In this episode of Aussie English I answer the question, “How can I improve my pronunciation?”, particularly when you’re home alone!
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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 — 3 years ago
I’ve started putting together short videos where I interview native speakers of Aussie English. Each video will be a response from multiple people to the same question. It’ll be a good chance to practice your listening and reading comprehension with audio and subtitles at the same time. The episode will also be uploaded to the podcast on iTunes.
Today’s question is “What is the real Australia?”
Make sure to let me know what you think on Facebook! All constructive criticism is welcome as I want to make the best learning resources possible for you guys!
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By pete — 2 years ago
In today’s episode of Walking With Pete I talk to you about my new recent guilty pleasure, playing Pokémon Go.[sdm_download id=”917″ fancy=”1″]
Walking With Pete: My Guilty Pleasure… Pokémon Go
G’day guys and welcome to this late night episode of Walking With Pete, at least, it’s a late night for me. It’s like 11PM and I’m just having a walk in ah… Princes Park, which is a really really big park near Melbourne University in the city of Melbourne, obviously, Victoria, Australia. And I’m walking around here a little bit ashamed, a little bit embarrassed, but at the same time a little bit content because I’m playing the game Pokémon Go. I’m sure many of you will have heard of it, if not all of you, and I’m sure that among our listeners, among my listeners, that there will be some people who play the game, who’ve tried the game and didn’t like it, and then a bunch of people who will absolutely hate the game, but more recently I’ve been playing it while I’m going for walks just because it’s kind of fun and I guess it’s a little bit nostalgic for me. I used to play this game when I was a little kid. So, I think the first game came out when I would’ve been… probably 10 years old, maybe 11 years old, when I was at primary school, and um… So, that would’ve been like 1995, 1996, and I remember playing the very first game and absolutely adored it. I mean I loved it. It was really cool, you know, walking through this world and… and finding all these little monsters and animals, especially because I was always into animals and evolution. So, the whole Pokémon, different animals, and evolving “thing” really, you know, inspired me, and I loved…. I loved playing that game. Anyway, so, I’ve been playing that game recently, and getting a bit addicted to it, but it’s kind of good. I like it for a few reasons and I thought I’d go through them with you. Firstly, it’s kind of motivation for me to get out of the house more, because for those of you who don’t know, Pokémon Go is this game where you effectively use a GPS map of your surrounding location. So, wherever you live, whether it’s in Brazil, whether it’s in Paris in France, whether it’s in um… America, somewhere in the US. It doesn’t matter where, you know, if there’s a GPS map for it you’ll be able to play this game on your phone. So, it’s on your phone and you get a map of your surrounding area. I don’t know if it’s… probably a circumference of something like a kilometre or so that you can see on your screen, and all the streets and everything, and you walk around and based on where you go, different areas like parks or schools or cemeteries, there are different kinds of Pokémon for you to catch. And so, it’s very much like the old game except that you have to get out of the house to play it. So, you can’t do it from home. You can’t walk around using your phone, you know, you can’t walk the little guy on the phone around unless you’re walking. So, the GPS tracks your movement, which is another story that some people like or don’t like about it. But… so, I like it because of that. It’s incentive for me and I’m sure many other people to get out of the house. I haven’t been walking this much in a very long time. And at the same time as being able to walk and get out of the house it um… allows me to also listen to my podcasts um… for language learning while I’m walking around. So, at the same time as playing Pokémon I’m walking around and I’m… I’m listening to podcasts like Francais Authentique or Brazilian Podclast… ah Brazilian Podclass I want to say, um… in order to practice my French and Portuguese. So, I’m killing three birds with one stone, you could say in English. So, there’s that English saying, “To kill two birds with one stone”, to get two things down in a single effort, sort of thing, you know, doing one thing, one action gets two results. This way I get to walk, I get to practice my languages, and I get to play Pokémon. So, three things and one stone, even though one of those things, playing Pokémon, isn’t exactly productive. Also I kind of like it because I feel, I feel like it’s made outside, the outside world, a lot safer, you know, um… and I don’t know if many of you will have… who like this game and play this game, will have noticed or have thought about, but at least in Melbourne, where I’ve been playing it, now I notice that not just me, you know, I’m not the only one who goes out late at night to walk and play this game when no one else is around, or at least, I think no one else is around. Now when I go out at night there are actually quite a lot of random people that, you know, I don’t know, complete strangers you would say, walking around playing exactly the same game, and going to the same areas, you know, so there are different things like gyms and what are called poke-spots that are on the GPS map marked out, that you can go to in order to do certain things in the game. And it’s actually bringing people together to sort of the same locations. I mean… and for better or worse, we say in English, you know, it could… I’m… I’m sure I’ve heard stories about it being used inappropriately by people wanting to rob people, you know, you could potentially