In this episode of Aussie English I teach you how to pronounce “want to” and “wants to” as wanna & wansta like a native using connected speech.
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About the AuthorI learn languages, teach Australian English, and love all things science and nature!
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By pete — 11 months ago
AE 408 – Interview: Crocs, Muppet Pollies, & the Legend of Wildman with Damian Duffy
G’day, guys, how’s it going?
Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. This is another interview episode, and today I have the pleasure of interviewing Damien Duffy, a.k.a. Wildman.
But before we get into that, guys, welcome to The Aussie English Podcast the number one podcast for anyone and everyone wanting to learn Australian English, whether you want to understand how we speak, the accent, the slang that we use, or whether you want to sound like an Australian when you speak, The Aussie English Podcast is for you. And The Aussie English Podcast is brought to you by The Aussie English Classroom. So, that is my product. That is the online learning environment where you guys can get courses that go with these lessons. They go with the interview lessons. They go with the expression episode lessons that are on the podcast. The whole point of this online classroom is to help you study and learn Australian English even faster.
Anyway guys, today, I had the pleasure of chatting with my mate Wildman, with Damien. He was up north at the time in Darwin doing a whole bunch of stuff up there running cruises, feeding crocs. We talk a little bit about that. We talk about crocodiles. We talk about muppet politicians. Someone who is “a muppet” is an idiot. So, we’ll use that in Australia to refer to people we don’t like. It’s kind of a polite way of saying that someone’s an idiot. He’s a muppet. So, we talk about pollies, politicians, who are total muppets, and then we also talk about how Wildman got the name ‘Wildman’ and got started with his career running around Australia, photographing animals, and doing all sorts of larrikin-esque kind of activities.
Anyway, Wildman’s an absolute champ, guys. I have broken down one of his videos previously. So, you may have seen him on YouTube. If you want to check that out, just search “Wildman Aussie English”, and you’ll see me break down his accent. He has a very very thick Australian accent. It’s incredibly okkar. It’s actually one of my favourite Australian accents, and I have a little bit of accent envy. So, make sure if you have trouble understanding anything that he says, and anything I say, to jump online and download the transcript so you can read everything that we’re saying whilst you listen.
Anyway guys, without any further ado, let’s get into today’s episode. Let’s go and chat with Wildman.
So, I mean, welcome to this episode of Aussie English, man. Thank you for joining me. Thank you for, as well, letting me do that video originally on your content. That was amazing and everyone listening to it was…. it was right up there Ali. They were loving it, dude.
Yeah, no dramas, mate! Too easy.
So, I’ve got a bunch of questions here for you, Damien. I mean, just a start: “Wild Man”. How did that get started? How did you… Tell us a bit about yourself, introduce yourself, and how did it all get started?
The Wildman got started just because I’m a bit of a loose unit and I kind of get it in a while. So, the name kind of stuck the Wild Man. I start off just with the photography, because I do the wildlife photography thing, and I needed a good name for it, and I thought, Wildman Photography’s a pretty good name. And gradually, I progressed from there and thought to myself the adventures that I go on to get the photos that I get are interesting in themselves and I’m going out to all these pristine, amazing places, beautiful landscapes. Why not start doing videos? And they took on a life of their own. So, yeah, that’s hopefully kicking off.
So, when did that start? How long have you been doing the photography side of things?
Think I’ve been doing photography for about…Actually, decent photography, for maybe about two and three years. I bought a camera about four years ago and I just taught meself how to use it. Got a few hints and tips off some other people, and just went from there. And then, I’ve managed to get myself to where I am now. There is always learning, there’s always something else to learn, but having a lot of fun with, mate.
Yeah. And what are the best experiences been so far? What are the best shots that you’ve caught or the best adventures you’ve been on? Or are they all good?
To be honest, they’re all good, mate! But going into the National Park, for example, Litchfield National Park’s always phenomenal. I didn’t… I used me GoPro the other night to swim in a freshwater crocodile at night time and filmed it underwater with an underwater torch and my GoPro. So, that was amazing. But, basically anything, mate. Whenever you are you going out and finding wildlife, the experience in itself is invigorating and makes you really enthusiastic about what you’re doing, because you don’t just walk outside and you got like black neck stalks, and crocodiles, and kangaroos, and snakes, and they’re not just sitting at the front waiting for you. You gotta go and look for ’em. So, it’s all part of the adventure, and when you find something that’s really, really exciting, then you can take photos and show other people what you saw, and that’s exciting as well.
And so, have you always lived up north in Australia? Did you grow up in Queensland? Whereabouts did it all begin for you?
Oh, mate, if I go by the legend, I fell out of the dingo’s arse in the bush somewhere. But… No, to be honest, mate, I was born in western Sydney.
Yeah, no judgment. I’m from Melbourne, no judgment, no judgement.
A Mexican! I’ve got relies down in Melbourne, in Mornington, Mount Martha, I’ve got a few mates in Frankston. Franga, Frankghanistan, they’re rough units. But yeah, I’ve lived in and around Sydney, Parramatta, Rosehill, Mt Druitt, all the rough areas, you know. I was pretty young then, and then I moved away to the Central Coast, around Lake Macquarie, a couple of hours there in Newcastle. I think I’ve been to nine different schools, you know, like I’ve lived there in the bush in New South Wales. I’ve been near the city. I’ve lived… I moved… I went to Noosa. Lived there for a couple of years, went back to the other side of the Blue Mountains in a little one-horse-town called Portland that snowed there, it’s horrible. And then I ended up back in Brisbane and I was there for, like, a couple of years, and then I went and joined the army, ended up back in Sydney doing paratrooper, then I went back to Brisbane, and I was there for seven years, and then I moved to North Queensland, and I was there for, maybe, for four, four and a half years, and then… and now I’m in the Northern Territory, and I’ve finally found a place where I’m meant to be. I thought it was North Queensland, mate, but since I moved here… North Queensland will always have a place in my heart, but Northern Territory, mate, is just next level, phenomenal place.
