Listen to all the latest expression, vlog, and interview episodes here!
Watch the video here!
AE 478 – Use This ENGLISH PHRASE to SAVE $100s-$1000s
Just on the morning coffee run one, but one of these is almond, an almond cap, and I’ve forgotten which one. Damn it!
What’s going on, guys? (I) wanted to make a little video, a quick one for you. I wonder if you know what I am going to say and what this expression is or what this phrase is, right. So, as you will or will not know, may or may not know, I recently got into photography, right. So, I’ve been taking a lot of photos, but it’s required me to obviously buy a lot of gear. Well, a lot, some gear, right.
So, as you’ll know too with photography gear tends to be pretty expensive. You know, hundreds, thousands of dollars, usually, and it occurred to me the other day when I went to Ted’s, if you guys come to Australia, this is a great company to get camera gear from. I went to Ted’s and I was after a new lens. It is the Tamron 100 to 400 lens. Not that that’s probably relevant to many of you. But I want to get closer to animals, right? So, on a side note, this lens isn’t too bad, but it’s just not getting close enough to the action. When I want to take photos of animals and birds and stuff, it’s just not getting close enough. Anyway.
So, I went in there and was asking if they had the lens in stock, and they didn’t unfortunately. So, they didn’t have it at that store. They had it at another one. But I used a phrase which saved me a hundred dollars and I wanted to teach you this phrase or a variation of this phrase today, because I think you guys can use this in many different situations all over the place in Australia and the English-speaking world to save yourselves potentially hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars, okay.
So, it’s a pretty simple phrase. The phrase is “what’s the best deal you can give me on something?”. Alright so, “What’s the best deal…? What’s the best price…?”. You could use either of those words. “What’s the best deal you can give me on something?”. “What’s the best price you can give me on something?”. Okay?
So, imagine that I’ve gone into a store and I want to buy this camera and it is $2000. If I just go in there and say, I want that camera. Can I pay for it? They’re not going to give you any discount. They’re not going to give you money off. You’ve asked to buy the thing. They’ll say, this is how much it is. If you agree to that, they’re not going to say, Would you like to save $200? They’re going to take your money. Right? Fair enough.
If you go in, though however, and you say to them, “What’s the best price you can give me on this camera?”. “What’s the best price you can give me for this camera, on this camera?”. “What’s the best deal you can give me on this camera or for this camera?”. You can use either of those, on or for. “What’s the best deal you can give me?”. They’re going to instantly think, okay, we can probably discount it a little bit. Okay, I’ll give you 5%-10% off the price, especially, if they have the ability to do that. That’s how you save that money.
Worst case scenario, they’re going to say, sorry, that’s the best price I can give you, in which case you’ve lost nothing. You buy the thing for how much it was in the first place, right. You didn’t lose anything.
However, what happened with me yesterday was that I went in to get a lens that was $1000, actually, it was $1200, $1199. And I just said to him, as an instinctual kind of thing, “What’s the best price you can give me on it?”. And he just said, oh, let me have a look, went over to the computer, typed in some stuff, and I saved 100 bucks. He took a hundred dollars off the lens, although unfortunately, he didn’t have it in store that day and I have to go in and get it.
But it sold me 100 bucks. That’s a hundred bucks I could use on anything else. I could put it towards more gear. I could buy beer with that. I could buy textbooks to learn Portuguese with that $100. The point is though if you don’t ask, the answer is going to be “No.”, you know, in all those situations. If you don’t ask, there’s not going to be a discount.
So, a really good phrase to use in these sorts of situations where you are buying things that are hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars from places like camera stores, like car dealerships. It’s got to be certain places, right. There certain places you can go and they will never discount the food, the product, that you’re buying, whatever it is. If you go to Woolworths, if you go to Coles, a supermarket here, and you say, “What’s the best price you can give me?”, they’ll say, that’s the price, mate. But with goods like this, cameras, usually, machinery, appliances, cars, renting places. You know, if you want to rent a house, you could probably use that line, and they might be able to take the rent down if there’s not very much competition for it. If you’re renting a hotel or a motel room, you could say, “What’s the best deal you can give me on this thing?”. If you’re buying flights to another country, “What’s the best deal you can give me on this flight?”.
So, all those kinds of things, you can just use this single phrase, “What’s the best deal you can give me on this thing?” or “What’s the best price you can give me on this thing?”, and it’s going to save you potentially hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, guys.
So, yeah, I want you… That’s your task. Okay? Next time you buy something like a camera, I want you to use this phrase, okay. That is the challenge. And I want you to go down in the comments and tell me how it went. That is your challenge, though. Next time you buy something that’s expensive like that I want you to say, “What’s the best deal you can give me on this thing?”, “What’s the best price you can give me for this thing?”, and I want you to tell me how it goes, because worst case scenario, they’re going to say, that is the best price. Sorry, I can’t bring it down anymore. Best case scenario they’re going to say, ah, well, seeing as you asked, I’ll knock off 5%, I’ll knock off 10% and I’ll give you a discount.
So, go and do that, guys, and let me know how it goes. I’m going to enjoy the rest of my coffee maybe go shoot a few photos of some of these birds around here. Whoops! And I’ll chat to you in the next episode.
Hope you enjoy it. Peace!
Learn Australian English even faster in
Each course is a comprehensive
English lesson covering these areas:
AE 477 – Expression: Clear the Air
What is going on, guys? Welcome to this episode of Aussie English.
Yes, that was me singing at the start. So, I used to be a singer back in the day and I kind of miss it a bit, but I just haven’t had a chance to do it, and today’s expression is obviously ‘to clear the air with someone’, and I was thinking, how can I link this in with Australia? And it made me think, okay, weather in Australia, you know, air, weather, weather in Australia, and then I thought about how I could relate this to pop culture in Australia, and instantly it made me think of the song by Crowded House, a band from Melbourne, Australia, called Four Seasons in one day.
So, I wonder if you guys know this song. “Four seasons in one day”. It’s a good song. It’s a good song, which is about the temperamental weather of Melbourne. So, if you’ve ever been to Melbourne, you’ll know why this song is called ‘Four Seasons in One Day’.
So, I decided to sing that at the start their, guys. (I) had to blow the cobwebs off my vocal chords as it’s been quite a long time since I’ve sung, and it’s… I haven’t actually sung in front of anyone in a very, very long time, although, I guess, I’m kind of singing in front of people, not really. It’s sort of like it’s online and I don’t have to deal with people watching me so it’s fine. But yeah hopefully, it didn’t sound too much like someone killing a cat.
Check out the song ‘Four Seasons in One Day’ by a Crowded House online, and its covers as well by other Australian artists like Paul Kelly and Angus Stone. These are all really good artists. If you guys like folk music or soft rock kind of music, I think you’ll really like these artists. So, check them out on YouTube. Anyway, guys.
This is the Aussie English Podcast, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone wanting to learn Australian English. It is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom. This is my online classroom where I upload all of the small courses that I do, I have pronunciation courses in there, I do videos, all sorts of bonus content for anyone serious about learning English. So, if you would like to take your English to the next level and complete today’s expression episode as a mini course, as well as all the previous episodes as many courses, go to theAussieEnglishClassroom.com and you can try it for a dollar for your first month.
Guys, this is a really, really good deal. There are no other deals online that I know of where you can try something, you can get access to everything for one dollar for 30 days. Guys, you’ll normally have trials for maybe a week, maybe a couple of days, but I’ve never heard of anyone doing this for 30 days, but that’s how confident I am that you guys will really enjoy this material, and I want to be able to give you the chance that if it isn’t for you, you don’t get slugged with a bill before you decide to leave. So, you got plenty of time to check it out. So, go have a look.
Anyway guys, let’s get into the Aussie joke for today. So, the Aussie joke, again, I wanted to make this related to weather. The Aussie joke is:
What’s a queen’s favourite kind of precipitation? What’s a queen’s favourite kind of precipitation? Are you ready for this? “Reign”, “Reign”.
You might see the spelling to get this. It’s a pun, okay? “Reign”. So, it’s spelled here, R-E-I-G-N. “Reign”, in this case, is a verb and it means: to hold royal office; to rule as a monarch. So, the Queen of England reigns over all of England.
But the joke here, the pun, is with the word “rain”, R-A-I-N, which is the condensed moisture of the atmosphere falling visibly in separate drops. So, any time you walk outside there’s a storm and you get wet from drops falling from the sky, it’s because of rain.
So, what’s a Queen’s favourite kind of precipitation? “Reign”. “Reign”.
Alright, so today’s expression is ‘to clear the air with someone’, ‘to clear the air with someone’. I hope you guys have heard this one before, though, if you haven’t, you’re going to enjoy this episode.
This was suggested by Lima. She’s tried suggesting this quite a few times in the Aussie English Classroom for the last few weeks. Each week students suggest their favourite expression for the week that they would like to be the one for this episode, and then everyone votes on it. Lima’s try a few times and she finally got it, she crushed it, she dominated this week and won by a milestone. Good job, Lima.
So, definitions of the words in the expression ‘to clear the air’ or ‘to clear the air with someone’.
If you clear something, it is that you remove any unwanted items or obstructions from somewhere or something. So, like, if I clear the table, it’s that I move everything off the table so it is clear. If I clear the room of people, it’s that I ask everyone to leave the room so that the room is clear. Okay? It is absent of all these unwanted things.
Now, ‘air’. I’m sure you guys know what ‘air’ is. I just inhaled air. ‘Air’ is the invisible gaseous substance surrounding everyone, right, surrounding the earth. It is a mixture of primarily oxygen and nitrogen. You breathe air. You breathe air. And a hot air balloon is full of hot air. Okay? ‘Air’.
So, let’s define the expression, and it has a few different meanings.
Literally, if you were to clear the air it is that you would remove any stale air in a room, right? So, if my bedroom here had been closed, the door’s closed, the window’s closed for days, and you open the door and walked in, it might smell stale, it doesn’t smell fresh. And so, in order to clear the air, you might open a window to let in fresh air. So, that’s the literal meaning, okay?
Figuratively though, ‘to clear the air with someone’ can mean two things.
Usually, it’s going to mean to diffuse an angry or tense situation by frank discussion. So, you’re going to have a problem with someone, you’ve had an argument with someone, and you’re going to have a frank discussion, so a discussion that’s kind of straight up, you’re not going to beat around the bush, and you want to sort out your problems so that you’re okay afterwards.
But the other meaning could be to remove any doubt from a situation, okay. So, if you’re unsure about a certain situation, clearing the air would be removing that doubt and making things clear, right? You would understand that situation better.
Alright, so let’s go through some examples, guys, some real-world examples of how I would use the expression to clear the air with someone or to just clear the air.
Alright, so example number one. Imagine you’re at work and there is a huge meeting with every single employee from every nook and cranny in the company. They have to show up, they have to attend this meeting. It’s been called by the CEO. Okay? And maybe it’s because there’s some new product that is about to be released to the masses, it’s about to be released to the public, you know, imagine it’s a new iPhone or a new iMac at Apple or something, and the CEO has called this meeting because there has been a lot of confusion about maybe the date of when this product is going to be released. So, he obviously wants to clear that problem up, he wants to remove all kinds of doubt and make sure that everyone understands the situation and the release date, and has a clear idea of what is going to happen. He calls this meeting so that he can clear the air. He wants to clear the air with everyone in the company so that they have a solid understanding about the upcoming product release, so that there is no doubt, no confusion. So, after the meeting, the air’s been cleared and things can move on smoothly. Clear the air.
Example number two. So, imagine you’ve had some kind of fight or disagreement with someone close to you, so a sibling, a parent. Maybe you fought over something like money, which can get pretty personal and can lead to big fights in families, right. So, maybe it’s inheritance from a family member who’s passed away, and you don’t know who is going to get it. One of you has gotten more money than the other one, and you’ve had a bit of a fight, and one of you has held a grudge against the other one for a while. So, if you decide to finally talk to the other person about your problems, to air your grievances, as in, make those grievances, those problems, those disagreements, known publicly with that person, and you want to resolve these issues, you’re clearing the air with that person. You’re clearing the air with your sibling, with your parent, you’re diffusing an angry or tense situation by chatting with them frankly about the problem. You’re clearing the air with your sibling or your parent. To clear the air.
Example Number three, okay. Now, imagine that you are a teenage girl at high school, okay? So, you’re a teenage girl at high school and you’ve got a lot of really close mates, but one of them is your best mate, and you and your best mate at school, one of your girlfriends, you guys have a crush on the same guy, on the same fellow in your class. So, you both are romantically interested, you have a crush on this boy. Okay? So, both of you want to ask him out on a date and when one of you goes to finally do it, it’s only you who has the courage to do it. The other one’s too chicken and chickens out and doesn’t have the courage to ask him out. So, you ask him out, Bob’s your uncle he says yes, and you end up grabbing a coffee at a local cafe. When your friend finds out about this and has a bit of a hissy fit, she gets angry, she gets upset, she rages at you, she gives you the silent treatment for a week or so. Okay? So, she gives you the silent treatment, she treats you with silence, meaning that she doesn’t talk to you, she refuses to reply to your messages, she doesn’t talk to you at school, online, wherever it is, she gives you the silent treatment. So, once you decide enough is enough and you get sick of the silent treatment from her and fighting with your friend, you diffuse the situation by having a frank discussion with her and clearing the air. You know, maybe you dump this boy and you say, it’s not worth it. I’d prefer to be with my friend and have that friendship sorted out again. So, once you’ve resolved things, you guys kiss and make up, and you become friends again, and your mate is really glad that you cleared the air, because no one likes drama, right? To clear the air with someone.
