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AE 446 – Expression: Bag Someone


Learn Australian English in this expression episode of the Aussie English Podcast where I teach you how to use the expression TO BAG SOMEONE like a native speaker.

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AE 446 – Expression: Bag Someone

G’day, you mob! How’s it going? And are welcome to this episode of The Aussie English Podcast. The number one podcast out there for anyone and everyone wanting to learn Australian English. So, if you’re after an Australian accent, if you want to understand our slang, or our accent in general, if you want to use expressions that we use, if you just want to have a better understanding of the Australian dialect of English, this is the podcast for you guys.

So, I hope you have been having an absolutely awesome week. I’ve just driven down from Canberra all the way down to Melbourne to see my folks and see my sister, her partner, and their kid as well, my little niece. So, it was a long drive. I came down yesterday, but I’m definitely glad to be here, and I did that because my girlfriend Kel has gone overseas for a few days. She’s gone to China for work. So, lucky Kel. She’s in Beijing. So, lucky her she’s seeing all the sights and sending me photos and I’m quite jealous that she is having such a good time. But yeah, drove down. It took about seven hours yesterday to get here. So, I think I left early in the morning, maybe about 9:00 o’clock, 9:30, and I got here by about 6 something PM, so a little after 6:00 pm in the evening.

So, it was pretty cruisy. Stopped a few times and got some food, but yeah just sort of enjoyed the drive and enjoyed my time to myself in the car listen to some audiobooks, listen to some podcasts, and just relax in general.

Anyway, so today’s expression is going to be related to the word ‘bag’. Right? So, to bag someone, to bag on someone, to bag someone out.

We’ll get to that soon, but I was sort of sitting there and I’m thinking, “How can I relate ‘bag’ to Australia? How can I connect these two things?”. And I couldn’t think of any movies or any other sort of tid bits, bits of information, facts, or anything. So, I thought instead I would tell you a little story about bags in Canberra that we sort of experienced when we moved there to kick the episode off, to begin the episode. We’ll kick it off with a little anecdote here, guys.

So, you can get plastic bags when you go to shopping centres here in Victoria. You go to shopping centres, you tend to get all your stuff, all your groceries, all the stuff you buy, they’ll chuck it, they’ll put it, in plastic shopping bags, you know? Those disposable one-use plastic shopping bags. And there’s a big argument about how that is bad for the environment, should we do it, should we be selling these bags, or should we be using them, ’cause quite often they’re free. And so, in Victoria you can do this. It’s sort of taken, it’s a given here that you’ll get your groceries in a bag.

Anyway, we moved to Canberra and one of the first things that we noticed was the fact that plastic bags aren’t provided. You can’t get single-use plastic bags in Canberra. They’re illegal. They’ve been outlawed since, I think, the first of November, 2011. So, nearly seven years now. I didn’t know this.

So, we moved there and quite a few times we would take all of our things to the checkout. So, the checkout chick would put all the stuff through and she wouldn’t put it in a bag, and we’d be left there. I remember the first time being like, “Ah… What?”.

And what you have to do in Canberra now is you actually have to pick up what are more durable plastic bags, then take them to the checkout, and then buy them, they’re 15 cents a piece, 15 cents each, and then she puts the stuff in your bag.

So, we had to go through that process. And that’s the same everywhere. You don’t automatically get these single-use shopping bags. So, they have to be, I think, thicker than 35 microns and they have to be durable so that they can be reused. So, now we have to try and remember every time we go to the shops if we don’t want to buy plastic bags, we’ve got to bring our own. We have to provide our own. But yeah, that was interesting and that was something I had to get used to once I moved there.

Announcements:

Anyway guys, I don’t really have many announcements today. I am still working my butt off on the Aussie English Classroom, guys. Remember that and the Patreon page is what helps me create this content. So, if you want to support the podcast you can go to TheAussieEnglishPodcast.com website, click support, you can donate as little as a dollar a month via Patreon. You can also donate a one-off payment via Paypal if that is what you would like to do. And if you would like to learn English even faster and get in-depth episodes, get courses, get quizzes, get extra MP3s, extra videos with these lessons, then sign up to the Aussie English Classroom. That is my secret weapon for you guys who like to study and who want to take your English to the next level faster, guys. So, remember that is just one dollar for the first 30 days. TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com. The link will be in the transcript.

I’m still thinking about when to bring in the paid access to transcripts for the podcast website, guys. I’m probably going to do that in the next week or two. I just have to get everything set up on the website. So, I’ll have to work that out.

Anyway guys, I will let you know when that happens. And I guess, that’s it for announcements. We’ll get into the joke, alright?

Aussie Joke:

So, I got a joke for you guys here today. What do you call a lazy baby kangaroo? What do you call a lazy baby kangaroo? So, a joey. What do you call a lazy baby kangaroo? And the answer? ‘A pouch potato’. ‘A pouch potato’. Okay? I’ll explain this to you if you don’t already understand the pun there, guys, the play on words.

‘A couch potato’ in English, and this is used everywhere, is someone who sits on a couch and is constantly on the couch watching TV, playing PlayStation or Xbox, lounging around, being very lazy. They’re a couch potato, because they’re always on the couch, you know, and they’re like a potato. I don’t know why we use potato, that vegetable, but we use it to say this person is lazy. They’re a couch potato.

Baby kangaroos, obviously, live in the pouch of their mothers. The joeys for the first, I don’t know how many months, maybe three, four, five months of their life, they live inside their mother’s pouch, because they’re marsupials, the mothers have pouches that they raise their young in.

So, the play on words here is between the word ‘couch’ and ‘pouch’, right? So, ‘a couch potato’ is someone lazy and in this case, what do you call a lazy kangaroo, baby kangaroo? ‘A pouch potato’, because they’re lazy and they’re in the pouch.

Alright. So, I hope you get that joke, guys.

Expression:

Today’s expression is ‘to bag someone’, ‘to bag someone out’, or ‘to bag on someone’. So, there’s a few variations of this expression. And this comes from M L. I don’t know your full name, but M L from YouTube, he came on there and asked me can I please explain the expression ‘to bag someone’, ‘to bag on someone’, ‘bag someone out’. Okay.

Definitions:

So, as usual guys, let’s go through the words in this expression. They tend to be pretty simple today. ‘To bag something’. Let’s start with that.

If you bag something. This can mean several different things. So, you can bag something as in to put something in a bag. So, for instance, in Canberra, I might go into a grocery store, pick up my groceries, the stuff I want to buy, I then pick up a bag that I have to buy at the checkout, and then at the checkout chick, the person that is checking out the food, will bag the food. They’ll put the food in the bag.

‘To bag’ can also mean to succeed at getting something or acquiring something, securing something. So, if, for example, you’re a hunter and you’re trying to kill something or catch something, you know, maybe you’re hunting deer or something like that in Australia or a large kangaroo, a buck kangaroo. If you catch that animal, you’ve bagged it, you’ve caught it.

So, we could use this also though for receiving something or getting something like an award. So, for example, in Australia we have the ARIAs and Aria stands for Annual Australian Recording Industry Association Music Awards. So, these are given out to Australian musicians. So, if you went to the ARIAs, you were nominated for three ARIAs, and you bagged them all, it means you succeeded in acquiring them, you got them, you received those three awards, you bagged them.

But ‘to bag’ today means to criticise someone, to tease someone, to insult someone, and this is an Australian and New Zealand informal piece of English. It’s an informal expression that’s used mainly in Australia or in New Zealand.

And so, for example, you might tease someone at school, you’re bagging them. You might be really nasty to the football team that is the opponent of your footy team. You’re bagging them. Okay?

And so, that’s the expression, guys. But there are two different variants, right? You can say ‘to bag someone out’ or ‘to bag on someone’. They mean exactly the same thing. So, if I bag you, I tease you. If I bag you out, I tease you. If I bag on you, I tease you. They all mean the same thing.

And you may hear from time to time, also in Australia, ‘to pay someone out’. ‘To bag someone out’ and ‘to pay someone out’. I’m not sure where these originate from, but they are phrasal verbs that you will hear and they mean to insult, to criticise, or to tease someone.

And this can be playful. So, could be like you’re joking around. It’s not really very nasty, but it can also be that you’re being incredibly harsh or horrible to someone.

One thing I wanted to mention here, guys, when we make a phrasal verb like ‘to bag on someone’, to, you could also say less formally, even more informally, ‘to hang shit on someone’. That’s a very, very informal way of saying ‘to bag someone’, to be teasing someone, to be nasty to someone, and it’s more informal because you’re using the word ‘shit’, okay? ‘To hang shit on someone’.

But I want to point out how we’re using the particle ‘on’ here. So, if you bag on someone, ‘on’ here is being used to show the subject that is receiving the action of the verb, okay? You’re bagging ‘on’ a person. So, it shows that that person is receiving the action of the verb ‘to bag’.


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So, some other examples here. ‘To walk out on someone’. So, ‘to walk out on someone’ is to abandon someone. So, ‘to walk out’, you’re exiting, but if you’re exiting ‘on’ a person, it’s your exiting and the person is the one who is receiving the action of the verb. So, ‘to walk out on someone’, ‘to abandon someone’. She walked out ‘on’ her husband. So, it’s her husband that it happened to.

‘To impact on someone’ is to affect someone. So, what you do impacts on everyone. So, if you’re really horrible, it impacts ‘on’ your entire family. Your family are the ones who receive that action.

And the last example is ‘to look down on someone’ and that is to regard or treat someone as inferior. So, if your boss thinks that you’re inferior to him, he looks down ‘on’ you. You’re the one receiving that action from that verb. He looks down ‘on’ you.

So, that’s why we used ‘to bag on someone’ in that case.

Unfortunately, with regards ‘to pay out’, there’s no real pattern here. It’s just a collocation. It’s just a phrase you’ll have to learn. ‘To bag someone out’, ‘to pay someone out’.

The reason I wanted to sort of break this down for you today, guys, is because this week I’m going to do a discount for the phrasal verb course that I have, The Effortless Phrasal Verb course. So, if you would like to learn to use phrasal verbs effortlessly like a native speaker without having to memorise a heap of lists, this is the course for you.

What I do here, guys, is that I take you systematically through a series of about 16 or so lectures for the different particles. Particles like: on, off, up, down, to, etc.. And for each particle I give you a lecture where I describe the different ways that you can join this particle to verbs, for instance, ‘to bag on’, ‘to bag out’, and I talk about the cognitive linguistics, so what a native speaker is thinking about in their mind when they do this, because native speakers aren’t thinking about, “Okay I need a phrasal verb that means ‘exit'”. They’re thinking about a verb and then a particle, and then joining them together to create a phrasal verb. Okay? So, they’re not memorizing these things by heart. They’re thinking action or the verb, and then they’re thinking and the direction or the movement, the change in position, “Okay, I need this particle to describe that.”.

Anyway, so you’re going to get $21 off the Effortless Phrasal Verb course if you use the coupon code number 21OFF. So, that is 210FF. The link will be in the transcript, guys, and you will get the course for only $89, nearly 20% less than usual, instead of $110.

 

Click here to save $21!

 

So, I’ve had a lot of students go through this course now, they’ve had amazing results, guys, and they are absolutely nailing, they’re absolutely dominating phrasal verbs after completing this.

So, get in there, I know that you’re going to enjoy it, and after this, after completing the course, phrasal verbs are going to be much less of an issue for you.

Expression Origin:

Anyway guys, I want to talk about the origin of this expression, and then we’ll go through some examples. We’ll go through a listen and repeat exercise, and then we can finish up for the day.

Alright. So, there was one hypothesis that I found from a discussion online that was the following: Young boys at schools for the last hundred years or so, potentially thousands of years, have been pulling each other’s pants down as a form of humiliation. So, they often do this as like an initiation rite for other kids or it could be like a punishment for undesirable behaviour, or they could do it just to show dominance, and this was definitely the case when I was at school, and we used to refer to this as ‘dacking someone’, ‘to dack someone’, was to sort of sneak up behind them, pull their pants down, and laugh at them, because, you know, they would trip over or they just have their pants down and you can see their underwear. It would be something that was… wasn’t the nicest thing you could ever do to someone, but it definitely happened.

Anyway, it’s obviously a form of bullying. It’s a form of dominance and you’re depriving a victim, the person who’s been dacked, of his pants and you’re stripping him of his dignity and, symbolically, you’re ostracising him as unworthy, right, to associate with other kids.

So, in Britain apparently this is referred to as ‘debagging’ or ‘bagging’ someone, right, and ‘bags’ was a slang term for trousers, for pants. So, it was derived from an earlier expression used in Britain, ‘bum-bags’, because the pants that you wore were seen as like a bag for your bottom, for your arse, for your posterior, for your bum.

So, apparently, this was happening at Oxford. All the undergraduates used to dack each other, or bag each other, apparently, or debag each other, all throughout the 20th century.

So, this practice had obviously become incredibly common after elastic-waisted pants were being used all the time instead of suspenders, right? So, elastic-waisted pants or pants with a belt are the ones that are sort of supported by something around your waist, and pants that use suspenders are where you have the leather or elastic that goes over your shoulders and clips onto your pants to hold them up, and for obvious reasons, you can’t really dack someone who’s using suspenders, because, you know, the pants will go straight back up. You can’t pull them down.

So, if you bagged someone, back in the day, this was a form of humiliation or bullying, because you’d pull their pants down to embarrass them. But since this time, it’s obviously morphed, it’s transformed, it’s evolved, into meaning to tease someone or to insult or criticise someone. So, now we can say, ‘to bag someone’, ‘to bag on someone’, or ‘to bag someone out’, and we can say ‘to pay someone out’, which I think, I would hypothesise, I would assume, ‘to pay someone out’ is something that has come from ‘to bag someone out’, and that is an incredibly common phrase, ‘to pay someone out’, that you will hear Australian kids use. This is the kind of thing I used at high school and I would still use with people my age when you are teasing someone or insulting someone. You’re bagging them out, you’re paying them out, you’re teasing them.

Examples:

Alright, so let’s go through some examples, guys.

1.

Example number one. You’re a kid at school. You’re in the playground. You’re playing cricket or footy on the oval and one kid that you know at school is hopeless. He can’t play ball games. So, he’s absolutely horrible when he plays cricket. He’s always getting bowled out for a duck, which means as soon as it’s his turn to bat, to try and hit the ball, he gets bowled out, the ball hits the wickets, and he doesn’t score a run. He gets bowled out for a duck. Or if he’s playing footy, maybe any time he gets the ball he drops it or he kicks it out of bounds on the full instead of scoring a point or a goal in the game. So, all the other kids on his team are going to be like, “This kid’s useless! He sucks! He can’t play for shit!”. That’s a very informal way of saying that you can’t do something at all, you ‘can’t do that thing for shit’. So, they might bag him. They might bag on him. They might bag him out. They might pay him out. And as a throwback to previous episodes, if their words pack a bit of a punch, he might get really upset, but years later, after a long time, if kids apologise to him for this, it’s probably going to be water under the bridge. So, those were the last two episodes that we did on the expressions, ‘to pack a bit of a punch’ and ‘water under the bridge’.