You were at The Daintree Rainforest, right?
And, so, how do the two compare, then? Obviously, just saying Darwin’s a lot better, is it, or…?
Yeah, it’s better for me, because it’s just more loose, mate. Like everything is so relaxed and chilled out here. My favourite pub is the Humpty Doo. I don’t have to wear shoes when I go in there. People occasionally bring in snakes or crocodiles or ride a water buffalo in, like, it’s loose! And that’s what I love. It’s the last wild frontier in this country, unless you count suburbs like Campbelltown or whatever, you know. But, that’s too loose. That’s even too much for me. But it is just… it is the final wild frontier as far as wildlife goes, even at the end of the dry season, there is still animals everywhere.
It blows my mind. Like, my camera has had one hell of a workout. Thanks goodness Nikon make tough cameras, but in the… it’s a completely different environment. Over in North Queensland, it’s a tropical rainforest, and you do have pristine, beautiful waterfalls, and you’ve got your rainforest snakes and all your reptiles and all that sort of jazz, and of course you got some crocodiles there, small density, but some.
Yeah. The salties as well as the freshies?
Yeah, there’s freshies that live out on the tablelands out towards Chillagoe if you go further inland, but you’ve got a few salties along the coast. If you ask Bob Katter how many salties there are, they’re probably about 10 million and they’re waiting at your front door to mug you when you go to get up for work the morning.
10 million too many.
Yeah mate. But, there’s bugger all, man, there’s bugger all up there. But in the Territory there’s heaps more and that makes me happy because I like seeing ’em. And of course, I work with ’em now, but you can’t compare. Two completely different environments. They’re both as tropical as all buggery with the temperature.
But, it gets hotter in the Territory, the wet season is much bigger in the Territory, but the sheer amount of wildlife here is just… ’cause their big vast wetlands, mate. And the biodiversity here rivals the biodiversity of places like the Amazon, you know?.
Heartbeat’s per square meter is just still of tap, so…
What’s the population of Darwin, again? It’s like tiny, isn’t? Compared, to say, Sydney.
Oh yeah. But even Cairns it’s small compared to Sydney, but Darwin is still… it’s barely even a city. I think it barely counts as a city. So, and it’s small. There’s like one main street in town. I went into town the other day and it was like… it was like just a, you know, a rural town. It wasn’t… you know, it doesn’t have all the skyscrapers and all that, you know, what you see. It’s not a very touristy place. You’ve got tourist shops and whatever that sell souvenirs all that crap, but of course, you do. It is a tourist destination, but it’s not… you don’t go there and think, “oh it’s a tourist town”. Like, you go to Port Douglas and you’re like, ” this is very touristy”, but everything’s bloody expensive. But you go to Darwin, and it’s just like a place in Australia where people live that just happens to be awesome.
And so, for, I mean, the listeners, a lot of them are going to be people coming from overseas into Australia, and I’m sure all they will have seen Steve Irwin docos and all those, you know, TV shows showing the 10 top deadliest Australian animals, do they… Should they expect to come to places like Northern Queensland and Darwin, get out of the car and be, like, killed by something instantly? Is that a realistic expectation?
You got more chance of getting killed by a local, mate, than by the animals. But… So, but no like, in the middle of the city, people… Like, I’ve told people that I used to ride a kangaroo to work, to school*, not to work, to school, sorry, when I was a kid. They were like “oh really?”, you’re like… no.
But, they’ll believe anything if you tell them. I once convinced a group of American biology students that Australia had bush monkeys, the Australian bush monkey in North Queensland.
No, no, they were proper the bush monkeys related to the slow Loris from Southeast Asia, and I gave this big evolutionary spiel. And we spent about 40 minutes in the rainforest trying to look the bush monkeys and, ah, then went back to America thinking that. But, as long as it is a convincing argument, you can tell them anything. But, they think that they’re going to get off the plane and had to dodge brown snakes in the airport.
And it is vastly different, and unfortunately, because of the amount of foot traffic from people, like, cars, and etc., Even in some of the national parks, like, you’ve got to really go looking for the wildlife.
So, what’s the best way to do that too and the safest way? If these people want to come to Australia and see these kinds of animals in the wild, what’s the best way to do it, and what’s the safest way to do it, and is there any danger when they do do it if they do it on their own as well?
If you do it on your own, unless you know what you’re doing, stay in the car. You can go night spotting for reptiles and cruise along some of the rural roads and you will see snakes. You put enough time in, you’re guaranteed to see snakes in the early evening on the road, after the… within the first couple of hours after the sun’s gone down, because they’re getting that warmth off the road. So, and they’ve got to cross the road somewhere. There’s no snake crossing. But if they’re going to do that, by all means, and you can even hop out of your car and take a photo, but just do it from a distance. There’s no need to touch these animals or interact or antagonise them. You can take… and if you don’t want to get out of the car, don’t get out of the car. I mean, that’s the safest thing. You can spot it and go, “Hey, cool”, and wind your window down and take your photos, a snake’s not gonna on your window. But as far as any other animals, and snakes included, you can go on tours. They’ve got tours down at Corroboree Billabong. They’ve, of course, got the spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise that I work on. There’s plenty of different tours around here that will show you, not only the places, but they’ll point out animals, and these tour guides have been working here for years, some of them decades. So, they know where to spot everything, they know how to spot it. They’re good at what they do, and they can show you these animals in a safe environment, and it’ll still blow your mind.