So, I hope now guys you understand the expression to clear the air with someone. Remember, literally, this could be opening the windows or doors in a room to let in fresh air when the air in the room is stale. But figuratively and more commonly, it’s going to be used to mean to diffuse an angry or tense situation by frank discussion with someone or to remove doubt from a situation. Okay?
So, as usual, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise here, guys, where you guys can practice your pronunciation, whether you want to sound like an Aussie, or whether you just want to work on your English pronunciation as it is, we’ll do that.
And then afterwards, I want to take you through the Aussie Fact for the day, where we’ll have a bit of a chat about climate and weather in Australia.
Alright, so listen and repeat exercise, guys. Listen and repeat after me and try and mimic my accent.
To clear the
To clear the air
To clear the air with
To clear the air with someone
I want to clear the air with her.
You want to clear the air with her.
She wants to clear the air with her.
He wants to clear the air with her.
We want to clear the air with her.
They want to clear the air with her.
It wants to clear the air with her.
Great job, guys. Remember, if you would like to work on the pronunciation and connected speech in this exercise, as well as all the previous exercises, sign up at theAussieEnglishClassroom.com, become a member, one month for a dollar, and you’ll get access to a video for today’s episode taking you through step by step all the key components of pronunciation, intonation, and connected speech in this episode, and all others, in order to improve your pronunciation. Because quite often when it comes to speaking English, you don’t necessarily have to have the most perfect pronunciation in the world to sound a lot more natural. Quite often, it’s related more to the intonation and to the connected speech, and to the emphasis that you put on certain words and where you place that emphasis.
Okay, so for example here, instead of saying ‘I want to clear the air with her’, you’ll notice that I’m saying ‘wanna’ instead of ‘want to’, and then at the end instead of saying ‘with her’, and really pronouncing that H, when I speak quickly that H disappears. That’s called H deletion. ‘With ‘er’, ‘with ‘er’. I want to clear the air with her. Okay?
So, we’ll go over those sorts of things in the Aussie English Classroom in these kinds of pronunciation videos and they will really help you level up your English. So, check it out. Anyway.
The Aussie English Fact for the day, guys. So, obviously, because the expression was about ‘air’, and then the introduction part of this episode was about Four Seasons in One Day and weather in Melbourne, in Australia, I thought that we could have a bit of a chat about climate and weather in Australia. Okay? The climate and the weather of Australia. So, let’s just get into it.
Australia is in the southern hemisphere, obviously. And so, the seasons in Australia are actually the opposite of the seasons in Europe and North America. So, when you guys… ‘you guys’, anyone who is in the northern hemisphere, when you guys in the northern hemisphere have summer, it’s winter in Australia, in the southern hemisphere. And when you have winter, it’s summer down here. Okay?
There are two main climatic zones in Australia. These are the Tropical Zone, which is north of the Tropic of Capricorn. So, it’s pretty much the top half of Australia. And then, we have the Temperate Zone, which is in the south of Australia, in the southern area of Australia, south of the Tropic of Capricorn.
So, the Tropical Zone covers a little less than the Temperate Zone, about 40% of Australia, and it has two seasons primarily, summer and winter. And summer is the wet season when there is a lot of rain in the north of Australia, and winter is the dry season when there isn’t very much rain in.
The Temperate Zone on the other hand has four seasons. Spring to summer, which is from October to March. These are the warmer and hotter seasons usually everywhere in Australia. Tropical in the north and warm to hot with mild nights in the south. This is the classic tourist season for the Northern Hemisphere visitors to Australia as well, because they want to escape winter and winter temperatures. So, they tend to come to Australia to get salt-soaked and it get sunburnt.
The highest maximum temperature ever recorded in Australia was 50.7 degrees Celsius, and this was at Oodnadatta, which is a town in South Australia, and it was on the second of January in 1960. So, almost 60 years ago, quite a while.
And a little anecdote here, I remember in 2009 we had a really, really severe heat wave in Victoria and there were some places in Victoria that had 12 consecutive days of temperatures above 43 degrees Celsius, and the maximum temperature was 48.8 degrees Celsius. Unfortunately, almost 400 people died, 374 people died, and 2,000 people were treated for heat-related effects. That was a really intense heat wave. I remember, I just couldn’t escape all these days in a row above 40 degrees.
Now, autumn to winter is between April to September in Australia, and these are the cooler months in Australia. In the northern and central parts of Australia, you’re going to have warm days and cool nights, but in the southern parts of Australia, you’re going to have cooler days with the occasional bit of rain, that’s rain, R-A-I-N, but still loads of sun.
Snow in Australia is completely confined to the mountainous regions of south eastern Australia, and this is the Great Dividing Range. So, you’re going to have this in south eastern New South Wales, north eastern Victoria, and in some places in Tasmania.
Temperatures in Australia can drop quite low during winter, at least quite low for us, and they can get to as low as -8 Celsius, which is the lowest ever recorded temperature in Yongala, which is also in South Australia. And this was recorded on the 20th of July in 1976. But as an anecdote, that sort of surprised me, because that was the coldest day ever, and Canberra this year had a few days of -7 degrees Celsius, at least, in the evening, not during the day, at night, right?
Anyway, no matter what kind of climate or whether you prefer, you’ll find somewhere in Australia that suits you, whether it’s hot summers and cold winters in places like Melbourne, Hobart, and Perth in the south of Australia, or hot summers with milder winters in places like Sydney and Brisbane, or really hot and humid climate pretty much all year round in places like Darwin, Cairns, and Townsville.
Anyway, guys, I hope you enjoy today’s episode I hope you have a great weekend, and I’ll chat to you soon. I’m about to head off to Batemans Bay for the weekend with my folks and Kel. So, it should be a good one. See you guys later.
Learn Australian English even faster in
Each course is a comprehensive
English lesson covering these areas:
AE 473 – How to Use English Articles: A, AN, & THE
G’day, guys. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. Today, I’m going to be answering a question from one of my students, Aykhan. Let’s have a look.
G’day, Pete. My name is Aykhan, and I’m Baku, Azerbaijan. I have trouble with articles. Could you make it to explaining how to use them? See ya!
Alright, great question Aykhan. Hopefully, this video will do it justice and simplify using articles. Let’s check it out.
Alright, guys, so what is an article? No, it’s not one of those. It is an adjective in English. ‘A’ or ‘an’, and ‘the’, they’re actually adjectives, because they modify nouns.
So, we have ‘the’, which is the definite article, and this one refers to specific or particular nouns. And then we have ‘A’ or ‘an’, which are the indefinite articles and these refer to non-specific or non-particular nouns.
Let’s look at an example.
If I say, “Let’s read the book”, I’m referring to a specific book, this book, that book. You know this book. So, I want to read the book. Okay?
Whereas, if I say “I want to read a book”, it could be any book. I’ve got dozens of books, hundreds of books in the world, I just feel like reading a book. It doesn’t matter which one. It is non-specific. Whereas, if I say “the book”, it’s the specific book on the ground over here.
Here’s another way to think about this. ‘The’ can be used to refer to a specific member of a group. “My friend James is the tallest person I know.”. James is the specific person, the particular person, out of the group of people, all people that I know, James is the specific person who is tallest.
Whereas ‘a’ or ‘an’ can be used to refer to any member of a group. So, for instance, “My friend James is a tall person”, he’s a tall person. I know many tall people. Out of the group of tall people that I know James is just one of those people. He is a tall person. Non-specific, non-particular. He is just one of many.
So, if we use ‘a’ or ‘an’ this is modifying the noun, it’s an adjective modifying the noun, to refer to any, a non-specific a non-particular member of a group. ‘A’. So, I want a pen or pencil. It doesn’t matter which one. I don’t care. I just need a pencil. I need a pen.
So, let’s go through some examples.
“My son wants a bike for Christmas”. “My son wants a bike for Christmas.”. He doesn’t want any specific bike, he doesn’t want any particular bike, he just wants a bike. It doesn’t matter which one. Any bike will do. We don’t know which bike, because we haven’t found a bike yet. “My son wants a bike for Christmas”.
“I need to see a doctor”. “I need to see a doctor”. I don’t care which doctor. It could be any doctor, but I need a doctor. One of the many doctors in the group that are hopefully at the hospital. “I need to see a doctor”.
“When I was at the beach I saw a dolphin.”, you know? I saw a dolphin. I saw a single non-specific thing, in this case, a dolphin. I saw a single dolphin. There were probably many dolphins, but right now, I’m just talking about the one that I saw. “I saw a dolphin”.
Note: If you want to refer to plural things, as in maybe “dolphins”, “bikes”, “doctors”, you need to use the word ‘some’.
“My son wants some bikes for Christmas”.
“I need some doctors.”.
“I saw and dolphins”.
Rules for using ‘a’ and ‘an’. If the word following the indefinite article ‘a’ or ‘an’ begins with a consonant sound, it needs to be ‘a’: a bike, a girl, a boring event, a European. It needs to be ‘a’ followed by a consonant sound.
If the following word begins with a vowel sound, it needs to be ‘an’. There needs to be an ‘N’ at the end of the indefinite article. ‘An’. An apple, an empty house, an ICU doctor, an hour.
In some rare cases, words beginning with an ‘H’ that is pronounced will take ‘an’ in front of them. And the only example I can think of is “An historic event”, but I wouldn’t worry too much about those.
Alright, time for the definite article, ‘the’. Time the definite article.
So, ‘the’ is the definite article and it modifies the noun to be specific or the particular member of a group that we’re referring to.
So, let’s go through the previous examples we used with ‘a’ and ‘an’, and have a look at how they would change if we want to use ‘the’.
“My son wants the bike he worried at the store yesterday for Christmas.”. He doesn’t want just any bike. He wants that bike, that specific bike, the bike he rode at this store yesterday. We know which bike he wants.
“I need to see the doctor who treated me this morning.”. I need to see the specific doctor, the doctor who treated me this morning. I don’t want to see just any doctor. I want to see this specific doctor who saw me this morning.
“When I was at the beach I saw the dolphin with just one fin.”. So, we’re not talking about any dolphin. We’re talking about that specific dolphin, the dolphin that just has one fin.
Alright, now let’s talk about countable and uncountable nouns. ‘A’ and ‘an’ have to be used with countable nouns, because you have units. Whereas uncountable nouns, you don’t have a single unit so you can’t use ‘a’ or ‘an’.
“I need a new car.”. “I need a new car.”.
“I want to talk to a friend.”. “I want to talk to a friend.”.
‘The’ can be used with uncountable nouns.
“I love eating the food.”. The specific food. “The food at this restaurant, I love eating the food here.”. You know that I’m talking about specific food. “I love eating the food here.”. If I say, “I just love eating food”, “I love eating food”, it’s non-specific. I love eating food. It’s true.
“I spilt the wine on the rug.”. “The” shows that I’m talking about specific wine, the wine I bought yesterday, the wine I was drinking. “I spilt wine on the rug.”. Whereas, if I just say, “I spilt wine on the rug”, it’s any wine. It doesn’t matter, that’s not important, which one it was. It was just that I spilt wine on the rug.
Using ‘the’ geographically.
This is where things get a little bit more specific with the definite article. We need to use ‘the’ before things like names of rivers, names of oceans, names of seas: the Nile, the Pacific Ocean.
We need to use ‘the’ before points on the globe: The North Pole, The Equator.
Before geographical areas: The Middle East, The West.
Before deserts, forests, peninsulas, and gulfs: The Sahara, The Persian Gulf, The Black Forest.
We don’t use ‘the’ before the names of most countries or territories: Mexico, Australia, Bolivia. However: the Netherlands, the Philippines.
Before names of cities, towns, or states: Melbourne, Seoul, California.
Before the names of streets: Washington Boulevard, Collins Street.
Before the name of lakes and bays: Port Phillip Bay, Lake Eyre.
Before the names of mountains: Mount Everest, Mount Kosciuszko.
Before the names of continents: Asia, Europe, Antarctica.
Before the names of islands: Easter Island, Phillip Island.
Obviously, there are always exceptions, but just have to learn those unfortunately.
To finish up, guys, let’s talk about the omission of articles.
Here are some common types of nouns that don’t take articles.
The names of languages or nationalities, unless you’re specifically referring to the population: Chinese, English, Spanish, Russian. If I say “the Chinese”, “the English”, “the Spanish”, I’m referring to the population.
Names of sports: volleyball, soccer, footy.
The names of academic subjects: maths, biology, physics, English.
Alright, guys, so that is it for today’s episode. I hope it helps. Just remember, with regards to articles, that ‘a’ or ‘an’ is referring to any member of a group. “I need a pen”. I don’t care which pen. I just need a pen this pen will do.
Whereas, ‘the’ refers to a specific member of a group. “I need the pen that’s purple”. I need that purple pen. Here it is. This is the purple one, the purple pen that I need.
Anyway, guys, go over it a few times and let me know if you have any other questions that you would like me to do videos in in the comments below. Hit the subscribe if you want to stay up to date with all new videos coming out, and I’ll see you in the next episode. Great to see you, guys. Peace!
Watch More Aussie English Videos Here!
Enjoying this episode?
Learn English even faster in the Aussie English Classroom!
AE 472 – Interview: Learning Languages, Slang, & Pronunciation with Pronunciation with Emma
G’day, you mob! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English today. I have a great episode with Emma, Emma Walker, from pronunciation with Emma. So, I sat down and had a bit of a chat to her over Skype recently about what it was like going through university and studying linguistics, and Emma as a pronunciation coach.
But, I think you’re really going to like this chat, guys. We talk all about pronunciation, about learning foreign languages like Portuguese and Spanish and our personal experiences, especially, with regards to learning the pronunciation of these languages.
