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AE 503 – IELTs Course: Lesson 1 – Cultural differences
G’day, guys! How’s it going? Pete here, obviously.
Today, I have something new for you, something new for you. So, I chat to you guys a while ago via email and also to all the users of the Aussie English Classroom about what to do after episode 500 and I got mixed feedback. Some of you were sort of happy with the expression episodes and wanting to keep doing them the way they are, others of you wanted something different and you wanted things relating to IELTS and real-world situations and real conversations and break down of vocab and expressions that can be used in those kinds of situations. So, for the last few weeks, Kel and I have been getting together every now and then to record videos, as you’re about to find out, on different topics, right? So, we can discuss them, we can talk about different vocab that we would use in different situations, how to use different expressions. So, so far, we’ve done this episode. This is the very first episode on cultural differences where I sit down with Kel and we chat about the cultural differences between Brazil and Australia.
The other episode that we have done is on family where we talk about our families and we talk about how we can describe our families, the different members in our family, all that sort of stuff in English. So, this episode is going to be free. I’m going to put this up on YouTube, I’m going to put this up on the podcast, the whole thing will be up there for you, guys, to use. However, with the episodes after this there’s going to be two portions to it.
There’s going to be the initial discussion video and podcast episode that will just be me and Kel having a chat about whatever it is, whatever the topic is: family, culture, politics, ordering coffee, whatever those situations are, but then there’ll be a second part to each of those episodes where Kel and I continue the conversation and go through the different vocab and expressions that are used in the first video, ok? And discuss how to use that, what kind of situations, how not to use it all of that sort of stuff. We’re going to deep dive into all the vocab and expressions and hopefully give you tricks and tips specifically for IELTS, PTE and the Cambridge exams, right? And obviously it’s going to be applicable to English in general. You’ll be able to use everything that you learn in these episodes anywhere. But I wanted to be able to give you guys some more resources to help you prepare for IELTS and just to prepare for any of those situations where you’re going to be talking about more complex topics. So, this is the very first one, guys, I’m open to feedback. I would love to hear what you guys think. I would love to hear if you have any suggestions, if you have any topics that you would love us to cover as we’ve only done three episodes so far and we’re thinking about the future ones, but anyway that’s enough for the intro. I’ll let you see it. I’ll let you hear it and then afterwards will finish up and yeah, let’s do it, let’s just get into it, guys.
Pete: G’day, guys! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English and I’m going to be chatting about cultural differences so, I brought along my beautiful fiancee here. Thanks for coming along, Kel. And we were having a chat the other day about differences with regards to culture and I wanted to just have a natural conversation with you. Kel’s like have to organize this, we have to go through it. She’s very pragmatic, she’s very organised andI’m always like ahhh we’ll work it out!
Kel: It’s mainly because English is your first language and I had have other things they need to say so…
Pete: I always forget that, I need to remember, but you do well, but it’s good to have you on the spot where you have to sort of improvise and you’re not prepared.
Kel: Let’s see how it goes!
Pete: Alright so, the first thing we’re talking about so, we’re getting married in about a month and we’ll do some episodes of marriage and some other things related to that in the future but Kel and I were talking about how we need to refer to each other’s parents and that also got us onto talking about how we refer to our own parents in our different cultures and I thought it was an interesting conversation and I liked… I liked what we were talking about so, I thought we could do a video on it and so do you want to start with, I guess, your first experiences here with regard to maybe what you thought of how I referred to my parents and your thoughts when we got engaged?
Pete: You were like… what do I call your parents?
Kel: Because you… most of the times you called them by their names like yeah Jo or Ian.
Pete: Yeah. So, my parents names are Jo and Ian.
Kel: And for me that’s really weird. At first I thought you were joking, you know, he was teasing or something, but because we living now with them for a four a short period it happens everyday and I’m like… that’s really weird. So, I think we wanted to buy them something. I don’t remember what it was, but I was like okay so how do I call your parents? And he was.. Ian and Jo?
Pete: Yeah, use their first names, Kel.
Kel: I’m like… there’s no way I’ll call your mum Jo… she’s not my mate! She’s your mum! There’s no way I can do that, that’s so disrespectful! You can do it. She may is to you doing it, but I feel uncomfortable so, I decided to call them Mum and Dad. but that’s even worse because it’s just awkward, I’m not.. she’s not my mum either. That’s so confusing, but for me it’s like in Brazil you call like my dad sir, like senhor, and my mum madam, senhora.
Pete: Yeah So, you would use senhor/senhora which is effectively literally translated as sir and madam, which in Australia you would never call your parents sir and madam because that’s such a… That’s such a respectful sort of like I would call the King of England. I would call the King of England Your Highness if there were a king of England or Your Highness if it was a woman, but maybe for example the princes, Prince Harry and Prince Charles and the other son was that Prince William, them I would call, at least on my side was made aware of a different phrase that I need to use which may be your Highness I would call them, they’re the kind of people I would call sir as a baseline that is where I would begin with, okay, maybe I need to refer to these people as sir and so, if I were to you sir or madam with my parents as an Australian, and this would probably apply to all Australians, they would be very freaked out, they would be like what on earth?!
Pete: Because I think to an Australian culture it’s very… we don’t like big distances.
Kel: I get that.
Pete: Between, you know, the upper class and the lower class, between positions it’s always… the emphasis is on becoming close with people. So, even your boss at work you may have a really good relationship with him. He might just say you know call me my name, you never get to call him sir or madam and that would be very uncommon in Australia. Usually, it would be maybe Mr. Something, or Mrs. something, but even then that’s a bit too formal in Australia at least we would…. almost always when you’re in a position of power, you want to be… don’t look at me like that I’m a friend, I’m a friend, I’m a friend!
Pete: So, that was what happened with my parents where I said to Kel, in Australia, if you’re getting married to someone or you’re someone’s girlfriend, you’re someone’s partner, whatever it is you would most likely use that person’s first name unless they’re related to you, if they’re related to you may have a different thing, you know, like I might call my uncles and aunts, uncle Paul or auntie Ingrid, you know, but even then now I would probably just use their first names because we’re the same age. When I was a little kid I would call them Uncle Paul or auntie Ingrid, but it wasn’t that big a deal.
Pete: So, and that’s Australian, there may be slight differences in Britain. There may be a bit more, they’re a bit more class base here, but here in with my family they’re very… It’s I guess we’re all equal. We don’t see each other as like I’m the older one. You need to respect me, at least with my immediate family, my parents and my sister. So, what is it like him in Brazil?
Kel: I think for me, personally, it’s a funny one because my parents are not…. they’re fairly young, like my mum had me when she was 20 so, growing up I wouldn’t see her as this old woman at all and I wouldn’t refer to her as madam, but I would never call her by her first name. That’s not, you know, not ok?
Pete: What would her reaction have been if you had?
Kel: She would be like what are you doing? Are you crazy? and would slap me or something, it’s just not polite. But I understand what you mean. The same with my dad, like my parents got divorced and I wouldn’t spend as much time with him, but I would never call him by his first name. That’s not, that’s not okay. But I think because my parents are a bit young I feel weird calling them like sir and madam.
Pete: Because that gap in age isn’t so accentuated.
Kel: But always mom and dad and my grandmother definitely madam.
Kel: Yeah. There’s no… there’s no… and you have to like, can I have your hand? you have to like…
Pete: What? You have to kiss your grandmother’s hand? What is she? The Pope?
Kel: No! She’s my grandmother, that’s it! Every day! like when you go and see her, for example, and visit her you have to do that, if you don’t… I mean… if you are a little child, your parents have to deal with that.
Pete: You don’t know any better, you don’t know any better!
Kel: But I’m 30 so, If I get there and I don’t do it she’ll be like ” oh, you’re all different!’, you know what I mean? And I’m sure for a lot of people it’s the same, there might be families in Brazil where you call, you know, people call their parents by their first name. It may be changing, but.
Pete: It’s very uncommon.
Kel: It is very uncommon. Most people would say senhora or senhor.
Pete: That is so strange! For me that’s the kind of thing I remember talking to one of my students about this who is Brazilian and I was like that reminds me of the movie The Sound of Music where that, I think is an Australian guy or something, the captain or whatever his name is, and has all these children of different ages and they all refer to him as sir. And I remember watching that as a kid and just being like… that is so weird! Because it’s almost like… it’s almost like he’s their boss or he… it’s almost like he owns them. you know. like we just don’t have that kind of formality and I think to the weird thing is in Australian culture that I remember as one anecdote working in a restaurant and an elderly man came in and he would have been in his 60s maybe 70s and I called him sir and he got angry at me, and he was just like don’t call me that my name is Robert.
Pete: That was my… as a waiter, in Australian culture you might do it as a waiter or waitress if you… if the person is relatively old and you don’t want to call them Mr or Mrs, well you don’t know their namea so you probably call them sir or madam, if you do that sometimes they’ll be okay with it, but generally I think most people say don’t, don’t do that. I’m I’m just a normal person as well, don’t treat me like I’m up here, please. My name is Geoff, that makes me uncomfortable.
Kel: But it makes me uncomfortable. For example, with your parents, it’s so weird for me to listen to myself calling them Hi, Ian! It feels that I’m disrespecting them in a way or like just being too informal. I don’t know.
Pete: I think, I guess, that’s one piece of advice would be if you’re coming to Australia or any English-speaking country don’t just assume one way or the other. Talk to people, talk to the people you’re speaking with too, because I’m sure I’m sure you could have sat down with my parents when you first met them and you say I just… I’m a bit confused about how I need to refer to you to be politically correct or to be polite. What language do I need to use? And that is when they would probably say just just call me Jo, just call me Ian and that’s, you know, from then on you just call them Jo or just call them Ian.
Kel: Yeah, your mum sent us a postcard from Britain and she wrote something like, you know, PS: Mum and Dad Oh, Ian and Jo, whatever! It was just so funny because she knows I feel uncomfortable. But it’s the same, when I have to talk to them yeah like now I’m using your dad’s computer and I’m always like… ahh I don’t know how to ask, it’s just so… because we see, I think in Brazil we sell our parents like this really authoritarian, I don’t know, we just… they have the power and someone’s parents is even worse, if we were living with my parents I’m sure I would feel more… obviously I’ll call them sir and madam,.
Pete: And I would feel more like okay, I will call them sir and madam or whatever you suggest, cause i don’t know them.
Kel: But to ask for things I would be much more comfortable, but because they’re your parents. I just feel that.. you know, an extra level of power, it’s just the way we’re raised.
Pete: Funny thing with our relationship too I’m trying to push Kel constantly to talk to them herself because she comes up to me, she’s talking Portuguese so, that they don’t understand it and she’ll be like can you please ask them this thing? Can you ask them if I can use this? And I’ll be like just ask them, Kel, just go. Kelly wants to know if she can use this and you’ll be like noooo.
Kel: But one thing is because I feel weird calling them by their names and I feel silly calling them sir and madam, I never know how to start a conversation. It’s always like… hey you! I’m getting better…
Pete: My basic thing would be call them…. call them their names. And if you’re worried about it ask them how can I refer to you?
Kel: Yeah, yeah, they’re very, they’re very open and you know.
Pete: But the conservative side of Australia is sort of similar to Brazil, I think, because my grandparents, my mother’s parents, are very conservative and growing up I always had to call them nana and grandpa. That was it.
Pete: There was never sir or madam, but if I were to use their first name they would have probably punish me one way or another or seen it as offensive or that they need to teach me to be polite because that was how they were brought up in the 1930s and 40s was like, the conservative nature that you’re sort of talking about I think was how Australia, 80 plus years ago, but nowadays it’s getting more and more and more informal.
Kel: Maybe Brazil will change, I don’t know. either. But while I was living there, and I remember, as a child my friends would never talk to my parents as, you know, by their first name. It was just something that you wouldn’t do. And yeah, I don’t know, maybe it is changing, I have no idea, but being a child that was definitely more strict.
Pete: I think for us too, the smaller the child-like at school you would refer to your teachers as Mr. or Mrs. and then the name of the person. So, in Australia you would never say teacher! you know, unless you didn’t know their name, you might be able to.
Kel: We say that!
Pete: I know, the Portuguese say Professor which is a teacher.
Pete: But here you would say Mr. or Mrs. And then like name, Mr. Black, Mrs. White, whatever. And so, sometimes if you met friends parents you might refer to them as, for instance, my best friend as a kid, Luke Parncutt, I would call his dad Mr. Parncutt or his mum Mrs. Parncutt when I was a kid, when I was very small, but again I think as the relationship develop they get to a point where they don’t like being called that because it makes them feel uncomfortable.
Kel: They feel old or something.
Pete: So, they just say just call me my first name.
Pete: And another example was we were in the street the other day and I I bumped into my primary school teacher from when I was in Grade five and Grade 6, so I would have been 11 years old 12 years old and I was like Kel, you’ve gotta meet Mrs. Curew? and I yelled out Mrs. Curew, Mrs. Curew, ? , which was her name when I was at primary school and I … to be honest, I never even actually knew her first name.
Pete: And she turned around and she was just like Oh Peter! I’ve seen her through the years and she’s like you know my name is Lou! Call me Lou! don’t call me Mrs. Curew no one calls me that because she hasn’t been a primary school teacher for 20 years.
Kel: And she looks really modern and, you know, she doesn’t look like someone who would call like madam or miss I guess it reminds people of their age, I don’t know.
Pete: But that’s an example too I came across my teacher who when I was in primary school I would have called Mrs. and Mr. because that’s you know teaching students respect, but then as soon as you leave school and you come into contact with those people again quite often they’re like just me my first name because they feel uncomfortable and I think I’d be the same, anytime I’ve had students, teaching English, quite often they like they call me sir or mister or teacher and I’m just like just call me Peter, I’m your teacher but I’m also I want to be your friend, I don’t want to be… I don’t want you to consider me here and you’re this lowly person who’s below me you, where on an equal playing field as people, we’re both people, but I want to be obviously I’m the one that’s helping you.
Pete: So, that was it with regards to names of people. What was the other cultural thing we wanted to talk about?
Kel: Politeness, I guess?
Pete: Politness? In asking questions and speaking with people?
Kel: Yeah. So, I think we were saying that Brazilians are much more direct. So, in Portuguese you can say… if you are having dinner with people just like… me dá o sal! Like Pass me the salt.
Pete: Give me the salt. Which is very direct in English.
Kel: Which is not rude! Obviously, it depends on the people you are with, but in general I would say, it doesn’t sound rude if you say me passa o sal, give me the salt. But in English, I’ve done it and I’ve seen people doing it and it’s always like you go to a coffee shop or something like give me a coffee! Wow! that’s not okay! Just very strong, I guess.
Pete: That was interesting when you’re talking about that because I guess it’s probably better from my standpoint going into Portuguese because I’m going to formulate my sentences in probably overly polite phrases, you’re going to probably think are weird, but you’re not going to be offended by. Whereas if you speak directly translate into English you have the chance of offending people with abruptness.
Kel: You know, I was telling you that my teacher in Townsville he asked me Do you prefer being called Sonia or Raquel? I have, you know, two names. And my English at the time was very limited, and I just said whatever, but in my my what I wanted to say was either one, I don’t mind, but I just said whatever.
Pete: Because that was the vocabulary you had.
Kel: Because in Portuguese I’d say tanto faz and it wouldn’t…
Pete: Which means whatever.
Kel: Which mean whatever but it wouldn’t sound rude or anything and, you know, a few months later when I finally could express myself better he was like there was rude, I know you didn’t mean to be rude, but yeah…
Pete: Explaining that one though, whatever can be used when someone asks you a question and you don’t care about the answer or you don’t care about …like Pete, do you want to go to the beach or do you want to go to the mountains? If I were to say ah whatever that’s like, wow you don’t care, you’re not interested and you’re trying to like finish the conversation and get out and be like… whatever, I don’t care, whatever. And so I mean that the good thing is if you make those kinds of mistakes as a non-native speaker, people quite often aren’t going to assume you’re being rude, they’ll assume ah ok, they don’t mean that, but that’s what, you know, that’s the message they’re trying to convey, but that’s not what they… they’re not doing in a rude way. But some of the interesting things you pointed out were those short phrases when asking for something. So, for instance give me the salt, I mean that’s not necessarily a question, but it’s a short phrase in English we… politeness, because we don’t really have like tenses that you can change or pronouns, like a polite version of you or anything like that and using sir and madam is kind of out of the question, we tend to add words to sentences and use longer sentences.
Kel: And that’s what I learned, if you want to be polite in English, make your sentences long. So, can I please have…and that a joke in school, like we would say this is so pointless! Why do I have to spend five seconds just asking for their freaking salt! But it makes sense to understand the culture you like I can’t be so direct.
Pete: And we don’t we don’t have polite tenses which show that politeness in other ways. So, we have to add other words to the sentences so, a few really good ones would be can I. And then, you know, use an inversion for the question. Can I please have? Using please in all these sentences, can I please have this? or I would like to have this, please? If it’s a question or a statement just use please, would like, can I. And then there were some other ones like Do you mind if I…?
Pete: Even though that sounds so long, do you mind if I have a coffee? Do you mind if I get a biscuit? Do you mind if I buy a sandwich? Do you mind if I…? Is like a way of saying does it bother you if I do this thing? So it’s kind of this polite way and saying I will do this thing, you know, or can I do this thing.
Kel: And I’ve seen people say oh like just Brazilians are rude or like people judging other cultures, just saying oh those people are rude, but I really think it’s much more… has much to do with cultural differences, like Chinese people for example they tend to be quite direct as well. So, as I foreigner, I see as you just have to adapt to your own like behavior and language and when you come to live in Australia, for example, you need to know that, you know, people don’t talk like that and if you want to sound polite… people, if you don’t, people English isn’t my your language, but you know, I always wanted to be…. to blend in and to be, you know, like a native I would say, so.
Pete: And people appreciate that effort because I can tell the difference between someone who’s made the effort to get to a higher level and someone who’s just using basic English to get by. And again, it’s not that I don’t…. It’s not that I’m prejudiced towards one or the other, but I can tell that if you’re using slang words, if you’re using that kind of language do you mind if I get? Can I have this please? I can tell, ok, this person really takes English seriously and is trying to become a part of the culture a bit more. The same with if I was going to Brazil I could get by on what I know, but I would be trying to dive deeper and get a better sense of it and try and blend in and try and fit in try and move more native.