2.

Alright, so example number two. Now you’re a teenager. You’re a young adult. Hopefully, you’ve gotten a lot better at ball games. But imagine now we’re talking about fashion and fashion trends, and this seems to be a pattern everywhere where young kids end up getting different styles of haircuts wearing different kinds of clothes that make them unique. Imagine that you’ve come home one day you’ve got a new haircut or maybe you’ve bought a different jacket or jumper, some piece of clothing that looks really different, your parents might be like, “What on earth are you wearing? You look like a weirdo. You look incredibly strange with that haircut?” you know, “Get a proper haircut! Did the store run out of good clothing or something? What’s wrong with you?”. So, if your parents do that, if your folks do that, they’re bagging you, they’re bagging on you, they’re bagging you out, they’re paying you out.

3.

Example number three. Alright, for the last example here imagine you’re a musician. You’ve grown up playing the piano or playing violin or playing guitar and you love classical music. Now this is relatively uncommon among kids. Most kids tend to like contemporary music instead of classical music by composers like Mozart or Beethoven or Brahms. So, despite this, you’re often playing this music. You’re practicing it. Maybe you play it yourself on the violin, piano, or guitar, or maybe you listen to it on record or on CD. So, when you do this, your friends might come over and, you know, they’re not used to classical music so they might tease you, they might make fun of you, and they might say things like, “What’s with the old music, grandpa? or “What happened? Did iTunes stop selling good music?”. If they’re doing this, they’re bagging, they’re paying you out, they’re bagging you out, they’re bagging on you.

So, hopefully by now, guys, you understand the expression ‘to bag someone’ or the different variations ‘to bag on someone’, ‘to bag someone out’ or ‘to pay someone out’. They all effectively mean to tease someone, to insult someone, to criticise someone. And it can be playful, you know, it can be kind of friendly teasing, or it can be incredibly harsh.

So, let’s go through a listen and repeat exercise, guys, and then we’ll finish up. So, listen and repeat after me, guys. This is a chance for you to practice your pronunciation. Let’s go.

Listen & Repeat:

To

To bag

To bag someone

To bag on someone.

To bag on someone

To bag someone out.

To bag someone

To bag on someone

To bag someone out.

I’m always bagging her out

You’re always bagging her out

He is always bagging her out

She’s always bagging her out

We’re always bagging her out

They’re always bagging her out

It’s always bagging her out

 

Good job, guys. Good job. Remember, in The Aussie English Classroom today’s expression episode will come as a course. You will receive a listening comprehension quiz, a vocab list, and then several videos that will cover things like this pronunciation exercise in depth so you’ll better understand my pronunciation as an Australian, the connected speech, the intonation, everything like that, and then other videos going over common expressions that are in this episode and common or more complicated vocab so the interesting vocab, I pull out a few words, and I love making 5 or 10 minute video describing how I would use those.

So, if you’re the kind of person who likes watching videos, likes hearing examples, enjoys the way that I tell stories in order to explain how to use English, these videos will really help you. So, make sure that you sign up to the Aussie English Classroom at TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com, link’s in the transcript and give it a go. Remember, it’s a buck, it’s a dollar for your first month.

Anyway, I have one little story that I wanted to tell you guys about when I was at high school, ’cause I used to get bagged out, I used to get paid out all the time. So, when I was in high school, right, we had to do sports. It was compulsory that we played a sport every season, normally winter and summer seasons, for our school.

So, I used to do two sports. I used to do soccer and I used to do tennis, and obviously, there were other sports at the school, you know, sports like swimming or footy or cricket, but I preferred soccer and tennis, and I also did fencing, okay? Fencing is where you sword fight except it’s more…, nowadays, it’s, as a sport, it’s more that you have a wire that you hit each other with or you try and press the button on the end of a wire in order to score points.

So, I used to get paid out or I used to get bagged out for doing soccer by all the boys who did footy, because footy was seen as much more masculine, much more manly. So, soccer kids used to get paid out. They used to get banged. And everyone used to bag me for doing fencing, because this was seen as, I guess, very feminine. It wasn’t very manly. It wasn’t very physical in the sense that you would come into contact with other kids. Instead you were sort of pressing a button on the end of a wire by touching another kid.

So, those were the kinds of things I used to get paid out for or bagged for when I was at high school. And I would love to know, guys, make sure that you comment below and let me know, what did you get bagged for when you were a kid at high school? We always have funny stories, okay. So, I would love to hear from you. Use your English and tell me, what were you bagged out for?

Anyway, guys, that is long enough for today. I hope you have an amazing week. Don’t forget to check out the Effortless Phrasal Verb course, and remember use the coupon code 21OFF to get that for just $89 instead of $110. The link will be in the transcript as well.

I’ll see you guys next week. Have a good one.


Download the PDF + MP3


SALE ENDS IN 7 DAYS!

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  • For
  • On/Onto/Upon
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  • Out
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AE 445 – Interview: How to Stop Using Subtitles to Watch Movies & TV Shows with Cara Leopold


Learn Australian English in this interview episode of the Aussie English podcast where I chat to my mate Cara Leopold from Leo-Listening.com about how to stop using subtitles to watch movies & TV shows.

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Watch the interview + subtitles (haha) here:


AE 445 – Interview: How to Stop Using Subtitles with Cara Leopold

What’s going on, guys? Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. Today I have a great interview episode for you with Cara from Leo-Listening.com.

In today’s episode, I think it’s going to be amazing for you guys, because you’re going to learn how to stop using subtitles. So, if you rely too heavily on subtitles at the moment, you’re going to learn how you can stop relying on subtitles to understand TV shows and movies.

Let’s get into it!

****

So how did you end up with Leo-Listening.com? Did that come out of learning French and moving to France or was that a side project, something like that?

Yeah, good question. It kind of… Well, I mean… So like I said, you know, since I’ve moved here, because I’ve been here like 10 years almost 11 years. So I…

Wow!

Yeah, it’s a long time! so I’ve mostly been teaching English in that time. I’ve done some other things and then went back to university myself and stuff, as well. But, like, that was my main thing. And then I started getting interested in the idea of teaching online. About as far back as 2012, actually, was when I first thought I could do that and that was actually during a time where I was working in Switzerland. Because where I live is really near the Swiss border. So, yeah. So we’re really close to them. And yeah… And then I was sort of playing around with that idea and it didn’t really take off or anything. And then I got serious about it in 2015 and actually quit a job, that was a non-teaching job, that I had had for a bit, and I went back to teaching and I was starting to teach online, and just kind of figure that out. So at the time I was like “Well, people do Skype lessons…”

Exactly!

A friend sent me a client saying, you know, “This lady has wanted to work with me for three years, but it’s just now worked out,” you know, “do you want to work with her?” And she was okay with doing that on Skype. So that’s how I kind got into the whole… The whole thing and then… Yeah, working with her we kind of discovered that what was really bothering her, to do with English, was not being able to understand people when she was going to conferences, because she’s a doctor, she’s a dermatologist. So the issue… The issue wasn’t like… Obviously if she goes to a conference and she’s sitting in the sessions and watching presentations to do with, you know, skin problems… Obviously she understands that. You’ve got the slides. It’s the technical terminology. A lot of the words are similar to French, like, it’s fine. But the issue she was having was more, like, you get to the breaks. It’s a coffee break, it’s social. People are standing around talking and you’ve got native speakers in the mix and, like, you just can’t really… After a while you kind of, like, you can’t really follow what they’re talking about what’s going on.

Yeah, you get that threshold, right? As soon as there’s, like, two, three, four people you’re just like, “ehhhhh!” Like, the level of… The advanced level here required to follow everything is just too high.

So, yeah! so we started exploring, kind of like, “Okay, what can we do about this?” So that, you know, you can go to these conferences and sort of chat to people and, you know, not… Not be able to participate in the conversation. Not because you can’t speak, not because you can’t get by, but because you can’t actually understand what they’re saying to you. So that’s where it started , kind of like, playing around with this idea focusing on listening for that for that purpose in particular.

It is one that is almost, like, the most crucial part of any language, right? Like, you would imagine when you… Most people would say speaking. And it’s like… Well, you can’t really speak unless you can sort of respond to these things by understanding what’s happening. I mean you can… You can instigate it but whatever answer you get back, if it’s not just a, you know, an order that you’re giving someone, if you can’t decipher it.

And I think a lot people run into the problem when, like, they’re learning a new language and they’re like “Okay, I’m going to memorize these phrases so that when I get to the hotel I can say that I want or I booked a room.” And the thing is, like, that’s very one sided, because then the person is going to respond and you’re not going to…

Exactly!

You know… even if you seen… This is the big thing, because even if you seen the words that they’re going they say in a book or something, or in a dialogue in a textbook… Okay, that’s nice, but that’s very theoretical. And the problem is when somebody says it back to you, when they’re speaking in a normal way, that’s when you’re not going to understand words that you already know and that you’ve already seen and you’ve maybe even already heard it, but in a very carefully spoken way. And this is the big thing that I tried to get across, is that it’s often the words that you do know that’re causing you the most problems.

Exactly, right? They disappear. You’ve got connected speech. You’ve got all sorts of different accents, and people rearrange things. So… It is funny, and I guess it’s no more truer for English because it’s so… Just not phonetic, as a language, right? So you can learn these words that you read, but if you haven’t heard them you’ve got no… They could sound completely different. There could be syllables left out. The emphasis is in different places, the schwas in there… Like it’s…

It’s a bit of a mess isn’t it? Because like… I mean if I was learning… If I were learning a new language now, what I’d probably do is really focus on listening early on and pronunciation, and making sure that I know the rules… Kind of how the spelling and the sounds correspond. But it’s true that in a language like English, yeah… I mean there are certain spelling and sound correspondences. There are.

That’s the worst thing, I think, for English, is that it makes sense. Like 60%, 70% of the time… So just enough for you to always think it makes sense, but then there are rules, against rules, against rules, and you end up screwed.

Pretty much. So yeah… That’s… And, I mean Leo is in the name of the website because I am actually always wanted… So my full name, without my middle names… But my name is Cara Leopold. So Leopold is my name. And I mean it’s not like… Some people think it’s my partner’s name but it’s not. We’re not married. He has a very French name that’s quite difficult to pronounce.

I just thought it was your star sign!

You thought it was what?

Your star sign!

My Star sign? Oh right – Leo! No mine isn’t… Yeah that would be good wouldn’t it? Astrological English. No it’s not my star sign! So yeah, I wanted to use my surname in, like, the name of my website. I just… I was looking for a way to do that. Like, LeoLanguages or Leo… You know, because obviously most English teachers, they put English somewhere. And I haven’t done that. Maybe that’s not so smart, but oh well… I like the way it sounds.

It’s working right?

Yeah exactly. And it… It quite stands out, is quite unusual as a name. Yeah, so that’s why I’ve been talking about for the last couple of years. And last year I really got more into… Yeah, the whole subtitle piece because I… You know, I really am a big TV series fan and film fan and, you know, I’ve had sort of disappointing experiences in the past sort of like watching films in foreign languages and being like… You know, I don’t really know what’s going on or… Either they were a bad choice for me. Because like, at one point I was learning Portuguese, and I had this film, City of God. And you know… I know like… I’m trying to watch this, and even when I put the subtitles on, it’s like, “What the hell?”, and it’s like…

So for those of you listening who don’t know, this is like full of slang, they’re in favelas, it’s, like, very informal. Even I, when I watched that, I was just like… Even with subtitles on, I need to translate like, every sentence. I have no idea what’s going on.

Yeah. You know, it’s like “Why are you doing this to yourself? you’re a beginner. Go find something you know easier that’s, designed… And then worry about films, you know, later on.” And even in Spanish, as well. At one point I had kind of like a B1 level in Spanish, but, you know, films are still a bit… A bit tricky, you know. And they’re probably better watched, in some cases, with subtitles, or with kind of… Maybe subtitles for some scenes and no subtitles for other scenes, that kind of thing. Because you’re still not 100 percent there with like, you know, even just your knowledge of grammar and stuff like that. Sometimes you just don’t have enough structures and things to really be able to understand. But there does come a point where you have to like, kind of, take the training wheels off your bike up, you know.

To be let go.

And you have to be like, “Okay, so what is it that happens in Spanish, or any other language? When people talk quickly, when they join words together, when, you know, what’s going on.” Because it’s not just… After a while it’s not just about the words, because I’ve had people say to me “Cara, I switched the subtitles on with what I’m watching and I know the words, but I cannot catch them if I don’t,” you know and there…

That’s a big thing too, right though? Where you get used to just… You don’t have to focus so intently on understanding every single word. You get the message, right? Like, that with me in French, where when I first started and was, you know, B1/B2 I was always a fixator. “Damn! I didn’t hear every single word he was saying,” and then it was more… I kept asking myself, “But did you understand what he was saying?” And it’s like, “Yes, you can follow it, you know it,” and it’s, like, that’s the first thing, as you say letting go and being like, “I don’t need to understand every single word that’s said and be able to transcribe it word for word as they’re speaking. I just need to understand what they’re talking about.”

Yeah. And I think that works for a while, but then like as you get even more and more advanced, and you still kind of noticing some things you can’t hear or can’t understand, that’s where you really have to dig into what’s going on. “Why is it that I can’t understand it? What is it about the way it’s pronounced that I’m not catching words that I know, or expressions I know.”.

So what is Leo-Listening, and how will it help people learn through subtitles? How have you set the system up?

Well it’s… What I’m sort of doing is… With the people I’m working with, who are usually quite advanced and they have a specific TV series that they wanted to understand. You know, we work on just helping them to get rid of the subtitles for that series. Because that’s what they want to be able to do. They want to be able to watch it… As far as possible without the subtitles, because they actually enjoy the whole experience of the series, and all the visual elements like, you know, like we talked about Game of Thrones earlier. And you know, that’s not a series when you want to be, kind of, poring over the subtitles. You want to be like watching the action. So yeah, that’s kind of how we work. And we also going to work on like, you know, giving up any sort of guilt or shame or whatever around the subtitles, because I do work with people who are very competent in English and the, kind of, needing of subtitles is kind of making them doubt their ability…

It feels like riding a bike with training wheels. Everyone…

Exactly! And, you know and some people are frustrated because they’re like, “Well I understand other stuff, I understand you, I understand…” Even like, podcast things like this, like, that’s okay but, you know, films and TV series; they’re still really, really hard and I’m exploring the reasons why I think they are even harder than other forms of spoken English.

Why do you think that is? what have you found so far?

Yeah well there’s like… There’s different reasons. What I think is you can already separate films and TV shows. So, I would always say, like, “Go find a TV series that you want to watch and you want to follow every week.”

Exactly.


