In this Live Class episode of Aussie English I teach you the difference between the Present Perfect and Simple Past Tense.
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About the AuthorI learn languages, teach Australian English, and love all things science and nature!
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By Admin — 10 months ago
AE 456 – Expression: Burn the Candle at Both Ends
G’day you mob! How are you going? What is going on? I hope you’ve been having a great week.
I am down in Geelong this week hanging out with a mate. So, I’ve come down to visit here. I’m staying at his house while his folks, his parents, have gone over to Greece for six weeks. So, James’s folks have a pet cat, and James also has a pet cat, and his folks also have plants that need to be watered, and so, he’s decided to move in here to his folks’ house where he used to live a long time ago and take care of his cats. But one of them’s really funny. One of them is terrified of other humans. So, I don’t know why. It’s just always been that way, but it pretty much only likes James’s dad and maybe James a little bit, but everyone else it runs away from or isn’t seen at all. So, I’ve only seen that once or twice (in) the last few days. But his other cat, his cat, the one from his house, which is also here, is absolutely lovely. I love Thomas. He’s a funny can’t. You may’ve seen him in some of the recent vlogs that I’ve put up on YouTube.
Anyway guys, so today, it’s another expression episode. We will go through some announcements, a joke, we’ll go through the expression, what it means, the different words in it, where it came from, some examples, the listen and repeat exercise, and then an interesting Aussie fact, which will be about whaling in Australia today.
Anyway, guys, let’s get into it.
So, this is the Aussie English Podcast, guys. If this is the first time that you are listening, welcome! It’s great to have you here. This podcast is for intermediate to advanced learners of the English language. There’s no handholding here, guys. I speak to you as a native speaker, naturally. I don’t change how I would talk. I try and treat you guys as I would anyone else who was having a conversation with. So, that is the whole point. These resources here are for you and they are to try and help you get from intermediate to advanced in English, in general, but also obviously to help you learn Australian English, whether that’s the slang, the culture, the history, all of that sort of stuff related to Australia and Australian English. The Aussie English Podcast is the podcast for you, guys. So, thanks for joining me.
The Aussie English Podcast is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom and this is the online learning platform where you will get all the course material for this episode and a lot of the previous episodes. So, if you want to learn English and you want to learn it fast, and you like studying and doing listening comprehension quizzes, learning new vocab, learning new expressions, watching videos, all of that sort of stuff, go to theAussieEnglishClassroom.com and enroll. The first month is just one dollar, guys, and that’s how I keep the lights on. So, please check it out and give it a go if you want to upgrade your English.
Anyway, (that was a) bit of an intro, but let’s get into the Aussie English joke for the day, guys. The joke is: how do you make a candle burn longer? How do you make a candle burn longer? You can’t. They only burn shorter. (Do) you get it? You can’t. They only burn short.
So, how do you make a candle burn longer? The joke here being that longer can mean longer as in a duration of time, but it can also mean a physical length of something. So, a candle, when you light a candle and the candle is burning, it reduces in size. So, it’s a long thin thing that has a flame at the top of it and as it burns it reduces in size. So, it gets shorter.
But the joke here is that we want to know how we can make a candle burn for longer, like a longer amount of time, and the joke here is that they only get smaller in size.
Anyway, (I) hope you like that joke, guys. I know they’re always dad jokes, but these are clever puns that will help you understand more about Australian English and English in general. Okay?
So, today’s expression: ‘to burn the candle at both ends’. ‘To burn the candle at both ends’. This one comes from Dan who is in the Aussie English Classroom. Every week we get in the private Facebook group and we vote on these expressions. Dan put this one forth this week and everyone decided this was the best one. So, good job Dan. So, let’s go through and define the words in the expression ‘to burn the candle at both ends’.
So, ‘to burn’, ‘to burn’ is obviously a verb, ‘to burn’, ‘to burn’, and it means to be or cause to be destroyed by fire. So, if you put a piece of wood in the fire place and the fire’s obviously alight, the wood burns.