She’s got an interesting accent because she comes from a certain area in Britain. So, it’ll be interesting to see if you guys notice where that accent is from. And it’s also obviously good practice for your ears just to get used to different accents.
And we also have a bit of a chat about different slang, especially slang in Britain, and a few… I think, a term she used that I had never heard in my life. So, that was interesting.
Anyway guys, let’s get into it. Emma Walker from Pronunciation with Emma.
G’day, guys. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. Today I have Emma Walker and I don’t know what to… I know on yours Instagram is pronunciation with Emma, but is that your specific business name or how does it work? Because I know you’ve got a different web site, right? That’s Emma Walker instead of Pronunciation with Emma. So, can you just tell me about your whole business. How does it work and how did you get it?
So, my website is also Pronunciation with Emma, so I don’t know if there’s another teacher Emma Walker around.
Sorry! my bad, my bad alright, so it’s only Pronunciation with Emma, got you.
Yeah…Someone was trying to copy me. So yeah, I focused more on pronunciation but it kind of it hasn’t always been that way. I studied English language and linguistics at university and I absolutely loved my pronunciation and phonetics, some phonology modules. I was really interested in those…
And what did they cover exactly for those who aren’t linguistically inclined? What were those sorts of modules covering in the English language and pronunciation?
Yeah, I still remember like, the first kind of introductory modules they were based on just learning the IPA. So I still remember this PHD student who used to do the seminars with us and she used to sit at the front of the class, just basically trying to replicate, trying to replicate some of the sounds and we would copy her and we would be sitting with little mirrors, trying to mimic exactly what she was… what she was saying and it’s was just so funny.
Did you have to learn all of the different sounds in the IP. Like everything the human vocal tract is capable of or…?
Everything, everything. The first one was just knowing the British phonemic charts which was easy. At that time, I had a very strong Yorkshire accent because I’m originally from York which is in Yorkshire, which is in the north of England.
I was going to ask you, is like, is it, it’s not Scottish. I know that’s not Scottish. I can’t tell.
No, it’s… yeah it is quite a few hours from Scotland still, there’s, you know, still a few miles in between Yorkshire and Scotland, but…
So, if we were to break this down in Game of Thrones, if your accent was placed on the map where would you be in Game of Thrones? Because I know that the accent gets stronger the further north you get, right?
Yeah it would be the north. Yeah it is interesting, cause the northern characters actually have northern accent.
Yeah exactly. So, you’d be a wildling?
What? Yeah! What’s her name? Oh. Ygritte.
Yeah, with Jon Snow, got you.
Yeah, like that kind of accent, that’s my original accent. But it’s funny because that’s not the actress’s original accent.
Ah, so she had to learn it.
Yeah, the same with Jon Snow or Jon Snow.
Yeah, Snow, you know nothing.
You know nothing Jon Snow. It is just so funny. But I had to change my accent a little bit because no one was understanding me.
Where was the University? Was that further south or…?
No, so I studied in York as well. I studied it at one of the universities in York and it wasn’t until I went to Spain when I started noticing that people were not understanding me because of my accent. So, I worked as a language assistant and I basically only took the modules as a language assistant because I didn’t want to do an exam. That was the only reason. So it was literally like, okay Emma, this is the list of classes, choose what you want. And I thought, oh my god I don’t want to do any exams, like, what could I do? So, I saw that I could take a module being a language assistant in a secondary school. And I thought, okay easy. No.
What did you have to do? What did it cover, like, when you were doing that class?
So, I was teaching teenagers and, which is really hard when you first start, because…
Even in your own language, right?
Yeah, yeah it was so hard, but luckily the kids they were so nice so like, strangely nice. So, it was like, what are you planning? So, they were so friendly and so curious, like, I still remember, like, my first few days working that, they would come up to me like touching me like your skin and it is so white, your eyes are so blue, you hair. So, people who can’t see me, I have blond hair, blue eyes and super white pale skin.
She is touched by fire. Right?
So, they were like, Oh my goodness, your legs, they are so white, because it was just the first few weeks that I had been in Spain. So, of course, my English body had never seen the sun and yeah, they were so shocked. And I remember, in a lesson, I mentioned the word pub. And I said, yeah okay, so it’s quite typical for people to go to a pub in the evenings. And there were like, teacher, like, what?? Pub. What is “pub”, teacher?
What is the typical think that you have to do to win when teaching English overseas? because you don’t want to end up teaching them a really specific accent, right? where they’re going to learn the Yorkshire pronunciation and then go anywhere in the world and people are going to be like, what??
Yeah. Yeah exactly, exactly. That’s what I didn’t want, I didn’t want a generation of learners to go around saying pub, we are off to the pub. And you know, honestly, I did it for them.
So how quickly did you have to adapt and change your accent and was it an easy process or…?
Yeah…so it took me maybe a few weeks and, luckily, I was living with a girl who had a very, very posh accent at the time, so I was able just to mimic her and this is the technique that I teach to my students, is to mimic and for those who don’t know what mimicking is, it’s basically when you’re copying someone. So, I would just listen to my flat mate I would, of course like, listen to BBC radio and I started to realise not only were the sounds different, but the intonation was different.
I think that’s the quickest way to clue in to get used to the intonation too, it’s kind of like, you have to fake it until you make it, You’ve got to keep pretending acting out, pretending like you’re in a movie or something and saying these lines with the same intonation even if it sounds strange, because that’s put up with me in Portuguese when I first started learning and I remember hearing them saying like I’d be like, trying to say the word as well or too, “também”, and they would always be like “também”, with this like inflexion going up and I’d be like that sounds so freakin’ weird, “também”, like and I just had to spend ages practicing that kind of intonation so that when I speak I say it more naturally like that, which sounds strange to me when I was learning but to them sounds more natural.
Exactly, exactly. So how did you improve your Portuguese pronunciation and intonation?
It’s just listen, repeat, as you say. I was initially using Duolingo and every line that they would say with a real native, you know, using strange sentences, the bear kiss the tree or something, I would just copy, copy, copy, as much as possible especially when starting a language it would just be pronunciation all the time. And even now with my fiancée, my fiancée is Portuguese or, Brazilian speaks Portuguese and I’m always like, just correct me if I pronounce something wrong and it’s pretty, it’s pretty amazing how quickly you get the hang of it though, especially with Portuguese we have different emphasis on different parts of the word. So, like you would you don’t say like in Spanish, I guess it would be like dictionario, you would say dicionario, you have to do this * DE de de *. and eventually you get used to and it feels natural and it’s sort of like, * ditititi *.
Yeah, you know what I’m finding now, though? Now, because I’ve been learning Portuguese for just over a week, it’s now day eight, that I’m on my Portuguese adventure. And now when I speak Spanish I’m starting to use that kind of intonation that they use in Portuguese. So yeah, my poor boyfriend, who’s Spanish…
And he is like, What? What are you doing? Like, why are you speaking this way?
That must be the hardest thing because I remember trying to learn Spanish after I started Portuguese and was just like, this is so one the words and the grammar and everything is so similar that I was sort of confusing myself. But then you’ve got Spanish that is very tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. Like it’s kind of consistent, with the sounds you don’t really change the emphasis a lot in sentences, right? And in Portuguese it’s the complete opposite, where you’ll be like * dit ra dit dit ra *, and it’s just… it was weird, at first I was like, oh I always love Spanish and I wanted to learn it and thought when I first heard Portuguese, it was like this language sense so fucking weird, with this like a whoop, whoop, but now you go, I listen to Spanish and I’m, like there’s no there’s no like immersion to it, it’s just like * trrrriii *.
I know, I know… It’s funny, because someone said to me the other day, like, why are you learning Portuguese?! It’s such a dull sounding language. I’m like, have you heard Portuguese? What language have you listened to? It’s the least dull language I’ve ever heard.
So, what made you decide to learn Portuguese after learning Spanish? Tell us about that story, because I only noticed that, a few minutes before we got on the call and then I was like, oh wow, okay. And you were like five days in, I think, on your Instagram. So, what made you start that and how are you learning it and what have you experienced so far?
Well, I already speak Spanish, so to learn Portuguese, it’s kind of like why not? You know, it’s like a shortcut almost, like, I think. So…
I just modify my accent fluent.
That is it! I basically feel fluent in Portuguese. But the problem is that, I keep mixing. And I was telling a friend this as well and she is Brazilian, she’s an English teacher and I said, like, I just confused little words like but, however…
Ah that is right, ‘cause you have the word “mas” in Portuguese for but, but than it is like “pero” or “pero” in Spanish, like, they are completely different. You’d be like, what?
Exactly. So, as I’m writing to friends or whatever in Portuguese, I mix and surprisingly they still understand me. But I’m kind of learning it just because it’s so close to Spanish and on top of that I have quite a lot of Brazilian followers on Instagram and I thought, it would be so cool if I could understand some of these guys and understand their comments and stuff, cause their comments…
There are pretty rabid with regards to being fans of people too. So I think, I think you tend to receive a much bigger warm welcome if you’re someone learning Portuguese that if you were learning Spanish, where I think they’re so used to it they’re just like nah, another gringo, another gringo learning Spanish, whatever. Whereas the Portuguese is to me, no offense to anyone who speaks Portuguese, but it’s almost like they’re the little brother of Spain or Spanish and they kind of ignored by most of the world as a language and so when you learn it they’re always like, yes! you know, finally, yes!
Yes, you are exactly right and it’s sort of surprising, because a lot of people who don’t really know me, they just see, Oh you’re learning Portuguese. They actually messaged me, quite a few people messaged me, like why are you learning Portuguese? Why don’t you learn Spanish? And it’s like a completed, mate, like…
Speak it, mate! and the Portuguese people who message you, would be like, I’m happy to teach you. Do you need time, like we can do Skype, cause I’ll help you… I’m… I’m happy to like, what can I do to make your life easy?
Yeah exactly. It is incredible.
And the funny thing is, I always find people don’t realise how many people speak Portuguese. You’ll be like, so you know how many people there are that speak it? You know, there’s more speakers of Portuguese in South America than there are Spanish-speakers, right? and there’s about 300 million of them worldwide. Like…
It’s crazy. I had a look at just the population of Brazil and it was something like 200 million or 207 million. It is a funny number. You know, but let’s round it off 200 million and then I feel like wow that’s a lot of people.
So, what are you doing to current learn it? How, how did you go about beginning a new language from scratch or from near scratch, considering you know Spanish?
Yeah, yeah, I cheated. Sorry guys, but…
All those years learning Spanish was cheating. wasn’t it?
Yeah, but with Spanish, I picked up Spanish very, very quickly, very quickly. And I think it’s because, with Spanish I was immersed, so you know, I took a course in Spanish. So, yeah, I went about learning Spanish very differently to how I am learning Portuguese. With Spanish. I took a course and then I went to Spain. I immersed myself and I have to speak, to eat. I had to speak to survive.
How long were you there for during that immersive period as well?
Ah, one year.
Oh wow, ok.
And I went from like a zero. I went from…
To here. Yeah.
That’s my level currently guys. And I went from that kind of level to about B1 in a year. Just from immersing myself. I did go to classes but I didn’t take them very seriously and at the same time I was also doing Catalan classes.
Oh wow. You animal, man. You just keep tackling all the languages, all the romance languages.
I know, it’s so funny because people, when they saw my Portuguese video, they are like why didn’t you learn Russian? Why didn’t you learn Farsi? What about Arabic? I’m like, wow, come down guys, like…
But that is… I’ve heard that a lot of times as well, like sorted, sort of changed the subject a little bit. I had that when I was, I was studying and I had, there was a secretary there when I was telling them I was learning, I think it was Portuguese, and she was like, she was Indian and she’s like you should learn Hindi. I was like, well but I don’t know anyone who speaks Hindi, do you? And she’s like, No, no I just speak English, but you know, she was like, Pete Hindi’s got more people and I’m like, but Chinese’s got more, like you can always play that argument about different languages having different benefits you just have to pick one that you’re interested in and have a passion for. Right?
Exactly. Yeah exactly. So that’s the key is to find the reason why you’re learning that language and to have that motivation and once you find that motivation you, you cannot be stopped, like I am studying Portuguese now. Ah, so I never moved on to how I’m learning Portuguese.
I got sidetracked as well. So yeah, I haven’t taken a single class in Portuguese,
it’s only have been a week, there’s still time.
I know, I know, but I’m doing it for a very good reason, because I want to kind of challenge myself. But nowadays not much of a challenge, because there are so many free resources online that it’s not even that much of a challenge. But I wanted to challenge myself to learn as much Portuguese as possible without paying loads of money, because, of course a lot of people that follow me and follow you, they’re not rich, they’re not from rich countries. They maybe don’t have access to a teacher. They don’t have the resources in their classrooms or whatever, you know, they don’t have that access.
That’s a really good experiment though to show what can be done without any assistance or at least, no monetary assistance, where you’ve had about to pay for lessons because you could, you could have effectively, if you wanted to pay someone to teach you or go to class every single day and that would you know give the results most people would expect, but it would be good to see what you can do without that.
Exactly. The only thing that’s happened is that, it was my birthday recently and so my boyfriend or my best friend got me some books, so I haven’t paid for those books I asked for them for my birthday, but I started with those books and they’re fantastic, they’re really, really good.
Which books did you get? If I can, if I can ask for selfish reasons…
But well, actually the, this company. Can we call them a company? They do English books as well so if people are interested they’ll have to let me know how the English version is. But I’m, sorry, I’m using this one.
I saw that today. Awesome, awesome.
Yeah. I’m using this one complete, the complete series of Teach Yourself Brazilian Portuguese.
Oh my God. And you are learning Brazilian Portuguese. The European Portuguese speakers are going to be pissed.