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You know. Or even binge watch, you know, watch back to back, because that is going to make your life so much easier, because you’re going to know what’s going on, You have the context. I think this is really important. I don’t like the over-emphasise it but it is still important to have a clear context. And, you know, when you’re seeing the same characters every week, when you’re watching a story develop, like, you are going to know what’s going on. Like, even if there’s some stuff you’re missing. And you know you’re not catching it… Like you’ll feel a bit more reassured. You’ll know what’s going on. It’s less confusing. you even hear the same expressions week-in, week-out, you know, like, a lot of comedy series… The characters, they have their catchphrase that they always use or, you know… So everything is just a bit more grounded in a clear context and you’re more likely to know what’s going on. You know, what happened last week, you know how it connects to what you’re seeing now. Like, everything’s just going to be a bit clearer in the series. And then the thing is when you watch a film… Like, I used the example of sort of getting chucked out of a helicopter in the middle of nowhere, you know. Sometimes they have these programs, like with a guy called Bear Grylls in the U.K. He just got chucked out of a helicopter and he has to find his way back to civilization, right? And he’s in the middle of nowhere. You don’t know where you are. You don’t know what’s going on. You don’t know your next move. And it’s a bit like that when you start watching a film, and you know, I say this even for, you know, French films, which I can understand, or obviously films in English; Sometimes in the first 10 minutes of a film I really do not know what’s happening .  Like, it’s so confusing. You don’t know who these characters are. you don’t know who that… You know, even if you’ve kind of read the back of the DVD or maybe you’ve seen the trailer, you have a rough idea of what it’s about. But, yeah, with films they definitely don’t make it easy. They don’t always explain really ,  really clearly, you know, “This is the hero. This is this is what it’s about.” And I mean that’s like… That’s an artistic thing, you know. They don’t want to make it obvious, because then it would be boring. So I think, yeah, that’s an issue in a lot of films. Like, unless you’re watching like a sequel to a film. You already know… The characters are the same or whatever.

But I guess that emphasizes the fact that you should have watched it previously and sort of, I guess, it’s a luxury for us where we can watch it in English, and then potentially get dubbed in French. But I think for me, at least, when I was learning French and Portuguese I loved reading Harry Potter, because I already knew the story. So it wasn’t a matter of working out who’s this, what’s this, and how does it fit in. It was just “Now I know the story. I can just do it in French I can do it in Portuguese.” So would you recommend that they watch it with subtitles in their own language, or with dubs in their own language first to get an idea and repeat the process?

Yeah I think that’s really really helpful. So it all depends kind of where you’re at in you’re learning. So if you’re more, kind of, into media… It depends how you feel, really. You could watch it dubbed. If you’re not that confident let’s say, and you know that there’s still some bits of English that’re shaky but you’re starting to get into the whole connected speech thing and trying to understand that. You might want to watch it dubbed into your language first, and then come back to me in English with or without the subtitles. And there’s always… There’s always options. There’s options every single step so it’s not like it’s either all subtitles or no subtitles. Like, it’s never… It’s never about that, it’s about you know what helps you. So it might even help you to watch the whole thing through with the subtitles in English. I’m not a big fan of the subtitles in your language because I think that’s too… It’s too confusing, you know, your reading in your language but you’re sort of processing the audio in English at the same time.

You need it you need the whole thing in one sort of language or the other, right?

One language, yeah. And, you know… and then, you know, that I’ll give you the time to like… You’ll get the chance to say “Okay, what’s going on here? Are there genuinely expressions that I don’t know that are new?” That’s one thing. Or are you saying to yourself “That’s interesting. I know that word and it sounds a bit different to what I expect. It’s good to have the supplies to us to make the link sometimes.” So you can watch it like that, and then you could even come back a third time and, you know, take the subtitles off and see what you remember ,  or what you’ve forgotten or what is still hard to catch because this is the worst thing for me… Is when students, you know, even when I go through a clip with them, and I explain everything and they’re… They’ve got the subtitles ,  or the transcript, and they’re like “I still can’t hear that,” like some stuff… It just… It’s going to come, but it doesn’t always come straight away. Even…

So, is the key here though, no matter what you’re watching, repetition? you can’t just go one… “I watched it once and then I got bored, and then I go to the next thing.”

I think it’s repetition and it’s also, like, just doing some work. Because it’s very, very tempting with so many films and shows, and the whole idea of passive listening… That you’re just going to, like…

Absorb it and use it?

Absorb it . .. It’s just, like, going to magically… Like, we all… We all want the magic solution to language learning. We all think that if we just did this it would work. If I just moved to the country. I mean, I did that and I realise now I probably didn’t have to. I mean, I don’t regret it! I’m very happy with my choice because I like living here, but at the same time… With other languages now I’m like “I can’t really be bothered to improve my Spanish because I’d have to move to Spain if I really want to get really good.” And that’s just an excuse. The reality is that I’m not actually that motivated to do it. But if I wanted to have… Maybe not the level I’ve got in French, but certainly a better level in Spanish, there are ways I can do it without having to go to Spain.

Well, that’s it. I did that with French. I mean my French is a bit rusty now, but I got to a very high level from just at home. I’d been there once when I was 16, I hadn’t studied for 10 years, picked it up again, and just through studying… Like, I was watching TV series that I liked but actually writing down words, expressions that I didn’t know, learning them, not just doing the passive thing, and that’s how I really took off. I felt, because I was putting in the time, you know, two, three, four hours a day and it’s…

Amazing!

I think that… That kind of stuff, you could do that anywhere in the world with the Internet now, and it can totally dominate people who are immersed in that culture, but not exposing them to the equivalent amount of time with native speakers. there are plenty of people who don’t make the most of these opportunities when they are even in country, right? So…

Oh yeah, like even for me it was difficult at first because, you know, I was teaching English. All my colleagues were English teachers, and even if they were French their English was, like, way better than my and French. Although my French was quite good, because I could pretty much say what I wanted to say, it’s just that it wasn’t very idiomatic and there were still some lingering mistakes…

There is always the path of least resistance, right? Even if they don’t realize they’ll just go “Ahh, this is the one that we can both communicate in easier.”.

Exactly. So like, you know, and that happens to a lot of people when they go abroad they end up in that, kind of, expat community. Because it is hard to immerse yourself in local culture. So yeah. So I mean there’s absolutely no reason, and I think your example of living in Australia where you’re so just geographically isolated… Like, you can’t just… The nearest French speaking country to you. ..

The fortunate thing for me is that you’d have places like…

Haiti! French Polynesia!

Exactly, you’d have, like Vanuatu or whatever, but you’d never meet people from there. But the good thing, I guess, was I was living in Melbourne and knew a lot of French people and there were language meet ups, so I could… So long as I actively pushed myself I could use it with native speakers but if I sat on my arse every day it wouldn’t happen. Just the same as if I was in the country sitting on my butt or surrounded by English speakers. It just it doesn’t happen on its own I guess is the key point.

No it doesn’t happen on its own and it’s tempting to sort of be like “Well I’ll just immerse myself” and it it’s like . .. Even when you were kids, you know, you got three years of just full on contact with your parents or caregivers, you know, and they are communicating with you all the time, simplifying the message like… You know, it’s designed so that you learn the language, you know, no matter what we say there’s probably a bit of neural wiring or priming for language that helps us but ultimately you get a lot of help when you’re a little kid and you’re really encouraged to speak and if you don’t speak you don’t get the things you want. So you’ve got that motivation.

But the funny thing is to with them, right, they’re during passive listening for two years before they start speaking. And it’s not like they just suddenly start speaking fluently, they start speaking one word at a time.

Even little babies they make… Before they make the first word they did this thing called . .. What’s it called? “Reduplicated babbling,” or something or…

When they’re working their mouth out?

“…Bababababa, dadadadadada”. They’re not saying “Dada”, they are just like they’re just playing around with different sounds and there is a period, apparently, when you’re a baby where you’re like playing around with… You can make all the sounds in the world, and then you narrowing down to the range of sounds you need for the language that you hear, and I think it’s amazing! When you’re a baby you’re a linguistic genius, like you could pronounce anything!

It’s incredibly hard work afterwards. So what would you say if I came to you and I said “Okay, I’m moving to Australia, or I’ve just moved to Australia. What do you suggest I do if I’m intermediate to advanced level in English and I want to use TV series or movies with subtitles or, you know, ultimately get rid of the subtitles.”. What advice would you have for them for how to go about doing that, and obviously how Leo-Listening can help them do that?

Okay so I always start off with like picking sort of one series you want to follow.  Because kind of going around with the logic of, like “Well I want to watch all these series,” or like, “One of these series is going to be easier than all the others.” And ultimately like they’re all going to have their difficulties if they are normal TV series designed for native speakers of the language they’re going to have some difficulty somewhere. You know what I mean? Like… So just pick one that you really want to watch and that you’re really interested in and that will motivate you to watch it. And then I think after it kind of depends on you – how you want to use it. Because you can use the series in different ways because you could say “I am going to switch the subtitles on for this one but I’m going to use it to kind of mine it for new language,”

Exactly.


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“So I’m going to write… I’m going to write down new expressions or I’m going… going to practice pronouncing, so them I’m going to replay sections and try and kind of copy the way people are speaking. And it’s really good when you have that visual element as well because you’ve got, you know, you can watch the lip movements and gestures. Then if you’re working more on the listening piece what I prefer people to do is, you know, kind of watch without subtitles initially, try and get what’s going on. Kind of self evaluate as well to say, you know, “How much can I catch?” Because for me kind of the magic number is if you feel that you’re getting about 80 percent of what you hear without the subtitles for me that’s a sign that you are good to go. You can keep them off. The other 20 percent… It’s going to be unknown expressions it’s going to be cultural things that you just don’t know. Either you don’t worry about them or if it really bothers you go and ask someone about them and then a bit of . .. Did I mention unknown vocabulary? Yeah that would be yeah… The rest is going to be unknown or a really weird pronunciation of something… Things that aren’t important and then once you’ve got 80 percent you can just use all the visual element s  to give you the remaining 20 percent.

And so how do you turn it up and start, like, if you do get to that point where it’s 80 percent or more, how do you recommend getting to the next level? Should you go out and actively look for things that are harder or just keep… Find a new series – repeat the process.

I would… Yeah, I would start repeating the process. You could also do… I mean after . .. Once you’re at that level then you can really start using the series to kind of enrich your English. So at that point you might want to switch on the subtitles again because you’re like “Ooh, that sounds like a new expression. I want to learn how to use that. I’m going to take that and I’m going to test using it in the real world to try and figure out what it means from context.” And I interviewed another teacher a couple of… a couple of years ago… No, a couple of weeks ago I interviewed Tricia from Vagabond English, who is big on reading in English and then also journaling so she was talking about how to do that for TV series and her idea was you know you could just take an expression and then just decide I’m going to journal a little story with this expression or I’m going to you know just practice writing something or I’m going to take what happened in this scene in the series and I’m going to predict what’s going to come next or I’m going to write just something basic…

That pairs really well right? With the listening especially because your doing the passive thing and then you’re doing the active thing creating with this stuff that you’ve just learnt.

But there’s loads of other ideas as well for creation.Like, again last year I interviewed Anne Marie from Speak Confident English and we were talking about this idea of like listening to a podcast and listening to it with a friend. So like, you kind of both go off and listen to it and then you meet up and you have a chat about it. And you could so do that with TV series and it’s what happens in the real world if you go on Facebook. I’m in various groups for different TV series. So the fans are in the group that are discussing the series. They are discussing the actors, what they’re up to you know. So there is another example of how you can take what you’re doing on your own and what could end up being a bit passive if you’re not careful and making it something really active where you then use… You know, the language that you’ve… And where you can also ask questions you know. You know I’d be happy to help somebody in a film or TV series group like you know tell me what this means or I didn’t really understand what is going on. There’s so much potential for that kind of like all over the Internet because there’s fans of series discussing things all day long like you know especially for a series like Game of Thrones where everybody’s like what’s going to happen. There’s so much potential there for, like, doing creative writing, discussing meeting people who are fans, like, there’s just so much potential.

And so what length of time does this process usually take from them going from, I guess, having ah… doing okay they can follow it as long as the subtitles are on there. How long does it take for them to sort of go training wheels free and remove the subtitles usually.

Well with the clients I’ve worked with we we get going. The idea is we do it in four weeks. But I’ve had people I’ve worked with, I had one person who after a week she was like “do you know what? Saturday Night I watched series without the subtitles and I felt good. I didn’t get everything but now I realise that I can use actors lip movements and other elements.” And you know it’s fine but again people… It comes back to people maybe being too hard on themselves or expecting too much of themselves. Obviously we all want to go for it like continual improvement. But listening takes a long time to fit… Doing proactive things and not just kind of passively.

Sorry, I lost you there. what’d you say?

I’m trying to figure out is I think that it’s just there is that . .. Yeah i was saying that with listening, you know, obviously you do have to do practical, and it does take time to figure out but at the same time… For some people there’s just the confidence piece that’s missing.

They just need a little push to let go and give it a go.

Sometimes it is just a matter of they just need to be told or taught to let go and just try it and then all of a sudden they’re like “Oh I can do this. It’s not that bad.”

It’s not that bad and you know I know I’m getting them to do practical things like try to pronounce things like the character said them because that’s going to reinforce your listening. Even if you’re not going to say that in real life and then that gets your ear training. But then there’s also just the confidence piece I think as well as big… Is a big one. So… So yeah, you can go quite quickly I have sort of surprised myself… But sometimes we also have to accept that like I was working with someone else on True Detective where you’ve got Matthew McConnell he is one of the actors. So yeah, amazing actor but he is Texan I think so already that’s kind of a difficult accent from the U.S., because it’s not a standard one and he’s just somebody who doesn’t articulate very clearly and his character…

He’s mumbling!

And so in True Detective I was just like you know if you want to put the subtitles on for his scenes like I’m not going to blame you nobody’s going to… There’s no judgment here because he’s really hard to understand. Like, there just some there are some situations where, like, it’s really not your fault.

I think natives have that right? I remember watching Billy Connolly, the comedian from Scotland, and having to ask my dad or watch with subtitles because I didn’t understand his accent and I was a native speaker who was in my early 20s.

It’s not always your fault that it’s a big thing of what I’m trying to help people with .  You know, you have to judge, you know, you have to kind of judge for yourself where you’re at. You know if you can only catch 50 percent of something there’s probably a lot more going on than just… It’s a mixture of listening problems ,  just not knowing enough English, and you know other things going on. That can obviously be fixed but you have to kind of figure out where you are and most people never stopped to take the time to actually assess what do they know what they don’t know they just kind of listen and hope that it will fall into place one day.

Exactly, you’re doing it blind, right? But that’s the long way.

That’s it, and, you know, a lot of learning is to do with feedback and reflection ,  you know? Feedback, reflection. You know that’s how you progress but if you’re not getting either of those… Well it kind of just nonsense.

Just one quick anecdote before we finish up. This happened with me doing jujitsu, right, so jujitsu is this martial art where it’s very complicated. You’re effectively wrestling in these submission holds and you would tend to have two kinds of people that would show up to class. They’d be the kind of person who would just wing it and he didn’t give a shit about anyone else, what they thought. He didn’t ask why did you get me. Why did you submit me what did I do wrong. He would just show it… Show up all the time, every day. He never asked for feedback. He never asked what am I doing. Never looked for his mistakes and then there would be the other guy who would come in and every time he was caught he got submitted. He some sort of mistake obviously happened. He asked. He adjusted and he fixed it and he sky rocketed with with his skill. And so I think that’s the kind of thing with English; a lot of people just go Whoa I just need exposure. So I’d just go all the time and I use it all the time. But it’s if you’re not trying to actively improve your errors and fix the bits that you’re weakest at, there needs to be that active process involved. Otherwise it’s a lot longer to get to the top right.

Yeah exactly. Even though you are… You’re on the right track and you’re motivated to immerse yourself. Yeah you do need to take a step back as well. Yeah have to think about it. So we learn.

So where can people get a hold of you?

So they come to the website. The website address is a bit annoying because it’s “leo-listening.com“. I mean if you…

It’ll be linked in the transcript guys and on the websites so you’ll be able to find it at or below in the description if this is on YouTube. So

Exactly, if this is a video just go under the video. I have my website and then I am on Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest as well, for people who like visual things. So yeah those are the main… Those are the main places where people can find me.

Brilliant well get on it guys, if you like watching TV series and you want to get subtitled free, go and harass Cara at leo-listening.com for some tuition and within four weeks hopefully you’ll be seeing some really good results. So thank you so much Cara, for coming on the podcast today. It was lovely.

Thanks Pete, bye.

See you guys.

****

Alright, guys, I hope you enjoyed that interview. Remember, if you would like to see the first part of this video make sure that you click the card up here. Go and check it out where she talks about French culture, learning French, and moving to France.

Also, don’t forget to hit that subscribe button and the bell icon if you would like to stay up to date with all the new episodes coming out on this channel every week.

Guys, thank you so much for sticking around and I’ll see you in the next one!

Catch ya!


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AE 441 – Interview: French vs Australian Culture with Cara Leopold


Learn Australian English in this interview episode of the Aussie English Podcast where I chat to my mate Cara Leopold from Leo-Listening about French vs Australian culture, moving to France, and learning French.

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AE 441 – Interview:

French vs Australian Culture with Cara Leopold

What’s going on, guys? Today I have a really cool little interview for you and it is with Cara Leopold from Leo-Listening.com. So, this is a really cool interview. This is part 1 where we’re going to be talking about how she ended up moving to France, how she learnt French, and how she adapted to the French culture.

So, it’s a really cool interview, guys. She also has an interesting accent. So, see if you can pick where she’s from.

I hope you enjoy this one. And make sure you stay tuned for the second interview, which will be out shortly about how to stop using subtitles when you watch movies.

Stay tuned. It’s a ripper!

****

G’day guys! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. I have a special guest for you today, on today’s interview episode, and you might notice that she has a slightly different accent from me. Cara from Leo-Listening.com. Thanks for coming on the podcast and chatting to us about getting subtitle free.

Hiya Pete, yeah, thanks for introducing me, and yes, we do have a slightly… a slightly different accent.

Can you tell me where yours is from? Can you tell me about…

Well, mine is a bit… Mine is a bit of a mess… because I… I as a kid I used to live in Scotland. So I lived in Scotland until I was 11 or 12, and you know, All my family are Scottish, you know. And then so when I was 11, almost 12, we moved to England. We moved to a city called Nottingham, in England. So, like, my accent started to change really rapidly because I was kind of dropped straight into secondary school, and everyone was like, you know, “You sound so Scottish!, I can’t understand you!”, I didn’t have like a really… You know… I didn’t have like a really broad Glaswegian accent like…

Billy Connolly!

I hadn’t even lived… I was born in Glasgow, but I actually lived somewhere else in Scotland. So… Like, I actually… like me and my brother had different accents to my parents, because my mum is from Glasgow, my dad’s from another place, so like, we all had different accents. So even the people talking about the Scottish accent, it’s so… Like… It’s quite fine tuning in the UK. Like, you kinda go 20 miles and it changes, which sounds crazy!

I always wanted to know how does that… how does that… I guess, continue into modern day life when the world is so connected, and you would think in England, that being such a small island or group islands in the Britain, that you guys would mix around a whole heap! But is it just that everyone is spending their developmental years, as kids, in a very small region, getting their accent kind of cemented, and then when they leave they still hold on to it?

Yeah, it’s a good point, because obviously, like… We’re massively influenced by, like… I mean I’ve always liked watching TV. Like, as a kid I would get up really early on the weekend and, like… Watch programs, and you know… A lot of them are obviously American or even Australian. So you’d think our accents would be influenced as well by like, media. But I don’t know, I think ultimately we’re more influenced by kind of the day to day, like… Context. So when you’re growing up it’s other kids: You don’t want to sound, like… Too different

Yeah, you don’t want to be the outsider, right?

Exactly! Yeah, and I mean obviously that was the case when I moved to England, and I think I quickly adjusted my accent because I didn’t want to, like, stand out… Too much, and I wanted people to understand me but I think they were exaggerating a little bit!

You get sick of repeating yourself, right? When people are like, “What!? What!? what did you say!?”, and you’re just like “ughhhh”, and that pushes you to kind of blend in.

Exactly, yeah. So my… My accent changed quite a bit. Like, some people… Some people still know that I’m… They know that I’m Scottish after speaking to me, even just for, like, a couple of minutes, like, they know. And I mean, I’ve had another Scottish person say to me, you know… Act like I basically know which village you’re from! Because he was from… He was from the same area! He was, like, from the next village. I mean, that sounds insane, but that’s how… Kind of, yeah, specific .  Each… Each accent is. I mean, yeah… That sounds… That sounds crazy, because… In Australia, does it vary very much?

Not the same way. Ours is kind of… There are three… I just did a video on this… There are three sort of accents, or dialects. And it’s the cultivated which is more your upper class, received pronunciation, like the British, you know? you would speak with a very… Very clearly. You would pronounce all the words correctly. Or, at least properly, like according to the dictionary, and you would… You would be very well educated. Have… Tend to be from a rich family. Then there’s the general, which is kind of just everywhere. And then the broad. And the broad tends to be associated with people of… Either from, like, rural areas, where they’re away from the city, or it kind of blends in with the lower class a little bit. So especially with guys. Guys who hang out together a lot. Only Aussie guys. Together they tend to develop a bit of a broader… broader accent than uhm… And especially the further away you get from the cities. But that’s what England fascinates me: Because you guys don’t seem to have the same pattern. And we came from England, right? So we originally came from… At least the majority of us, when we colonized Australia, we’re all from small parts, I think, of England. Some of us kept the Cockney accent. I think that’s part of why we ended up with Rhyming slang. Yeah. But it’ s always funny! I just… It blows my mind how much difference there is in England, and how you guys still have trouble with each other. Because you would imagine, if you… You know, the average Australian hearing cultivated, broad or general will pretty much understand everyone. But then you hear people like, such as yourself, who say kids had trouble understanding you in school. And you’re kind of like, “Don’t you guys watch TV and see Scottish people on TV?”

Yeah… Yeah I don’t… I don’t think it’s 100 percent… I think everyone’s exaggerating a little bit. Like, it doesn’t take that much effort to tune in to someone else’s accent. Especially because, in general, like… It’s only… Like, not everything changes. Not every sound changes, you know? In Scottish… In Scottish-English, like, we pronounce our R’s at the end of the words, which you don’t do in other accents of English. Some of the vowels are different, like… But it’s not massively different. And especially when your accent is quite… isn’t very strong. But yeah it is weird… It is weird you know… And now, obviously, it’s more acceptable, like on TV and in the media, to hear all the different regional accents and some of them are considered quite cool. So yeah. In theory we should be a bit better at understanding each other, but…

It’s funny too. I find that, as an Australian, because we’ve watched so much media that’s not just Australian, as well as movies and TV series, we get so used to these accents. And so we tend to be able to pick where you’re from too in these different countries. Like, I’m not the best at it, but I can tell north versus south and, you know… Like, even in watching Game of Thrones, right? Where they separate them out based on the Scottish accents of the north. And, like, everyone else is down… It’s just crazy… But it’s funny when… Do you guys have trouble with Australians if we go to the UK? Or… Because you guys have watched a lot of Home and Away and Neighbours, you guys know the Aussie accent pretty well?

Yeah! I would be inclined to say that most people, like, even if they don’t watch those soap operas now, like Home and Away and all that… They watched them… Or at uni, instead of going to class they watched Neighbours or Home and Away. So yeah, I think it… I would imagine that it’s less… It’s less difficult. And also, like… Yeah it’s funny… Like, I live in France now and that’s probably also an important part of the accent-piece. And so last night on French TV, on one of the channels Crocodile Dundee was on.


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Really?

Yeah! Oh you wouldn’t believe some of the stuff they put on French TV.

Was that dubbed though, or was that subtitles?

A good question! I… They probably offered… Because now, with like… Digital TV sometimes with the film we can put it into the original version.

I can’t imagine watching Crocodile Dundee with dubs! Oh my god, that would be atrocious!

It’s really common to dub films. And sometimes, on some channels… because the audience, you know… For that particular channel or film isn’t going to be English speaking, they just leave it in French. You can’t even put it in English if you wanted to!

Yeah, exactly.

So, like, last night we came across Kung Fu Panda. It was on some kid’s channel, and it was only in French! You couldn’t switch it into English.

Oh, wow… But that’s the part that I loved though, as well as I hated, when I was learning French really thoroughly a few years ago. I just love the fact that you could download Game of Thrones with dubs, with subtitles… All in French, and so… You know, you already had watched it in English, you knew the story, but now you could watch it with French voices. Even though was a bit strange, it was a lot more helpful for listening comprehension – not just having subtitles.

Yeah, Subtitles, yeah… that’s it, that’s…. It’s the advantage of France, because they are… They do do a lot of dubbing. You’re going to be able to find material. and sometimes it’s really well dubbed! Like… Like they really get it right, in terms of the tone and the register. So like… So the example I always go to is South Park! It’s a very rude cartoon! the French dubbing of that is amazing… it’s on point. It’s so funny… The kids are, obviously… They are really rude. They swear a lot. They insult each other. And, like… All of that is kept in there, but with… Like, appropriate French expressions for…

The equivalent, because that’s the hardest thing to convey, right? With TV shows like that, where there’s so much more depth to it, pop-culture wise, than just literally translating what they’re saying, you know? That… I am always mind blown when I have friends that have come over from Brazil or France or Spain or wherever it is in the world. They’ve learnt English, and then they get TV shows like South Park or Rick and Morty or even the Simpsons, because so much of it is like… Western pop-culture and references to these… You know, famous people and situations…

Exactly! But yeah, know some… that says what’s good in French and there’s lots of dubbed films that are that are really, you know, well done. So you don’t miss out. But you obviously do miss out on hearing it in English, but at least the dubbing is kind of… It’s, like, loyal to the spirit of the film. I didn’t stick around watching Crocodile Dundee long enough to actually see if it was an English or the dubbed version because it would be… I don’t know what they do to do Crocodile Dundee. Like, how did they make him speak? What accent did they give him? Like…

What’s a broad French accent? The Racaille or…?

Yeah! Sometimes what they do… Yeah they could make him speak like… Yeah, no, I don’t think that would work…What they… What they could do is make him speak like someone really rural I guess. Or sort of country folk. I don’t know where I was going with my was my train of thought… Oh yeah! It’s like sometimes… Like you know in South Park there’s a character who’s British: Pip.

Yeah, of course.

So what they do in the French version is that he is dubbed with a strong English accent in French.

Because, yeah, it’s like how do you convey that message too, of like, Pip has an English accent on an American TV show with American kids, which makes him sound incredibly pretentious and posh. How do you translate that into other languages and cultures? Because you can’t really just give him an English accent because people won’t get it. The French still leave him as English, but speaking French with a strong English accent.

Exactly! Yeah. Oh I’m so annoyed now! I should have watched a few minutes of Crocodile Dundee, just to figure out… Because they couldn’t do it like basically a French voice with a strong kind of Australian sounding, or at least anglophone sounding accent.

Je suis Crocodile Dundee, Comment allez-vous?! Yeah, that’d be amazing!

Ça, c’est un couteau!

Yeah! I was about to say that. “C’est pas un couteau!”. That’s not a knife!

Ça, c’est un couteau! Yeah, I don’t… I don’t… Yeah, I’m going to… I’m going have to YouTube that in a second and find the dubbed version just to double check how they… How they do it.

So how did you end up in France, though? What’s the story there? And how’ve you found the language learning experience over in France?

Yeah! So, like, I studied French at university.

Really?

Yeah, so I studied linguistics and I studied French, and… Yeah I just… I wanted to, and I had spent some time in France, like, during the summers, between years at uni, and I just was like “Yeah! I wanna… I want to go and live in France, after.” So, like, a lot of people do the year abroad where they go and study in a French university or something like this. I didn’t actually do that, for various reasons. And then my university had like a link with the university in the city where I live now, which is called Besançon. So, there was an opportunity for me to come over after my studies and teach English. So I was like “Yeah! I want to do that because I’m interested in teaching English as a foreign language. I want to live in France and… You know, there’s the possibility of us…

Ticking all the boxes, huh?

It’s ticking all the boxes! And it was a really cool job because it’s, like, they pay you the minimum wage but you have like 12 hours of teaching a week.

Wow! Okay.

So you’re getting paid as if you’re doing 35… Wait! Obviously…

The lower end… The lower end of 35 hours a week right, though? Like, pay-wise?

But yeah… But, like, it’s fine if you’re a young single person on the minimum wage in France. It’s like… The cost of living is okay. So… Yeah it was really cool. I did. I had a job for a couple of years teaching in a university, which is quite… It’s quite a steep learning curve when you go to work in a university in France because it’s very different to the way a university works in the U.K., and the way I imagine it works in Australia.

So how does it differ?

It’s quite chaotic! Because, like, as long as you’ve got the baccalauréat, you can go to university. This is changing at the moment and this is why some French universities are on strike, because they want to introduce selection before you get into uni. Essentially what happens in France is loads of people turn up… The first year is really the year of selection. So, like, a lot of people just drop out because they don’t really know why they were there in the first place. Especially ,  you know, I was working in the sort of humanities, languages and faculté. A lot of people just kind of turn up there because they’ve finished school, they don’t know what to do, they’ve heard that if you study a language or sociology the workload is a bit lighter: You don’t have as many classes, so they are like “Okay I’m just going to enroll here!” because it’s very cheap to enroll, or even free, and some people get bursaries. So it is really good in that sense, it’s really open. But that means that, like, it’s quite chaotic because… you know they have classes that are supposed to be kind of seminar style, but, like, one time in one of these classes I had like 47 students. Like, obviously they didn’t all turn up… It didn’t all turn up, like, fortunately. But I think for the test, though, they were probably… They were probably all there. Yeah that was probably the time I had counted 47. So that’s supposed to be like an English class where they’re supposed to be doing oral expression. And even if the maximum is supposed to be more like 30, that’s still, like, way too many people.

Well you just don’t have enough time, right? To get them all to talk and to be involved more deeply.

Yeah, there’s a lot of crowd control because French people, they really like talking. Like, it’s not uncommon for people to talk all the way through even a lecture! Like… And I had colleagues from other countries who were so shocked! Like, I had a Brazilian colleague…

That ‘d be a big no-no in Australia. You would get thrown out.

Oh yeah! Like, it’s so rude. And yeah, so the Brazilian colleague was like, you know, “I was doing a lecture and people are just, you know, they don’t shut up, like… ,” So yeah it’s definitely different. You’re sort of less well looked after if you’re a student in France. You’re kind of left to your own devices to kind of muddle… Muddle through, you know, and then figure it out. So yeah, not everybody ends up finishing university. Like, a lot of people leave or do something else.

So was there a lot of culture shock though too, when you went over there? Like, the different food, the different, I guess, etiquette with people, right? There’s a bit of a difference there, too and…

Yeah, like, there were some there’s some stuff I knew from spending a bit of time, like… Like, I’d been to a summer school at a French university and I’d done some homestays with French families a little bit. So I kind of knew what to expect. So that helped a bit. But, yeah, I hadn’t actually spent that much time in France, like, in… When I was younger. Like, it wasn’t really a holiday destination for us, like, you know a lot of British people like to go to Spain.

Exactly.

I probably went there on holiday, or even just on holiday in Scotland, or whatever, so… But yeah, so like me the most important things I knew, but some things were still really, like, hard for me, when I arrived, like… Like, you know, it’s really important to… When you going to shop in France you have to say “Bonjour,” whereas in the English speaking world you can kind of… You can kind of just sneak in.

Exactly.


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So you don’t always have to say, unless it’s a really small kind of independent shop, then you might say something to the person who is working there. But, yeah, in France it is really important to announce your arrival by saying bonjour, or they’re suppossed to say bonjour to you.

So, like, directly to them, or just like as in “Bonjour!”? Like, is it you walk in and you’re like “I’m here!”

Sometimes I’ll go into the bakery. If there’s a bit of a queue, I might be like “Bonjour”. It’s just like a general bonjour to everyone. Some people are a bit like… Like a sort of… Yeah, some people will come in and be like, “Bonjour mesieurdames!”, you know, they’re kind of addressing everybody in the shop, you know. I don’t I’d walk in there like I just kinda mumble a “Hello”.

It’s so funny, the differences I notice too, because like I’m learning Brazilian Portuguese at the moment, and they are so relaxed, and they have these same sort of expressions. Like, they’ll say things like “Oi gente”, which is like “Hi people,” or “Oi galera!”. “Oi galera”, which is like when you’re addressing a lot of people at once. On Facebook they’ll always write, “Oi galera!” in the groups, and it means like “Hi, gallery,” you know, like a gallery of people.

Interesting!

I love how that changes but that is it, “Mesieursdames”? like… It’s like “Mr., Mrs., hello,”

“Monsieurdame! Bonsoir, monsieurdame! Monsieurdame”. Yeah… That’s something you have to just be careful with. And then, yeah, because, like, some things are a bit more formal in day to day life, so the whole thing of going into the shop and saying “Bonjour!” And the thing that always cracks me up, right, I noticed… I caught onto the fact that if you don’t know someone, even if they’re more or less your age…

You’ve got to do the “vous” thing, right?

Yeah, well… Not that, but it’s, like, the first time you meet someone you would say “Bonjour.” So even if it’s a younger person around your same age, because I was like “Oh, surely I can just say ‘salut’,” which is like “Hi!”. But no! If you’ve never met you say “Bonjour.”

I never knew that.

I’ve noticed that, and I’m like, “This is stupid because otherwise, if you’re young and you meet another young person for the first time you can’t just “Tu”. You know, if you’re both 25 you just say “Tu”. I mean I’m 32 now, so I’m probably leaving that kind of zone of being able to just say “Tu” to whoever I want. Yeah, and if people perceive you as younger… Like, I had to go and see a sort of specialist doctor yesterday, and it got a bit weird because, you know, he’s calling me “Vous” initially, and then he was sort of using “Tu”, because it’s like “Oh, well she’s young.” I don’t know what… I was just like “You know, you’ve got to decide mate because…”

I guess, for the context of listeners, the French have “vous,” which is like polite, plural “you”, and “tu,” which is like singular… I guess not impolite, but is kind of informal, right? It’s what you would use with friends.

It’s how you get closer to someone, you know. So that concept is difficult for French people learning English. It’s like “Well how do I show I’m the same level as someone?”, and it’s like “Well you can’t do it with a pronoun. You do it with other things.”

And the funny thing is that I’m always telling my students that in Australia you will… It’s like we automatically call everyone “tu” because it shows that we’re all friends, and that we’re all mates. So if I met the Prime Minister of Australia tomorrow, you know, like that dude at the top of Australia, he would probably say to me “G’day mate,” you know, which he would treat me like I was his best friend and that’s just like a weird Australian thing, where I think it’s partly where the anti-British establishment from when we were a colony, you know, the last few hundred years, and as a result of rebelling against the classes we treat everyone like they’re our mates, and so it’s just so weird. Like, I don’t know how I would act in front of the queen, you know. Like, I mean I probably wouldn’t say “G’day mate,” but it would feel like…

Probably not.

“How’s it going?”.

“You alright, how’s Philip?”.

Yeah exactly! That’s it, I know. But that’s the funny thing: That in Australia the good thing is that you can get away with calling people “mate”, or even saying “dude”.

I noticed recently, going around to different stores I was filming some stuff for videos, and I was referring to people as just “Dude”… “Hey dude, how you going?” Like, you know and people… They just don’t even flinch, it’s just “Yeah, whatever.”

That’s interesting because French life is definitely more formal, like… Also the thing… For a couple of years I worked in a French company, and I was in… It was industrial, so there was a factory and then there were office bits. And it just… It’s comical to me, again, like just spending all day bumping into people in the corridor going “Bonjour,” or you like… You run into the HR manger, “Bonjour,” shake hands. You run into the boss of the factory, “Bonjour!”, shake hands, “Bonjour!”, shake hands. And it’s just like “Is this like a Monty Python sketch?” Like, you know sometimes it just feels really silly to me, some of this sort of, you know, formal rules. But yeah the craziest one for me is “Okay, you don’t know this person, but you’re about the same age, you know, but you can’t ‘salut’ the first time ,  you must say ‘bonjour,’ but after that you can say ‘salut’ to this person whenever you want.”

That’s an unspoken rule, is it too? Where you don’t even… It’s not even like “Oh yeah! Make sure you do this,” It’s just something everyone seems to do, is it?

I’m going to have to double check it with some French people and some Anglophones, but for me… I’ve definitely noticed that .  Like, you know, I’ve said “Salut!” to someone I’m being introduced to and then they’ve said “Bonjour” back! And I’m like “well… that was awkward.” Like…

You could just be like “Quoi de neuf mon pot!?”, you know, “What’s up, matey?”.

I think I’ll try that! Then at the same time you have to kiss them on the cheek. So it’s like… Alright, so, I can’t just say hi to you but I kiss next to your face? How… This doesn’t make any sense! Like, I should be able to say “salut” when we’re getting, you know, very close physically but…

Do you get leeway though, too? because you’re obviously not French. Do people at least go “Okay. Alright, you know, she’s not trying to be rude or anything, she just doesn’t get that we do these things without… that are unspoken rules, you know?”

Yeah I think I probably get away with… Yeah, to a certain extent. And also it depends on the environment. So in the university environment people do tend to use “tu” with each other. Very easily between colleagues. Obviously it it’s the dean of the university you’d have to use “vous”. But that’s quite… Whereas some workplaces… I think it just depends on the workplace culture, like how formal it is or not.

It’s so interesting though, that even obviously we have these same problems, between two cultures… Two cultures that you would imagine would be incredibly close to one another, France and England, and yet you guys have relatively big differences that you kind of have to stumble your way through when you’re learning how to… how to navigate that culture.

Definitely, definitely. Yeah. You can’t really understand it fully, I think, until you’ve seen it, kind of, on the ground and you’ve tried things out and you have seen the reactions, when you’ve observed people. I think you have to a lot of, kind of, observation of what other people do and then you kind of go in and… You know, you can try it yourself but… Yeah, you have to be a little bit careful, but yeah, you always you can always play that kind of foreigner card.

Would you have any… Any advice for French people learning English and coming to England or even Australia, or even foreigners in general? And, sort of, dos and don’ts, or how to get past this sort of situation? Learn how to how to navigate these situations.

Yeah! I think, like… You know… Yeah, definitely look at what other people are doing and what’s kind of, yeah, acceptable or not. Because ye, some things that are weird from… if you’re coming from any culture where people kiss each other like in France. So when we say “Kiss”, actually what you do is you just touch the other person’s cheek with your cheek and then you make a kissing noise. You know, when you… When you meet someone that you know and you do the *kissing noises* on each cheek, right?

But don’t kiss them on the mouth! That might freak them out!

…Like people… In a lot of Anglican cultures people will hug and I know that’s a bit weird for French people, so…

Yeah, that’s something I’ve encountered quite a bit. Where people I’ll meet for the first time and I’ll just be like “Yea, give us a hug,” you know, “what’s up?” And they’ll be like “…What?” And you’re just like “but that’s just what we do! we’re just friendly,” you know. Like, we don’t shake hands, it’s a bit formal and the kissing, we don’t do, but we hug.

Yeah, yeah! That’s it. Because it’s kind of awkward for my… Like, my partners French, so he doesn’t really… He doesn’t even like doing the kissing, even though it’s, like, in his culture. Although there are some men that he kisses! Like . .. He’s quite into the concert scene here where we live, and he knows people who run record labels and organise concerts, so when he sees them they’re thing is to do the kisses on the cheeks, not the shaking of hands. It’s just… It’s just that in that context… That’s what they kind of do.

See, that’s a big point though, right? No matter what, you know, part of the world you’re going to you kind of have to not just learn in a book what the context is for what you should be doing, but get in there. And then you learn because it might be different for different groups, and friends, and family, and could be anything.

This is… Yeah, this is why it’s really . .. Even like the tu/vous thing, when you start learning about it in books it looks quite straightforward. You’re like “okay.” Do I know the person, or do I not know the person? And then when you’re actually in France they add on like a million extra rules! It’s really, really complicated! But anyway… But yeah, the hugging thing… Yeah, it’s maybe trial and error, or, I don’t know, if it makes you feel weird e d out you’re allowed to say it, you know, you’re saying that it’s…

You need to embrace the fact that you will get a free pass, you know, if you’re a foreigner. People aren’t going to… Their automatic assumption will never be “this guy’s being a jerk, he’s being rude intentionally.” Yeah. So as opposed to if I did. If I did it to another Australian, they would understand instantly that… Well they would have these assumptions about what I know, and what I shouldn’t do or should do. Whereas for you, people will give you a lot of leeway often, because they think you’re getting used to how everything works.

Definitely.

****

Alright, guys. So, that was it for today. I really hope you enjoyed that interview. Massive thanks to Cara from Leo-Listening.com.

Remember that we will be back, although, this guy won’t be back, but we will be back for the second part of this interview shortly so stay tuned and wait for that where you guys will learn how you can stop using subtitles, how you can get passed having to use subtitles when you watch TV shows or movies.

See you in the next one, guys. Bye!


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AE 440 – Expression: Water Under the Bridge


Learn Australian English in this expression episode of the Aussie English Podcast where I teach you to use the expression WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE like a native speaker and also teach you about the history of the Sydney Harbour Bridge!

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AE 440 – Expression: Water Under the Bridge

The great job is done and the 7 years of “Thou shalt not trespass” to the public are relegated into the limbo of forgotten things. The bridge belongs to the man in the street and how he has taken possession of it. Posterity can never experience the thrill that we have known in watching it rise up slowly but surely, until today, it flung wide its gates.

****

G ‘day you mob! How’s it going? And welcome to this episode of Aussie English.

So, this is the Aussie English Podcast, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone wanting to improve their English, and specifically Australian English. It’s aimed at helping you improve your pronunciation, your listening comprehension, your spoken English, and also give you a bit more knowledge when it comes to things like Australian slang, culture, food, all that good stuff. So, welcome to the podcast episode, guys.

Today, is an expiration episode and the expression is ‘water under the bridge’, which we’ll get into shortly.

Intro Scene:

So, quickly, that scene at the start there was from a video from a film covering the opening, the inauguration, of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the year 1932. So, there’ll be a link in the transcript if you would like to watch that entire video. It’s about, what, 80, 90 years old now? And it’s pretty cool seeing all these people wearing different clothing like hats and suits that all come from back in that period, not to mention the fact that the bridge is out in open space. You go there today in Sydney, in the CBD, and there’s buildings everywhere. So, it’s a very cool video to watch.

Anyway guys, this is the Aussie English Podcast, which is brought to you by, first and foremost, you the listener, everyone who supports the podcast whether donating via Patreon, where you can sign up to donate as little as a dollar per month, or whether you’re giving a one-off donation via Paypal, or you’re a student in the Aussie English Classroom. And that is an online classroom where you get access to all the bonus content for each of these episodes, and remember, you can sign up and try that for a dollar for your first 30 days. TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com.

Anyway, guys, let’s get into today’s episode. So, the expression is ‘water under the bridge’, hence why I’m talking about the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I thought that linked in nicely. And I also found a joke, a joke, about bridges. Okay. So, here’s the joke.

Aussie Joke:

So, a man goes to see his doctor and he says to the Doctor, “Doctor! Doctor! I think I’m a bridge! I think I’m a bridge!”, and the doctor asks, “What’s come over you? Why do you think you’re a bridge? What’s come over you?”. And the man replies, “Three cars, a van, and a motorbike!”.

Woo! That’s killer. Alright. So, basically, the joke there is with the phrasal verb ‘to come over someone’. Okay? So, this has multiple meanings. The first one there is the literal version of ‘to come over someone’, like to go over someone, to go over the top of someone, i.e. getting run over by a car, for example. So, “What’s come over you?”. “Three cars, a van, and a motorbike.”, as would come over a bridge.

But, ‘to come over something’, as well, can mean to influence someone suddenly to behave a certain way. So, you could imagine that if the dog that you have in your house starts barking like crazy one night, you might say to it, “What’s come over you, mate? Why are you behaving like this? Why are you suddenly doing this? What’s come over you?”. So, that’s the joke.