wait at these spots to… to rob people who come by in order to play this game. But at the same time I feel like there are a lot more friendly, nice, um… young… young people just walking around late at night, even during the day, you know. The park near where I study at the museum used to be pretty much completely empty during the day, you know. People would walk to and from work to go get lunch, you know, they’d walk through the park or they would just go for a quick walk at lunchtime, or you’d see them going home after work, or coming to work in the mornings, but now it’s just ridiculous. It’s absolutely ridiculous. I go for a walk at lunchtime with one of my other friends, or actually a whole bunch of other friends at the museum who play this game. Man I feel like such a nerd, but… it’s just… don’t tell anyone guys. OK? Don’t tell anyone. You’ll ruin my reputation. But, so, I’ve been going out and playing this with my friends, but there are so many people, literally hundreds, I would say hundreds of people during the day in the park around where I study at the museum in the city. It’s just ridiculous. So, many students, people just talking, you meet complete strangers and you can just chat to them, obviously because you have something in common that you can talk to them about, the game, whereas, previously if you came across someone, if you meet someone who’s a complete stranger in the park, you don’t have anything to kind of connect on, and… and sort of jump past the fact that you’re both strangers, whereas, obviously if you have a dog or something and both of you have dogs then you can start talking. If both of you play Pokémon then you can start talking about that, but if you’re complete strangers normally, and there’s you know nothing to really comment on or talk about, it’s a little more awkward to start a conversation if you would even want to start a conversation with a complete stranger. Anyway, so they’re some of the reasons that I think this game is kind of cool. There’s been a little bit of hate. There’s been a little bit of hate from some people, you know, saying that people aren’t taking any notice of things like crossing the road and, you know, there’s people getting hit by cars and stuff like that, but to be honest I think phones have always sort of had that effect on people where it may’ve elevated it slightly more recently this game because it’s just gone absolutely viral, everyone seems to be playing it. There seems to be literally more people playing this game than not playing this game nowadays that I see out and about. But yeah, so, I don’t think there’s… that’s really a solid argument against it but yeah it is understandable at the same time. I do find myself having to look at my surroundings quite a bit and make sure I look up and you know don’t cross the road while look down at my phone. Anyway. So, that was one thing. I thought I would mention it and give a shout-out to any other players that are playing the game at the moment ‘cause it is a bit of a guilty interest of mine at the moment, and I’m probably playing it more than I should be. But at least not too I’m killing… killing four birds with one stone I could say, because I’m actually out here making a Walking With Pete episode for the podcast that I wouldn’t otherwise be making but for this game. Because I’m out here playing this game… and I’m watching a possum run right at me. There’s a brush-tailed possum running right across the path here towards me and running up a tree. So, yeah there are a lot of possums out in this park that I see at night as well. Anyway, yeah, so I’m glad I’m out here making this podcast for you guys. Um… I’ll leave it there, and I’ll chat to you soon. Hope you guys are doing well and yeah, don’t forget to leave a comment or say hello on Facebook if you want to chat. I’m trying to get a lot more… a lot more of a conversation sort of happening there so that we can, you know, get into discussions but I guess I need to come up with things that are more interesting to discuss. Anyway, chat to you soon guys. All the best!
For better or worse
- Whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing.
A complete stranger
- Someone who you don’t know.
To go viral
- To spread quickly and widely among people (often on the internet), e.g. like a virus.
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By pete — 2 years ago
In today’s episode of Aussie English I teach you guys how to use the expression “To Scrape By”.
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Expression: To Scrape By
G’day guys. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. Today’s going to be an expression episode, and it’s just started raining outside. So, I hope that’s not too loud in the background. It should be ok.
Um… Today’s expression is going to be “To scrape by”, “To scrape by”, and it has two different sort of definitions, two different instances where you may use this expression.
The first is to manage to live when you don’t have enough money or you don’t have a lot of money for the necessary things that you want in life, or um… other resources that you may need. So, if someone lost his job and his family is having to live on just the salary of his wife then you could say that “They are just managing to scrape by on his wife’s salary.” If they only just have enough money to get the food they need, the water they need, to pay the bills. They’re only just scraping by.
And the other definition of “To scrape by” is to manage with difficulty to get a successful result or to reach an acceptable standard. So, an example for this could be you’re studying really hard to pass an English exam and at the end of the exam when you get your marks back, when you get your score, it’s only 51% and to pass you just needed 50%. So, you could say that “You only just scraped by.”
So, that’s the two different definitions and I guess I’ve already given you some examples there, but I’ll run through a few more detailed examples. I’ll get a little more into how you can use these expressions.