I know, I know…Sorry guys, but I am. I keep hitting that spoon. Why is there a spoon there? Looks like random stuff around my computer. Yeah, but I am. This is the thing as well I wanted to show my followers, is you can’t just stick to one variety. So, I’m listening to European Portuguese radio. I’m listening to materials in European Portuguese and I’m getting familiar with that accent. And I realized that Brazilian, Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese are very, very different in terms of pronunciation. You know I find that European Portuguese is very * shhhh *.
Yes, it sounds more like Russian to me when I hear it, I am like, wow there is a lot of * shhh shhh *. It’s just, it’s very different, very different that I’m not used to, because I’m surrounded by Portuguese speakers, from Brazil, from Brazil, sorry.
Yeah. And I find that Brazilian Portuguese, it reminds me a lot of South American Spanish. So, I just feel like I have to change my Spanish accent to sound a bit more South American and then just add a few more kind of * shh * sounds, you know and I basically got the pronunciation but, yeah, that’s it. And this other book that I’ve never heard of before, but my friend got me that one.
Is that the everything…
It’s Everything Learning Brazilian Portuguese book and I thought, everything.?! Well that’s got me covered.
That should cover most things.
And it says, I love this, it is speak, write, and then you’ll sound Portuguese in no time.
So, you don’t even have to open it.
Oh no, in no time. I’m fluent already. But yeah, it’s really good book for vocabulary, very, very good book. And the other book is good for…
What’s the time sort of that you’re setting yourself, how long do you want to… Like you could obviously let it go forever, but you want to do it within six months, a year, two days, like what’s the limit you’ve set yourself?
A month, holly molly, ok.
Yeah in a month I want to be able to have a basic conversation in Portuguese. So yes, I found some victims to, to take part in this little study and then we’ll see how that goes. Just speaking after a month, because I just want to show it to people, I don’t know if you’re the same, but I get so many people messaging me and saying, Emma how do I learn English as fast as possible and what’s the easiest way? And it’s like… there is no easy way, there is no faster way.
That is one of those things that it would be good to talk about for a bit, because it’s kind of like losing weight. It’s kind of like you’ve come in with the wrong attitude if you see it is how do I do this overnight thing. Personally, I think it’s more, you need to reassess how you’re viewing this activity and it’s almost like it’s a lifestyle activity, you have to change the way that your life fits around this language now and think, okay this is not a week, this is not a month it’s not even a year task, it’s something that’s ongoing potentially forever, that you just chip away at slowly and that’s kind of daunting but at the same time I feel like that’s really sort of, it releases you a bit of stress, because you know you’ve got so much time, you know and you just keep trying to get one step ahead every single day and it’s kind of like ok, I don’t have to make massive strike. I don’t need to lose 10 kilos this week as long as I lose a little bit, I’m sort of on the right path, right? Do you have any advice, with regards to English learners, who ask you those questions, what do you normally say to them?
Yes, so I normally say to them, set a goal and this is what I’ve been doing. So, my first week, my goal was to be able to introduce myself in Portuguese and say something about why I’m learning Portuguese. That was my goal and I did it. And I put that video on the internet for everyone to see and yeah, I got some amazing feedback and that encouraged me more. Of course, you get one or two negative messages and you’re like, pfft, whatever man, I’ve got like four hundred positive ones, so I don’t care. And so, I was kind of showing people look, if you’re not confident it doesn’t matter. I’ve done this. I put my video and my face out on the Internet speaking Portuguese after week, if I can do this then you can do it as well. You know, I don’t mean putting your video on the internet but I mean just speaking …
I think that emphasis too on not worrying so much about making mistakes, making a fool of yourself. If you can let go of that and makes such a difference and I noticed that recently I told my fiancée, no English until the end of the year. Just only Portuguese from now on and we’ve moved into a house where there are three other guys who are from Brazil and like they talk to me a little bit in English but I try and always turn it back. But I noticed that initially I would, she would say things and my eyes would kind of give her that you know that vague look where she’s like you don’t know what I’m saying and I’ll be like, Yeah, yeah, I do and then she’s like “what do they say?” and I’ll be like, “Yeah you got me”. But yeah it only took a day or two and then I started feeling okay, like I don’t mind making mistakes anymore I’m comfortable saying “what did you say?”, “Can you repeat that?” And it was surprising how quickly once I let go, conquering those issues was no longer a big problem and now I don’t feel embarrassed at all. Now when I don’t understand and because it’s almost like it’s so common now for me to say “What does that mean? and “What was this word?” “how do I say this?” or “what is this?” that it’s just not even an issue. So, I think, for people listening if you’re having fears about that just do it more. It’s literally like diving in the deep end of the pool, you do it once and you’re kind of like okay it’s not that bad.
Yeah. No, exactly and the kind of mistakes I made in Spanish, you know I, I just have no shame anymore.
I feel like I experienced all the horrors in Spanish and all the kind of mistakes that I could have made in a second language, like I made some really, really bad mistakes where I got myself in trouble or I said some very rude things, very sexual things, numerous times and I didn’t mean to.
That is when you say things like “excitado”? I made mistakes so many times. I am trying to say I’m excited and they’re like no that’s not what it means. It’s not a sexual orientation, you like ahhh.
Yeah, I still remember when I was in Teneriffe and I said to… I was living with a family and I said to the dad of the family ” Estoy caliente” as I was saying “God, I’m so hot, like as in the temperature, is very hot in this country and my temperature is rising so I want to say “Estoy caliente” and his eyes were like “What?”. And I realized, oh my God no I said it wrong “tenho Calor, tenho calor”. And I had to quickly change like, explain myself, no I am not horny, not in this temperature my friend. It was embarrassing but I said much worse and…
So what, would you I wanted to ask you when you were learning immersively what, as an English teacher, what sort of experience did you have? Do you have any advice for people who are in that same position now and how to get the most out of it?
Yeah. So, the thing is I don’t know how hard it is for people going to Australia. But I find that when people come to England the same thing always happens and they say “English people don’t want to talk to me”. “English people don’t want to be my friend”. “They’re so close and they just want to be friends with each other”. “They don’t want to talk to me” and I think that’s kind of true to a certain extent, because it’s kind of like, well why should they be your friend just because you’re a foreigner.
You need to remember too I go outside most Australians aren’t my friends, they don’t want to talk to me. They would ignore me, I walk up to them be like “Hey you want to chat” and they’ll tell me to f off.
Oh yes this is exactly the same for me. I have very few English friends, because I just haven’t found the right people who have things in common with and I find as well, I’m 26 now and I find that most 26-year-olds are not making YouTube videos, that they have their own companies, they are running their own business and teaching, they have travelled, They speak x number of languages, so I find it quite hard to find people my own age who have similar experiences to me. So that’s quite tricky.
What advice would you give them if they say to you, how do I best engage with or become a part of the community in England or I’m sure the same advice would apply here in Australia. What advice would you normally give them?
I encourage my students, like I have students, like I have to really force them to go out to like meetings, to join clubs, like join your local sports club, even if you don’t play sports just go. Play tennis and see who is around or join a football club or something, or if you enjoy painting, go to a painting class, start talking to people and I think people put too much pressure on other people to start talking to them but they also need to think that they need to start communicating with other people as well. They need to initiate that conversation, because you know, when I was in Spain I found people are quite accommodating and they would be asking me like “Are you okay here?”, “If you need anything I’ll help you” and you know they were so understanding because they travelled. But here we, many people maybe haven’t traveled or they just haven’t learnt another language, we don’t understand. It’s not every one, but yeah, I wouldn’t expect to make friends on day one just because you’re from another country.
It’s hard work, you’ve got to go out. I’ve been in Canberra now for ages, like six months, ages for me I’ve just moved to this city and I’ve just been inside the whole time we’ve made like, Quel and I’ve made like two friends, I mean, and goes to show we haven’t been working our arses off to try and meet people or anything like that, but we’ve, you know, so he goes to show that even native speakers, for me at least, in this country find it difficult, if you don’t put in that effort, so you have to find some kind of social thing that you can go to and just be the person that goes up to people and introduces yourself and starts those conversations and eventually, it’s almost like dating, right? You just have to keep doing it until you find someone you get along with and then you kind of like ok, I’ve found my person and I could ignore the ones that I didn’t get along with, right? Because you can’t be friend with everyone.
No, exactly and I think that’s what people make the mistake of doing, they try to make friends with everyone and then they realise that they’re not spending enough time. Like, one thing I found with a lot of my Spanish and Italian friends is that they would say to me, “I don’t have time this week” “Oh sorry I’m working so much”, but then I would see them on Facebook with other friends and it’s like “Oh so you have time to go out with your Italian friends or a Spanish friend but not time to go out with me and you know I just, you have to keep, I don’t know, you have… It’s like a relationship as you say, you know. You have to keep in touch with those people and find people that you’re interested in you have the same interests and that’s why clubs are really good idea. When I was in living in Spain I joined a language exchange and I met some people there and then we found out that we had common interests, we liked, I don’t know, just going out, doing stuff you know, so we would go out hiking or go out into the mountains or whatever. You know, I you being at the mountains in my life, so.
Exactly, one of the good things too is just after, if you do go to some kind of, event like, you know or some club or you’re doing a sport or something, ask people out afterwards, that’s when you get to sort of chat and just take it easy and find out, you know, who are the people that are worth hanging out with and they’ll put their hand up for it right if they’re up for going and getting dinner after a match or whatever it is that you’ve gone to at the club, then you’ll be like okay this person came to socialize as well. I want to ask you though, accents in the UK, like insanely diverse, compared to places like Australia. What advice do you give students who come to England? Whether it is about which accent to learn and how to learn it or how to just get the listening comprehension down for all the different accents in England? Because this could obviously apply to learning any accent or at least becoming accustomed to it. What do you suggest they do?
Yeah. So, I suggest listening to, like, local radio stations for one, you know, you could literally just go on Google and type Yorkshire radio stations and just choose one.
Thanks for the Internet.
Yeah, yeah. What is really good as well is, we also have regional news. So, you know, you can just look for like BBC Yorkshire or BBC Northumbria or whatever, so we have different ones there and I just suggest people listen to that. The BBC also has a really good website where they give like, what is it? like a glossary of all the dialect terms.
Oh wow really?
Yes, I do not recommend that people do that, unless they are moving to that area. So, you know, if you’re moving to for example, Bristol, it may be good to learn some of the dialect in Bristol, just so you know what people are saying to you.
When you say that, do you mean it’s like slang or something, it’s not just standard English with a different accent. It’s specific terms to that area and not anywhere else?
Exactly. Yeah like in Bristol, I heard for the first time in my life, I heard “gert lush” and I was like…
I have no idea of what that is…
Exactly, what it is “gert lush”? That’s well gert lush! I was like, I don’t know what are you saying?
What does it mean?
I just asked. It means, lke it’s really nice, it’s really good like, oh this cider is “gert lush” and they use that rrrr here, so I’m trying to, trying to mimic and pick that up. But yeah, they would say stuff like that. And actually, there is a pub close in the center, that’s called “gert lush”. So now I know what it means.
That sort of stuff is crazy. I guess it is important to sort of focus on that more when you get settled in a place, than try and learn everything, because if you do that 90 percent of it probably won’t be useful, you know if you learn Australian slang and move to Bristol or you go to somewhere in the US it’s going to be effectively useless. So, focus on slangs as a secondary thing, but what about learning English, Standard British English, which accent do you get them to focus on? And do you still encourage them to try and listen to other accents?
So, the one that I teach is almost like a mixture between Yorkshire and standard. But I tend to teach students what we call RP which stands for received pronunciation and that’s the one that you will find in the dictionary. That’s the one that you will find the news presenters use, who are based in London, not the regional news stations etc. But I still keep some of my Northern sounds you could say. So, for example I don’t say path, glass, grass, I say path, glass grass, which I find is just easier for students to do. You know.
It’s actually funny. That’s a point that’s different between you and I, because I would say path, grass and glass instead of path, path, yeah that would sound more American or as you say British to me. And we have that, but we have that sometimes, there are certain things, I think like baths and baths and Castle and castle. Some people will say either one of those in Australia. So sometimes there are those words which are strange.
Yeah. So, when you teach though, do you find those students are mimicking you and they do say like glass?
It depends, it depends on the student, because quite often they’re not specifically after an Australian accent, they might just want to understand it and learn just basic English with me, like grammar and that sort of stuff which applies everywhere and yes, to some of them it’s difficult because they’ve got multiple teachers as well. They’d be learning from an American and a Canadian and I’ll be like I just don’t want to correct your pronunciation because you’ll get to the next class and then be told something different. Yeah, I would just tell them how I said, that’s pretty much my caveat every time, I’m like I’m just going to tell you how I pronounce things, because there’s always going to be someone saying “That’s not how you say it”. “This is how you say it” and you will just be like ah, whatever.
Yeah, I’ve had the same.
What would you have, finishing up, what tips would you have for students, whether they’re learning Australian English, British English or American English to improve their pronunciation? would you, What advice would you give them?
Yeah. So, I would start off with learning individual sounds first, then trying to perfect those little sounds, get those, get those, get those right. You know, you can do that by… You don’t even have to like, study the IPA like, hard core. You just have to be familiar with the sounds and the symbols, you know, just get familiar with those and learn to really kind of tune into sound. Stop listening for for words and grammar and understanding and start listening for sound and then start to mimic and a really good trick to also kind of test your pronunciation is to record yourself. So find a very short, like this podcast, for example, people could take a very short section, literally like three seconds, listen to that, repeat, record, compare your recording to the original and see how your pronunciation is. Do they sound the same or are you having problems with a certain sound? For example, a lot of students have problems with the, “the” as in that and they say like “that” or “tsat”, you know, so if you find those kind of things are affecting people understanding you then do something about it practice it. Watch, there videos online like, I’m learning Portuguese for free but I know people can do it for English too.