Expression:

So, today’s expression, guys, is ‘water under the bridge’. ‘Water under the bridge’. For something to be ‘water under the bridge’.

So, this was suggested by Kel in the Aussie English Classroom private Facebook group. This is where we all get together, all the members of the classroom, the Aussie English Classroom, and we chat in there, we do live videos, we work on our spoken English, and each week, I try to suggest expressions as well as get students’ expressions, and everyone votes on them for this episode.

So, it was a great suggestion Kel. ‘Water under the bridge’. So, great suggestion and it’s an English expression that’s used everywhere. This is not specific to Australia.

Definitions:

So, let’s go through and define the words in the expression ‘water under the bridge’. Okay?

So, ‘water’. I’m sure you guys know what ‘water’ is, a colourless transparent odourless liquid, which forms things like seas, lakes, rivers, rain, and it’s the basis for fluids used in living organisms. Right? You are probably 70 to 80 percent water, and you drink water. The sea is full of water. I’m sure you know what ‘water’ is.

The next word here is a preposition or a particle, ‘under’, right? ‘Under’. To be ‘under’ something that is to be beneath something. It’s the opposite of being above something or on top of something. If you are situated below something, if you are beneath something, you are under something. You know, animals live underground, animals like moles or worms or ants. They live underground.

The last word here is a noun, ‘a bridge’, right? ‘A bridge’. ‘A bridge’ is a structure built to carry a road or a path or a railway across river, road, valley, canyon, or any other obstacle. Okay? ‘A bridge’. So, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is a bridge. And we have a huge one in Melbourne called the West Gate Bridge. And these usually cross things like rivers or bays or roads, as we said before.

Alright. So. they’re the words.

Expression Definition & Origin:

What does the expression mean, though? When we put these words together and we use this expression ‘water under the bridge’, what on earth does that mean? Water under the bridge. Yeah, okay. So, there’s water and it’s under the bridge, what does that mean?

So, literally, ‘water under the bridge’ is exactly that. It is water that is beneath a bridge or water that is flowing below a bridge. It is going under a bridge. So, it’s allowed to flow beneath the bridge and it’s not obstructed by anything. It can freely move underneath a bridge.

But figuratively, when we say that something’s ‘water under a bridge’, it means that whatever’s happened in the past can’t be undone, it can’t be changed, you can’t go back in time and change things, so don’t worry about it. Let’s move on with things. It’s not a big deal. The past is in the past. What’s done is done. What’s happened is unchangeable. Let’s forget about it. It’s a water under the bridge, right? So, imagine it like water passing by under the bridge and it’s gone. It’s done. It’s finished. There’s nothing you can do about it so it’s not a big deal.

And you also hear this used like expressions, ‘what’s done is done’ or ‘the past is in the past’ or simply ‘the past’s the past’.

So, where did this expression originate from? The earliest example I could find was from 1934. So, a song was entitled ‘Water under the bridge’ and it was written by Paul Francis Webster, Lou Pollock, and it was performed by Fred Waring, and this was all the way back in the 1930s, and the first line of the chorus begins as, “We kissed and love flowed through my heart like water under the bridge.”. So, it’s probably not being used exactly as we use it today, but there it is ‘water under the bridge’.

Most recently too, as a quick mention, artists like Adele and Olivia Newton-John actually have songs called ‘Water under the bridge’. So, check those out on YouTube.

Examples:

So, as usual, let’s go through three examples of how I would use this expression. If something’s water under the bridge, what does that mean? How would I use this in day to day life?

1.

Okay, so example number one. Imagine that I’m walking through the city and I stumble into an old friend from primary school. So, I bump into an old friend from school. It was by chance. I didn’t expect to see them. So, I haven’t seen them in like 12 years and we have a bit of a chat after we’ve recognised each other, and maybe one of us realises that the other one was a bit of a brat, a bit of a rascal, in school and maybe bullied me or I bullied them, maybe we teased each other, we paid each other out a lot as kids. If one of us apologises for that and says, “You know what, I was a real naughty kid, I was a bit of a brat, I was a rascal when I was in primary school and I was nasty. Sorry about that. I really apologise for being horrible.”. The other person might say, “Man, that was 12 years ago. Nothing to apologise about. No worries. It was so long ago, it’s a water under the bridge.”. So, it’s in the past it’s unchangeable. It’s so long ago, forget about it. It’s water under the bridge.

2.

Example number two. So, in this example imagine, you know, countries in Europe, in the Americas, in Asia, were all fighting each other in World War II, right? All of these countries were at each other’s throats. They were trying to kill each other. They were fighting for power. People hated each other. There was racism, genocide, rape, murder, torture, the deaths of millions of people. You guys will know about what happened in the 20th century there, in World War II. But today, many of these countries consider themselves allies. They consider themselves friends. They have good relations. They… their relations have improved since that time. So, all of that stuff that happened was in the past. What’s done is done, and today, it’s water under the bridge, right? So, even though England and Germany were on opposite sides in World War II, they’re now good allies in Europe. So, what’s done is done. What’s in the past is in the past. It’s all water under the bridge.

3.

Example Number Three. Okay, so here’s a personal anecdote from me. When I was growing up, my sister and I really didn’t get along. We used to fight each other all the time. We’d be yelling at each other, teasing each other. Maybe my sister would run to my mum and dad and, you know, complain about me, she’d dob on me, or tell on me for something. Maybe I’d pull her hair or steal her toys. And so, we grew up really disliking each other. However today, we get along like a house on fire. We are pretty close, we hang out, we chat, we see each other quite a bit. So, everything that has happened in the past is in the past. What’s done is done. It’s unchangeable, but it’s all water under the bridge. We have a really good relationship now. We’re on good terms. So, if I pulled her aside and apologised to her, she would probably say to me, “Pete, don’t worry about it. It’s so long ago, it’s water under the bridge.”.

Alright guys, so by now, I hope you understand the expression ‘water under the bridge’. Remember, we used this to talk about anything that has happened in the past, a long time ago, and it’s unchangeable. You can’t undo it and you shouldn’t worry about it. So, what’s done is done and what’s in the past is in the past. It’s water under the bridge.

So, let’s do a listen and repeat exercise as usual, guys. This is your chance to practice your pronunciation, to try and focus on intonation and rhythm and connected speech, and if you really want to try and nail your Australian accent, it’s your chance to copy me as I speak. Otherwise, just say these words after me. Okay? So, listen then repeat after me. Let’s go.

Listen & Repeat:

It’s

It’s water

It’s water under

It’s water under the

It’s water under the bridge x 5

Good job. So, now let’s just do a little bit more and I want you to imagine a situation where you want to say to someone, if they’ve apologised to you, that, “It’s not a problem, it’s water under the bridge”. But let’s use some common Australian English phrases. Okay? So, listen and repeat after me, guys. And this is how you would say, “Not to worry. It’s not a problem. It’s water under the bridge.”. So, listen and repeat.

All good. It’s water under the bridge.

Don’t worry. It’s water under the bridge.

No stress. It’s water under the bridge.

No dramas. It’s water under the bridge.

She’ll be right. It’s water under the bridge.

Great job, and I will mention here, if you want to make it even more informal and very, very friendly, you can add ‘mate’ at either end of either of those sentences. So, you could say “She’ll be right, mate. It’s water under the bridge.”, or you could say “She’ll be right. It’s water under the bridge, mate.”.

So, we use ‘mate’ in Australia a lot to really sort of emphasise the friendliness of discussions. Now, we might avoid using this on women, and some women may not decide to use this when they’re talking, in fact, most women probably won’t say ‘mate’, but if you’re a guy listening to this and you’re talking to other guys, especially Australians, don’t be afraid to say ‘mate’. It’ll really come across like you’re being incredibly friendly. Okay? So, there you go.

Alright, guys, remember, if you want to get access to all the bonus content that will break this exercise down, this pronunciation exercise and go through things like connected speech and rhythm, intonation, then sign up to the Aussie English Classroom. Each week at the moment, I am releasing videos that take you through step by step all the aspects of connected speech and pronunciation and will better equip you to sound like an Australian English speaker, and you can sign up there and try it for one dollar for 30 days at TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com.

Aussie Fact:

So, let’s get into the Aussie English fact for today, guys, and then we will finish up.

So, the Aussie fact. Have you guessed what it’s about? It’s about the Sydney Harbour Bridge. So, I want to talk about that and I also want to talk about an interesting incident that occurred at the opening of the bridge in 1932. Alright so, let’s get into it.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is probably in the top three icons or iconic symbols synonymous with Australia. So, you would also know, obviously, the Sydney Opera House and Uluru. Those three things tend to be synonymous symbols with Australia. When you see them, you know you’re thinking about Australia at the same time. So, anyone who knows about Australia will definitely recognise the bridge. And let’s go through some facts about the bridge.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is steel, it’s made of steel, and it is a steel through arch bridge. So, it’s a… it’s made of steel, it’s in the shape of an arch, and you drive through the middle of it. It carries rail, vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney CBD, and the Central Business District, and the North Shore. So, it crosses the bay there.

The bridge is nicknamed the ‘Coathanger’, because of its arch-based design. And ‘a coathanger’ is something that you would hang a coat or any other item of clothing on in a wardrobe.

So, it’s the sixth longest-spanning arch bridge in the world and the tallest steel arch bridge measuring about 134 metres from the very top all the way down to the water level.

Its construction began nearly 100 years ago on the 28th of July in 1923. So, I guess 95 years ago. And it ended nine years later on the 19th of January in 1932. So, talk about a bridge that took a long time to build. Hey guys? And the gates were open to the general public about two months after its construction was complete.

So, the bridge was formally opened on Saturday on the 19th of March in 1932. And following the speeches being given at that event, Jack Lang, who was the Premier of New South Wales at the time, he was about to cut the ribbon and declare the bridge open when a man in military uniform suddenly rode up on a horse brandishing a sword, a sabre, and he slashed the ribbon in two and declared that the Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened in the name of the people of New South Wales before the official ceremony could begin.

So, this man was promptly swarmed by security and he was pulled from his horse, arrested, and escorted from the scene. The ribbon was hurriedly retired and Lang performed the official opening ceremony and the bridge was inaugurated, and the inauguration was followed by a 21-gun salute, as in, 21 guns were fired into the air as a celebration, and the RAAF or ‘RAAF’ the Royal Australian Air Force did a flypast, where all of these planes flew past above the bridge.

So, the intruder on horseback was later identified as Francis De Groot who was ultimately convicted of offensive behaviour and he was fined five pounds after a psychiatric test proved he was sane, but this verdict was reversed on appeal. And strangely enough, de Groot actually successfully sued the Commissioner of Police for wrongful arrest and was awarded an undisclosed out of court settlement. So, he might have even got more money than was the fine he was originally meant to pay, the five pounds, right?

So, De Groot was actually a member of a right-wing paramilitary group called the New Guard who were opposed to Lang’s leftist policies and resentful of the fact that a member of the Royal Family hadn’t been asked to open the bridge. So, these guys were obviously royalists, very passionate about the Royal Family, and wanted them to be at the forefront of this inauguration.

So, De Groot was not a member of the regular army, but he’d worn this uniform and it allowed him to blend in with the rest of the cavalry. So, that’s how he snuck in to this event.

After the official ceremonies, the public was allowed to walk across the bridge and there were somewhere between 300,000 and 1,000,000 people, 1,000,000 people, who took part in the opening festivities. So, that’s ridiculous, that’s crazy, because Sydney’s population at the time was only 1,250,000. So, if we assume that it was 1,000,000 people, that’s almost like 80 percent of the people in Sydney crossing it. And even if it was only 300,000, that’s still something like 20 percent. So, it’s a crazy amount of people that came to check out the bridge. I guess today, we’d probably just, you know, use our iPhones.

Anyway, today you can go and see this bridge. It can be viewed from many parts of Sydney’s CBD. You can get a train across, you can drive across it, you can cycle or walk across it, and you can even climb to the very top of it if you desire.

Anyway, guys, that is it for today. A massive thank you for listening and, I guess, a small mention, just remember, guys, that I am in the process of doing up the website, and when it comes in in the future I will be charging a small fee for the transcripts and the MP3 downloads. And so, the whole point of bringing this in, and the reason I want to remind you, is because I’m hiring other people to work for me to try and help me bring better content for you guys.

So, I thank you so much for all the people who replied to me via email when I sent that out this week. I really, really appreciated the replies that I got, and you guys overwhelmingly told me it was a good idea and that I should definitely start charging so that I can afford to improve the content and improve my English.

So, a massive thank you to you guys, and yeah, thank you for encouraging me, because sometimes it’s difficult to know whether you are making the right decision and that’s why I really enjoy putting it to you guys and asking you guys for your feedback. So, thank you.

Anyway, I’ll see you next week. Have a ripper of a weekend!


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AE 439 – Vlog: Burgers & Beer in Canberra | Australian Food & Culture


Learn Australian English and about Australian food and culture in this vlog episode of Aussie English where Kel and I head to Brod Burgers to grab some burgers & beer for lunch!

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AE 439 – Vlog: Burgers and Beer in Canberra | Australian Food and Culture

Oh! Burger’s. Glassworks. Burgers first. Okay, so here we are Brod Burger’s, guys. Massive selection of burgers on the wall and I think I’ve acquired my target, the Piri Piri. Oh, I love chicken burgers.

I might have to grab a beer as well to wash it down and those Hog beers look pretty good so let’s try those. Oh, man, you had to check out this little tip jar. It was so cute. Although, I don’t think it was edible.

So, I was an idiot and forgot to record myself getting ready to eat this burger. So, instead, I took a photo of it, guys. $16.50 for the Piri Piri Burger, the chicken burger, $3 bucks for the chips as well. So, almost $20 for that. And the steak burger that Kel got was $18 bucks. So, looks incredibly expensive, but this is the kind of price you’re going to pay in Australia for this kind of food. Junk food in Australia, especially takeaway junk food, is not cheap. And beer wise, I didn’t take note of how much the beers cost, but they’re usually, for a study like this, a glass bottle, they’ll usually be about $7 or $8 dollars each, usually. Especially, if they’re craft beers. And, I just grabbed two beers. These are Feral Brewing Company beers. So, they’re really good ones. Local here in Australia. The Smoked Porter. So, quite a dark one there. Got that to try. And the Hop Hog as well. So, I think that’s an IPA and I wanted to give that one to go too.

I’m not usually one for sweets, but straight after the burger we saw these interesting looking desserts of some kind, I’d never seen them, like cronuts* or something like that. So, Kel twisted my arm and we decided to grab one of these things and give it a whirl.

Every time we go somewhere the girlfriend wants to eat something sweet. Yeah, I’m totally full of shit. It was totally my idea.

That’s pretty intense. Man, bring on the diabetes. Holy moly! Oh, geez! It’s pretty brutal.

