some Brazilians have been a bit lazy or they’ve like sent a message and not respond and I’ll be like ”why didn’t you respond to my message?” and I think you didn’t respond and I call and I said ”look, that’s rubbish! Shut up” and the person goes ”oh, oh oh, how dare you?!” and I’m like ”mate, you’re in the wrong” and they act as if I’m in the wrong for getting angry. And I think no no no, it doesn’t work like that and they all like, they did the dramatic ”oh, man, you didn’t need to get so angry”, I think…”how dare you?!”.
Don’t play the victim with me! You’ll have to pull out your glove and slap him in the face and challenge them to a duel or something.
So, I’m pretty like….even my girlfriend says I’m pretty stubborn, if someone slides me, If I don’t get an apology, then I’m like (??) and I remember it every time, even after 10 drinks, I’ll remember your face. Don’t you dare.
That’s it, it’s like sorry for having standards, you know?
Exactly. So, that’s why, I’ve learnt now, but as she’s taught me, she’s like you’ve got to stop worrying about stupid stuff. If someone annoys you, just bugger off instead of giving them a hug.
Let it go.
Yeah, and that’s something I’m learning, but I love it, I mean, I just, most the time it’s a real, I have an absolute ball.
Man, so Ozueiros, before we finish up, Ozueiros Gringos, how did that begin and tell me about it, what’s the goal?
Ok, so, Simon was at the end of 2017. Simon was at my house. One thing I like personally is a bit of a drive sometimes, creative, spontaneous. Simon hade the drive. He said ”why don’t we do videos?” and I obviously, to use the words he said and at first I was a bit reluctant, he said, ”Come on, Hugo! Don’t be a pussy!” and I was… that tipped me over the edge. And, I went, “Alright, you bastard!” Like, if you’re going to go there. And then we were a real success for about six months. And then what happened was, obvious, I went overseas, Simon got into uni and so, we’d been chatting recently and he said look I need a break and I said that’s fair enough so, we’re just sort of working out what we’re going to do from now on. Obviously, the aim was just to educate, have a lot of fun take the piss. Just English learning, Aussie culture with a had a good sense of humour. Because you see a lot of these boring, old dudes on YouTube and geez, shoot me in the head now, whereas you were trying to be like younger, fun, and we were quite successful so, we’re just sort of planning the next steps and yeah obviously it’s been a ball, Simon and I still in contact all the time, and yeah we’ll just see what happens. Obviously, the next video was… I wanted… I don’t know, I hope Simon is involved with me, but I want to do one on Vegemite. Brazilians take the piss and I say ”Bugger off, sorry. Better than your cheese bread”.
How would you compare it to cheese bread? Could you have it with cheese bread?
Could you have it with cheese bread?
I did and it tasted nice. Whereas cheese bread and sorry, it’s the most overrated thing in the world.
Don’t say that to my wife!
Oh, is she from Minas?
No, she’s from Maranhão.
Oh wow, North.
Yeah, São Luís.
Bet she has a funny accent.
Well, I have got it as well apparently, but yeah doing all the “falar” and that sort of stuff.
So, the plan is obviously we’re going to, 2019 now, I’ve got some big ideas, hopefully Simon is on board. But yeah, we really killer that last year, we had and absolute ball, yeah we were living it, we got on SBS Radio, we were the talk of the town and it was just so much fun educating, you know, we were in there for good purposes, to educate, to have a bit of fun and we became best mates through it and he… Simon was coming over like twice a week. You know, we’re always dancing fun videos, grabbing my chickens.
I saw that, so you guys are sitting there in front of the camera with like dogs on here on your laps or chickens I was like ‘what the hell are these guys doing holding chickens?” I’m like…
Yeah, it’s been a lot of fun, I’m keen to sort of replicate that this year. So, yeah what about you… I was about to call you Kel, sorry, what are you… that’s the name you’ve been saying.
That’s it. That’s it.
What are your plans with your Portuguse?
Man, I want to get to a better level, but I think I just need to talk more, more, more. And again it’s one of those things where I get stuck in the same rut so, I talk about the same stuff all the time with Kel, I have no issues with that, but it’s, it’s one of those things of getting out of your comfort zone so, that’s always what I’m telling my listeners it’s just here finding ways to expand and the hardest thing for me, I think, with languages in particular is that initially it’s freaking hard and then you get really good, you kind of get competent at something and you’re like ”Yes, this feels good!” and you just want to stick there because it’s like suddenly I’m good at this and you forget ”ok, I have to keep expanding, keep growing”, right? Like with jiu jitsu, I remember being a beginner and you’re this white belt who everyone smashes because you have to fight people every day and then after a few months you start submitting other people and dominating a little bit. You know, there’s suddenly a crowd below you and you’ll be like ”I’ll just fight the white belts., na na na na na” all the other guys ”I’ll just fight the white belts, thanks, man, next time, man, next time” and then you’re like ”I can’t do that…” You’ve got to remember….
