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AE 498 – Expression: Down-to-Earth
Australia is a vast and lucky land. Beneath our feet is a treasure trove of unimaginable riches. But this story is about much more than precious minerals and dusty mineshafts. For 150 years, mining has changed the lives of us all in unexpected and extraordinary ways. It sparked waves of mass immigration and ignited political revolt.
G’day, you mob! Welcome to this episode of the Aussie English Podcast, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone wanting to learn English so… and the Aussie English Podcast guys is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom. If you would like to learn English even faster and have access to weekly courses, videos, quizzes, vocab lists, all the extra stuff that will help you get your English to the next level, make sure that you go to theaussieenglishclassroom.com, sign up and it’s just a dollar for your first month. So, get in there and give it a go! You’ve got nothing to lose!
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Anyway, that aside, today’s intro scene, guys, was the intro to a documentary called Dirty Business: How Mining Made Australia, and this was on the Sterling Documentaries YouTube channel. So, I will put a link into the transcript today so that you can watch that entire documentary on their channel on YouTube if you so choose, it’s pretty interesting. And in today’s Aussie English fact we will go through mining and the history of mining in Australia.
Anyway, guys, as usual, let’s get into an Aussie joke before we go through the expression, the definitions, the examples of how I would use it, the listen and repeat exercise and then the fact, okay?
So, the Aussie joke today guys:
My dog used to chase people on a bike a lot. It got so bad, finally, I had to take his bike away.
So, this isn’t a question and answer joke this time, it’s a story and it’s funny because the first sentence has you thinking there is a dog chasing someone on a bike. A person who is on a bike, but actually it’s the dog who is on the bike chasing people, right? So, that sentence can be actually taken two ways and this is something interesting about English, right?
So, I’ll say the sentence again. My dog used to chase people on a bike a lot. So, he could be chasing people on a bike, as in people riding bikes or it could be that his dog was chasing people whilst the dog was on a bike, right? And then the last line, it got so bad, finally, I had to take his bike away. So, now you’re like, ahhhh, it was the dog’s bike. (I) got it, got it.
So, we have those jokes all the time in English where the first line sounds normal and then the second line shows you that it is not what you thought the first line was, okay?
So, today’s expression is ‘down-to-earth’, to be ‘down-to-earth’. And this was suggested by Lily in the private Facebook group for Aussie English Classroom members. Good job, Lily!
So, as usual guys, let’s go through and define the words in the expression ‘down-to-earth’, ok? ‘Down-to-earth’. I’ll break it up into the individual words.
‘Down’. Obviously, ‘down’ means downwards, right? The opposite of up or upwards, downwards is towards the ground, right? ‘Down’.
‘To’ is towards, in the direction of something.
And, ‘earth’ is the name of the planet, right? The planet Earth. But we often use this to mean the ground or the soil, right? If I’m standing up, usually my feet are on the Earth. If I am digging in the backyard, I might be moving earth around as in the ground or as in soil.
So, what does the expression ‘down-to-earth’ mean? And you’ll often hear this as a compound adjective, as in, someone is ‘down-to-earth’, or Pete is a ‘down-to-earth’ person, right? It could be an adjective in front of a noun as well.
So, if you are down-to-earth or if someone is down-to-earth, it can mean a few different things, although, they’re sort of similar, okay? Practical, reasonable, and friendly, if you’re a down-to-earth person. It could be also that you are practical and directly deal with people so you don’t sort of beat around the bush, right? You’re very straightforward. You’re down-to-earth. But, it can also mean someone who’s very easy to talk to, right? So, they’re not up in the clouds, their head’s not in the clouds, they’re down-to-earth, they’re easy to talk to.
So, let’s go through three examples of how I would use the expression to be ‘down-to-earth’, right? If someone’s ‘down-to-earth’, alright.
Example number one: imagine that you are a foreign student and you have arrived in Australia from somewhere overseas. You’re studying English, you’ve organised your school, you have organised your accommodation, but you need to find a job, right? So, you have asked your friends maybe at the school that you’re learning English at, where can I apply for a job? How do I apply? What do I need to do for my CV, my résumé? And then you get that all sorted, you print out a few copies of your résumé and you head down to a local coffee shop or a cafe where your friends have suggested that you could submit your resume or your CV and apply for a job. So, you do that, you go down there, and you find out the people there are really down-to-earth. So, you get along with them really well, you get along like a house on fire, and they decide that they will give you the job. So, lo and behold, you get the job, you really had a good time with them. They were really down-to-earth, you got hired and the rest is history. The people you talk to were really down-to-earth. They were very easy to talk to, very practical, very reasonable, very friendly.
Example number two: so, you are going to a party where you know that there are going to be loads of rich people, but you’re just an average Joe, right? You’re just an average middle-class, white-collar, or even blue-collar worker. So, you’re worried everyone at the party is going to be really pretentious, really pompous, stuck up and, quite frankly, unpleasant to be around because that’s your opinion. That is the stereotype of rich people, right? So, you show up in your modest car. Maybe it’s a Holden Commodore or Ford Falcon. You get out and you see Ferraris everywhere, Lamborghinis, Mercedes, BMWs, Audis, everywhere around you. The party’s in this huge house, a mansion with butlers, waiters, servants, gardeners running around at the guests’ beck and call the whole time. The grounds of the house are huge, massive lawns, fountains, statues, and you go in. Everything’s really extravagant. Everything is really gourmet food wise and everything is very luxurious. However, when you start chatting to people, you realise that despite these people being loaded, despite them having a lot of money, many of the guests are actually incredibly down-to-earth people. They are really down-to-earth, meaning that you can have great conversations with them. They’re very practical, they’re very direct, they’re very friendly. They just seem like normal down-to-earth people, right? So, the idea here being that you thought that they were going to be stuck up with their heads up in the clouds, you know, on a different level from you, but it turns out they were down-to-earth with their feet firmly placed on the ground, they were very well-grounded.
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Example number three: Imagine you’re a young lady. You’ve gone out on a date with a boy, you’ve hit it off, you’ve done really well, you decide you’re going to be in a relationship, and you want to take him home to meet the family, but you’re worried that your dad he has high expectations and he’s very judgmental when it comes to boys who want to date you, right? For your romantic partners. So, you’re worried about his high standards and how this boy that you’re seeing is going to perform. So, you take him over and when your dad meets your boyfriend, he quickly realises that he is a great kid, he’s a great guy, he’s got a good head on his shoulders, his head isn’t in the clouds. He’s very practical, direct, easy to talk to. Everyone gets along like crazy at dinner and when he leaves your father might talk to you and say, well done, he seems like a great guy. He seems like a very down-to-earth guy. I approve. Your boyfriend is very down-to-earth. He is an awesome guy.
Awesome, guys! well I hope you now understand the expression to be ‘down-to-earth’. This can be to be a practical, reasonable or friendly person. It can be that when you deal with people you do so in a very direct and practical manner and it can also mean that you’re very easy to talk to so, you’re very realistic when you talk to people.
So, as usual, let’s go through the listen and repeat exercise now, guys, where you guys can practice your pronunciation. So, listen and repeat after me, guys. If you’re working on your Aussie English accent, obviously, try and mimic my accent as much as possible as I have a general Australian accent. If you are working on a different accent just go with that, practice that accent. Let’s go!
To be down
To be down to
To be down-to-earth x 5
Good job, guys, good job! So now we’re going to go conjugate through the sentence. ‘I used to be down-to-earth’. ‘You used to be down-to-earth’. So, we’ll be using ‘used to’. And remember, if you ‘used to’ and ‘do something’, ‘be something’, whatever it is, it means that that thing used to happen previously quite a lot in the past, right, but it’s no longer happening. For example, I used to go to high school, I used to like surfing, I used to have a lot of friends, I used to live in Melbourne. It’s something that happened in the past, but no longer happens today, okay? So, let’s go!
I used to be down-to-earth.
You used to be down-to-earth.
He used to be down-to-earth.
She used to be down-to-earth.
We used to be down-to-earth.
They used to be down-to-earth.
It used to be down-to-earth.
Good job, guys! Remember, if you would like to go through this pronunciation exercise in more detail where I take you through step by step all the aspects of pronunciation, I talk about intonation and rhythm, things like that in a video make sure that you go to theaussieenglishclassroom.com. Sign up and you will get access to two days of video for this course that will go with this expression episode, as well as all of the previous courses and you can complete them in your own time, anywhere you like, online in the Classroom.
Anyway, guys, let’s get into the Aussie English fact for today and then we will finish up. Alright, so today’s expression was about Earth as in the ground. Therefore, I was thinking for the Aussie English fact maybe we could talk about mining in Australia, because mining is a relatively big deal in Australia.
So, mining in Australia is a significant primary industry and contributor to the Australian economy. I’m sure if you are here already, you’ve probably seen it on the news as they, the politicians, are always talking about mining.
Numerous different kinds of ores and minerals are mined across the continent and, historically, mining booms have encouraged immigration to Australia.
In the early days of Australia, when the colonies were being developed, mining contributed a significant amount to preventing potential bankruptcy of these early colonies so they were making a lot of money from mining.
Copper and silver were discovered in South Australia around the 1940s, which led to the export of the ore and a great deal of immigration of skilled miners and smelters into Australia.
The first economic minerals in Australia were silver and lead, and that started in 1841 in a mine at Glen Osmund in Adelaide, South Australia. The value of these mines though was soon overshadowed by the discovery of copper at places like Kapunda, Burra, and the Copper Triangle, they are three towns called Moonta, Kadina and Wallaroo. These are all indigenous names, I take it, and this was located at the top of the York Peninsula.
About 10 years later in 1851, gold was found in New South Wales and Victoria and the Australian gold rushes took off. The influx of wealth that the gold brought soon made Victoria Australia’s richest colony by far, and Melbourne, the largest city on the island.
By the middle of the 1850, 40% of the world’s gold was dug out of Australian soils.
Today, mining activity occurs in all states and territories across Australia, but only an estimated 0.02% of Australia’s land surface has directly been impacted by mining. That was actually a lot less than I had expected.
So, major active mines in Australia include the Olympic Dam, in South Australia. This is a copper, silver, and uranium mine believed to have the world’s largest uranium resource. And the Super Pit gold mine, which has replaced a number of underground mines near Kalgoorlie in WA, Western Australia.
So, which minerals and ores has Australia primarily mined? We mine iron ore and we’re the second largest supplier after China, supplying about almost a billion metric tons of iron ore every year, and that is 25% of the world’s output.
We mine nickel, 9% of the world’s output, aluminium that’s almost 30% of the world’s output, number one we are for aluminium. We mine copper, we mine gold, we mine silver, and we mine uranium. Those are the biggest ores and minerals that we mine in Australia. But we also mine diamonds, opals, zinc, coal, oil shale, petroleum, natural gas, silica, and other rare elements as well.
Despite the value of mining in Australia and the revenue that it generates for the Australian Government and obviously the Australian people, many people would like to see an end to mining in Australia, especially, for certain minerals and ores others such as coal, which is a relatively contentious mineral or that is dug up from the ground and burnt in order to create electricity, but it is relatively inefficient and it contributes heavily to climate change. That said, mining is arguably the backbone of the Australian economy and it will likely remain a big part of Australia into the future for better or worse.
So, I hope you enjoyed today’s episode, guys. I hope you have a great weekend and I’ll chat to you soon.
See you later!
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AE 497 Expression: On Thin Ice
I came from the other end of the Snowy River down in Victoria on a farm out from Orbost and my father, who had the farm, said, ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they could do something about stopping these bloody floods?’.
Every snowmelt the floods would come down and cover the crops and so on.
It was difficult for them.
G’day, guys! G’day, you mob! How is it going?
Remember, ‘you mob’ is a slang term in Australia for ‘you guys’, right, and it is from, I guess, a mob of kangaroos, a group of kangaroos. So, you mob, I hope you’re going well. I hope you’ve been having a ripper of a week.
So, today’s intro scene was about Australia’s greatest-ever engineering feat, the national heritage listed Snowy Hydro Scheme, and the video at the start there was from the Environment Department’s YouTube channel. So, I will leave a link in the transcript if you guys would like to check that out. I would obviously recommend that as you will get exposure to other people speaking with Australian accents and obviously using all kinds of different vocab and everything in English. So, check that out.
Anyway, I’m pretty wrecked, I’m pretty stuffed, I am exhausted. It’s been a lot of running around this week. We’ve had to organise a whole bunch of stuff regarding marriages. So, Kel and I are getting married soon, and we’re just… We’re not having a big thing, right? We’re not making a big deal of it. We’re not really doing a traditional marriage in a church or even with a lot of people there, to be honest, because Kel’s family’s in Brazil, so we just thought it’s probably easier to just do a small thing here in Australia and really just go and sign the papers. So, at the moment, we’re having to go through and get all of the documents ready, so like my birth certificate, my passport, her birth certificate, her passport, the documents to apply for marriage with witnesses. So, today we had to go to the cop shop, to the police station, and have a justice of the peace sign all of these pieces of paper as we were there signing them as well. So, that’s been a bit of a headache, and before that we tried to have our friends witness it, but they screwed it up, they stuffed it up, and signed as the people getting married and not as the witnesses. So, we had to go through it again. Anyway.
Welcome to this episode of Aussie English, guys. We’re getting close to episode 500. So, this is probably going to be the second last expression episode before we hit 500, and something special is going to happen once we get to 500, so stay tuned for that. Anyway.
Aussie English, the Aussie English podcast. Welcome. If you’ve been listening for a long time, it’s good to have you here again. If it’s your first time, welcome, thanks for joining me.
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Welcome to this episode today, guys. This one is ‘on thin ice’. It’s a really good expression. I use this quite a lot, and to be honest, my father used to use this on me quite a lot as a little rambunctious and mischievous teen as I was growing up, but we’ll get into that shortly.
Firstly, let’s get into the Aussie joke, and this one is a good one today, because it involves Batman, right. Dunununah dunununah Batman!’. Batman. Alright. So, the joke is:
What’s man’s favourite food? What is that man’s favourite food?
Are you ready for this? Are you ready?
Do you get it? Oh my gosh… So, what’s that man’s favourite food? ‘Just-ice’ as in, ‘justice’, right? If you separate the word ‘justice’ into ‘just-ice’, it’s like saying ‘only ice’, he just likes eating ice, he is only interested in ice, but it’s funny because Batman is obviously a superhero who is interested in justice, justice. ‘Just-ice’, ‘justice’. Badoomsh! Alright.
So, today’s expression is ‘on thin ice’, right, ‘to be on thin ice’. This was suggested by me this week in the Aussie English Classroom Facebook group. So, that’s four members of the Aussie English Classroom. This week we all suggested expressions. I put this one in, I threw this in as my suggestion, and it got voted on and I won. Go me!
So, let’s go through the definitions of the words in the expression ‘on thin ice’, right. I’ll skip ‘to be’. You know what ‘to be’ is.
‘On’. If you’re on something, you’re physically in contact with and supported by something. So, you’re on the surface of something, usually, right? I might put my coffee here that I’ve got on a coaster, the thing that protects the table. I put the coaster on the table, I put my coffee on the table, and then after I finish the coffee, I might put it on the bench next to the sink. Okay? ‘On’.