‘A candle’. ‘A candle’ is a long, usually, usually a cylinder or block of wax or tallow or, back in the day, it could be a whale oil, we’ll get to that in a bit, and it has a central wick. That is the piece of string with in the candle. It’s called a wick. And this is what is lit and produces light as it burns. So, a candle, when you light the wick in the candle, the substance the candle is made out of melts a little bit and is used as fuel. It gets soaked up the wick and it burns. So, if the lights in the house go out because of a blackout, you know, the power pole has come down in a car accident, you’ve got no electricity, you might use candles so that you can see if it’s night time.
Alright, the last word here ‘the end’ of something. So, ‘the end’ of something. This can mean a few things. It can obviously mean the final part of something like a movie, the end of a movie is the last few minutes of a movie. But in this sense, it’s more the furthest or most extreme part of something. So, for instance, the end of a bed. You might sit on the end of a bed. You might open a packet of food with the end of a knife, the tip of a knife. That is the end of something. The first or most extreme part of it.
So, let’s go through and define the expression, guys. If you burn the candle at both ends, I wonder if you guys have heard this one before, it means to overwork yourself, to exhaust yourself by doing too much, by doing too many things, especially, when you’re doing these both late at night and early in the morning. So, you’re living a hectic life. There’s a lot going on. It’s not sustainable. You’re overworking. You’re exhausting yourself.
And so, the modern idea of this expression, and we’ll get in to the original meaning, but the modern meaning, is that you’re using up the evening, you’re burning one end of the candle, the evening, and you’re getting up early in the morning, and using up the morning, and you’re burning the other end of the candle. So, if you imagine in your head that, in this case, the candle, which has a wick, which goes through the entire thing. You can light either end of a candle. If you imagine that candle is the night time where you would otherwise sleep, if you’re burning both ends of the candle, you’re working hard into the night and you’re getting up early in the morning to work. So, you’re reducing the length of your sleep, or of the evening, of the night. Okay? So, that’s burning the candle at both ends.
But the expression origin, guys, it didn’t have that idea when it was first coined. So, it was first coined in the 18th century, I think, the first use in English was in around 1730. However, it was used in French as far back as 1611: “Brusler la chandelle par les deux bouts.”, which means “to burn the candle by the two ends”. So, both ends, though, in this case were a physical reference to the ends of the candle and not the ends of the day. Okay?
So, back in the day candles were a useful and very valuable thing, and the notion of wasting a candle or suggested by lighting it at both ends was incredibly reckless. It was a bad idea. And so, this idea was that the only way for candles to be lit by both ends was to hold it horizontally, the wax, if it was lit, horizontally, would drip away from the candle and not burn, and you would waste the candle. It would be very unproductive. So, that was burning the candle at both ends. Okay?
So, let’s go through some examples, guys, of how I would use this in everyday English.
Alright, so example number one. I remember when I was at university. I was doing my bachelor’s degree in science and there were many kids there studying other things like commerce, and arts, law, medicine, all those kinds of subjects. But a lot of these kids, despite studying a lot and having to be there five days a week, you know, for eight hours, they were involved in sports. So, they had signed up for a sports team. They were playing footy, or hockey, or maybe doing athletics, or swimming, which required them to train several times a week. So, they’d have to get ready for games on the weekends or competitions on the weekends and they’d have to train with the team. So, students were often in a situation where they were studying late at night for exams, but then getting up early in the morning to train. And so, if this is the case, which it was, they were burning the candle at both ends. Their life was very hectic. They were very busy. They were overworking. They were exhausting themselves. They were working late into the night, and then waking up early in the morning. They were burning the candle at both ends.