Are you aware are you aware of the sounds you find difficult? Because that’s what I tend to say to people like you should, you probably know which sounds you’re finding the most difficult and that you need to focus on, you know. I don’t think it’ll be a complete shock when some people realize, oh man I can’t say a * th *. So I just avoid it and it’s like, no, you need to sit down in your own time and just keep practicing it. You know, you don’t need to do it in front of other people, but just don’t, don’t avoid the things you’re finding difficult, but which sounds did you find it hard in Portuguese so far? The nasal vowels?
You know what’s the hardest? It’s actually the “hhh” sound, which we have in English. But, I just, I just cannot like, you know, the word England. I can not say that because it has the double R which is a a ha. Yeah. And then you have the r at the end which is also a “rra” …
And is that Spanish that is screwing it up because you would see that and think Inglaterra, wouldn’t you?
Exactly. I think it might be that. So, I would naturally read it as “Inglaterra” with an English way it would be “Inglaterra”. So to read Double R as rr, I can’t seem to close my vocal chords in time to do it, I have to say…
That would come with time though and you will be able to do it at the start of the words. It’s just that you’re not used to especially in English, I think we do that H deletion if it’s in between words, right? Or any time… so we would just remove that H. So, you almost have to turn that back on and say “Inglaterra” and get used to it’s like. But I love that sort of stuff and it’s for me I focus in on that. Like when I first started Portuguese I was finding the nasal vowels freakin’ hard, that * aun, ain, oun * and it took months for me to perfect, especially, especially when reading or wanting to speak quickly I would have to think and be like okay there’s an n after this vowel. So that means that it’s an * oun * sound instead of r sound… it is just like. But I think eventually it comes right and it’s like you just need to keep for me at least with those languages I just focus on just doing it passively. I’m not going to try and remember the sounds when I’m talking, it’s more I just sit down, Practice, say it, say it, say it, so I hope the muscle memory in my mouth will eventually get there.
Exactly, a really good trick as well and I don’t recommend this for everyone, because it does involve alcohol. Is, is to have like, next time when you’re out with your friends you know, and you and you drink alcohol. I’m not saying that you should get super drunk, okay? Do not go around and say “Oh but Pronunciation with Emma so I could get drunk”.
That is it! You practice when you are waisted.
Yeah, it is the best time. No, but if you drink just a little bit of alcohol, what happens is your muscles become more relaxed and you yourself become more relaxed and you don’t care so much about making mistakes and what other people think. And if you can just have a little bit of alcohol, okay but, very little bit, just to kind of relax your muscles, it really helps and this is how I learned the * Rrr * in Spanish because I kept saying like a “jamon”, you know with a * Ha *, an English one, and it wasn’t until I started, you know, like having beers with friends and as I was drinking the beers I realized, “Oh, I can do the * Rrr * now.” I mean it’s so much easier, ’cause I became less, what’s the word, not paranoid. Conscious.
Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. You just don’t care as much. Right? And that happened, I had a funny story that I wanted to mention, you made me remember that, one of my students Carlos, was telling me he took the IELTS exam five times, failed it four times, and the final time his teacher said, have a glass of wine before the speaking test, ’cause that was the thing, the thing he was failing and so he just skulled like a glass of red wine right before the test and smashed it, ’cause he was… it was all in his head and he wasn’t relaxing.
Yeah, yeah, it… honestly it works, so if you can drink alcohol and you know, don’t get drunk, but just have enough to become less self-conscious. Honestly, it helps. It helps me and I think that’s the next step for me with a Brazilian Portuguese is I need to sit with a glass of wine and one of my books and just practice by myself and hopefully I’ll see a difference.
Exactly! I’m sitting there constantly talking out loud to myself and that’s another thing that I think really helped pronunciation wise, because I was just constantly working it. It’s one thing and I have quick story with regards to my French. I used to I used to speak French pretty fluently and now I haven’t studied it in a year and a half, two years and I haven’t really spoken. I can notice when I’m listening I hear everything fine, but the muscle memory isn’t there because I haven’t been talking out loud. So, if I read something if I watch something that’s fine, but I can’t spontaneously respond whereas with Portuguese it’s overtaking my French, which is very weird for me. So it is one of those things where it is amazing how much how important it is even if you’re not in a country that speaks a language you don’t know anyone just talk out loud as much as possible. It’s like doing pushups in your room. Just keep doing it. Exercise, exercise, exercise.
Exactly. And when I was in Spain as well, I just used to walk around the house talking to myself and I used to say things like “Un mobel” “Un libro” “ordenador” “las caixas”. Yeah you know I would just…
You name things, right?
Exactly I would just do that, and as I was doing actions I was thinking to myself you know like, I’m putting the sugar in and that would help me practice grammar and yeah, I just developed fluency that way and I started to think in Spanish and occasionally I do think in Spanish. It’s strange because it, it tends to be when I’m really stressed or really excited about something, I don’t know. It’s like English for me is the serious language. And then as soon as I get like really excited about something or very emotional, or angry, I start thinking in Spanish and it’s so weird. I don’t know why.
I think that the brain and languages, is an amazing thing. But we better wrap it up Emma. Where can people find out more about you and if they’re after British pronunciation where can they learn this from, from you?
Yeah for me. So, you can find me on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook. I’m more active on Instagram and of course YouTube I post every single week. You can find me, if you just type in pronunciation with Anna.
Into all of those different social media platforms?
Yep and my website is also the same it’s not Emma Walker. I don’t know who it is. I must have been smoking something. I think I must have just gotten it wrong, because I remember finding you. I think maybe I’m confusing Facebook, because your name was that on Facebook and then I looked on Instagram and was like, okay. But yeah, pronunciation with Emma guys and I will put all the links into the transcript. So, thanks so much Emma.
No problem, thank you for inviting me. It was good.
So, that was the interview, guys. I hope you enjoyed it. Big thanks to Emma for coming on the Aussie English Podcast.
Remember, guys, you can find out more about Emma via her PronunciationwithEmma.com . If you would like pronunciation tutoring for the British accent, you can get lessons with her. You’ll also find her on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Just search pronunciation with Emma. The links will all be in the transcript as well if you guys are interested in learning more about Emma.
Anyway guys, I hope you enjoy the episode and I hope you have an amazing week, and I will talk to you soon. See ya!
Watch Aussie English Interviews Here!
Enjoying this episode?
Learn English even faster in the Aussie English Classroom!
AE 471 – WWP: A Reality Check
Man, it’s cold! Cold, cold, cold. How are you guys going? It’s time for another Walking with Pete episode, and I’m just getting in to the car. Just let me get rid of my chewing gum. Turn the car on. Let’s go for a drive.
There’s a few things I want to chat to you about today, though. So hopefully it’s going to be an interesting and thoughtful episode.
Let me reverse up here and not run over the birds behind the car. So, it’s currently sunset-ish. It’s about 430pm in the afternoon and Kel’s have to work late at the embassy, late for her, I guess.
So, normally, she finishes work at like probably 3 o’clock. I think it’s a Brazilian thing where they tend to finish work earlier in the day. And so, everyone leaves the embassy by 3:00, they turn the alarm on, so she has to be out of the building even if she wanted to stay longer and work. So, but, I think there is something like one person has to stay behind every single week for that week in order to make sure that if anyone shows up, there’s someone there to help them. I don’t know what the deal is exactly, but this week it’s her job, apparently, to stay until about 5 o’clock. So, and, I think, by that time, buses and transport, public transport, around here tends to get incredibly busy, and so she’s wanting to come and grab her.
So, I’m doing that, but I thought I would talk to you guys today about what I’ve been up to this week, Portuguese and photography, and a little bit of, you know, the ups and downs of language learning or of, you know, trying to pursue any kind of endeavor that you’re trying to improve at, right? Whether you’re trying to become good photography, at a sport like soccer or tennis or karate, you know, it could be anything. Any time you’re trying to achieve something, there’s always ups and downs. Anytime you’re trying to master something, there’s always ups and downs, and I think it’s… There are lots of parallels between a lot of different hobbies and endeavours that we try and master, and it’s… I’ve noticed a lot of it with photography and language learning specifically at the moment where… a lot of ups and downs. I’ll have nights where at the moment I’m speaking a lot of Portuguese, especially with the housemates, and obviously my fiancée Kel who’s from Brazil. We’re always talking in Portuguese, and it’s funny when you had the same set of people and when you speak English with them you’re the one at the top of the English speaking hierarchy, right? Anytime we’re speaking English, obviously, I’m the only native English speaker. So, I am the best, quote/unquote, best English speaker in that group when we’re chatting in English. But as soon as we switch to Portuguese, the tables turn, and I am now at the very, very bottom of the hierarchy with regards to capability of speaking Portuguese. So, now, you switch from top to bottom on a dime, incredibly quickly. So, we’ll be chatting away in Portuguese. I’m at the bottom. You know, I’m the limiting factor. I’m the one who wants to slow down the conversation, who’s constantly thinking of what I’m trying to say, who can’t think of the correct words, who says things awkwardly, and then as soon as we switch to English, it’s the other way around. I mean, the other guys are a lot better at English than I am Portuguese, but still, they’re the ones if anyone is… who are limiting the conversation.
So, I guess, that was one thing that I’ve noticed that has been really funny is that I’ve had to get used to being the person at the very bottom pretty much all the time, because we’re always speaking in Portuguese. So, that’s been sort of a humbling experience, but it’s been really good too, because it drives me to want to improve. So, that’s something worth talking about.
When you… It’s the same thing I noticed in jiujitsu and in a lot of other endeavors that I’ve tried to sort of master over the years. It’s so much better when you don’t get comfortable with being at the top of the hierarchy. Right? So, of a hierarchy of competency in whatever it is that you’re trying to become competent at: karate, jujitsu, soccer. It’s always good to try and surround yourself with people who better than you at that thing, because it pushes you to want to be better yourself. And so, I really, really like the fact that with my Portuguese I’m not… I’m not surrounded by people who are as good as me or worse than me. I’m surrounded by people who are native speakers. And so, I’m constantly trying to work my butt off and really hard to be able to, you know, get closer to where their level is with regards to Portuguese. and I think it’s also really important too, when you think about this in terms of people that you spend time with, if you want to be a really productive person and you have a lot of projects and things that you’re working on, and you want to get a lot out of life, it’s always really good to think about the people you spend time with, because, I can’t remember where I first heard it or who came up with this or, you know, where it originated from, but I’ve heard quite a few times in a few different places that you are the average of the five closest people in your life. So, the five people that you spend most time with are going to have a huge impact on the person that you become, right? So, if you spend your time all day hanging out with people who, say, dropkicks, they don’t work, they do drugs, they’re very lazy, they don’t work hard on anything, even though they don’t work, you know, whether it’s a hobby or… they don’t pursue self-improvement, they are they don’t pursue curiosity, you’re not going to feel driven to do those things, you know? Whether or not you would under other circumstances want to do that, if you’re spending the majority of your time with people who aren’t interested in pursuing excellence in some sort of area, who aren’t interested in pursuing that curiosity, who aren’t interested in learning, who aren’t interested in being motivated and following a discipline, you’re going to end up ultimately diminishing your abilities or the possibilities that you would have it being someone you could potentially be.
Whereas, if you spend your time surrounded by people who are constantly working hard, who are constantly driven, constantly motivated, always looking to improve, always looking to develop themselves, then as a result, whether or not you like it, you’re going to be a better version of you as well because of the effect that those people will have on you, you know?
Like, if you go to a party and everyone’s drinking it’s hard to not also drink, right? You don’t want to be the person who sticks out and doesn’t do what everyone else does. And the same thing goes for, say, if all of your mates want to go to the gym, it’s hard to be the one guy who says, nah, I don’t feel like working out, because you suddenly feel guilty, right? You feel like a loser. You want to do what everyone else is doing.
And so, that I’ve noticed too happens with pretty much anything. If you want to be…. if you want to be someone who achieves a lot of things, surround yourself with other people who achieve a lot of things, and it may be brutal at times, especially if you have family members or friends that are sort of diminishing your capabilities, but you kind of have to think about what it is that you want, you know, and if… you know, I’ve had to do that a few times that I’ve had to cut off a few friends. Anyway, I’m getting side tracked.
But I’ve noticed that with Kel, at least recently, my fiancée. She is always working hard now, because she’s always seeing me work really hard. I mean, and that’s not to say she wasn’t working hard beforehand, but I feel like it’s good that she gets motivated when I’m motivated to study or to do something, and she’ll see me doing it and she’ll be like, oh, damn! I need to go and work on something whether it’s watching a video on YouTube about how to do photography or whether it’s studying more English or reading an English book and then asking me questions about it when she sees me learning Portuguese. I love the fact that she feeds off my passion, and as a result, when I see her working hard it, makes me feed off her passion and her determination and her discipline. And so, yeah, I’ve noticed that a lot recently where both of us… who knows who started, who was the first person to kind of do something in front of the other person that got this whole process kick started, but I’ve definitely noticed that recently that all the people I’m surrounding myself with at the moment are driving me to want to be a better version of myself and work harder.
Anyway, that was sort of a tangent, I guess. It’s sort of related to languages, but that’s what I’ve been up to with Portuguese recently. I’ve really been working on it a lot and I’ve noticed some really big… some really big improvements, mainly in fluency. I haven’t really noticed my vocabulary developing a whole lot, although, I hope it has been, and I guess, that’s something else worth talking about.