‘Thin’. ‘Thin’. Something that is ‘thin’ is… it has the opposite surfaces or sides of it very close together. Right? So, a piece of paper is incredibly thin, because each side of the piece of paper is very close together, right. It’s very, very thin. You can use this for describing something like a piece of paper or maybe a stamp or a book. You know, you could have a thin book with very few pages or you could have a thick book with a lot of pages. But you can also describe someone as being ‘thin’ when you want to say that they are not fat. Right? So, like a piece of paper, both sides of the person are very close together. They are thin.
The last word here, guys. ‘Ice’. ‘Ice’ is frozen water, a brittle transparent crystalline solid, right. The crystal when water freezes, when it goes below 0 degrees Celsius, it becomes ice.
So, let’s go through and define the expression ‘to be on thin ice’, and I wonder if you guys have heard this before. I wonder if anyone has said to you are on thin ice. Be careful you’re on thin ice.
So, if we imagine this literally, if you were literally standing on thin ice, what do you think the message there is, right? It’s that you’re resting on ice that is thin and it’s likely to crack and break, so you’re in a precarious and risky situation. So, literally, if you’re on thin ice, you are standing on ice that is thin, it is liable to crack or break, and you’re likely to fall into the cold water below.
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Figuratively, it is that you are in a precarious or risky situation. So, you might not literally be on ice, but you might be in a dangerous situation, so you are on thin ice, right.
But this one is also often used to mean that you’re already in trouble and that you can’t afford to make another mistake. Right? So, my dad would say this to me when I was a kid and I had already misbehaved, I had already done something wrong, maybe I’d done a few things wrong, and I was at the point of pushing him over the edge. I was at his breaking point. If I had done one more thing, something bad would have happened, like maybe he would ground me or he would give me some kind of penalty or punishment, right? So, he might say to me, ‘Look, you’re on thin ice. No more. No more misbehaviour, Pete’. You’re on thin ice.
So, where does this expression originate from? This idiom is one that originated from Holland or the Netherlands. We also call Holland the Netherlands in English. So, skating, you know skating on ice, was popular there and that’s where it came from originally, skating on ice, on those blades on the bottom of your shoes on ice in winter, and the phrase that you were ‘on thin ice’ was commonly used especially when seas, rivers, streams, etc., would freeze during winter, and then people would skate over them. So, it would be like a warning. Right? You’re on thin ice. Be careful. Don’t, you know, jump up and do any pirouettes or something.
So, anyway, let’s go through the examples of how I would use the expression ‘to be on thin ice’ like a native speaker in my day to day life, right? Okay.
Example number one and this is the literal example. You’ve travelled up to one of the snowfields in the Australian Alps in Australia. So, imagine Thredbo or Mount Buller or Mount Hotham. You’re out snowboarding or skiing one day and you end up off the track, falling down the side of a mountain, a cliff, or ravine, or something, and landing on a frozen lake. You might get knocked out during this fall, you know, you get KOed, you’re… you go black, you’re not conscious, but when you come to, when you wake up, you hear you made shouting out to you from a distance saying, ‘Be careful! Don’t move suddenly or abruptly. You’re on thin ice!’. So, you’re literally on some ice that is thin. Be careful where you put your weight, because if you aren’t careful it might break and you might fall into the water.
Example number two, and I pretty much went over this earlier on. I used to get in trouble with my father all the time as a kid or a teenager. I’d push his buttons. I would push the limits. I would… you know, maybe I would swear or maybe I, you know, did something I wasn’t allowed to do, I misbehaved, I didn’t come home on time, I missed my curfew. If I was already in trouble, I’d misbehave several times before, as I said, my dad might say to me, ‘You’re on thin ice! So, if you make another mistake, you’re in for it. You’re going to be in trouble. You’ll be in real trouble and there’s no turning back. You’ll be grounded. I won’t give you your pocket money. You’ll be punished in some other way. You’re on thin ice.’. Right? It’s kind of like you’re on your final warning. So, don’t misbehave, don’t muck up, don’t do anything wrong.
Example number three. Imagine you’ve just got a promotion at work, but it comes with a probation period. So, probation period, as in, you have to be evaluated after three months, for example, the probation period is three months long, and after three months, they will tell you how you’ve done and if you’ve done well, you’ll get to keep the job. So, imagine, though, while you’re going through this probation period for three months you screw up a few things, you make a few mistakes, you don’t do your job ideally, but only just manage to scrape by. So, your employers or your boss might tell you, ‘Look, you’re doing okay, but you need to shape up, you need to do better, because you’re on thin ice. If you make any more mistakes, we might have to not give you this promotion, we might have to demote you’, right? So, you’re in a risky situation. You need to pay attention and shape up in order to maintain this position. You’re on thin ice.
So, hopefully now, guys, you understand the expression ‘to be on thin ice’. Obviously, literally, this would be to be on ice that is thin, that is likely to break or crack. So, you are in a precarious or risky situation.
Figuratively, this can mean that you are in a dangerous situation that isn’t necessarily related to ice breaking at all.
And lastly, it can mean that you’re in trouble, you’re already in trouble and you can’t afford to make another mistake, and you’re on your final warning. Okay? You’re on thin ice.
So, as usual, guys, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise here where you guys can practice your pronunciation. Okay? So, listen and repeat after me. Let’s go.
To be on
To be on thin
To be on thin ice x 5
Good job! Focus on linking those words. There’s a few things going on there. You will see though, if you join up to the Aussie English Classroom, when I break this down in the 10-minute video that I do each week for the pronunciation exercises, you will see the sort of little tidbits, the little important bits of information, about connected speech there, okay? To be on thin ice. Hopefully, that makes sense.
So, let’s go through and conjugate this just in the present tense, guys. Okay, so ‘I am’, ‘You are’, etc., but we’ll contract ‘am’, ‘are’, and ‘is’ on to the previous pronouns. Okay? So, let’s go.
I’m on thin ice
You’re on thin ice
She’s on thin ice
He’s on thin ice
We’re on thin ice
They’re on thin ice
It’s on thin ice
Good job! Good job! And I hope you paid attention to how those words are linking together, the connected speech there, okay? Anyway.
Let’s get into the Aussie English fact for today, guys, and then we will finish up, and I will bid you farewell for this week. All right.
So, today’s Aussie fact. It’s all about the Snowy Hydro Scheme. And so, my thought pattern was, okay, the phrase is ‘on thin ice’. What is there in Australia that is ice or snow or the cold that I can talk about? And I thought about the Snowy Mountains, and then I thought about the Snowy Mountain Hydro Scheme. So, I wonder if you guys have heard about this.
So, what is it. The Snowy Hydro Scheme is a hydroelectricity and irrigation complex in south-east Australia. The Scheme consists of 16 major dams, seven power stations, one pumping station, and over 225 kilometres of tunnels, pipelines, and aqueducts that were constructed between the years of 1949 and 1974. So, (it) went for about 25 years.
Astonishingly, only 2% of the construction work is visible above the ground. It was completed on time and in budget in 1974 at a total cost of $820 million dollars, which today, is the equivalent of more than $6 billion dollars. Pretty Penny.
So, this scheme was the largest-ever engineering project undertaken in Australia and was overseen by Chief Engineer, Sir William Hudson. Around two thirds of the workforce employed in the construction of the Snowy Hydro Scheme were recently-arrived immigrant workers desperate for work who originated from over 30 different foreign countries. The total number of workers on the Scheme was more than 100,000 in that 25-year period, and the official death toll reached 121 people. I don’t know if that’s a lot or if that’s not very many. Sounds like a lot.
At the completion of the project, the Australian government maintained much of the diverse workforce and created the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation, SMEC, which remains an international engineering consultancy company up to today.
So, why was the Snowy Hydro Scheme built? You know, why was it put into place?
The Snowy Hydro Scheme was implemented to solve a yearly problem for farmers and inhabitants of south eastern Victoria. So, every year here in the snowfields in the Australian Alps the snow would fall on the Great Dividing Range and it would melt in spring time and summer time obviously, and then flood the low-lying flood plains and river flats in places like East Gippsland in southeast Victoria as the water flowed out into Bass Strait and into the Tasman Sea. Thus, each year, farmers didn’t know if their crops would be ruined by these floods or not.
In order to divert the excess snowmelt water and spare the farmers their yearly headache, the Snowy Hydro scheme was implemented, and this had numerous benefits including channeling the water away from the farmers crops into the Murray and Murrumbidgee River irrigation areas, which allowed farmers to access this water via the irrigation systems, and also, they were able to harness the power of the water and turn into electricity using hydroelectricity. Right?
So, how was this done? The water falls about 800 meters and travels through large hydroelectric power stations, which generate peak-load power for the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, and Victoria.
And in 2016, The Snowy Mountains Hydroelectricity System/Scheme, whatever you want to call it, was added to the Australian National Heritage List.
So, whether you’re into skiing and snowboarding, hiking or camping, or you just want to check out the dams and power plants and other things related to these Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme, the Snowy Mountains in the Australian Alps are definitely a beautiful spot worth checking out if you find yourself in the south east of Australia.
Anyway, guys that’s it for today. I hope you enjoy this episode. I hope you have a lovely week and I’ll see you soon. Catch ya!
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AE 496 – Interview: Why You Should Learn Canadian English with Dana Catherwood
Hey, guys. How’s it going? Welcome to this Aussie English interview today.
Today, I have a special one for you guys. As we spoke about recently in that Walking with Pete episode where I was chatting to you about the future directions of Aussie English the podcast and, I guess, business in general, I have tried to sort of strike out and obviously interview more people from overseas, and this interview is hopefully going to be not the first one, I guess, ’cause I’ve done quite a few people from overseas, but one of the first ones more recently, I guess, heading in that direction of interviewing people from overseas, and today I get to interview an amazing girl from Canada.
So, this is Dana from Can Learn English, and we talk all about what it’s like in Canada as an immigrant going there, learning English, the differences between Australian English and Canadian English. I kind of just get to know her and try and have a natural conversation where we talk about these things. Right? So, without any further ado, guys, hopefully are going to enjoy this interview, and if you are interested in learning Canadian English, this is definitely the interview for you, guys. Okay? So, let’s go next.
Hey, guys! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English! today I have another interview episode for you, guys and I am here with Dana from Can Learn English at canlearnenglish.com so, Dana welcome to the Aussie English podcast.
Thank you so much for having me!
That’s awesome to have you. I think you might be the first Canadian on the podcast so, congratulations!
I reckon there’s not many Canadians are there usually so…
What’s the population of Canada? I’m always wondering if Australia is bigger or smaller.
Yeah, about 35 million now.
You’re like a third bigger than us then… damn. Little brother.
Yeah, we’re like barely 25.
Well, you’re way down there so we’re hard to get to.
Yeah exactly. Can you tell me your story? You’re currently living in Switzerland. You’re from Canada and you teach Canadian English. So, I heard about this through… I heard about this through Justin, who I interviewed recently, and he was like man you got to chat to Dana. She teaches Canadian English like you teach Australian English. How on earth did you end up doing what you’re doing where you’re doing it?
Yeah well what happened was is I moved to Brazil in 2016 and that’s when I really started teaching English full time. And I was kind of combining it with teaching kids and then I was also teaching adults and most the adults that were coming to me in Brazil were preparing to go to Canada.
So, yeah, pretty much all of them had some type of connection to Canada or wanted to go to Canada. And then one of my students was like oh Dana can you please start a YouTube channel because I watch…you know, he named a bunch of youtubers that he watches he is like there is no one really there from Canada and that’s where I want to go and I’d like to learn more about Canadian culture and learn your accent more and just things about Canada so, you need to start one. so, I did, and then I started my YouTube channel Can Learn English and I already had a website for my teaching business, but that kind of turned more into a blog. I got on Instagram and stuff so yeah, it’s been pretty fun.
How did you end up in Brazil like that seems like a random place and you’re in Switzerland?
My partner’s half Brazilian. So, we went down there for…
Man, my fiancée is from Brazil.
So, you are learning Portuguese then?
Exatamente, eu to falando Portugues cada dia (“Exactly, I’m speaking Portuguese each day”). I’m speaking every day.
That’s so crazy!
Portuguese is very hard, very, very difficult. I mean, I can understand a lot more than I can speak.
That’s my position as well. But that’s always the case, right? As soon as you get to intermediate/advance in a language it’s almost like… I hate this the beginnings of starting a new language because you sort of like you can say so much more than you can hear because people throw it at you and you’re just like… overwhelmed. And then all of a sudden though the listening takes off and you’re just like, all of a sudden, I can’t reply.
Like a sophisticatedly as I would like to reply to these things.
And there’s like, there’s holes where you can’t completely understand what someone is saying, but like certain words you have no idea what they mean, but within the context that must kind of mean this.
That happened to me recently where I live with three other Brazilians as well as my fiancée, like…
You’re basically living in Brazil…
Exactly, we moved into this house we had to move houses and I was like Can you see if you can find a Brazilian one? Like online on Facebook? And we can go there and I’ll just like learn Portuguese this year and she’s like yeah, yeah, yeah, no worries. So, we moved here, anyway, they showed me recently a song by a band called o Rappa, like the rap. It’s called Rodo Cotidiano and it’s like this amazing song and I thought I loved the song we’re listening to it, didn’t understand anything. Try to translate it and I was just blown away by like the metaphors the expressions and just like I just know nothing. I can talk to these guys for hours about my day and hobbies, but as soon as it gets to something advanced I was like…no.
Now. Yeah, and right now a lot of the conversations that Brazilians have leaned towards politics because they’re having an election in October, so in the point it’s like…Complete check out, just like, nothing. I will listen for the sake of listening, but I do not understand.
That’s the worst, they did that recently to me where they had a few beers and then all of a sudden, they just went crazy chatting about politics and I’m like I just can’t even… I have nothing to add and I am physically incapable of keeping up with this conversation.
So, you were in Brazil teaching English living there with your partner?
And then for how long was that and how did you end up in Switzerland?
We were there for about a year and a half and he’s also Swiss. So, this why we’re in Switzerland.
Damn, best of both words. Which part of Switzerland is he from? Which languages does he speak?
The German speaking part of Switzerland. German is the next hurdle for me.
Holly molly. Man, I’ll have to put you in touch with my friend Shannon because it’s such a… it’s such a small world she was in…. She was in Germany for eight years and then moved to Colombia for six months and then was like actually I want to go to Brazil, moved to Brazil ended up falling in love with a guy and marrying him, being there for two years and so now she’s like fluent in Portuguese, fluent German and just moved back to America and is teaching English in Portuguese on Facebook. So, it’s just… Brazil, man. They’re attacking everyone, they’re getting all the English teachers.
Yeah. You know, and that was the thing. It’s very hard to just like move to Brazil. Like as a non-Brazilian and someone without any visa. So, there’s not a whole lot of native English teachers there.
So, when they find someone, you know, you’re just completely busy. When you’re teaching in Brazil it’s kind of like a little bit of a novelty.
That was so crazy. So, what was the thing that made you want to teach English? Were you doing this from a very young age after high school or something or was it something you fell into?
It was something I really… I really fell into. I was working actually in business in sales and marketing for many, many years and then we moved to Brazil and I said you know, let’s try the teaching and I absolutely loved it. I had always done and been involved with kids and that was really what, you know, I had done a lot of… swimming instructor and I’d done all that kind of teaching other things, so I said let’s start teaching English they started doing that and I loved it.