It doesn’t work like that.
Exactly, you don’t level up.
And do you…. are you…are you into the Brazilian music?
Not as much. I need to get into it, I just haven’t been listening to music.
Have you tried Sertanejo before or it’s just me?
I know of it, like Kel plays stuff all the time, but she kind of goes through just everything, but who is she…
I’m full on, like, absolutely, it’s got to be romantic country music and that’s just my, it’s the most popular style in Brazil, I won’t go on about it, obviously, I’m not here to…
The music is really good, I find it really interesting and there’s like a few of these artists, one of my one of my friend’s husband is a producer for some Brazilian artist, I forgot what his name is, is it Luan or whatever it is. There is a big guy over there and they always show me photos and play music and I’m just like yeah cool like I don’t know.
But, yeah man, Pete, it’s been a… You got Instagram or Facebook and anything that?
I’ve got it, man, who’s doing this interview? You should be the one that is showing me all the stuff. So, where can people find out more about you, dude? If they’re Brazilians and they’re wanting to learn more English, where can they find out more?
Ozueiros Gringos, on Facebook, or Hugo Groom, Instagram, Simon Gurney. So, we’ve got two separate Instagram, personal Instagrams and Ozueiros Gringos our Facebooks, also our personal Facebooks also have videos, but Ozueiros Gringos main page, we’re about to put some light back into it, rekindle it.
And then our personal Instagrams with tips, a lot of zuera (joking around), we love joking around, dancing videos, especially on mine, I’ve got a lot of me, obviously I’ve got a girlfriend now so, I’m not doing sensual dancing anymore, but I’m cooking, you know, you know what I mean, I’m becoming like a home guy.
I love that aspect of it, I think that’s what my listeners, is even if you guys, well, you guys are probably be… find it a little harder if you don’t speak any Portuguese, you probably need a little bit to follow the videos, but for any of the Brazilian listeners, if you want to see, you know, just an Australian and learn about their life and everything in their day to day life with blogs and stuff. definitely check out Hugo and Simon’s channel. Are you going to get on YouTube and do some videos on there as well?
Yeah, we put a few on YouTube, I’ve got a couple myself from back in the day, one that went viral and initially got me started was Brazilian speaking English, it’s in Portuguese, Brasileiro falando Inglês no Supermercado, Brazilians speaking English at the supermarket.
That’s where I saw you the first time! I think…
That one, yeah, it was like 5 years ago, it was meant to be a piss-take for… I just did it with my brother, we were just at Coles.
That didn’t even click, that didn’t even click until just now and then I’m like I remember the Australian dudes speaking Portuguese in the supermarket, walking around.
And then suddenly that one just exploded overnight and became a semi-celebrity and on Facebook, this Brazilian bloody company stole my video actually.
But it got 100,000 hits. Well, they didn’t reference me properly.
They just copy pasted it, did they?
And I was like ”are you serious?”. They’ve got a hundred thousand hits on Facebook, on YouTube it’s got like 50 thousand so, I was like wow, that what ticked me off, so I’m keen to get back to it because I definitely see potential. But obviously, as you’d know, running a blog, running anything is a lot of work and so getting into it and I’m know I’m really excited for this year, this big year, so now obviously focus is different, I’m not a single guy anymore, but I’d focus on cooking videos, language, you know what I mean, obviously girlfriend will be watching closely, but I’m excited yeah…
Awesome! Thanks so much for joining me today.
Thank you, Pete! The pleasure was all mine. Look forward to hearing from you. Thank you very much!
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Learn about Australian English, news, and current affairs in this episode of My Country on the Aussie English Podcast where I talk about a recent article that talks about migrants learning Aussie slang.
AE 528 – My Country: Migrants Learn Aussie Slang Faster Than English-Speaking Migrants
Good morning, guys! What’s going on? I have an article here for you today, this is a good one. This is a pretty interesting one and I think you guys are going to be happy to hear this so, ”Non-English-Speaking Migrants Catch On Quickly to Aussie Lingo”. So, it was a really good article talking about how migrants who come to Australia and don’t speak English as their first language, actually pick up slang terms and slang expressions in Australian English. The kind of Aussie lingo that Aussies use faster than English speaking migrants who come here. So, let’s check it out.