Kel: It’s funny because…it’s weird, Brazilians tend to be more direct and more physical and closer to people, but as I was telling you the other day like we struggle to say no to things and to people like… if I’m visiting you and your parents cooked something that I don’t like.
Pete: Yeah, this is a really funny conversation when we did this.
Kel: I would never say oh no, thank you, I don’t like that, or like I’m not hungry. I would have to eat because that’s politeness for us. If you have an allergy, obviously, you’re not going to put yourself in danger, but most of the times, you just don’t say no because if it sounds rude.
Pete: Your example was like if I came to your house and your dad was cooking dinner, he wouldn’t necessarily check with me what I need, what I want or anything about me, he does what he does and it’s my job as that guest to conform and to be like okay all this food is amazing, I’m not going to be like well I don’t eat that, this is gross. No, I’m not going to have that. It’s my job to be the one thanking the other person and it was funny because Kel was like yeah, that makes sense, doesn’t it?
Pete: And I’m like yeah, yeah, but in Australia it would probably be the complete opposite where the host takes it upon themselves to feel like they’re a bad host, unless they’re saying to you what don’t you eat? What would you like? What don’t you like? Like you’re coming to my house, you’re my guess. I need to take care of you. What can I do to make your experience here better? So, I said you know if we go to my grandmother’s for Christmas or something, Nana would say something like what does Kel eat? Does she not eat anything? This is what we’re going to have, is she going to be okay with that? She’s going to be incredibly worried about you having a good time. And it’s funny because both make kind of sense.
Pete: When you look at each one of them, but that’s a cultural difference too. So, don’t be afraid, if you’re coming to Australia and you’re allergic to something or you don’t like something, you know, to at least feel like you could have that conversation with someone if they’re cooking dinner for you, you know. Obviously you’re deathly allergic to things like oysters or something, say something, but don’t feel like you have to eat everything on your plate and that that’s going to be rude.
Kel: And I see that with your mum, like usually when she goes shopping and she’s always like… she knows that like a certain type of biscuits. I would never say I wanted a specific type of biscuit, but she always asks me Would you like the biscuit? I’m like yeah. It’s not that I wouldn’t eat the ones she likes, but she wants to make sure I have something that I really like, whereas for me, my grandmother for example she would buy whatever she wanted and you would have to feel that that’s it. I would try to find something I like just you know between the things she got, not the opposite.
Pete: Maybe that’s related too that distance, though, with regards to like she’s up here you’re here and you need to fit in with her, whereas for us it’s more we always want to make the little guy, the guy below us feel comfortable. As opposed to making ourselves out to be more important or putting emphasis on that sort of difference in importance.
Kel: I’m sure people have different experiences, but like my family and my friends’ families that’s what I would, you know, be used to as a child. I don’t know if it’s changing, but hopefully because it’s quite stressful to be like I don’t eat this thing, but I have to… I remember visiting my aunt once, like Brazilians will know Jucara or Acai, you know Acai?
Pete: These are different sort of, what would you call it? Acai is like… it’s it’s kind of a grain or something.
Kel: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Kel: So, it’s very, very popular in Brazil, especially in the North. And my aunt made this huge like, you know, shake with it. I hate it. I can’t stand, I can’t even stand the smell of it. I drank the whole thing because I would never say no, thank you.
Pete: Kel is way too familiar with me, though, because I make things all the time and she’s like: I don’t eat that!
Kel: But it’s funny, I was telling you this yesterday, like I’m quite picky with food I would say.
Pete: You are.
Kel: I have…absolutely…. I can’t stand cooked food, like even meat.
Pete: Not necessarily uncooked, but undercooked and in not…so she’ll have a steak that is well done and I’ll have one that’s you know well, medium rare to well done, medium done.
Pete: And Pete would make this like massive stir fry with vegetables and chicken and I would be thinking of what if the chickens not fully cooked? I wouldn’t say anything because I was, you know, embarrassed and we had just met what I was like.
Pete: Please, don’t get food poisoning!
Kel: When I started cooking you saw like I get the fat out of the chicken.
Pete: She cooks the crap out of the food. KEL, this is charcoal. This isn’t meat, Kel!
Kel: That’s how you make sure it’s ok.
Pete: Anything else you think about cultural differences wise? Things that you should be aware of?
Kel: Just because I’ve seen so many Brazilians friends doing that again and it kind of becomes a joke, when you go out with Brazilians that they will rude or anything, but just make sure you know, like don’t be so direct with people, especially in restaurants and always say, and that’s another thing, like please and thank you are two very important things.
Pete: You can’t overuse them, you can’t use them too much. Use please and thank you as much as possible. And if someone else feels like you’re doing it too often, they’ll say look you don’t have to say please, it’s ok.
Kel: It’s funny, I remembered one thing. It got me to a point where I was so worried about being polite because I didn’t know, what if I’m extremely rude with people? That I was saying thank you very much indeed to some people, and someone just came to me and said just say ta!
Pete: Ta is another way of saying thank you informally in Australian English
Pete: Yeah, yeah.
Kel: That’s a bit too much, but now I’m much better.
Pete: I think yeah so, those are the biggest things that if you come to Australia and you’re worried about it, first and foremost, don’t let it get in your head, don’t get stuck in your head and not use your English because you’re afraid of being rude. Worst case scenario what you’ve said is rude if a native speaker says it, but you’re not a native speaker, right? And so, the persons is…. usually, if they’re, you know, intelligent at all and compassionate and empathetic they’re gonna understand you didn’t mean that, they’re going to give you the benefit of the doubt.
Pete: And if you if in doubt, just ask, ask what is it? What’s the appropriate thing to say in this thing? I want to say thank you, but is this too much? Is this not polite enough? What can I do? If you meet someone and you’re not sure about how to address them say Can I call you Mr or Mrs? Can I use your first name? Do I use your second name or call you sir? Just ask people and that good thing is that you have to use your English. You have to be communicating with people. So, if in doubt, communicate. If in doubt, communicate.
Kel: That’s it.
Pete: Awesome. We have a guest here. This is Max. So, yeah, guys! Thanks for watching the video. See you next time!
Alright, guys! Thank you for sticking with me. I really hope you enjoy this episode. I hope you enjoy the fact that I get to chat to Kel, she’s a little nervous about talking on camera especially in English because it’s her second language, but I think it’s perfect to be honest. Obviously, I’m a native speaker. She’s not a native speaker, but what she brings to the table, what she brings with regards to experience to this event, to this situation is that she’s learned English as a foreign language, she’s gone through the IELTS exam, at least twice now and I think she scored on the most recent one an average of seven, seven and a half, or eight. I can’t remember exactly but it was around that. And yeah, I’m not too worried about her being perfect. She’s constantly like oh my God I’m going to make mistakes. That’s the whole point, right? The whole point is that she is there as an English learner to have a chat with me and bring all of that kind of stuff to the table. Her experience, her knowledge as an English learner. So, I hope you enjoy this episode. As I said at the start, I would love to hear what you think. I would love to hear if you have any positive or negative criticisms so, please leave it in a comment. Send me an e-mail. Send me a message on Facebook, however you want to get in contact with me if you have some feedback. And if not, I guess I’ll see you next week. And I guess I should mention I still want to keep doing the expression episodes!
I’m just not sure on if I’ll be able to do one of each of these each week or if I’ll have to go back and forth between the two. So, we’ll just see how much time I have. I’ll do my best, but again your feedback is really welcome. Let me know what you think. I’m always here trying to improve and to better help you, guys, get from intermediate and advanced English beyond, right? So, anyway thanks for joining me, guys, I’ll chat to you soon! Bye!
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AE 502 – Expression: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
The National Museum has acquired a rare 1813 ‘holey’ dollar, the first currency minted in Australia.
The coin dates back to early New South Wales when the colony faced a currency shortage.
Governor Macquarie imported 40,000 Spanish dollars and cut their centres out creating 80,000 distinctive coins known as ‘holey’ dollars and dumps.
They circulated only until around 1822, and by 1822, they started to get recalled, and by 1829, they were taken out of circulation completely, and most of them of course, because they were made of silver, were melted down and reused for other purposes or sent back to England as bullion. So, there’s not that many actually survived.
The museum paid $130,000 for the coin. It’ll go on display next year next to Governor Macquarie’s desk and sword in the museum’s Landmark Gallery.
G’day, guys. What is going on?
I have just popped back from the gym and I am wrecked, I am stuffed, I am buggered. Oh, I did legs day today. So, I’ve been trying to get back to the gym, hit the gym, you know, three or four times a week. Kel’s been coming as well and trying to learn how to swim.
So, there’s a gym up the road that has, like, basketball courts, a swimming pool, and a weights area to do workouts. And so, I usually go to the weights area and try and, you know, run for a little bit, do some free weights, do some weights on the machines, work out, and Kel tries to come up a few times a week and learn to swim, ’cause she can’t swim.
So, obviously, in Australia, that’s a very important thing for us. It’s a very big cultural thing where we learn to swim usually from day one, right, as kids, as soon as you’re born we… like, for example, my niece is getting swimming lessons and she’s not even a year old yet.
So, yeah, that’s been really fun, but I am buggered, I’m wrecked. I got back, did legs, it was legs day, and I’m very tired after doing some squats, deadlifts, and a bunch of other exercises on the machines. Anyway.
That was a bit of an intro, you mob. Welcome to today’s episode. That intro scene was about the ‘holey dollar’, which was something I’d never known about. I actually learned about this only when I started learning about convicts and early Australia thanks to Aussie English. So, there you go.
That was a story from ABC News the YouTube channel is ABC News on YouTube, obviously. Check it out. It is a great resource if you want to practice the Australian accent.
Guys, remember that if you would like access to all the transcripts and MP3s for the podcast episodes, go to theAussieEnglishPodcast.com, go to ‘sign up’ in the menu there at the top left-hand corner, sign up, and for the price of one coffee per month you will get all the downloads that come with the podcast.
And also, the Podcast is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom. So, this is where I have all of my courses full of lessons with video lessons, with quizzes, exercises, and it’s designed to get you from intermediate to advanced, and beyond in your English. So, make sure that you go to theAussieEnglishClassroom.com, sign up, give it a go. It is a dollar for your first month, guys. You’ve got nothing to lose and you can cancel at any time. Anyway.
All of that blah, blah, blah aside, welcome to today’s episode. The expression is ‘put your money where your mouth is’, but before we get into that, let’s do the Aussie joke.
So, the Aussie joke is:.
Why didn’t the 50-cent piece roll down the hill with the 20-cent piece?
Okay? So, why didn’t the 50-cent piece… that coin that is octagonal, I think. It’s got eight different edges on it. Octagonal. Why didn’t the 50-cent piece roll down the hill with the 20-cent piece? Here’s the answer. Here’s the answer.
Because it had more ‘cents’. It had more ‘cents’. Get it? So, we can use ‘cents/sense’ two ways there.
‘A cent’ is one hundredth of a dollar, right. So, fifty cents or twenty cents, right. That is half a dollar, fifty cents, or twenty cents, a fifth of a dollar.
So, we can also use the word ‘sense’, though, if you’ve got some sense, or you’ve got a lot of sense, to mean that you are very clever. Okay? That you are practical and you avoid stupid things, right. You’ve got a lot of sense. Okay. So, that’s the pun there.
Anyway, today’s expression, guys, ‘put your money where your mouth is’. This is from Lima. She suggested this in the Aussie English Classroom Facebook group. Good job, Lima. This is a really good one and she has been vying for the expression… well, to have the winning expression for quite a while now, and she finally got it. Good job Lima.
So, let’s go through and define the different words in this expression. It’s quite a long one, ‘put your money where your mouth is’.
So, ‘to put something somewhere’, you know, put your something where your something is. If you put something somewhere, you place it somewhere, right. Maybe you’re holding something and you put it down, or you put it on something, right? You put it, you place that thing.
‘Where’. I think you guys are going to know what the word ‘where’ means. ‘Where’ is in a location, right. Put your money ‘where’ your mouth is. In this case ‘where’ is referring to the location of your mouth. Okay?
‘Money’. Now, ‘money’ is currency, cash, coins, banknotes. The thing that you used to pay for things, right, to buy stuff. You buy stuff with money. Okay? ‘Money’.
And the very last one, ‘mouth’. ‘Mouth’. I am sure you know what ‘a mouth’ is. I am currently with my mouth. I put food in my mouth when I eat. My teeth in my mouth, my tongue is in my mouth, my gums are in my mouth, my lips are round my mouth. You know what ‘mouth’ is.
So, the expression ‘put your money where your mouth is’, what does it mean? I hope you’ve heard this one before. It’s a good one. It’s a good one.
So, literally, you could say, ‘put your money where your mouth is’, if you’re asking someone to back up what they’ve said with money, right, with cash. So, they’ve said something and you’re challenging them to place a wager on what they’ve said, right, to bet money on what they’ve said being true. So, ‘put your money where your mouth is’.
But, figuratively, it can mean to take action to support your statements or opinions, right. So, the same sort of thing you’re challenging someone to do something or to show that something is true, what they’ve said is an opinion or a statement is true, but they don’t necessarily have to put money down on it, right. They don’t have to wager anything. They don’t have to bet anything.
And also, to show that your actions are not just your words, right. It’s kind of like that expression ‘walk the walk as well as talk the talk’, right? So, you… ‘walk the walk’ is like actually do the physical thing that you had said ‘talking the talk’, right? You always talk the talk, but never walk the walk.
So, usually, this kind of expression is used when you’re challenging someone to prove what they’re saying is true, right. If they’re boasting about something or saying something that you think, mmmm, I don’t reckon that’s true, you might say to them, ‘put your money where your mouth is’.
So, let’s go through some examples of how I would use this in day to day life, okay.
Example number one. Imagine that you are having a bit of a yarn with your mate, right. You(‘ve) got a few blokes over at your house, you’re having a barbie, chilling out, you are having a beer, you’re relaxing, it’s a party, and for one reason or another you’re chatting to this guy who turns it into a competition and starts boasting about his achievements or his abilities, right. So, he’s trying to outdo you, he’s trying to say he’s better than you by saying he can do certain things you can’t. You know, maybe he says, I can do a backflip, you know, or I can do a handstand for 10 minutes. And you might say, if you don’t believe him, well, why don’t you put your money where your mouth is? You know, I bet you fifty dollars you can’t do a backflip right here, right now. I bet you fifty bucks that you can’t do a handstand for ten minutes. You know, put your money where your mouth is, walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk, show me that you can do this. I’m… I want you to prove it, okay. Don’t just boast. So, that’s the literal example, right. You’re asking someone to bet money.
Example number two. Imagine you are a girl and you’re out with the girls one night at a nightclub, you know, you’re having a girls’ night out. You’re a single woman, you know, you’re available. You are looking for some kind of man to get to know and hopefully have a relationship with. So, you’re looking for a hunk. That’s a word we use for like an attractive man, you know, and men don’t tend to use that word. Women use that word to define or talk about other men, right. I would never call another man ‘a hunk’ unless I was gay and was attracted to that man, the same way I wouldn’t call another man ‘beautiful’, right. It’s gendered language. Women call men ‘hunks’, and men call women ‘beautiful’, but they don’t use those words on the opposite sexes. So, you’re chilling out with your girls, your mates, your girlfriends, in a booth in a nightclub and you having a few drinks, and this drop-dead gorgeous man walks in, you know, this hunk of a man walks into the club, up to the bar, and he orders a drink. One of the girls might say to you, if I wanted, I bet I could get him to buy me a drink, to which you might reply. well, why don’t you put your money where your mouth is? Go and do it. You know, prove it. Take some action to support your statement or your opinion that you could get this guy to buy you a drink. Go and actually do that right now. Put your money where your mouth is. You know, show us all that you’re right. You’re talking the talk, but we want you to walk the walk.
Example number three. Imagine you’ve got a company that’s always talking about how it puts the environment first and cares about being green and fighting climate change, you know, it’s trying to reduce emissions or it’s donating money to reforest land. However, you find out it’s actually polluting the land a whole lot. It’s not donating anything to fight climate change, and thus, by its actions, doesn’t seem to care about what it says it does. So, you could say, this company never puts its money where its mouth is. The company talks the talk, but never walks the walk. It never puts its money where its mouth is, right. It doesn’t donate this money. It doesn’t do what it says it does.
So, hopefully now, guys, you understand the expression ‘to put your money where your mouth is’. You know, (it) could be used literally to say back up your words with money, you know, place a wager on what you said as true. But it could mean figuratively, take some sort of action to support what you’ve said is true, right, to support your opinion, to support your statement that you’ve just made.
So, as usual, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise, guys, where you can practice your pronunciation. I’m going to say a few phrases and I want you to listen and then repeat after me. Okay? Let’s go.
To put your
To put your money
To put your money where
To put your money where your
To put your money where your mouth
To put your money where your month is x 5
Good job. Now I’m going to do this in the present continuous tense, okay? We’ll conjugate it and will use the different pronoun so that you can practice these conjugations. Let’s go.
I’m putting my money where my mouth is
You’re putting your money where your mouth is
He’s putting his money where his mouth is
She’s putting her money where her mouth is
We’re putting our money where our mouths are
They’re putting their money where their mouths are
It’s putting its money where its mouth is
Good job, guys! Don’t forget if you would like to go through these different pronunciation exercises with a fine tooth comb and learn a lot more about English pronunciation, connected speech, intonation, all that good stuff, make sure that you sign up at theAussieEnglishClassroom.com, as today I will have a long video explaining all the different little bits and pieces that are going on here when I speak quickly and fluidly that make me sound a lot more natural. Okay. So, you can sign up and you’ll get access to the video for this episode, the other videos for this this course as well for this episode, and all the other content, all the other past courses as well.
So, Aussie English fact wise. I was thinking, how can I tie in the Aussie English fact today with money, right, because obviously ‘put your money where your mouth is’, that’s the most obvious theme for this expression. So, this is what have me think about the ‘holey dollar’, that ‘holey dollar’, the dollar with a hole in it, from early Australian history. So, I thought about doing a little bit of a fact on currency, money, in early Australian history. Okay? So, let’s go.
When colonists first arrived in Australia establishing a stable and acceptable currency was obviously far from the top of the important to do list of the colonists here.
The First Fleet arrived on Australian shores with only the currency it had onboard the ships, which included about 300 pounds of English coinage. And I don’t know if that’s pounds as in a pound of, you know, unit currency from England, or pound as in weight, which is… what, 2.2 pounds is a kilogram. So, I don’t know which one of those it is.
This money was held by Captain Phillip, and the only other money that was there on the ship and that made it to the colony was a bunch of other foreign currencies that had been brought over in the pockets and purses of officers, sailors, and passengers, a.k.a. convicts or British slaves. So, these other currencies included English guineas, shillings, and pence, Dutch guilders, Indian rupees, that was surprising, and Spanish reales.
So, the fact that numerous different currencies were being used simultaneously was really confusing for early colonists. The value of these currencies often related to their metal content, but arguments, disputes, and disagreements often arose, often took place, when people didn’t agree on the value of these different currencies.
The other issue with currency was the fact that there was a lack of these coins and they were often taken out of the colony by trading ships, ships that came to the colony and then left after selling stuff. And this is where promissory notes came into play.
Promissory notes were signed documents with a written promise that a person would owe the holder of that promissory note a certain amount of money. So, effectively, an I Owe You (‘IOU’), right, I owe you some money. We often call those IOU’s.
So, colonists tried paying trade ships with these notes that promise traders would be able to exchange this for cash payment when they arrived in England. However, as you would imagine, many traders often refused and wanted cash in exchange for the goods that they were selling on their journey.
So, promissory notes were an unreliable way to trade and could be easily forged as well. People could make fake promissory notes, right. I mean, you could have just fake someone’s signature. People often argued about their value, and some used them to pay for goods even though they knew that they could never actually get the money in the future to cover those promissory notes.
And there was even one story of a baker who would take his promissory notes, he’d put them in the oven, heat them up, in order to make them more brittle and likely to fall apart so that the person who received this note would, you know, lose it, it would fall apart, and they could never reclaim what they were owed.
Rum was also used as a currency beginning in 1790. So, rum, as in the liquor, right? Johnny Depp drinks rum on Pirates of the Caribbean. You know, ‘Yar! I’m a pirate and I drink a lot of rum’.
So, it was brought to the colony and controlled by a small group of people who became exorbitantly rich as a result. The issue with rum as a currency was that, as you can imagine, many workers who were paid in rum actually drank it instead of using it to buy goods and services that they needed.
So, the rum trade grew and grew to the point that it became the most popular form of currency in the colony to the point where major building constructions, including the Sydney hospital, were even paid for with rum alone. Only with rum, right. Imagine that! Building a house and only using some kind of liquor or even beer to pay for that house. That’s a lot of slabs, guys. That’d be thousands and thousands of slabs. I can’t imagine that. Remember, ‘a slab’ is 24 beers.
So, the practice of using rum as a currency was prohibited by Governor Blight in 1806 and this decision culminated in the overthrow of the government in the Rum Rebellion. That’s a really interesting story that I might have to leave for another day.
To overcome the shortage of coins, Governor Macquarie, obviously the next governor, came up with an ingenious idea to use 10,000 pounds of Spanish dollars sent by the British government to produce a more stable currency. So, Spanish dollar coins had a hole punched through the middle of them creating two coins, the larger ring-shaped coin or ‘holey dollar’, because it has a hole in it, and the smaller punched-out middle of the coin called ‘a dump’, because it’s obviously being dumped out of the hole, right, in the other coin. Doing so turned 40,000 Spanish coins into 80,000 Australian coins making these coins the first currency to be minted in Australia.
These coins entered circulation in 1814 and they began to be taken out of circulation only eight years later in 1822 and onwards when the government began to replace them with sterling coinage instead. By the year 1829, these coins were completely gone from circulation, and because they contained a large amount of silver, quite often they were melted down and used for other purposes or sent back to Britain as silver bullion, and this makes them incredibly hard to find today and also incredibly valuable. And I actually looked to see if I could buy one of these online and I found one for auction that was $459,000. That is the price of a small house. Mind blowing.
Anyway, guys, it’s been a long episode. I hope you found that interesting. I definitely did when I was researching this episode. I won’t keep you any longer. I hope to chat to you soon and I hope that you have an amazing weekend. See ya, guys.
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AE 501 – Interview: How Artur and Luma Moved to Australia from Brazil
G’day, guys! Welcome to this episode of the English today I have a special episode for you with two of my housemates when I was living in Canberra.
So, this is a few months ago. I’ve been saving this one up for a rainy day, and today I get to chat with my housemates, my old housemates, Luma and Artur. So, these guys are from Brazil and I thought it would be a good excuse to sit them down and tell me their story about how they ended up Down Under, right.
So, you’ll get to hear about why and how they move to Australia, the challenges of learning the language, different accents, and obviously, how they got work and what visas they’re on, and all that kind of jazz okay.
Also, I just want to mention that this is going to obviously be Sunday’s episode. So, I have been busting my arse working on episode 500 all week, which came out I think on Thursday, maybe Wednesday, Thursday? And I lost track of time and didn’t have enough time to also make an expression episode, so that is why this one is out today on a Sunday instead of an expression episode, though, I will try to get one out next week, but I’m also tinkering with a few different things to see what I can do on the podcast to really jazz things up to do things differently. So, anyway, thanks for your patience. Thanks for your understanding, guys. I really appreciate it.
Before we get into the episode, guys, this episode is brought to you by the Native English course. So, this course is aimed at intermediate students wanting to get to an advanced and more natural level in their English. You will save 15 percent coupon AUSSIE, that’s A U S S I E. When you go to the website lingova.com, that is L I N G O V A. So, all the links will be in the transcript, guys.
It’s a really good course. There’s a lot of really good material in there from my friend Justin who is really passionate about helping intermediate to advanced learners of English.
So, if you’re having trouble at the moment with sounding more natural, using spoken contractions, using culturally appropriate English, I really recommend going to Lingova.com, signing up for this course, giving it a go, the videos are wonderful, and I think there’s also a free section that you can check out before you sign up so that you can see what the course is all about. So, go give that a look.
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Hey, guys! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English! Today I have a special interview with my housemates: Luma and Artur or Artur.
There you go, that’s alright, Artur.
So, you guys are Brazilians and I want to get you on because you’re a couple and you’ve gone through the whole process of moving from Brazil, learning Australian English, getting settled in Australia in multiple locations. And so I thought it’d be good to have you on the podcast. For anyone who’s going to be going through the same kind of situations, I guess, so let’s just start at the start. Why Australia? What made you guys decide like we want to move to this place with kangaroos and people with difficult accents?
Yeah. So, hi Pete! We both came to Australia we didn’t know each other but we came to Australia maybe almost 10 years ago. First time, just travelling or spending like… he came to spend, I don’t know, six months here?
So yeah this was before you guys had met.
Independently, you both came here.
Yeah, we came here by ourselves. I came in 2006, my brother used to live in Sydney with my… my brother and my sister in law, that’s right. They used to live in Sydney and I came over just to spend three months as holidays and then I fell in love with Australia straight away.
What was it about Australia though?
I was about the lifestyle, the warm weather, the people, the surf, the lifestyle very much and then I had to go back to Brazil, I was still int the college and then…
So, was that six months to study English?
Three months, just for a holiday, actually, but I had I had to learn English somehow because I was working as a labourer, even though I was 16.
And then I had to go back home and then went through the whole uni process. But ever since then I’ve always had it on the back of my mind that I would like to come back to Australia once and then five years, six years later I decided to come abroad once again and here I am.
What about you, Luma?
I came, I don’t remember exactly the year but I was 18 and it was in the middle of my university. I went to an exchange in New Zealand so, I was there for eight months.
So, it’s like 90 percent Australia, almost there, but not quite.
Yeah, exactly! And then I decide to go travelling because I was supposed to be in Australia for only a month and end up staying six months.
So, how did you do that? Did you have a certain visa…?
Actually, I was with a tourist visa, but that time was easier to get the tourist visas so I got three months visa that I applied straight from New Zealand. And then once this one was finished and applied from Australia to another three months visa. But I believe that nowadays is much harder to do it.
And so, what happened after that, you went home to Brazil?
Then I went home. Finish my university was building my career back in Brazil and then I was like no I want to go back to Australia. I always felt… I love Brazil it’s my country, but I felt that the problems that we have in Brazil is what we have here and what makes life so much easier our life quality that you have here in Australia it’s… you can’t compare.
So, what are the biggest differences with regards to quality of life? And I guess too, aside from that, what makes you come straight after university? Because that seems like it’s probably the hardest time to move because you’ve just, you know, graduated you have your career going, because Kell did exactly the same thing. She was a journalist, worked for a few years after her degree and then left it all to come to Australia effectively start from scratch, it seems like a lot of Brazilians are doing that. So, what are the biggest differences between Brazil and Australia?
I feel that in Brazil we kind of okay, you finish your high school, you need to go straightaway to university. Is more cultural than here in Australia where a lot of people once they finish their high school they can’t have their own time to decide what they want to do with their lives.
And they tend to go overseas.
Then they go overseas and then once they are back in they know exactly what they want to do then they start doing uni or they can even do some technical course but in Brazil is really rare. You have like really few options to do it. So, normally people finish university, finish high school, go to university find a job and then decide building their life.
I heard that it’s hard, like Kel was saying she was working 12 hours a day, six, seven days a week and getting paid nothing.
That was the main reason, actually, the salary is really bad back home.
Because that blows my mind too. You were saying Arthur, you are a lawyer and their salary is bad, whereas for me in Australia that’s like…
You can’t even compare, actually. The salary was… was really bad and I was working like 12 hours a day, without seeing the sunlight and I thought, alright, I’m 23… More time I spend back home, more roots you create and it’ll make it harder to travel abroad once again. So, I thought alright that’s the right time to do it otherwise it’s going to get harder.
It’s never going to happen.
Eventually, I’ll get married or… that’s pretty much the process that you’ll plan now.
That’s funny because most Brazilians you meet here probably are at that stage in life, right? They’ll finish university or… in fact, yeah, they tend to finish university and be at that stage where you would otherwise be organising your career, but then they come to Australia and just say no, screw that, I’m starting again.
That’s right. And here, for example, back home to eventually just to buy a car, as simple as that, you have to work for at least one year, saving up as much as you can to buy this simple car you can find.
That blew my mind as well. Kel was telling me about that and that some people you pretty much can’t get on without a loan from the bank. That it might be 10 years’ worth of repayments.
So, expensive to have a car there.
Unless you are in a high position…
Petrol can be like 2 dollars, 3 dollars a litre?
Even more, even more nowadays.
Because that’s something we take for granted. But so did that blow your mind when you guys both came to Australia and you saw that things were completely differently here at least with regards to all these things that previously you would have thought we’re out of your reach or at least very difficult to get? Did that shock you?
I need to say my experience back in Brazil, I was building my career and I was actually getting paid well. So, I couldn’t really complain like just finishing graduation and be able to work in a big company and getting paid good money. But then you feel that… I was really young, I was 23 and started like okay… I still have so many years to do exactly what I am doing now and what I feel here in Australia it’s much easier for you to get all these things, but you need to work hard. Is not like everyone thinks like you arrive in Australia and you’re going to have the dream life. It’s not like that. The life… at the same time you get paid really well, your life cost is high as well, but in the same time if that’s fair.
It pays off.
Yeah exactly, you get everything, basically, from the government even if you’re still not Australia you feel safe in the country, you know that with the money they would get even working as a waitress or a cleaner or whatever you do, you’re able to survive.
And then start saving money and doing your things, when in Brazil if you don’t have university or anything is just like… if you don’t have your family here… it’s almost impossible.
That’s one of those things, I was chatting to Kell about it recently, I kept mentioning her because this is our connection with Brazil, but I feel like it’s sort of a double-edged blade where in Australia you can rely on the government for a lot more so you don’t have to rely on your family for much and so that those connections aren’t very strong. Like, if you don’t just decide to live in the same place as your family, you might, you know, not really see them very often or you don’t need to rely on them for anything. It’s kind of like we live in a society that’s so good today that our familial and social connections aren’t as strong because we don’t need them.
So, it’s a double-edged blade, but what surprised you about cost of living here in Australia too? Are that things that were more expensive, things that were less expensive, things that shocked you or was it just like you sort of got what you expected when you came?
I think the main point will be the rent, the rent in Sydney is quite expensive.
But as soon as you start working you realise that you have enough money to organise yourself, but if you compare the rent, in Sydney let’s say, where we came from and compared back home it’s extremely high. You wouldn’t think that it’s affordable, but once you start working and then building up your own budget you can easily deal with that.
What did you think of certain jobs too, like being a waiter or even being a tradie, being jobs where you can actually make quite a bit of money?
That’s right. It depends how keen you want to learn something new.
And I think it’s amazing as well like. It’s fair to everyone. I don’t believe that you need to have a degree to be someone and get paid well, you’re all doing a job and you should be that need to be valuable like it is still a hard work. You need to have your knowledge so…
That’s what was crazy, I feel like tradies here in Australia and I’m so used to people who build walls, build houses, do the electrics, do the plumbing everything like that, at least for me, those people make a lot of money. They have to work in their arses off, but they make a lot of money and that would be… I remember going to school and having a guy who was in primary school with me. I remember when we were in high school he dropped out of high school at year 10 so, he was 16 and became an electrician or something and the next year he had a new car, a few years after that he bought a house and we were all just like, you know, barely at university and just like what the hell that we decided?
That blew my mind that that was not the case in other countries. When I heard about Brazil and if you’re a bricklayer or builder or something you just do not make much money at all.
And one of the good points about that it’s even if you’re getting paid really well here in Australia you hang out with the same guys that are getting pay way lower than you do.
Yeah, there’s not the separation, classes or anything.
And back home if you are getting paid really well usually you won’t have to deal that much with whoever is getting paid your way lower than you do.
There’s a big separation there.
That’s right. So here in Australia it’s…you can easily get motivated with that because you see the guy just beside you, doing eventually the same work as you do or slightly different, getting paid really well…
So, the motivation is there and you know you can get there because 10 years ago he was in your position.
But you need to consider the population, like the population of Australia compared to the Brazilian population. Here they need people to everything basically so, the service need to be charged more.
And I think we have really high standards. You’ve got everything has to be perfect, everything has to be safe, and so, as a result of that you can charge through the nose because you got no option.
Because you really know what you’re doing.
Well, you can’t build a house without it complying to all those safety regulations and everything or else that will be torn down because it’s illegal. And so the builders could be like well, if you want it, it’s much.
That’s the price.
And there’s a lot of houses being built, right?
So, what were your first jobs when you went to Australia and how easy were they to find and what were your experiences getting work here?
My first job was as a kitchen assistant, actually…in the city.
I didn’t know what to do and I used to walk around the whole city just handing resumes all over. I was struggling to find a job actually because you don’t know how to deal with your employees, it’s your first time trying to find a job.
And how was your English at this time as well?
It was quite bad. I was able to understand, but I was quite shy to speak, I couldn’t interreact that much, if you know what I mean? It took me a month to get a first callback and he said alright, come over and let’s do a trial. It was a disaster, actually.
It was a disaster?
It was a disaster, the trial was a disaster. Because I didn’t know what to wear. They asked me to wear boots, I said what sort of boots? I went with shoes and jeans and everything and he said man, you are completely wrong! And I said alright let’s give it a go.
It’s my first day, give me a break.
It’s my first day, take it easy! It flows, as soon as you start walking by yourself. It gets easier.
So, was that what you expected to be able to get a job that soon or that slowly?
I just hope I was hoping for it, actually. I thought I would be able to find a job way earlier that I did. Because I was eventually overconfident on my skills, but as soon as you step here and you hear different accents and you try to understand everything, the reality is way different then you think. But it’s challenging at the same time, it’s rewarding when you find a job and say alright, I did it by myself, I’m proud. So, that’s there was a first major step as a kitchen assistant in the city.
What about you, Luma, what did you get?
The first time that I came to Australia actually I worked in hospitality as well and I was working as a cleaner as well. Basically, my English was… I was still improving my English and took me a while actually, because I was young as well and had no experience so everything was new for me. The second time that I came to Australia I was a little bit more confident with my English and with the accent as well because I’d been here before. But is it still like the Australian accent is so hard even if you like you think ”I know English” no once you come to Australia you don’t know.
You need to start again.
Yeah exactly. And that I got two jobs as well. In hospitality and was also in retail. It was my first experience with retail as well and it was winter so… to everyone coming to Australia winter is harder to find a job in the main cities because summer is like more tourists so they need more people.
Especially in hospitality.
Exactly. So, it took me a month as well to find a job. It was a little bit desperate because I didn’t have much money as well. I had my course to pay and the life cost here it’s not easy, but once he got the first job I got the second one as well and was… everything worked well.
Everything fell into place. How did you get it, though? Did you do the same thing as Artur where you…
The same thing. I just did two different kinds of resumes, one more to hospitality, because I would say is the easiest way for you to step in in any kind of jobs here in Australia is Hospitality and then I did a different one to try retail as well, because I still wanted a place that… because of the hours flexibility as well, I was studying and I fell that retail I would practice my English a little bit more as well.
So, there was one point that we should be proud of ourselves as Brazilians. Like if you step in here by yourself, right? you don’t know what to do. You know you don’t know where to go when you get a chance to meet somehow a Brazilian community and they know what you’ve gone through to get here and they know how much you’re looking for or you’re trying to achieve your position. So, they will help you out somehow. Yeah. And I’ve been talking to a lot of different friends from all over the world and Brazilians they have this some strong bond to help each other. So, eventually if you’re struggling to find a job, you can make sure that if you find a Brazilian they’ll help you out.
Especially those Facebook groups, right? You know, 10 years ago you wouldn’t have had that, but nowadays Facebook groups is where it’s at, right? If you need help, you need sell something, buy something or find a job.
So that’s the point that we should be proud of ourselves like helping each other. It happens often.
There is such a strong community, but you have to sort of take care not to fall too deeply into that community?
That’s what I was going to say.
It might become a trap if you stick together for a long time because you get out talking with you like a few days ago you can easily live your life in Australia or at least in Sydney…
Get comfortable, right?
Without talking English, without getting to know a different language. You can, I mean, do pretty much everything without… not everything, but if you don’t have the wish…
Becoming easier and easier to avoid using English.
You can work with Brazilians, you can… I mean…
That’s the double-edged blade with multiculturalism, right? Once you get to a certain threshold where there are so many people from every country it is sort of becomes very, very easy to avoid having to interact with the locals and learning the language.
There is a fine line and you must be aware of that.
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So what advice would you guys have for people who come from Brazil or any other country where there is a big community in Australia and you first get here? How do you sort of balance interacting with that community to help you, but at the same time not falling in too deeply with it so that you don’t spread your wings and get a job and speak English and integrate?
I would say the main thing would be like stay aware about where you stepping in. As soon as you first get here, somehow you need to interact with people from back home, just to get used to get some tips to know where to go, what to do.
Otherwise it feels like solitary confinement, right?
Otherwise it becomes harder, but just stay aware because we are here for a reason, right. The number one reason for all of us mainly is to learn a new language, pretty much.
So just don’t get too comfortable.
Don’t get too comfortable, that’s it. You don’t have to go out of your comfort zone, like say, to learn English you can easily do at home you know like, watching movies with subtitles, research, you have YouTube, you have like amazing YouTube teachers as you do.
Good plug, good plug, check me out on Youtube, guys!
And even like okay, if you’re looking for a place to live, try to find a place that is not only like Brazilians living over there, people for other places that I need to speak English and even when you’re trying to find a job as well, try to be… Try to find jobs at places that you know they need to speak English. I know people that been here in Australia for four years, sometimes even more and they’ve been their whole life here and working as a cleaner, only work with Brazilian people and they don’t feel confident even trying to find a job in Hospitality.
After that long too.
After four years in Australia because they think their English is not good. And I know people that have been here for that long and don’t speak English at all.
The good thing I think about hospitality is there’s so many different positions in a restaurant that require different levels of English that you can kind of work your way up, right? Like I to work as a dish pig, washing dishes and then you can move into the kitchen or you can move in to being a waiter. You eventually become a manager and all that sort stuff as well.
And what I think as well, it’s even bad like for as a Brazilian coming here only, for example, if you go somewhere you only be speaking in Portuguese, you need to interact with the people from the country that you decide to live.
Well, why come otherwise, right? The last thing I would want to do if I went to Brazil would be where are the Australians? and how do I avoid speaking Portuguese? Although It can happen, you know, passively, right? Without necessarily wanting to, but I think it’s good to have that self-check of like okay, I’m hanging out a bit too much with people my country and working with them, I’m living with them. What are my goals? I guess, so you need to keep that in mind.
So how do you go with the language and learning it? What did you actively do aside from obviously coming here and getting a job with other English speakers? Did you guys look specifically for houses with English speakers? Did you study at schools? Did you study on your own? What was that process of learning Australian English like?
I was mostly studying on my own, actually, as I said before I used to watch a lot of movies with subtitles. I used to read a lot. But I think for me the main point and the most useful tool that I had was my boss actually she used to correct me all the time and I was trying to talk, trying to speak as much as I can and she used to pick every single mistake that I did.
Did you have to ask her to do that?
She was just a natural teacher. Artur, you were doing that and you need to do this way. So, it’s good when you when you get to meet people that are keen to help you out and correct you. Because you can easily talk, I mean, not exactly on the right way, but they can understand you somehow.
But that’s the first step, right? You communicate and you want it perfect. You have to work even harder.
I was lucky enough to have someone to correct me for at least one year. And then you was probably the major point that I’ve had to improve my English somehow.
What about you, Luma? What was the process like?
So, I actually when I decided to study here I was basically studying only with Australian people. So, it was like, you know what?… I was living with Brazilian…
You got thrown in the deep, Luma.
Yeah because it’s easy for you to live with someone for your country in the beginning and, I need to say, even I wanted to be all the time with English speakers, and living with someone that speaks the same language with you sometimes give is like okay, I had a big day I can get home and speak Portuguese, but I was studying only with the Australian people and all my jobs there was not even one Brazilian. So, I was speaking English my whole day and what I feel as well a lot of people come here to Australia, they pay just a course to stay here in Australia because as Brazilians you can only get the student visa. I think now you can have a working holiday, but a tip that I would say to people go and really enjoyed the classes because even though it’s not what you want, even though they seem like really not the best course, you’re still spending your money on that and it is still a way for you to prove your language.
And meet people.
I see from my sister, she she’s here to learn English and she goes through every single class, she does all the assessments and she says I’m paying for that and I know how hard I’ve worked for that and even though I know a lot of people don’t even care, I’m doing it and I’m improving my English. So, yeah, if you come and spending money here just make sure that this money is bringing something back like.
Yeah you get something out of it, that’s not just effectively paying all that money for a visa.
Well, shifting onto visas. What visas are you guys currently on? And what was what’s that process been like getting those visas? Because you’re on…
We’re currently on a bridging visa. We did apply for the 187 visa in February and I am a swimming instructor nowadays. So we had to go through these skill procedure, like you have to prove that you are… I’ve done this sports coaching diploma in Australia and then you have to prove a few extra things like you have to go through the English test.
Yeah, was it ILETS?
Yeah, it was IELTS and you also have to find an employer who is able to offer you a two year contract.
So, they don’t necessarily need to sponsor you and pay for the visa or anything, but you need to show that you can find work that will last for at least two years.
And especially, well this 187 visa it has to be in a regional area of Australia.
And that’s how you ended up here, right? in Canberra.
That’s how I’m in Canberra. And so that was the process that we had to go through.
Yeah, but that’s good, right? Because after that what’s the step after the 187 visa and you finish your two years here in Canberra at least?
So, once the visa is approved you get the residency straightaway and then after that you still have to stay with this employer for two years. So, you’ve got the residency ever since the beginning of the visa and you just have to stay on the same employer, on the same workplace, for two years more.
And so Luma you’re on a partner visa?
Yeah, I’m on a partner visa here with him, but I arrived here as a should and as well. I applied for his student visa, but I was studying industrial design here which is a little bit different from what most of the people who come to do here in Australia. But I had like, at that time, I was able to get skilled visas and everything, but it changed. So, what is happening here in Australia is that the visas are changing a lot, every year or even every six months they’re changing the laws, which makes it harder if you decide like… to come over here and you have a plan, save your money to do something and then suddenly it doesn’t work like that anymore, but the good thing when I got here was I went to an immigration agency and spoke with a lady helped me a lot and she said something that actually nowadays makes a lot of sense. That she said don’t come here and just study anything because of the visa. Because then, for example, if you were studying you’d be a hairdresser for example maybe next year it’s not there anymore and if it’s not what you love then you spent your money, you spent your time you wasted it. And what are you going to do now? So, do what you really wonder or at least something that’s close of what you want to do in your life or something that you like, because you never know and sometimes in the future that thing that you studied can come back. So if it is something that you like it won’t be a waste, even if you decide to go back to Brazil are you going to use it that over there.
Yeah, it does say a lot about planning, right? And thinking about where am I going to want to be in two years, three years, four years… far out. So, I guess I should probably finish up soon. I’ve kept you guys for a bit. What’s the plan in the future? What are you guys hoping to do once… I guess Artur, I guess once you finish the two years at this workplace, you planning to stay here in Canberra, move elsewhere? Go back to Brazil? Move to Thailand?
I’m having a good time in Canberra, but I don’t think this is the place that I would like to live for 10 years more, let’s say, because I really like the lifestyle of the beach. So I’m looking forward to spend this whole time in Canberra, as I should, and then eventually move up the coast, eventually close to the Sunshine Coast or something, and just have a lifestyle slightly different than Canberra so, that’s my main plan nowadays, just going with the flow and see how we go.
And would you go for the citizenship and that sort of stuff?
Yeah, that’s the plan, that will be the consequence if everything goes well. So fingers crossed. You’re still positive about the outcome, let’s see.
Ah, brilliant. Luma, what about you?
Still, I want to build my career, I think that’s my main focus now. Work as industrial design here in Australia, but I also have to have residency. I still want to spend some time in Brazil. I don’t know for how long, if it’s for or six months or…
Just to work or?
Just to feel how it’s over there, after I’ve been so long far away from home. Sometimes it is good to go back and be close to your family and see how you feel at home and once you have the residency you have the options so, at least knowing that you are able to choose where you want to live that makes a big difference. And yeah…
Artur, Luma, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.
Thank you so much, Pete. It was a pleasure!
Awesome well that is it for today, guys. Thank you so much for joining me.
Remember, this episode is brought to you by the Native English course. If you would like to sign up for that, go to lingova.com, L I N G O V A .com and use the coupon AUSSIE, A U S S I E, to save 15 percent.
Thanks again, Arthur and Luma, for coming on the episode. That was amazing to chat to you guys in here about your experiences moving to Australia, struggling with the language, finding work, and then getting a visa, and all that kind of jazz. Thanks again!
Guys, I hope you have an amazing weekend and I’ll check to you soon. See you later.
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AE 500 – Thank You! Here’s to 500 More!
Wow. Episode 500, guys! That is incredible! And that went so fast! I remember the first day sitting down in the park, doing episode number one where I was talking about me, what I had planned, what I do, who I am all of that. I remember sitting on a log in a park in Melbourne.
G’day, guys! Welcome to the very first Aussie English Podcast. My name is Peter Smissen, I’m a 28-year-old PhD student from Melbourne.
Anyway, that is zoomed by. Today I have a very special episode for you, guys. I am looking so forward to showing you Kel, chatting with her a bit about how we met and then showing you some of the members in the Aussie English Classroom and their English, ok? Where they’re from. Why they’re learning English so, stick around for that and at the very end there is a special deal if you would like to sign up to the Aussie English Classroom for two months for a special price, but you’re going to have to stick around if you want to hear about that. Anyway, guys, let’s get into it!
Pete: Why are you here, Kel?
Kel: I don’t know, you made me come
Pete: She was sleeping and I was like ‘come, come, come! Make a video, make a video with me!’ Alright, guys, so I wanted to do this for episode 500 and I’m glad that I can have Kel here. and I guess, first and foremost, I wanted to say thank you to all of you, guys, because, you know, you’ve been hanging with it, you’ve been listening to the podcast, you’ve been on YouTube, Instagram, all of that stuff, supporting the podcast in the classroom, everything related to Aussie English enough that I can keep going.
Pete: For the last… two and a half, three years now. Been battling it out and it even got me this one, right? Aussie English got me this one. Do you wanna tell them that story? We might as well share that, this is a special episode. So we’ll tell you some stuff about us, some news about us and then I have a bunch of videos that I got from Aussie English classroom members. I ask them to specifically put together a video answering a few questions about who they are, where they’re from, why they’re learning English and I just wanted you guys to see that. You know, there are lots and lots of people listening to the podcast, probably experiencing the same problems as you, having the same worries as you, so yeah that’ll be at the end, but first…
Pete: Kel, how did we meet? She hunted me down.
Kel: No, I did not.
Pete: She came, she was chasing me down.
Kel: No, you always say that!
Pete: She was on Instagram, she saw that she was like ‘I like this guy, I want this guy, this is my husband’.
Kel: No, I was studying English and I found your podcast.
Pete: You did.
Kel: It was really random. Like, one night I was like I can’t sleep. So, you know, let’s keep studying and I found Aussie English Podcast and I was like oh, that’s really nice’, and he mentioned that he had a YouTube channel. I was like I’ll check it out tomorrow.
Pete: And that I was single.
Kel: No, you didn’t.
Kel: So next day I was on Youtube and I found his channel. I just like… just left a comment like ”what you do is really nice, I like your job” you know, just being friendly and I wasn’t expecting him to reply to me because, you know, those famous people online they never never…
Pete: Que isso? What is this? Famous? I’m not Johnny Depp yet.
Kel: I’m glad you’re not. So, he did, he replied to me and he was really friendly, saying where are you from and things like that. So we got talking and…
Pete: I found you’re from Brazil and obviously I was learning Portuguese at least, to a limited extent back then and I think it’s one of those things, a single male and you are learning Portuguese and so you’ve got to give yourself at the time I was like, you know, meet as many women as you can wherever, don’t assume anything, you’re not going to find the one if you don’t go out of your way to constantly meet people.
Kel: So, you were telling that ‘help me learn Portuguese’ to a lot of Brazilians?
Pete: I said… that’s it. that’s it.
Pete: But I saw that and I was like okay if you want to, you know, chat a bit about learning Portuguese and learning English like just talk to me on Instagram and I said that to her thinking she’s not going to add me on Instagram or talk to me, she’ll be like oh this guy’s a weirdo, but you sent me a message and we just clicked, really well I guess ,pretty quickly I don’t know, she has a pretty wicked sense of humour. You probably don’t get to see it on the videos much and you probably don’t get to see too much of my sense of humour. Oh well, a little bit, but it’s tame, it’s very tame, guys. I am… I have a bad sense of humour.
Kel: So, yeah I remember when I replied to you on Instagram it was just like… No, the first time, I tried to start the conversation like hey, how are you doing? He seemed…he didn’t really seem interested. He was like… ‘yeah’.
Pete: I was probably there like don’t seem too interested, don’t seem too interested.
Kel: And then the next time you replied to me he was something about a fish, I was just so confused. Like, I don’t remember what you’re saying, it was about a fish and I was like I really need improve my English because this guy is talking…
Pete: Ohh the Brazilian fish, there’s a little fish in Brazil that if you go into the river it can swim up your penis or into your vagina, I was like have you heard about that? It’s crazy!
Kel: I’m like…wow.
Kel: We just, you know, became friends.
Pete: And you happen to be coming to Melbourne. You ended up coming down to Melbourne. We got along and the rest is history.
Kel: That’s it. And so, I know, crazy things. These are all the things that Aussie English has given me, right? I’ve got a whole bunch of students who are about to show you videos. I met Kel we are now in… I don’t know, what is it? Three weeks from now we’re getting married. The ring has arrived and we were more worried about these and thought we would just put them on because… they are expensive, guys. Kel walked into the shop and was like give me the cheapest ones you’ve got. And she’s pretty much like fifteen hundred dollars.
Kel: I think she wanted to show us, you know, the ones with rocks and stuff. And I’m like… just don’t even got there.
Pete: We’re not interested in putting a lot of money into this tiny little thing. It’s more what it means than what it is, I guess. So, that’s crazy. Looking back on it for me, at least, it’s like whaaat?! We’re getting married after a year and a bit and Kel has other news as well that I’ve been trying to…bite my tongue and not say anything.
Kel: What is that?
Pete: It’s about the size of a blueberry at the moment.
Kel: It’s a baby!
Pete: Kel is pregnant, guys, Kel is pregnant! Kel’s got a little belly, I’ll bring it forward a bit. No, she’s got nothing. It’s 100 percent small normal.
Kel: It’s 100 percent food right now.
Pete: So, you’re only about seven weeks pregnant, seven weeks pregnant Kel. And that blows my mind. I keep having these moments where I’m like what the hell? I’m going to be a dad in June.
Kel: And that makes me worried because sometimes he’s like…he’s looking at the ring like…
Pete: That just because I’m getting used to it, it’s not because I’m thinking about it again, I’m not second guessing it!
Kel: Are you sure you want to do it?
Pete: No, no, no, no. But yeah, that’s crazy! That’s what English has brought me, guys. You guys, obviously Kel, have completely changed my life. The baby is going to change my life. It’s just crazy where you end up, you know, like three years ago I was studying my PhD wanting to become a scientist and graduated that and just haven’t touched it since and have been doing this full time, full time.
Pete: We’ve gone to Canberra, Kel had a job there, we’ve come back from Canberra, we’ve had a lot of adventures!
Kel: Like, just…made so many enemies.
Pete: And friends.
Kel: And friends, a bunch of friends. Has been a rollercoaster.
Pete: It has been a rollercoaster, exactly, but it’s been well worth it. Anyways, guys, hopefully we’ll tell you more about marriage and pregnancy in the near future and I’m glad that Kel’s on the videos and interested in being involved a bit more now so… That would be really fun, but yea, big thank you. Thank you so much, guys!
Kel: Thank you so much.
Pete: And we just had 10,000 people on Instagram. How crazy is that? Kel’s been on Instagram posting things for me as well, getting involved. It’s all her. She got us over 10,000.
Kel: No, it’s your dance.
Pete: It’s my dance!
Pete: Anyway, I’m going to try and keep it up, guys, I’m going to keep trying to improve, keep trying to deliver good English resources to you. And yeah, I guess I will see you soon and leave you now with all the videos from…I don’t know how many people, hopefully more than 15 or so. So, I don’t know how long this is going to be. People are still sending me videos, but we’ll see how it goes. I hope you enjoy it and I will see you in the next 500 episodes! See you guys!
G’day, guys. How are you going? My name’s Prameshwor. You can call me Promise. I’ve been learning English for a few years. And I met the Aussie English Classroom on 25th of July of this year, 2018. So, I think it’s been approximately three months, ok guys? One of the main reasons of learning English, and particularly Aussie English, is to enhance my listening comprehension. My pronunciation, word stress, intonation, all from the scratch! I think speaking well allows me to make a bunch of friends from all over the world, ok? It will uplift my career as I always wanted to work in a very good reputable organization. As a customer service officer. So, thanks a lot, Pete. It all the credit goes to you. This is a wonderful platform that you have been providing to us. Alright? So, have a ripper of a day. See ya!
Good day, guys. This is Mona and I want to talk about what Pete suggested. Okay, now I am from Egypt. I am old. I’ve been learning English for quite some time, but the way I learned English is just in writing at a rate that I think is not that bad, it’s ok. But I just found out that I just have an issue with the book and pronunciation so, actually Pete thank you very much, Pete, I really learned a lot, a lot. I mean, vocab and culture and there are things that, you know, I wouldn’t know about. I mean, so thank you very much and I really enjoy being with you, guys. I mean in the Facebook. Thank you! ok, bye!
G’day, Pete! How is it going down there? My name is Duaa I’m a mechanical engineer from Jordan. I’ve been studying English since I was five. It’s a mandatory language to be learned here in Jordan. In addition to that it’s the official communication language for engineers and I deal with many foreign engineers from many nationalities. I enjoy your posts and I enjoy the expressions you always come up with, especially in the information you keep giving us about the culture in Australia and other things. Thank you.!
Hey guys! my name is Emma and I’m from China. I started to learn English since junior high, which is like 20 years ago. Two years ago, I came to Australia to do my PhD. At that time, I find the Aussie English Podcast. So, I really love it. So, I start to learn Australia English from Peter. For me, English is really important for my academic career. I wanted to present or communicate well with my colleagues or peers at daily life or even any conferences. And besides that, I really enjoyed living in Melbourne so I wanted to make more friends from a different culture background and English can help me to do all these things.
Hello everyone! This is Hetal here. I’m from India and I’ve been learning English for the last five or six months and It is an amazing experience to be with the Aussie English Classroom and having amazing videos and podcast every time. And my dream is to explore the world. Thanks so much for watching this video!
Hi everyone. How you going? This is Thomas Di. I grew up in a small city in the north east of China. I lived in Beijing for 18 years before I moved to Perth four years ago with my wife. We really enjoy the life here. I joined the Aussie English Classroom I think in May this year. I really benefit a lot from the class because I’ve learned so much expressions, vocabulary and lot of things. Sometimes, you know, after I a phrasal verb or a expression the next day I can hear someone using it in the office. So, you know, I’m so excited! So, in terms of the purpose of learning English originally so, I learned it. You know, you have no choice because you need to get good marks in the school so, you can get into a good university in China, but it’s mainly just for the exam itself. But after I moved to Australia I realised that it is all about communication. So, you need to use English. You know, you make mistakes, but there’s so much to experience. So, in the Aussie English Classroom I found that everyone is brave. We help each other and we share our experience which is quite helpful to each remember. So, if someone says English is a tool, but for me because it’s more than that, it’s a window. So, you can see the world through it. You can communicate with almost everyone in the world even to someone, you know, English is not their native language. So, yeah for the 500 episode, I would say thank you, Pete, and all the best the whip or the Aussie English Classroom. See you later, cheers!
Hi, guys! Hi Pete! I’m Pasquale from Italy. I’m 45 years old and I have been learning English for more or less three years. I am the moderator of Canguru English official, we Christian Saunders and I’m so glad to be part of this amazing work with you, Pete, which is the Aussie English. English is changing my life completely. I love this amazing language and it helps me a lot, ok? Bye for now and see you soon!
Hi, how are you? This is Daniel Jung and I’m from South Korea. I have been learning English for around 10 years, though, but I still feel that I need to improve my English. Maybe because I couldn’t find a way to improve my English effectively, but luckily, I found Pete and have been picking up fair dinkum Aussie English and learning Australian culture as well, obviously, I’m really enjoying them. Speaking English for me it’s like communicating with bigger world so, I can communicate with more people and feel and learn much more things. Anyway, I really appreciate for Pete to make this kind of chance for us. Thank you!
Hey guys! This video is for answering Pete’s questions. I’m Man and I’m from Hong Kong. I’m just join Aussie English for three months. Why I need to learn English? Because English is international language. If I know more about English I can…I can go travel around the world, I can communicate with other people and I can meet different people in the world. What will speaking English allow you to do? If I have a good English, fluent English, I can easily find a better job and I can start master program or maybe I can move back to Australia. I love Australia. A few years ago, I have been to Australia before. I really love Australia culture, the food and people, I love it there, yes. I hope you guys enjoy Aussie English. Thank you.
Hi, guys! How’s it going? My name is Shinichi, I’m from Japan and I’ve been learning Australian English nearly for four years. I’d love to live in this country because I love this country Australia. It’s pretty good, isn’t it? I love also to communicate with people all over the world. That’s why I’ve been learning English. Cheers!
My name is Fatimah, I’m from Malaysia. I joined Aussie English around 10 months, almost a year, I think, and I love learning many languages one of them is English and I find this. Interesting online class, which is Aussie English Classroom and I learn a lot from this. And basically, with language you can expand your knowledge, you can learn many things, you can communicate with may people. That’s it. Thank you!
Hi, everyone! This is Vivian. I’m from Hong Kong. I also live in Singapore for more than 10 years. Currently I live in Melbourne. I have been learning English since I was nine until now more than 40 years. Why I learn English? First of all, I like English very much. Secondly, I know English is the tool to connect to the rest of the world. It broadens my horizon to whatever knowledge that I’m interested in. Like currently, we’re building a studio at my backyard. I have done a lot of researchers through the Internet. It helps a lot during the whole building process. If I don’t know English, we don’t know how I can complete the whole project smoothly and successfully. My aim now is to progress from an intermediate level to advanced level. Cheers!
Friends, my name is Fan Zhang and I’m from China. I started to learn English about 30 years ago when I was a middle school student. Two years ago, I started to learn English with the Aussie English Podcast. So, about two months ago I started to learn English with the old English Classroom. The reason why I keep learning English is that English is the most widely used the language of the world today and also the people, most people that represent the frontier of the development of science and technology are written in English so, speaking English better can help me enjoy a more comfortable life in Australia and also help my career development in Australia. Currently I am working and leaving Australia. So, join us, join the Aussie English Classroom. This is the most efficient way to improve our English. Thank you!
Hi, everyone! My name is Alex. I am from Russia. I have been intensively learning English for the last four years. I subscribed to Aussie English on YouTube in May, 2016, and later I joined the Aussie English Classroom and I work there for this time. I am learning English in order to pass English exams and to get a better job. Speaking English will get me a lot of opportunities to live and to work in better conditions.
Hi! My name is Aykhan and I’m from Baku Azerbaijan. I’ve been taught English by my aunt and this was happened roughly in 1996 when I was at first form, but after graduating from the University in 2011 I had a huge break in my English lessons. So, that’s a period when I forgot a lot of things which I have learnt before. But last year, I have decided to become an Aussie English Classroom member, and there are two causes why I decided to do it. The first thing is that I want to migrate to Australia and I want to learn Australian English and improve my common English as well. And I need to pass PTE academic exam and Aussie English Classroom help me in it a lot. So, the second cause why I became a member of the Aussie English Classroom is that I just like this language and I want to live in the English spoken country. So, the English classroom is the best way where you can improve your English. That’s all for me. Sorry for my voice. I am under the weather and I wish you good luck!
Hello, everybody. Hello Pete. Hello Kel! Hi, guys! I hope you are all doing well. My name is Rocio. Most of you already know me. I am from Venezuela are in South America and first of all I want to congratulate Pete on reaching 500 episodes and just say that you are an amazing, mate! I’m really enjoying Aussie English and I wish you all the best in the future. So, I guess they started learning English when I was in high school, but honestly, I learned English in a really basic level. I remember that I was even able to do well in testes, in the way like filling in the blanks or first conditional, second conditional. I just learn how the pattern work and I was able to fill in the blanks and do well in my test without even knowing any of the words in the sentences. So, that’s how bad I was in high school and even at uni. So, then many, many years down the track I was working for IBM in Venezuela. I missed a great opportunity to get a promotion because I wasn’t able to speak English. I felt very sad, but I thought it was very late for me to start learning a new language. A few years passed by and I was in a different company.
I was at Citibank and one day you realise that when I got a promotion as well and I was in a situation where I needed to speak English because I have a lot of stakeholders that I needed to liaise with. So, I was able to communicate with them by e-mail, but it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t doing a very good job because I needed to speak to them and, you know, speak about things and get people engaged and things like that. So, there was one day that I just decided ah that’s it, I need to get better in English and I talked to my boss and we decided that when I was able to take out a long leave and I went to United States and I did an immersion course in there. So, I went to Chicago for12 weeks, three months and I went there and I loved there, I think that was the point when I started really loving and really liking English. I felt so so good because I was alone and I didn’t speak Spanish for three months so, I was so, so happy! I was able to communicate. I was able to get the things done, you know, buy things in the supermarket and get around the city by myself. So, I felt that I really… that was a reality, I was able to speak English so, I went back to Venezuela after those three months and we had a bad political and economic situation in that. So, my husband and I decided to come to Australia mainly because we wanted to do a masters because they wanted to upgrade my skills. So, we came to Australia hoping that the situation in Venezuela got better in those three years that I was doing my masters and my husband was able to work full time and I was able to work part time as well. So, that was a great benefit. So, you know, I did my Masters and then the situation there back in Venezuela didn’t improve a little bit so, we decided just to stay in here and yeah that’s why I’m still here.
I discovered Aussie English a bit over a year ago now, and when I saw how Pete was able to explain things and to give us tips about Aussie culture, about how people say these things or how people really think, I really, really love it. It was mind blowing for me because that was what I really was looking for because I learnt English in an American way, let’s say. So, I was always in doubt if these expressions or these were actually used in Australia or not or is this English, American English, or is British English.
So, Pete has been able to reassure for me how things are in Australia and that the bar that you really love the most about Aussie English. Apart from that, I have learned tons of new expressions and new vocabulary and more so I have had a lot of fun doing this!
So, yeah, I think the last question was about what will I be able to do if I had a better English and I think, in my case, because I’m already here in Australia and I’m already working in a company full-time for me if I’m able to speak more fluent English, better English, I will be able to reach higher positions in the company and I will also engage a lot of… more in conversations and make decision, decision making situations. So, yeah that’s my journey with English. Pete, please, please, please! Keep doing this because this is really awesome. You are the only Aussie guy out there who is teaching English in this level that you are doing it. So, please keep going and I just can’t wait to see how you have prepared for us for the next 500 more episodes, I guess. So, thanks so much, Pete and peace out!
Hello, mate! My name is Patrick. I’m a French Brazilian since 1974 living in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The name of the state is Minas Gerais. It means mining and agricultural around mining areas. I learn American English for research activities and now, since a month ago, Aussie English for a new project regarding common goals management and aborigines’ point of view, cultural relevance for social management of mining in the future.
Hey there. My name’s Paula. I’m from Colombia and I’ve been learning English with the Aussie English Classroom for around 7 months. I’m learning English because this is a significantly important requirement in my country if you want to get a better job, but I’m also learning because I really, really enjoy travelling. So, I think English is useful when you want to get to know about many different people and cultures. That’s it. Bye!
That was absolutely incredible, I’m so proud of you, guys! I hadn’t actually watched any of those videos until I had gotten around to editing it, which I am currently doing and so I’ve just gone through. I’ve just edited everything I’m making this outro, but yeah, I want to say that I’m really impressed with you, guys, and to see you guys improve working so hard every week in the Aussie English Classroom as well as all those others that are listening to the podcast, that are commenting on YouTube, that are engaging with the material and working really hard. It is not easy, guys! It is not easy and yeah just know that I am really, really impressed and I’m really, really proud of each and every one of you.
So, thank you so much, guys. Thank you for making this possible. Thank you who’s watching right now. Thank you very much! I want to let you know that if you would like to support the podcast, you can go to my Patron page and you can also make donations via PayPal if you want to do one-off donations. The links will be in the transcript or they’ll be below on this video on YouTube. If you would like the transcripts for the podcast as well as the MP3s and you want to support the podcast you can go to theaussieenglishpodcast.com, you can sign up there and for the price of a coffee per month you will get access to all of the transcripts, all of the MP3s for every episode, ok?
And then on top of that if you’re interested in signing up to the Aussie English Classroom, where I put up weekly courses designed to help you improve your listening, your speaking, your writing and your reading in English, but with strong, strong, strong emphasis on speaking and primarily on Australian English then go to theaussieenglishclassroom.com and I’ve got a special deal for you, guys! To celebrate this episode, for the next week, whenever this video is uploaded for the seven days after that, you can use the coupon code ‘episode500’ to get two months for the price of half a usual month, ok? So, instead of the first two months being about 40 dollars, you’ll get two months for 20 dollars, ok?
So, use the coupon EPISODE500. That is EPISODE500, a single word. EPISODE500. Go to theaussieenglishclassroom.com, use that coupon and you’ll get two months for $20 bucks.
That is like $2.50 a week, guys! That’s half a coffee a week to get in there, use all the materials, get into the Aussie English classroom Facebook group, meet the guys that you have just seen in this video or heard in this episode and practice your English with them and with me. So, I’m looking so forward to the future of Aussie English and to, hopefully, seeing you in the Aussie English classroom, guys.
Thank you so much for sticking with me.
I’ll see you soon! Peace out!
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AE 499 – Expression: — Up a Storm
We’ve been talking a bit this week about the 40th anniversary of Cyclone Tracy, the devastating cyclone in Darwin, and a caller mentioned, (it) might have been Annette, talking about the sound that was captured by a bishop at that time, Bishop Ted Collins, and the noise. We’ve managed to track it down. Here’s a bit of that noise that ripped through Darwin close to Christmas in 1974.
G’day, you mob! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone who wants to learn advanced English, obviously, too with a tiny little hint of Australian English in there as well, although, it may not be that tiny at times. Depends. Depends.
Anyway, so, the intro scene there, guys, the intro scene was from a radio segment from 2GB Sydney that was aired in 2014. You can probably check out 2GB if you’re in the Sydney area and it was on the YouTube channel Des Poeling-Oer. (I’m) not sure how to pronounce his name, but there will be a link in the transcript if you would like to check out that entire video, although, it was a short one.
But yeah, that was about Cyclone Tracy, which took place in northern Australia, in the Northern Territory, back in the 70s. But we’ll get into that in today’s fact.
Anyway, guys, this is the Aussie English Podcast. This is where I try to help English learners who’ve come to Australia, but elsewhere in the world as well, learn advanced English. So, I’m interested in trying to help you sound more like a native speaker when you learn English, when you’re speaking English, ok? So, that’s the whole point of these episodes. So, obviously you’re listening to the Aussie English Podcast, if you would like to get access to the transcripts and the MP3s unlimited access so that you can download these, make sure you go to TheAussieEnglishPodcast.com and you can sign up there for the price of a coffee per month and you’ll be able to download these anytime, anywhere and practice wherever you want.
Also, the Podcast is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom, guys. Now, this is where I put all the other content the courses, the videos, the other bonus MP3s, the exercises, the quizzes, everything else that I create I put into the Aussie English Classroom in the form of a course. Except there are many, many, many, courses. So, each week for these expression episodes I create three videos at the moment for pronunciation, for expressions and for vocab and then I guide you through 10 or so different pieces of vocab expressions etc. and I try and help you expand your English so, if you want to join up there, you will get access to this episode’s bonus content as well as previous episodes. You’ll also get access to the interview course that I have in there with other Australians and the pronunciation course so, that you can work on your English pronunciation. Just go to TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com, don’t get it confused with the podcast website of TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com hit sign up, you can enroll and it’s just one dollar for your first month so, give that a go! Anyway, guys, let’s get into today’s joke.
So, today’s expression is obviously about the weather, it’s about storms. So, I thought I’d try and find a joke that is related to the weather. So, here’s the joke: what does a cloud wear under its raincoat? What does a cloud wear under its rain coat? Are you ready? Thunderwear. Thunderwear. I told Kel this one earlier today and she was very underwhelmed with the joke. She was like… *claps*.
What does a cloud wear under its raincoat? Thunderwear. So, it’s a pun on the word ‘underwear’ and the word ‘thunder’, right? From a cloud, thunder that comes from a storm cloud. Anyway, dumb jokes aside, let’s get into today’s expression, guys.
Today’s expression is to ‘verb’ Something, ‘verb’, ‘verb’, ‘verb’ + up a storm, right? So, up a storm, but there’s often a verb before the expression ‘up a storm’, ok? We’ll get into that in a sec. This one was from Zinnia who suggested this in the Aussie English Classroom, a Facebook group we all voted. Good job Zinnia, she won!
So, ‘up a storm’ it’s an interesting expression, because this expression, the first part of it can change. So, you might hear this as to cook up a storm, to dance up a storm, to work up a storm, to kick up a storm, to stir up a storm. The verb at the start there can change, ok? But before we get into how it is defined, let’s talk about the words in this expression.
So, obviously, the first word can be a verb of some kind that can change and the definition of that verb is going to depend on the verb.
But the word ‘up’, the word ‘up’ here isn’t literally talking about the direction upwards, right? So, like, above you, in that direction, the opposite of down or downwards. In this case, the word up is a preposition and it’s part of a phrasal verb. To cook up, to dance up, to work up, to kick up. And in this case, it means to something into a desired or proper condition, right? So, if you cook something up, you are changing something so, that it is cooked. You are completely cooking that thing so, that is how ‘up’ is working here, when it’s combined with a verb, it’s kind of like to completion or into a desired state or proper condition.
The other word in here ‘a storm’, right? ‘Storm’ is a violent disturbance of the atmosphere, with strong winds, usually rain, thunder, lightning, and snow, but no thunderwear, right? So, often you know, there’s storms. There was a storm here last night with a lot of rain that came, though, and there was a lot of wind. Fortunately, though, there was no lightning or thunder and there’s never been any snow, not at least here, not at least here.
So, the definition of the expression, right? ‘— up a storm’, but with a verb before it. So, as I said, it’s interesting because it can change, you could say Cook up a storm, dance up a storm, work up a storm, kick up a storm, but the most common one here I’ll ever hear is ‘cook up a storm’. I think this tends to be the most common one that you’ll hear and it may seem confusing, right. It’s effectively acting like an adverb though, up a storm, right? You’re adding it to have before it it’s modifying the verb. And so, ‘— up a storm’ is added to mean the action of the verb, to a great amount, with fury, with intensity. So, you’re doing something, the verb, you’re doing that verb with enthusiastic spirit, to great amounts.
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If you’re cooking up a storm, you are cooking something up a lot in a furious manner. If you are working up a storm, you’re working something up to a great degree, in an enthusiastic spirit, ok? But it can kind of change the meaning depending on the verb you use. You cook up a storm, you can imagine you are cooking a large amount of food all at once, you’re preparing a great deal of food. If you talk up a storm, you are talking to a great extent. You are talking to a great amount, with a lot of intensity. If you kick up a storm, in this case, if you kick something up, it’s more that you’re creating a situation in which people are very angry or upset or critical so, you’re like causing a fuss, ok?
So, let’s go through three examples using three different versions of this expression. So, this is how I would use these in day to day life, ok? So, the three examples will be for cook up a storm, talk up a storm and kick up a storm.
So, number one: cook up a storm: and this is a true story. So, Kel and I are getting married in the next month and my mum is very keen to have a really big family party of some kind, to have all my family and friends over, my extended family and grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, third cousins. She wants all of those people over at the house to introduce Kel to them, to the entire family. So, she’s invited them all over to our place in Ocean Grove for a Brazilian style barbecue, because Kel is Brazilian, they want to cook up some Brazilian food. So, they’ve decided to theme it with a Brazilian theme and they’re going to cook up a bunch of Brazilian foods from recipes that they get online. So, hopefully that means lots of farofa, feijão, and churrasco. So, that is like… Farofa is this kind of cassava flour powder that you add to food and it’s really tasty. Feijão is beans, black beans, and churrasco is just barbecued meat. So, hopefully will have lots of that. So, because they are planning to cook up a lot of food and for so many people at the party I’m sure on the day they’ll be cooking up a storm, right? They’ll be cooking up a storm in the kitchen, they’ll be cooking loads of food up, they’ll be doing it with intensity, with fury, with enthusiastic spirit. I hope that while they’re preparing this food, they’re going to be cooking up a storm.
Number two: to talk up a storm. To talk up a storm. My sister got pregnant last year, ok? She had a bun in the oven. She was up the duff. She was pregnant and nine months later, obviously, she had a baby. This was in November last year and her daughter is named Isabell. So, my niece is now almost a year old. She is beginning to walk, she can say a few words, you know, things like ‘mama’, ‘dada’, but I’m sure that in no time at all she’s going to be able to talk up a storm, right? She’s going to be able to learn to speak. She’ll start talking everyone’s heads off, she’ll start saying all these other words and so, she’ll be talking, she’ll be speaking non-stop, all the time, enthusiastically, to a great extent, she’ll be talking up a storm.
And, example number three: to kick up a storm. So, in this case, imagine you are going into the city one day for a bit of retail therapy, and retail therapy is something that women quite often use. They use this expression retail therapy to refer to buying clothes or buying things when they’re upset or they’re in a bad mood or they’re sad, right? So, imagine you’re a girl, you’ve broken up with your boyfriend, you’re feeling really bad after the breakup, you want to cheer yourself up, you might go out and have a bit of retail therapy, right? Because you going to buy some stuff in retail. So, if when you go out to get some clothes, some food, some whatever it is that you want to buy for your house or for yourself, you go into the city and there’s a massive protest going on in the street. Thousands of people holding up signs, holding up placards, shouting slogans, are making a lot of noise, and you might want to know what all the fuss is about. You might want to know why they’re kicking up such a storm. So, what’s all the fuss about? Why are they protesting? Why are they kicking up a storm? So, if you find out it’s a relatively trivial matter. Maybe, you know, they want a 1% increase in the wages of teachers. And you think that’s not really important. You might say they’re kicking up a storm over nothing and that these protests are nothing but a storm in a teacup, meaning they’re a very small problem. They’re very trivial, it’s not a big issue, they’re kicking up a fuss over nothing. They’re making a mountain out of a molehill, they’re kicking up a storm over a very trivial matter.
So, hopefully now, guys, you understand the expression ‘Something + up a storm’, right? To cook up a storm, to talk up a storm, to kick up a storm. When we add ‘up a storm’ as an adverb to a verb before it, it means that we’re doing that verb to a great degree, with fury, with intensity, or with enthusiastic spirit, ok? So, as usual, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise, guys. So, in this one I use the example to cook up a storm and I want you to listen and repeat after me and practice your English pronunciation, ok? Let’s go!
To cook up
To cook up a
To cook up a storm x 5
Good job! Now, let’s practice using ‘to kick up a storm’ in the future continuous tense, ok? For example: I will be kicking up a storm. I’ll be kicking up a storm. However, this time, I’m going to use contractions and connected speech as I would when I’m normally speaking English at a natural pace, right? At a natural speed. So, try and pay attention to how these words link together and how the changes in sound occur. And if you want to get access to the exercise, the video where I break this down step by step, don’t forget to join the Aussie English Classroom, remember, it’s just one dollars for your first month at TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com and you’ll get access to this video, in the course, as well as all the previous courses where I break down exactly how I am changing my pronunciation when I’m speaking more naturally, how these connections in words occur, how the contractions occur. Ok? So, let’s go.
Tomorrow, I’ll be kicking up a storm.
Tomorrow, you’ll be kicking up a storm.
Tomorrow, she’ll be kicking up a storm.
Tomorrow, he’ll be kicking up a storm.
Tomorrow, we’ll be kicking up a storm.
Tomorrow, they’ll be kicking up a storm.
Tomorrow, it’ll be kicking up a storm.
Good job there, guys! Good job! You may think why am I using words like tomorrow in these sentences when we use certain tenses like I’ll be kicking, I’ll be doing, I’ll be thinking, because it’s placing it in the future, I think it’s always important to try and give context in the sentence itself so that you attach the tense with a time, ok? So, that’s why I tend to try and use words like tomorrow, yesterday, next year, until tomorrow, etc., to place those verb tenses in context.
Anyway, guys, let’s get into the Aussie English fact for today and then we can finish up and there’s a phrasal verb with up. Alright, so, now I want to talk about Cyclone Tracy.
So, obviously today’s expression was about the word storm or had the word storm in it. So, I thought, you know, what could I do about storms in Australia? And I thought about the severe cyclone storms that Australia gets every year in the monsoon tropics. This is the part of Australia in the north, above the Tropic of Capricorn, right? That goes through, roughly, halfway through Australia and separates the south from the north so, to the north of Australia cyclones hit the coast all the time whether it’s in the Northern Territory or Queensland, they get cyclones each year. Cyclone Tracy was a tropical cyclone though that made landfall on Christmas Eve and Christmas day in 1974 and it devastated the city of Darwin in the Northern Territory in Australia. So, really tragic, because… not just because it was such a devastating storm, but the timing couldn’t have been worse. It arrived on Christmas Eve and it, you know, destroyed Christmas Day as well for all the people there. So, it was the most compact cyclone storm to have ever occurred in the Australian basin and southern hemisphere, with gale force winds extending only 48 kilometres from the centre. So, outside of 48 kilometres from the centre of the storm, the eye of this storm, the gale force winds dropped off which is very weird. That’s a very small, compact, concentrated storm. So, this made it the smallest-ever tropical cyclone worldwide until the year 2000 and I think 7, 2007, 2008, when Tropical Storm Marco broke the record with gale force winds extending only 19 kilometres from the centre, massively compact storm.
So, Cyclone Tracy first started as a storm that formed over the Arafura Sea. And then it moved southwards and affected Darwin with category four winds. The highest sustained winds during this time were up to 205 kilometres an hour with gusts nearly 250 kilometres an hour, right? That’s crazy. I don’t think I’ve ever… I’ve never been in a car that’s driven that fast. That’s insane.
And so, these storms, I guess, they form over the warm water in the tropical areas and then when they hit the land they start to dissipate, but they build up all that energy from the warm water in the oceans. And that happens around the tropics.
So, Cyclone Tracy completely devastated Darwin and it killed 71 people and many thousands of people were injured. In 1974, the cost of the storm was $837 million dollars in damage, which today is more than $6 billion dollars. Initially, after the storm 65 people were killed, were found to have been killed, with six missing and it was only in 2005 when the Northern Territory Coroner proclaimed that the six people that were still missing had perished at sea. So, this cyclone knocked down more than 70 percent of buildings in Darwin, including 80 percent of people’s houses.
And if you search for Cyclone Tracy in Google images you’re going to see the full extent of this cyclone’s destruction. It’s just insane. Everywhere is flat it looks like those photos you see of the U.S. when a massive tornado has gone through a town.
So, 25,000 of the 47,000 inhabitants of the city were made homeless prior to landfall of this cyclone and they were evacuated. Most of Darwin’s population got evacuated to places like Adelaide, Whyalla, Alice Springs, Brisbane, and Sydney and many of these people actually stayed in these cities and never returned after the storm. After the storm had passed and people had assessed all the damage from the storm, the city was eventually rebuilt using more stringent standards to cyclone code so that, hopefully, in the future, the city would be more cyclone-proof and you would prevent any of this sort of destruction to the same extent in the future.
So, that’s the story of Cyclone Tracy, guys. It was a very small and compact storm that hit Australia at a very unfortunate time, during Christmas, in 1974 and it killed 70 people making it the deadliest storm in Australian recorded history, as far as I’m aware.
So, if you come to Australia, I’m sure that if you mention knowing information about Cyclone Tracy the average Australian here is going to have heard of that cyclone and if they were alive during 1974, they may have even been there.
Anyway, guys! Thank you so much for joining me. I hope you have an amazing weekend and I’ll see you in the next episode, episode 500, which I have something very special planned for.
So, I’ll see you then. Bye!
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AE 498 – Expression: Down-to-Earth
Australia is a vast and lucky land. Beneath our feet is a treasure trove of unimaginable riches. But this story is about much more than precious minerals and dusty mineshafts. For 150 years, mining has changed the lives of us all in unexpected and extraordinary ways. It sparked waves of mass immigration and ignited political revolt.
G’day, you mob! Welcome to this episode of the Aussie English Podcast, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone wanting to learn English so… and the Aussie English Podcast guys is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom. If you would like to learn English even faster and have access to weekly courses, videos, quizzes, vocab lists, all the extra stuff that will help you get your English to the next level, make sure that you go to theaussieenglishclassroom.com, sign up and it’s just a dollar for your first month. So, get in there and give it a go! You’ve got nothing to lose!
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Anyway, that aside, today’s intro scene, guys, was the intro to a documentary called Dirty Business: How Mining Made Australia, and this was on the Sterling Documentaries YouTube channel. So, I will put a link into the transcript today so that you can watch that entire documentary on their channel on YouTube if you so choose, it’s pretty interesting. And in today’s Aussie English fact we will go through mining and the history of mining in Australia.
Anyway, guys, as usual, let’s get into an Aussie joke before we go through the expression, the definitions, the examples of how I would use it, the listen and repeat exercise and then the fact, okay?
So, the Aussie joke today guys:
My dog used to chase people on a bike a lot. It got so bad, finally, I had to take his bike away.
So, this isn’t a question and answer joke this time, it’s a story and it’s funny because the first sentence has you thinking there is a dog chasing someone on a bike. A person who is on a bike, but actually it’s the dog who is on the bike chasing people, right? So, that sentence can be actually taken two ways and this is something interesting about English, right?
So, I’ll say the sentence again. My dog used to chase people on a bike a lot. So, he could be chasing people on a bike, as in people riding bikes or it could be that his dog was chasing people whilst the dog was on a bike, right? And then the last line, it got so bad, finally, I had to take his bike away. So, now you’re like, ahhhh, it was the dog’s bike. (I) got it, got it.
So, we have those jokes all the time in English where the first line sounds normal and then the second line shows you that it is not what you thought the first line was, okay?
So, today’s expression is ‘down-to-earth’, to be ‘down-to-earth’. And this was suggested by Lily in the private Facebook group for Aussie English Classroom members. Good job, Lily!
So, as usual guys, let’s go through and define the words in the expression ‘down-to-earth’, ok? ‘Down-to-earth’. I’ll break it up into the individual words.
‘Down’. Obviously, ‘down’ means downwards, right? The opposite of up or upwards, downwards is towards the ground, right? ‘Down’.
‘To’ is towards, in the direction of something.
And, ‘earth’ is the name of the planet, right? The planet Earth. But we often use this to mean the ground or the soil, right? If I’m standing up, usually my feet are on the Earth. If I am digging in the backyard, I might be moving earth around as in the ground or as in soil.
So, what does the expression ‘down-to-earth’ mean? And you’ll often hear this as a compound adjective, as in, someone is ‘down-to-earth’, or Pete is a ‘down-to-earth’ person, right? It could be an adjective in front of a noun as well.
So, if you are down-to-earth or if someone is down-to-earth, it can mean a few different things, although, they’re sort of similar, okay? Practical, reasonable, and friendly, if you’re a down-to-earth person. It could be also that you are practical and directly deal with people so you don’t sort of beat around the bush, right? You’re very straightforward. You’re down-to-earth. But, it can also mean someone who’s very easy to talk to, right? So, they’re not up in the clouds, their head’s not in the clouds, they’re down-to-earth, they’re easy to talk to.
So, let’s go through three examples of how I would use the expression to be ‘down-to-earth’, right? If someone’s ‘down-to-earth’, alright.
Example number one: imagine that you are a foreign student and you have arrived in Australia from somewhere overseas. You’re studying English, you’ve organised your school, you have organised your accommodation, but you need to find a job, right? So, you have asked your friends maybe at the school that you’re learning English at, where can I apply for a job? How do I apply? What do I need to do for my CV, my résumé? And then you get that all sorted, you print out a few copies of your résumé and you head down to a local coffee shop or a cafe where your friends have suggested that you could submit your resume or your CV and apply for a job. So, you do that, you go down there, and you find out the people there are really down-to-earth. So, you get along with them really well, you get along like a house on fire, and they decide that they will give you the job. So, lo and behold, you get the job, you really had a good time with them. They were really down-to-earth, you got hired and the rest is history. The people you talk to were really down-to-earth. They were very easy to talk to, very practical, very reasonable, very friendly.
Example number two: so, you are going to a party where you know that there are going to be loads of rich people, but you’re just an average Joe, right? You’re just an average middle-class, white-collar, or even blue-collar worker. So, you’re worried everyone at the party is going to be really pretentious, really pompous, stuck up and, quite frankly, unpleasant to be around because that’s your opinion. That is the stereotype of rich people, right? So, you show up in your modest car. Maybe it’s a Holden Commodore or Ford Falcon. You get out and you see Ferraris everywhere, Lamborghinis, Mercedes, BMWs, Audis, everywhere around you. The party’s in this huge house, a mansion with butlers, waiters, servants, gardeners running around at the guests’ beck and call the whole time. The grounds of the house are huge, massive lawns, fountains, statues, and you go in. Everything’s really extravagant. Everything is really gourmet food wise and everything is very luxurious. However, when you start chatting to people, you realise that despite these people being loaded, despite them having a lot of money, many of the guests are actually incredibly down-to-earth people. They are really down-to-earth, meaning that you can have great conversations with them. They’re very practical, they’re very direct, they’re very friendly. They just seem like normal down-to-earth people, right? So, the idea here being that you thought that they were going to be stuck up with their heads up in the clouds, you know, on a different level from you, but it turns out they were down-to-earth with their feet firmly placed on the ground, they were very well-grounded.
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Example number three: Imagine you’re a young lady. You’ve gone out on a date with a boy, you’ve hit it off, you’ve done really well, you decide you’re going to be in a relationship, and you want to take him home to meet the family, but you’re worried that your dad he has high expectations and he’s very judgmental when it comes to boys who want to date you, right? For your romantic partners. So, you’re worried about his high standards and how this boy that you’re seeing is going to perform. So, you take him over and when your dad meets your boyfriend, he quickly realises that he is a great kid, he’s a great guy, he’s got a good head on his shoulders, his head isn’t in the clouds. He’s very practical, direct, easy to talk to. Everyone gets along like crazy at dinner and when he leaves your father might talk to you and say, well done, he seems like a great guy. He seems like a very down-to-earth guy. I approve. Your boyfriend is very down-to-earth. He is an awesome guy.
Awesome, guys! well I hope you now understand the expression to be ‘down-to-earth’. This can be to be a practical, reasonable or friendly person. It can be that when you deal with people you do so in a very direct and practical manner and it can also mean that you’re very easy to talk to so, you’re very realistic when you talk to people.
So, as usual, let’s go through the listen and repeat exercise now, guys, where you guys can practice your pronunciation. So, listen and repeat after me, guys. If you’re working on your Aussie English accent, obviously, try and mimic my accent as much as possible as I have a general Australian accent. If you are working on a different accent just go with that, practice that accent. Let’s go!
To be down
To be down to
To be down-to-earth x 5
Good job, guys, good job! So now we’re going to go conjugate through the sentence. ‘I used to be down-to-earth’. ‘You used to be down-to-earth’. So, we’ll be using ‘used to’. And remember, if you ‘used to’ and ‘do something’, ‘be something’, whatever it is, it means that that thing used to happen previously quite a lot in the past, right, but it’s no longer happening. For example, I used to go to high school, I used to like surfing, I used to have a lot of friends, I used to live in Melbourne. It’s something that happened in the past, but no longer happens today, okay? So, let’s go!
I used to be down-to-earth.
You used to be down-to-earth.
He used to be down-to-earth.
She used to be down-to-earth.
We used to be down-to-earth.
They used to be down-to-earth.
It used to be down-to-earth.
Good job, guys! Remember, if you would like to go through this pronunciation exercise in more detail where I take you through step by step all the aspects of pronunciation, I talk about intonation and rhythm, things like that in a video make sure that you go to theaussieenglishclassroom.com. Sign up and you will get access to two days of video for this course that will go with this expression episode, as well as all of the previous courses and you can complete them in your own time, anywhere you like, online in the Classroom.
Anyway, guys, let’s get into the Aussie English fact for today and then we will finish up. Alright, so today’s expression was about Earth as in the ground. Therefore, I was thinking for the Aussie English fact maybe we could talk about mining in Australia, because mining is a relatively big deal in Australia.
So, mining in Australia is a significant primary industry and contributor to the Australian economy. I’m sure if you are here already, you’ve probably seen it on the news as they, the politicians, are always talking about mining.
Numerous different kinds of ores and minerals are mined across the continent and, historically, mining booms have encouraged immigration to Australia.
In the early days of Australia, when the colonies were being developed, mining contributed a significant amount to preventing potential bankruptcy of these early colonies so they were making a lot of money from mining.
Copper and silver were discovered in South Australia around the 1940s, which led to the export of the ore and a great deal of immigration of skilled miners and smelters into Australia.
The first economic minerals in Australia were silver and lead, and that started in 1841 in a mine at Glen Osmund in Adelaide, South Australia. The value of these mines though was soon overshadowed by the discovery of copper at places like Kapunda, Burra, and the Copper Triangle, they are three towns called Moonta, Kadina and Wallaroo. These are all indigenous names, I take it, and this was located at the top of the York Peninsula.
About 10 years later in 1851, gold was found in New South Wales and Victoria and the Australian gold rushes took off. The influx of wealth that the gold brought soon made Victoria Australia’s richest colony by far, and Melbourne, the largest city on the island.
By the middle of the 1850, 40% of the world’s gold was dug out of Australian soils.
Today, mining activity occurs in all states and territories across Australia, but only an estimated 0.02% of Australia’s land surface has directly been impacted by mining. That was actually a lot less than I had expected.
So, major active mines in Australia include the Olympic Dam, in South Australia. This is a copper, silver, and uranium mine believed to have the world’s largest uranium resource. And the Super Pit gold mine, which has replaced a number of underground mines near Kalgoorlie in WA, Western Australia.
So, which minerals and ores has Australia primarily mined? We mine iron ore and we’re the second largest supplier after China, supplying about almost a billion metric tons of iron ore every year, and that is 25% of the world’s output.
We mine nickel, 9% of the world’s output, aluminium that’s almost 30% of the world’s output, number one we are for aluminium. We mine copper, we mine gold, we mine silver, and we mine uranium. Those are the biggest ores and minerals that we mine in Australia. But we also mine diamonds, opals, zinc, coal, oil shale, petroleum, natural gas, silica, and other rare elements as well.
Despite the value of mining in Australia and the revenue that it generates for the Australian Government and obviously the Australian people, many people would like to see an end to mining in Australia, especially, for certain minerals and ores others such as coal, which is a relatively contentious mineral or that is dug up from the ground and burnt in order to create electricity, but it is relatively inefficient and it contributes heavily to climate change. That said, mining is arguably the backbone of the Australian economy and it will likely remain a big part of Australia into the future for better or worse.
So, I hope you enjoyed today’s episode, guys. I hope you have a great weekend and I’ll chat to you soon.
See you later!
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AE 497 Expression: On Thin Ice
I came from the other end of the Snowy River down in Victoria on a farm out from Orbost and my father, who had the farm, said, ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they could do something about stopping these bloody floods?’.
Every snowmelt the floods would come down and cover the crops and so on.
It was difficult for them.
G’day, guys! G’day, you mob! How is it going?
Remember, ‘you mob’ is a slang term in Australia for ‘you guys’, right, and it is from, I guess, a mob of kangaroos, a group of kangaroos. So, you mob, I hope you’re going well. I hope you’ve been having a ripper of a week.
So, today’s intro scene was about Australia’s greatest-ever engineering feat, the national heritage listed Snowy Hydro Scheme, and the video at the start there was from the Environment Department’s YouTube channel. So, I will leave a link in the transcript if you guys would like to check that out. I would obviously recommend that as you will get exposure to other people speaking with Australian accents and obviously using all kinds of different vocab and everything in English. So, check that out.
Anyway, I’m pretty wrecked, I’m pretty stuffed, I am exhausted. It’s been a lot of running around this week. We’ve had to organise a whole bunch of stuff regarding marriages. So, Kel and I are getting married soon, and we’re just… We’re not having a big thing, right? We’re not making a big deal of it. We’re not really doing a traditional marriage in a church or even with a lot of people there, to be honest, because Kel’s family’s in Brazil, so we just thought it’s probably easier to just do a small thing here in Australia and really just go and sign the papers. So, at the moment, we’re having to go through and get all of the documents ready, so like my birth certificate, my passport, her birth certificate, her passport, the documents to apply for marriage with witnesses. So, today we had to go to the cop shop, to the police station, and have a justice of the peace sign all of these pieces of paper as we were there signing them as well. So, that’s been a bit of a headache, and before that we tried to have our friends witness it, but they screwed it up, they stuffed it up, and signed as the people getting married and not as the witnesses. So, we had to go through it again. Anyway.
Welcome to this episode of Aussie English, guys. We’re getting close to episode 500. So, this is probably going to be the second last expression episode before we hit 500, and something special is going to happen once we get to 500, so stay tuned for that. Anyway.
Aussie English, the Aussie English podcast. Welcome. If you’ve been listening for a long time, it’s good to have you here again. If it’s your first time, welcome, thanks for joining me.
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Welcome to this episode today, guys. This one is ‘on thin ice’. It’s a really good expression. I use this quite a lot, and to be honest, my father used to use this on me quite a lot as a little rambunctious and mischievous teen as I was growing up, but we’ll get into that shortly.
Firstly, let’s get into the Aussie joke, and this one is a good one today, because it involves Batman, right. Dunununah dunununah Batman!’. Batman. Alright. So, the joke is:
What’s man’s favourite food? What is that man’s favourite food?
Are you ready for this? Are you ready?
Do you get it? Oh my gosh… So, what’s that man’s favourite food? ‘Just-ice’ as in, ‘justice’, right? If you separate the word ‘justice’ into ‘just-ice’, it’s like saying ‘only ice’, he just likes eating ice, he is only interested in ice, but it’s funny because Batman is obviously a superhero who is interested in justice, justice. ‘Just-ice’, ‘justice’. Badoomsh! Alright.
So, today’s expression is ‘on thin ice’, right, ‘to be on thin ice’. This was suggested by me this week in the Aussie English Classroom Facebook group. So, that’s four members of the Aussie English Classroom. This week we all suggested expressions. I put this one in, I threw this in as my suggestion, and it got voted on and I won. Go me!
So, let’s go through the definitions of the words in the expression ‘on thin ice’, right. I’ll skip ‘to be’. You know what ‘to be’ is.
‘On’. If you’re on something, you’re physically in contact with and supported by something. So, you’re on the surface of something, usually, right? I might put my coffee here that I’ve got on a coaster, the thing that protects the table. I put the coaster on the table, I put my coffee on the table, and then after I finish the coffee, I might put it on the bench next to the sink. Okay? ‘On’.
‘Thin’. ‘Thin’. Something that is ‘thin’ is… it has the opposite surfaces or sides of it very close together. Right? So, a piece of paper is incredibly thin, because each side of the piece of paper is very close together, right. It’s very, very thin. You can use this for describing something like a piece of paper or maybe a stamp or a book. You know, you could have a thin book with very few pages or you could have a thick book with a lot of pages. But you can also describe someone as being ‘thin’ when you want to say that they are not fat. Right? So, like a piece of paper, both sides of the person are very close together. They are thin.
The last word here, guys. ‘Ice’. ‘Ice’ is frozen water, a brittle transparent crystalline solid, right. The crystal when water freezes, when it goes below 0 degrees Celsius, it becomes ice.
So, let’s go through and define the expression ‘to be on thin ice’, and I wonder if you guys have heard this before. I wonder if anyone has said to you are on thin ice. Be careful you’re on thin ice.
So, if we imagine this literally, if you were literally standing on thin ice, what do you think the message there is, right? It’s that you’re resting on ice that is thin and it’s likely to crack and break, so you’re in a precarious and risky situation. So, literally, if you’re on thin ice, you are standing on ice that is thin, it is liable to crack or break, and you’re likely to fall into the cold water below.
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Figuratively, it is that you are in a precarious or risky situation. So, you might not literally be on ice, but you might be in a dangerous situation, so you are on thin ice, right.
But this one is also often used to mean that you’re already in trouble and that you can’t afford to make another mistake. Right? So, my dad would say this to me when I was a kid and I had already misbehaved, I had already done something wrong, maybe I’d done a few things wrong, and I was at the point of pushing him over the edge. I was at his breaking point. If I had done one more thing, something bad would have happened, like maybe he would ground me or he would give me some kind of penalty or punishment, right? So, he might say to me, ‘Look, you’re on thin ice. No more. No more misbehaviour, Pete’. You’re on thin ice.
So, where does this expression originate from? This idiom is one that originated from Holland or the Netherlands. We also call Holland the Netherlands in English. So, skating, you know skating on ice, was popular there and that’s where it came from originally, skating on ice, on those blades on the bottom of your shoes on ice in winter, and the phrase that you were ‘on thin ice’ was commonly used especially when seas, rivers, streams, etc., would freeze during winter, and then people would skate over them. So, it would be like a warning. Right? You’re on thin ice. Be careful. Don’t, you know, jump up and do any pirouettes or something.
So, anyway, let’s go through the examples of how I would use the expression ‘to be on thin ice’ like a native speaker in my day to day life, right? Okay.
Example number one and this is the literal example. You’ve travelled up to one of the snowfields in the Australian Alps in Australia. So, imagine Thredbo or Mount Buller or Mount Hotham. You’re out snowboarding or skiing one day and you end up off the track, falling down the side of a mountain, a cliff, or ravine, or something, and landing on a frozen lake. You might get knocked out during this fall, you know, you get KOed, you’re… you go black, you’re not conscious, but when you come to, when you wake up, you hear you made shouting out to you from a distance saying, ‘Be careful! Don’t move suddenly or abruptly. You’re on thin ice!’. So, you’re literally on some ice that is thin. Be careful where you put your weight, because if you aren’t careful it might break and you might fall into the water.
Example number two, and I pretty much went over this earlier on. I used to get in trouble with my father all the time as a kid or a teenager. I’d push his buttons. I would push the limits. I would… you know, maybe I would swear or maybe I, you know, did something I wasn’t allowed to do, I misbehaved, I didn’t come home on time, I missed my curfew. If I was already in trouble, I’d misbehave several times before, as I said, my dad might say to me, ‘You’re on thin ice! So, if you make another mistake, you’re in for it. You’re going to be in trouble. You’ll be in real trouble and there’s no turning back. You’ll be grounded. I won’t give you your pocket money. You’ll be punished in some other way. You’re on thin ice.’. Right? It’s kind of like you’re on your final warning. So, don’t misbehave, don’t muck up, don’t do anything wrong.
Example number three. Imagine you’ve just got a promotion at work, but it comes with a probation period. So, probation period, as in, you have to be evaluated after three months, for example, the probation period is three months long, and after three months, they will tell you how you’ve done and if you’ve done well, you’ll get to keep the job. So, imagine, though, while you’re going through this probation period for three months you screw up a few things, you make a few mistakes, you don’t do your job ideally, but only just manage to scrape by. So, your employers or your boss might tell you, ‘Look, you’re doing okay, but you need to shape up, you need to do better, because you’re on thin ice. If you make any more mistakes, we might have to not give you this promotion, we might have to demote you’, right? So, you’re in a risky situation. You need to pay attention and shape up in order to maintain this position. You’re on thin ice.
So, hopefully now, guys, you understand the expression ‘to be on thin ice’. Obviously, literally, this would be to be on ice that is thin, that is likely to break or crack. So, you are in a precarious or risky situation.
Figuratively, this can mean that you are in a dangerous situation that isn’t necessarily related to ice breaking at all.
And lastly, it can mean that you’re in trouble, you’re already in trouble and you can’t afford to make another mistake, and you’re on your final warning. Okay? You’re on thin ice.
So, as usual, guys, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise here where you guys can practice your pronunciation. Okay? So, listen and repeat after me. Let’s go.
To be on
To be on thin
To be on thin ice x 5
Good job! Focus on linking those words. There’s a few things going on there. You will see though, if you join up to the Aussie English Classroom, when I break this down in the 10-minute video that I do each week for the pronunciation exercises, you will see the sort of little tidbits, the little important bits of information, about connected speech there, okay? To be on thin ice. Hopefully, that makes sense.
So, let’s go through and conjugate this just in the present tense, guys. Okay, so ‘I am’, ‘You are’, etc., but we’ll contract ‘am’, ‘are’, and ‘is’ on to the previous pronouns. Okay? So, let’s go.
I’m on thin ice
You’re on thin ice
She’s on thin ice
He’s on thin ice
We’re on thin ice
They’re on thin ice
It’s on thin ice
Good job! Good job! And I hope you paid attention to how those words are linking together, the connected speech there, okay? Anyway.
Let’s get into the Aussie English fact for today, guys, and then we will finish up, and I will bid you farewell for this week. All right.
So, today’s Aussie fact. It’s all about the Snowy Hydro Scheme. And so, my thought pattern was, okay, the phrase is ‘on thin ice’. What is there in Australia that is ice or snow or the cold that I can talk about? And I thought about the Snowy Mountains, and then I thought about the Snowy Mountain Hydro Scheme. So, I wonder if you guys have heard about this.
So, what is it. The Snowy Hydro Scheme is a hydroelectricity and irrigation complex in south-east Australia. The Scheme consists of 16 major dams, seven power stations, one pumping station, and over 225 kilometres of tunnels, pipelines, and aqueducts that were constructed between the years of 1949 and 1974. So, (it) went for about 25 years.
Astonishingly, only 2% of the construction work is visible above the ground. It was completed on time and in budget in 1974 at a total cost of $820 million dollars, which today, is the equivalent of more than $6 billion dollars. Pretty Penny.
So, this scheme was the largest-ever engineering project undertaken in Australia and was overseen by Chief Engineer, Sir William Hudson. Around two thirds of the workforce employed in the construction of the Snowy Hydro Scheme were recently-arrived immigrant workers desperate for work who originated from over 30 different foreign countries. The total number of workers on the Scheme was more than 100,000 in that 25-year period, and the official death toll reached 121 people. I don’t know if that’s a lot or if that’s not very many. Sounds like a lot.
At the completion of the project, the Australian government maintained much of the diverse workforce and created the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation, SMEC, which remains an international engineering consultancy company up to today.
So, why was the Snowy Hydro Scheme built? You know, why was it put into place?
The Snowy Hydro Scheme was implemented to solve a yearly problem for farmers and inhabitants of south eastern Victoria. So, every year here in the snowfields in the Australian Alps the snow would fall on the Great Dividing Range and it would melt in spring time and summer time obviously, and then flood the low-lying flood plains and river flats in places like East Gippsland in southeast Victoria as the water flowed out into Bass Strait and into the Tasman Sea. Thus, each year, farmers didn’t know if their crops would be ruined by these floods or not.
In order to divert the excess snowmelt water and spare the farmers their yearly headache, the Snowy Hydro scheme was implemented, and this had numerous benefits including channeling the water away from the farmers crops into the Murray and Murrumbidgee River irrigation areas, which allowed farmers to access this water via the irrigation systems, and also, they were able to harness the power of the water and turn into electricity using hydroelectricity. Right?
So, how was this done? The water falls about 800 meters and travels through large hydroelectric power stations, which generate peak-load power for the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, and Victoria.
And in 2016, The Snowy Mountains Hydroelectricity System/Scheme, whatever you want to call it, was added to the Australian National Heritage List.
So, whether you’re into skiing and snowboarding, hiking or camping, or you just want to check out the dams and power plants and other things related to these Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme, the Snowy Mountains in the Australian Alps are definitely a beautiful spot worth checking out if you find yourself in the south east of Australia.
Anyway, guys that’s it for today. I hope you enjoy this episode. I hope you have a lovely week and I’ll see you soon. Catch ya!
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AE 496 – Interview: Why You Should Learn Canadian English with Dana Catherwood
Hey, guys. How’s it going? Welcome to this Aussie English interview today.
Today, I have a special one for you guys. As we spoke about recently in that Walking with Pete episode where I was chatting to you about the future directions of Aussie English the podcast and, I guess, business in general, I have tried to sort of strike out and obviously interview more people from overseas, and this interview is hopefully going to be not the first one, I guess, ’cause I’ve done quite a few people from overseas, but one of the first ones more recently, I guess, heading in that direction of interviewing people from overseas, and today I get to interview an amazing girl from Canada.
So, this is Dana from Can Learn English, and we talk all about what it’s like in Canada as an immigrant going there, learning English, the differences between Australian English and Canadian English. I kind of just get to know her and try and have a natural conversation where we talk about these things. Right? So, without any further ado, guys, hopefully are going to enjoy this interview, and if you are interested in learning Canadian English, this is definitely the interview for you, guys. Okay? So, let’s go next.
Hey, guys! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English! today I have another interview episode for you, guys and I am here with Dana from Can Learn English at canlearnenglish.com so, Dana welcome to the Aussie English podcast.
Thank you so much for having me!
That’s awesome to have you. I think you might be the first Canadian on the podcast so, congratulations!
I reckon there’s not many Canadians are there usually so…
What’s the population of Canada? I’m always wondering if Australia is bigger or smaller.
Yeah, about 35 million now.
You’re like a third bigger than us then… damn. Little brother.
Yeah, we’re like barely 25.
Well, you’re way down there so we’re hard to get to.
Yeah exactly. Can you tell me your story? You’re currently living in Switzerland. You’re from Canada and you teach Canadian English. So, I heard about this through… I heard about this through Justin, who I interviewed recently, and he was like man you got to chat to Dana. She teaches Canadian English like you teach Australian English. How on earth did you end up doing what you’re doing where you’re doing it?
Yeah well what happened was is I moved to Brazil in 2016 and that’s when I really started teaching English full time. And I was kind of combining it with teaching kids and then I was also teaching adults and most the adults that were coming to me in Brazil were preparing to go to Canada.
So, yeah, pretty much all of them had some type of connection to Canada or wanted to go to Canada. And then one of my students was like oh Dana can you please start a YouTube channel because I watch…you know, he named a bunch of youtubers that he watches he is like there is no one really there from Canada and that’s where I want to go and I’d like to learn more about Canadian culture and learn your accent more and just things about Canada so, you need to start one. so, I did, and then I started my YouTube channel Can Learn English and I already had a website for my teaching business, but that kind of turned more into a blog. I got on Instagram and stuff so yeah, it’s been pretty fun.
How did you end up in Brazil like that seems like a random place and you’re in Switzerland?
My partner’s half Brazilian. So, we went down there for…
Man, my fiancée is from Brazil.
So, you are learning Portuguese then?
Exatamente, eu to falando Portugues cada dia (“Exactly, I’m speaking Portuguese each day”). I’m speaking every day.
That’s so crazy!
Portuguese is very hard, very, very difficult. I mean, I can understand a lot more than I can speak.
That’s my position as well. But that’s always the case, right? As soon as you get to intermediate/advance in a language it’s almost like… I hate this the beginnings of starting a new language because you sort of like you can say so much more than you can hear because people throw it at you and you’re just like… overwhelmed. And then all of a sudden though the listening takes off and you’re just like, all of a sudden, I can’t reply.
Like a sophisticatedly as I would like to reply to these things.
And there’s like, there’s holes where you can’t completely understand what someone is saying, but like certain words you have no idea what they mean, but within the context that must kind of mean this.
That happened to me recently where I live with three other Brazilians as well as my fiancée, like…
You’re basically living in Brazil…
Exactly, we moved into this house we had to move houses and I was like Can you see if you can find a Brazilian one? Like online on Facebook? And we can go there and I’ll just like learn Portuguese this year and she’s like yeah, yeah, yeah, no worries. So, we moved here, anyway, they showed me recently a song by a band called o Rappa, like the rap. It’s called Rodo Cotidiano and it’s like this amazing song and I thought I loved the song we’re listening to it, didn’t understand anything. Try to translate it and I was just blown away by like the metaphors the expressions and just like I just know nothing. I can talk to these guys for hours about my day and hobbies, but as soon as it gets to something advanced I was like…no.
Now. Yeah, and right now a lot of the conversations that Brazilians have leaned towards politics because they’re having an election in October, so in the point it’s like…Complete check out, just like, nothing. I will listen for the sake of listening, but I do not understand.
That’s the worst, they did that recently to me where they had a few beers and then all of a sudden, they just went crazy chatting about politics and I’m like I just can’t even… I have nothing to add and I am physically incapable of keeping up with this conversation.
So, you were in Brazil teaching English living there with your partner?
And then for how long was that and how did you end up in Switzerland?
We were there for about a year and a half and he’s also Swiss. So, this why we’re in Switzerland.
Damn, best of both words. Which part of Switzerland is he from? Which languages does he speak?
The German speaking part of Switzerland. German is the next hurdle for me.
Holly molly. Man, I’ll have to put you in touch with my friend Shannon because it’s such a… it’s such a small world she was in…. She was in Germany for eight years and then moved to Colombia for six months and then was like actually I want to go to Brazil, moved to Brazil ended up falling in love with a guy and marrying him, being there for two years and so now she’s like fluent in Portuguese, fluent German and just moved back to America and is teaching English in Portuguese on Facebook. So, it’s just… Brazil, man. They’re attacking everyone, they’re getting all the English teachers.
Yeah. You know, and that was the thing. It’s very hard to just like move to Brazil. Like as a non-Brazilian and someone without any visa. So, there’s not a whole lot of native English teachers there.
So, when they find someone, you know, you’re just completely busy. When you’re teaching in Brazil it’s kind of like a little bit of a novelty.
That was so crazy. So, what was the thing that made you want to teach English? Were you doing this from a very young age after high school or something or was it something you fell into?
It was something I really… I really fell into. I was working actually in business in sales and marketing for many, many years and then we moved to Brazil and I said you know, let’s try the teaching and I absolutely loved it. I had always done and been involved with kids and that was really what, you know, I had done a lot of… swimming instructor and I’d done all that kind of teaching other things, so I said let’s start teaching English they started doing that and I loved it.
That’s so funny. It was the same sort of story for me where. Similar to you I was I was studying something completely different at the time, started learning a foreign language and I had friends who were asking me…you told me about this podcast you were listening to in French, is there an equivalent for Australian in English? And I was looking couldn’t find anything and that’s how I began, I was like oh I know how to podcast, I used to be on a podcast so, just tinker away and create some materials for you and then it was so satisfying helping people on a daily basis and getting that sort of… the constant replies and e-mails and comments just thank you, can you do this? and that that really felt like I was actually helping and making a difference as opposed to doing science behind a desk every day. Do you miss business at all?
Yeah, not really. That’s funny that you say science because I actually did a science degree as well. It worked in a lab for a little bit, so we have very similar stories.
I don’t really miss it too much because like, you know, with YouTube and Instagram and I’m running a course in November for my students that there is a lot of business and stuff involved that you do still have to do.
The other side of teaching which is not teaching it’s more…
That’s so good though that you obviously had that background because I kind of had to dive in the deep end and just to learn all the business stuff online and just make it up as I went along.
Oh yeah, super challenging…like I’ve…podcasts and YouTube videos. I’m sure you’re the same…
Which do you prefer too? And how did you decide which platforms to use with regards to say Instagram, YouTube, Facebook podcasts all of that sort of stuff? Was there a clear one at the beginning you just said I’m going to do this or…?
So, I did YouTube at first, I was like, you know, we can just make some videos on YouTube. I’m pretty comfortable in front of a camera doesn’t really bother me too much, but there’s so like I’m kind of shiny object syndrome where, you know, and it’s like oh Instagram is really interesting and then…you know, I’ve been think thinking about a podcast as well, but I do kinda right now focusing on teaching my materials within my courses and stuff like that and then possibly we’ll do that later. You know, there are so many platforms to help people learn. So fun…
I know I feel like… my dad used to tell me this story about a baboon he used to work at the zoo as an educator there and he said there was a baboon and they used to put all of these coconuts in the baboon’s enclosure and the baboon would try and pick them all up but they’d always put in one extra that he couldn’t hold so he would constantly be dropping one as soon as he picked up the other one. And I felt like that kind of thing with social media quite often where I’ve got like YouTube and Instagram, Facebook and the podcast that it feels like this constant juggling act where a ball is always falling to the ground and you like ahhhh…
I’m sure like you can even take that into when you’re learning a language, you could sit there and focus so much on like your listening skills because maybe that’s a little fun and then you’re speaking falls behind and then, you know, reading maybe isn’t so good and writing. So you kind of have to learn how to incorporate everything and give everything the time that it needs, right?
Exactly. So, can you tell me more about Canada and what are the things about Canada that make it a better place to migrate than America or Australia or New Zealand or Great Britain? What are the pros and cons?
I think right now there’s a lot of process, especially compared to America, because you know what’s going on in the U.S. Donald Trump and his anti-immigration policy. Canada has always been very opposite to that, like diversity is really a pillar of our identity within Canada. And so we’re opening up our doors for immigration more so than ever before and especially more so now than the Americans. We have a really neat immigration policy that I think helps, you know, make our diversity work so well it’s based on a point system. So, unlike the US where usually if you have a family connection or if you’re married or your brother’s American somehow you can, you know, immigrate through family ties, whereas in Canada it’s a point system so you get points on your education, your language ability, where you want to go in Canada. So, if you’re willing to go to maybe a place that’s a little more rural that doesn’t have a huge population you could earn more points…it’s I’m not an expert this is just what I know.
Yeah, yeah, yeah…
Basic, you know, don’t take my word but that’s kind of the general thing of how the immigration policy works so, it’s really, really neat because you get some really well-educated people that want to be part of Canadian society. They have good language skills and can contribute.
So, which are the places too people should try to go? Which areas of Canada are the ones that you would recommend people go or maybe the ones that most people try to go to?
Yeah. Like I think all across Canada is a great place to migrate. I don’t think that one is better than the other. A lot of people prefer Toronto or Vancouver. That’s kind of like the two that people know. And so, they’re like I’ll go to Toronto or Vancouver. These are very expensive cities. Vancouver is one of the most expensive in the world, Toronto is very expensive. So, as long as people understand that when they’re moving there there’s going to be some larger costs than if they were to move to a smaller city or to somewhere, you know, less populated. And a lot of people that do go, you know, will study at a college and, you know, get a little bit of a Canadian education and then go on to start working, so yeah…
So, with regards to learning Canadian English, what are your suggestions? If I’ve got listeners right now listening to this podcast or watching this video, who are… wherever they are in the world they thinking about going to Canada or learning more about Canada. even migrating there, what is a way in which they can they can learn Canadian English? What are the difficult or different unique aspects of Canadian English?
It’s kind of a vague term Canadian English because it’s very similar to the American, we have a very similar to the American accent, the Northern American accent a lot of people have a hard time, just, I’m even sure yourself, have a hard time distinguishing if it’s a Canadian or an American.
Oh that’s the Australian New Zealand accent problem, right? We can here it really well, but you know others can’t and it’s the same thing I’m always like to ”say about, say about” she’s Canadian, got it!
Yeah. It’s always about. Even when I’m watching YouTube videos. I can tell if the content creator is Canadian or any subject. Pretty much as soon as they say ”about” I’m like ….
So can you say that first? Can you say those words? Can you do an American accent version, than the Canadian version at all?
No, I can’t do an American accent, but like you could say ”what about the house?” that would be like… because the OU sound.
What about the house? Yeah. What about the house? is how I would say.
What about the house? Is the OU is distinct, we say it differently.
Yeah. It sounds like that: “What about, what about the house”. I mean, that’s what exaggerating it.
Yeah, Yeah. And so, there’s not a whole lot of differences. There’s a few spelling differences, we kind of mashed together the British spelling with the American spellings, so for instance we spell colour, with an OU, labour with an OU, we don’t use the… like ‘organize’, we tend to use the Z and not an S. So, we have… and ‘Program’ it doesn’t have that ME at the end, like in England they spell it P R O G R A M M E.
See, that’s so funny because we suffer from the same kind of issue especially using computers. Anytime we get a computer like my Mac is constantly correcting me into American English. And it’s happened for so long that it screwed up my… I get the average one, I can understand okay you know like ISE what I’ll use instead of IZE or OUR r instead of OR, but then quite often you have words like program and I’ll be like… oh no. Is this with just one M or two Ms and a E. It’s so funny how that’s kind of leached into other areas of being way short of the dialects.
Yeah. Yeah. Especially anyone who moved, you know, away from Britain they kind of adopted their own spelling and then we kind of… because Canada is part of the Commonwealth and we kind of kept our ties to England, but we severed them a little bit. It’s just kind of weird how it turned out with spellings, but that’s kind of the main difference with the Americans. Same spelling and then pronunciation things, but then a lot of times I think students, you know, they can get more excited about learning especially if they’re going to Canada from a Canadian teacher. I think for them it kind of gives them a little step inside Canada. You know, they get to learn about it, they can ask questions. So, that’s really what I try to give my students.
And is there a big range of expressions or slang that differs from the U.S? and even accents too…I know that there’s the Newfoundland that accents that’s totally different, right, from Vancouver accent.
Yeah, I know, you would find that like I would sound very similar someone for Vancouver. There’s not a whole lot of accent difference. We have a little bit of like a rural accent. People that don’t live inside the city sound… yeah, really, really small, like you barely notice that accent differs, the differences than in Canada. And then slang, there are some slang words, like we add “ey” to the end of every sentence too.
Yeah? As in just saying that daradarara “ey?”.
Dadadada… it’s cold out, ey? Yeah, super cold!
So, that would kind of be what we would do. yeah, there’s a bit… I have a YouTube video on it, I can send you the link…
Yeah, definitely do, and that’s something there that pattern kind of happens every now and then in different dialects. If you go, in Australia, right? I’m from the south and if you go up to the north into a state called Queensland they do that, they have that sort of habit of putting hey, on the end of every sentence, so like ”it’s hot today, hey?” Would you like to go to the beach, hey?” so you know they’ll do that quite a lot and so it’s funny how those..
That’s our big one. I stopped saying it when I lived in Ireland because everyone would be like ”oh hahaha Canadian, that’s so cool”, so I stopped.
Well, that’s the funny thing too, any time I’ve been overseas I notice my accent…. I think it goes up and I like overdo it or it drops down because people are having trouble understanding me and I have to really enunciate and pronounce my words clearly and how do you find that, being in Switzerland now, how have you found your English, has that changed at all? or even after being in Brazil, did you find yourself changing at all?
To be honest, I think… you know. when you’re spending most of your time speaking to native English speakers, I think you’re just kind of… you start making some mistakes that they make sometimes. And I know a lot of other teachers say that that happens, you know, you start to kind of…”how do they say that? What happened there?”
Well, you used to what’s familiar, right? and that happens to me with Portuguese and French, after… especially when you are heavily learning them and watching TV shows, suddenly all use the same patterns, but I’ll say them in English but just with English words and then I’ll be like Wait… that doesn’t…. that’s how you would normally say that.
Yeah. I know, this happens in Germany people put like verbs at the end of the sentence and you can kind of… the word order gets all kind of funny. But, you know, I’m really lucky in this place a lot of people speak very, very, very well in English so it’s not too difficult we tend to get round in English so I’m thankful for that.
And so, what are you doing currently to learn German? If you, you know, you’re used to teaching English, have you found that the way in which you go about learning German is completely different from how people would learn English or is it effectively the exact same thing?
I think when you’re an adult and you start at like zero, it’s a little different, because a lot of people who are learning they’ve had like a little bit of English through their schooling. Most children know a little bit of English now and then they grow up, you know, you do learn it. and starting from absolutely nothing.
Never had any exposure or anything like that.
Nothing. You know, I’ve got a few work books and just trying to possibly get myself up past a one and two and then I can get into like… taking a course here.
Do you recommend doing that?
I think for me for the… for motivation I’ll go to school and do a little course, I might do something online and I still have to kind of research and see what is out there in terms of learning.
I didn’t do anything, I took an online course in Portuguese and that helped me a lot. So, I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, it’s called The Semantica Portuguese…
Yeah, I have, I have heard of it.
Yeah, I took that one so that helped me a lot and there was lots of video lessons and activities and stuff and it kind of jumpstarted me and then the exposure.
And is it something you’ve always interested in learning languages or was that just something that kind of fell in your lap?
Yeah, nothing it’s like I’m forced to do it. You can’t get around in Brazil unless you can speak a little bit of basic Portuguese.
So, was your husband like that, though, or partner when you guys got together was he like so… you were going to do Brazil first and then we’re going to Switzerland.
So, yeah, that’s how it played out. So, you know, and I got to Brazil and I had like zero, nothing in Portuguese and just kind of was on Duolingo, was on on YouTube all the time, was taking this course and then I would chat a lot with my Uber drivers when I was driving to make lessons. Yeah, yeah, it’s like it’s kind of a safe zone cause you get to get out of the car in 30 minutes and yeah I don’t have to ever talk to these people again.
I can make a fool of myself and no one will know.
So, I think that’s kind of what I did and it was it was a cool experience and I never…Canada is a bilingual country, people speak French and English, I don’t speak French. I learned French in school, but I grew up so far away from any French speaking area that, you know, it’s not uncommon for people to be fluent in where I’m from.
That always blew my mind. I’ve been to Canada once when I was a kid and my cousins lived with my uncle and aunty in Vancouver and I remember we went and everything was in French and English and I was like What? I thought that Canada was an English-speaking country. Can you tell us a bit about, I don’t know a brief history of how that came about and what people expect if they come to Canada with regards to the two languages? And I almost said ‘the both languages’, the two languages*.
The two languages. Yeah, so we have…. officially it’s a bilingual country. So, you can interact with the government on any level in either French or English. All services are provided in both languages. Any materials, the websites you see are both in French and English. We have a French speaking province that’s entirely French, province of Quebec. And then a small part of a neighboring province has a lot of French speaking communities and basically, you know, way back in history you had the French settlers, you had the English settlers and was, you know, a bit of a fight over who would reign, but as it turns out we have both languages in Canada and in government. For example, it would be required that people speak both.
Every time our prime minister speaks both languages or switch between the two. In like if he’s doing like a press conference, he’ll be speaking both. You’ll get a translation and then from a young age in school, about grade 4 or more about 10 we start learning French for about five or six years and then you can stop and most of us do and don’t really think about it ever again. Unfortunately. I think in English speaking, at least for myself, I didn’t like this was the complaint at school. It’s like, well, so why do we have to learn French? Like, you know? Yeah. That’s kind of the attitude.
Doesn’t everyone just speak English?
Yeah, because the people do speak English, you know, so I wish that maybe I had had more of a… I liked it more and I stick more with it but I couldn’t.
Well, you’re in Switzerland. You never know, you might be able to just find somewhere that’s close to the border between where those two languages are in the country and they smash those two out as well.
It did help me with Portuguese, so I must say, having a Latin language and understanding that they change the way the verbs change and conjugation and things like that, that really helped. So, it wasn’t completely useless, it was more… it helped me later on, you know?
Oh brilliant. And so, with regards to learning Canadian English, what sort of advice would you have for students if they are in their own country right now, what’s the best way, obviously going over to Can Learn English.com to get started and Can Learn English on Facebook or YouTube, but are there specific TV shows or books or things they should keep an eye out for that would be a bit of a boost?
Yeah, they can watch Canadian TV, there’s a bunch of comedians, I have a blog post about it, I can send you a link and put it in your show notes if you want.
Yeah, do it.
I list some Canadian TV shows that they can watch. they can… you know. always the news is a really good idea. You can watch the news from anywhere in the world. You know, you can pick a Canadian news channels, that helps a lot.
I know, YouTube is wonderful for that, right? You can get ABC News Australia streamed on their 24 hours a day, there are news channels in the US doing the same, I’m sure Canada as well. So, someone needs to put together a page or something that just has all these different dialects of English as YouTube channels, so that they can just stream them and switch between them.
They can all just stream all the news, because I think the news is great, it’s kind of a very understandable type of English and they can get in touch with kind of current events that are going on in the country and things like that. And Canadian news is always really cute and funny because it always tells the stories and there’s always this really sweet story at the end, you know, about a bear, who, I don’t know, visited someone in their back yard.
That it, there’s always like death, sad stuff and then at the end it’s like he’s a happy cat video!
Yeah, basically. A cat running for mayor or something like silly. So… It’s not a totally different thing.
Are there any other main big differences between say Canadian culture and American culture or anywhere else? Are there things that people should be aware of or consider before coming to Canada or would give them a bit of a boost as well, if they meet someone and they’re like ”yeah, I know this thing so I get you!”
Yeah, that’s a really good question, I have to think about that. I know one…. like there are big differences between Canadian and American culture and it’s just really good to like…know that. You know, don’t think you can just blend the two together, because we absolutely hate it, we are… I guess, we probably have like maybe a little sibling syndrome and ”we’re here too, you were too!” so we don’t like to be confused with Americans, and kind of like… you know, we have a very different government, we have a lot of social policies and we’re very proud of our free health care, so… A lot of the issues that are going on in America, we’re like you dealt with those like forever ago. Those aren’t a problem for us. You know, what’s going on? So, I guess you have to just be when you’re in Canada, be really mindful that people are very multicultural. We’re really uncomfortable with any type of like prejudice or racism or anything like that.
So, you know, it’s a very inclusive place.
And what are the guns like? I take that you guys are a bit more strict on that, right?
I think maybe in some places, but I don’t know anybody with a gun, so…
Anything else that you wanted to mention before we finish up then?
I don’t know, I think that’s it, I really liked it…Thanks for inviting me onto the podcast. I love your stuff. It’s really cool. I thought that you were doing, you know, Aussie English, I’m doing Canadian English it was great that we were able to connect, it was awesome.
I know. I’m so happy. Anyway, where can people find you, then?
Can Learn English.com, that’s my website. You can search Can Learn English on YouTube and Can Learn English on Instagram. And then I have a Facebook page as well and I have a group, so, if anybody wants… is moving to Canada and they want to join the group it’s called ‘Talking to Canada’, but you can find these links on my website and stuff so…
Oh brilliant, I’ll put them all in the show notes as well as the transcript so that you, guys, can them easily.
Awesome, Dana from Can Learn English, thank you so much for joining me today.
All right, guys. So, I hope you enjoy that interview.
Remember that you can find out more about Dana on her website CanLearnEnglish.com. You can obviously search “Can Learn English” on Facebook, on YouTube, on Instagram, and you will find her accounts. The accounts will also be in the transcript today. So, if you would like to learn more about her, what she does, how she teaches, and maybe just more about Canadian English, go to CanLearnEnglish.com. Big thanks once again, Dana. I hope to have you on again in the future. And I will see you guys soon. Catch ya!