That’s so funny. It was the same sort of story for me where. Similar to you I was I was studying something completely different at the time, started learning a foreign language and I had friends who were asking me…you told me about this podcast you were listening to in French, is there an equivalent for Australian in English? And I was looking couldn’t find anything and that’s how I began, I was like oh I know how to podcast, I used to be on a podcast so, just tinker away and create some materials for you and then it was so satisfying helping people on a daily basis and getting that sort of… the constant replies and e-mails and comments just thank you, can you do this? and that that really felt like I was actually helping and making a difference as opposed to doing science behind a desk every day. Do you miss business at all?
Yeah, not really. That’s funny that you say science because I actually did a science degree as well. It worked in a lab for a little bit, so we have very similar stories.
I don’t really miss it too much because like, you know, with YouTube and Instagram and I’m running a course in November for my students that there is a lot of business and stuff involved that you do still have to do.
The other side of teaching which is not teaching it’s more…
That’s so good though that you obviously had that background because I kind of had to dive in the deep end and just to learn all the business stuff online and just make it up as I went along.
Oh yeah, super challenging…like I’ve…podcasts and YouTube videos. I’m sure you’re the same…
Which do you prefer too? And how did you decide which platforms to use with regards to say Instagram, YouTube, Facebook podcasts all of that sort of stuff? Was there a clear one at the beginning you just said I’m going to do this or…?
So, I did YouTube at first, I was like, you know, we can just make some videos on YouTube. I’m pretty comfortable in front of a camera doesn’t really bother me too much, but there’s so like I’m kind of shiny object syndrome where, you know, and it’s like oh Instagram is really interesting and then…you know, I’ve been think thinking about a podcast as well, but I do kinda right now focusing on teaching my materials within my courses and stuff like that and then possibly we’ll do that later. You know, there are so many platforms to help people learn. So fun…
I know I feel like… my dad used to tell me this story about a baboon he used to work at the zoo as an educator there and he said there was a baboon and they used to put all of these coconuts in the baboon’s enclosure and the baboon would try and pick them all up but they’d always put in one extra that he couldn’t hold so he would constantly be dropping one as soon as he picked up the other one. And I felt like that kind of thing with social media quite often where I’ve got like YouTube and Instagram, Facebook and the podcast that it feels like this constant juggling act where a ball is always falling to the ground and you like ahhhh…
I’m sure like you can even take that into when you’re learning a language, you could sit there and focus so much on like your listening skills because maybe that’s a little fun and then you’re speaking falls behind and then, you know, reading maybe isn’t so good and writing. So you kind of have to learn how to incorporate everything and give everything the time that it needs, right?
Exactly. So, can you tell me more about Canada and what are the things about Canada that make it a better place to migrate than America or Australia or New Zealand or Great Britain? What are the pros and cons?
I think right now there’s a lot of process, especially compared to America, because you know what’s going on in the U.S. Donald Trump and his anti-immigration policy. Canada has always been very opposite to that, like diversity is really a pillar of our identity within Canada. And so we’re opening up our doors for immigration more so than ever before and especially more so now than the Americans. We have a really neat immigration policy that I think helps, you know, make our diversity work so well it’s based on a point system. So, unlike the US where usually if you have a family connection or if you’re married or your brother’s American somehow you can, you know, immigrate through family ties, whereas in Canada it’s a point system so you get points on your education, your language ability, where you want to go in Canada. So, if you’re willing to go to maybe a place that’s a little more rural that doesn’t have a huge population you could earn more points…it’s I’m not an expert this is just what I know.
Yeah, yeah, yeah…
Basic, you know, don’t take my word but that’s kind of the general thing of how the immigration policy works so, it’s really, really neat because you get some really well-educated people that want to be part of Canadian society. They have good language skills and can contribute.
So, which are the places too people should try to go? Which areas of Canada are the ones that you would recommend people go or maybe the ones that most people try to go to?
Yeah. Like I think all across Canada is a great place to migrate. I don’t think that one is better than the other. A lot of people prefer Toronto or Vancouver. That’s kind of like the two that people know. And so, they’re like I’ll go to Toronto or Vancouver. These are very expensive cities. Vancouver is one of the most expensive in the world, Toronto is very expensive. So, as long as people understand that when they’re moving there there’s going to be some larger costs than if they were to move to a smaller city or to somewhere, you know, less populated. And a lot of people that do go, you know, will study at a college and, you know, get a little bit of a Canadian education and then go on to start working, so yeah…
So, with regards to learning Canadian English, what are your suggestions? If I’ve got listeners right now listening to this podcast or watching this video, who are… wherever they are in the world they thinking about going to Canada or learning more about Canada. even migrating there, what is a way in which they can they can learn Canadian English? What are the difficult or different unique aspects of Canadian English?
It’s kind of a vague term Canadian English because it’s very similar to the American, we have a very similar to the American accent, the Northern American accent a lot of people have a hard time, just, I’m even sure yourself, have a hard time distinguishing if it’s a Canadian or an American.
Oh that’s the Australian New Zealand accent problem, right? We can here it really well, but you know others can’t and it’s the same thing I’m always like to ”say about, say about” she’s Canadian, got it!
Yeah. It’s always about. Even when I’m watching YouTube videos. I can tell if the content creator is Canadian or any subject. Pretty much as soon as they say ”about” I’m like ….
So can you say that first? Can you say those words? Can you do an American accent version, than the Canadian version at all?
No, I can’t do an American accent, but like you could say ”what about the house?” that would be like… because the OU sound.
What about the house? Yeah. What about the house? is how I would say.
What about the house? Is the OU is distinct, we say it differently.
Yeah. It sounds like that: “What about, what about the house”. I mean, that’s what exaggerating it.
Yeah, Yeah. And so, there’s not a whole lot of differences. There’s a few spelling differences, we kind of mashed together the British spelling with the American spellings, so for instance we spell colour, with an OU, labour with an OU, we don’t use the… like ‘organize’, we tend to use the Z and not an S. So, we have… and ‘Program’ it doesn’t have that ME at the end, like in England they spell it P R O G R A M M E.
See, that’s so funny because we suffer from the same kind of issue especially using computers. Anytime we get a computer like my Mac is constantly correcting me into American English. And it’s happened for so long that it screwed up my… I get the average one, I can understand okay you know like ISE what I’ll use instead of IZE or OUR r instead of OR, but then quite often you have words like program and I’ll be like… oh no. Is this with just one M or two Ms and a E. It’s so funny how that’s kind of leached into other areas of being way short of the dialects.
Yeah. Yeah. Especially anyone who moved, you know, away from Britain they kind of adopted their own spelling and then we kind of… because Canada is part of the Commonwealth and we kind of kept our ties to England, but we severed them a little bit. It’s just kind of weird how it turned out with spellings, but that’s kind of the main difference with the Americans. Same spelling and then pronunciation things, but then a lot of times I think students, you know, they can get more excited about learning especially if they’re going to Canada from a Canadian teacher. I think for them it kind of gives them a little step inside Canada. You know, they get to learn about it, they can ask questions. So, that’s really what I try to give my students.
And is there a big range of expressions or slang that differs from the U.S? and even accents too…I know that there’s the Newfoundland that accents that’s totally different, right, from Vancouver accent.
Yeah, I know, you would find that like I would sound very similar someone for Vancouver. There’s not a whole lot of accent difference. We have a little bit of like a rural accent. People that don’t live inside the city sound… yeah, really, really small, like you barely notice that accent differs, the differences than in Canada. And then slang, there are some slang words, like we add “ey” to the end of every sentence too.
Yeah? As in just saying that daradarara “ey?”.
Dadadada… it’s cold out, ey? Yeah, super cold!
So, that would kind of be what we would do. yeah, there’s a bit… I have a YouTube video on it, I can send you the link…
Yeah, definitely do, and that’s something there that pattern kind of happens every now and then in different dialects. If you go, in Australia, right? I’m from the south and if you go up to the north into a state called Queensland they do that, they have that sort of habit of putting hey, on the end of every sentence, so like ”it’s hot today, hey?” Would you like to go to the beach, hey?” so you know they’ll do that quite a lot and so it’s funny how those..
That’s our big one. I stopped saying it when I lived in Ireland because everyone would be like ”oh hahaha Canadian, that’s so cool”, so I stopped.
Well, that’s the funny thing too, any time I’ve been overseas I notice my accent…. I think it goes up and I like overdo it or it drops down because people are having trouble understanding me and I have to really enunciate and pronounce my words clearly and how do you find that, being in Switzerland now, how have you found your English, has that changed at all? or even after being in Brazil, did you find yourself changing at all?
To be honest, I think… you know. when you’re spending most of your time speaking to native English speakers, I think you’re just kind of… you start making some mistakes that they make sometimes. And I know a lot of other teachers say that that happens, you know, you start to kind of…”how do they say that? What happened there?”
Well, you used to what’s familiar, right? and that happens to me with Portuguese and French, after… especially when you are heavily learning them and watching TV shows, suddenly all use the same patterns, but I’ll say them in English but just with English words and then I’ll be like Wait… that doesn’t…. that’s how you would normally say that.
Yeah. I know, this happens in Germany people put like verbs at the end of the sentence and you can kind of… the word order gets all kind of funny. But, you know, I’m really lucky in this place a lot of people speak very, very, very well in English so it’s not too difficult we tend to get round in English so I’m thankful for that.
And so, what are you doing currently to learn German? If you, you know, you’re used to teaching English, have you found that the way in which you go about learning German is completely different from how people would learn English or is it effectively the exact same thing?
I think when you’re an adult and you start at like zero, it’s a little different, because a lot of people who are learning they’ve had like a little bit of English through their schooling. Most children know a little bit of English now and then they grow up, you know, you do learn it. and starting from absolutely nothing.
Never had any exposure or anything like that.
Nothing. You know, I’ve got a few work books and just trying to possibly get myself up past a one and two and then I can get into like… taking a course here.
Do you recommend doing that?
I think for me for the… for motivation I’ll go to school and do a little course, I might do something online and I still have to kind of research and see what is out there in terms of learning.
I didn’t do anything, I took an online course in Portuguese and that helped me a lot. So, I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, it’s called The Semantica Portuguese…
Yeah, I have, I have heard of it.
Yeah, I took that one so that helped me a lot and there was lots of video lessons and activities and stuff and it kind of jumpstarted me and then the exposure.
And is it something you’ve always interested in learning languages or was that just something that kind of fell in your lap?
Yeah, nothing it’s like I’m forced to do it. You can’t get around in Brazil unless you can speak a little bit of basic Portuguese.
So, was your husband like that, though, or partner when you guys got together was he like so… you were going to do Brazil first and then we’re going to Switzerland.
So, yeah, that’s how it played out. So, you know, and I got to Brazil and I had like zero, nothing in Portuguese and just kind of was on Duolingo, was on on YouTube all the time, was taking this course and then I would chat a lot with my Uber drivers when I was driving to make lessons. Yeah, yeah, it’s like it’s kind of a safe zone cause you get to get out of the car in 30 minutes and yeah I don’t have to ever talk to these people again.
I can make a fool of myself and no one will know.
So, I think that’s kind of what I did and it was it was a cool experience and I never…Canada is a bilingual country, people speak French and English, I don’t speak French. I learned French in school, but I grew up so far away from any French speaking area that, you know, it’s not uncommon for people to be fluent in where I’m from.
That always blew my mind. I’ve been to Canada once when I was a kid and my cousins lived with my uncle and aunty in Vancouver and I remember we went and everything was in French and English and I was like What? I thought that Canada was an English-speaking country. Can you tell us a bit about, I don’t know a brief history of how that came about and what people expect if they come to Canada with regards to the two languages? And I almost said ‘the both languages’, the two languages*.
The two languages. Yeah, so we have…. officially it’s a bilingual country. So, you can interact with the government on any level in either French or English. All services are provided in both languages. Any materials, the websites you see are both in French and English. We have a French speaking province that’s entirely French, province of Quebec. And then a small part of a neighboring province has a lot of French speaking communities and basically, you know, way back in history you had the French settlers, you had the English settlers and was, you know, a bit of a fight over who would reign, but as it turns out we have both languages in Canada and in government. For example, it would be required that people speak both.
Every time our prime minister speaks both languages or switch between the two. In like if he’s doing like a press conference, he’ll be speaking both. You’ll get a translation and then from a young age in school, about grade 4 or more about 10 we start learning French for about five or six years and then you can stop and most of us do and don’t really think about it ever again. Unfortunately. I think in English speaking, at least for myself, I didn’t like this was the complaint at school. It’s like, well, so why do we have to learn French? Like, you know? Yeah. That’s kind of the attitude.
Doesn’t everyone just speak English?
Yeah, because the people do speak English, you know, so I wish that maybe I had had more of a… I liked it more and I stick more with it but I couldn’t.
Well, you’re in Switzerland. You never know, you might be able to just find somewhere that’s close to the border between where those two languages are in the country and they smash those two out as well.
It did help me with Portuguese, so I must say, having a Latin language and understanding that they change the way the verbs change and conjugation and things like that, that really helped. So, it wasn’t completely useless, it was more… it helped me later on, you know?
Oh brilliant. And so, with regards to learning Canadian English, what sort of advice would you have for students if they are in their own country right now, what’s the best way, obviously going over to Can Learn English.com to get started and Can Learn English on Facebook or YouTube, but are there specific TV shows or books or things they should keep an eye out for that would be a bit of a boost?
Yeah, they can watch Canadian TV, there’s a bunch of comedians, I have a blog post about it, I can send you a link and put it in your show notes if you want.
Yeah, do it.
I list some Canadian TV shows that they can watch. they can… you know. always the news is a really good idea. You can watch the news from anywhere in the world. You know, you can pick a Canadian news channels, that helps a lot.
I know, YouTube is wonderful for that, right? You can get ABC News Australia streamed on their 24 hours a day, there are news channels in the US doing the same, I’m sure Canada as well. So, someone needs to put together a page or something that just has all these different dialects of English as YouTube channels, so that they can just stream them and switch between them.
They can all just stream all the news, because I think the news is great, it’s kind of a very understandable type of English and they can get in touch with kind of current events that are going on in the country and things like that. And Canadian news is always really cute and funny because it always tells the stories and there’s always this really sweet story at the end, you know, about a bear, who, I don’t know, visited someone in their back yard.
That it, there’s always like death, sad stuff and then at the end it’s like he’s a happy cat video!
Yeah, basically. A cat running for mayor or something like silly. So… It’s not a totally different thing.
Are there any other main big differences between say Canadian culture and American culture or anywhere else? Are there things that people should be aware of or consider before coming to Canada or would give them a bit of a boost as well, if they meet someone and they’re like ”yeah, I know this thing so I get you!”
Yeah, that’s a really good question, I have to think about that. I know one…. like there are big differences between Canadian and American culture and it’s just really good to like…know that. You know, don’t think you can just blend the two together, because we absolutely hate it, we are… I guess, we probably have like maybe a little sibling syndrome and ”we’re here too, you were too!” so we don’t like to be confused with Americans, and kind of like… you know, we have a very different government, we have a lot of social policies and we’re very proud of our free health care, so… A lot of the issues that are going on in America, we’re like you dealt with those like forever ago. Those aren’t a problem for us. You know, what’s going on? So, I guess you have to just be when you’re in Canada, be really mindful that people are very multicultural. We’re really uncomfortable with any type of like prejudice or racism or anything like that.
So, you know, it’s a very inclusive place.
And what are the guns like? I take that you guys are a bit more strict on that, right?
I think maybe in some places, but I don’t know anybody with a gun, so…
Anything else that you wanted to mention before we finish up then?