So, I’m still not 100 percent sure what this thing was, although, it was obviously some kind of pastry that had been made like a doughnut with chocolate sauce on top, and then I think it had custard or some kind of chocolate creme on the inside. So, yeah, sugar, sugar, sugar, and more sugar.

Oh my gosh! That was incredibly rich, but very good. Oh my gosh. Rich!

Alright, guys, we just had burgers and we decided to come down to the Canberra Glassworks, which was right next to the burger place, in fact they joined, and have a bit of a sticky beak, have a poke around and see what it’s like. So, let’s go inside and have a look inside the actual hot room and engine room, see what it’s all about.


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AE 438 – Vlog: He Destroyed My Phone – Part 2


Learn Australian English in this vlog episode of the Aussie English Podcast where I go for a walk with my furry mate Leo (he destroyed my phone) and grab a cup of coffee whilst showing you a bit of Australia!

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AE 438 – Vlog: He Destroyed My Phone – Part 2

G’day, guys! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. I am your host Pete and I am here to help you level up your Australian English or just English in general.

So, this is part two of a two-part series, guys. If you haven’t seen the first part, click the card above should be there, or there, or there.

So, in today’s episode, I am heading to get coffee. I’m taking my mate Leo for a bit of a walk. Seeing what we find along the way and teaching you guys English as well as showing you Australia whilst I do so.

So, sit back relax grab a cuppa and let’s enjoy this episode of watching me get a cuppa… cup of coffee. Let’s go.

Your body and your mind. One, two, three. Bounce.

Calm your farm, mate. This guy wants coffee nearly as badly as I do. Canberra bus stop, guys, cutest bus stops in Australia, and that’s a cockatoo.

We’re getting closer, guys. Coffee! Oh, man, this is so awesome, guys. This is so awesome. I have never seen this in Australia before.

So, I’ve seen signs with kangaroos, with koalas, with wombats, with deer, with camels, all sorts of signs, but I have never seen one with ducks on it.

That is amazing. And it’s because there is a big, big, big pond behind us over here where I imagine there are a lot of ducks with ducklings crossing the road here. That’s crazy.

Mohawk pigeon. Check out his little mohawk! He’s so epic. Well, on second thoughts the jumper was definitely overkill.

It is very warm now that we’ve been walking around for about half an hour filming and coming to this beautiful little…I guess, dam, lake? It’s tiny. It can’t be a lake. But look at that, guys. It’s lovely.

Well, apparently, we can’t swim, but I guess you’re right. Look at that! So, unfair.


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That was a Sulphur-crested cockatoo, guys, and yes, it does sound like it’s dying when its making its call. Let’s have another listen, but this time I’ll slow it down.

It sounds like what I would imagine T-Rex to sound like. Dr. Grant? Oh, man! Jurassic Park was such a bad-arse film.

Spiders! Let’s see if I can line this up for you, guys. These are spiders that… they grab at like a leaf out of a tree or off the ground and then they string it up in their web, they wrap it up, sew it together, and then they sit in it as if they’re not there whilst in their web. So, it’s like camouflage. Pretty cool. And then as soon as any unsuspecting insect falls into the web, bam!, they pounce.

Finally, coffee time! You pumped? You excited? How’s it going, dude? Can I please just grab a large… Cap? …Cappuccino. Yeah, that’s it. Sugar? Nah, all good. Thanks though. $4. No worries, mate. Just on card thanks. Cheers. So, missed the busy part, huh? Yes, although, we were really busy yesterday, not so busy today. Yeah. Does this guy need to wait outside? Nah, he’s alright. Hello puppy. Have you just had a haircut? He’s a bit of a pest. Alright, you’ve got to not poo inside or we get chucked out.

Leo! Leo! Are you excited for coffee, mate? That’s us, Leo. Where is it? Where is it? That’s us! Leo! Leo! That’s us right here, mate!

I found something pretty cool that I want to show you guys. Can you see it? It’s a black swan. So, in Australia we don’t have white swans as people in America or… I think, Canada, or is it just Europe? But normally white swans are European thing.

And here… Oh! Damn dog! Here we have black swans, beautiful black swans, and this guy definitely wants to go and say hello.

So, I reckon these guys are usually fed here, ’cause they do not seem to be that afraid of me. Let’s check out this behemoth. This huge swan. Look at him. Hello. See how close we can get without him raging up or running away. What a beautiful, beautiful little guy. Not phased. Doesn’t care. Let’s see if we can sneak a little bit closer. Wow! Oh, and you’ve got a friend. Amazing. Hello!

Oh my God. This is incredible, guys. I’m right at the water’s edge and I would imagine that these guys are being fed here, although, this guy’s feeding himself. But this one, look at this! I could literally reach out and touch him. Absolutely beautiful.

And these ducks as well. He’s thinking, “There’s no food here!”. Back up. Back up. Any food?

Could you make some more noise, mate? Could you make some more noise? What are you doing? What’s your issue? Jesus! Separation anxiety or something, huh? I was like five metres away. Calm your farm, mate. Calm your farm.

So, this has been my birthday, chilling out with these guys in the background, and this pest.

Tough guy. Very tough. Look at you! You should just hide behind this rock mate. They are not afraid of you. So, tough.

Right, so, obviously the jumper was a bad idea, and I have to tie it around my neck. So, that I can free my hands up and walk the dog, not drop the screen or the camera for another time. But I thought of an expression to teach you guys and it makes sense right now.

So, we were walking pretty close to the road here and I don’t trust this little guy. He’s a bit… He just runs everywhere without thinking.

So, I’ve kept him on a short leash, right? So, as opposed to ‘a long leash’, the leash is very short. This’s an expression that you can use in English when a… I guess, someone in charge of someone else keeps a close eye on them or keeps them under control, they keep the person on a short leash. Okay?

So, it could be literal if you have a leash on… Well, probably not a person. That’d be weird. It could be literal using it on the dog, but it could also be figurative where you’re controlling someone, keeping an eye on them, you’re keeping them under control, you’re keeping them on a short leash.

I have to show you this trick. This is how I get him in, okay? So, I put this on unlock, and then I… Got you now, mate! And I’ll let you go.

So, I’ve a feeling that all the streets around here are named after things or lines in Banjo Patterson’s, Waltzing Matilda. Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong. Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong.

So, if you haven’t got poem out or that song out, definitely check it out. The best part about walking the dog is not the actual walk. It’s the result of the walk.

Alright, guys. Thanks for watching. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you learned a heap of new vocab. And yeah, it’s a shame about the camera screen, but sometimes shit happens and you’ve got to crack a few eggs if you want to make an omelet.

Anyway, don’t forget to hit that ‘Subscribe’ button, guys. Make sure that you smash that bell icon as well so that you stay up to date with all the future videos coming out, and make sure that you comment below and let me know, when’s your birthday? What month?

That’s all from me today, guys. I hope you have a splendid day and I’ll tell you soon. See ya!


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AE 437 – Can We Talk About Aussie English?


Learn Australian English in this Walking With Pete episode of the Aussie English Podcast where I have a chat to you about the future plants for the Aussie English Podcast website.

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AE 437 – Can We Talk About Aussie English?

Hey, guys! What’s going on? Welcome to this episode of Walking with Pete! It’s been a little while that I… I guess, I’ve been focusing on a bunch of the vlogs recently, and they are, more or less, me walking around doing Walking with Pete, in quotation marks there, Walking with Pete episodes.

Man, now, so I’ve just come outside. I wanted to chat to you, guys, about Aussie English, the future of Aussie English, some ideas that I’ve got. I’m in Canberra right now walking up a hill near where I live watching the sunset, and guys… it is phenomenal. It is phenomenal.

So, it’s been raining today and it’s actually quite cold, and it’s just started spitting right now, but the sun is going down. If I can describe to you what I’m seeing.

So, I’m on this hill and it’s like a grassy hill. There’s one tree at the top of this hill that’s beautiful, really big gum tree, pretty old, and there’s suburbia within a few hundred metres of me around all sides, right? But I’m in the middle of a grass field, and I’m looking at the sunset over these mountains, and it’s raining on these mountains, and the beams of light are passing through the rain and hitting these mountains, and it just looks amazing, because there are probably three or four series of mountains, and each one of them gradually gets lighter and lighter. The closer to me you get the darker they are, but it looks phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal, except for the rain.

Anyway, sorry about all the noise in the background if you can hear that, ’cause there’s a festival on at the moment that I just realised is obviously playing over the hill, probably about two kilometres away, but man it’s loud. I can hear… I can almost hear the lyrics from here being said.

And now, I have just walked under a playground, little playground sort of cover overhead. There’s like a canvas above me and it’s… there’s drips coming down in the middle, but it’s covered at least. It’s sort of protected from the rain that’s coming down.

So, yeah, I thought I would come out go for a walk and chat to you, guys.

So, where am I at recently with Aussie English? It’s been going really well, guys, it’s been growing slowly. The Aussie English Classroom‘s doing really well. It’s getting bigger and bigger each each month, you know? It’s not growing as quickly as I would like it, but nonetheless, I can’t complain. It’s doing well, and I’m very appreciative to all the people who are in there and enjoying the content, who are constantly giving me feedback, and, yeah, just I hope it’s really really helping them to upgrade their English. That’s the main idea, right?

So… But I’m still sort of finding my feet there. I’m still trying to work out what the best combination is with regards to lessons, you know? It seems like some of you really like videos, some of you really like MP3s, like audio exercises, some of you really like written exercises. So, it’s been really funny trying to get this balance right where I hit or I tick all of the boxes. So, that is like I get everything that everyone wants into the Classroom.

So, that’s been fun. That’s been growing, but it’s been a lot of work. It’s been a lot of work.

And, what else has been happening? Obviously, too, I’ve been working on the YouTube channel as much as possible, trying to grow that as well, and that’s steadily starting to grow now.

So, you guys might have noticed, originally, I was kind of fluffing about, you know? ‘Fluffing about’, meaning like… not being lazy, in this case, but kind of trying a lot of different things and not really persevering with any one thing. So, I was kind of… I would upload a video about grammar, then I would try something else, then I would do a Walking with Pete episode, and you guys weren’t really responding that well to it, or at least all the subscribers weren’t really watching many of these videos on the YouTube channel.

But recently, it seems that the vlog episodes have really struck a chord with you, guys. Where I go out and I show you my life, I go on little adventures, I video them, I talk to you about different things, give your expressions, and you get to see me interact with people, whether I’m ordering coffee or fish and chips or I’m just talking to my girlfriend Kel or hanging out with my mates, and I think you guys really, really enjoy that. So, I’m going to keep doing that and hopefully the YouTube channel will keep growing.

And that’s been good. That’s been growing a little bit since I put ads on the YouTube channels. So, it’s a few hundred dollars a month now from the ads, and that all goes towards, obviously, being able to make more and more content for you.

But it’s starting to get a bit overwhelming, and that’s why I’ve come to sort of make this episode today. It’s been getting a little crazy because it’s just so much work, right? So, I put up the expression episode each week and I turn into a course for the Aussie English Classroom. And so, I normally start that on about Wednesday or Thursday, and that’s like a few days worth of full-time work where I write it, I research it, I record it, I edit the recording, I find the other materials online that I want to use, you know, to give you access to other pop culture references or videos online on YouTube, to show you other Australians doing other cool things. And then, I have to transcribe it. So, that’s the main thing here today I want to talk about.

I have to transcribe these episodes and get the writing there for you guys, so that you can read these episodes, because I feel like it’s very important for you to have access to the… what’s being said, I guess, the written transcript, so that you can listen and you can be sure that the words you’re hearing what you’re also reading, you know? So, that that you can sort of really, really work on your listening comprehension there.

The trouble is that it takes a lot of work, especially, with the vlog episodes and all the other episodes. I’m trying to put out as much quality content as possible, but I’m realising more and more and more… I’m just sneaking underneath a little cubby here so that I get out of the rain. I’m realising more and more and more that I’m only one person and there’s only so much I can do.

So, where am I going with this? Effectively, what I want to do in the future is rearrange a few things with Aussie English. So, I think we are up to episode now 436 was the last one that I published before recording this Walking with Pete episode. So, this should be 437. And what I’m thinking about doing, guys, is having the transcripts a paid membership for the podcast website.

And I know you’re probably going to freak out, because up until now you’ve had them all for free. And it won’t be that expensive, I’m thinking maybe 5 to 10 dollars a month to have access to all of the transcripts for every single episode.

But the reason that I want to do this, and the reason I feel like I need to do this, is because I’m going to have to hire someone else to do the transcribing for me, because it is just taking me too much time during the week and it’s just really wearing me out. And I’ve realised that the YouTube channel is bringing in money, the Aussie English Classroom is bringing in money, but the podcast website itself isn’t bringing in any revenue at all, and that’s why I know that I’m constantly berating you, guys, I’m constantly asking for donations through Patreon, because originally I thought, “Ok, if I can just get 1% of you guys to donate a few dollars a month that should cover the cost of these transcripts”, so that I can hire someone else to do it, so that I can do more for you, guys, but the trouble is very very very few people have signed up to donate.


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So, that tells me that the majority of you, guys, obviously, using all of this content for free, especially obviously, if you’re not in the Aussie English Classroom, which is good, I mean it it’s probably what I would do. It’s been free this whole time and I’ve definitely encouraged you guys to take advantage of that fact. But, that shows me I think that I’m just giving away way too much for free. Too much of the content that I’m creating I’m not getting paid for, in one way or another, right?

So, it’s been difficult, because I’ve always wanted to keep this free, but I realise that, in order to keep doing this and in order to keep sort of enjoying myself and not being stressed out, not looking at every single episode as a bigger and bigger mountain that I’m, you know, not getting paid what I feel like I should be, you know, to be blunt. I feel like I need to get a little bit more than what I’m currently making to make this… to make it justifiable, all of this effort.

Anyway, that’s where my mind currently is at the moment. I’m not bringing that in overnight. I wanted to talk to you guys about this. I want to hear what you think. I want you to reply to me, whether you send me an e-mail or a message on Facebook, and I want you to tell me what you think. Is this fair? You know, if I charge you the equivalent of 50 cents an episode or a dollar an episode to get access to the podcast website so that you can read these transcripts and download them and work on them, do you think that’s fair? Taking… taking in mind, obviously, the fact that I want to use that money to hire someone else, to pay someone else, to do the transcripts for me so that I’m freer to do other things like create the episodes themselves.

So, that’s what I’m thinking at the moment, guys. I really want to get your feedback, I want to know what I think. I wanna know what you value. And, as always, if you… if you have suggestions, if you have feedback, please, please, please feel free to give it to me. I don’t mind if it’s critical, just be, you know, open and honest about it. And, yeah… I think that’s about everything that I wanted to say today.

So, I’m constantly trying to work out how to improve the podcast, how to better serve you guys, and how to keep upping the quality so that you guys enjoy yourselves more and can learn English even faster.