I noticed that with photography, though, recently as well, I’ve been going to the same place repeatedly, probably every day, every second day, maybe four times a week at the moment. I’m going to this reserve nearby and there is… it’s pretty big, there’s a lot of kangaroos, echidnas, wallabies, all kinds of animals. We took some really good photos of some scorpions and some frogs the other day, which was really cool.
But, I’m going there a lot and taking a lot of photos, and it gets harder, because you keep going to the same place so it gets harder and harder to come up with ideas about what to take photos of, specifically if you’re trying to take photos of the same thing, right? If I’m taking photos of kangaroos all the time, it gets harder and harder to come up with ideas. But as a result, it forces me to try and… to try and come up with new ideas and to try and improve what I’m already doing. And the same thing with landscape. The landscape doesn’t change, but the way you see it and the angles that you get and the… you kind of get forced to really try and improve how you’re taking photos when you have to take the photos are the same things all the time. I think that really applies to languages as well, right? If you coming to talk about the same things all the time, you’re going to develop pretty quickly. You don’t want to just be constantly changing what you’re confronting, because then you don’t really dig down deep and you have to improve at a specific set of skills within that thing that you’re trying to improve, right?
If you constantly have to talk about the same stuff in English you’re going to get really good at talking about that stuff compared with if you are constantly talking about something new all the time. Although, both things have a place, right. You don’t want to get too bored that you don’t want to take photos of something or you don’t get to speak in English, but you also want to change it up a bit so that you have fun and you also want to practice those things.
But I noticed that with photography. I’ve taken a lot of photos recently and I kept thinking, they’re all crap, they’re horrible, I’m not doing very well. But then I would get home and Kel would sit down next to me and we’d be going through these photos sorting out the ones that I’ve taken, and you see them again in a different light, and you’re like, some of these are actually good, and some of these are better than they were that are… compared to the ones that I took last time, and you start noticing improvement when you get that… a chance to kind of look at the photos you’re taking.
And I think it’s the same with language. I’ve noticed that with Portuguese at least. I’m constantly feeling like I’m not speaking very well. And I think we get stuck like that, because, we get… we’re a bit negative, right? Humans tend to be pretty negative where they’re focused on what they’re doing wrong more so than the things that they’re doing right. You know? It’s pretty rare for you to give yourself a pat on the back for something you did right, but it’s pretty common that we chastise ourselves, that we are hard on ourselves, that we are nasty to ourselves when we don’t get things 100 percent right.
And so, that happened in photography photography recently, where I had been taking a lot of photos and at the time I may feel really disappointed with my results, a little disenfranchised, like I’m useless, like I’m hopeless, but then later on when I get to sort of sit down and analyse things, I’ll see, okay, I’m actually improving. I can sort of tell that some of these photos are a lot better than they were a month ago or a week ago.
And it’s the same with Portuguese. I’ve noticed that I keep feeling like I’m not doing very well and that the conversation sticks, and then I’ll chat to Kel about that, and she’ll say later that night, well, Pete, you spoke for five hours today in the car whilst we drove, you know, down to the beach and you talked about all of these complex issues. You weren’t perfect, but you couldn’t do that a month ago, you couldn’t do that two months ago. And so, it’s nice to have a reality check. And I guess, that’s the thing at the end of the day, a reality check. Maybe that will be the theme of this episode.
It’s good to have a reality check sometimes and just have someone else step in and be able to tell you that you’re doing the right thing, that you’re improving, you’re doing well, but also yourself be able to step back and not criticise yourself too harshly and give yourself a break and have a reality check and say, you know, I may not be where I want to be, which hopefully, you’ll never be there, right? You want to constantly be improving and constantly aiming to be better at who you are or what you can do right now, but you don’t want to get into a pattern of being hard on yourself all the time, right? You don’t want to always be 100 percent whip and no carrot, right?
If you’re the person who is trying to reward a horse who’s pulling a cart you’ve got… You can either feed the horse and try and get the cart to move or you can try beating the horse to get the cart to move, right? So, you can use positive feedback, which would be giving them the carrot positive incentive, or you can use negative feedback, which would be beating them with a whip and giving them a, you know, negative incentive to get moving.
You have to try and become the kind of person who gives yourself more positive feedback, hopefully, mostly, if not completely, positive feedback all the time than negative feedback. And this is something that I have to try and develop in myself constantly and remind myself when I’m feeling very self-critical and down on myself and I’m not seeing the results that I expect of myself, I have to remind myself to be nicer to who I am to be nice… because we’re the voice in our head, right?
We are the person we have to spend all of our time with, the voice in our head, and you don’t want to spend all your time with someone who is horrible, right? You don’t want to spend time with someone who hates you, who treats you horribly, and I had to… I was chatting to cal about this recently, she was constantly berating herself and being down low self and critical of her own photography and her own English, and I was saying, would you say this to me if I came to you and said, my photography sucks! I hate my photos! I’m horrible! I can’t take photos at all! Or, I hate my Portuguese! I’m horrible! I can’t speak Portuguese at all! Would you say to me the same things that you’re currently saying to yourself or about yourself? And she said, no! I would never say that. I would never say that you were horrible. And then I said to her, well, why would you say to yourself? If you wouldn’t say that kind of stuff to your best friend, to your fiancé, to your husband, to your parents, to your children, why would you say to yourself? Why would you say to yourself?
So, that was something I got out of a book recently called 12 Rules For Life by Jordan Peterson. And I can’t remember, which rule that was, but one of them was treat yourself like you’re your best friend. At least, I think that’s what one of them was. It was, like, treat yourself like you’re someone that you’re friends with. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Be nice to yourself. Find reasons to say positive things about yourself, because I think we constantly get stuck in a sort of cycle of negative feedback to ourselves, like, we know what we could be and we’re not there yet and we get disappointed, but we definitely need to spend more time being kind to ourselves.
Anyway, guys, I’ve been ranting for a while now. I covered a few different topics in there. I hope you get something out of it. It’s of cathartic and nice for me to just be able to talk about these issues and my own, you know… things that are going on in my head, my own problems, the kinds of things that I’m trying to work through, especially, with trying to improve at these endeavors. My personal endeavors of trying to improve my languages, trying to improve my teaching on English, trying to improve my photography skills, my relationships with people.
And so, I guess, I would love for you to leave this podcast episode thinking about, how do you treat yourself? Do you treat yourself like someone you’re friends with or do you treat yourself like someone you don’t really like, that, you know, are you horrible to yourself at times?
So, with that guys, I hope you have an amazing day and I’ll chat to you soon. All the best.
Want to learn English even faster?
Enrol in The Aussie English Classroom!
Each course is a comprehensive English lesson covering these areas:
AE 470 – Expression: Air Your Dirty Laundry
So, Nic, very impressive van. You’ve got some washing machines and some dryers in there. What’s it all about?
What we’re trying to do is improve the hygiene standards of the homeless. So, every day this van goes out on the streets of Brisbane and we’ve got two washing machines and two dryers in the van, and we simply wash and dry clothes for free. But we talk about our service being much more. We talk about our service being a catalyst for conversation. So, our van, as you can see, it takes a little bit of time to do the washing and drying, and through that time we’re able to have really awesome chats.
G’day, guys, and welcome to this episode of Aussie English. This is Aussie English, the Aussie English Podcast, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone or wanting to learn Australian English. But if you try to improve your English in general too, this is also the podcast for you.
So, today’s intro scene. Today’s intro scene was a little clip from a video from Totally Wild’s YouTube channel, and this was an interview with a charity called Orange Sky Laundry, which we’re going to talk about in today’s Aussie fact. A link will be in the transcript if you’d like to check out Totally Wild’s YouTube channel and you want to check out the rest of this video.
But Totally Wild there was this really cool kids’ TV show that I used to watch as a kid. I’d get up early. I think it was on weekends or maybe after school on TV, and I used to watch this, and there was a chick called Ranger Stacey who was a wildlife ranger, and she would always have animals and be at zoos and around Australia teaching people about animals. And this is probably part of why I am such an avid fan of animals today. So, Ranger Stacey, if you’re listening, big thanks.
Anyway, guys, the Aussie English Podcast is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom. This is the online membership site that I have, guys, with courses in there, all the bonus content for these expression episodes and the Australian interview episodes. You get videos about the different expressions I use within these episodes, different vocab, videos about pronunciation, and at the moment I’m expanding the Australian Pronunciation Course in the Aussie English Classroom.
So, if you would like to improve your Australian English or your English in general and get from intermediate to advanced, then I definitely recommend getting in there and giving it a go, guys. It’s just one dollar for your first month while you get used to it, and you can join us in the private Facebook group for members. At the moment, there’s a lot of engagement. People are posting videos, they’re taking part in the weekly challenges, they’re voting on these expressions. So, we’re all having a lot of fun, and these guys are levelling up their English really quick. So, I’d love to see you in there.
Anyway guys, as usual, let’s start with a joke, and in fact, I have two jokes for you today. So, today’s expression was about laundry and that’s why I thought of talking about Orange Sky Laundry, but I also found some jokes related to laundry. Okay. You know, I want to keep the theme consistent.
So, the first joke is: What happened to the leopard that fell into the washing machine? What happened to the leopard that fell into the washing machine? He came out spotless. He came out spotless. Do you get it?
So, a leopard is a large cat. I think these guys are from Africa, right? You got jaguars in South America, leopards in Africa. They’re covered in spots. And if something is ‘spotless’, it’s very clean, right? The idea being that there are no dirty spots on that, usually, piece of laundry. So, what happened to the leopard that fell into the washing machine? He came out spotless.
There was a second joke that was equally as funny as the first one here that was similar, except instead of a leopard, it was about a wolf.
What happens if a wolf falls into a washing machine? What happens to a wolf, you know a wolf, the dogs from Europe and from America, a wolf. He becomes a wash and wearwolf. Get it? He becomes a wash and a wearwolf.
So, obviously, when you wash your clothes you wash them and then you can wear them. And if it’s a wolf that falls in, he becomes a wash and wearwolf. ‘Were’ as in the play on words here to ‘wear’ clothing. But ‘were’ is also used in the word ‘werewolf’, which means… it’s that… it’s when… what is this? Like, a folk lore, folk legend, about a man who gets bitten by a wolf and when there’s a full moon, he turns into a werewolf. That’s a werewolf.
Anyway, I hope you like those jokes, guys. I love puns. I love puns.
Anyway, today’s expression is ‘to air your dirty laundry’, ‘to air your dirty laundry’. I wonder if you guys have heard this expression before, ‘to air your dirty laundry’. This one came from Kel who suggested this in the Aussie English Classroom. Well done Kel.
So, let’s go through and define the different words in the expression ‘to air your dirty laundry’. So, ‘to air something’, ‘to air something air’. ‘Air’ as in, *inhaling*, the stuff that I just inhaled. That’s air. But we can use the verb ‘to air’ to mean to make a room fresher, right? If you allow fresh air to go into a room to a building or house by leaving a window or a door open, you’re airing the house, you’re airing a room.
But in this case, it is in the sense of airing something publicly, which is when you express something publicly like information, opinions, or a secret. You air it publicly. You allow people to know.
The word ‘dirty’. I’m sure you guys have heard the word ‘dirty’. If you’re dirty, you’re covered in dirt, meaning you’re not clean. You’re covered in dirt. So, if you’ve worn some clothes today, by the end of the day, the clothes are dirty, and you need to put them in the washing machine to wash them. So, dirty clothes.
And when they’re ready to go into the washing machine or once they’ve been washed and dried in the washing machine, they are now ‘laundry’. So, that’s what we used the word ‘laundry’ for. This is clothes or sheets, anything that needs to be washed and cleaned in a washing machine that is then dried and usually worn or used on bedding. That is ‘laundry’.
So, let’s go through the expression of what it means, guys. So, if you air your dirty laundry, this is the idea of talking about things, usually a problem or a dispute or some kind of secret, that should be kept secret, or that you would have preferred to have kept secret, but instead you’re making it public, you’re telling other people about it. So, it’s to tell something scandalous or unflattering about yourself, to reveal things about your private life that people usually don’t want to share about their private lives. So, that is to air your dirty laundry. To talk about something private that’s usually a little bit scandalous or unflattering, something embarrassing.
Now this expression was very similar to a recent expression that we did, Episode 454: To Have a Skeleton in Your Closet. So, ‘to have a skeleton in your closet’, remember this means to have a secret that you don’t want other people to know about, something that would be potentially damaging to your reputation if people found out about it. So, obviously if you have a skeleton in your closet, you’ve got a secret you don’t want people to know, and if you air your dirty laundry, that is that you have now shown people or you have now said publicly, you’ve shown publicly, the skeleton that was in your closet, as in your secrets.
So, as usual guys let’s go through some examples. Three examples here of situations where you might hear the expression ‘to air your dirty laundry’.
Alright. So, example number one. Someone’s having an affair, okay? So, they’re cheating on their partner, their boyfriend, their girlfriend, their husband, their wife. They’re cheating on that person, so they have found another person with whom they are having some kind of relationship, whether they’re having sex or they’re emotionally involved with this person, that is having an affair. So, if that is occurring, that’s a skeleton in their closet, in that they don’t want people to know about that secret. But maybe one day, you know, if you’re imagining that this is you who is having the affair, maybe one day a friend finds out that you’re having an affair. Maybe they see you drive off to this person’s house and they see you get together and kiss, and they’re like, “That’s not your wife! That’s not your husband! What are you doing?”. So, they find out about this and they say, “If you don’t tell everyone about this, or at least, if you don’t tell your wife or your husband, your partner, about this shameful and scandalous secret, then I’ll tell them for you.”. So, in this case they want you to air your dirty laundry. They might say you, “You need to air your dirty laundry to your partner. You need to reveal this shameful, unflattering personal secret. You need to make it public or at least tell your wife or husband about this thing. You need to tell your wife or husband about this fact that you’ve been cheating on them and having this affair with someone else. You need to air your dirty laundry. You need to come clean. You need to reveal the skeleton in your closet.”.