I don’t know, I think that’s it, I really liked it…Thanks for inviting me onto the podcast. I love your stuff. It’s really cool. I thought that you were doing, you know, Aussie English, I’m doing Canadian English it was great that we were able to connect, it was awesome.
I know. I’m so happy. Anyway, where can people find you, then?
Can Learn English.com, that’s my website. You can search Can Learn English on YouTube and Can Learn English on Instagram. And then I have a Facebook page as well and I have a group, so, if anybody wants… is moving to Canada and they want to join the group it’s called ‘Talking to Canada’, but you can find these links on my website and stuff so…
Oh brilliant, I’ll put them all in the show notes as well as the transcript so that you, guys, can them easily.
Awesome, Dana from Can Learn English, thank you so much for joining me today.
All right, guys. So, I hope you enjoy that interview.
Remember that you can find out more about Dana on her website CanLearnEnglish.com. You can obviously search “Can Learn English” on Facebook, on YouTube, on Instagram, and you will find her accounts. The accounts will also be in the transcript today. So, if you would like to learn more about her, what she does, how she teaches, and maybe just more about Canadian English, go to CanLearnEnglish.com. Big thanks once again, Dana. I hope to have you on again in the future. And I will see you guys soon. Catch ya!
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AE 495 – Expression: Dodge A Bullet
We all recognise the face, I mean, how could we forget? 15 years after the Port Arthur Massacre that photo of Martin Bryant still sends a shiver down the spine.
Nowadays, we like to think that his eyes are a little crazy and that expression is ever-so-slightly off kilter, but that’s all in hindsight. The fact is, apart from being a bit troubled as a kid and intellectually limited, really Martin Bryant could be anyone’s son, but he just so happens to be Carlene Bryant’s son, and the burden of that has been devastating for her.
Carlene Bryant is tormented by the same questions that trouble us all. What made a seemingly ordinary if dim-witted young man go out and kill 35 people?
What is going on, you mob? How’s it going? Welcome to this episode of Aussie English, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone wanting to learn Australian English, although that’s about to change as some of you may know.
If you listen to the recent episode, this podcast is going to have a slight pivot, a slight shift and a slight change in focus to hopefully focus more on just general English. Obviously, guys, though it is going to be from me an Australian English speaker so, I’m going to be using Australian English all the time. The odd slang word, the odd expression, all of that sort of stuff, hopefully still Australian guests and everything on the podcast, but I want to sort of broaden my horizons a little bit and get other folks on the podcast from all over the world, whether they’re English-as-a-second-language speakers or they are native speakers of English from South Africa, America, England or wherever it is. I want to sort of broaden and things out a bit.
So, thank you so much to everyone who sent me an e-mail responding to that last Walking with Pete episode. I think it was 494, a lot of you got back to me and the overall consensus from you, guys, was that it was a good idea to be focusing more on general English. Obviously, you will still get exposure to all kinds of dialects, but primarily Australian English as that’s what I use, as I said, but hopefully we’ll start covering other topics, hopefully things like collocations, I’m really keen to do a course with that and Kel is thinking about helping me with that as well so, that might be the first thing that we tackle and we’re probably going to be putting that into a course in the Aussie English Classroom as well.
So, as usual, this podcast the Aussie English Podcast is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom. If you would like to learn English from a more sort of in-depth, thorough study kind of perspective, where you get courses every single week and you get courses from all the previous expression episode, sign up at theaussieenglishclassroom.com.
If, however, you aren’t interested in studying courses or maybe you just don’t have enough time to study, but you still like reading the transcripts and you want access to the MP3s as well, go to theaussieenglishpodcast.com and you can sign up there for the price of one coffee a month to be able to get all the transcripts, you’ll get unlimited access to the transcripts for each podcast episode. Anyway, guys. It has been a really good day. It has been a really good day!
A few things happened. And one really, really big thing, but I think I’m going to have to wait and tell you about that in the near future, but it is my one-year anniversary with Kel tomorrow.
So, we went out today, though, and had dinner, that was amazing. We also went out at sunset and took some amazing photos at a lake nearby called Blue Lake, in Ocean Grove, and this is this amazing lake where there are so many different bird species all in the one area. And I’ve been there probably five times in the last week and a half. It is phenomenal.
Anyway, moving on to this episode, guys, the segment at the start there, guys, was from a 60 Minutes report about the Port Arthur massacre and I wanted to talk about this because it’s a big part of Australian history and it has shaped gun laws in Australia and obviously talking about guns is related to today’s expression to ‘dodge a bullet’, but before we get into that, let’s do the Aussie English joke, ok?
And it’s a good one, it’s a ripper of a joke today, guys! A good pun, alright? So, here it is, here’s the joke:
Why do you call a gun that doesn’t kill anyone? What do you call a gun that doesn’t kill anyone?
A ‘vegun’…It’s so stupid! ‘A vegun’.
Get it? right? Cause vegans are people who don’t eat any meat or any animal products, right? I think they avoid milk and honey anything that’s come from animal that they just eat plants, right? So, what do you call a gun that doesn’t kill anyone? A ‘vegun’… Oh my gosh, I need to get some better jokes.
Alright, guys, so today’s expression is to ‘dodge a bullet’, to ‘dodge a bullet’, and this one came from Zinnia in the English classroom. She suggested this in the Facebook group for members of the Aussie English Classroom, we voted on it. Good job, Zinnia! This was a really, really good expression and I have used this quite a lot.
So, let’s go through to find the words in the expression to ‘dodge a bullet’. Obviously, there are only really two words here worth defining.
Dodge. To dodge something. If you dodge something, it is that you move out of the way, right? So, if something is coming towards you, usually something dangerous that’s going to hurt you if it hits you, you know, like a bullet, a rock, maybe it’s a car, maybe it’s a person on a bike. If you shift yourself out of the way quickly, if you move out of the way and you avoid being hit by that thing, you are dodging that thing, you have dodged that thing, you’ve moved out of the way.
A Bullet. A bullet is the ammunition that goes into a gun, right? It could be a hand gun, machine gun, but that is a bullet. There is gun powder in the bullet. There is a metal slug made from lead or tungsten some other kind of metal on the front, but the bullet is the entire thing, ok? A bullet.
Alright, so let’s define the expression, to ‘dodge a bullet’. If you dodge a bullet, it’s that you managed to avoid a difficult or unwelcome situation, you know, like being shot by a bullet. So, it is to avoid a difficult or unwelcome situation. It is also to have a narrow escape, to avoid injury, disaster, or some other situation, ok? So, overall, it is just to avoid something unpleasant, an unpleasant situation.
So, let’s go through some examples of how I would use the expression to ‘dodge a bullet’ in a sort of day-to-day life, right? If I was just using English as I normally do each day, alright?
Example number one. So, imagine you gone into the city to do some shopping. You’ve parked your car on the street in front of the mall or shopping centre where you want to go and do some window shopping, get some new clothes, whatever it is. You’re in a rush and you forget to purchase a parking ticket, though, you know, you need a parking ticket to stay in that spot. Maybe it’s two hours’ worth of parking in this two-hour parking spot and you forget to buy a ticket.
So, you rush inside and the ticket inspector is doing the rounds and eventually comes around and gets to your car and he starts looking at your car and is he is like ‘alright, there’s no ticket here… I better write a ticket to this person or for this person”…
So, as he starts to pull out his note pad, you know, that he is going to write this ticket up on, just in the nick of time, just before anything bad happens, you arrive and see that he is about to do so, and you start to apologise profusely. So, you say to the ticket inspector: I’m really sorry! I didn’t know that I was meant to buy a ticket here! I’m about to leave, anyway. Is there any way that you can find it in your heart to not give me a ticket today? Today is not my day. Please don’t give me a ticket!”, and for some unknown reason he decides to give you a pass. He lets you off the hook, he doesn’t give you a ticket!
So, you feel so lucky because you’ve dodged a bullet and you don’t have to get a ticket. You don’t have to pay the ticket fine that you would get. That could have been hundreds of dollars. You dodged a bullet. And in this case, the bullet was the ticket. You avoided the ticket. You dodged the bullet.
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The thing that it is, Aussie English today, right? With the Aussie English classroom, with all the
Example number two. Imagine you going to a footy match, right? A football match at the MCG, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the MCG in Melbourne. It’s one of the more famous places around Australia that you will see footy matches if you come here. So, you’re seeing your favourite match play. (It) could be Hawthorn or Essendon, and they’re playing against some other team that you hate, maybe Collingwood. They have to win this match, right? If they win this match, it means they can enter the finals for this year’s shot at winning the footy premiership. So, the game’s neck and neck the whole time, meaning that the scores are very, very close to one another and they keep passing each other, but your opponent’s team is just ahead of you the entire time until right at the end where your team just manages to squeeze forward and at the final siren it gains one point and wins the game, right? 70 to 71, for example. So, your team dodged a bullet when they won this match by one point and they got their chance to enter the finals. They avoided a bad situation, which would have been a losing this match that would have been the bullet, they dodged a bullet.
Example number three, ok? Imagine that you are an overweight person who’s been eating a lot of really bad food, a lot of junk food, right? So, lots of fried food, like fried chips, KFC, Maccas, you know, McDonalds. You haven’t been exercising very much. You haven’t been active. And to top it off, you’ve been working at a desk, you’ve had a very sedentary kind of lifestyle where you’re not moving around, you’re working in a desk 9 to 5 every single day. so, one day you feel some pain in your chest and the pain shoots up into your left shoulder and suddenly you realise you’re having a heart attack, you call 000, which is the police, the fire brigade, and the ambos, the ambulances in Australia and you get the ambulances to come and pick you up and take you to the hospital. So, they arrive, they whisk you off to the hospital and they save your life with the treatment that they give you, but only just, right? They only just save your life. It could have been a hell of a lot worse. You could have died. So, when you wake up in the hospital bed, the doctor might tell you this that this was the case you only just had your life saved. You dodged a major bullet and you need to change your lifestyle and get healthy. The bullet obviously being the, you know, situation where you could have died, the heart attack, the act of dying. You avoided this, you dodged a bullet, so it was a close brush with death. Hopefully you’ll change your ways and, you know, get outside do a bit of exercise, get the blood pumping a bit every day.
So, hopefully now guys you understand the expression to ‘dodge a bullet’. This is to manage to avoid a difficult or unwelcome situation, to have a narrow escape, to avoid injury, disaster or any undesirable situation. So, as usual let’s go through a listen and repeat exercise, guys, where you guys can practice your pronunciation, whether you try to nail the Australian accent, in which case copy me as much as you can or you’re just trying to perfect your English accent whatever English accent that is. Just listen and repeat after me, Let’s go!
To dodge a
To dodge a bullet x 5
Good work! Good work! Now we’re going to conjugate through the different pronouns. I, you, he, she, we, they, it and we’re going to do so in the conditional perfect tense, right? ‘Would have’ plus the past participle of a verb, would have done, would have seen, would have thought, ok?
So, pay attention to how these are contracted when I speak naturally. I’m going to fully contract these sentences, guys, so if you would like to learn more about these contractions and the sort of steps to learning how to do this while you speak English, make sure you join the Aussie English Classroom and you’ll get a video today describing the pronunciation of these sentences and these contractions, ok? So, listen and repeat after me, guys, this is fully contracted, how I would say this normally, ok? Let’s go!
I’d’ve dodged a bullet.
You’d’ve dodged a bullet.
He’d’ve dodged a bullet.
She’d’ve dodged a bullet.
We’d’ve dodged a bullet.
They’d’ve dodged a bullet.
It’d’ve dodged a bullet.
That may sound weird, guys, but that is actually how I would say that when speaking really quickly and naturally, right? I’d dodged a bullet, he’d dodged a bullet. That’s how I would speak quickly and to get your head around these will really help you understand native speakers when they speak quickly, but also make you sound a lot more natural when you speak English.
Anyway, guys, let’s get into the Aussie English fact for today which is a bit of a somber fact, it’s a bit macabre, it’s a bit…. It’s a bit sad, but it’s worth knowing, guys, it is important that you guys know more about Australian culture if you’re coming to Australia and yeah that’s why I thought I would talk about this today.
So, today I want to discuss the Port Arthur massacre, guys. This occurred at, obviously, Port Arthur, the Port Arthur Historic Site in Port Arthur, Tasmania, on the 28th and 29th of April in 1996.
So, the Port Arthur Historic Site was a penal settlement that began as a small timber station in 1830 and it is a tourist attraction that you can visit in Tasmania, but tragically it is now well known in Australia for this massacre that happened where one of, if not the largest, mass shootings occurred in Australia. So, 35 people died and 23 were wounded. The murderer was Martin Bryant and he had a subnormal IQ and was intellectually disabled. And he pleaded guilty for the incident and was given 35 life sentences without the possibility of parole.
So, he is currently serving something like over a thousand years in jail in Tasmania. So, this event underpins some fundamental changes of gun control laws in Australia that came into place shortly after this incident.
But what happened? What exactly occurred? Let’s chat a bit about the story.
So, Martin Bryant was this kid who grew up in Tasmania. He, for all intents and purposes, had two normal, loving parents. He was bequeathed about $600,000 in property in assets from this eccentric woman that he became really close friends with. She had apparently, like, 40 cats and 16 or so dogs that he was paid to take care of as a job, but she tragically passed away in a car accident and he gained all of this inheritance.
So, he went on many trips around the world from 1993 onwards and was withdrawing quite a lot of money during this time, obviously, spending it on himself and life experiences, but he also spent this money on some guns including an AR-10 semi-automatic rifle through a newspaper advertisement that he had seen in Tasmania and then later he went on to buy an AR-15. At the time, non-handguns in Tasmania were not required to be registered.
Switching on to his family, though. Bryant’s dad wanted to buy a bed and breakfast called Seascape, but unfortunately a couple called Noelene and David Martin bought the property before his father could organise his finances. Unfortunately, his father fell into a deep depression and ultimately committed suicide. And so, this, coupled with Martin Bryant’s best friend, that woman, having passed away, set him on a path to destruction. He blamed the Martins and described them as the worst people in his life.
So, what happened on the fateful day?
Martin woke up at about 6:00 AM and saw his girlfriend off to visit her parents. He switched on the burglar alarm and left the house at around 9:40. He went to the Seascape bed and breakfast and shot and stabbed both for Martins to death. He then travelled to the Port Arthur Historic Site parked his car in the parking lot near the Broad Arrow Cafe and entered the cafe with the sports bag and a video camera. He purchased a meal, ate the meal on the deck outside and then walked back into the cafe to return his tray. This is when the story becomes macabre.
He pulled out his bag on the table, pulled the gun out and started shooting at people. Within 15 to 30 seconds he had already killed 12 people in the cafe and 10 more were wounded. He moved into the gift shop, killed another 10 people and wounded two more. He walked out into the car park and killed another four people and injured another six. You see the pattern here. He just was on a rampage. He ended up getting into his car and actually sounding the horn and waving at people as he was leaving this scene.
He killed a number of people on the way out including a woman and her two daughters who were three and six. Just horrible. He ended up hijacking a car with a man named Glen Pears in that car and his girlfriend Zoe Hall. He forced Pears into the boot of his car, and then shot Pears’s his girlfriend who was trying to climb into the driver’s seat of her car.
He headed to the Seascape Bed and Breakfast again and forced Pears inside and handcuffed him to a stair rail in the house, and at some point, he also set the BMW on fire.