Example number two. So, in this case, imagine that you have graduated from university after working your arse off, being on a team and burning the candle at both ends in that time, in that period. Imagine now you’re at university. You’re working as a lawyer for a law firm, and you’ve carried across, you’ve maintained that work ethic. So, now you’re trying to impress your new boss by getting to work really early in the morning, working all throughout the day, and then staying late into the night to get as much done as possible. You’re hoping that this will lead to potentially a promotion or something like that. If you’re doing this continuously, obviously, it’s unsustainable, and it’s incredibly hectic, it’s a the high-paced life, you’re burning the candle at both ends. You’re overworking yourself. You’re living a hectic life. Late nights, early mornings. It’s unsustainable. You’re burning the candle at both ends.
And number three here, guys. Example Number three is a personal anecdote. When I first tried getting Aussie English off the ground, so this was back in the day when I was starting my PhD, maybe six years ago, five years ago, I can’t remember the exact year, but when I was first trying to get Aussie English off the ground, I was studying my PhD, which was, you know, five-six hours a day, five days a week, I was trying to organise a website, create the content for the podcast episodes, put them online, have a Facebook page, have a YouTube page, and so it required a lot of work. And I was also training at the gym five days a week doing jujitsu at this time. So, I felt, at least looking back on this time, I was burning the candle at both ends. I was overworking myself. I was staying up late, getting up early. I was burning the candle at both ends.
So, hopefully now, guys, you understand the expression ‘to burn the candle at both ends’. This is to overwork or exhaust yourself by doing too much, by doing too many things, especially, both late at night and early in the morning.
So, as usual, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise here, guys, where you guys can practice your pronunciation, whether you want to sound like an Aussie or not this a good excuse to just speak out loud, say these sentences, say these words, and focus on your pronunciation. If you want an Aussie accent that’s awesome, try and copy me exactly. If you just want to perfect your English in general, ignore my exact pronunciation of each word and focus more on the rhythm and the intonation. Okay? So, let’s go
To burn the
To burn the candle
To burn the candle at
To burn the candle at both
To burn the candle at both ends x 5
I was burning the candle at both ends
You were burning the candle at both ends
He was burning the candle at both ends
She was burning the candle at both ends
We were burning the candle at both ends
They were burning the candle at both ends
It was burning the candle at both ends
Great job, guys. Remember, if you want to work on this pronunciation exercise, as well as all previous ones, for every single lesson like this expression episode in the Aussie English Classroom you will get some kind of content that breaks this down. And more recently, these have been ten-minute videos where I go step by step through all the little changes in pronunciation like ‘to’ becoming ‘to’ and the words ‘both ends’ joining together with connected speech like ‘both_ends’. Okay? So, I go through all that sort of stuff. If you want to perfect your accent in Australian English or in English in general, because these rules apply to all English, then join up and give it a go. Remember, it’s just one point for your first month.
Alright, so today’s Aussie English fact. Today’s Aussie English fact is the history of whaling in Australia. Now, why did I pick this? What has this got to do with the expression, ‘to burn the candle at both ends’?
So, some of you might be thinking, “Well, whales were whaled to get oil to make fuel to use in lamps and in candles.”. And so, that was my train of thought. When I thought of what I could connect to the expression ‘to burn the candle at both ends’, I thought, “Okay. Candles, fuel, Australian history, whaling! Ah, this’s a good one!”.
Alright, so whaling did occur in Australia, and it was actually the number one industry in Australia after the colonists first arrived in 1788.
So, the first whaling station was located in a coastal town called Eden, which is in the south east of New South Wales, right on the border of Victoria and New South Wales. And soon after this period, there were whaling stations all around Australia, as well as on a few islands like Norfolk Island.
So, it was a booming industry between 1790s and the 1850s, and British colonies were not the only colonies to thrive off whaling in Australian waters. The US as well as Norway had a lot of ships hunting for whales off the shores of Australia as well. So, it was obviously a very lucrative business back in this period.