”The unique Australian lexicon can be confusing for the uninitiated, but new research has actually found that non-English-speaking migrants pick up the local dialect quicker than their English speaking counterparts”.
So, that’s pretty interesting and I guess it shows that if you already speak English, you’re less concerned with learning slang, learning, you know, local expressions, you can already communicate, you’re less phase about it whereas obviously if you are a migrant from overseas who doesn’t speak English as your first language and you’re learning English as your second language, you’re much more likely to dive in and try and learn some of these expressions and slang terms.
”Fair shake of the sauce bottle”. ”Blow the froth off a few”. ”Carry on like a pork chop”. There are turns-of-phrase that can be baffling for many not least of all those who are freshly arrived in the country. The origins of such curious terms have been lost to most in the mists of time, but it appears those without an English-speaking background are not at all scared to jump into this linguistic melting pot”.
So, I mean this is a really cool thing to see, right? Because as an English teacher and as someone who teaches Australian English, I’m always encouraging my students to learn Australian slang, to learn Australian expressions, to really dive in and absorb the culture and try and be like the native speakers.
Obviously, you’re never going to be a native English Australian speaker, right? You weren’t born here. You don’t speak it since you were a baby, you haven’t spoken it since you were a baby, but it means a lot when you try and dive into the culture, when you try and pick up these slang expressions, when you try and learn these slang words and vocabulary and you really try and take this culture on in your own, right?
It means a lot to us and I think, I think it’s the same anywhere no matter the way you’ve migrated to, people can… they feel a lot more comfortable when you’re speaking like they are, right? No matter what language it is, I’m sure if you’re a foreigner going somewhere and learning that language, if you work your arse off to really pick up the nuances, the expression the locals used to speak like the locals, even though it’s obvious you’re not a local, it really means a lot to those people and it makes them feel more comfortable and obviously Australia is no different.
So, researchers at the Australian National University School of Literature Language and Linguistics have found that migrants learning English as their second language use these Aussie words and phrases at the same rate, at the same rate as Australian born people. Wow! That’s really cool.
So, lead study author Dr. Ksenia Gnevsheva, hopefully I saw that correctly, although I doubt it, said that participants were shown 50 items that have distinctly Australian or American references. All of these objects have different names in Australia and Australian and English and American English. For instance, the ice cooler, you would call it ‘esky’ in Australia and Americans would probably call it ‘a cooler’ or ‘lollies’ and ‘candy’, ‘flip-flops’ versus ‘thongs’, and so on and so forth, she’s told CBS News.
The study involved testing for groups of people in Australia, native Russian speakers who’s first working exposure to the English language was here. American migrants who experience Australian English as their second English dialect, native Russian speakers who had lived in America before coming to Australia and native Australian speakers. That’s an interesting, It’s interesting that they just kept it to Russians, though I guess, you know, you want to control for everything like that.
While the American group adopted the Australian descriptor for the objects just 20 percent of the time, so only one in five Americans actually start using these slang terms, as many as eight out of ten Russian speakers, sorry, Russians speaking English as their second language opted for the Australianisms.
That’s brilliant! So, almost 80 percent or 80 percent or more, right? Their language was actually more malleable than that of native speakers in English the American English speakers because they acquired and used more Australian English words. There is no such an emotional connection? Ah, there is no such emotional connection to words for the second language speakers so, they are obviously not too fazed with holding on to the original word or whatever, they’ll let it go and they’ll pick up the new one.
“It’s all about communication. They use the words that first come to mind. In a second test, the same four groups listen to words spoken in Australian and American accents and were asked if they were real or not. And once again the group with English as a Second Language was best at identifying them correctly. More evidence of their ability to adapt well and what Dr. Gnevesheva’s own linguistics preferences when it comes to the local dialect. My favourite Australianism I think is Lolli, she laughed, I like the word ‘lollies’ so like the way it sounds”.
Anyway, really cool article, guy’s, really cool article and this is obviously evidence, this scientific study is obviously evidence that you guys can learn slang, you can learn slang expressions and in fact you’re more likely to learn these slang expressions and really absorb the culture that you dive into, that you, you know, you migrate into Australia you’re more likely to pick it up than native speakers of English from other countries, you know, and that’s a 20 percent to 80 percent difference so, that’s pretty crazy, right? Four out of five of you are likely to pick up Australianisms, Australian slang, whereas if you’re from America, Britain New Zealand only one in five people are likely to pick up Australianisms.
Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this one, guys! It’s an interesting article. Check it out. Have a read and I’ll see you soon! Peace!
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