The police arrive shortly afterwards, and after an 18-hour stand-off, they caught him the next day when the guesthouse was set on fire and Bryant came running out of the house on fire himself with his back and buttocks severely burned.
He was arrested and taken for treatment in a local hospital where his victims were being treated and it was later discovered that Pears, the man he had kidnapped, had been shot before the stand-off had even begun.
So, by the end of the day, the body count was at 35 dead people and 23 wounded people. An incredibly tragic event and the only positive side to this event was the fact that after this, shortly after this, all states and territories of Australia restricted the legal ownership and use of self-loading rifles, self-loading shotguns, and tightened controls on their legal use by recreational shooters. The government initiated a mandatory buyback scheme with the owners paid according to what they had in their possession.
Anyway, guys it’s an incredibly sad story, but I think if you come to Australia, if you go to Tasmania, in particular, you’re probably going to hear about how this happened and the tight laws in Australia surrounding guns. Australia is incredibly different from places like the U.S.. I have never seen a gun in public. I have never seen a hand gun. It’s just a very different place if you come here. That is something that you will see.
Anyway, guys I hope you enjoy this episode. I know it was a bit of a long one. Keep at it and I will see you soon.
See you, guys!
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AE 494 – WWP: A Change in Direction for Aussie English
Well… that was a big fail! I was about to go for a Walking with Pete when I got ready, got my mic set up, got my phone here that I’m recording on and I went to walk outside…. Just opening the back door so so I can go outside, I wanted to walk outside to get my little walk and realised that it was raining. And now here is just as bad.
There’s cover there, but the rain is coming from the south…. Squishy shoes and wetting everything under the balcony there.
Anyway, let me try this side of the house… This looks better. Here we go, no! cat’s trying to get outside. Alright, so outside so, we’re back… we’re back in Melbourne. We just move back.
And Kel and I are living at my parents’ place. They’re over in Britain at the moment. Travelling around for five weeks and we are taking care of their cats. So, that’s been good fun. It’s nice to be back down near the beach, near family, near my sister and her husband or boyfriend. Long term partner, I guess, you would say, and their child and… I’ve just been rethinking things really with regards to Aussie English so as you guys may or may not know, I mean you probably know when you look at the number on the front of this episode, Walking with Pete, it’s probably going to be. 494, 495, I guess, we’ll see when I release it.
You’ll see that we are almost up to five hundred episodes on the podcast. Five hundred. That’s amazing! I never expected to get this far from the very beginning, you know, I remember starting this maybe three years ago, four years ago now? It was in 2015. So, three years ago, almost four. And initially just thinking, you know, I’m trying to start this up to help friends who were having trouble with Australian English and obviously it has evolved into the beast. The thing.
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The thing that it is, Aussie English today, right? With the Aussie English classroom, with all the courses in there, the Aussie English podcast, website obviously, I’ve got the YouTube channel and then I’ve got courses that I’m selling as well. So, it’s all evolved from there.
And yeah, it’s been really good, it’s slowly growing, you know, this year it’s been… it’s been pretty continuous. I’m still sort of, you know, scraping by, I’m not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s obviously been able to keep me afloat as in keep me with my head above water financially that is, to be able to keep doing what I’m doing, even though I had finished my PhD last year and decided, you know, I’m going to let this go and I’m going to keep teaching English and keep doing that full time and. Not get a job in the area that I had been studying in for 12 years. So, anyway I’m really proud of myself, proud of the podcast and everything that it is and proud of you, guys, to it for sticking with it. Some of you guys have been there since the very, very beginning and that to me that is really, really impressive and really touching as well because it makes me know that I’ve struck a chord with you, guys, and I am helping you improve your English. I also want to say thank you to all of you guys who have given me feedback over the years as I’ve been trying to improve and trying to come up with ways to, you know, innovate, change, teach you guys and do things differently. And so, I’ve really, really appreciated all of the support and all of the feedback.
Sounds like it’s stopped raining. Maybe, maybe for now, anyway. So besides that, the reason I wanted to put this up was because I was thinking about going in a new direction. So, now that we’re almost up to episode 500, you’ve probably got enough resources out there to learn Australian English five times, you know? Like, you’ve probably got more than enough resources from the 500 or more episodes of the podcasts that are out there all or at least most designers specifically focusing on Australian English and so more recently I had been thinking about changing it up and aiming at everyone and anyone wanting to learn English from say upper intermediate to advanced levels. So, I wanted to sort of shift the focus of this podcast just a little bit and deemphasise how much Australian English is the focus of the podcast and focused more on Advanced Learners of English.
So, I was thinking…just going to go inside..
I was thinking about more potentially interviewing people from all different countries all over the world learning English or speaking English, you know, whether they’re from Scotland, Ireland or America. Every now and then I have had them on the podcast recently, but I’ve sort of tried to get more Australians on that. So, that was one thing that I was thinking about. Switching on to, you know, focusing more on getting other foreign speakers on the podcast. And then also just focusing on the episodes that…I don’t know, were… focused on problems that advanced English speakers have, right? So, learning things like collocations or scenarios… Kell has suggested recently we sit down and talk on this podcast in episodes about specific scenarios. So, for instance if you’ve got to go to the airport what are five expressions you could use at the airport and where would you use them? Who are you likely to need to talk to? What are you going to have to say to be able to prepare you for those sorts of scenarios? And so I wanted to make this episode to let you know, you know, my thoughts see what you guys think and see where you guys would like the podcast to head because, after all, this podcast is there to help you, guys, and to help you improve your English whether it’s Australian English or any other English now, you know, hopefully from now on after episode 500 will switch over to something different.
Maybe I’ll change the intro and the outro to the podcast. I don’t know. I’m just thinking about it, ok? So, anyway I would love to know your feedback. That’s probably enough for today’s little Walking with Pete episode, but I would love to know what you think, is a really bad idea? Would you prefer that Aussie English stays the way it is or is it a really good idea? And would you like for Aussie English to be a little broader and focus on English accents, English dialects from all over the world? The experiences of people in different countries learning English in different countries? America, New Zealand, Africa, South Africa, as well as more of a focus on advanced English in episodes on the podcast so maybe I’ll come up with some new episode themes or content where we’ll focus on different Collocations or different Verbs or things that Advanced Learners can use in their day to day life when they’re using English.
So, your job today is to send me an e-mail at email@example.com Ok? So, that is firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to know what you think. I want to know your opinion. So, when you receive an e-mail saying that this episode is out, I want you to reply to that email or just go to your inbox and type in email@example.com and send me your thoughts. I want to know what you think. Is it a good idea or is it a bad idea? And I think as, you know, any democracy out there if the majority of you say it’s a bad idea, I’ll rethink things and maybe stick with what I’m doing, but if the majority of you say, you know, hell yeah! that’s a good idea! I guess we’ll start changing things up as of episode 501, I guess.
So, anyway, guys, that’s enough for today! Thank you so much again. I really appreciate each and every one of you who listens to this podcast, who is in the English classroom learning each week, who is signed up to the podcast site, who’s bought any of the courses or who watches any of the videos on YouTube.
You guys are amazing and I wish you guys all the best and I will hopefully see you very, very soon.
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AE 493 – Expression: Go Pear-Shaped
I was out the front mowing the nature strip and I could see a bit of attention on the other side of the bridge of people looking and taking photos, and I thought, wow, there’s something going on, so (I) went and had a squiz, and then once I saw what I saw, I thought, yeah, this is gutsy.
Honestly, it looked like someone (had) done damage to the bridge since the way it’s got the hole in it. I had no idea who’d done it. I thought, well, someone around here has got talent.
I probably should’ve got permission, but I thought, I’ll just go and have an experiment. It’s only chalk. It’s going to last a couple of days. If it rains, it’ll come straight off. I did it on the Friday, (I) thought, if it’s not washed off by the Sunday, I can go down with some water and hose it off.
Hey, you mob. How’s it going? Welcome to this episode of Aussie English, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone or wanting to learn Australian English.
Remember, guys, if you would like the transcript and the MP3s to this podcast, you can get access to all of them, unlimited access, when you go to theAussieEnglishPodcast.com, hit ‘sign up’, and for the price of one coffee every single month you will get access to the MP3s and the transcripts to download them and listen to them, consume them, do whatever you want with them, anytime, anywhere.
If you’re a more serious English-language learner and you would like to get more out of every single one of these expression episodes, then I thoroughly recommend enrolling in the Aussie English Classroom, and that is theAussieEnglishClassroom.com. Head over there, sign up, it’s just one dollar for your first month at the moment, guys. So, give that a go. And you will get all the bonus content for these episodes, the videos that go through things like pronunciation, the expressions that are used in these episodes, the more advanced vocabulary, you’ll get speaking challenges, and you can take part in the community and meet other people. We recently had a whole group of people in Melbourne here who were in the Facebook group for the classroom, they all got together and were practising in whilst together in the CBD. Anyway, guys.
With that, let’s go through the movie scene there at the start. Now, I found this on Facebook this week and it blew me away. It blew my mind. It was mind-blowing. I loved it.
So, this was the story of how this mural was painted on a bridge wall in Warrnambool, which is in Victoria close to where I live. Well, three hours away, but relatively close, you know, in the grand scheme of things in Australia. And this guy painted this mural on the wall, another guy found it and saw it, and decided that he would prefer this mural to be permanent instead of just washing away next time it rained as the mural had been done in chalk, which is what the original artist’s plan was, for this to be just temporary.
Anyway, that video will be linked in the transcript. I really recommend going and checking it out. It was an amazing video full of humour, Australian humour, and it was from ABC News. Okay? So, these guys are an amazing resource if you want to practice your Australian English by watching the Australian news. I love ABC News. You can check them out on Facebook and they also have a live stream on YouTube that is 24 hours a day. Just type in ‘ABC News’ into YouTube and you will find that. Anywhere, guys.
That’s it for the intro. A quick apology too if I sound a little congested. I have just moved back to Melbourne or to Geelong, rather, which is about 70 kilometers south of Melbourne, and I’m living at my parents’ place and they have cats, and I’m allergic to cats. It always takes me a few weeks to get acclimated to them, to sort of… for my body to become used to them, and I have to take anti-histamines in the meantime, you know, and I feel like I to sneeze all the time. Anyway.
As usual, let’s get into an Australian joke, and I’ve got a killer for you today. (I) told this one to Kel and she was like, you need to include this in the episode. Alright, here’s the joke.
Why did kangaroos hate rainy days? Why did kangaroos hate rainy days? Because their children play inside.
What do you reckon? Is it a good one?
Why do kangaroos hate rainy days? Because their kids play inside. Get it? Because kangaroos have pouches. Anyway.
Today’s expression, guys. Today’s expression is for things ‘to go pear-shaped’, ‘to go pear-shaped’. This was from Alexander who suggested this in the Aussie English Classroom. We all voted on it. Good job, Alex.
So, let’s go through the definitions of the words in this expression ‘to go pear-shaped’.
So, ‘go’. ‘Go’ can mean a lot of different things. You know, usually, it is talking about moving in a direction, right. You’re going forward, you’re going backward, you’re going to a place. But here, if ‘go’ is followed by an adjective here like ‘pear-shaped’, it’s more than it means to turn into something. So, to pass into or to be in a specified state, especially, an undesirable state. Right? So, it’s sort of like to turn bad, to become bad, to go bad. So, you might often hear things like ‘things have gone bad’, ‘things have gone wrong’, ‘things have gone awry’. Those are some collocations you’ll often hear with ‘go’, where it means to sort of change state, to pass into another state.
‘A pear’. ‘A pear’ is a sweet yellowish- or brownish-green edible fruit and it is narrow towards the stalk end above where it attaches to the tree and the wider towards the base. So, you’ll often have likened overweight men to apples and overweight women to pears, right? Because men seem to carry the weight around their stomachs and women around their hips. So, men are shaped like apples, women like pears.
‘Shaped’. The word ‘shaped’ is the external form contours or outline of someone or something, right. I am obviously shaped like a person. If you carved a rock into the shape of a love heart, maybe a heart, okay. It is shaped like a heart.
Now, we can combine words, often nouns and adjectives, into compound adjectives. Right? So, this is where you’ve got multiple words describing something and we put a hyphen between them.
So, in this case ‘pear-shaped’ means ‘in the shape of a pear’, and instead of saying ‘in the shape of a pear’, it’s much quicker to just say ‘pear-shaped’. Okay?
So, let’s define the expression. If something ‘goes pear-shaped’, this means that it goes horribly wrong, it goes awry. So, for things to go bad, for things to go wrong. That is when things ‘go pear-shaped’.
So, I was looking around trying to find the origin of this expression and it seems like there’s no clear-cut origin for it. However, the first citation appears in a book called Air War South Atlantic in 1983, and it seems like it may have been slang from the Royal Air Force. Okay? And the quote from this book was, “There were two bangs very close together. The whole aircraft shook and things went ‘pear-shaped’ very quickly after that.” To say that, obviously, things went wrong, things went disastrous, right.
So, let’s go through some examples of how I would use this expression, ‘to go pear-shaped’, in day-to-day life, in real life. Alright.
Example number one. So, imagine you are planning a weekend trip away with the family. So, you want to go camping somewhere, somewhere nice nearby, maybe in a forest somewhere. So, if it’s nearby me, obviously, you could go to places like the Great Ocean Road or to Willson’s Prom, Wilson’s Promontory. You guys, if you’ve been to Victoria, may have been to these places. So, you put all your camping gear in the car, your tent, the ropes, the pegs, to hold the tent down, your portable gas stove, food supplies, sleeping gear, like mattresses that are inflatable and sleeping bags, and maybe a fishing rod or two. After you pile your kids in the car and you get your wife or your husband to get in the car as well, you jump in and you head off on the road towards this destination where you’re going to go camping. On the drive, the weather is beautiful and this was the whole reason that you wanted to go camping in the first place, you know, you were hoping for really good weather and it turned out to be the case. But then as soon as you get there, the clouds cover the sky, the day becomes overcast and rain starts pouring down, right. It starts raining cats and dogs, it starts pissing down, it’s raining heavily. So, because the weather’s turned so horrible, your plans of a wonderful weekend away camping with the family have gone pear-shaped. They’ve gone horribly wrong, they’ve gone awry, your plans went pear-shaped.
Example number two. Imagine you are a soldier in the army and you have a platoon of men that you obviously are a soldier with. You guys have a mission. You’ve got to go behind enemy lines and you have to capture a certain building. Okay? So, it’s really dark. It’s dark at night when you guys have to leave. There’s no moon. You’re hoping to be able to get there under the cover of darkness, meaning that no one will see you. You can use darkness as a means to hide whilst you infiltrate the enemy territory. So, just as you’re entering the building with all your men, an enemy soldier spots you. He puts a light on you and things go pear-shaped. You have to bail, you have to escape, you have to run away as your platoon receives enemy fire, meaning that the enemy is firing their weapons at the platoon. But fortunately, you make it back alive despite the mission going pear-shaped. Things went pear-shaped.