Whaling became a little less attractive in the 1850s in the face of the Australian Gold Rush. This was when they discovered gold in places like Bendigo, and, I think, Bathurst as well. I’m not sure, but there was somewhere in New South Whales too where they found gold in the 1850s. And so, obviously, it’s a lot more appealing to go into the Australian bush and look for gold in creeks and rivers near towns, etc., as opposed to getting on a ship and going away to, you know, sea for months at a time and potentially dying.
So, whaling reemerged as a revived industry in the 1900s, and this was thanks to the invention of the steam boat as well as the harpoon gun. So, both of these inventions, a steam engine used in boats to power boats so you no longer had to sail, and the harpoon gun, obviously, an explosive spear-throwing weapon, made whaling a great deal more efficient. So, it was a lot easier to do your hunting and get out in the ocean, etc..
So, whale stations increased during this time despite the decreased demand for whale oil as petroleum was invented around this time, and I think vegetable oil was also starting to be used for different things.
So, whales were hunted for numerous reasons. Whale oil was used in lamps and it was used to make soap and things like margarine. And whale meat was processed and traded and, you know, canned and sold overseas and around Australia. And the whale bones were used to make corsets, umbrellas, and things like wigs, which I found out. I never knew this.
Numerous species were targeted by the whaling industry, and these species included whales like, sperm whales, blue whales, humpback whales, southern right whales, fin whales, and even sei whales, and they were all hunted for different reasons depending on the different attributes of each of these whales. Notice there too they’re all baleen whales. So, these are the whales that have baleen, that thick hair-like structure in their mouth, and they use it for catching fish and krill and, you know, small animals in the ocean. They’re not toothed whales. So, I don’t think they were ever hunting things like orcas, killer whales, or dolphins around Australia, at least not to the same extent.
So, whaling was banned in Australia in 1978, and today, these whales are all classified as either vulnerable or severely endangered, although, the good news is that populations are increasing by about 8% a year as of 2015.
The International Whaling Commission, the IWC, was formed in 1946 to regulate the whaling industry and protect whales, and Australia was a member as of 1948.
So, as of 1999 the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act states that: the Australian whale sanctuary includes all Commonwealth waters within the sanctuary and it is an offence to kill, injure, or interfere with a whale and it will result in severe penalties for those who are convicted.
So, countries like Japan, Norway, and Iceland still participate in commercial whaling, even though there is an international ban that was implemented in 1986. However, these countries find a loophole in the system by saying their purpose for whaling is scientific research.
So, I thought I would finish up here, guys, sharing a little bit of my views on this and try to help you understand the Australian point of view, because I know I have some Japanese listeners, and some of them feel very passionate about whaling.
From the Australian standpoint, we just don’t like whales in our waters around Australia being hunted. It’s not something that modern Australia can remember doing. It’s a very old industry so they don’t tend to be any people who used to be involved in it around still.
Sea Shepherd is a bit of a controversial group that, you know, goes out there and harasses a lot of the whalers in the Australian waters and elsewhere in the world. A lot of people support them, but also condemn them. I tend to support them, because I don’t like the idea of whaling. But it’s one of those things where it is hard to argue against as well when it’s a cultural practice, though, that’s where things get murky. If it’s cultural, that’s fair enough, but if it’s being misrepresented as scientific when it’s not really scientific, that’s another problem. Okay?
Anyway, those are my sort of views. I like whales. I think they’re incredibly intelligent and I don’t like them being hunted. But at the same time, I am somewhat hypocritical, because I still eat meat. You know, I still eat cow, I still eat chicken. So, why I’m okay with one and not the other? There you go. I just feel uncomfortable with whales being killed.
Anyway, that’s it for today, guys. I would love to know your thoughts. Do you think whaling is okay? Do you think it’s not okay? Let me know what you think and I’ll chat to you next week. See you, guys.
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By pete — 2 years ago
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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By pete — 8 months ago
Watch the video here!
AE 484: How to Improve Your English with Reflective Practice
G’day, guys. What’s going on? So, this is where one day usually starts. In the kitchen here, I have my new lens and camera, which I’ve been practising with like crazy, got my computer here with photos on it, and that I’ve got this, which isn’t breakfast, but it’s what I’ve been putting outside to get birds to come closer for me to photograph. So, I put it on the ground here, put it on the roof over here, and it brings birds in close so I can use this camera right here to take photos.