So, example number two. In this example, imagine you are part of a sports team. So, the Tour de France is on at the moment. Imagine you are a cyclist cycling around France, the Alps, in the Tour de France. So, you’re on a team, but you’re clean, you don’t do drugs, you’ve never done any blood doping, and you find out, though, that the rest of the team does. If you’re appalled by this fact, you’re ashamed about this fact, you consider this fact very scandalous, and you know, you think it’s a… something that shouldn’t be done, if you think that the team needs to come clean, you think that the team needs to air their dirty laundry. They need to be open and honest about the fact that they’re cheating, they’re breaking the rules, they’re not playing by the rules. They’re blood doping or they’re doing some kind of drugs like steroids. So, they have this big secret, they have this skeleton in their closet, and you think the fact that they’re doing these illicit drugs or blood doping is something they shouldn’t be doing. They need to come clean. They need to air their dirty laundry.
Example number three. So, imagine you are the leader of a nation whether it’s Trump or Putin or Turnbull, you know, all these different nation leaders. Imagine you’re the leader of a nation and you’re at the UN council meeting and you’re being accused by another country or another nation of some horrific war crime, some crimes against humanity. So, maybe it’s genocide or, you know, something like that, where you’ve… maybe bombed your own people, you’ve done something horrible. If you come clean and tell the truth about what’s happened, about these atrocities, that they’ve occurred, you’ve said you’re going to do something about it, you’re airing the country’s dirty laundry. You’re exposing or revealing this secret, this skeleton in the country’s closet. You’re airing the country’s dirty laundry.
So, hopefully guys, you want to send the expression now ‘to air your dirty laundry’, meaning to talk about things, usually a problem or a dispute, something scandalous or unflattering, that would otherwise have been kept secret and you’re allowing other people to know. ‘To air your dirty laundry’.
As usual, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise, guys. This is where you guys get to practice your English pronunciation. So, if you’re trying to work on your accent and sound a little bit more Australian, just try and copy me exactly, mimic me and how I pronounce these words. If you’re not trying to get an Australian accent, say it in your accent, but say these words after me. Let’s go.
to air your
to air your dirty
to air your dirty laundry x 5
I’m airing my dirty laundry
You’re airing your dirty laundry
He’s airing his dirty laundry
She’s airing her dirty laundry
We’re airing our dirty laundry
They’re airing their dirty laundry
It’s airing its dirty laundry
Good job, guys. Good job. Now, I was saying that with connected speech, aspects of connected speech that are relatively Australian. I was using a Linking R in there. I was doing a few other things. But I will go over that in depth in today’s video that you will get access to if you’re in the Aussie English Classroom. Remember, to sign up and give that a go, guys. It’s just one dollar for your first month. TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com. Get into it. Anyway, let’s get into the Aussie fact before we finish up for the day, guys.
So, today’s Aussie fact I wanted to talk about this or some charity in Australia called Orange Sky Laundry. Now, I heard about these guys a few years back when they won that Young Australian of the Year. So, we have these awards every year, Australian of the Year, I think we have Elderly Australian of the Year or… and the Young Australian of the Year. There’s a few different classes. But these guys won that category. So, that was really awesome.
Why I think they were so cool, and they were obviously relevant to today’s episode, is because they are a charity that cleans the laundry of homeless people for free.
So, this is a story of two 20-year-old guys, Lucas and Nic, and they started the world’s first mobile laundry service for the homeless. They finished high school and they decided, “You know what? I really want to do something. I want to make a change in this world!”, and they decided helping the homeless would be something they could do by creating this free laundry-washing service.
So, Lucas and Nic were only 20 years old when they first came up with this idea, and they were chatting over breakfast one morning on the Gold Coast when they came up with the awesome idea to wash the laundry of homeless people for free.
They launched Orange Sky Laundry in 2014, so only four years ago. And since, they’ve made a massive impact. So, today only three or four years later after they began, the charity operates 21 different mobile vans that service 149 different locations in Australia with over 1,400 dedicated volunteers Australia-wide.
So, their vans wash around seven tons of clothing and bedding linen for the homeless every week across Australia. And besides just washing and drying their clothes, a big part of what they believe in their… the ethos of Orange Sky Laundry is spending time with the homeless, engaging the homeless, connecting with the homeless by talking to them and getting to know them and hearing their stories.
So, that’s why I thought these guys were really awesome and were worth mentioning here in this episode, guys. It costs about six dollars for every wash and dry that they do for one person, so if you guys would like to support them you can check them out at OrangeSky.org.au, and you can make a donation that is tax-deductible if you would like.
So, anyway guys, I hope you enjoy this episode, I hope you’re having an amazing weekend, and I will chat to you soon. Peace out.
Learn Australian English even faster in
Each course is a comprehensive
English lesson covering these areas:
Watch the video here:
AE 469 – Vlog: 1 Tip to Improve Your English Speaking
Windy! It’s cold. Windier than I would have liked, but we will see how we go today. I felt like doing a video, coming out here and doing some photography again. There are kangaroos all over the shop. Hopefully, some echidnas too. We’ll see how we go. And the sun has just come out very. Beautiful.
It’s pretty funny. There’s some offensively red plant protective covers, I don’t even know the name for them, hanging out here, and they stand out like a sore thumb. I’ll have to show you guys. Maybe they’re that colour to keep the kangaroos from running into them.
(You can) probably those birds in the background. Those noisy miners and they are not happy that I am here. So, I assume they are nesting at the moment. But check these things out, guys. They’re incredibly obvious, incredibly conspicuous.
All right, let’s get started, guys. Put my bag here down in some kangaroo poo. I don’t know if you can see kangaroos around here, but they’re just chilling out here behind me eating for the night, and I forgot my tripod so I’ve had to use this trusty stump and a rock here to stabilize the camera while I have a chat to you about your English. So, let me just steady this camera. I’m always getting these questions, “how can I speak more confidently?”, “how can I communicate better with people?”, and I think the biggest change that you can make, guys, the one biggest change that you can make right now without learning vocabulary, without practicing grammar, without doing any of that crap, without practicing, is just to stop giving out crap, okay. Stop worrying about what people think about your English and just start using it, start communicating, and I’ve noticed this recently that my Portuguese has increased leaps and bounds ahead of where it was when I stopped caring, when I stopped keeping track of mistakes, and when I almost see these mistakes as a badge of honour. Every time I make one it’s like another scar. If you’ve seen that movie recently, Black Panther, where the evil guy has just got scars all over his body and he’s racked these up, he’s got a load of these, because he’s killed people. So for every person he’s killed in his training, he’s given himself a scar. And I feel like people need to change their mentality with regards to making mistakes and see it more in a positive light. The more mistakes you make, the more your using your language, and the more you’re able to see where you’ve made errors and what you need to fix. It’s kind of like you make your English nude, you make it naked, when it’s out there for everyone to see, warts and all. And the biggest thing is too that you just have to keep trying to be understood. It doesn’t matter if you’re perfect, you’re not learning English to be perfect at English. You’re learning English to hopefully use it and communicate with people, have genuine conversations with people, you know, work, but I think mostly it’s just to share knowledge, to share communication, to make friendships, to fall in love, to bond with people, to share experiences, to connect. That’s what it’s all about and you don’t need to be perfect for that to happen.
So, yeah, I just wanted to have a little quick rant. Get this video together and talk about how, at least personally, I noticed that I improved dramatically after I stopped keeping track of what I couldn’t do, what I was bad at, and instead focus, shifted the emphasis, onto what I could do and what I was good at, and all of a sudden, I noticed that I was having longer conversations, I was having more in-depth conversations. I would come up against things I wouldn’t be able to say, I wouldn’t know the word for that, but you know what, I would just pull my phone up, I would look for it, I would translate it, and then I would say it, or I would make up a word that I thought, oh this is probably in Portuguese, and it wouldn’t be, but they would understand me, right. And I think that’s just the biggest thing. You just need to put yourself out there, guys. And it’s something that you have to practice. You have to keep trying. You have to keep putting yourself out there into awkward positions, into awkward situations, where you’re not prepared, where you don’t know what you’re going to say, where you don’t know what they’re going to say, and you just have to keep doing it, and the good thing is though, it gets easier and easier and easier the more you do that.
And I guess it’s a funny story for you guys, recently. So, you may or may not know, I had to move house recently with my fiancée who’s Portuguese, well, she’s Brazilian, she speaks Portuguese, and I said to her, earlier this year I said, I just want to speak with you as often as possible only in Portuguese. Okay? I want to get my Portuguese to a level for when we have children in the future, when I meet your family, I can communicate with them. I don’t want to be perfect. I don’t mind making mistakes, but I want to improve. So, that was the first thing, just saying, look, all in. Okay? I don’t care if it’s going to be painful to begin with. I don’t care if I won’t be able to have sophisticated conversations effortlessly like I can in English currently with my English speaking friends, but I know the harder I dig, the harder I work right now, the easier it is going to be later on. And anyway.
So, I said to her, we had to move, and I said to her, let’s try and find somewhere with just Brazilians or at least one other Brazilian. I want… I want to get exposure to other accents. I want to practice speaking with other people. I want to get to know other Brazilians. And so, I made a real effort or at least she made the effort. She was the one searching for places she made a real effort to find a house that had four other Brazilians in it. We moved into there. And since moving in, I also said, I just want to try and speak Portuguese but you guys. If you have English questions, if you’ve got problems that you want to work on I can, you know, try and help you, but I would rather speak in Portuguese, ’cause you guys have been here for years and speak English. Okay?
So, that was one of the things that happened. And then also, when I’m at home all the time working, right. Obviously, I have a YouTube channel I have a podcast. Make sure you check it out. TheAussieEnglishPodcast.com . But I’m always at home, and guess what, there are other people at home quite often. And so, I had to keep putting myself in positions where I was going to have to speak with them. So, I would wake up in the morning and I would situate myself downstairs ready to have breakfast, have my coffee, work on a little Aussie English on the computer, but any time someone would come downstairs, bam!, I get to practice my Portuguese. So, again, I’m shifting out of the comfort zone and I’m trying to force myself to keep doing this, to keep doing this, to keep practising, and I think you guys need to apply this in English.
As much technology as there is today, and as as many different ways that we have in which we can learn a language, whether it’s Portuguese or English, there are also so many other ways that you guys can get around having to use your English or having to use whatever language it is that you’re trying to practice, and that’s the thing you need to stop yourself from doing. You need to go and buy a ticket for the bus? Don’t buy it online. Don’t buy it at the machine. Speak to someone. Have that one to one interaction. I know that in Melbourne if you go to the station quite often you can buy your ticket from person or you can buy from a machine. So, you know…
Almost lost it. A bit of wind.
So don’t avoid those situations. Look at them as you’re gaining experience points, right. You’re playing a game and you’re trying to gain as many points as you can. Every single time you struggle, you’re gaining points, you’re gaining experience, and it’s like going to the gym, for me. This is another tangent.
When I first started going to the gym, I hated it. I hated working out, I hated the feeling, I hated feeling uncomfortable, but pretty quickly I started to enjoy it, because I saw the struggle as a way of evolving, as a way of improving, as a way of growing. And so, really quickly my mind actually changed and I would be looking forward to going to the gym and lifting weights, because I knew every single uncomfortable moment, every ounce, every moment of pain was a step closer to being fitter, to being stronger, to being healthier. And it’s the same thing with your English. You work on your psychology and you start thinking, every time I make a mistake, every time I’m using my English, every time I’m uncomfortable, that’s a step closer to being able to speak confidently, to being near or at native level English. You guys can achieve that. It’s just a matter of working your arse off, right. I could become so many things in the world, right. You could become so many things in the world. The thing that’s stopping you is procrastination and fear of the uncomfortable.
So, I think if English is something that you take seriously, if English is something that you really want to get good at and you want to get good at it fast and you want to get to an amazing level, start, start right now. Get off your arse. Go talk to someone. Go look for an uncomfortable situation where you can say and you can feel afterwards, you can say to yourself, Yes! I’ve worked on it. I’ve found a weak point that I need to improve upon. I found the edges of my comfort zone and I’ve pushed. I haven’t just stayed in there. You know? It’s easy to stay on the couch all day and not leave the house if you’re needing to find work, but don’t get comfortable. That couch gets incredibly comfortable, guys. Avoid it at all costs. Get out there, go for a run, grab your camera, take some photos of some kangaroos, talk to yourself, you know, while you’re out walking, practising, practising, practising.
Anyway. That is all I really wanted to say today, guys. It’s just keep trying to find the edges of your comfort zone. If you want to be able to maintain that momentum and improve as fast as possible in any sort of endeavour that you’re interested in, whether it’s English, martial arts, photography, whatever it is, getting fit, you need to find where it is uncomfortable and you need to try pushing past that a little bit more every single day.
So, with that, guys, I hope that helps. I would love to know what you think. Put a comment below and let me know when was the last time you felt uncomfortable in your English, but then afterwards felt that feeling of I earned that. I worked really hard. I wasn’t perfect but now I’m a little bit better. Okay, so with that, guys, I hope you have a good one. And I’ll chat to you soon.