So, that’s the basic idea. Please let me know what you think, guys, and I will see you in the next episode. Thanks! See you guys!

Please let me know what you think

Comment below

Or email me – theaussieenglishpodcast (at) gmail.com


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AE 436 – Expression: Pack a Punch


Learn Australian English in this expression episode of The Aussie English Podcast where I teach you how to use the English expression PACK A PUNCH like a native speaker.

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AE 436 – Expression: Pack A Punch

Well, we’re not sure what’s gone on here, but the roo has the dog, not the other way around. Max calmly waits for his owner to come and help. The roo sees the odds stacking against him and tries to gut the dog with his claws one last time. His powerful arms anchor the dog by the breast plate as Max doubles his efforts to escape. Finally, the roo switches his attention to Tongs and sizes up the human to be his next victim. Tongs gives the kangaroo his space, but the cranky buck comes forward ready to attack. To save himself, he launches a right hand to the kangaroo’s snout.

****

G’day, you mob! How is it going? And welcome to this episode of Aussie English.

So, it’s been an interesting week. As you will have seen, I smashed my phone, or at least Leo the dog smashed my phone, and you can see that He Destroyed My Phone vlog video or podcast episode. You probably saw that. So, I had to fork out a bit of money and get that repaired this week, which wasn’t amazing. And then, also ended up having to get some new shoes. So, I had somehow gotten a hole in the back of one of my shoes, and I had recently bought these shoes, I think over Christmas, and had to go and get some new shoes, because these ones were starting to rub the back of my foot. Very, very uncomfortable.

Anyway, so we go to Athlete’s Foot, a store in one of the malls here. It’s a very common store in Australia, Athlete’s Foot, though, it’s funny, because athlete’s foot is the… I think, it’s tinea, the fungi that you get in your foot. We call that ‘athlete’s foot’ as well. So, it’s always funny that there’s a store called Athlete’s Foot.

Anyway, I go get these new shoes, right? So, they test your feet. They get you to stand on this machine. You walk on the machine so that they can see where the pressure is moving through your feet as you walk. So, they can give you better shoes, I guess, for your feet. And so, we do that. She brings out a few different pairs of shoes. I try them on. I pick the best one, well, the best pair, rather. And then all of a sudden, when I got to pay for it, it was like $240, guys, $240. Jesus!

So, a lot of money. Yeah, I’d forgotten just how much proper running shoes in Australia can cost. So, nearly $250 bucks. So, that was a treat, I guess, but you’ve got to take care of your feet, right? If you’re doing a lot of walking you’re doing a lot of vlogging and podcasting whilst on the move, you need to take care of your feet.

Anyway, so that’s been my week. I also have my birthday, and thanks for everyone who is wishing me happy birthday after the vlog that came out with Leo, He Destroyed My Phone. That actually happened on my birthday. So, that was interesting.

Intro Scene:

Anyway, the movie scene at the start today, guys, that was audio from a ViralHog video on YouTube. So, this is a YouTube channel that gets these viral videos and licenses them. It’s… definitely recommend that you go and watch this video on ViralHog’s YouTube channel. It is an absolute classic. It is very Australian.

So, effectively what’s happening there is that it’s a dangerous situation where a pig dog, a dog that’s been trained to hunt pigs, has been grabbed by a powerful male buck kangaroo, and he could be disemboweled by this kangaroo. So, kangaroos have these claws on their back legs, they kick, and they can actually kill dogs by disemboweling them, scratching them to death, if you’re not careful.

So, the guy who’s the pig dog owner jumps off the car, runs over to try and save the dog, the dog gets away from the kangaroo, and the kangaroo tries to stand up and face this guy like he was going to kick him, and the guy punches the kangaroo in the face. Anyway, it’s a pretty funny strange video. I recommend you go check it out on ViralHog’s YouTube channel.

Anyway, guys, this is The Aussie English Podcast, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone learning Australian English. If you’ve been listening for a while, thanks. It’s great to have you back. If it’s your first time, welcome. I hope you enjoy this podcast episode.

The Podcast is brought to you by The Aussie English Classroom, which is the online classroom website that I have to help you learn English even faster. You can sign up there if you want all the bonus content for these episodes, bonus videos, MP3s, PDFs, quizzes, exercises, everything else to really help you study and learn English faster.

And aside from that, if you would like to support the podcast, you can do so by donating via my Patreon page, which you can donate as little as a dollar a month. You can donate more. Totally up to you. Or you can do a one-off donation via PayPal. And all of this money just goes towards helping me bring you more content. And I really, really appreciate everyone who has donated or everyone who signed up to the Aussie English Classroom so far. You guys are amazing. Thank you.

Don’t forget, also, to get the free download for this episode if you want to study that on your computer. Go to the website, follow the link, wherever that is where you’re listening, and you will be able to get the PDF and the MP3.

Aussie Joke:

Anyway, guys, today’s Aussie joke. So, today’s Aussie expression is related to punching, it’s related to boxing, and so I thought it was only appropriate to have an Aussie joke, or a joke, just to joke in general, doesn’t to be Australian, related to boxing, related to punching. So, here’s the joke.

What is a box’s favourite part of a joke? What is a boxer’s favourite part of a joke? The punchline! Do you get it? The punchline.

So, ‘the punchline’ is that final line that makes the joke, right? And in this case the punchline is literally when I said, “the punchline”. What’s a boxer’s favorite part of a joke? The punchline.

So, it’s a pun, it’s a play on words, with the word ‘punch’. Okay? And the punchline packs a bit of a punch for jokes, usually.

Expression:

So, today’s expression comes from Gilson who follows me on Instagram and he sent me a message asking about this expression, and I said, “You know what? I’ll make this an episode for the podcast this week.”. So, big thanks to Gilson for this awesome suggestion. And remember guys, if you want to follow me on Instagram it’s just Aussie English, just do a search for that.

So, let’s go through the definitions of the words in today’s expression to pack a punch, to pack a punch. So, this is pretty simple. We’ve only really got two things here.

Definitions:

‘To pack’. ‘To pack’ can usually be to feel something, you know, like a suitcase or a bag, with your clothes or other items that you need in order to travel. So, before you go on a holiday, you have to pack. You have to pack your things. But in this case, it’s more to comprise something to be made of something. So, if something packs something, it’s usually that it has that with in it. Right? So, for instance, an explosion packs… or an explosive packs a big explosion. There is a big explosion within, comprised, inside of this explosive, and so when it goes off, it packs a big explosion.

‘A punch’. ‘A punch’ is the act of hitting someone or striking someone with a closed fist, with a closed hand. So, that’s usually what a boxer does, right? If a boxer’s fighting someone, he’s punching them. But in this case, it’s more that a punch is the power to impress or attract attention. So, it has to have significant impact, to have a lot of impact. It has a lot of punch, right. So, that explosive, if it packs a really big explosion, it packs quite a big punch. It has a lot of impact, right?


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Expression Definition:

So, let’s define the expression ‘to pack a punch’. So, ‘to pack a punch’, literally, is to be capable of striking someone powerfully. You know, you might have a boxer who packs quite a punch, he packs a punch. He’s very good at punching. He has a strong powerful punch. He packs a punch.

But then by extension, to be capable of having a powerful or swift effect or impact is the figurative version of this expression, ‘to pack a punch’. So, that’s more like the explosive that we were talking about going off. If it packs a punch, it’s not that it literally hits someone, it’s that it has a powerful or swift effect or impact. Okay?

Examples:

So, let’s go through three examples of how I would use the expression ‘to pack a punch’.

1.

Alright, so first… first example. Imagine that you are a marketer working for some kind of company. So, you market their products. You create ads. Okay? Publications, advertisements. That’s your job. You want to create an ad that stands out and gets the message across to consumers, people buying your product. So, you create this ad and you publish it, and it ends up being perfect. It gets across the message that you’re trying to convey and your boss is very, very happy. He might come into the office, after you’ve created this ad and published it, and he wants to congratulate you, and he might say that advert, that ad, is so perfect it packs a punch, it packs the perfect punch. It’s a really effective. It has a lot of impact. It’s brilliant. It packs a great punch.

2.

Example number two. Imagine you go to a nice restaurant. Maybe you want to have some spicy food. So, you go to a Mexican restaurant maybe you go to a Thai restaurant, and you love spicy food, which is sort of like me. And your friend doesn’t, okay? That could be my girlfriend. She hates spicy food. So, I imagine we’ve both gone to a Mexican or Thai restaurant, we’re sitting down, and as a joke I tell Quel, “Oh, order the enchiladas here. They’re great and they’re not really that spicy. They’re fine. You’ll be fine.”. When the food comes, she might eat it and realize that in fact the enchilada here is very spicy, and she might say, “You liar! It’s spicy as and it really packs a punch. You know that I don’t like spicy food, and this enchilada, oh my gosh, the spice in it packs a punch!”. It’s very strong. The impact is significant.

3.

Example number three. Okay, guys. You’re a small kid at school on your first day at school, and you bump into a big kid, and he bullies you. You know, maybe he pushes you to the ground and you need to defend yourself, you need to fight back against this big kid who is bullying you. And when he tries to punch or kick you maybe you dodge it and you end up pushing him to the ground. And he realises, even though you’re so much smaller than him, you’re incredibly strong, and he might say, “For such a scrawny kid, you really can pack a punch! Even though you’re so small, you sure can pack a punch. You’re incredibly effective, you have a lot of impact, you’re strong, and I didn’t think that at first. You really pack a punch!”.

All right, guys. So, I hope you understand now the expression ‘to pack a punch’. Remember, literally, it can be capable of striking someone powerfully like a boxer. Or figuratively, it can be that you are capable, or something is capable, of having a powerful or swift effect or impact.

So, let’s go through a listen and repeat exercise, guys. We always have this in these episodes to work on your pronunciation to give you something to practice saying aloud right now to work on your English pronunciation. So, you can copy me if you would like to sound like an Australian. Otherwise, practice whatever English accent you have and just say these words after me. Okay? So, let’s go. Listen and repeat after me, guys.

Listen & Repeat:

To
To pack
To pack a
To pack a punch x 5

I really pack a punch
You really pack a punch
He really packs a punch
She really packs a punch
We really pack a punch
They really pack a punch
It really packs a punch

Great job, guys. Great job. And remember, if you would like to go into more depth for this pronunciation exercise as well as all the previous ones. Make sure that you enroll in the Aussie English Classroom. Remember, it’s just one dollar for your first 30 days, where you can try it. You can get used to it. You can use as much material in there as you want. The main goal is to upgrade your English as fast as possible, guys.

Aussie Fact:

So, before we finish up, let’s go through the Aussie English fact for today, guys. So, today we had in the… at the very beginning of this episode, we had a kangaroo that was effectively trying to box with a man, and the man ends up punching the kangaroo in the face to try and defend himself and the dogs.

So, where does this thing come from? Why are kangaroos synonymous with boxing? Why is this something that we see quite a lot in Australian culture?

So, the boxing kangaroo is a national symbol of Australia and it’s used all the time in popular culture. It’s often seen as a flag with a yellow kangaroo and red boxing gloves on a green background, and you’re likely to see this really distinctive flag featured at sporting events all around Australia as well as overseas. So, it’ll usually be a symbol that Aussies will use, Aussie spectators, at these sporting events, things like cricket, tennis, basketball, or soccer, when they’re international sports. When it’s Australia vs. another country, as opposed to say, teams that are both from Australia. So, things like the Commonwealth Games and the Olympic Games. You’ll often see the boxing kangaroo flag.

So, a little bit about the history of this the idea of the boxing Kangaroo originates from a natural behavior of male kangaroos who are often referred to as ‘bucks’. And FYI, for your information, females are referred to as ‘does’, and young kangaroos are called ‘joeys’. Okay?

So, kangaroos have really interesting breeding behaviour and social structures. Large groups of kangaroos are referred to as ‘mobs’, and this is why Aussies often call a large group of people ‘a mob’. You might say, ‘hey, you mob!’. And these mobs can range from a handful of members of these kangaroos up to a hundred or more kangaroos. So, the mobs can get quite large.

Kangaroo bucks box in order to establish dominance as the most dominant male leads the mob and often has exclusive access to females for mating. So, he’s the one who gets to father all the joeys, at least theoretically. Given the chance, subordinate males, the ones who aren’t dominant, will often mate with receptive females pulling a fast one on the dominant males who are probably pretty busy mating with the numerous other females in their mob. So, it’s not always that effective being the dominant male.

When boxing male kangaroos use their smaller four legs, so their arms, to hold onto the attacker’s head and neck whilst they use the claws on their larger more powerful hind legs to kick, slash, or even disembowel their opponent whilst supporting themselves on their thick muscular tail. So, they actually use that tail to support themselves and hold themselves off the ground in order to kick.

So, the stance resembles that of a boxer when they’re doing this, and you can see this on YouTube in this video, right? When they’re fighting they actually look like a human boxer.

So, if you watch any kangaroo doco, you’ll probably see joeys start boxing from a really young age, and they tend to do this in order to develop their fighting skills and give them the best chance at one day being a dominant male, at least for a short period of time, and passing on their genes to the next generation.

So, what about people boxing kangaroos? Have you guys seen this? This was actually a thing in the past. This used to happen. And it seems like it only took colonists a little over a hundred years from when they colonised Australia in 1788 to realise that kangaroos could be trained to box humans, to fight humans, and that this could be used as a source of entertainment for Outback travelling shows, and this started occurring in the late 1800s, so in the 19th century.

In 1895, a German silent film was actually made about fighting kangaroos and this was made by Max Skladanowski, and was called Das Boxende Känguruh. Christine, you’ll have to let me know if I have pronounced that correctly in German. And an English silent film by Bert Acres was made the following year.

So, since these first silent film era movies were made, at least four other movies have been made as well about humans boxing kangaroos, and this symbol has only continued to become more prominent since that period of time.

During the World War Two, boxing kangaroos were stenciled onto Australian fighter aircraft and navy ships. And in 1983, the characteristic green, red, and yellow flag that I mentioned earlier was created by a sailing team on the Australia II yacht in the America’s Cup, and this flag has since skyrocketed into common use by rabid Aussie sporting fans all over the world.

Anyway guys, I hope you enjoy that episode. I hope that teaches you a bit about biology of kangaroos, a bit about Australian history, a bit about the crazy practice of boxing with kangaroos in the past. That’s absolutely insane. And yeah, I hope that you check this episode out in the Aussie English Classroom, guys. I think there’ll be a lot of awesome bonus content to help you skyrocket your English.

Anyway, thanks for hanging around today, guys. I hope you have an amazing weekend and I’ll chat to you soon.

Peace out, guys.


Download the PDF + MP3


Complete this episode as a course when you enroll in The Aussie English Classroom!

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Each course is a comprehensive English lesson covering these areas:

 

Learn Aussie English Even Faster!
Join over 2,000 visitors who receive my weekly emails including TIPS, TRICKS, and the latest PODCASTS and VIDEOS!
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