And what’s it like, yeah, getting up close and personal with crocs? You recommend that as a good experience, I take it? Nothing like it?
You’re exactly right, mate. When I was working in North Queensland I was feeding four-meter crocodiles with nothing in front of me, hanging a bit of chicken in a wildlife park so that was phenomenal. But, and now, I’m working on the river with them. It’s totally different in the wild, because they… the captive crocodiles, although they still have all the wild instincts, they’re a captive animal, and they just go through the motions of the show, and whatnot, but when you’re out on the river, you’re not always interacting with them, a lot of the time you’re just observing their behaviours, and explaining their behaviours to other people, and we’re watching these crocodiles out in the river interact with each other, interact with the environment around them, including potential prey items. They go and fend for themselves. They don’t rely on us for food. They take advantage of it, but it’s not uncommon to see one of the crocodiles swim around with a pig or a wallaby.
And so, what are your thoughts currently with the numbers of them too? ‘Cause I know, since like, about the 70s they’ve come right back, right? They’ve shot up. But then, now we have politicians like Katter, who are saying we need to cull them again after they were all closely, you know, hunted to extinction. What are your thoughts on that?
Well, in the past I’m pretty sure I’ve made my thoughts on Katter quite clear. He just… he bases none of his argument on scientific fact. It’s all scare tactics and fear mongering, and using words like “infestation”, “plague proportions”. He’s trying to say this is a fatality every year, and… but then he goes off and goes, “Oh, Queensland is getting ripped to pieces and there’s no way safe to swim”. It’s an absolute load of rubbish, and there’s a enough… bunch of people that have jumped on the bandwagon saying, “Oh we can’t go swimming anywhere any more”. Now, I can tell you what a dozen places, off the top of your head, where you can swim safely, not to mention the lagoon and a flipping swimming pool, you know?
That’s it. Your own bath.
I guess, if you that hard up run a cool bath, but everyone’s got a swimming pool in North Queensland, you’ve got the manmade lagoon, but the numbers were up around half a million before the shooting era. Then, between the early 30s and 70s, they dropped in around 3000.
That’s right, they almost got exterminated, right?
Almost, almost right out of this country. So, at a rough estimate, and I say very rough estimate, numbers are between 250-350,000, that’s the experts reckon. But they’re currently doing a study to ascertain how many there actually are in the country now. But their numbers are far lower than half a million. So, you can still fit, let’s say 100… another 150,000 crocodiles in comfortably, before they have a natural density. And I’ve never understood this concept of humans wanting to manage the environment. These animals have been around for 100 million years in their current form doing just fine. Never were they overpopulated. Never were they in a plague proportion, or an infestation, or never were they damaging the environment around them.
On the contrary, they’re very, very important as an apex predator for their environment. So, for a human to go, “Nup! We should manage them”… well, no mate. They manage themselves. And as human beings, we need to manage ourselves. Yeah? I do agree with if there’s a crocodile in suburbia, going up a suburban creek, like, and there’s a three metre a crocodile there. It’s got to be removed, because that is a very immediate danger, and it’s gone right up into the middle where people live. But, if you’re living out in the bush on a cane farm or if you’re living in a rural area and there’s crocodiles around you need to be aware of that and manage yourself, and if you do so correctly, you’ll never ever get attacked by a crocodile.
It seems like.
So, basically, I think that’s a really long way of saying Bob Katter is muppet.
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I don’t know, it always seemed like one of these things, it’s kind of like a murder happens in Melbourne and it’s, “What’s the answer? Oh, we’ll just cull 10 percent of the population.” You’re like, that didn’t solve anything, like… But, so, what would an Australia look like without crocs?
It’d have a pretty serious impact on the ecosystem, and because they’re an apex predator, so, not only do they keep their own numbers in check to a degree. You’ve got crocodiles eating other crocodiles, which they do. Only one percent of crocodiles survive anyway from being an egg to adult. But crocodiles, young crocodiles, their eggs provide a food source for goannas and snakes. And then, once they’re born, they provide a food source for fish, snakes, other crocodiles, sharks, birds, then once they get older, it’s kind of more the bigger animals like your sharks that’ll get them. And then, once they’re a little bit bigger, crocodiles do potentially eat each other. They are opportunistic and cannibalistic. So, they’re a food source not only for themselves, but for the environment around them, but they keep other animals in check. They also are beneficial to, let’s say, fish numbers, because where crocodiles hang around, they hang around near fish nurseries and they’ll prey on animals that eat fish eggs. So, if you’ve got crocodiles preying on them, less of them are taking the amount of fish eggs, therefore, where you’ve got crocodiles, you’ve got more fish. Everything in nature has a balance, and it’s a delicate balance. If you remove a big puzzle piece out of there, everything else… it might not happen overnight, it might not happen in two months or six months or a year, but you will definitely notice a cascading effect and things will fall apart. They really will.
I think they showed that in Yosemite National Park, right? When they got rid of the wolves and the deer just went nuts and destroyed the land. Like, just trampled all the plants, the grasses weren’t growing properly, the rivers actually changed their courses as a result, and then once they reintroduce the wolves, they were like, “Oh, look, everything’s back in balance now”. And it’s kind of like… “Well, you need the guys at the top there”, right? Yeah.
I think it’s something similar that’s has happened with the dingoes, mate. Because where they took dingoes out of the area they had a lot of problems, and now they’ve reintroduced dingoes in some areas. They’re attacking the wild dogs that are attacking the cattle. The cattle are getting attacked a lot less, because the dingoes don’t see ’em was food. And a lot of the feral animals, like foxes and rabbits and cats, their numbers are dropping, because that’s what the dingoes are eating. That’s been established in this country for thousands of years. They’re natural apex predator here now, and they’re important, they’re part of the ecosystem. So, don’t take them out. Utilise them for what they’re here to do, to get rid of the actual feral animals.