Example number three. Alright, imagine you are a pregnant woman, right, a woman who is close to giving birth. You’ve got two kids and a husband already, obviously, and this means that, usually, the house is incredibly noisy. There’s a lot of noise. There’s a lot of kids running around screaming and you find it very difficult to take a breather, to take a time-out, to have time to yourself to relax. Fortunately, this weekend, your husband’s offered to take the kids to the beach so that you can have a day off, right. You can take time for yourself and watch your favorite chick-flick, kick back, have your favourite nibblies out of the fridge.’Nibblies’ being food, something you like to nibble on, your ‘nibblies’, that’s a good Australian slang term. So, you put some chocolate out of the fridge after the kids have left with your husband, gone to the beach. You sit back, you kick your feet up, you relax, but just as the movie begins, your kids and husband rush back inside, and it turns out, when they got to the beach, there was a shark at the beach. And so, there were sirens going off, the lifesavers were there saying no one can go in the water, you can’t swim, it’s not safe. So, as a result, they all came home and your plans have gone pear-shaped. Your plans have been disrupted, things have gone bad, the situation’s turned horrible, things have gone awry, things have gone pear-shaped.
So, hopefully, by now, guys, you’ll understand and can use the expression ‘to go pear shaped’, it means for things to go bad or for things to go awry, for things to go wrong.
So, as usual, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise here, guys, where you can practice your pronunciation. By now, I am sure that you guys know the drill. Let’s just get straight into it, guys. Listen and repeat after me. Let’s go.
To go pear-
To go pear-shaped x 5
Good job. Now, I’m going to put this into a sentence with ‘to make’ in the past tense, like, I made…, you made…, he made…, she made…, etc., …things go pear-shaped. Okay? I made things go pear-shaped, you made things go pear-shaped. So, listen and repeat after me, guys.
I made things go pear-shaped
You made things go pear-shaped
He made things go pear-shaped
She made things go pear-shaped
We made things go pear-shaped
They made things go pear-shaped
It made things go pear-shaped
Good job, guys. Good job. Remember, if you would like to go through this exercise in more detail with a fine-tooth comb and learn all of the more interesting aspects of pronunciation in English here, join up at theAussieEnglishClassroom.com, and you will get a pronunciation video for this episode, as well as all the previous episodes, and it will really help you improve your English quickly.
Today’s Aussie fact, guys. Let’s just get straight into it. Today’s Aussie fact I thought I would talk about cane toads, and I’m not sure if I’ve talked about these before or not, but maybe you guys have heard of cane toads in Australia. If you go north, you will definitely see cane toads.
So, I recently saw a news article this week about the genome having been cracked for cane toads, meaning that the genome of the cane toad, the DNA sequences of the entire DNA of the cane toad, has been successfully sequenced now, and it got me thinking about the cane toad, and I thought I would go through a number of different facts about it. Okay? And there’ll be a link in the transcript for this article if you’re interested.
Alright, cane toads. So, cane toads are a type of frog and they were introduced into Australia, they are an invasive species in Australia. They are not natural. They aren’t endemic here.
They’re about four to six inches long when they get to fully-grown size and they can weigh up to about four pounds, so close to two kilos, which is pretty impressive for a frog, and the females actually end up a lot larger than the males, and this may not come as a surprise, because females are, obviously, the animal that produces all the eggs. The males produce the sperm. The females produce the eggs. So, they’re egg producers and layers.
Once fully grown, the females can deposit up to 30,000 eggs in a single night. That’s crazy. And it only takes three days, 36 hours, for these eggs to hatch into tiny tadpoles. This is obviously one of the reasons these guys are such successful invasive species.
So, these tadpoles slowly grow their back and their front legs, usually the back first then the front, and they transform into froglets, young frogs, after only four to eight weeks.
They can live up to 10 or 15 years in the wild and up to 35 years in captivity. That’s four years older than me. Crazy!
Cane toads are highly poisonous, though, they’re very dangerous, and produce a toxin in the glands on the back of their neck so that if anyone picks them up or bites them, attacks them, often this toxin, when pressure is put on this gland, is released, it’s spat out of the frog and it can kill really quickly. So, that’s why there’s such a danger to native animals, especially, animals that hunt them.
So, the cane toad isn’t native to Australia. We established that at the start. And it was ignorantly introduced into Australia in 1935, so 83 years ago, by a man named Reginald Mungomery. So, he brought these over to Australia in a flight from Hawaii where he picked up a 102 of these cane toads, 51 males and 51 females. And this guy was supposedly trying to fix the problem of cane beetles, cane grubs, that were destroying sugar cane crops in northern Australia. So, these insects were eating the crops and he thought, you know, I’ll get some frogs. Obviously, frogs eat insects, and we’ll let them go, and hopefully this will sort out the cane beetle problem.
The problem was that the frogs can’t jump very high, right? So, they became beetles at the top of the cane, the sugar cane, which can be metres high, and the frogs don’t get up that high.
So, these toads were initially released around Cairns and Gordonvale and Innisfail, in Far North Queensland, and shortly after this ‘the march’ of the cane toad began. And this is known as the ‘Invasion Front’ in Australia. I remember this at school always being spoken about. Where the cane toads at now? Which cities or towns are they about to get to?
So, the march of the cane toad moved at about 10 kilometres a year until the 1960s when it significantly began to pick up pace, it began to speed up. By 1945, the cane toads had reached Brisbane, which was 1,600 kilometres south of where they were first released. They started knocking on the doors of people in Byron Bay in New South Wales in 1965. And by 1984, they were stealing the cat food from unsuspecting kitties in the Northern Territory. And in 2009, they finally marched across into Western Australia on the far west of the continent.
So, until today, the cane toad is one of the most catastrophic ecological disasters to have ever happened in Australia, much worse than any other introduced species. Whether it’s rabbits or foxes or donkeys, the cane toad has been devastating.
Despite this, scientists are still hopeful that they can fight against the cane toad by coming up with unique ways to control cane toad numbers. Although, we’ll never be able to completely eradicate the cane toad, hopefully, studies such as the one I mentioned at the start, where the genome has now been completely sequenced, will allow scientists to identify weaknesses in the DNA of the cane toad or maybe in diseases that affect the cane toad, but don’t affect native animals, and they can use these to exploit the cane toad and control their numbers in the future.
So, my question for you today is one: have you ever seen a cane toad in real life if you’ve been to Australia? And two: have you seen the awesome cane toad documentary Cane Toads: An Unnatural History? So, I recommend checking out that doco. It is amazing. And it is full of Australian humour and you will learn a lot about… not just Australia and Australian culture, but also about the cane toad too if you check that out.
Anyway, guys, that’s enough for today. I am struggling, I am very congested, and I’m going to have to edit this episode a lot to get rid of all the coughing and repeating of myself. Anyway, I hope you have an amazing week, I hope you’re enjoying yourselves, and I chat to you soon. See you, guys.
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AE 492 – Interview: How to Get Permanent Residency in Australia with Mai Medina – Part 2
G’day, guys. How’s it going? Welcome to this interview episode of Aussie English. This is part two of, obviously, a two-part series with Mai Medina from Mai’s Journey.
So, hopefully, you guys checked out the last episode that I did with Mai, that was 490 – How to get permanent residency in Australia with Mai Medina. And remember, this interview ended up going for quite a while. So, I think the interview totaled like an hour and a half of time. We were having a lot of fun when we were chatting on Skype and I thought that might be a bit too much for you guys if you have to sit there and listen to, potentially, an hour and a half of me talking. One, I can imagine my voice gets pretty annoying, and two, it’s just a lot to absorb.
So, I’ve broken it up into two parts, guys. Here is Mai Medina from Mai’s Journey on YouTube. Remember, the links will all be in the transcript, and if you would like access to these transcripts go to theAussieEnglishPodcast.com, click ‘sign up’, and for just five dollars every single month you can get access to all of the transcripts and MP3s so you can study anywhere anytime. Anyway.
I give you Mai Medina from Mai’s Journey.
So moving on slightly. How did you get used to Australian English? What was, you were saying that you were having trouble at first when you started your University Masters here in Australia and that the teachers spoke obviously with an Australian accent, what did you do to get used to it and to overcome that language barrier?
Well I… because I didn’t have any Australian friends at uni. And at home we were all internationals of course, none of them were Australians.
But I think this is going to be… this is why it’s good, right? Because you have overcome it. And I think a lot of people listening are going to, at least if they’re in Australia or they end up in Australia and they haven’t done so yet, I think they may end up in a similar situation where it seems it’s always very difficult to penetrate the world of the native Australian speaker, right, and surround yourself with them all the time. So what did you do and what do you recommend people do if they find themselves in a similar situation?
I started dating.
Oh yeah. Ok, so you got on Tinder, huh, and started meeting Australian guys?
Yes. So I started dating and I was dating Australian guys. And then you get used to it. You go out with them, if you don’t understand a word you can say “can you say it again?” which is not the case in a classroom environment, you are not going to stop the teacher at every sentence trying to figure out why he just said. And then you just get used to it with time. Like, I don’t know, the first month was very hard. The second month not so hard. Right now I listen to lots of podcast and that also helps a lot. But back then podcasts were not a thing so I can’t say that I used that. But one of my friends, she is studying for her IELTS and she has been listening to podcasts, like English, Australian podcasts and she says, she said to me like a couple of weeks ago like “oh I can understand those girls”. And I was like “just keep listening, because you’ll get used to it” and she said “oh yeah”, I mean, yes, there are a few things that I can’t understand but you just get used to the way the pronunciation and the way you…
Well that’s it, right? It’s kind of like you’re doing a puzzle, right? And it’s not like you start the puzzle when there’s nothing on the board and then all of a sudden, it’s finished. You do little bit by little bit and slowly the picture emerges and it’s the same, I think, with English and improving your ability to understand native speakers. It’s not like you just do this one thing for this set amount of time and now you understand 100 percent of everything everyone says. Like, I still say “Pardon me” to other native speakers all the time if I miss what they say. But I definitely think you’re right, there are loads of podcasts, especially Australian English ones. You’ll find things like obviously mine, the Aussie English podcast, you’ll find Conversations is a good one. Hamish and Andy are two really funny comedians who have one. So there’s heaps on there, they’re free guys, get on there. But also did you watch Australian TV and were you doing any extracurricular activities that introduced you to Australians?
Not really, apart from dating that is the extracurricular activity. Not really, because I was studying full time and then I had to work to pay rent. So I was working at night and I was working as a cleaner. So I was cleaning a school in Toorak but then I didn’t have any interaction while I was cleaning because it was just me.
That’s a job I tend to try and get people to sort of like avoid if they can. Like it is good if, you know, you don’t need that many skills to get paid but it’s all alone or it’ll be with other people who speak say Spanish.
But I have to say that my English was good and that was the only thing that I found. So one of the sad realities is that if you are from Latin America and you are coming here to study and you are looking for a part time job, most likely you will start as cleaner.
Well, I was doing my PhD working as a waiter. I had to clean the toilets every day. I had to, like, you just have to take that piece of humble pie and just deal with the fact that you… even Australians take these shitty jobs to get through university. It’s not just you. It’s not because you’re foreign, it’s just that those jobs are open and they’re easy and you don’t need skills.
And also those are the ones that fix your timeframe, like your timeline, the time that you are available to work because I was studying during the day so I can only work at night and that was the only one. So… yeah!
That’s a good point. So can we dig into Tinder a little bit? What was your experience like dating in Australia? What should other Colombians or people from anywhere in the world who come to Australia and get on Tinder, obviously you can’t really speak to it from a male perspective but from a female perspective, what was that experience like and interacting with Australian men?
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It was different.
What does that mean Mai?
Oh… Ok so this was four years ago. So Tinder wasn’t as bad as it’s now.
Was Tinder out four years ago?
Wow, I am getting old! Far out!
Because I now have a boyfriend that I met on Tinder. But I haven’t used Tinder in four years. And my friend said that it’s really shitty now but before then I did Tinder and I did… what’s the other one?
There are a lot.
RSVP and Online Harmony, eHarmony?
Yeah, there are a lot of them, yeah.
So I did those three. And it was hard because first Australian guys are completely different to Colombian guys. The Colombian guy is very romantic. They are not upfront with what they really want. So they’re kind of like they’re sweet.
So that’s a bit more cat and mouse going on, where you don’t know what’s going on. Does he like me, does he not like me? Where with Australian guys, was it a different story?
Australian guys were very to the point. This is four years ago, but the ones that I met, some of them, not all of them but some of them were like “Oh you are a Latin, you are hot”, then “We want to F”, right?
We want to have sex, yeah okay.
And I was like “No I just want to date, I just want to go for a coffee or a dinner” but then they were expecting more.
Yeah. So how do you navigate that? What advice would you have for girls coming to Australia who want to date guys or who may end up dating them? How did you obviously navigate through all of these guys who were very upfront and find your current boyfriend who’s obviously done the right things, whatever the right things are?
Well my first advice is never go on dates at night, if it’s a first date. I mean the first date, don’t accept drinks because that’s just like a synonym of have sex. And if you are not up for that, don’t do it. So my recommendation is go for a coffee date at, I don’t know, 3pm or a brunch date. Something like that, that it’s not…
I think a good sign is, with that too, that if it is ever going to lead to sex on the first date, it’s going to have been after eight hours. It’s not going be, you know, it’s the kind of thing where it’s like you’ll have to have spent the whole day together getting to know the other person before anything happens, if it’s gonna happen.
And then the other thing is : don’t expect the guy to pay.
Really? Why is that?
Well with my boyfriend it was different but with different…, I mean I’m all for half and half, I don’t have a problem with that but I do know girls who are expecting the guys to pay for everything. And then because they are paying then they believe they have rights. Anyway, …
Well, it’s just mixed messages. Yeah, it is mix messages.
You have to be very upfront with: this is my half.
I think though from my point of view too. From my point of view, when I was dating a lot more, I would get almost the same way I think you would feel as a woman if someone was just like “okay come back to my house, I want sex”, you know? I would feel like, in the same sort of way, I would feel like I was being used, if you didn’t even offer to pay for the meal or anything. If you just assumed that it was my job, I’m paying for your time, for me it feels just as bad as if it were me assuming that you’re coming home now after all the stuff that I’ve done for you, by paying for the meal and, you know? So that’s a good expectation to have though when you come here and you date someone: your job is to offer, his job is to pay.
Yeah that’s correct. And the other thing that was very different, and it took a while to get used to, is that the fact that you are dating an Australian guy doesn’t mean that you are part of his life.
Really? What does that mean?
In Colombia you date a guy and immediately you meet his friends, you are part of his family and you are all the time with that person. That’s normal in Colombia. Here, you date a guy and normally the guy will keep things apart. He will date you, but then his friends will be his mates and that will be his priority until much… like a long time passes and you become the priority. And that is completely different in Colombia. In Colombia you’re in a relationship and it’s like your world just changes and you are just with your couple. Whereas here it’s completely different. It’s kind of like you have to earn that place in his social circle before he agrees to introduce you. Like it’s not immediately.
I guess though, that’s a good sign though too, right? Because, it’s kind of like, if he does say he wants to introduce you to his friends pretty quickly after dating you or his family, that’s a massively good sign that it’s serious and that he’s not just screwing around.
Yes he’s serious when he does that, whereas in Colombia it just really doesn’t matter.
And so how long have you been with your boyfriend now and how did the relationship compare to one in Colombia? Is it much the same at the point you’re at now?
Well we have been together for four years.
Oh wow so you really met him straight away.
I was one year single, only one year single. And now after three years we’re moving together, and yeah like he was very… like he has a really good relationship with his parents which sometimes is not the case with Australian guys. Like it’s another thing, like Australian guys, Australians in general, like the millennials or whatever, they tend to leave home quite early after they finish high school. So they live by themselves or with mates but then in Columbia it’s the opposite, they stay at home.