Man, so there’s some… There’s kangaroos all over the shop here, right. So, you’ll see… you probably see behind me there’s kangaroos up on the hill here eating. There’s kangaroos down in this valley here. They’re all sheltering from the wind and keeping warm. And you’ll see Canberra behind me here. But there was some really cool wallabies. I’ll have to find out what they were. Fortunately, so I was walking up this this path here, and you might see, if I can put my finger on it, there were some logs here, and I came up the hill, because it drops off a bit as soon as you go over it. And I saw… I thought, oh, there’s some kangaroos hiding behind this log, I’ll try and creep up, and they turn out to be wallabies, man.
And these are not common, I haven’t seen these. I’m not sure of that red-tail wallabies. Pete, look it up. Put a species name on the screen for those interested. But they had a joey. One of them had a joey in its pouch, and it stood in front of me on the path here, because I stood still, you know, like this, well, like this with the camera in front of my eyes, and got some shots of it. Anyway, I thought I would share that with you and I might see if I can jump down this little valley here and get some more shots of them, because they’re bloody quick, man, and you’ll see they move completely differently from kangaroos that do the standard bom, bom, bom. These ones are like, pew, pew, pew. Exactly like that.
Anyway, I’m going to switch lenses and we’ll see if we can find some.
So, here are the wallabies, guys. You’ll see there’s a mob of them here. Look at them go.
Perfect your English Pronunciation in
Each course is a comprehensive
English lesson covering these areas:
AE 468 – WWP: Practice Makes Perfect
Welcome to this episode of Walking with Pete, guys. Just about to get ini the car to a nearby wildlife reserve. I’ve been going there quite often, checking the place out, and trying to practice my photography. So, just let me reverse out of the driveway, not back into the fence here, and then we’ll drive down, and see if we can get some of the light before the sun sets, but unfortunately, it looks like today is pretty overcast and there isn’t going to be a lovely sunset by the looks of it. But we will see.
I thought I would do a little Walking with Pete episode like this, or Driving with Pete, Cruising with Pete, because it just gives me a chance to chat to you guys about different topics, and I thought it was relevant today, because I’m going out to do this photography this is kangaroos, and I’ve been out there a lot. I’ve been doing it several times the past week going to the same location and just trying to hone my skills at the same task, you know? Even though, it’s the same thing, I’m going to the same place, that I’m doing… I’m doing the same activity, photographing probably the same kangaroos, although, my kangaroo facial recognition isn’t the best. So, I have no idea if they’re the same kangaroos or not, but it’s the same… it’s the same sort of thing is anything, right? If you want to get good at something, it’s really good to just keep doing the same thing again and again and again, and not always… not always change rapidly, right. You know, like, if you’re going to be studying English and you need to… you’re trying to improve your English by watching a TV series for example, it’s pretty… it’s pretty easy to just watch the whole thing once and not go over it a few times, right? Whereas, I think, for me at least, it’s a lot better and I learn a lot more if I go over the same thing many times and I don’t just watch it once, never watch it again, and move on. So, it’s the same thing I think. I’m trying to improve my photography, I’m trying to get good at doing photos of, I guess, animals, wildlife, locations, as well. And so, I thought all of this week I’m going to keep going to the same location every single night. There’ll be different conditions. Maybe I’ll see different kinds of animals, different things to photograph. I’ll get to practice in all kinds of different… all kinds of different conditions. So, I think it would be really good, and I thought it was relevant, because it’s the same with language learning, right? You’re not going to use a new set of words or phrases every time you speak English. You’re going to keep using the same patterns, the same language again and again and again, and so it is worth going over, it’s worth practising the same things many times in a row and just constantly honing your skills. And so, fortunately, I am almost there. It’s that close, guys. And, oh my gosh, I can see dozens and dozens and dozens of kangaroos. So, this would be really good.
And there’s been this… What happened? We went out here the other day, right, and we disappeared into this reserve here and ended up bushwhacking, meaning that we went off the path and just walked through the bush, the forest, the trees, in order to find the road to get out, ’cause we wanted to get out quicker. So, we did that and it’s funny because we’ve got a bit lost, but then ended up in this really cool place, which is… it’s called Mulligan’s Flat Nature Reserve.
So, I’ve just arrived and on the sign they have a picture of an echidna. So, I imagine that there will actually be some echidnas in here that hopefully I will see at some point, although, I haven’t seen any yet. And the other thing is to get in here you have to climb over this fence. So, you’ll probably hear this. This is like this little metal step ladder that goes over the top of a fence here. So, I have to come up it and then go down it. And you’re not allowed to bring dogs or cats in here because there’s a lot of… there’s a lot of animals, obviously, but there’s also poison. So, there’s a poison here in Australia called 1080 poison, and it’s used for poisoning foxes and cats, specifically. And unfortunately, I think it can kill dingoes, obviously, their dogs, and pets as well, right? So, if you’ve got a pet dog, they can be affected by this poison, and it can also harm things like goannas. But, yeah, it’s a pretty… it’s a bit of a contentious issue I think in Australia, using 1080 poison, because it kills a lot of wildlife, any carnivores that are going to eat the bait, which is… it tends to be a mate that has been poisoned with this stuff. Any native carnivores are also going to die from this poison and it’s a really shit way to go, meaning that it’s a horrible way to die if you eat this poison. I think it is an agonizing death. It takes hours. It’s not like a poison that you eat and, you know, like cyanide or something, you’re dead instantly. So yeah, there’s a lot of people who are pretty against using 1080 poison.
Yeah. But yeah, I’m dying to see an echidna in here, because we were here the other day and when we got lost, we went off the path and there were lots of termite mounds around in the forest here. Termites are those small, I guess they’re called ‘white ants’ here, colloquially, but they’re not ants, they’re not… they’re a different kind of insect, different family. They’re not ants. But termites are a favourite food have kidneys and a lot of these termite mounds had holes that had been dug into the bottom of them, which were made by echidnas. So, there was signs of these echidnas all over the place, but it’s just a matter of actually coming across one. And they’re pretty cool little critters. They don’t seem to really care too much about other people and other things because of obviously their spines, which protect them pretty well.
Anyway, so I’m out here probably going to finish up quickly. I’m just walking off the path, off the beaten track, and there’s a big dam in front of me where we where the other day, and I’ve got some really good photos of the kangaroo hopping across, past the dam, with its reflection. And anyway, I’m… what I’m looking at at the moment is the dam in front of me. There are probably about a hundred kangaroos in front of me spread across the ground here. It’s kind of like a field, like a farm field, with very short grass, because they will eaten the grass. There’s kangaroo poo everywhere. So, I can see there’s hundreds of them in this in this really big field. So, I can see too, they’re looking at me, so they can hear my voice. I’m going to grab my camera out, I’m going to try and get close, get some nice photos, and I will chat you guys soon. So, I hope you enjoy this episode stay tuned and keep improving your English, guys. All the best.
All right. So, part two of Walking with Pete. (I’m) Currently walking back through the park that I was in to start with, that I was entering when I think I left you guys earlier on, and it’s been an incredible evening, incredible evening. I got a few good shots of some kangaroos, except tonight they were a little bit skittish. They were sort of running away before you could get very close to them. Whereas in previous nights, (I’ve) been able to get really close and they just ignore me. So, not sure what was going on tonight. I think too as soon as you get one or two kangaroos bolting, they don’t really run, they hop off. I don’t really know a verb for hopping really fast, but they hop incredibly quickly in order to escape or to run off, and as soon as one of them does it, it seems like the entire mob does it. Remember guys, ‘a mob’ is the collective word for a group of kangaroos.
And I am currently walking up back that dam. There’s a fence that I’m walking along and there’s a few kangaroos checking me out on the other side of the fence, (I’m getting pretty close to them, though, I think they know I can’t get them. Let’s see if you can hear them if they hop off. But yeah, they’re pretty quiet. But it’s been a great night.
There’s quite a few of these kangaroos. You can see they’ve got pouches right in front of them, between their legs, and the females tend to have a lot of joeys, like, it seems to be crazy just how many of them are pregnant with joeys at the moment. And, I’m just going to try and get a really good shot of this one that’s allowed me to… Oh, that’s alright. I’ve been trying to get some close ups of their faces. That one wasn’t having it, although, it was only about four or five metres away. Anyway, tonight was good. There was joeys everywhere. And I think I can see, in front of me, a whole bunch of them lying down, although, I might actually just be a few logs. It’s gotten a bit dark. I can’t really see very well. Anyway.
Yeah. So, loads of kangaroos, loads of mums, and the joeys kind of like just shove their heads out of the pouches every now and then. But it’s kind of pretty cool. It’s very quiet in this little area too, because it’s kind of a valley between some low-lying hills and low-lying mountains, and so there’s not much wind down here. So, when you get down here, you’re just sitting there, taking photos, chilling out, and it’s just… just dead quiet. Although, you can hear the cockatoos in the background going “Rah, rah, rah”. The cockatoos are just going crazy.
The last thing I wanted to mention tonight was that it was really good because I came across, I stumbled upon, I spied, an echidna, which is what I was hoping to see at some point, and I didn’t expect to see it tonight. (I) didn’t think they’d be out and about. I was walking up the hill to finish. I was sort of trying to chase the sun, right. So, I had… I’d parked in the car park and then was walking, I guess, it’s walking west, and I was doing this because I wanted to catch the kangaroos in front of me with the sun behind them so that when I got some photos of them their hair was kind of lit up, they had the sun, the light, coming from behind them. It just look truly good. I really like that sort of angle, I guess. And so, I was trying to get that angle and the sun went down behind the hill on one side of the valley. And so, I sort of obviously ran out of light and had to climb the hill, and there were kangaroos on the other side. So, that’s what I was doing. And I went over there and was taking some photos of mum and some joeys, and then I spied what I thought was like the end of a log. I thought it was the dark opening of a hollow in a log from far away. And then, I sort of saw it move and was like, “Uhoh! Here’s an echidna!”. So, I walked over to him. The good thing is they’re not very fast. He didn’t really seem me. He/she, whichever one it was.
And so, I got a few photos from maybe five or 10 metres away, and I thought, “Alright, I’m not wearing my best kit, I’m not wearing my…, you know, I’m not wearing a suit or anything expensive.”. So, I thought, “You know what? I’m going to get on the ground, try crawling up, and getting some close ups of this guy with Kel’s 250mm lens on my camera, which allows me to get pretty close and take some really nice shots.”. And so, I sort of had to comando it up through the grass, the dirt, the dust, and a lot more kangaroo poo than I would have liked. I was crawling through that. And I got within a metre of this little guy, and, I mean I took about half an hour of crawling and creeping up on him. There was a rock between us originally, and I sort of crawled up behind this big rock or boulder and was looking over it taking a shot, or a few shots of this guy, and then, I thought, “All right. You know what? I’ve got all these photos. I’ll see if I can get closer.”. And he had his head down in the in the dirt digging up some anthill eating the ants. And it was crazy. I got so close I could see… every time he lifted his head up he had ants on his face. He was licking is his face eating the ants. His tongue was flicking out. They have an incredibly long tongue.
And it was funny, because I know they don’t have very good eyesight. They can’t see very well. So, I thought, as long as I don’t move too much and I stay low to the ground, he’s not going to freak out, and even if he does, echidnas don’t run away. That’s why they cover it in spikes, right. They hunker down, dig their feet in, and they say, “Bring it on!”, and if you touch them, you know, they… they’re protecting themselves so they’re not too worried about it.
So, I thought, I’ll see how close I can get. He couldn’t see me very well, but he would put his head up every now and then and he would try to smell. I think he was trying to get my scent. And every now and then he would kind of sort of shove his head down in the sand or the dirt trying to hide really abruptly, and then maybe 30 seconds later he put his head up again and see if there was movement or anything, and there wasn’t. So, what a ripper of a night. What a ripper the night.
And now the sun has well and truly gone down. It’s pretty dark. I’m back at my car. I just have to open it up and chuck everything in, and head home and get ready for the next lesson. But, what a night! And I guess that’s the whole point, right. Dropped my phone. That’s the whole point you do this. That’s why you get out there. You never know what’s going to happen. It’s kind of funny, I… when I was young, I used to love going fishing, and I can kind of see the parallels, right, between this and fishing, ’cause you never know if you’re going to see something worth taking a photo of, you never know what’s going to be out there. And my dad used to always hate fishing. It was really funny. I was always like, “Why do you hate fishing?”. Obviously, he just doesn’t like herding animals, right. So, he would always be telling me how much he doesn’t like fishing, he would join me though, and he would bring his camera gear. So, while I was fishing when I was a little kid, sort of, more or less, my father was also fishing. We’ll just get off the road, or get on the road, get off the bike. And yeah, I can see why so many people enjoy it. You never know what’s going to come. You never know if you’re going to get a shot that’s in focus. You never know if you’re going to, you know, be able to get the right angle, if you’re going to accidentally freak the animal out, and I’m just sort of slowly learning how to use things like the aperture, shutter speed, all of that sort of stuff. So, I think Kel’s got a lot better than me at the moment. She’s been watching a lot of YouTube video, and I love the fact that these days with YouTube you can learn anything, you can learn anything. Anyway.
(I’ve) been rabbiting on quite a bit, guys. I hope you like the episode. There’s a lot of good vocab in there for you, and I hope you get out there do some photography as well, and if not photography, I hope you get out there and start using your English. You know, and you if you talk about the same things quite a lot, you know, like I’m saying I’m going out here each night at the moment, just spending an hour or two taking some photos of the same stuff, but I never know what’s going to happen, right. So, get out there and use your English, have a conversation with someone about something that you like, that you enjoy, and keep talking about that topic, you know, and if you’re watching a TV show, keep watching the same episodes and sucking more content out of the same stuff, right. It’s a good way to advance quickly. And with that, guys, I hope you have an amazing night and I’ll chat to you soon. See ya!
Want to learn English even faster?
Each course is a comprehensive English lesson covering these areas: