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AE 459 – Expression: Have Eyes Bigger Than Your Stomach
G’day, guys! What is going on? Welcome to this episode of the Aussie English Podcast.
I hope that you mob are going great. I hope you’ve had an amazing week and that it has also been an amazing weekend.
So, that intro to day was the sound of a male koala making a mating call, and it comes from a clip from Taronga Zoo on Youtube. This will be linked in the transcript. If you guys want to check out a lot of Australian wildlife, definitely go and check out Taronga Zoo in Sydney.
I remember hearing this for the first time when I was camping as a kid. I can’t remember where we were, but it was probably in the Dandenongs or somewhere on the Great Dividing Range in Victoria or New South Wales, somewhere like that, and I remember waking up in the middle of the night and hearing this bloodcurdling kind of rumble or scream, the one that you just heard, and thinking, “Oh my god! What animal is this? Is a pig? Is it some kind of, you know… is it a wolf? Is it a bear? Is it some kind of predator coming to get me?”. I was, you know, seven or eight years old. And then my dad woke up and he told me, “No, that’s a koala, mate. That is the sound a male koala makes when it’s looking for a female with whom to mate.”.
So, there you go, guys. Hopefully, that will save a few of you from being scared shitless when you guys come to Australia, go camping, and may find yourselves in the middle of the night being woken up to that sound.
Anyway guys, welcome to the Aussie English Podcast. This is the number one podcast for anyone learning Australian English or English in general. It’s designed to take you from intermediate to advanced. I speak naturally like a native speaker. I don’t slow things down, and yeah, I try to teach you vocab, expressions, all the kinds of English that I would use on a day to day basis when I speak English.
So, the Aussie English podcast, guys, is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom. This is a website. It’s an online learning classroom where you guys get access to now dozens of online courses related to these episodes. So, you’ll learn the vocab from these episodes, you’ll get listening comprehension quizzes that you can go through to test your listening comprehension skills, and then you’ll also learn things like the more advanced vocab, the pronunciation, and intonation, connected speech, all those things out of the listen and repeat exercise, and then also expressions that I use in these episodes. So, I tend to make those into videos at the moment, each about 10 minutes. You get several of those each week in a new course. So, if your goal is to take your English to the next level, I definitely recommend signing up at TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com. It’s just one dollar for your first month. So, get in there and give it a go.
And don’t forget, too, guys, if you want the transcript and the MP3 for this episode make sure that you jump over to the website of theAussieEnglishPodcast.com and you can sign up there to get access to those every single week.
Anyway, let’s get into the content today, guys. So, this joke. Today’s joke is related to stomachs, bellies, tummies. I wanted to tie it in with the expression for today. So, the joke is:
What did the policeman say to his tummy? What did the policeman say to his tummy? I’ve got you “under a vest”.
Another good one, guys. Another good one. I’ve got you “under a vest”. So, the joke here is, obviously, with “I’ve got you “under arrest””, but policemen tend to wear things like bullet-proof vests, and the tummy, the stomach, the belly is found obviously under a vest if you’re wearing a vest. So, that’s the joke there. Police often say, “I’ve got you under arrest”, and in this case, they’re wearing a vest and their tummy is “under a vest”. The jokes just keep on killing.
So, today’s expression, guys. Today’s expression is “to have eyes bigger than your stomach”. “To have eyes bigger than your stomach”. You might also hear this is “bigger than your belly”, “bigger than your tummy”. That doesn’t really matter too much, but it’s often “to have eyes bigger than your stomach”.
Now, this one has suggested by my fiancée say in the private Facebook group for all the Aussie English Classroom members, although, Kel, to be honest, you kept suggesting expressions that I had already done and I suggested this expression that she then put forth as her suggestion, and I’m making quotation marks with my fingers, because it was really my suggestion, and this one won. So, I guess we’ll call this 50/50 Kel. We both won this one and there’s been a bit of rivalry recently where Kel keeps putting forward expressions that she wants me to do, but no one votes on them and everyone else gets their expressions in. So, anyway. If you want to be involved in that, guys, join up to the English Classroom and I’ll put you in the private Facebook group.
As usual, let’s go through the different words in this expression. We’ll define those, we’ll then go through the expression definition, a little bit about its origin, I’ll give you some examples of how to use this expression in day to day life, some situational examples, we’ll worth a little listen and repeat exercise, guys, for you to practice your pronunciation, and then I’m going to go through Aussie facts about the Koala. Okay. So, today’s Aussie fact will be about the koala.
So, let’s get into today’s definitions for this expression or the words in this expression.
Alright so, “to have”. I’m sure you guys know “to have”. To possess or to own something. I have two arms and two legs. I have a car. Okay? To possess or to own something.
“An eye”. “An eye” is one of the two organs you have in your head that allow you to see, to look at things, to watch things. They give you the sense that is vision. “An eye” or “two eyes”.
“Bigger than something”. If you are “bigger than something”, you are larger than something, you are of increased size compared to that things. So, “bigger than something”, larger than something. Smaller than something is the opposite there.
“A stomach”. “A stomach” can be a few different things, but in this sense, it is the organ inside your body that begins the digestive process, right? If you swallow some water, if you eat some food, that ends up in your stomach. Okay? The organ “the stomach”, which is the one that is being used here in the expression “to have eyes bigger than your stomach”.
However, your stomach can also be your tummy, your belly. So, that part of your body on the… I guess, on the outside, sort of on the inside, but it’s like between your hips and your ribs on your body. That’s also your stomach. Okay? You can refer to that. You know, you might go to the doctor and he might say, “Give me a look at your stomach. Pull the shirt up and I’ll have a listen to your digestion, you know, using whatever it is, that little device that they use. Show me your stomach.”.
Alright, so the expression “to have eyes bigger than your stomach”. What is the definition? What on earth does this expression mean? Have you guys heard this one before? Does it ring a bell? Have you ever heard this expression? “To have eyes bigger than your stomach” is a way, if we want to use this literally, to talk about people who put too much food on their plate that they can’t eat. Okay? So, their eyes have obviously overestimated how much food that their stomach can take, that can be put into their stomach. So, if you see something delicious on a plate and you put a lot of it on there, more than you’ll ever be able to eat, your eyes are too big for your stomach, obviously, because your eyes have assumed that they can get something incredibly large that your stomach can’t fit in it.
But it can also mean to be greedy, right? If your eyes are bigger than your stomach, you are a greedy person, you want more than you’ll ever actually consume or use.
But then, figuratively, we can use this expression, “to have eyes bigger than your stomach” to mean that you have attempted to do something, you’ve tried to carry something out, you know, a task, a course of action, something, you’ve tried to do it, but it was too much, it was too large, it was too ambitious for you to accomplish. Okay? So, “to have eyes bigger than your stomach”, you tried to do something, but it was too ambitious. You couldn’t actually complete that thing. You overestimated your ability to do that.
So, the origin of this expression. I’m not 100 percent sure where it originally came from, though, I did do a little bit of digging online, and I found that an essay from the 1600s, Montaigne’s essay “Of the Cannibals”, which was published in 1580, but translated into English in 1603, used this expression metaphorically about things other than food. And it was translated to state:
I’m afraid our eyes are bigger than our bellies and that we have more curiosity and capacity for we grasp at all but catch nothing but wind.
Does that make sense? So, I’m afraid our eyes are bigger than our bellies and that our curiosity, we have more of our curiosity than capacity, than the ability to do something. And that which we grasp at, we grasp at everything, but the only thing we actually catch, we get in our hands, is air, is wind, is nothing. Okay?
So, let’s go through three examples, guys, of how I would use the expression “to have eyes bigger than your stomach”.
So, example number one. Okay? And this is the literal example. Imagine that you have gone to a hotel, you’re staying there, you have arrived, you’ve unpacked your bags, you’ve gotten settled in the hotel room, and you’ve gone downstairs, because it’s dinner time and there is an all-you-can-eat buffet so you can… you know, you pay your fee and you can eat as much as you would like. It’s a self-serve buffet. You have to serve yourself. So, the food looks amazing, you want to try everything, you pick up a plate, you get your knife and fork, and you go along the little, I don’t know what it would be like a walkway where you can go to each dish and put a bit on your plate. You fill your plate entirely. This thing is overflowing with food. You sit down, you start eating, but you quickly realise that your eyes were bigger than your stomach, because you put way too much food on your plate then you could actually fit in your stomach. Right? Your eyes are bigger than your stomach.
Example number two. Alright, this time you are at work. Maybe you’re the manager of a team, you know, maybe you’re an engineer and you manage a team of engineers who have to build a structure like a bridge or a building or a wall or a dam, some kind of structure. If you take on a project and it turns out to be incredibly big, way bigger than you originally thought that your team could complete and successfully finish this thing on its own, it’s obvious that your eyes were bigger than your stomach. You tried to take on more than you could do. You overestimated what you could actually achieve. And so, your eyes were bigger than your stomach and in order to finish this project, you have to get outside help.
Example number three. Alright, this time imagine that you are a cage fighter, someone who fights in the UFC, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, in a sport known as Mixed Martial Arts or MMA. Okay? So, this time imagine you are Conor McGregor. Some of you guys might know of Conor McGregor from the UFC. So, I imagine you’re this guy fighting. He took on a fight a few years ago, I think, a year or two ago with a guy called Nate Diaz. This wasn’t long ago. Conor McGregor fought Nate Diaz. And in their first fight, Connor had sort of challenged this guy, but the guy was 5-10 kilos heavier. I think he was one or two weight divisions above Conor McGregor. So, Nate Diaz refused to drop the weight to get to Conor McGregor’s weight division. So, Conor just had to fight him at his natural weight if he wanted to challenge him. He didn’t really have anything to lose. Obviously, he could lose the fight, but if he won the fight, it would be a huge, you know, bragging right of his, because he would have beaten someone a lot bigger than him. However, the first fight didn’t go this way. He ended up getting choked out. So, Nate Diaz put a stranglehold on Conor McGregor, around the neck, and Connor had to tap to say, “I give up. You’ve won!”, and Nate Diaz won the fight. So, obviously, we could say here that Conor McGregor’s eyes were bigger than his stomach. He was very arrogant and thought he could achieve a lot more than he could in reality at this time. He expected to win, but he lost. His eyes were definitely much bigger than his stomach was.
So, hopefully now you understand the expression, guys. Literally, it would be to put too much food on your plate, more than you could actually eat, hence having eyes larger than your stomach. Something that was so delicious, so appealing, you took a bigger portion than you could ever finish. Okay? So, to be pretty greedy.
Figuratively, though, it’s to attempt to do something that is too much, too large, and you can’t accomplish it. Okay? To overestimate what you can achieve. It was too ambitious.
So, let’s go through the listen and repeat exercise, guys, and then we’ll go through the fact about koalas and we will finish up.
So, this this exercise is there to help you practice your pronunciation, guys. Let’s go. Listen repeat after me and practice your English accent. Alright.
To have eyes
To have eyes bigger
To have eyes bigger than
To have eyes bigger than your
To have eyes bigger than your stomach x 5
I had eyes bigger than my stomach
You had eyes bigger than your stomach
He had eyes bigger than his stomach
She had eyes bigger than her stomach
We had eyes bigger than our stomachs
They had eyes bigger than their stomachs
It had eyes bigger than its stomach
Good job, guys. Good job. I really recommend doing these exercises. One, because it will help you work on your pronunciation, which is always important. You know, it doesn’t matter how advanced you get, it’s the kind of thing that you just need to keep practicing, you know, you can’t train to run a marathon, and then never train again and be able to run a marathon any time in the future.
Also, it’s really good because it teaches you to practice grammar passively. You don’t have to focus on it, right? If I say, “I had eyes bigger than my stomach”, “you had eyes bigger than your stomach”, not only are you practicing your pronunciation, but your conjugating the verb “to have” into the past here, “I had”, and you’re also matching up different pronouns, “I” and “my”, “you” and “your”, “he” and “his”. It may seem that it’s pretty simple stuff, but it’s always good to just keep practicing this stuff so that it becomes intuitive and you don’t have to think about it.
So, guys, remember too, if you would like to go more into depth with the pronunciation here in today’s exercise as well as all the previous episodes, if you guys are really trying to nail that Australian English accent or just improve your English accent in general and you want to understand connected speech, pronunciation, intonation, rhythm, all of that sort of stuff, there will be a detailed 10-minute video for this episode and all the previous ones in the Aussie English Classroom. So, make sure that you sign up and give that a go, guys.
Anyway, let’s get into the Aussie English fact for the day. And as I mentioned earlier, this one is all about koalas. How did I think about koalas? What did koala’s have to do with the expression “to have eyes bigger than your stomach”? So, I was sitting there when I was thinking about this expression and I was like, “Okay, stomachs, Australia, Australian animals, stomachs, stomachs, ah! Koalas! They have a crazy digestive system in their stomach, right? In their stomach.”.
So, that’s how I came across this or I made this connection. I used to be a biology student at university, and when I was doing undergrad, I can remember dissecting a dead koala. So, this koala had been road kill. I think it’d… it obviously crossed a road, unfortunately, as a car or a truck was hurtling down the road and they couldn’t stop in time, killing the koala. And so, fortunately, for us, unfortunately, for the koala, the biologist who was running the class found this thing on the road and we were able to dissect it and examine its insides, which is a little morbid, a little macabre, but it is what biology students need to do to learn about these animals.
Anyway, we got to see how crazy its digestive tract was. This is the… everything from the mouth to the anus is the digestive tract. Okay? Your oesophagus, your stomach, your intestines, all the way to the anus. Everything that the food goes through.
So, anyway, I know today’s going to be biology heavy, but bear with me, it’s interesting stuff, guys.
So, koalas have a highly advanced digestive system as compared with other mammals and herbivores specifically, which is specifically adapted to detoxifying the poisonous chemicals in eucalyptus leaves. So, the toxins in these leaves from gum trees, eucalyptus leaves, they’re produced by gum trees in order to protect the trees from being eaten, obviously, by leaf-eating animals like insects, and obviously koalas.
So, these trees grow in all different kinds of places all over Australia in many different types of soils and it seems that the least fertile soils, those with the least amount of nutrients for the trees to use to grow, tend to be the most toxic. Okay? Which makes sense. You know, this is possibly one reason why koalas eat certain types of eucalypts and they live in certain areas with more nutrient-rich soils. Because obviously if you’re a tree trying to grow in very nutrient-poor soil, you don’t really want to be eaten. At least you can’t afford to regrow your leaves as often.
So, the koala’s diet is based 100 percent on these leaves. And koalas are one of only three mammals known to only survive on a diet solely based on eucalyptus leaves. And the other two mammals are also Australian, and they are the Great Glider, a type of marsupial that glides between trees, and the Ringtail Possum, which many of you may see if you are in cities like Melbourne and Sydney. These are those very small possums with the prehensile tail. The tail that curls up.
So, if other animals try and eat these leaves, whether they’re a cow, or a horse, a person, or a dog, best-case scenario is that they will get incredibly sick, and the worst-case scenario is that they would die. So, this is why you never see eucalyptus leaves on the menu in any Australian restaurants, guys.
This is the reason as well why Koalas have developed such a specialised digestive system for consuming their toxic food and absorbing as much nutrients as possible from this food. So, koalas have a highly-adapted fibre-digesting organ called a caecum, which is huge in koalas. It’s up to two metres long. And other animals have these as well including dogs and humans and horses. However, in humans, the caecum is incredibly small and effectively useless. It is the appendix in humans, which is often removed.
The caecum contains bacteria that break down the fibre into substances and the koala can then absorb these more easily through a process called fermentation, which is where bacteria, yeasts, and other organisms use chemicals to break down substances. So, it is effectively how alcohol is produced from sugar in plant material. That is fermentation.
However, that being said, the Koala can still only get to 25 percent of the fibre it eats. So, only a quarter of the food that it eats it is actually able to get the energy from.
A koala eats between 200 and 500 grams of leaves per day, and their teeth are specially adapted to this diet having sharp front incisors to nip the leaves from the tree and molars at the back that are also kind of sharp used to shear and cut the leaves up.
Water is also absorbed through the leaves by the koala so the koala rarely has to drink unless it is in times of drought where it’s really hot and it obviously is dehydrated.
So, being able to get as much nutrients and energy out of these leaves as possible in this food is incredibly important, because eucalyptus leaves are incredibly low in nutritional value, and this is why koalas have to eat so much. And in fact, it’s also why they have such low metabolisms, meaning that they burn less calories, they can conserve more energy for longer periods of time, and it’s the reason why they sleep so long. So, these guys sleep for up to 22 hours a day in order to conserve energy and digest. And it’s the longest sleeping of any animal, even longer than a slow off from places like South America, right? They sleep for up to 15 or 18 hours a day, whereas, the koala sleeps for up to 22 and then eats for the other two.
Anyway, guys, I hope you enjoy this episode. I hope you don’t mind the biology heavy fact about the well-adapted stomach of Australia’s koala. Make sure you go out there and tell someone these awesome facts, because koalas rule! And keep an ear out next time you go camping somewhere in the forest for the koala’s mating call.
Anyway, guys, I hope you have an amazing weekend and I will chat to you in the next episode. Catch ya!
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AE 458 – Vlog: Language Learning Habits, Goals, & Rewards
Try that again, the second time that I’ve done that now, where I’ve started filming and I forgot to turn the stupid microphone on. What is going on, guys? Welcome to this video of the English! I want to talk to you today about setting goals, habits, how I’m obviously going with the repetition system that I have set up, and, I guess, giving yourself rewards, ok? Anyway, don’t forget to subscribe, guys, hit the bell notification if you want to see more videos like this. Let’s get started.
Alright, so… I want to talk to you about goal setting, ok? And habit building. So, for the last few weeks, probably two weeks, I have to check, but I have been using a website Glossika. So, just so you know, this is not sponsored by Glossika, it’s just a program that I really like. So, this website is really nifty, it’s really… It’s really cool. Hopefully, you can see that there, guys. But it is a little bit laborious. It requires a bit of work. Every day when I do these repetitions, and, I guess, let me just see if I can show you what this looks like. Let me just adjust this camera for a sec. Alright. So, what you’re going to see here if I can reverse use this mouse, upside down, let’s see if I can get it… Boom! There we go! Alright! So, what’s happening here is that I have English above that I’ve muted, I don’t want to sound, and then below I have: (French audio). I have French below ok? I’ll just hit space.
So, what’s happening here is that you can set it up where you have the English playing, so you can hear at least your native language, right? So, you can have your native language here, and then, below you can hear, I guess for you guys it would be English. I have French in this example.
Anyway, so I have here, where can I see it? About 150 repetitions that I need to do and it takes about 18 minutes to complete. Every single day I’ve been doing this. It takes 18 minutes of my day give or take. And it’s just a really good exercise. I really like the repetition. I like the fact that it’s a native speaker. (French audio). “Does the film please you? Yeah, it’s really funny”. I like the fact that it’s a native speaker. You can hear his voice, you can hear the intonation, you can hear the rhythm, you can follow it, and it does well, because it gives you time to repeat the sentence. So, as you’ll hear, if I press space here, (French audio). So, firstly they’ve got (French), a question, with a bit of intonation, and then they have the answer to it, (French), and again you can hear the intonation dropping, (French).
So, it is good because it gives you natural content, it gives you someone who’s asking a question, quite often the answer to that question. I think that’s awesome! And what’s more, is that it gives you time to say it out loud. So, you get to hear in native, the content is really good and it’s natural, and you have time to listen and repeat, listen and repeat, listen and repeat. So, this is really good for pronunciation. It’s good for passively learning the patterns, to French, to English for you guys, and it’s really good too, because it’s set up as an SRS program, a Spaced Repetition System, meaning that you see the same sentences again and again and again, except that they are seen less frequently as you go through this system. So, it’s kind of like they’re little reminders so that you are reminded of sentences you learnt yesterday, that you leant a week ago, that you learnt a month ago, etc..
So, that’s a really good system. I really enjoy it. I’ve been working my pronunciation like crazy recently. Just listen repeat, listen repeat. So, that’s the first thing: I like this program. I’ve been doing it every single day and I have tried to remain consistent. I’ve missed one or two days where, for instance, I’ve driven from Canberra to Melbourne, I get here and it’s, you know, late in the evening and I’m just wrecked. So, I’ve missed days every now and then, but I usually try and do it every single day. So, consistency here is the key, guys, consistency is the key.
So, habit building. They say that you need to do something probably for, I think it’s up to two months, so about 60 days or so for it to become a habit that you do every single day. So, if you go to the gym you need to go for about two months consistently for it to become this ingrained, entrenched habit that you’re going to consistently do with very little effort required to keep you maintaining that habit.
So, for me at the moment with this kind of course I have to consistently be trying to do it every single day, put in the effort to remind myself to do it, pick a certain time of the day when I do it, and then just keep doing that every single day, and that’s slowly getting easier for me. It’s been about two weeks. I try and do it usually in the morning, though today, I haven’t done it yet.
And then, I guess, moving on to rewards. It’s important to have a reward set up so that when you finish the task you get something, so that you can feel anticipation for something that you want and that when you get the thing that you want, you didn’t get it for nothing, you worked for it, right? People appreciate something that they have to work for or that they have to pay for a lot more than if they are just given that thing for free or without having to work for it, right?
So, a perfect example for the day, and the reason that I wanted to make this video, was that today I thought it’s 12:23. You can see that on the clock there. 12:23, guys, 12:23, lunchtime. That’s the point. So, it’s lunchtime, it’s lunchtime. I want to go get some lunch. I want to go down and get some Mexican at a place called Zambrero. It’s a franchise here in Australia. I want to grab some Mexican and I thought, “Oh, yeah or I’ll just nick off down the shops, I’ll go grab it. Who cares? I’ve worked a little bit this morning.”. Then I thought, “No. I haven’t done my language learning. I haven’t practised my French. I haven’t practised my Portuguese. I don’t deserve the food yet, ok? So, I can do something for the next 20 minutes, I can work on one of these languages, and then I can reward myself by going down and grabbing some lunch.”.
So, that’s about all I really wanted to talk to you about today, guys, building habits, especially habits involving this kind of language learning. I really like the passive learning of vocabulary, of grammar. I really, really, really like the fact that you just listen and repeat, listen and repeat. I always am emphasizing this for anyone learning languages.
If you’re on your own. There’s no one here right now. Set your computer, set your phone up, get your language learning whatever it is out there and just listen, repeat, listen and repeat.
(French) So, the point is keep doing that again, again and again and work on your… (Portuguese). …and work on your pronunciation it is a never-ending task, guys. And then beyond that, build a habit, take about two months to force yourself to do it every single day until it becomes ingrained, entrenched, you’re going to do this every single day with very little effort. And then, on top of that, don’t forget to reward yourself, guys, even if it is things that you normally give yourself. Make it that you have to learn those things by studying and you’re going to feel a hell of a lot better when you get those things, especially, if it’s junk food or Mexican food.
Anyway, guys. That is it for today. I hope you have an amazing day and I would love to know down below in the comments, what is a reward that you guys give yourself for studying really hard? Is it Mexican food? Anyway, I see you in the next one. Peace!
Alright! Homework complete. It is time to go get some Mexican food. However, it is a little bit chilly outside. I tell you what, guys, that is why I am wearing this jacket, and I probably need some sunglasses as well.
I have to show you this… to show you this house, guys, here. That every time I the street, I’ll pass this house… So, it would be over 100 years old, two balconies, like, right around the house, all wood, absolutely beautiful, but very old.
More pretty houses.
This is what I am talking about. Enjoy your day.
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AE 454 – Expression: Have a Skeleton in the Closet
As far as gripping, real-life crime thrillers go, this one has got everything. A mutiny, a psychopath, and a brutal mass murder. It’s a 400-year-old mystery, so it’s also Australia’s greatest cold case.
It starts in 1629, when the Dutch sailing ship Batavia strikes a tiny atoll off the West Australian coast near Geralton. Almost 300 passengers and crew survive the shipwreck, but over the next few months as they wait to be rescued more than 100 of them are slaughtered.
For centuries, their bodies lay buried, the story forgotten, but now the Batavia is a major archaeological project between Australia and the Netherlands, and every day macabre new discoveries are being dug up.
G’day you mob. What is going on?
Welcome to this episode of Aussie English, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone wanting to learn Australian English, or just English in general.
So, the Aussie English podcast, guys, is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom, an online classroom where you guys get access to the bonus content for these episodes. It’s set up as courses, a series of courses. I think there are probably 50 or so courses now in the Aussie English Classroom. You can work your way through them at your own speed. You get quizzes, you get MP3s, you get exercise, you get videos, at the moment going through vocab, expressions. It’s just all the bonus content, everything else, that you could want if you want to upgrade your English faster. So, that is just one dollar. If you want to try that, go to theAussieEnglishClassroom.com and enroll. It’s a dollar for the first month, and then it’s a monthly subscription after that.
And also, as you guys may have noticed, the podcast website is now also a membership website. So, if you want access to all the transcripts and the MP3s for every single episode of the podcast, you can sign up there and it’s only a few dollars a month. So, give that a go.
Anyway, today’s scene, guys. Today’s scene was from a program called 60 Minutes, a news program in Australia. 60 Minutes is pretty good if you’re interested in, I guess, what’s going on around the world, what’s going on in Australia, and you want exposure to many different Australian English speakers, usually, and you want to hear about interesting stories. You can find that all on YouTube. I will link the video for today’s Aussie Fact, which will be going over what happened in Western Australia in the 1600s, and it’s a segment called Island of Horror. So, I’ll link that idea. I recommend that you check out 60 Minutes on YouTube and that you subscribe to their channel and improve your English.
Anyway, a few announcements before we get into today, guys. So, this week has been pretty productive. I’ve been working like crazy. I put up a video recently showcasing my French and my Portuguese. So, this is the most recent video that I have put on YouTube. The Mass Sentence Method. So, I’m using a different method to learn French and Portuguese for the next few months and I wanted to make a video to sort of use it as… I guess, to show where I am currently with my skills, or lack thereof, in each of these languages. Anyway, check that out.
And aside from that, guys, I got engaged this week. So, I’ve… I got engaged to Kel over. We’ve spoken. We were chatting. It’s a long story, but we’re going to get married within the next, probably, six months to a year. So, yeah, that was… that was really amazing and I can’t wait to start my life with Kel, obviously, yeah.
So, that was that was really, really wonderful. I’m so glad she said yes. So, glad she said yes.
Anyway, guys, I’ve done a Walking with Pete episode about that, which will be up soon as well if you want to hear the story of how we got engaged. It’s not very crazy, but that will be up soon.
All right. So, today’s expression is ‘have skeletons in your closet’. This one comes from Belle who mentioned this in the Aussie English private Facebook group for members of the Aussie English Classroom. Every week we vote on a different expression and this was hers, ‘to have skeletons in your closet’.
Before we get into that, guys, let’s go through the joke today. So, the expression is obviously about skeletons so I thought it made sense to find a joke about a skeleton or some skeleton. So, here’s the joke:
Why did the skeleton drop out of medical school? Why did the skeleton drop out, as in, to fail, to leave, to quit medical school? Why did the skeleton drop out of medical school? He didn’t have the stomach for it. Another good one. Another good one. He didn’t have the stomach for it.
Do you get it? The stomach as in an organ in your body, but we use ‘to not have the stomach for something’ meaning that you can’t do it, you don’t have the guts, the strength, to be able to do it. And it sort of suggests that you get sick, you know, you feel sick at the sight of, say, dissecting a human body doing surgery. If you don’t have the stomach for something, it’s usually something disgusting and you’re going to feel sick if you see it. Okay? So, why did the skeleton drop out of medical school? He didn’t have the stomach for it, because he couldn’t handle surgeries, but he’s also a skeleton and he has inner organs. Pretty good joke.
All right, as usual, let’s go through the definitions in the expression ‘to have a skeleton in your closet’, and then we’ll go through what it means, where it came from, a little listen and repeat exercise, and then an interesting murder mystery Aussie Fact at the end, guys.
So, ‘to have’. ‘To have’ means to own or to possess something, right? If I have a dog, I own a dog. If I have friends, I possess friends. (I) don’t necessarily own them. They’re not my… they’re not something that I bought, but I have friends.
‘A skeleton’. ‘A skeleton’ is an internal or external framework of bone, cartilage, or rigid material that supports or contains the body of an animal. Okay? So, the human skeleton comprises 270 bones at birth, which later on then fuse and turn into 206 bones. If you ever went skateboarding as a kid or climbing trees as a kid you might fall out of the tree and break a bone, which is part of your skeleton.
And the last word here, ‘a closet’. ‘A closet’ is a cupboard or wardrobe, especially one tall enough to walk into. So, I have a few closets here in my room and it’s where I keep all of my clothes. I keep my clothes in the closet, in the wardrobe, in the cupboard.
So, let’s go through and define the expression, guys, ‘to have a skeleton in the closet’, or you might sometimes hear this as ‘to have a skeleton in the cupboard’, and sometimes too you might hear someone refer to ‘skeletons’. It could be plural. Someone has some skeletons in their closet. They have one or two skeletons in their closet. But the most common one is ‘to have a skeleton in your closet’.
So, if you have a skeleton in your closet, it has to have some kind of embarrassing fact or discreditable fact that you want to keep secret. So, it’s used to describe something that is an undisclosed fact about someone, which if this fact was revealed, it would damage the perceptions of the person or it would damage that person’s reputation.
So, obviously, it evokes the idea of someone having, presumably, a human corpse concealed in their home, you know, hidden in a closet so long that it’s decomposed. Except for the bones or skeletons. So, it’s been kept a secret that entire time.
So, let’s go through the origin, guys. So, it was known to have been used as early as 1816 in the monthly British journal The Eclectic Review, and ‘the skeleton’ in this case was disease, infectious or hereditary. And here’s the quote:
Two great sources of distress are the danger of contagion and the apprehension of hereditary diseases. The dread of being the cause of misery to posterity has prevailed over men to conceal the skeleton in the closet.
So, they’re trying to hide a disease that they have. So, a theory of where this originated is that it could have potentially derived from the era when body snatching was common. This is when people were stealing corpses in the UK. And so, prior to 1832 the United Kingdom’s Anatomy Act allowed the corpses of dead people to be more extensively used in medical research. And so, this is where you had people digging up graves and taking bodies. And so, the theory here is that maybe you would be a doctor who would conceal a body that had been snatched, that had been taken, in your cupboard or closet, which would be, you know, illegally used for teaching. Okay?
So, let’s go through three examples of how I would use this expression, guys.
Example number one. Imagine that I am a politician and I am running for election. I’m likely to win, everyone really likes me, but a few days before the election it comes out that I am a racist. I’m a closet racist, meaning that I hide the fact that I am racist. So, I have racist opinions and I’ve tried to keep them closeted, I’ve tried to keep them private. So, when this gets revealed to the public, it’s obviously a previously undisclosed fact that I was wanting to hide that I had kept, you know, closeted and only my closest supporters may have known, but once everyone knew, it was, you know, a rather unfortunate skeleton in my closet that people found. So, racism was the skeleton in the closet that I had in my life. So, when the voters of my electorate found out about the skeleton in the closet that I was hiding, the fact that I was racist, they refused to support me and vote for me.
Example number two. Imagine that you are an ex-convict. So, you were in jail for maybe 5 to 10 years maybe for something like tax fraud or laundering money from your company. So, if when you get out of jail you’re now, you know, no longer a prisoner, but you are an ex-prisoner you are an ex-convict, you start applying for jobs at different companies, and it’s likely that you’re going to want to hide the fact that you had gone to jail for tax fraud. So, if you went to a job interview and they were asking probing questions about your past, you know, they’re probing, they’re trying to find out, “What were you doing for the last 5 to 10 years? How come you didn’t have a job?”. You probably want to keep that skeleton in your closet. You want to hide that skeleton in your closet. You want to make sure that the fact that you were in jail for tax fraud, that is the skeleton in your closet, you want to make sure that that isn’t known. You don’t want them to find out.
Example number three. Maybe you’re going on a date with a girl or a guy, and the person is trying to probe you to find out about your history to find out about your past. You know, as people on first dates tend to do. They want to know about each other and where you grew up, what you did, blah, blah, blah. If you’re being open and honest with this person, you might say to them, “I’m an open book. You can ask me anything.” And if you have nothing to hide, you could say, “Don’t worry, I don’t have any skeletons in my closet. I don’t have anything to hide. I don’t have any skeletons in my closet.”.
So, hopefully you understand the expression, guys, ‘to have a skeleton in the closet’ or ‘in your closet’. It is to have some kind of discreditable or embarrassing fact that you’re trying to keep secret so that your reputation isn’t tarnished, so that you aren’t embarrassed in front of a lot of people or, yeah, have damaged perceptions about yourself.
So, let’s go through a listen and repeat exercise, guys, and then we can go through the Aussie fact.
So, listen and repeat after me, guys. This is your chance to practice your pronunciation. And remember, if you want to go more in depth with connected speech, with Australian pronunciation, with intonation, all of that kind of stuff and you really want to improve your accent, sign up to the Aussie English Classroom at TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com. There’s a whole course on pronunciation and there will be a video for today’s pronunciation exercise as well. So, let’s go.
To have a
To have a skeleton
To have a skeleton in
To have a skeleton in your
To have a skeleton in your closet
Do I have a skeleton in my closet?
Do you have a skeleton in your closet?
Does he have a skeleton in his closet?
Does she have a skeleton in her closet?
Do we have a skeleton in our closet?
Do they have a skeleton in their closet?
Does it have a skeleton in its closet?
Great job, guys. Great job. Let’s go through the Aussie English Fact and then let’s finish up.
All right, guys. So, the year is 1629. This is 140 years before Captain Cook discovered Australia in 1770. Dutch ship Batavia has hit a tiny atoll off Western Australia’s coast near the town of Geraldton and nearly 300 crew members have survived the shipwreck. But over the next three months, as you’re about to find out, hundreds of them were slaughtered. So, to this day, it still remains Australia’s first and biggest mass murder, and for hundreds of years, the bodies were left in the sand of this island and the story was somewhat forgotten.
So, what happened here exactly? So, the Dutch vessel Batavia was headed to the city of Batavia, which was Jakarta in Indonesia. That’s what its name was at the time. It sailed badly off course for some reason on its way, though, and it struck Australia as Abrolhos islands on the West Coast.
Forty people drowned just trying to swim to the small island after the ship had wrecked and the ship’s commander Francisco Pelsaert took a long boat and sailed north to Jakarta for help, meanwhile, leaving a man called Jeronimus Cornelisz in charge. And this guy turned out to be a total psychopath.
So, a few weeks after the shipwreck, Cornelisz ordered his supporters to murder any potential opponents as well as anyone considered a drain on supplies. So, the strong, the weak, and the old were all slaughtered as well as many women and children. However, some women were kept as sexual slaves. You know, typical, huh?
Many of the skeletons that have been recovered display incredibly bad signs of sharp weapon trauma, which goes to show the brutality that occurred on this island. Fortunately, there was a hero, a soldier named Wiebbe Hayes, and this guy was sent initially by Cornelisz to some surrounding islands, a small group of islands nearby, with some men to look for food and water, but I’m pretty sure based on what we know now he was sent away. They wanted him to be away so that they had more control and they could obviously carry out these murders. And this became evident when Wiebbe and his group found water and they set off a fire to show Cornelisz that they’d found, and Cornelisz ignored the fire.
So, Hayes and the group worked out something strange was going on, especially after a few people in some makeshift rafts made it to the island where Hayes was and started to tell of the horror that Cornelisz had been orchestrating.
When the survivors made it to the island, they raised the alarm obviously and they told him about what Cornelisz was doing, and Hayes knew that it was just a matter of time before Cornelisz would come for them as well. So, they built a makeshift kind of shelter made from stone slabs to provide some protection and to prepare for what they thought was an inevitable battle. So, this was the first European structure to be built on Australian soil.
Three months later the captain Pelsaert arrived back at the atoll with a rescue ship and both Cornelisz and Hayes had to race in their own boats to get to the ship first to tell their side of the story. So, fortunately, Hayes got there first and Pelsaert found out the truth about war Cornelius had done slaughtering all these people, keeping these women as sex slaves on this island.
So, there was a trial and 7 of the mutineers including Cornelisz were hanged. Although, Cornelisz had both of his hands chiseled off before he was hanged.
And the crazy thing is that Cornelisz showed absolutely no sign of remorse this entire time suggesting that he was indeed a total psychopath.
Luckily 80 to 90 of the people who were initially shipwrecked made it all the way back to Batavia alive with Pelsaert.
So, that is the story, guys. A pretty crazy story about the first and largest ever mass murder in Australia by the Dutch on these small islands off the West Coast.
So, I hope you enjoy this episode, guys. I hope you found that fact at the end incredibly interesting. Make sure that if you want the transcripts and the MP3s for the podcast episodes to sign up to be a member at theAussieEnglishPodcast.com. It’s just four dollars or so per month to get access to everything.
And if you would like to take your English even further, go to theAussieEnglishClassroom.com, It’s a different website. And you’ll get access to all the courses that I have created, guys. So, this is the ultimate one stop shop for anyone who’s trying to prove their English, but specifically their Australian English. And remember, guys, it’s just a single dollar for the first month. You can try it for 30 days. That’s how confident I am that you’re going to enjoy it. I want to give you enough time to get in there and try it, feel accustomed to how it all works, feel comfortable. It’s a single dollar for a month. Okay? So, get in there and give it a go. I’m sure you’re going to love it.
Anyway, I will chat to you soon, guys. Have a great weekend.
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Learn Australian English in this interview episode of the Aussie English Podcast where I chat with Christian Saunders from Canguro English about 6 big English-learning mistakes you should avoid when learning or teaching English.
AE 453 – Interview: 6 Big Mistakes to Avoid When Learning English with Christian Saunders
G’day, guys. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. Today, I have a special interview episode for you guys and this one is with Christian from Canguro English.
So, Christian’s been on the podcast a couple of times now and one of the other interviews I did with him was episode 347 – An Interview with Canguro English. Go check that one out if you want to learn more about Christian.
But, in today’s episode, I asked him to come on because I wanted to chat to him about the biggest issues he sees that are out there with regards to teachers and the way they teach English, so the way that English is taught, and also the way in which English is learnt by English learners, obviously.
So, today, Christian has 6 tips that we’re going to go through one by one on how to better learn English or how English should be better taught. So, 6 main issues that he sees with the way in which it’s taught and learnt.
So, without any further ado, guys, let’s get into it, and again, thank you Christian for coming on the podcast.
G’day, guys, and welcome to this episode of Aussie English! I have Christian back again. And today it’s going to be a bit of a bitch fest. It’s going to be a bit of a complaining session, I guess, about how English is taught and how English is often learnt by… English as a second language learner. So we want to talk about it, have a bit of a chat and I know Christian, I’m always following him at Canguro English on his Instagram, his YouTube and his Facebook page. If you haven’t, follow him. But he’s always complaining, he’s always bitching about how people are learning English or teaching English wrong. And so, I wanted him on the podcast to discuss this with me. So Christian, welcome!
Thanks. Thanks Pete. Thanks so much for inviting me. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you and I’m sorry that I come across as so much of a complainer.
You don’t! a good complaining you know. it’s like you smile was doing it so I don’t feel as bad inside. I feel like “here come the knowledge bombs! I’ll put my helmet on. I’ll get some cover and then I’m ready to receive the onslaught of how I’m teaching English wrong.
Yeah well I try to bring everything with positivity. As you say, it’s negativity with a smile, right?
Exactly. And the purpose of it is to build confidence. It’s to give people… It’s to empower people who are learning English and to sort of relieve their anxiety with regards to “Am I good enough? should I make mistakes? Am I good enough to talk to other people blah blah blah?” So I love that aspect of it.
Yeah Exactly. Well I mean you asked me to sort of think about the things that I think are wrong with the world of English teaching and so I came up with a list of six things. And the first thing on my list, which I think is the biggest problem, is what I call false promises.
So can I guess what this is relating to?
Is this relating to teachers? Teaching people who are who are learning English and giving them the idea that they can become native speakers or..?
1. Ignore False Promises
Yeah Exactly. So there’s, for example, people saying you can have a native accent. You can get fluent in 30 days. You can be like a native speaker in [x] amount of time.
So that’s one of those things where I think that’s true. But it depends. Right? It depends on how much time you’re talking about. It depends on how obsessive the learner is and it depends on they have raw talent for it. So not everyone can do it but it depends on the person right? Because there are definitely people I’ve met where I’ve been blown away to know they’ve been speaking English for five or even 10 years and I would never have known they were foreign!
Yeah! No, look sure. Of course, everybody’s individual level of motivation is different and, yeah, some people are obsessive and they can produce incredible results within a year. You know you can see… You can have people who are very confident – able to not only speak but listen and have a really engaging conversation, of course but… But I think the thing is more that… I think the philosophy in, general, about what it means to learn a language is very similar to the idea of healthy eating and exercise.
I was about to draw the analogy!
Because my sister is a fitness instructor. And when she talks with me about the whole idea of being healthy and exercise, there’s so many similarities because it’s the reason that people fail at diets, you know, they try to lose 10 kilos in a month. Yeah maybe you’ll do it – through dehydration and malnutrition. But really, like healthy living and healthy life is not something you do for 30 days and then it’s over. It’s a mentality. It’s a commitment for life. And I think…
I had to tell my dad that…
Language learning should be the same, right?
Exactly I had to tell my dad that. My dad has had trouble with his weight for a lot of his life and I remember recently… Like, he’s been on a diet, lost 10 kilos, he’s gained it again. He’s been on a diet, he’s lost 12 kilos, he’s gained it again. And I had to say to my dad you can’t just treat this like it’s a short term thing. This is your life: Your habits, your behaviour, your psychology has to change permanently. It doesn’t have to change overnight like dramatically but you have to be thinking of it more like “These are habits you’re trying to build to use forever,” as opposed to “I’ll just do this for 30 days and then I’ll be sweet for the rest of my life.”.
Exactly! And I think the other problem with false promises is if somebody has the idea that learning the language is something that sort of begins and ends, that you can do in 90 days. When the 90 days is up, and of course they haven’t got very far at all because you can’t do anything in 90 days, when the time is up what do they do? They quit. So you have a whole generation of people quitting, giving up, because they… Because nobody tells them, “Hey if you’re going to do this, it’s just like a dog; It’s not just for Christmas.”.
Exactly Exactly. And it’s almost false expectations too, right? I remember I was learning a language in high school, French, and I thought I could if I wanted I would go to France and I would learn French fluently if I really wanted to get good at it. And I would spend a year there and then I would be good forever. That’s it. And you realize that’s not the case and that it is… I used to get so sick of people telling me “You’re just good at French”, “You’re just naturally good.” Like people who are like “You’re just thin naturally.” It’s not that you exercise and you eat well and that you worked your ass off, you’re just like this and you’re like “That’s such trash!” You just have to rearrange those thoughts in your head and realize that anyone can do this. It’s just not that anyone can do this easily and quickly. It’s that you have to get the expectations in your head that this is a long commitment, it requires hard work and it requires consistent hard work, right?
Yes, exactly. And when you stop your skills disappear. You know, it’s not like you say; you learn French for one year and then it’s good but if you don’t do it for another five years it’s gone!
Oh man, I wish I could go out and run run a marathon or two and then just hit pause on my physique and that’s it. You know forever I’ll be ripped. I’ll have a six pack and I’ll eat what I want. But it’s just… It’s not like that is it?
No, it’s not. And so yeah. So for me that’s that’s problem number one…
So what mind set should people come in with? How should people be thinking about learning a language if they’re… Say you meet a new student tomorrow who’s picked up English, it’s the first language he’s he’s ever attempted to learn, what would you say? “Okay these are the expectations you need to have.”
I think there is definitely individual variation as you said before. I think if the person is highly motivated, especially if they if they need it for if they’re going to move to the country or they live in the country or they are going to have a job, you know they’re more motivated and so they’re going to they’re going to advance faster. So you know, you could say “Well, if you work really hard you’re going to get faster results.” You know, I would expect you to be able to maintain a really good conversation within sort of six to 12 months. Yeah not grammatically perfect, sure with misunderstandings and bad pronunciations, but you know… But another person who maybe is… Who wants to do it more as a hobby, has an interest in languages, wants to go to class once a week, study a little bit at home. Then that’s something that, you know, that your expectations are different. In 10 years, maybe. I think part of the mindset is when you know what you’re getting into then you can adjust your expectations and then you can say “Okay I’m willing to work really hard, I’m not… I know that I’m going to be able to speak or I’m not.” It’s like…
And you have to be honest with yourself, how much can you handle? And I think you need to be consistent. Even if it’s a little bit do it every single day. Consistent. And I think… I remember jujitsu when I was learning that. When I first started it I remember my coach when I said I’m not that talented I can do this but I wish I was talented because I’d be so much better so much faster. He just said to me hard work and consistency will kick the shit out of talent any day of the week.
It’s so right. So I mean anybody who’s successful at anything, you know, at business, sports. They will tell you that they always seem like an overnight success.
Yeah But we only see the final product.
Exactly but my favourite example of this is… Success is like being pregnant. Everybody says congratulations, but nobody knows how many times you have…
So Does that mean that you and I are never going to know what success is?
2. Stop Using Workbooks
So number two, number two. Workbooks: what’s wrong with workbooks? isn’t that how you learn?
Workbooks. I have a real problem with workbooks and I think… Okay this is what I think. I think that workbooks are necessary. You know I think that people should have some type of book where they can look at grammar and do activities and you know sort of have a more… Like a study mode, like a study moment in the day. But my problem is that people use them as 100 percent of learning, especially bad teachers. You know, and I’m talking about teachers especially in public education. I remember when I learnt French we had a book. Did you have a book in your class?
Yeah absolutely it was crap!
It was awful! I hated that book! And that’s all we did! all we did every day was the book!
But that’s the teachers… The teachers come in, they’re like “Okay, I have to teach this lesson. Tick, done,” like, “I did my bit!”
Yeah, exactly and it’s like… There is no faster way to kill motivation and interest and joy than the workbook, surely! Is there a faster way to make people hate a language?
You’ve got to be that kind of person. For me I kind of… I love them but it’s kind of like I have to be in the mood. I have to be sp… I use them as a reference. Depending on how much I hate myself, I’ll work through the whole book you know if I really want to… If I’m starting a new language I might pick a really basic grammar book and I’ll just go “Okay you know what? I’m just going to for the next week two weeks three weeks I’m just go through each exercise.” But after that it’s kind of like I just use it as a reference. I don’t fixate over it. I want to get out there and use the language to read, to watch TV, to interact with people!
Yeah, exactly! I mean it could never be, as part of any language learning program, it could never be 100% because it’s just not… You know all the other components that are so important like listening. I mean listening is so important, not just not just being able to catch the words but really really listening.
Well, That’s the funny thing with listening, right. Initially you’re like “Okay shit! I need to catch every single word when I hear people or else I’m failing,” and you realise that… You realize as a native speaker I don’t catch every word you say. I don’t even pay attention. I get the meaning. The meaning kind of hits me and then I sort of induce or I deduce what you’ve said as a result of just being smacked with the meaning of all those phrases. I don’t think he said “What. Are. You. Doing. Today.” It’s just bang the message. And so the quicker I get to the point.
Yeah exactly. I mean I was actually… I developed this when I was learning Spanish. I developed this habit and even to this day I don’t know whether it was good or bad, is that I would pretend that I could understand people perfectly even when I was only catching one or two words because the other option for me was too painful! To stop people and say “sorry what?” I mean, because not only do they hate it because they have to speak to you like you’re a baby, but I hated it because then they treated me like a baby so I just sat there like, “Oh, si, si!”. Even though I was only catching 5 percent the meaning.
And that’s the worst thing when they ask you a complex question and you’re like, “Yes! No!” And they’re like, “What time are you getting here tomorrow?” “Yes!”.
“Do you agree with what Hitler did?” “Yes! Si!”
So what do you do in that case then? If you don’t think… If you encourage people to sort of go along with conversations and not sort of break it up by constantly asking people to repeat themselves what do you suggest people do? Is it okay to not understand 100 percent and just let it flow? Is there a threshold?
Absolutely! I think if you’re… it’s really important to learn to understand language from context and yet as you said a lot of meaning, a lot of words are sort of superfluous, you know. A lot of words we don’t really need them, they’re there for maybe grammar reasons or for reasons of politeness or whatever. If you’re sort of catching a large proportion of the meaning then I would say keep going because at least then… At least then what you’re receiving is realistic input. Because…
I love that aspect in Portuguese. My girlfriend often says stuff to me and she’ll be like, “Do you understand?” and I say “Yes,” and then she be like “Can you say what I said?” and I’m like “No.” I totally understood. I just… It was so fast. The meaning hit me but I can’t… I don’t know the words.
Well, no… But that’s the thing. But I mean do you feel like it’s it’s helpful to you? To sort of go with it?
That’s it. And I kind of prefer that. And again like you I feel awkward asking constantly for people to repeat themselves. There is a time and place for that. If she and I chatting at night and I really want to know “What did you just say? What’s this word? how do I use it?” of course. But if you’re interacting with people in the street or people you don’t know or even other situations with friends and there’s a certain flow happening in the conversation you don’t want to be the one constantly like “What did you say? what did you say? what did you say?” And I think it’s a good sign when you get to the point where you do understand even though you miss bits, you know. And you can let that go if you get to the point where you can relax and you can allow it sort of to wash over you and you don’t have to analyse everything under a microscope then yeah… That’s you know… You’re most of the way there and it’s going to happen faster, right.
Yeah. I agree 100 percent. I mean this is not based in any type of research. I don’t know if empirically it is actually better or not but I just feel like my instinct tells me it’s good.
I mean if your understanding nothing yeah of course no that’s not good. But if you’re getting meaning you know if you can sort of maintain that conversation then great I say go with it.
You’re allowed for things to drop out a bit. I didn’t get that but now I’m back in the game, and you know you can miss bits, hear bits, and that’s kind of how it goes.
3. Outdated Teaching Philosophy
So number three: Outdated teaching!
Outdated teaching philosophy. Well let me tell you a little sort of story because I live in Spain and out of the out of the teaching sort of philosophies that I’ve encountered personally I think that Spain is one of the most sort of outdated… Traditional…
Have you been to France?
And I haven’t ever taught in France, no. So I couldn’t… I couldn’t say…
Not to dig at French people. I know a lot of French people. I know a lot of people have learned English in France and they hate the way that they have been taught it and it’s a constant complaint that I hear.
Yeah. I mean yeah… Well speaking about teacher…
So speaking about… What did you say?
I’m speaking about teaching that I have encountered personally. I have a limited personal contact with with being in those teaching environments but I hear the same story from students all over the world. So I’m sure that it’s a universal problem. So I’ll tell you the story; So in Spain in order to get a job for the public service you don’t just submit your CV and then they sort of look through the CVs and choose the best applicants, no. They have these competitive state exams and the people who perform best in the state exams get the job. Now when I tell you this you’re not even going to believe that it’s even real, I promise. So each exam may have let’s say 30 different potential topics right. So if you want to be an English teacher there and there are 30 different possible things they can test you on in the exam but they go really deep with each topic and so they only actually test you on two out of the possible 30. So they are they have the machine right. It’s like a like a lottery machine with the balls. So they spin the lottery machine and they pick out the ball and the ball might say, I don’t know, “phrasal verbs,” and then they spin the machine again and they take out another ball which might say “modal verbs,” and then you have to… Then you’re “examed”… You’re examine… Examinated?
Oh my God I can’t believe I don’t even know…
English brain-farts for the win!
You’re examined on those two things. But what it means is when you’re preparing for the exam you need to study all 30 of these things. So people go to these special preparation classes and they they study… Sometimes they study for 2 years, repeating these 30 possible subjects and this is the scary part: They actually call it “Cantar las Termas,” which means “to sing the topics,” because the teacher says “Okay let’s do phrasal verbs,” and you literally repeat like a robot, like you’re singing, all of the phrasal verb stuff. and that is not learning.
That’s how they teach you to remember something whether or not you know how to use it, right?
Exactly. That’s just memorization. That’s not learning. Learning is when you really understand something.
I can memorize a song in Spanish but not know what it means, you know.
Yeah exactly and the problem is that philosophy of memorization, repetition, kill-and-drill, whatever you want to call it, I think it pervades a lot of teaching.
I hate that aspect, yeah. It doesn’t it doesn’t support the idea that improvisation is the real thing you want to teach people. What you want to teach people how they can improvise and how they can work on their feet. Well, you know, how they can deal with situations. They don’t necessarily have to just remember “this is the situation, this is the answer,” you know. Is it that that proverb from the Bible right? “You give a man a fish and you feed him for a day but you teach him to fish and you feed him for life.”.
Yeah exactly. I mean either you maybe you had a similar experience with your French at high school. You know we had in the workbook we had these, like, conversations. These imaginary conversations like, you know, “Bonjour. Ça va? Je voudrais un croisant.” And so you sort of memorize these these these phrases but you memorize the phrase so you memorize the exact phrase. You don’t understand that in phrase you have a person a pronoun and then you have a verb and the verb changes depending if it’s “I” or “You”. So so when you arrived in France and somebody deviates from the script just one tiny bit you know you’re lost. Yeah. You totally lost and too much teaching I think is based in this old philosophy of repetition. It’s not what I consider learning. Yeah I’m sorry if that’s. I’m sorry…
It’s like there’s a path through the jungle right. and you can see along the path you know how to take the path you could take it blindfolded and someone walks up to you and pushes you slightly off the path and your fucked. You’re like “I can see the end and I can see the star but I don’t know what to do. I’m just going to die right here.”.
Yeah exactly. I mean I didn’t… I mean… Because the French that you have now is from your high school?
No. I crapped all over my high school. Six years of French, I surpassed that in six months of self study from just following my passion. Right. I mean I I did the Duolingo thing and then I studied a few grammar books and I systematically worked through two of them and then I effectively threw them in the trash and just started reading books. I read like Harry Potter 1 to 5, watched TV, watched movies and it was much more about talking with people after that. So it was kind of like I worked hard at the start for a few months and then I just went over it and I just went to dive in. Because now I I have the tools for me to work out how to do this, how to use this and how to improvise and that was more what I wanted.
Well I mean this is the thing that I think anybody listening to this needs to take note that Pete just said that he condensed six years of bad teaching into six months…
Well you can show up to class and not learn anything, right?
Yeah but I think people… some people have this idea that you’re only going to get results if somehow it’s not enjoyable. the same as exercise. People will think that it has to be horrible to lose weight, that you have to suffer through the diet to lose weight. No. You could have a great time you can eat delicious food and still get the results.
And it’s just it’s the false expectations and changing your psychology. You have to start enjoying the process and if you’re not enjoying the process what the hell are you doing? Why even bother? If you don’t actually like what you’re doing do something else. Stop learning English if you hate it and it’s a punishment. I’m telling you now stop. Go and do something you enjoy.
Exactly. And that’s the philosophy for life right surely as well.
Exactly yeah. What the hell are you doing? I was watching something today I think it was Gary V. Gary Vaynerchuk who’s this online guru with regards to business online and he was like “do you want to earn a hundred nineteen thousand dollars a year being an accountant or do you want to earn eighty nine thousand dollars a year selling Star Wars figurines online?” it’s like take that hit. If this is what you enjoy for less money do that, than earn a little bit more for something you freakin hate. And it was like that message was just like… that hit home. I’m like “exactly, I keep always thinking I want to be rich. I want this. I want that.” and it’s liked “do I want that? would actually use it? Do I care?” No. So…
I love Gary V. I think he’s… I think he’s great. I think he cuts through so much nonsense. They’re really good. I think yeah I think there are a couple of them that’s someone that… maybe students who are listening to this should follow because you know a lot of his philosophy applies to not just learning languages but to everything.
Exactly and he’s like you can be the best. You can be the best at whatever you want but one you’ve got to work out: Is it something you want to do? You know there’s no point in trying to be the best at something you hate, you’re wasting your life. And two it’s like you just have to know that you have to work at it. Bust arse. work harder than everyone else. And so bringing you back to English. if you’re learning and you hate it you don’t have to give up English. Reassess how the hell are you learning and how can you turn it into something you enjoy? you know, you don’t like using a grammar book? Piss the grammar book off! Read Harry Potter. Read about cars. Watch YouTube channels on science in English. You find your passion already, do it in English. Or find a way of making it fun and enjoyable but don’t give up on English if you’re having a shit time. Reassess how you’re doing it. It’s like with exercise for me. I fucking hate running. Okay but that doesn’t mean I say I’m never going to exercise ever again. You know what screw you exercise. I don’t like running so therefore no exercise. It’s okay I’ll try swimming or try jujitsu or try karate or do something else with my body but I’ll still exercise.
Yeah I agree 100 percent with everything you just said. Yeah and the best thing is I love I love that you used to piss off as a verb. That’s such an Aussie verb!
4. Don’t Focus On Fear
Exactly right. Right number 4 number 4. Don’t focus on fear.
No, no. I wrote that badly. Oh no what I actually meant was that I think that a lot of teaching doesn’t deal with the fact that a lot of students actually are really afraid of of ever using their language. And it was a shock to me to discover that that was such a such a big problem. I think that I would say in my experience at least 50 percent of people they have this language but they’re just totally… They’re totally paralyzed and mortified and terrified of ever speaking because they think that their accent is bad and the grammar is terrible and people are going to laugh at them and I think it’s a big part of teaching – should be helping people to overcome this fear.
Yeah exactly exactly. That’s a big problem and that’s something I face too in learning a foreign language, but I think it’s… It is one of those things where the more you do it the less important it is and you’ve got to remember too, it’s like… Here’s a good story; I remember Ayaan Hirsi Ali, right. She wrote this book about being Islamic, growing up in Somalia and she had to leave Somalia and she had to go to Holland. And she had been taught her entire life that if she took the hijab off that she would be yelled at, that people would accost her, that she could be raped, she could be assaulted and she went to Holland with these huge fears of just wearing the hijab and being an openly Muslim person to begin with and nothing happened. And then after a few months she decided to take the hijab off because “I want to blend in,” Even I’m worried that that God might smite me or whatever. She did it and she realized it wasn’t a big issue. No one – everyone ignored her. No one cared. And I feel like it’s a bit of a on-the-side story but the idea here is I guess that often you have all these fears in your head and you’re worried about all these things happening and then you go out and do the thing and you realize that it’s completely unfounded and that no one gives a shit. No one cares about you. It’s like no one is going home after a conversation with you and has a list of the errors that you made and are sitting in a dark room laughing and drinking a beer.
“Did you hear the way ‘music’ was pronounced!? What a fool!”.
No one cares! No one remembers! You remember, maybe. But no one else remembers and no one cares. People want to understand you. They want to communicate with you and that’s it. If you make a mistake as long as you can get your point across and communicate no one gives a shit. And if they do are not the person you should be talking to.
Exactly. I think anybody who is feeling afraid. That’s the message. …Maybe you don’t want to go to the beach in a bikini because you’re worried that you’re too fat. Nobody cares, nobody is looking at you.
No one cares, they’re too busy worrying about what everyone else thinks of them!
Exactly! And you know I think everybody, you know even native speakers, you know have sort of their own fears about maybe about their accent because you know native speakers also have their own problems like you have a posh accent or a common accent or you know maybe you you don’t know the vocabulary to talk about fancy things like you don’t know how to have a conversation about the economy or… These things are not just limited to foreign learners. And I think foreign learners need to realize that native speakers are not perfect either… At all.
You know you have to you have to be… I think it’s one of those things to ; the older you get the more your distance… That distance grows between when you’re a beginner at something and you’re too used to, at least the majority of people are too, used to being experts at something, a small field and they’re not prepared to take up that position of being a child… Asking questions, not understanding something because they think “I’m 30 I’m 40 I’m 50 years old I can’t be a beginner, that’s embarrassing. I can’t be taught English by someone who’s half my age like,” and it’s like, get some humility. This isn’t about, you know, like no one cares. They want you to do well. Like the average person in an encounter with English in the street is more interested in helping you than “Oh my god this person just said ‘the’ when they meant ‘a’ AHAHAHAAHAHA!” No one gives a shit, just… I think it’s just remember; “You are not that important to every stranger in the world.”
Yeah exactly. I agree 100 percent.
5. Exams Are Stupid
Exams…. whoof! Exams… H ere’s what I think is wrong with exams: so I have this really good… I have a really good student. She’s a friend. She’s a professor at the University of Barcelona and one day we were talking about… We were talking about exams and I was like “I hate exams! I never do exams at my school! exams are the worst things! they’re shit! I hate them!” And she said “listen Christian, I understand what you mean but exams have a really important purpose,” and I was like “No they don’t! You don’t know what you’re talking about!” She said “Exams are an opportunity for teachers to assess the students and see where they have problems so that then they can help them to solve the problems.” And I was like “ughhhhh”.
Isn’t it too late by the time they work that out? At least for the students that took that exam. maybe next year’s students…
But she is absolutely right. This is what apart from maybe what your government or your school wants to use the exam to create a measurement to say is this school performing as well as the school. I mean that’s a different thing. But I’m talking about in the classroom for the students. The real purpose of an exam should be so the teacher can help the student with their problems. But what’s happened now is exams are seen as the end result. They are seen as the reason to study and it’s totally backwards. They should be giving exams at the beginning of the classes and then working on the problems.
That’s the goal right? if the goal is to work out what people don’t know it’s kind of like “maybe find that out first instead of afterwards instead of at the end of the year when it’s too late for the people you’re trying to help.”
Exactly. exactly. And so for me that’s the first problem, is that they are used as almost like a type of punishment. And so people have developed this this hatred I mean if you mentioned the word exam to students like oh my God!
It irks me too is that too often they’re about memory and not about understanding or about improvisation. It’s too much. Do you remember this verb and what it means? And it’s like “no” but I could use my English to go around that and solve whatever problem I would have by not knowing that verb.
Yeah. Yeah exactly. And you know they’re not realistic. Another problem is that people – students feel that if they have a good result in an exam then they have good English or if they have a bad result in an exam they have bad English, but things are not related at all. As you say, maybe you don’t know… Maybe you do terribly in an exam but put that person in a conversation and they’re engaging and funny and you know it’s like it’s not… It’s just a tiny part of being a good language learner. Right.
Exactly. So I do think you’re right you need to focus a lot less on that and measuring yourself against how well you do in exams. And again just to reassess. You know, get those false expectations out of the way. Stop thinking about those things and think “Can I use English in my daily life? can I communicate?” and that’s a lot more important. Even if you fail an exam… You could pass up 100 percent but if you can’t communicate with people that means fuck-all right? That means nothing. 100 out of 100 on a piece of paper doesn’t mean you can ask for milk or get directions to the shops.
Yeah and it’s the same thing as “nobody cares.” You know as you said like if… Nobody cares about your mistakes but also nobody cares about your certificate. Yeah you know if you’re in a conversation and you’re terrible at conversation you can’t say “Well look at my Cambridge Certificate-“.
“Please respect me. there’s 100 100 here that I got in grade three on an English exam.” I know, it doesn’t mean anything. Exactly, that’s it.
Yeah and I think you know when and this is this is a problem that sometimes teachers they can’t escape when they are forced by their school administration to teach to the test. It’s like the students need to learn this because this is in the exam. And so teachers get caught in this cycle of having to just tick the boxes. But you know that’s a fight that teachers need to have with their administration and they need to have that fight because because we’re raising a generation of people who who just know how to regurgitate information…
I think I was watching something today online a documentary or a documentary an interview with Stefan Molyaneux. I am always talking to my girlfriend about this. She’s going to rage up up, but he was saying something like “People go to school for 12 years in the Western society and they leave with the ability to get a job as a waiter.”. They get 12 years of education and all they come out with is the ability to work in a cafe. Like, what the hell? And that’s from studying for exams. That’s from… They could have got 100 percent on every exam they’ve ever taken and they aren’t qualified for anything when they leave school. So that’s our system. The way it’s set up is broken.
I’ve never thought about it in exactly that way but that’s quite a shocking summary of the reality actually.
It’s just sad to think that everything hinges upon whether or not you do well and even if you do you’re not necessarily set up for anything good. So again, you know with English, learn English but you know upscale yourself. Try and use it to do other things. Don’t just worry about getting a certain score thinking that’s going to help you. If you can use your English and go and get a job or get work experience or do you know anything else. Those relationships you build with English are going to mean so much more than a mark on a piece of paper.
Yeah absolutely. Exactly. And that sort of leads into the final… My final thought…
This isn’t a criticism though. This is positive. This is a positive one.
6. Follow The Fun
Have fun. Have fun, that’s it. Number 6 is Have Fun. I think that if you’re not having fun then you not only are you probably not learning but also you’re probably not going to continue. You’re going to give up because you’ve got to have fun and there’s not enough focus on fun in the classroom.
There’s not a lot of fun with anything anyone’s learning, right? The same with exercise. It shouldn’t be seen as a punishment, as something you hate. Should be seen as something you enjoy. Though those two things don’t have to be mutually exclusive you know. Self-improvement is dreadful and fun is gluttony and self-indulgence. It’s like NO! We can push those two things together!
Yeah exactly. Exactly exactly.
And it’s effortless, right? It just takes over. Yeah it is true and again it seems to be this similarity between sort of healthy life and an exercise as long term commitments and also, you know, learning a language that’s fun. You know you got to have fun but otherwise you’re not going to do it.
And that’s what I think it comes back to teaching in the classroom. The problem is that the teacher has this idea in their head of this is how I have to teach and that all the students have to be exactly the same so I can measure them against one another but no one enjoys the same stuff. Everyone has different hobbies. And so I think people need to view learning English that same way; Through the lens of “what do I already enjoy and how can I do this in English?” So that’s where I think classes with regards to learning anything are going to become so much more functional and enjoyable when teachers are going to be empowered to empower their students to learn by having fun. Whatever metric that is you know. If it’s a kid who likes learning about cars on YouTube in English, bam! Do that for an hour as opposed to reading this book. And another student who likes reading Harry Potter – go do that for an hour, you know, like it’s it’s so important to be enjoying what you’re doing so it doesn’t seem like work. It doesn’t seem like work.
I agree 100 percent. We need to give teachers back the freedom that they don’t seem to have anymore. the freedom to just sing a song in class or just sit in the corner and read a book. And the sad thing is that when they do these these limited trials in schools with more freedom they always produce better results. But we’re so reluctant to change you know. we feel like it has to be horrible or you don’t learn. and you have to have the list and do the repetition. But the fact… The truth is no and I hope it changes. I hope that you and I see it change.
So that’s it and I think people need to just have… one good anecdote I guess I have again with my girlfriend Kel is quite often, and she’s lying in front of me here so she is going to she’s going to laugh. Quite often we just swear at each other in Portuguese. So she would just call me the filthiest things and I’ll be like “what is this and what does it mean and how do I?”, and then I’ll make up some story. And again it’s like it’s all about having fun and as a result I kind of learn the gravity of different swearwords too. Because I’ll look something up and then I’ll use it and she’ll be like “that was too far. That was too far.” It’s kind of like it’s all about having fun and you’re just mucking around and just playing and it doesn’t have to be serious 100% of the time.
Exactly. You’re so right and… Well I hope that one day soon I can hang out with you guys because I think it would be it would be great fun.
Oh man I think there’s a lot of changeover between Portuguese and Spanish with regards to swearwords.
Definitely! And for some reason a lot of the swear words involve milk. I don’t to say but Portuguese.
I don’t think so, do many of the swear words in Portuguese involve milk? No, she’s shaking her head. So apparently in Spanish they do. Most of the swear words involve your bottom in Portuguese.
I can understand that.
Exactly right. So before finishing up what would your key suggestions be to people listening for how to learn English? how would you suggest they go about it if they’ve been doing all the wrong things? What is sort of a small quick summary of some advice that you could give them for how to jazz things up a bit? Mix it up and make it more interesting?
I think the first thing they should do is forget about the whatever whatever relationship they had with studying in the past. Like you with your French in high school. Whatever happened is in the past. It’s over okay that that that was really learning. Okay. And today’s a new day and it’s a new start and your aim should be I think really and I know this is going to sound ridiculous because we just spent an hour talking about did these detailed points but I think that your objective should only be to have fun. If you do that everything else will come with it.
That’s true if that’s true. Fun before everything else.
Yeah. I think why not. Why not.
And if you are having fun you tend to sort of let your guard down a bit and you don’t focus as much on your insecurities and your problems and your fears sort of you get get quenched a little bit they get pushed down they’re not as much of a problem and you can just enjoy yourself and enjoy the moment.
Alright, well that’s the challenge for you, listeners. How can you make learning English right now more fun than it currently is? And if you’re not having fun at all what the fuck are you doing? Change it up! Do something for the sake of English. For the sake of English change it up, do something else.
Awesome, well Christian. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I really enjoyed this one as a lot of laughs.
Yeah yeah I had a great time. It was really good and I feel like… I feel totally cleansed now. I feel like I got all the negativity out of my system.
So he’s good for the rest of the day.
So where can we find out more about you mate? Where can they see more of your knowledge bombs?
Well on my website www.CanguroEnglish.com there are links to my YouTube channel or Facebook group, Instagram, podcasts you know. In 2018 you have to be everywhere.
What happened man? you’d gone like three years with no website, you were like “I don’t need this”. You’re selling out!
It’s just a basic website with links that’s all. That’s all.
A landing page’s all you need. Awesome dude, t o anyone who is listening. Go and check him out. He’s another Australian as well. Obviously if you haven’t worked that out from the accent. So if you want to learn from another Australian English teacher check Christian on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, SoundCloud. Check out his podcast too. It’s much more in-depth than mine. I think you put a lot more effort into your podcast.
Mine is my opportunity to be really nerdy.
Have you come up with a sort of routine? for that yet or is it just still sporadic? Are those episodes just whenever you feel like dropping one?
I’m trying to do one every two weeks but it depends on if I’m inspired or not.
Man, just remember to keep having fun.
Alright guys thanks for joining us and we’ll chat to you soon. See ya!
Alright, guys. So, I hope you enjoyed that episode.
Remember to check out Canguro English, whether it’s on YouTube, on Facebook, or on his website. Just go to Google and search “Canguro”, but it’s spelt as the Spanish would spell this, “Canguro”, and then “English”, Canguro English.
And he’s another Australian who is obviously teaching English. And so, if you’re interested in Australian English, in learning the Australian accent, and obviously improving your English at the same time, Christian’s channel, website, and Facebook group and page are all resources that I thoroughly recommend that you guys use.
So, until next time, guys. I will chat to you later. See you!
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AE 452 – Expression: Look Before You Leap
G’day, you mob! What is going on? And welcome to this episode of Aussie English. It’s been a pretty good week. I have been chilling out a bit at home, working on the website. You guys may have noticed that as of yesterday, well, it’s going to be Sunday when this comes out, today’s Thursday when I’m recording there, so yesterday was Wednesday. As of Wednesday, I have brought in the membership for theAussieEnglishPodcast.com a website. So, for anyone who may have missed the boat, not actually caught up with this message, the membership that has come through for the podcast website is just a cheap five dollar a month subscription, although, you can save money if you save up for six months or a year at a time, and this is to get a little bit of money coming in from the podcast website so that I can pay for transcription. So, I’m running out of sort of important time for making all these resources, I can’t do everything, and I need to hire someone else to transcribe these episodes, and in order to do so, I need the episodes to be making some kind of income. So, that is why I’ve decided to charge a minimum of five dollars per month. Again, you can save money if you get six months or a year memberships to the website, and this money is going to be used for transcription of every episode that I now put up on the podcast. That is the aim. Okay? So, you’re going to be able to read everything. You’ll be able to download everything, the transcript, the MP3, and yeah, that’s the whole aim here, guys.
I guess, a quick difference between these two things for anyone wondering, I obviously have the Aussie English Classroom membership as well, but that is for all of the courses that I create with some of the podcast material. The things like the interviews and expression episodes like this one. So, for anyone who’s a member of the Aussie English Classroom, nothing’s going to change for you guys. You will still get what you’ve always gotten on theAussieEnglishClassroom.com. But for those who are just using the podcast website and just want the transcripts and the MP3s to download and read in their own time or on their phone or on their computer, whatever it is, this is the membership for you guys. And I guess, anyone who is in the Aussie English Classroom, the reason you would sign up for this membership as well would be that you want access to the transcripts and MP3s for episodes that aren’t used for courses in the Aussie English Classroom.
Anyway, that is a bit of an intro, guys. This is the Aussie English podcast, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone wanting to learn Australian English. It’s brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom, which I’ve just mentioned a little bit. Remember, you can sign up for that for one dollar for your first 30 days at theAussieEnglishClassroom.com, and that is where you get all the bonus content for the expression episodes. And I design them in a course. You get videos at the moment where I go through bonus vocab, bonus expressions, and how to improve your pronunciation in connected speech. So, if you want all the bonus content, if you want to complete these episodes as courses online on a weekly basis as well as get access to the previous courses, then go to theAussieEnglishClassroom.com.
Anyway, guys. Today’s expression is a “look before you leap”. This was a really good one that came from Kel in the private Facebook group for the Classroom. As usual, we voted on all these different expressions and Kel won this one. So, “look before you leap”.
But before we leap into that, before we get into that, we’ll go through today’s Aussie joke. So, today’s Aussie joke is, and it’s another one that involves kangaroos. Today’s Aussie joke is: What do you call a talking kangaroo? So, what do you call a kangaroo that can talk? “Unbe-leap-able”. Do you get it? Woooo! “Unbe-leap-able”. So, the pun here, guys, is obviously with the words “unbelievable”, as in incredible. That’s amazing. A talking kangaroo? Unbelievable! And the word “leap”, because kangaroos leap or hop or jump. Okay? So, they’ve put the word “leap” in side of the word “unbelievable”, “unbe-leap-able”. What a pun. Okay. That’s a massive dad joke. I hope you enjoyed it.
Anyway, as I said, okay, today’s expression is a “look before you leap”. As usual, we’ll go through and define the different words in this expression. We’ll go through the expression definition itself, the origin of the expression, some examples, and then listen and repeat exercise, and then go through a few news articles that I found this week. Something different here at the end. Okay?
So, the words in this expression, “to look”, “to look”. I’m sure you guys know what “to look” means. It is to direct your gaze in a specific direction. To take your eyes, to point them in a specific direction, and examine something. Look at something. “To look”. And in this case, it is to examine something. So, it may not necessarily be literally use your eyes to look at something. It may be more the idea of just having a look, as in examining something, see if something’s safe, see if something’s okay. I look in the fridge for food. You know, I am looking with my eyes, but it’s also that idea of searching. Okay? Examining. If someone knocks on the door, you might look to see who it is. It’s… it’s using your eyes, but it’s also examining, it’s also finding information and searching. Okay?
The other word “before”, “before”. This is during the period of time preceding another event or period of time. In the past prior to an event or time. So, I brekky before I lunch. I walked the dog before I went to work. I studied before my exam.
And the last word here is “to leap”, or the last two words, “to leap”. This is a verb that just means to jump, okay? To leap, to jump. It means to jump, to spring, a long way, to a great height, or with great force. So, many animals are said to leap. A frog leaps. It could leap off the river bank into the river. If a gazelle was trying to evade capture by a lion or a cheetah in Africa, it might leap into the air. So, it’s jumping vigorously to show how strong it is and that it will be hard to catch so that hopefully the lion and the cheetah goes for a weaker gazelle.
Alright, let’s go through the definition of the expression “to look before you leap”. So, if someone tells you to “look before you leap”, they’re trying to say that you shouldn’t act without first considering the possible consequences or the possible dangers of that decision. So, it could be that, literally, you are about to leap off something or you’re about to leap over something, and the advice here is make sure that you look where you’re about to land, you’re going to leap to… say, over a fence, make sure you look to see what you’re going to land on so that you don’t suddenly see that there’s something bad there during that leap when it’s too late to jump backwards, when it’s too late and there are severe consequences or dangers. So, to check things are clear in front of you before making a decision from which you can’t go back. “Look before you leap”. Okay?
The origin of this expression. This was interesting. So, it’s a proverb that was first recorded in John Heyward’s “A dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the prouerbes in the Englishe tongue”, and this dated back to 1546. So, that’s on the way to 470 years old almost. 470 years. Pretty crazy. And so, I thought I would read out the part from this book that this was used in, and it’s in Middle English. So, this is not modern English, it’s Middle English, so my pronunciation might be off, but yeah, definitely check out the transcript if you want to see how things were spelt back then in English, ’cause it’s quite different.
And though they seeme wives for you never so fit,
Yet let not harmfull haste so far out run your wit:
But that ye harke to heare all the whole summe
That may please or displease you in time to cumme.
Thus by these lessons ye may learne good cheape
In wedding and all things to looke ere ye leaped
So, I guess, the basic premise here, guys, is that he’s giving someone advice when trying to find a wife, and he’s trying to say, “Make sure that you have thoroughly investigated this woman. Make sure that you find out she is of sound mind, that she is, you know, a good person. Look before you leap.”. Okay? So, don’t rush into that decision.
So, let’s go through three examples of how I would use the expression “to look before you leap” in real life, okay?
Example number one. Imagine that you’re hanging out with some mates. You’re hiking out in the sticks, out in the bush. You know, you’re in some farmland or some forest in Australia. We usually refer to the bush that’s like far away from the city as “the sticks”, “out in the sticks”, ’cause the trees are sticking up like sticks. “Out in the sticks”. So, imagine you’re out hiking, you come to a fence, you want to climb over it’s pretty big, but your mates are a bit nervous. Maybe they got cold feet and they don’t want to go first. So, you put your hand up for it, you say, “I’ll do it. I’ll climb over. It’ll be fine.”. You climb up the fence, you get to the top, and you leap off the top, and land straight into some cow pats, into some cow poo, some manure. Okay? “A cow pat” is that flat circular cow poo that hardens on farmland. So, you tend to see them quite a bit in Australia. So, you’ve landed literally in the shit. Okay? So, your shoes are ruined and your mates are laughing at your predicament. They’re making fun of you. They might yell over the fence, “I thought they said you should always look before you leap.”. So, that might be some sound advice that they give you. “Look before you leap”, because in this case you climbed over the fence, leapt over, and landed in some cow shit.
Number two. So, you get into a new hobby, you fall in love with this hobby, you become obsessed with it, and maybe it’s a really exy hobby. So, it’s a very dear hobby. It’s really, really expensive. Exy. So, maybe it’s something like fishing or boating or four-wheel driving or skiing or snowboarding. The kind of hobbies where you can’t really do it unless you spend a lot of money either buying the equipment or renting the equipment. So, as a result, you really rush into things, because you’re so passionate about it, you’re so into it, and you decide you’re going to get all kitted out, you’re going to get all the equipment that you need to do this hobby, and instead of taking things slowly, and say, you know, renting some gear or buying some second-hand gear, you lash out thousands of dollars, you spend thousands of dollars, on all the new gear required. You know, if it was for driving, maybe you bought a car, you’ve raised the suspension, you’ve bought a fridge to go in the car, you know, all this related paraphernalia, pieces and parts and things you need in order to do this hobby. So, after doing this, you didn’t really investigate the prices, you didn’t investigate where you were going to buy them from, and it turns out that the equipment’s really dodgy. Maybe you get a car that’s broken or busted or it’s cactus, it’s… it needs to be repaired, it’s not working very well. So, you’ve wasted or you’ve lost a lot of money. Your mates might bag you, they might make fun of you for rushing into things, and say, “You should have looked before you leaped. You should have looked before you leaped. You should have investigated things more thoroughly before you just spent all this money and leapt into this decision.”. Okay?
Example number three. So, you’ve gotten into university and you have decided that you want to learn a foreign language. So, you’ve been accepted. The university said, “Yes, we’ve accepted you, but now you have to decide what language you want to study.”. Imagine you don’t have any real preference. You just know, “I want to be fluent in a language by the end of university.”. Maybe you’ve got a few different choices of languages that you could study. Maybe you’ve got languages like German or Indonesian or Chinese. If you sort of rush things and you decide that maybe you’ll go with Chinese, because you really like say, Chinese movies. Maybe you’re a big fan of Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee. And so, you decide, “Yep. Chinese is the language I’m going to learn.”. But only later, you find out just how hard Chinese is, whether it’s Cantonese or Mandarin or Honkien, these languages, as as an English speaker, are incredibly difficult, and they’re much, much, much more difficult to learn than say, German or Indonesian.
And for all of the Chinese speakers learning English, guys, I understand your pain. I know how different the languages are. I did Chinese for three years at high school and it was incredibly difficult. So, massive respect for all of you guys who speak Chinese and are learning English.
So, yeah, you’ve decided to do Chinese, but you could have chosen German and Indonesian, and then only later do you find out, “Oh my God! The grammar is harder. They use tones in this language. They don’t have a writing system like English. It’s character-based.”. So, you find out how hard it is and you want to go back but you can’t. It’s too late. So, people might say to you, “Well, you should have looked before you leapt. You didn’t look before you leapt, so this is what happens. You didn’t think about the consequences, the results of this decision. You rushed into it. You should have looked before you leapt.”.
Alright, guys. So, by now I hope you understand the expression “to look before you leap”, or the proverb, “to look before you leap”. And remember this is that you shouldn’t act before considering the possible consequences or danger. So, don’t rush into something before understanding what could happen.
So, as usual, let’s go through a listen and repeat exercise, guys. This is your chance to practice your pronunciation. So, listen and repeat after me. Let’s go.
Look before you
Look before you leap x 5
I should’ve looked before I leapt
You should’ve looked before you leapt
He should’ve looked before he leapt
She should’ve looked before she leapt
We should’ve looked before we leapt
They should’ve looked before they leapt
It should’ve looked before it leapt
Great job, guys. Remember, if you want to get more in-depth information regarding pronunciation and connected speech, intonation, all of that sort of stuff, if you want to take this exercise to the next level, make sure that you sign up for the Aussie English Classroom at theAussieEnglishClassroom.com and it’s just one dollar for your first month, and you’ll get all of the videos, all of the exercises, the quizzes, the bonus content for this episode and all of the previous episodes when you sign up. So, this is the best way for you to improve your English as fast as possible.
So, this week, instead of going through an Aussie Fact, I thought I would mention three different news articles that I had read this week. So, these different news stories that I had read on different websites, and the links for each of these will be in the transcript if you would like to go and read them.
So, the very first one here is about a humped back whale that was seen off Sydney, I think it was off Bondi Beach, and it was tangled in some ropes. So, this was seen a few days ago and this whale was in trouble. It wasn’t able to swim properly and it had this netting or these ropes wrapped around its body. And so, they had tried to get close to the whale and cut it free, but they didn’t manage to do so completely on the first day, and the next day they’d set up all of these searching parties to go out and look for the whale to try and completely free it, but unfortunately, it turned out that the sea conditions became incredibly severe so obviously there was a lot of swell, maybe there was a storm or rain, and it became very difficult and they couldn’t find this whale. However, they were hoping that as a result of having loosened the ropes the day before and cutting some of it free, they were hoping that this whale had actually escaped and just swam off. So, that was story number one. A really interesting one.
The next story was an interesting one from ABC, and this was talking about the Australian accent and how this originated. So, you guys may or may not know that Australia was colonised by the British in the late 1700s, and the people that came to Australia initially were from all over Britain. So, they actually had all kinds of different accents. They weren’t just, you know, from one area, say, London or from Glasgow in Scotland. And so, the accent, or the accents, in Australia at that time, it wasn’t homogenous, it wasn’t just one single accent like it is in at least many places, many districts, today. And the cool thing about this is that the Australian accent evolved as a result of this, right? So, it’s kind of like you have a paint tin and you have poured all these different colors of paint into that tin, as you mix this tin more and more and more it eventually turns into one color, and this color is going to be unique. Right? And so, that’s what happened in Australia. We had all of these immigrants, these are convicts, soldiers, there were a whole bunch of people who came over here from all different walks of life, many different places, with many different dialects, but as they had children, the children started to speak the same as one another. So, even though they would have had parents who spoke with different accents, the children, as a result of wanting to fit in with one another, get along, homogenised their accents. So, the accent of Australia, and of any other place in the world, at least that was colonised, places like New Zealand, America, and Canada, a lot of the time the children are the ones who actually created the accent. So, their parents had all kinds of different accents, and then the children, or the following generations, eventually all kind of settled on a common accent. So, I found that really cool that the children of convicts and migrants and soldiers were the ones who actually designed or created, whether they knew it or not, the Australian accent.
The very last story here that I wanted to share with you guys was this crazy story about some Egyptian antiquities being uncovered during a Sydney house clean-up, and these were donated to a university. So, it turns out that this lady donated all of these Egyptian antiquities. So, all of these old objects from Egypt, I think, about 1000 years B.C. They were donated to a museum in Australia. So, these were actually taken from Egypt in, I think, the First World War by the grandfather of this woman who donated these, and he had gone over there and bought them as artifacts during the First World War. And so, it was crazy that a little house in Australia had things like a mummified cat and some bronze Roman coins, some scarab beetles, some small amulets, all of these things from Egypt, you know, first millennium B.C., in this Australian house. And it turned out that these were all authentic when they were donated and tested.
So, I hope you enjoy this episode, guys. I hope you enjoy the way that I talk about three different news stories there at the end instead of a and Aussie fact this week. Just thought I would try something a little bit different.
Don’t forget if you want access to the transcripts and the MP3s for the website that you can download them if you sign up to be a member, guys. That is on the website. Just go to theAussieEnglishPodcast.com and click on “Sign Up”. So, it’s only five dollars a month or you can get a six month or yearly membership, guys, and this is going to help me transcribe these episodes for you, for everyone who wants to read and listen to their podcast and learn English even faster.
Anyway, guys, thank you so much for joining me. I hope you have an amazing week and I’ll see you later. Catch ya!
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Learn Australian English in this episode of the Aussie English Podcast where we go through some fast English fluency training with 59 greetings and goodbyes in English to help you improve your pronunciation and listening comprehension in English.
G’day, guys. What’s going on? Welcome to this episode of Aussie English.
I’m in the car about to go for a drive, but I wanted to do the intro to this episode.
We’re going to be learning fast English, guys, spoken contractions.
How to sound like a native speaker.
We’ll be doing it slowly, and then we’ll be doing it really fast.
Let’s get into it.
G’day, guys. Pete here from the Aussie English Podcast.
Today, I want to train you guys to start speaking English faster.
So, this is going to help your pronunciation, but it’s also going to help your listening comprehension when you come across those English speakers who tend to speak a little too fast.
This video’s going to help you.
So, I’m going to say these greetings and goodbyes first slow,
I want you to repeat, and then I’ll say them fast, and I want you to repeat again.
So, let’s give this a go.
4. Good day
5. How is stuff?
6. How are you?
7. How is things?
8. How are things?
9. How is it going?
10. How do you do?
11. How is it hanging?
12. How are you going?
13. How (are) you going?
14. How are you doing?
15. How (are) you doing?
16. How have you been?
17. How (have) you been?
18. What is up? – S’up?
19. What is new?
20. What is the news?
21. What is news?
22. What is going on? -> s’goin’on?
23. What is the gossip? -> What’s the goss?
24. What is been going on?
25. What is happening?
26. What has been happening?
27. What the latest news?
28. What is the latest (news)?
29. What have you been up to? – Whatcha bin upta?
3. Bye bye!
5. (See you) later!
6. See you later
7. See you soon
8. See you
9. Catch you later
10. Catch you
11. Catch you soon
12. See you later on
13. Catch you later on
14. Chat to you later
15. Chat soon
16. Talk to you later
17. Talk soon
18. Have a good day
19. Have a good one
20. Take care
22. Peace out
24. See you on the flipside
25. Take it easy
26. Until tomorrow
29. Au revoir
So, there you go, guys. That is obviously in an Australian accent.
That isn’t every single different combination of greetings or goodbyes.
I’m sure there are other ones.
But this is going to be a big step for you guys to learn to pronounce things more like a native, to get those contractions happening and that spoken English to another level.
Okay? So, keep repeating, keep listening, keep repeating this exercise and eventually these sentences will just come out naturally, or you’ll hear them and you’ll know exactly what people are saying.
Okay? So, I hope you enjoy this, guys.
If I’ve forgotten any, make sure that you comment below and let me know, have you heard any other greetings or goodbyes in the English-speaking world?
Chat to you soon!
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AE 450 – Walking with Pete: Sorrento Road Trip
Alright, guys. What is going on? Welcome to this episode of Walking with Pete. It has been a little while, it has been a little while, and that is because I’ve been doing a lot of these vlogs, right? So, I guess they kind of cross over quite a bit with Walking with Pete, as a lot of the time these blogs are me outside walking around.
Anyway, it’s 11… almost 11:30am. Been working at home this morning. Put up a new vlog where I went into Canberra and had some burgers with Kel. So, Australia’s Best Burgers. This is probably my favorite burger joint ever. I really recommend checking out Grease Monkey if you’re gonna come to Canberra. Some free advertising for them. But yeah, I love chicken burgers and you guys will see that in this… in this vlog, and there’s heaps and heaps of good… I guess, vocab and expressions, and you get to see me order the burgers and the beers, and how I interact with people when I’m ordering food or drink. .
Anyway, so I did that this morning, and now I’m just outside in the charming Canberra weather. It’s one of those… one of those places, it’s so strange because you walk outside and in the shade it’s cold, but the moment the sun hits you it’s really warm. So, I don’t know if you guys have experienced that before, but I don’t know, there’s quite a few places like that especially in southern Australia, the lower portion of Australia, where in the sun it tends to be really, really hot. I don’t know if that’s like the movie from the sunlight that warms your skin up. But then, in the shade it’s really cold. It’s always hard to decide what to wear. I always bring a jacket when I go for a walk like this to get coffee and if the sun comes out I get really hot and I want to take it off and as soon as the sun disappears, I want to put it back on. So, pays to be prepared. It pays to be prepared.
Just let me cross the road here. So, I’m going for a walk to grab some coffee, because I like to get out of the house, try to be a bit active, do some exercise, not just sit on the couch all day long every day, which is definitely one of those things that becomes easier and easier to do the older you get, right? And especially, if you’re working from home, it becomes easier and easier to find excuses not to go outside, and instead to stay on the couch all day in and work away. And so, every day, I’m trying to come out and get coffee, and head down to… head down to the local cafe here, which is… which is really good. I really like going down here. There’s some great… some great coffee from this place. I think it’s called Plunge, which is in Belconnen, in Canberra.
Anyway so, I thought I do a Walking with Pete episode today, guys. Hopefully, the cars in the background isn’t too loud. Sorry about that. We’ll get past them eventually. And I thought I would talk to you about my weekend. I had a really interesting weekend for multiple different reasons.
So, Kel and I went down to Sorrento, which is a beachside town in the south east of Victoria. It’s sort of near Melbourne. It’s probably about an hour and a half’s drive outside of Melbourne. But obviously, for us it was a lot longer than an hour and a half considering we were coming down from Canberra. So, Kel found out that she had Monday off so we could do a long weekend, ’cause it’s not really worth going all the way down to Melbourne from Canberra, which is a… probably an eight to nine hour drive if you’re not going to spend a significant amount of time there, right? Like, if we go down as usual and we leave on a Friday afternoon, we will arrive in Melbourne from Canberra at about midnight so probably at 12:00 p.m., it takes about eight to nine hours. We’ll get Saturday and if we don’t have a long weekend, we have to drive back on Sunday. So, we have to leave at about 9:00 a.m. in the morning, which means we get back at about 6:00 in the afternoon. And so, you only really get Saturday to hang out, and obviously, you can’t really have too much for late one at night, on Saturday night, ’cause you’ve got to get up early on Sunday to drive home. So, that’s why we tend to try and make sure we get long weekends, and then we drive down. So, that we at least get two days to hang out and do our thing and spend time with friends and family. And so, fortunately, this weekend that’s what happened. So, Kel had the Monday off. We drove down after work on Friday, I think, we got down there, again, at about 11:30, maybe, we got there a little earlier. Went inland. So, we took the inland road. That’s a little quicker than the one that is somewhat closer to the coast, which goes around the mountain range. There’s a mountain range in… along the east coast of Australia, and so going from Canberra to Melbourne you can go either side of that mountain range, and the inland side is quicker by about an hour, and the outside version takes an extra hour, though, the scenery is a lot nicer. You get to go up and down through the hills. You get to see trees and the farms are a lot nicer, but the… it’s not the… it’s not the same freeway, right? So, you can’t travel this quickly. That’s why it takes longer. It’s not 110 kilometres the whole way. It maxes out at about 100 k’s for most of it on the east… the coast road.
Anyway, so we drove down there and we got to stay at a Bed and Breakfast. So, dad got in contact probably in the last few years with a friend of his from his primary school. So, this lady… dad and her, they’ve known each other longer than anyone else who was there, right? So, they had been friends when they were like 5 years old at primary school, and so, they got back in touch at a… I think it was a school reunion or something like that a few years ago, and dad’s a photographer so he went over there for a weekend, I think, with Mum for their anniversary earlier this year, and in exchange for being able to stay there, dad did the photography of the house for the website, because the the lady that let us stay there, who owns this house, needed some really nice photos for the for the website.
I’m just looking at the ground. There’s horse poo on the ground. That’s really weird. I don’t know why there would be a horse walking around in Canberra. It’s very strange.
Anyway, so yeah, he got to do that at the start of the year and sort of, you know, reform this relationship with her, and it was my mother’s birthday this weekend on the 28th. So, my mum’s trying to make it a yearly sort of tradition now where every time it’s her birthday, the… she likes getting everyone together and going away on a holiday. So, last year we went to Lord Howe Island, which was really beautiful. This year, obviously, we went to Sorrento. Who knows where we’ll go next year. But yeah, it was really cool, and we got to stay there for free in the end. Well, I mean, not… you know, my parents were paying for the place anyway. They didn’t expect us to come down, because we didn’t find out about having a long weekend end to the week… I think, last week, during the week we found out and were suddenly like, “Oh, by the way, we’re going to come down and see you guys in Sorrento.”, and it just happened that the place they’re staying at has extra room. So, we got to stay there.
It was really good though. It was really good. I got to hang out with Antica and Rory, my sister and her partner, as well as their daughter Isabel who’s growing up really, really quickly, though, she’s a… she’s a bit of a cry-baby at the moment. She has a lot of tantrums. She gets a little cranky quite a lot at the moment. .
And So yeah, we chilled out there for two days, three days, and just enjoyed this beautiful old house that had like wooden… wooden walls and timber roofs and really nice furniture. So, it was really cool to hang out there. I had one of my friends as well drive down from Melbourne. He came to see us. .
Sorry About the noise, guys. I’m just crossing the highway so it’s probably really loud, but I’m trying to talk closer to the mic. Good practice listening comprehension.
Alright. Let’s try that again. Let’s try that again. I’ve gotten to the other side of the road so it should be a little quieter now.
Anyway, so yeah. So, we went… we drove down. But oh, there was a funny thing that happened whilst Kel and I were driving down. Obviously, when we’re driving down, we need to stop, you know. You need a toilet break. You need to get food. You need to get drinks. And we kind of stocked up on quite a bit of food from the house. You know, we tried to save a bit of money by making some sandwiches and just, you know, taking anything else out of the cupboard or the pantry that was perishable or that was food that needed to be eaten, and taking taking that with us to eat on the road. I also went to the shops and grabbed some nuts and berries and stuff. I love doing that. And so yeah, oh, we’re driving down, right? So, we’re driving down, I need to go to the toilet, I need to take a pee, and then, we stop at this place, this tiny, tiny, tiny little town somewhere and there’s the toilet there, the dunny, the loo. We get out to go to the toilet, come out, get back in the car, and this bogan… bogan-mobile, this car that was definitely owned by a bogan. And if you guys don’t know what a bogan is, it’s kind of like an uncouth, unsophisticated person in Australia. So, usually someone who isn’t very educated, swears in public, spits, drinks in public. It’s just does all these kind of socially unacceptable things, but has no problem doing them in front of people in public. And, you know, it tends to make people revile a little bit, like sort of “ehhhh!”. Anyway so, this guy drives up in a ute, typical ute, bogans tend to love utes. He drives in effectively doing a burnout, parks his car, and then, I’m thinking, you know, “Ok, he’s got to go to the toilet really badly that’s why he’s doing this.”, and so, he drives up and he ends up parking on, I think it was a disabled parking spot too, which is a big no-no in Australia. If there’s these blue symbols that are wheelchairs on, I guess, carparks where you can’t park, because they’re for disabled people. And he parked on top of that and jumped out of the car metres away from the toilet, right? Five metres away and just whips out his kit, I don’t want to say it, and just starts urinating right there, just starts taking a leak on the spot right in front of the toilet.
And sort of like, you’ve driven all this way, you’ve come off the highway, you’ve parked your car right in front of the dunnies only to get out of your car and take a piss in front of the toilets whilst your girlfriend goes into the toilet?! So, that was interesting. Kel was kind of like sitting there going, “What the fuck!? What the fuck is going on? Why is this dude like this?”. And I’m justsort of like, “That’s bogans in Australia, Kel. That’s… Some people just do not give a fuck. They do not care.”.
Okay, alright. So, that was one interesting event that happened on the way down to Ocean Grove. Another funny thing that happened this week was that I was sitting in bed with Kel, I think, the night before we were going to drive down to to Melbourne, and I didn’t realise, but my phone, I have got an Apple phone, right, and I’ve got an iMac computer, and I don’t know what happened. I updated them recently and now every time I get a phone call on my phone, it comes up on the computer and I can answer it on the computer. So, we were sitting in bed and I was just working on some stuff. I think Kel was asleep and Mum suddenly calls, and it’s like, you know, 10 o’clock at night and I’m like, “Oh, this can’t be good.”. So, I answer the phone and I’m like, “Hey, Mum, How’s it going?”, and she’s like, “Ah, nanna’s broken her hip.”. I’m like… and I don’t mean to laugh, you know, I’m not… it’s not funny, because she’s hurt herself, but it’s funny, because it’s a very stereotypical thing for old people to experience where they fall over and break their hip, and my grandmother’s just, you know, these… it’s just how could this have happened to her kind of thing. It’s like, oh my gosh, drama after drama, right, like problem after problem.
Anyway. So, apparently they’d gone to, my grandfather and my grandmother, had gone to see their accountant, I guess, during the week, and my nanna had been walking down some stairs and the rail that you hold onto while you walked down some stairs stopped early before the end of the stairs. And so, she thought she was at the bottom, but she wasn’t. And so, she took a step and ended up falling out of… or over onto her side and broke her hip. The funny thing… the funny part about it, my nanna’s really stubborn and doesn’t like being a bother, right? She doesn’t like people helping her. And so, she had fallen over, broken hip, didn’t realize she’d broken the hip, and was just like, “Oh, she’ll be right” and tried to get back up, and obviously, couldn’t. Gets help back into the car by some people and my grandfather, and when they get home, nanna still didn’t realise that she’d broken yet, and was just like, “Oh, I’m just going to rest, you know, and the bruising will go down and it’ll be fine.”. So, they call it my uncle who funnily enough used to sell hip replacements. He comes over and he knows instantly, “Yeah, her hip’s broken.”. And so, she’s had to go to hospital. She’s had to have surgery pretty much that day. She… Fortunately, she didn’t need a hip replacement or anything. They just… it was the knob, the end of the socket joint on the femur that leg bone that had broken off. And so, I think they just use some metal and stuck it back in, you know, reattached it to the bone. And so, she’s got to rehab now and we’re just hoping she does the rehab properly and we’ll be okay. But that was, yeah, another thing. They were meant to be coming down to the birthday with my mum down in Sorrento, but obviously couldn’t, because nanna was in hospital. So, just another strange, funny, accidental, coincidental thing that occurred. Yeah. It was an interesting weekend.
And so, aside from that, guys, I guess, you know, this Sorrento weekend went really well. We drove back yesterday along the coast. So, we took the long one and got home just before I had a few lessons online. So, that was good. We got home in time, but it was a lot more relaxing along that road, because it was a bit slower-paced, a lot less traffic, and just calmer, really nice. So, Kel sort of chilled out, kept me company, fell asleep quite a bit in the car, but it was really good. We got home and it’s funny how quickly you get sort of accustomed to driving long distances. It doesn’t really bother me anymore doing the long distance stuff. Nine hours doesn’t seem that bad. Whereas, when I was living in Melbourne, if you made me drive an hour I would have been like, “Are you serious?”.
So, anyway, yeah the trip was really good. Got back yesterday, have been working on the podcast, going through emails, working on the vlog, thinking about things. So, this week I’m going to try and bring in the the membership for the podcast website, guys. So, for anyone who wants to get access to transcripts, it’s just going to be a five-dollar monthly membership in order to get access to transcripts. And just remember, this is because I’m trying to hire someone to transcribe these episodes. So, every episode that’s about an hour long, usually, to prepare it, to transcribe it, it will take me anywhere from two to three to four hours and the person that I’ve hired it took him, the first time he was doing one, it took him six hours to transcribe one hour of text. So, that is why I am trying to bring through the… or I’m going to bring through the membership for the podcast transcripts, because I need for money to be coming in so that I can pay someone to do that for me. So, hopefully, that allows me to bring you guys more material, higher quality material, because I really think it’s important for you to have the transcripts. Obviously, the other option was to just not have transcripts, but I feel like they’re very important for you guys learning English who like to read and listen and study them for vocab. I really, really, really think transcripts are important. So, that’s why. And also, it’s going to free up my time so that I don’t have to transcribe them and I can do something else with that time like creating this kind of content.
So, that’s going to happen this week. This will be the interview episode for this week. I’ll get that out there. And then, I’m going to work on putting the membership thing together. Anything you’ve downloaded in the past, guys, is obviously going to be available for you still, you know like, as in, if you’ve downloaded it onto your computer it’s there. You can use that. But yeah, I will be requiring anyone who wants to get new episodes as well as the… access to the old ones, everything will be behind a pay wall so you need to sign up, and it’s just five dollars a month, right? So, it’s very, very, very cheap. Just consider it a donation, guys, to help me make more of these transcripts for you guys who really value these materials. .
Aside from that, I got an email about someone sort of… a listener Ali, I really appreciate the e-mail. He was sort of critiquing the podcast and giving me ideas on how to improve the quality. And so, he was effectively suggesting that the quality has diminished a little bit recently because of the uploading of vlog episodes as one thing I think he was getting at. So, I wanted to ask you guys what you thought of having the vlog episodes on the podcast, because I know that they… a lot of the time they’re visual. You need to be able to see what is going on to sort of understand what I’m talking about. So, I have noticed that they get fewer lessons… ah lessons (?!), they get fewer listens* than some of the other episodes, but I just, yeah, I wanted to put it to you guys and ask you to send me an email. So, when you get this email, this notification, that this episode is up can you reply and let me know whether or not you would like the vlog episodes to just remain on YouTube and not be added to the podcast or whether you really, really enjoy the vlog episodes on the podcast as something to listen to easily in the background even if you can’t see what’s going on. Please let me know and I will make a decision soon about whether or not to keep uploading them on to the podcast. So, yeah, your feedback’s essential. Let me know, do you like them? Don’t you like them on the podcast? And yeah if you don’t like them, if most people say they don’t, I’ll take them off.
Aside from that, announcement’s wise, yeah. He also wanted me to sort of keep reassessing how I am designing these expression episodes. He was worried that some of them weren’t as common expressions that would be used by most Australians. So, as well, if you guys don’t like hearing sort of, I guess, funnier content, stuff that Australians will know, but may not necessarily use as well, then, yeah, let me know. I think his example was the one that was like “kick the dog”, if someone farts, which I thought was, you know, a funny episode, although, you may not actually use that expression ever. But yeah, let me know what you think, guys. If you just want me to focus on English that you can use as opposed to English that you may encounter.
So, this episode’s probably gone long enough, guys. I’m about, I don’t know, 2 minutes away from the cafe. Sorry again about the background noise, but glad to have sort of gotten to chat to you guys a bit and share my thoughts with you about the podcast, where it’s going, everything like that.
And yeah, that’s probably enough for today, guys. I hope you’re having an awesome week. I hope your English is improving. I hope that you are having fun doing whatever you do wherever you are and I will chat to you soon, guys. I really appreciate your audience-ship. I really appreciate the fact that you guys listen to me. So, I’ll chat to you soon. See ya!
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AE 448 – Expression: Get Cold Feet
G’day, guys. What is going on?
I hope you’ve been having a ripper of a week. I’m back again. It’s another Sunday and it is another expression episode, guys, and today’s episode is going to be a ripper. So, it’s going to be awesome. We’re going to be talking about penguins. That was the intro scene there that you had at the start. It was a video clip from BBC Earth’s YouTube channel. So, there’ll be a link in the transcript for that. If you love wildlife, definitely go check out that channel. But that was David Attenborough speaking.
I’m a massive fan of David Attenborough and it was his 92nd birthday probably two weeks ago on the 8th of May. He was born and a few days after the Queen of England. So, he’s 92 years old. Pretty crazy.
Anyway, a quick anecdote. Yeah. I grew up always watching David Attenborough films. So, my parents were both zoologists and they met at Melbourne University, I think, in the 70s, maybe the late 70s is when they met, and yeah, obviously got married, had kids, and we grew up with a heavy dose of wildlife. So, we would watch docos, we’d go camping, we’d go to the zoo. Absolutely loved animals. So, that was my sort of upbringing and obviously why I ended up going to university, the same university that they met at, and studying the same thing they did zoology.
Anyway, guys, this is the Aussie English Podcast, the number one podcast for anyone who wants to learn Australian English. Whether you want to understand it or you want to speak like an Aussie, this is the podcast for you, and it is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom, which you can sign up for at theAussieEnglishclassroom.com. Remember that it’s only a dollar for the first month at the moment. You can get in there for one buck. What is that, like three and a half cents a day? And you can try the Aussie English Classroom. You can use all the materials in there. You can complete this episode as of course with bonus videos, learning vocab, expressions, there’s quizzes, there’s all sorts of good stuff in there if you want to take your English to the next level. So, this podcast is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom.
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Anyway guys, let’s dive into today’s episode. We’ll be covering the expression ‘to get cold feet’, and this was suggested by Dan in the Facebook group. So, we’ll get into that.
But First let’s do a joke. So, the joke here is related to penguins. You know, had to connect these two things.
What Do penguins eat for lunch? So, penguins, the small little birds that live in the ocean. What do they eat for lunch? ‘Ice-burgers’. ‘Ice-burgers’. Do you get it?
So, Obviously, icebergs are those large pieces of ice that break off in Antarctica or in the Arctic, in the north… northern hemisphere.
And ‘burgers’ are obviously, you know, hamburgers or chicken burgers. They’re a kind of food where you have lettuce and cheese, bacon, other kinds of meat, and you have bread on top. That’s a burger, right? So, the joke here is ‘ice-burgers’.
Anyway, guys, today’s expression, ‘to get cold feet’, and you may also hear this as ‘to have cold feet’. So, let’s go through and define these words guys.
‘To have’. If you have something, you possess something, okay? You own the thing, you have the thing, you possess the thing.
‘To get’. If you get something you acquire that thing. So, you didn’t have it to begin with and then you got it, you acquired it, and now you possess it. And this can be physical things like, you know, a burger or it can be, I guess… well, still physical, but not like an item, okay? Like, you can get cold. You can get hot. You can get wealthy. You know? It doesn’t have to be something you can hold in your hands.
‘Cold’. ‘Cold’. I’m sure you guys know it’s the sort of… the temperature that is incredibly low. It’s not hot. If you’re shivering, if you’re out snowboarding in winter, you’re probably going to get cold.
And The last one here, guys, ‘feet’ the plural of ‘a foot’. This is the lower extremity of the leg below the ankle and you would usually stand on your feet. You would walk on your feet. You would run on your feet, right? Your foot, each foot, has five toes, a big toe, a little toe, and the three toes in between.
Anyway guys, what does the expression ‘to get cold feet’ mean? So, if you ‘get cold feet’ it means that you lose your nerve, that you lose your confidence, that you become timid, and it’s usually used as a polite way of saying… well, not necessarily polite, but a nice way of saying something like ‘to chicken out’, ‘to wuss out’, or ‘to bail on’ something and these are sort of phrasal verbs that mean to abandon something because you got too nervous, right? You wussed out, you chickened out, you bailed out.
So, where did this originate from? We’re not really sure but it originates from about the 19th century, the late 19th century, though again, the exact origin isn’t known. However, experts suspect that this expression may have something to do with the military, an environment which certainly offers a plethora of things to fear, situations to run away from, to bail on, to get cold feet from, and you would also imagine that there are plenty of situations where you could get cold feet, literally, in the army, you know? You’re running around in your boots and it rains, you got cold feet.
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So, as usual guys, let’s go through some examples of how I would use the expression ‘to get cold feet’ or ‘to have cold feet’ in day to day life. Okay?
So, example number one. Example number one is that you are at a wedding. Okay? And there’s a bride and groom, there’re two people who are about to get married. I mean, well, in Australia there’s gay marriage so it could be two grooms or two brides, but I imagine it’s a bride and groom in this example.
So, the bride hasn’t shown up. She hasn’t come to the wedding ceremony. And this is a classic example of where you’re likely to hear this expression. So, maybe she’s running late because of photography. You know, they’re trying to take photos of somewhere and she’s not happy with the photos. Maybe she is trying to do her makeup still or get her wedding dress on. Or maybe there’s transport issues, you know? Maybe they’re getting delayed because of that, the bridal party is getting delayed. Or maybe she’s changed her mind. Maybe she doesn’t want to get married to this guy anymore. So, she’s decided, “I’m scared. I’m nervous. I’m not confident about this decision. I’ve got cold feet.”. Okay? So, she’s got cold feet. She’s changed her mind. She’s lost her nerve, her confidence. She’s got cold feet. And if the crowd start murmuring, maybe they’re gossiping. It’s been a long time. She hasn’t shown up yet. They might be thinking, “Is she going to leave the groom standing at the altar because she’s got cold feet?”.
Example number two. Alright so pubs in Australia, these are places you can go and drink, and you can eat food, usually alcoholic beverages, and you’ll often see things like bands or single musicians playing at these venues. Pubs in Australia often have events called ‘Open mic nights’. So, ‘an open mic night’ is where you have the microphone for someone to sing into or play into… is it’s open for anyone to use. You just have to get in line. Right? You have to put your hand up and say, “I want to sing. I want to read out some poetry. Maybe I want to do some stand-up comedy.” Right? So, you’re a performer. You’ve gone to a pub. It’s a… it’s an open mic night, and you’ve told all your friends to come with you, because you want to get up and do some stand-up comedy or maybe you want to read a poem or maybe you want to sing a song. If your turn comes up, though, and you freak out, you get a little nervous, you lose your confidence, and you become timid, you might decide not to get up on stage and sing the song, read the poem, do some stand-up comedy. You’ve got cold feet. You have cold feet, because you’ve wussed out, you’ve chickened out, you’ve got cold feet.
Example number three here, guys, and this was something that I used to get faced with all the time. When I was doing jiujitsu my coach would always be hassling us, always asking us, always pestering us, trying to sort of guilt trip us into competing, because obviously he wanted the team to compete as much as possible and do really well. So, he would always be like, “Everyone needs to compete!”. I’m the kind of person that despite, you know, being able to create these kinds of podcast episodes and videos, I don’t like really being in front of a lot of people, to be honest, especially, when it’s like you fighting someone and there’s half a thousand people watching you. Okay? So, he would ask us to do this and quite often I would chicken out of entering the competition. I would wuss out. I would get cold feet. So, I would get too nervous. It would… the thought of standing in front of all these people and fighting someone else and potentially losing in front of all these people would give me cold feet. It would make me nervous. But imagine, okay, I did end to this competition. You could also use this expression if the time came to get on the mat and fight, so, they’ve said “Pete and…”, you know, the other guy “…Tim! It’s your turn to fight. Come out on the mat!”. If I ran away, if I didn’t show up, if I chickened out, if I wussed out, I’d gotten cold feet. I had become too timid and lost my nerve. Okay?
So, I hope you understand the expression, guys, ‘to get cold feet’ or ‘to have cold feet’. It is just to lose nerve, to lose confidence, and not do something. To bail on something. And then, if you want to kind of belittle the person a little bit and make it a little bit more sort of like you’re judging the person and making fun of them, you can say ‘to wuss out’, ‘to chicken out’, and then, just in general you can say ‘to bail on something’, which is just to leave something, to avoid something.
So, hopefully, those are some good phrasal verbs you can use when talking to your friends.
So, as usual, let’s go through a listen and repeat exercise, guys. This is your chance to practice your pronunciation. So, just listen then repeat after me, guys. Whether you want an Australian accent, whether you just want a prefect an American accent, a British accent, or just work on whatever accent you have, just try and say these words after me. Okay? Let’s go.
To get cold
To get cold feet x 5
A lot of stop consonants in their sentence, guys, when we’re talking about connected speech. A lot of stop consonants.
So, we’ll do this now using the conditional, guys. So, we’ll say “I would never get cold feet”. We’ll conjugate through that. And I’m going to contract a ‘would’ on to the respective pronouns for each sentence, right? So, instead of saying, ‘I would’, I’ll say ‘I’d’. Okay? So, listen and repeat after me.
I’d never get cold feet
You’d never get cold feet
She’d never get cold feet
He’d never get cold feet
We’d never get cold feet
They’d never get cold feet
It’d never get cold feet
Great job, guys. Great job. Remember, if you would like to learn the pronunciation of Australian English in much more depth. I really recommend signing up to the Aussie English Classroom, guys, where you will get a video breaking down all of the connected speech, the pronunciation, and other aspects of spoken English from this exercise as well as previous exercises in the podcast episode. So, sign up to the Aussie English Classroom, guys, and give it a go.
Anyway, before we finish up, I want to talk about fairy penguins or little penguins. Okay? So, today, we had at the very start of this episode a scene where David Attenborough was at Phillip Island talking about the smallest penguin in the world, the little penguins.
Now these guys weigh only about a kilogram and they only stand about 30 centimeters tall. They’re incredibly small and they are the world’s smallest penguins.
You can find these little penguins in southern Australia and in New Zealand in scattered colonies along the coastlines of these countries. And in Australia, you’ll find them all the way from out west in the city of Perth all the way east to Sydney, and then in the south, you’ll find them around Melbourne and in Tasmania. Okay?
So, if you come to Melbourne, though, they’re very easy to see, and you will see them at Phillip Island at night. This is probably the best place to go if you want to see them coming out of water and walking up the beach to their burrows. You can go to the Penguin Parade at Phillip Island and you can also see them at the St Kilda pier in Melbourne.
There are estimated to be about a million penguins left, these small penguins, little penguins, 32,000 of which live at Phillip Island. So, that’s pretty crazy. I guess, that’s only about 3.2%.
How do you tell the difference between a male and a female? That’s a good question. Well, you can’t ask them. So, you have to look at beaks. The adult females have a thin beak, much thinner than males, and the males have a distinct hook on the end of their beaks.
What do they eat? Every day, little Penguins have to go into the water, into the ocean, into the sea, and they eat up to 25% of their body weight, which is about 250 grams. And they’re eating fish like Barracouta, Anchovies, Red Cod, Pilchards, and even cephalopods like squid.
They can swim about two to four kilometres an hour, and for reference, humans can swim about six kilometres an hour.
Little penguins live in holes in the ground and we call these holes ‘burrows’, and this is a place where they can rest, they can nest, they can moult, and they can obviously get protection too from things like predators and extreme weather in Australia. Like, quite often it gets to about 40 degrees in summer and the best way to avoid that is going underground.
So, depending on the season, they can spend anywhere between 1 and 30 days at sea. That blows my mind. Imagine swimming around for a month. So, while breeding they return regularly to incubate the eggs and feed their chicks. So, that would be during the summer season. But during the winter season, they spend most of their time out to sea hunting for fish and squid for food.
These penguins don’t mate for life and if the breeding success of a couple of penguins is really low, they might look for new mates.
Little penguins lay two eggs similar in size to a chicken’s and both parents take turns incubating these eggs, which takes about 35 days.
Both parents then feed the chicks by regurgitating fish and squid caught at sea, and the chicks leave their parents and head out to sea for the first time at 7-11 weeks of age.
Their parents don’t teach them anything. They don’t learn how to swim. They don’t learn how to catch food. They don’t learn when they have the nest. It’s all based on instinct.
Penguins spend about 80 percent of their lives in the ocean. So, what’s that? One out of every five days on average they get out of the water. And on average, every single day they swim between 15 and 50 kilometres.
They’ve been recorded diving as deep as 72 metres. However, an average dive is between about 5-20 metres when they’re hunting prey.
Little penguins also have some really cool adaptations. Like all penguins, they have modified wings, which are called ‘flippers’, and the only flying they do is through the water.
They have a gland to spread oil on their feathers when they’re preening in order to keep the outer feathers waterproof so they don’t get soaked, they don’t get drenched and then get cold.
They have a streamlined shape, waterproof feathers on the outside of their body, a layer of down next to the skin to trap air and keep them warm under those waterproof feathers, and they also have a salt gland above their eyes, which helps them filter salt from seawater so they get access to freshwater.
Anyway, guys, that is the episode for today. I hope that you think little penguins are as bad-arse as I think they are.
Don’t forget to jump over to YouTube guys and check out the Aussie English YouTube Channel. Come to Facebook. Join the community and just take part, guys. Start using your English. Come and say ‘G’day’.
I’ll chat to you soon and hope you have an awesome weekend. See ya!
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