I think for us, Australians, we kind of… Did you ever watch the TV show “Everyone loves Raymond”? Have you seen that?
So there’s two brothers, one of them has moved out, has a family. The other one’s single, lives at home, he’s 40 years old and he’s kind of the joke. That’s the joke of the whole like the tension between them, that one brother’s young, has a family. The other one stayed at home and has failed all his relationships and that’s kind of the epitome of I think for Australian guys, we don’t want to end up the guy living with the family because, at least our sexual market value, if you go out with a woman and she finds out you live with your parents after your 20 something, it’s like she’s going to be like “What’s wrong with you?”. So I guess that… And it is interesting because I had a housemate from Estonia and his relationship with his mother was very different from mine where I chat to mine all the time but it’s kind of like I text message or chat to her on Facebook or I’ll see her or I call her maybe once a week, once every two weeks and then get into it and chat to her for quite awhile. But he was on the phone every night for like an hour. Like yeah and that was… I don’t know if that’s normal for Estonians but it was a lot more like he was very connected to that relationship. So yeah it is a bit different I think.
Yeah it’s a bit different. But yeah.
That’s interesting. Crazy okay. So you got Step one : get to Australia after sorting out your visa, your IELTS, the university. Step two : find somewhere to live. Step three : get a boyfriend. Step 4 : conquer Australian English.
Step 3 was finding a job.
Yes, okay let’s talk about that. What did you do in order to find a job?
After finding a job, I got a boyfriend.
So what did you do in order to find a job here in Australia?
I was very lucky. I have always… like I’m Catholic so I believe in God and I believe God just wants me here because I only had one year. My visa was only for one year. So I needed to leave Australia by the end of December 2013 and in August I applied for a job on LinkedIn. A random job at Nielsen which is a marketing research company. And around… no no that was like July. And on August they call me and say “hey, you applied for this job, this is to be a trainer”. I was like “a what?” “A trainer”, and I was like “I don’t have any” well, I didn’t say that but I was like “I don’t have any experience training people”. It was kind of like an HR kind of role and I was like okay so I went to the interview and after one interview they called me and say “yeah sure the job is yours”.
And I said “Look, I need to leave the country in December and I’m studying, so I only can work up to 20 hours per week. If you do give me the job, is it possible to get a sponsor?
They said “well, just start working and in November we will decide”. So I was like “okay”. But I didn’t have any other option I like “great”.
So is that the usual story though? What advice would you give to people who are thinking about coming to Australia and studying and then getting a job? Would you suggest getting on LinkedIn, websites like LinkedIn and submitting CVs and trying to go for those jobs?
Okay, so I think the marketplace has changed a lot since then. My advice is just check that your career is on the list at least.
Yes for permanent residency and citizenship later on down the tracks.
Or not even for PR, just for getting a sponsor. That’s it. And it is heart breaking because many careers are not in the list. And if you do not have the experience, you don’t get to be sponsored either.
So is that something you would really suggest sort of keeping in mind before you even come to Australia, look into that and try and work out, plan ahead what kind of career am I ultimately going to try and go down that road of that will hopefully lead to me getting permanent residency or citizenship or sponsorship in Australia?
Yes so my recommendation would be: if your career is not on the list just keep in mind it’s going to be really hard to stay. If your career is on the list, just look at Plan B because the list changes all the time.
That’s the other thing I was going to ask.
The original occupation that I used to get a sponsor in the first place is no longer in the list.
Okay, it changes.
And the one that I used to get the PR is no longer in the list. So I was lucky.
So you really need to keep your finger on the pulse, right? And stay up to date with things.
One of the things that in my channel I get lots of questions about how to stay, what can I do to stay in Australia? My recommendation is go to a Visa advisor and see what are your pathways because sponsorship is one pathway but you can also get a state visa but then that means you have to go to live in Canberra or Tasmania or Perth for two years to get the visa. But it is important that people do know what are the options if they have any because it is becoming really hard. Like if someone in marketing, it’s almost impossible to find sponsorships now because it’s not in the list. And if it’s in the list, it’s only the one that gives you two years with no option to apply or extend. It is getting really hard.
So the takeaway message there is just stay up to date with the list and the different requirements for these visas and the best way to do so is talk to an immigration agent and ask them for advice. And do you need to pay for that? Are there free services that you know of?
Normally the agencies that help you with the studies, normally they will know what is up to date. But I do believe for the ones that are more like PR and all that, you need to pay like a fee for the advice for them. But it’s very important because although all the information is online, it is really tricky to know what it is. Like, I have on that Visa Advisor Australian Government website so many times looking for answers and it’s so complicated, it’s not an easy “oh yes this is ABC”, no!
Yeah, that’s it.
And it keeps changing and one thing is that the website page is not up to date sometimes because the list is still the old list. So it is confusing.
So don’t leave it up to chance, guys. If you need to know more about this and you’re just winging it, you’re just improvising, make sure that you go and see an immigration agent or maybe ask your university or ask your English School for advice on who to talk to about this and get it. Get your ducks in a row, right. Have things organised. Have a plan of attack. All right, so what happened? You got sponsorship from this job.
I got a sponsor.
Yeah, and what did that lead to? You got to stay here for another three years before you got PR?
So the visa was for four years. And after two years of working on that job and four years of working or living in Australia, no I think it’s just after two years of working on that position, you can get permanent residency. So again I asked my job, my company…
Sorry, what did you say? It broke up again. You asked your job.
So I asked my boss in my company if they will be willing to help me with the PR because although I do have one Australian boyfriend and I could have done the PR by my Australian boyfriend, I wanted to do it by myself. So I talked to the company and they said “yes, sure we will sponsor you to the PR”. But then I had to take the exam again, the English test again.
Well I had the choice. I had.. you could take either the IELTS, the TOEFL or the PTE.
Okay, and which one did you choose and why?
I took the PTE, just because the IELTS… I think the IELTS is, to test English I believe the IELTS is the best of the three, because you get to interact with someone in your speaking and you get to write a proper essay in your writing. Whereas the other two are just computer based and it’s awful.
I do believe the PTE is way easier than the IELTS.
I’ve heard it’s a double-edged blade though because I have a student who did the PTE and I think he did incredibly well in everything except for speaking and it ended up being he got like 10 percent and he rang them up and was like “What the hell?”. And they said “oh the files that you spoke and sent through just came through but it was broken up and the microphone that you used or whatever wasn’t good and that’s why you got marked down”, so…
Yeah. I mean I think it’s easier because the machine is evaluating you. Like a human is not listening to you, it’s the machine. Because the machine is evaluating you, if you can speak English then you have very good chances of passing because they have to be more flexible because it’s a machine, right? Whereas if it’s a person, well, no. The person, it will be her opinion and her opinion only. And she will be listening to you for real, whereas the other one is a machine. But the problem with the PTE, and this is why I really recommend you, if someone is going to take the PTE, just buy the two exams for free, no, the two extra exams that you can buy from the website and for practice, because PTE is not about speaking English, PTE is about memory.
So what are the pros and cons? How much does each cost the PTE and the tough one, the IELTS?
If I remember correctly, all of them are quite the same. I think one is fifty dollars more expensive than the other one but they’re around 300/350 dollars. Yeah, I remember there was one more expensive but I can’t remember which one.
I think it might be the IELTS because I think my girlfriend did that maybe six months ago and it was 500 bucks.
Oh wow. Yeah no. The PTE is not that expensive. But the other thing is the PTE goes over two days. So one for the… No sorry. The IELTS goes over two days : one for the interview, one for the actual exam whereas the PTE and the TOEFL is just one day, you just go there, you just sit down in front of the computer and just pray to God that you are going to remember. Because one of the worst… I hated the PTE although it’s the easiest one, I hated it because the speaking part, like 90 percent of the questions of the speaking part were like “this is a sentence, remember all the sentence, and then, say it back”.
So you can’t miss a word or you get penalized completely. It’s like it’s all or nothing.
Exactly, that was my lowest score speaking. And I consider myself like a good English speaker but in that exam by the time the guy had finished saying whatever he was saying, I had completely forgotten how did it started.
I guess that’s a good point for IELTS where if someone’s listening to you or speaking with you, it’s kind of like they can fill in the gaps with their intuition or whatever, if you miss a word they still understand exactly what you’ve said and it’s like “okay, yeah you communicated successfully”. You might get marked down but you don’t get a zero.
Exactly. Where with the PTE that was the worst. But on the flip side the writing part is not an essay, because for the IELTS you need to have like a structure, you need an introduction, two paragraphs or one paragraph of content and a conclusion. Like it’s very structured and you need to follow that structure, otherwise you won’t pass, whereas with PTE they said “write an essay, but no more than 200 words”. How you are gonna write an essay 200 words?
That’s half a page.
It’s just a paragraph, and that’s it and I got the highest score in writing because it’s not an essay. So yeah, I hated the speaking and I got a really bad result in the speaking, but I still passed.
That’s pretty funny because you would tend to have the opposite in IELTS, right, where the writing is always the worst one for most people and speaking or listening tend to be the best.
So I recommend the PTE if you are very good at speaking and your writing is not that strong because the writing part is really easy.
Okay so you had to do that, you had to do those exams again and get a mark to get your sponsorship or to get PR?
The PR. You can not apply for PR if you don’t have that English level which has changed. So I was very lucky, so everything changed after I applied. Because now to get the PR, you have to be sponsor… I mean you have… it can only be done… oh no that’s for… I mean I think the levels of English have increased now for the PR.
Yes, I think there’s six and a half to seven band on the IELTS or something like that. Or maybe 6 and above. I guess the key is stay up to date with the requirements, no matter what you’re doing if it’s sponsorship or, you know PR, or citizenship, whatever it is, just make sure you find out what the requirements are, before you get into it too deeply. But what was it like when you were sponsored? Was that easy once that was done and you’d found someone who you worked for who is willing to sponsor you? What was the process like? And then what happened with PR? Is it easy once you get the ball rolling?
Yes, so if your career is on the list and the company said yes, it is very easy.
Of course they do it… my company did it via Fragomen which is a visa institution helping thing. They are very expensive but they are very good, like they get things rolling very quickly. Normally you get that, normally companies have an agency that helps them with that. I have heard of companies that they just said “yes, we are gonna sign the paper and the recommendation, it’s up to you to do everything” and that is very hard because you have to complete many papers, forms, you have to take a medical examination to get your PR. But in my case, it was really easy, I just sent my papers and that was it, like I took the exam, took the blood test and that was it, like I was done.
So did you pay anything for your sponsorship or for PR or was that paid for by your company?
So in my case, it was paid by the company.
Lucky. What could be expected though, if the company is not willing to pay for it but they are willing to accept it, what’s the kind of amount of money that you would expect to pay right now?
So for the PR, they can do whatever. So they can say “we cover all the costs”.
Who, the company or the government?
No, all of it, it’s the company.
So, the company can say “I will pay everything” or they can say “50/50”, or they can say “you pay everything”, that is for PR. For the other visa, for the first visa, for the sponsorship to stay in Australia, they have to cover everything. It’s illegal for them to ask you to pay.
But for PR, it’s up to them. In my case,… Normally what they do is, if they cover, I don’t know, whatever they cover, if they cover 100 percent or 50 percent, normally they will ask you to sign like a contract saying that you will not leave the company until X amount of years or otherwise you will have to pay them back. Once you are PR, you are not attached to the company. When you are sponsored, so 457 that doesn’t longer exist, but in that when you are sponsored, you are attached to the company.
Yeah, well they’ve invested in you and they just want to know that you’re not going to get the sponsorship and then leave.
That’s correct. So for example, in the first one, you are attached, so if you stop working there, you will need to find another sponsor right away, otherwise your visa will no longer be valid. Whereas with PR, as soon as you get the permanent residency, you are free to do whatever you want.
So even if you lost your job tomorrow, you’ve still got that there as long as you obviously can support yourself. Sorry?
I’m no longer there.
Ah cool! So you did change work obviously but the ball still was rolling with PR.
So I got my PR last April, so April 2017, sorry not last April. And I’ll leave my company in December, sorry January.
Brilliant! Far out! And so what was the process to go from PR and getting that to getting citizenship and I guess before you get to that, what made you decide to do it yourself as opposed to with your boyfriend?
I just didn’t want to depend on him. If there was no other option, I’m sure he would have said “oh sure let’s do it”. But I just didn’t want to, not because he would say “Oh thanks to me, you have PR”, no but more like for internal realisation and myself.
You did it all yourself. You didn’t ride on the coattails of anyone else. And what happens too if you got PR with your boyfriend and you guys broke up, are there any issues there?
No, because if you want to apply for a PR with a partner visa, you have to show and demonstrate evidence that you are in a long relationship. You have to present pictures and wedding invitations and tickets and everything because of course it’s very easy visa to fake kind of.
Otherwise yeah exactly.
The government tries to make sure that you are actually a couple. But once you get your PR, again you are free to do whatever, and if you are not together, that’s fine.
And so what’s the process then from PR to citizenship? Does PR lead to citizenship ultimately or you still have to go out of your way to get it and what made you decide to do that?
So PR it’s like indefinitely, like you kind of stay in Australia forever kind of thing. I think there is a limit of… like you can stay in Australia but you can not leave Australia for more than five years.
Yeah. I think at least when my supervisor was doing PR, he couldn’t leave Australia for a quarter of the year at a time I think. Like while he was trying to get citizenship or aim for it, for four years he couldn’t have been out of the country for more than one of those four years total.
Yes, something like that. So in theory you don’t need to apply for citizenship. I was very lucky. So when I applied for citizenship, you only needed to be PR for one year. From July this year, so in 2018 July 1st, that will change to four years. You have to be a PR for 4 years before applying to the citizenship. So I applied in April and I’m still waiting of course, the process takes up to 15 months.
And it’s really easy, like if you have the PR requirements then you just submit a form with a picture of you and the driver’s license.
It’s almost like “time served”, is it? You’re just sort of like “oh yeah, she’s been a PR for this long, yeah, give her citizenship”. And what’s the point? Was that just for you, you wanted an Australian passport or is there a benefit to it?
Yes. So, I think the biggest one for me is to get the Australian passport because being a Colombian, my Colombian passport still is not accepted in a lot of countries, so I do need a visa to get into lots of countries. Whereas the Australian passport is more trustworthy and countries are more willing to accept Australian passports without a visa. So that’s my first motivation. The other thing is that you can start voting and it will become mandatory of course for you.
Make sure you do, you’ll get fined 20 bucks if you don’t vote once you’re a citizen.
Yes exactly, which is not the case in other countries but yeah, it’s also another benefit. And the other thing that when you become Australian you can apply for benefits for school, high school, oh sorry, higher degrees like a PhD or Master.
You can get on the dole, you can get, you know, a retirement fund and all of that sort of stuff, you get the pension.
Yeah and also if you’re a girl and you have babies, if you are an Australian, you can get the benefit of the maternity leave, which is not the case with the others, if you are just a resident.
That’s crazy. So I guess you had come full circle, like you’ve left Columbia, you’ve come to Australia, you got educated here, you ended up finding a job and getting sponsored here which gave you the benefits of being able to work and stay here. Then PR, which meant you could obviously not be attached to the job and you could leave that job and do whatever you want, stay here for as long as you like, as long as you didn’t leave the country for too much of that period, right? Each year you had to stay here for three quarters of your time and now you’re getting citizenship, which will give you full citizen rights to Australia. Wow! That’s a pretty good story, I guess we should wrap up it’s been like almost an hour and a half.