So, how do they control, though, the mixing between the dingoes and the wild dogs? Because I would take it, if you’ve got too many wild dogs and they start interbreeding with the dingoes, you’re effectively just going to absorb that that population of dingoes, right?
To be honest with you, that is a very very difficult question, and I can’t base that on any scientific fact, because I don’t have enough information regarding the interbreeding of dingoes and wild dogs. But, yeah, that’s a problem for someone with a bit more expertise to figure out, I think. But, what they do at the moment is use 1080 poison, and 1080 poison isn’t just eaten by the animals that they wanna do over, it’s eaten by everything. And they die a very horrible death, and then, if anything else comes along and eats that carcass, they get poisoned too. So, I mean, like, personally, I think that crap should be banned. It’s used extensively in New Zealand, and there’re areas there where you can’t hear a bird tweet because of the extensive death that that poison has caused. They just go and spray everywhere. It’s ridiculous.
I know. Well, I was doing a Master’s Degree on the lace monitor down in Victoria here and they were eating them from time to time. We were just like how do we, you know, make these… I was studying them and I’m like, well you’re finding them dead, and you’re just like, “Why are we using this stuff for foxes when it’s just destroying everything and anything that can fit it in its mouth?”.
Yeah. If history has shown anything, mate, it’s when humans interfere, you have problems. Case in point, the bloody cane toad.
I was about to ask you about that.
If you ever wanted an example, mate.
So, how is that going in Darwin? I take it, you would have seen it in Queensland, the cane toad in Queensland, and it’s obviously well and truly made it to Darwin and beyond and it’s potentially threatening the Kimberley’s now, right? And whether it’s even gotten there and is going down to the Pilbara, what is it like in Darwin, now that you’ve moved from from Queensland, where they originated, over to Darwin? Is it just the same thing, exactly the same thing?
There’s toads, but there’s more in North Queensland. Just from looking around, you notice a lot more toads there. That said, there’s still a lot of toads here. There’s more than they should be, because they shouldn’t be any. But even on… just basing it on anything, there’s still a lot of toads, and they’ve had a big impact on freshwater crocodiles, on snakes, on goannas, all monitor species have really suffered from it. Birds are starting to figure it out, because they grab ’em, flip ’em over, and eat the gizzards out of them and everything, and leave the rest. So, birds are clueing on, but we can only hope that other animals do so too.
Yeah. So, is that happening slowly? Are there like goannas and the crocs and that becoming evasive of eating them, because the only ones that are left are the ones that didn’t need them to begin with, or… ?
Pretty sure they’re learning, mate. I think the term they used is “forced evolution”, because animals figure it out, you know, they adapt and overcome and they evolve. So, eventually, you know, like some animals when they’re born… crocodiles are a perfect example. When they’re born, they’re not taught anything, everything is ingrained into their mind biologically, they know how to hunt, stalk, and hide, and do buoyancy and everything. They already know when they’re born, which is phenomenal. Two days out of their egg, they just know what to do. But with other animals, I believe it’d work in a similar fashion, where, like, some animals just know that they shouldn’t eat something. So… and that’s just ingrained into them. So, let’s just hope that that’s the way it’s working with these animals. It is a slow process. Evolution doesn’t happen overnight, but I think when they’re faced with something is detrimental as cane toads, maybe it’ll speed the process up a bit.
And so, what do you think the future is going to be for cane toads in Australia, especially, across the northern… the top end there? Permanent residents now?
They’re here to stay, mate. They’re part of the ecosystem, and, hopefully, everything else around them will adapt, because to get rid of them is an impossible task. Good luck to the people who are faced with that task, who have been given the responsibility of trying to rid Australia from bloody cane toads. But, they haven’t got Buckley’s, mate.
As long as they don’t bring something in that’s worse.
Well, that’s always an option, isn’t it? That’s how we got into this mess in the first place. I was reading a study on the cane toad, apparently because of the insecticides and pesticides they use on the crops, and the cane toads are getting covered in it and they’re also eating all the insects that have died ingesting or getting covered in this poison, it has increased the toxicity of that bufo toxin in the poison glands. So, now, they’re even more toxic than before. Once again, directly due to human beings. When will we learn? The mind boggles, mate. It’s 2017 and our Government’s more worried about spending 120 million on a plebi-‘shite’, deciding whether people get the rights… the same rights as other people. I mean, has the world gone mad? Australia’s gone backwards.
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That blew my mind the fact that the plebiscite, like, it’s something I don’t mind saying that I support gay marriage, but, at the same time, the equivalent of two thousand teachers’ jobs going for 122 million dollars could’ve employed two thousand teachers or, you know, we could probably save how many extinct species with that same amount of money? If you just threw it at that, instead of just a postal vote. Yeah, that was insane.
There are more things that we could’ve used that money for, than there are reasons why it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. I mean, there’s every reason why the plebiscite is absolute bullshit before you even start on the money side of things.
I mean, I’m only voting because, if I didn’t vote, dickheads would, and then, it would go through. So, you know, you’ve got to do it.
And then I can’t complain!
So, you know you gotta get involved, because, at the end of the day, mate, we’re all human beings, and fair enough, like, all these people are saying stupid rubbish about, “And then they’re going to marry dogs next or want to marry kids”. That’s… It was never a part of it. And all they doing is focussing, specifically, on the sex. They’re going, “oh same sex marriage means people of the same sex are having sex”. Piss that off! That’s got nothing to do with it.
It’s happening anyway, buddy! They are not waiting for permission.