So, the first two examples here that I’ll go through are talking about scraping by with regards to money that you earn. So, for example, in my case at the moment I’m studying my PhD five days a week and I’m not getting paid for that, and aside from that, in order to earn money, in order to be able to pay for bills, to be able to pay for the rent for the room that I live in, and then yeah bills like my electricity bill, my gas bill, my water bill and even the internet bill, everything like that, I have to work at a restaurant for between 12 and 16 hours a week. So, you could say that “I’m only just managing to scrape by. I’m only just managing to scrape by on 12 to 16 hours work a week. And I’m managing to scrape by on part work.” So, you’ll often hear that “Managing to scrape by ON something”, and I guess in the first sentence there where I said “I’m managing to scrape by” that’s more of a general sense of “I’m managing to pay for everything that I need. I’m managing to survive. I’m managing to live.” And then when I say, “I’m managing to scrape by ON something” it’s talking about say, in the second example there, “I’m managing to scrape by on 12 to 16 hours of work a week”. So, “By doing 12 to 16 hours of work a week I’m scraping by.”
So, another example could be that you have a pretty average job, you know, say you make 50-60 thousand dollars Australian every year. That’s probably the average income here for the average person. You’ve saved up a lot of money and you’ve taken a big loan out at a bank. So, you’ve asked a bank to loan you some money because you want to buy a really really expensive car because it’s just your favourite kind of car. You’ve always wanted one, and it could be, you know, a Ferrari, a Porsche, a Lamborghini. It’s definitely beyond your means of paying for this car easily. So, you can’t just, you know, you’re not making a million dollars a year so you can’t just buy this and it’s only a tiny portion of your yearly income. It’s way way way more than your yearly income, and that’s why you’ve had to get a loan. You bought the car and now you’re only just managing to pay for one, the car. So it’s taking a lot of your income in order to pay for the loan and to pay for the upkeep, the repairs of the car. So, “You’re scraping by paying for the car”. And then you could also say “As a result you’re scraping by paying for your food, paying for your rent, paying for your bills, and just in general you’re only just scraping by.” So, you’re only just able to afford to live after having bought this very very expensive car and paying for it.
So, that’s that first one of scraping by with regards to money and being able to afford to live or afford to buy the things that you need to live.
The next two examples are more talking about only just scraping by with regards to say an exam score or just just just being able to get into something like a team or something. So, we’ll go into the other two examples here guys where it’s more about just being able to get a successful result, you know, in the face of difficulty, in being able to reach an acceptable standard.
So, this time for example, say you’re trying to get a spot on a famous football team, say it’s Australian rules footy and you’re trying to get into the AFL, which is the main league, the AFL, as opposed to the VFL of the teams below the VFL. AFL, the Australian Football League, they’re the main teams. You’re trying to get a position on say Melbourne, the team Melbourne, The Demons, and there’s only twenty something spots on the team that are available. So, you’ve got to compete with potentially 100s of different guys in order to try and get a spot on this team. And say, all but one spot was filled on the team. So, they selected 19 of the 20 players that were going to be on the team and then finally selected you. You were the 20th selection. You only just got in. You could say, “I only just scraped by in the selection for the 20 spots on the football team.” Or you could say that “I only just managed to scrape through the selection”. And, you can often hear this phrase with “Through”, the word “Through” if it’s something like a selection that you have to go through. “You only just scraped THROUGH the selection.” So you could also say “I scraped by IN the selection” but you might also hear, “I also managed to scrape THROUGH the selection”.
And, ok, say the last example here, you’re competing in the Olympics, say in a sport like boxing or sprinting, it could be swimming, and say that the competition is set up in a way that it is a knock-out style. So, every time someone loses they get knocked-out of the competition and whoever ends up winning hasn’t lost a single time. So, it’s a knock-out style tournament, or a knock-out style competition. So, say you get into the finals. You’ve won every single one of your boxing fights or you’ve won every single one of your races. You’ve got into the finals and you only just win, you know, by a second or by a certain number of points. You’ve only just managed to win but you get gold medal and you’re the world champion. You could say that “I only just scraped by to get into the finals. I only just scraped through into the finals. I only just scraped through the finals to win in the end. I just scraped through to win a gold medal.” So, that’s how you would use this phrase, “To scrape by” or “To scrape through”.
And yeah, let’s do some listen and repeat exercises quickly guys. So, listen and repeat after me:
I’m managing to scrape by.
You’re managing to scrape by.
He’s managing to scrape by.
She’s managing to scrape by.
We’re managing to scrape by.
They’re managing to scrape by.
So, that’s the episode for today guys. I’ll try and keep it short and sweet. We’ll end it there, and I’ll chat to you soon. All the best!
Check out all the other recent Expression episodes below.
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