I know, it’s been way too long!
That’s all good. I’m sure that the listeners will love it, there’s a lot of information there. So, where can people find out more about you, Mai? I know you’ve got an amazing video that I sort of found you through, or at least saw you for the first time. We’d been chatting online for Instagram and a few other things, but where can people find out more about you and what you do?
Yeah, so I do have a YouTube channel. It’s mostly about my life in Australia, so I do have some educational videos about how the health care system works, the transportation, how I got my PR, how I applied for the citizenship, how to get the driver license. Some of the videos are educational videos, but also some of them are more like my life, my favourites of the month, type of relaxer, my YouTube channel is YouTube… Well you can just go to YouTube and look “Mai’s Journey” or also on Instagram Mai Medina and that’s me.
Yeah, I’ll get the links to it and I’ll put them in the transcript. But it’s definitely good. Check out the YouTube channel guys, especially if you’re Spanish speakers because I think I noticed you had Spanish captions for some of these videos, so if they are learning English, the videos are in English, at least the ones that I saw were in English and you had captions in, I think, Spanish and English as well or just Spanish?
Just captions in Spanish. Yeah, just because my mom doesn’t speak English, so I do the captions for her.
Oh, that’s amazing.
But more than welcome everyone to watch those. Because funny enough, my audience in my YouTube channel is not Latin American people.
Exactly. I was wondering like, they would be other people in Australia, right, having difficulties with these things?
No, like 90 percent of my audience is people from India.
Oh wow! Okay.
So yes, and I get really like lots of questions from people from India on how to come to Australia. So, that’s why I keep it in English because I think I can reach a wider audience instead of just the Spanish.
I think you’re definitely right. Well Mai, thank you so much.
Thank you so much. It’s been a great Friday night.
No worries. Hopefully, I’ll get you back on the podcast in the future.
Thank you so much for having me.
See you guys!
Alright, guys, so that was it. Big thank you to Mai Medina. That was an amazing interview. I had a lot of fun doing this with her. Hopefully, I can get her on in the future and chat more about her experiences Down Under in Australia and what she’s gotten up to now, as it’s been a few months since we recorded this, and I’m sure a lot has happened. Anyway.
I hope you enjoy this episode, guys, and I hope to chat to you very soon. All the best. See ya.
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AE 491 – Expression: The World Is your Oyster
Oyster farming is quite a manual job. There is planning involved as well, but a lot of the work involves manual labour and jumping into cool water in winter. So, we have seasonal benefits where in summer time it’s quite nice and very enjoyable out on the water, and in the winter time we’re in and out as quick as we can, get a load on board, and then back to the shed.
Alrighty. Let’s get started. No window open today, guys, no window.
Alright, so, g’day, you mob. I hope you’re going well. I hope you’re havinig a good weekend. I hope you’re having an amazing week. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. This is the number one podcast for anyone and everyone wanting to learn Australian English.
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If you are the kind of student, however, who likes to study and wants to get a lot more out of these kinds of episodes, and wants to study the vocab in these episodes, the expressions, some of the pronunciation tips in more depth, and kind of wants to go through this with a fine-tooth comb, I suggest signing up at TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com, and getting into that classroom and consuming all of the content in there. There are videos for each of these episodes each week and you will get access to all the previous expression episodes too, as well as some other courses in there on pronunciation amongst other things. Anyway, guys.
That’s the intro. That’s enough of that. Welcome to this episode. I hope you like the intro scene there. I’m always trying to add these things in so you get access to other Australian accents and you also get introduced to things like the ABC Australia’s YouTube channel there, which is where that little snippet came from, so that you can find other resources and learn about Australian culture.
So, that was from, as I said, the ABC Australia’s YouTube channel, a little series called My Australia where it was following a Chinese girl called Jingjing as she visited an oyster farm in Port Lincoln on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. So, I really recommend checking out that entire video. Go to the ABC YouTube channel. I will leave a link in the transcript so that you can do so, but it’s a great way to watch more of their videos to learn about Australian culture and practice your listening comprehension for the Aussie English fact. Anyway.
Let’s dive into the Aussie joke for today, guys, and it is a shellfish joke, because, obviously, the expression is related to shellfish. So, the joke is:
What did the oyster say to the crab when he took his pearl? What did the oyster side of the crab when he took his pearl?
Don’t be so ‘shellfish’. Don’t be so ‘shellfish’.
Do you get it? The play on words here, the pun here, is with the word ‘selfish’ and ‘shellfish’, right. “Don’t be so selfish” would be the real way of saying that. Don’t steal something, don’t hold on to it, don’t keep it to yourself, don’t be selfish. And the joke here is that oysters are shellfish and we often call crab ‘shellfish’ as well so, don’t be so ‘shellfish’.
Alright, so today’s expression is ‘the world is your oyster’. The world is your oyster. I wonder if you guys have heard this expression before. This came from Michal who is from Poland. He is an awesome guy. He’s in our Aussie English Classroom Facebook group and his posting videos all the time when he’s out and about walking around. So, they’re always interesting to watch. If you guys want to be a part of that, go to theAussieEnglishClassroom.com, and then asked to join the group, and we post videos each week practicing the expressions from these episodes. Anyway.
Let’s define the words in this expression.
So, ‘the world’. ‘The world’ is the Earth, the planet on which we live, together with its countries and its people. So, it’s not just the physical rock that is the planet, but it’s also every country is a part of this world and every person is a part of this world. Right. The world.
‘Is’, obviously, present tense third person ‘to be’. He is. She is. It is.
‘Your’. ‘Your’ is the possessive pronoun for ‘you’. This is your thing. This is your car. This is your oyster. This is your phone.
And, ‘an oyster’, if you don’t know what ‘an oyster’ is, ‘an oyster’ is any number of bivalve molluscs with rough irregular shells, and they’re usually eaten raw as a delicacy, but they also might be farmed for pearls, the jewellery that you will get out of them. Those small spherical white, kind of iridescent, pieces of jewellery made by shellfish.
So, let’s define the expression ‘the world is your oyster’. ‘The world is your oyster’. If someone says to you that ‘the world is your oyster’, it’s the idea that you are in a position to take all the opportunities that life has to offer. So, you can do anything that you want. You can go anywhere you want. Everything is a possibility for you. ‘The world is your oyster’.
So, this is, I think, the first expression where it’s actually from Shakespeare. So, you guys might know Shakespeare, the famous British writer, playwright, I guess. And he coined this phrase. This phrase is from the Merry Wives of Windsor where Falstaff says, “I will not lend a penny.”, to a guy called Pistol who says, “Why then the world’s mine oyster which I with sword will open.”, and then Falstaff replies, “Not a penny.”.
So, the idea here is, and it’s the English’s kind of screwed up, you know, this isn’t how we would speak, today at least. So, the original implication of this phrase that Pistol is saying, “Why then the world’s mine oyster which I with sword will open.”, it’s referring to using violent means, i.e. using a sword, to steal his fortune, i.e. the pearl, that one finds in an oyster.
So, we inherit this phrase absent, though, of its original violent connotation, to mean that the world is yours or ours to enjoy. Okay? You can get everything out of it.
So, let’s go through some examples of how I would use this expression in real day-to-day sort of situations. Okay.
So, example number one. Imagine that you are a student in your final year of school. So, you’re in high school in Australia, you are in year 12, you’ve just completed all your exams, you’ve passed your exams with flying colours, so you’ve done incredibly well in these exams. When you get your marks back, your Enter Score, which is what we used to refer to as the final score you got at the end of high school so that you could enter into university, when you get your marks back, your Enter Score is as high as it could possibly be. So, you’ve done as good as you could have possibly done. And it will allow you to enter any university in Australia, do any kind of course that you would like, whether it’s medicine, science, arts, economics, law, engineering, you have your pick of the litter and you can choose anything you desire. So, as a result, when your parents find this out, they might be as proud as punch, incredibly proud, and they might say, “Well done! The world is now your oyster.”. You can choose anything you want. You can go anywhere you want. The world is your oyster.
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Number two. Imagine now you are that same student, okay, and you have entered university and you are studying science. But imagine you’re from a non-English-speaking country, right. You’re Brazil, from China, from India, from Nepal, from somewhere in Africa, you know, Zimbabwe maybe. And besides studying science, you’re also working your butt off, you’re working incredibly hard, to learn to speak English at a fluent and proficient level. So, you’re a very studious and diligent person who’s always studying science all day at university only to get home in the afternoon and start studying English. And the reason you’re studying English is because you want to have as many options as possible for your future career. Right? You want to be a world-renowned scientist one day and unfortunately for non-English speakers it requires that you learn English, right, so that you can take part in the English-speaking world of science. So, you know if you work hard and finish a science degree and you have the ability to speak English fluently and at a very proficient level, the world will be your oyster. You’ll be able to travel anywhere, you’ll be able to work overseas in any country, English-speaking or not, because you can use English there, and you’ll be able to apply to any jobs and positions in countries where English fluency is a prerequisite. The world is going to be your oyster.
Example number three. Imagine that you are a racecar driver, a real hoon, a real rev head, you know, you’ve always grown up loving cars and driving fast, and it’s led you down the road to be a racecar driver. So as a kid you battle your way up. Maybe you were driving go karts and then suddenly you got into more powerful cars like V8 cars on the Bathurst circuit, but your ultimate goal has been to get good enough, to get enough experience under your belt, to get enough street cred, to get enough street credentials or credibility, in order to race in Formula One, in the F1. So, you have one final race where if you win this race you’re going to be able to then race in Formula One. You end up winning it by a milestone, by a landslide, you absolutely dominate, and you fulfil your dreams and can now race in the Formula One. So, the world is now your oyster. You can do anything you want to do. The world’s your oyster. Alright.
So, I hope you understand the expression now, guys, ‘the world’s your oyster’. It means that you are in a position to take every opportunity that life has to offer. You can do anything. Go anywhere. Every possibility in the world is yours.
So, as usual, let’s go through a listen and repeat exercise, guys, and then we will jump into the Aussie English fact where I’m going to talk about oysters and some of the economics of oysters in Australia and some interesting biological facts as well. So, the listen repeat exercise first. Listen and repeat after me, guys. If you want to practice your Australian accent, then pay attention to the details of how I pronounce these things, and if you are just interested in your English accent, whether it’s British, American, Singaporean, could be from anywhere else, you don’t want an Aussie English accent, then just use your normal accent. Okay, guys? Let’s go.
The world is
The world is your
The world is your oyster x 5
Good job. So, now I say it using the phrases, “I said the world was my oyster”. “You said the world was your oyster”. Okay? So, it’s sort of like reported speech, but we’re going to use it in the simple past tense. Okay? So, listen and repeat after me and practice conjugating the verb ‘to say’ and ‘to be’ in the past tense. Let’s go.
I said the world was my oyster.
You said the world was your oyster.
He said the world was his oyster.
She said the world was her oyster.
We said the world was our oyster business.
They said the world was their oyster.
It said the world was its oyster.
Good job, guys. If you want access to the video that will be breaking down today’s pronunciation exercise and going into more depth about connected speech, pronunciation, intonation, all of that kind of stuff, make sure you jump into the Aussie English Classroom, guys. Sign up. Remember, it’s just one dollar for the first month, guys. You will have 30 days to give it a try before you have to pay the full fee. You’ve got nothing to lose. Give it a go and start upgrading your English. Anyway.
Australian fact. The Aussie English fact for today. We’re going to talk all about oysters and I’m going to be a little ‘shellfish’ and talk all by myself for five minutes, okay, about what I want to talk about. I’m being ‘shellfish’. Get it? Alright.
So, facts about oysters and the oyster farming industry in Australia.
So, oysters are a type of mollusk, as we said at the start there, guys, and it is a fancy way of saying a snail, right? A snail. Except these mollusks are from a group known as ‘bivalves’, which means ‘two shells’. So, any time you find things like… I don’t know. What are they? Clams and scallops, I guess. It’s hard for me to think of different kinds of mollusks. Those are all bivalves where you’ve got two sides to their shell.
So, oysters can range in size from a few centimetres to a foot across, so 30 centimetres across, and they can live for many decades, sometimes up to 40 years, right? That’s older than me. Mind-blowing.
Oysters live in marine and brackish water habitats, so the ocean, estuaries, rock pools, that sort of stuff, salty water, but not in freshwater streams, rivers, and lakes, etc.
There are three species commonly eaten in Australia. So, oysters are a common food here in Australia. The Sydney Rock Oyster, the Pacific Oyster, and the Flat Oyster. The Pacific Oyster is commonly eaten worldwide, however, the Sydney Rock Oyster is an endemic Australian species, it’s only found here in Australia, and has an annual production of 70 million oysters. That’s like three oysters for every person in Australia, and that rakes in about $35 million every year. Pretty pennies. That’s a lot of money.
So, oyster farming is one of, if not the, oldest and most valuable aquaculture industries in Australia, and it has been contributing to the economy for over 140 years.
Besides being part of the food industry, though, oysters are also a big part of the jewellery industry, or more specifically, the pearling industry. The pearling industry has also been around for over 100 years since the late 1800s when pearlers is first established themselves in Broome, which is on the north western coast of Western Australia in the Kimberley region.
So, by the year 1910, Broome was the largest pearling centre in the world benefiting from newly introduced diving suits as well as its fertile waters and the booming international pearl button market of the time.
The pearls extracted from Western Australian oysters are some of the largest and most lustrous found in the world, and in recent years a single Australian pearl fetched a price of $1.5 million dollars when it was sold. That’s ridiculous. That’s like a house or two. Jesus!
Aside from the pearls, the shells of oysters known as ‘Mother of Pearl’ as well as their meat is also highly valued and traded around the world.
It’s nice to hear how humans can exploit oysters and make money by feeding them to people or beautifying the rich with their shells and pearls, but what about the environment? What do oysters do for the environment?
So, oyster shells provide important habitat and substrate for other marine-dwelling organisms as their shells are uneven and when they grow they tend to grow together on rocks, and they provide numerous nooks and crannies for other animals such as worms and snails, sea squirts, sponges, small crabs, and fishes, all to hide amongst these shells and they can more easily evade predators thanks to these friendly oyster neighbours.
Oysters are also filter feeders, that is that they feed by filtering the water of things including microscopic plankton, suspended particles in the water, and even bacteria. And they can filter four to five litres per hour, which on a daily basis is the equivalent of 50 x 2-litre Coke bottles. Wow! That’s a lot. 100 litres a day! As a result, they keep water’s incredibly pristine clean, and other organisms like seagrasses and seaweeds and coral can, thus, more easily absorb light and grow healthily, you know, to keep these sorts of environments really, really healthy.
The last cool fact about oysters is that they can change their gender, they can change their sex. All oysters start out as males and they spawn, that is, they release sperm into the water in their early life. However, at around two to three years of age, they’ve grown to a big enough size and they have developed sufficient energy stores that they can now produce eggs and release eggs when they spawn, you know, as females, because, obviously, it requires a lot more energy to create one egg than it does to create one sperm.
So, let me know, guys, have you ever eaten an oyster? And are you the proud owner of some real pearls?
Fun fact about me, I do not own any pearls, unfortunately, and I have never eaten an oyster. I’ve seen them many times, but to be honest they kind of freaked me out, and I am yet to ever eat one.
So, with that guys, I hope you enjoy this episode. I hope you got a lot out of it. I hope you have an amazing weekend and I’ll see you next time.
All the best, guys.
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