That’s right. So, and they’re not doing it in the street in front of you. So, why don’t you just get over that, and put that aside, and just think yourself: “These are two human beings that love each other. Why don’t they have the right to get married just like anybody else?”. So, like, that to me, it’s as simple as that. And all these other bull crap fear mongering that’s going on, man, they’re just talking out of their arse trying to fire people up. But if this doesn’t go through all hope is lost, mate.
Oh, God, I tell you what. Far out. Well, I know you’ve got a busy, busy schedule ahead, You’re probably want to hit the sack. But, before we finish up, do you have any slang terms you’d suggest newcomers to Australia should learn? Any Aussie slang terms, you reckon that… I mean, you’ve being using… every single time I see any of your videos, you throw out about five or six, at least, in 30 seconds. It’s just infinite ammo for the podcast and for the YouTube channel. So, are there any you think, as soon as you get off the plane, guys, learn these these X number of slang terms, and you’ll fit right in?.
Oh, bloody hell, I don’t know, mate. “Mongrel” is a good one, a good word to use. It’s very diverse. You can go, “Oh you’re a bit of a mongrel” or “you mongrel”, you know, like, “I’m getting half a mongrel”, so… There’s a lot. Don’t… maybe don’t tell them what that one means. But I don’t know, mate, like.
“She’ll be apples” and “No dramas” are the ones I’ve heard you use.
“She’ll be apples, mate”, “She’ll be apples”, “No drama, cane farmer.” like, “Everything’s gonna be ‘right”, “No worries”. What else? You don’t have to swear at people. You can call them “a boofhead”, you know? If someone does something, you go, “Geez, you’re “a boofhead”. So, that’s good. And “A ning-nong”. “A ning-nong”, believe it or not, is highly offensive, ok?
“A ning-nong” is? Ah, ok!
It’s just a really nice way of saying, “You’re a dickhead”.
Oh, brilliant, dude. Thank you so much for your time, dude. I really, really appreciate it.
I appreciate you giving me a bell mate. This has been an absolute hoot.
Anytime, anytime. Thank you very much, sir.
Alright guys, so I hope you enjoy this interview with Damien Duffy, a.k.a., also known as, Wildman. Remember, that you can find Damien at Wildman Photography on Facebook. You can also find him at Wildman Adventures on Facebook. Both of these pages will be linked in the transcript below so you can go and check him out. He does some wonderful photography as well as some videos quite a lot chatting about different things that he comes across in Australia. So, it’s a great way to practice your listening comprehension of the stronger Australian accents if you check out his videos and his posts on his Facebook pages. Also check out his Instagram, guys, and that is @WildmanAdventures all one word. Okay? So, again, all of this will be linked below.
Massive, massive thanks to Damian Duffy, to Wildman, for coming on the show. I absolutely love chatting to this guy, and we will be in touch soon to chat about what he’s been up to this year. So anyway guys, I hope you guys enjoy the episode, and I’ll chat to you soon. See ya!
Follow Wildman here:
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By pete — 1 year ago
AE 348 – Expression:
To Top/Cap It All Off
Welcome to this expression episode, guys.
It is Saturday morning and I am here on Facebook to do the third live lesson that is going to be hopefully a regular occurrence for all of these expression episodes.
I’m just going to wait for a few of you to show up, to come in to the class.
Hopefully, that some of you are awake. I know it’s an early morning.
I just thought that I would nip things in the bud, get the expression episode done before I have to nick off to the cafe nearby, and go to a lesson with some of my Iranian friends Ali and Somi.
Hopefully, they’re listening or hopefully they view this later.
Give me a thumbs up, guys, if you can hear me OK. Just let me know that the audio is all right.
Ali’s here as usual, though you might have been second there, mate.
I think I saw someone else pop in first.
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How’s it going Hashim? I’m from Australia mate. Whereabouts are you from?
Pilar’s in Sydney. You’ve got to come down to Melbourne, Pilar.
Come on. Come on. Come down to Melbourne. Quickly. Quickly. Sure.
Every time I run these lessons I stream it through my phone and it takes up all of the bandwidth for my Internet.
And so, the computer runs incredibly slowly. Okay. So, we’ve given that a share.
Welcome guys thanks so much for joining me today. I really appreciate it.
Glad to have a bunch of you here, ’cause I know this one isn’t scheduled.
I just kind of jump on when I get the chance. Hey Stefania.
So, let’s just get into it guys.
Today’s expression is going to be “to top it all off” or “to cap it all off”. So, “to top something off”, “to cap something off”.
This one was suggested by Karina.
If you haven’t already, jump over to the Aussie English Virtual Classroom Facebook group and join up.
Every Monday/Tuesday we start talking about expressions that we would like to learn, and we add them into a poll so that you guys can vote on which expression we do.
And this week’s was Karina’s one. So, good job Karina. Good suggestion.
And everyone voted on it and it got to the top of the poll.
So as usual guys, I’m going to run through the different words in this expression.
I’m going to define them. Give you some examples of using them.
I’m going to then go through the expression itself and define that.
I’ll then go through a couple of examples.
We’ll talk a little bit about some pronunciation and connected speech stuff.
(We’ll) do some listening and repeating exercises.
And then, we’ll finish up for the day with some question and answer section.
So, you guys, if you have questions about English, if you have questions about this lesson as we go through it, feel free to ask those at the end of the lesson. OK.
So, “to cap it all off” or “to top it all off”. “To cap something off” or “to top something off”.
Let’s go through the words. So, “to top something”. “To top”, this is to place something on top.
So, if I had a stack of, I don’t know, a stack of books or a stack of cards, if I put something on top, that’s to top that stack.
To top it. I put it on top. So, it’s to add something to the pile, but on the top of the pile.
“To top something. The same thing with “to cap”. Kind of the same idea.
This verb means to put a cap, which is like a lid, a cover, a ceiling of some kind, over the end of something.
So, you might have a tube and you put a cap on the end of it.
And this is the idea that we have with a hat right.
We have the name of a hat that has the brim on it, (it) tends to be “a cap”.
And you’re “capping”, you’re putting it on your head. You’re putting it on the top of your head.
You’re “capping your head off”, I guess, to some degree you’re covering it.
So, that’s what to cap and to top something off or to cap and to top something means.
And we’ll get into “off” in a sec. I’m sure you guys know what the pronoun “it” means.
It’s a gender-neutral pronoun.
And I’m sure you guys know what “all” means. “All” is everything.
It refers to the whole quantity or extent of a particular group or thing. All, everything.
“Off” is a particle or a preposition, right?
And you’ll notice there that if we add it to the ends of verbs it turns it into a phrasal verb.
And we’ve added in “it all” in between the phrasal verb “to top off” or “to cap off”.
To cap it all off, to cap it off, to top it all off, to top it off. Okay?
So, “off” effectively modifies this verb to top or to cap and adds the idea of it being completed or finished.
So, you’re topping off something. It’s kind of like it’s the last thing to go on top of something.
So, I’m topping it off or I’m capping it off. It’s the last thing.
It’s the cap that I’m putting on something to finish it, to seal it. I’m capping it off.
So, that’s why we’re adding in the preposition “off” on the end of those phrasal verbs.
Completion. But literally, the preposition “off” is just the opposite of “on”, right?
So, you’ve got something on and you might take that thing off you might turn something on you might turn something off.
Okay? So, I’m sure you guys know what “off” means.
Most of these words are pretty simple, pretty common.
So, let’s go through the definition of the expressions as a whole, guys.
If you top something off, if you top it all off, this is the idea that a bunch of things have happened, a series of things have happened, and to top it all off, to cap it all off, this final thing has occurred.
Hence it being the thing that’s put on the top to top it all off or it’s the cap that’s been put on the… well, it’s capping the thing off, to sort of finish it, to complete it. Right?
So, it’s kind of like the worst thing that can happen in a series of events or it could be the best thing that’s happened in a series of events.
So, it could be either the best thing or the worst thing. To cap it all off or to top it all off.
So, for example, usually, I would say a series of events happened.
So, X happened today and then X happened today and then to top it all off X happened.
And it’s just this happened, this happened, and then the worst thing is this happened, or, and then the best thing is this happened. OK?
So, we’ll go through some examples so it’s a little more clear for you guys.
But it can be used for bad things. It can be used for good things.
It tends to be the extreme ends of, I guess, happiness and sadness. Right?
All right. So, example number one. Imagine that you were having an awful day.
So, you’re at home, you were cleaning the house, and you noticed that your washing machine where you put all of your clothes, your sheets, your t-shirts, everything like that, to wash in the washing machine.
It’s broken and it started to flood. So, the water’s coming out of the machine.
Obviously, the pipes are blocked. Something’s happened. It’s broken. It’s flooding.
That’s awful. On top of this, your car has broken down.
So, you can’t drive out to go get some parts or to get some help to fix your broken-down washing machines.
So, your washing machine’s broken down and your car’s broken down. OK?
You go outside to get in your car, and this is when you obviously saw that the car had broken down.
And, you realise you’ve forgotten your keys inside.
But then, when you go back to open the door, to top everything off, to top it all off you realise you’ve locked yourself outside.
So, you’ve locked yourself outside. So, the washing machine’s broken.
Your car’s broken down. And to top it all off you’re locked yourself outside of your house.
To cap it all off you lock yourself outside of your house.
So, the worst thing that sort of finishes this series of bad events is what you’re topping it all off with or capping it all off with.
So, that’s example number one.
Example number two. Imagine you’ve gone to a conference. So, I’m a scientist.
I study evolution. I might go to an evolution conference where I get to hear other scientists speak about their projects, about their work, about things that they do in their careers.
So, I’ve gone to a scientific conference.
I get to sit down and listen to a bunch of these talks, to a heap of these different presentations, by different scientists.
So, that’s amazing. Then I get to actually meet some of these scientists afterwards.
So, we have an organised dinner at the conference. We have wine. We have food. It’s all paid for.
And I get to meet some of these scientists, some of these people who are my heroes in the science world. OK?
So, on top of this though, and to cap it all off, it turns out that the conference is free.
It’s absolutely free. I don’t have to pay anything. Right?
So, I get to go to this conference. I get to listen to these amazing scientists. I even get to meet some of them.
And then, to top it all off the conference is free, to cap it all off the conference is free.
So, good thing, good thing, good thing, and then best thing caps it all off. Best thing tops it all off, right?
Example number three. Imagine that I’m having an amazing year. I’ve just finished at med school.
Med school as in I’ve been studying medicine at medicine school to become a doctor.
So, I’ve just graduated. I finished. I did really well.
And maybe on top of this, I got offered a job at Australia’s best hospital.
So, I’m a doctor now. I got offered a job. Things are going great.
On top of that, I proposed to my girlfriend and she said yes.
So, I got down on one knee. I got the ring out. I proposed. I said, “Will you marry me?”, and she said yes.
And then, I could say finally to cap everything off, to cap it all off, to top everything off, to top it all off, she’s pregnant, and now we’re going to have kids.
So, we’re starting a family.
So, I graduated medicine school, I got offered an amazing job, I proposed to my girlfriend, and she said yes, and then to cap it all off she’s pregnant and we’re going to have a family.
To top it all off, she’s pregnant and we’re going to have a family.
So, again, guys, basic thing is it could be amazing series of events it could be an awful series of events, but it’s one thing happens, two things happen, and then the third thing is kind of the worst or the best thing that tops everything off, that caps everything off.
So, that’s it guys. Let’s go through a listen and repeat exercise today, guys.
I’m going to combine this with a pronunciation and connected speech exercise.
These are going to be two for one, two birds one stone, right?
So, we’re going to add one word at a time as I go through and say the sentences.
“And to top it all off” and “And to cap it all off”. OK?
And, I want you to pay attention to how these words link together, so the connected speech, my pronunciation and the connected speech.
So, find somewhere quiet or find somewhere away from other people where you guys can speak out loud and practice your pronunciation.
And we’ll go through these sentences. So, have you found somewhere. All right.
So, I’m just going to add one word at a time as I say these sentences, and I want you to say that word after me, or that series of words after me, as I go. OK?
I’m just going to have a quick drink first. I always start losing my voice at about 10 minutes through.
All right. Let’s go.
Listen & Repeat:
And to top.
And to top it.
And to top it all.
And to top it all off.
And to top it all off.
And to top it all off.
And to top it all off.
And to top it all off.
All right. Now we’ll do the same thing for “And to cap it all off”.
Listen & Repeat:
And to cap.
And to cap it.
And to cap it all.
And to cap it all off.
And to cap it all off.
And to cap it all off.
And to cap it all off.
And to cap it all off.
Good job guys. Good job.
So, let’s quickly discuss the connected speech and pronunciation that was happening in those sentences.
OK. So “and to”, “and to”. You’ll notice there that I say “anD” I say the “D” and then I say “to”.
This is me really enunciating well, pronouncing the words well, and separating them. “And to”.
But when I joined them the “D”, the first consonant there that links the two words, disappears and I say, “an- to”. No “D”. “An- to.
“Cap it” and “Top it”. Top it. Top it. Cap it. Cap it. I say “To-” and “Ca-“, and I take the “P” and put it in front of “it”.
“Top it”. “Cap it”. And you’ll notice there that I don’t say “it”. I say “it”. “Top it”. “Cap it”.
So, the vowel sound of “it” kind of gets shortened into a schwa “eh”. “Top it”. “Cap it.
With regards to “it all”, “it all”. When I join these words we now have the “T” with a vowel sound before it and a vowel sound after the “T”.
And so, what do we use? We use the t-flap. So, it’s not going to sound like a “Teh”.
It’s going to sound like a “reh”. So, it sounds like “it all”, “it all”.
It’s very subtle almost like a kind of “D” sound. “it all”, “it all”. OK?
And the last thing… the last thing is “all off”, “all off”. And when we say it quickly it sounds like “all off”. “All off”.
So, I’m actually saying a vowel sound “A–“, and then I’m joining that “L” to the front of the word “off”. “All off”. “All off”.
OK. So, that’s some of the connected speech stuff that was going on, that was happening in those sentences.
To top it all off. To cap it all off.
So, notice how it flows there, guys. Go back. Practice this.
Pay attention to it and your accent is going to really improve when you get a feel for, when you better understand and can use, the connected speech and the pronunciation in English.
So, let’s finish up and then go into a question and answer time, a little section here if you, guys.
Remember, if you want all the bonus content for today’s episode, sign up to the Aussie English Classroom, guys.
I will put a link in here later for it. It’s one dollar for the first month where you get four lessons for just one dollar.
Weekly lessons that go with these expression episodes.
We cover slang, we cover grammar, pronunciation, phrasal verbs, and we also give you, or I give you*, a vocabulary list and listening comprehension questions.
So, there’s… this is all they’re built in to help you learn English faster.
And, if you like studying at home in your own time it’s a really good resource for you guys.
On top of that, I want to quickly mention that I’ve just released the Effortless Phrasal Verb course.
So, this is a phrasal verb course that I’m going to be streaming on Mondays and Thursdays on Facebook.
It’ll be free if you want to come and watch it on Facebook.
However, if you want to sign up to get all the bonus content for this course and learn phrasal verbs effortlessly and to use them naturally like I do as a native speaker, sign up to this course, guys.
I’ll put a link in here as well. There’s two coupon codes left if you want the course for only $50.
Use the coupon code: ONLYFIFTY
It’s going to be $97 normally while this course runs. And then afterwards it’ll be bumped up.
It’ll be a bit more expensive. It’d be about $4.50/lesson during it for $97.
But these two spots left for half price effectively. Anyway, there’ll be a link attached.
(I) just wanted to let you know that will be happening on Mondays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. on Facebook.
So, I’m trying to get this done to help you guys learn phrasal verbs.
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By pete — 2 years ago
In this pronunciation episode of Aussie English I teach you guys how to pronounce the contracted forms of “Could Not Have”.
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Pronunciation – Could Not Have = Couldn’t Have – Couldn’t’ve – Couldn’ah
G’day guys. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. And today we’re going to do some pronunciation. So, it’s a pronunciation episode, and today I want to go over the contractions of “Could not have”. So, you’ll remember in episode 73: Pronunciation – Would Not Have we went over all the contractions of “Would not have”, “Wouldn’t have”, “Wouldn’t’ve” and “Wouldn’ah”. It’s exactly the same thing for “Could not have”. It’s “Could not have”, “Couldn’t have”, “Couldn’t’ve”, “Couldn’ah”. These are all things that native English speakers use quite a bit but a lot of the time they don’t even realize they’re doing it, and it’s the kind of thing that I think is really important to teach because whether or not you yourself decide to use all of these or… or a specific one of these contractions when you yourself speak English with other native speakers the most important thing is that you know what each of these sounds like and what each of these means so that when you hear them when other native English speakers use these contractions without thinking about it, when they speak to you, you’ll know instantly what it means and you won’t have to think about it.
So, “Could” is obviously an auxiliary or modal verb that is used in English. It’s quite common. It has quite a few different uses, and I probably won’t go through all of them here today because it would just take too much time. So, for this episode I mostly just want to focus on the pronunciation around the form “Could not have” plus a past participle. So, for instance, “I could not have done”, “I could not have been”, “I could not have gone”, “I could not have had”, that sort of form of grammar in English.
So, let’s just go straight into it guys. No wasting time. Let’s do some listen and repeat exercises. So, I’m just going to go through “Could not have” paired with all the different pronouns. So, “I, you, he, she, we, they” and maybe a few others as well like “It” and “Things” afterwards. So, let’s just go through the basics of how this set of words is contracted.
Listen and repeat:
I could not have
I couldn’t have
I could not have
I couldn’t have
You could not have
You couldn’t have
He could not have
He couldn’t have
She could not have
She couldn’t have
We could not have
We couldn’t have
They could not have
They couldn’t have
It could not have
It couldn’t have
Things could not have
Things couldn’t have
So, we might go through some substitution exercises as well guys where we’ll go through the three different contracted forms, which you’re most likely to hear when speaking with other native speakers. I might add that you may hear the uncontracted form of “Could not have” in English sometimes, but the most common way and reason you’re going to hear this uncontracted form is when someone is really really trying to emphasise the fact that someone or something “Could not have” and then whatever the past participle verb is. So, for example, if someone was accusing my brother of a crime and I knew that he had an alibi and it “couldn’t have been him”, I could say “It couldn’t have been him. It couldn’t have been him”, “It couldn’t have been him”, “It could not’ve been him”, but I’m most likely to say, “It COULD NOT HAVE been him” like that if I was really really really trying to emphasise the fact that it wasn’t him. So, that’s when you’re going to hear a lot of different things in English, not just “Could not have” in its fully uncontracted form. It’s usually when someone is really trying to emphasise something as opposed to speaking more casually where you would say the contracted form of “Nah, couldn’t’ve been him”.
So, yeah, another reason also could be if someone doesn’t hear what I’m saying. So, if I did say to someone “It couldn’t’ve been him” and they said, “Excuse me, what did you say?” and I said, “It couldn’t’ve been him”, and they said, “Sorry I don’t understand”. That is when I’m going to say, “Look, I said, It could not have been him”. That is another reason I might do that.
So, here are some commonly used phrases with “Couldn’t have”. So, just listen and repeat after me, and I’m going to say them in the form “Couldn’t have” and I want you to contract them into “Couldn’t’ve”. “Couldn’t’ve”.
I couldn’t have said it better.
I couldn’t’ve said it better myself
You couldn’t have picked a better place for a picnic.
You couldn’t’ve picked a better place for a picnic.
He couldn’t have been friendlier.
He couldn’t’ve been friendlier.
She couldn’t have known I would be here early.
She couldn’t’ve known I would be here early.
We couldn’t have been more wrong.
We couldn’t have been more wrong.
They couldn’t have escaped.
They couldn’t’ve escaped.
Things couldn’t have worked out better.
Things couldn’t’ve worked out better.
So you’ll see there, at least for me, it sounds really awkward when I say “Couldn’t have” in these phrases. Most of the time when I’m speaking casually, informally, I’m just going to say “Couldn’t’ve”, “Couldn’t’ve”. So, it’s almost like you literally say “Couldn’t” and then you just touch on the “-Veh” sound in “Have”. “Couldn’t’ve”, “Tev”, “Tev”, “Tev”.
So, we’ll do one more listen and repeat exercise guys, and I’m going to go over the same sentences we just said except this time I’m going to say them in the form “Couldn’t’ve”. So, that was the form that I had you contract them into last time. And this time I want you to convert them into “Couldn’ah”, “Couldn’ah”. So, I’m really trying to use the same sentences and get you to mainly focus on the pronunciation of these contractions.
I could not have said it better.
I couldn’ah said it better.
You couldn’t’ve picked a better place for a picnic.
You couldn’ah picked a better place for a picnic.
He couldn’t’ve been friendlier.
He couldn’ah have been friendlier.
She couldn’t’ve known I would be here early.
She couldn’ah have known I would be here early.
We couldn’t’ve been more wrong.
We couldn’ah have been more wrong.
They couldn’t’ve escaped.
They couldn’ah have escaped.
Things couldn’t’ve worked out better.
Things couldn’ah have worked out better.
So, that’s pretty much it guys. I hope you don’t mind all these exercises. They’re just the kind of thing that I really like doing when I’m learning Portuguese or French at the moment. I really love having to do these exercises where I have to think and then repeat and I get to hear a native use it and especially these sorts of contractions. I love practicing this sort of stuff in other languages because it’s what other people use and it’s what I hear. Hopefully, too, you’re going to notice how much easier it is to speak in a more fluid and natural way when you use these contractions. So, even I notice that when I say “Could not have” in a sentence it’s very awkward, or when I say even “Couldn’t have” it’s very awkward. I much much much prefer to say “Couldn’t’ve” or “Couldn’ah”. In fact I’ll probably almost always say “Couldn’ah”. And these sorts of contractions I’ll use around anyone. So, it’s not the kind of thing you have to worry about necessarily using in a formal situation or an informal situation. I don’t think it matters. I wouldn’t be conscious of whether or not I’m contracting things with whoever I’m talking to unless it was someone who was learning English and I had to make sure that they understood what I was saying. That is when I would try and ease up and be a little bit nicer with how quickly I spoke and how many contractions I use, and the main reason I probably do that is because I have so many friends who don’t speak English as their native language, and they always ask me to slow down and to repeat what I say. So, I’m at least aware of the fact that these things happen.
Anyway, it’s probably a long enough episode guys. I hope you enjoy it and I’ll chat to you soon. All the best!
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