So, today we’re going to talk about reflective practice and how you can use it to improve your English as fast as possible no matter what your level. Let’s go!
How’s it going, guys? Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. Today, I’m going to chat about the fastest way to improve your English no matter what your level, guys. And I’m going to sort of draw an analogy to what I’ve been battling with recently and photography. Let’s go.
Alright, guys. So, the topic for today is Reflective Learning, Reflective Learning. I wonder if you guys have heard about Reflective Learning before. So, I’ve been researching this recently. My dad was the first one to sort of drill this into me quite a bit, and that’s because he was a high school teacher and a lecturer at university for quite a while so he had a background in teaching. But I’ve been applying this recently to photography, as well as a bunch of other things like Portuguese as well, and I’m learning Portuguese, but photography is what I want to talk about today.
So, Reflective Learning, I learnt about this from Donald Schon. Okay? So, he was an American from M.I.T., a social scientist, and he did a lot of research into Reflective Learning in the 80s and 90s.
So, there are three main kinds of reflective learning.
The very first one is Knowing-in-Action. So, this is when you do what you already know whilst you’re doing it, right? So, you imagine that you are speaking English with someone, you are using the English you already know, you are ‘Knowing-in-Action’, you’re using what you know in action.
The second type is Reflection-in-Action, and this is where you are doing that thing like speaking English, but you reflect, you think about what’s going on. So, maybe you make a mistake and you think, oh, was that the right word? Was that the right tense? Was that the right adjective that I should have used? You’re ‘Reflecting-in-Action’.
And the third kind and most important kind that I want to dig into a bit more today for you guys is Reflection-on-Action, Reflection-on-Action. And this is when you reflect on the action you’ve done, obviously, after the fact. So, for instance, if you were speaking English with someone, it’s a session where you’re practising your English, maybe you’re getting a lesson with someone, maybe you’re just having a conversation with someone, but when you reflect on that later, if you reflect on it later, that is a Reflection-on-Action. You’re analyzing what you did. Could you have done a better? What else could you have done? What were your mistakes? Okay?
So, let’s get into that a bit more, how it applies to photography for me, and how you guys can improve your English by reflecting on action. Let’s go.
So, recently, guys, I’ve been coming to Mulligan’s Flat quite a bit and you guys are probably seen this in my Instagram posts, on YouTube in the videos. The main reason is that I’m trying to constantly practice the same thing again and again and again, or I guess, variations of the same thing, right?
So, there are lots of animals here. There are lots of little birds, lots of kangaroos, wallabies, all kinds of critters and creatures, and I’m trying to really hone in my photography skills. So, instead of sort of jumping from one thing to the next all the time and not analysing what I’ve done, how I’ve done it, how well I’ve gone, I’ve kept coming to the same place, I’ve kept photographing the same things, in the same locations, and I’ve kept analysing what I’ve been doing after the fact, right?
So, these are my practice sessions. This is where I spend an hour or two walking around, getting a bit of exercise, looking at the environment, finding the animals, and honing my skills when I take shots of the animals doing the same things every time that I’m out here. You know, there’ll be a bird on a branch and I’ll be thinking about: What angle do I need? Where’s the sun? What are my settings on my camera? What is the shutter speed, the aperture, all of these technical things related to the camera that I really need to work on and improve?
And the trouble I was having at first was that a lot of my photos were out of focus. The animals were too fast. The settings weren’t correct on the camera. The photos were overexposed, they were blurred, they were horrible, but I improved a really, really rapidly because of Reflective Practice, guys. Okay? Let’s just focus on that for a sec.
Alright, so how have I been applying Reflective Practice to photography? Obviously, I’ve been doing number one: I have a certain set of skills in photography that I already know and when I come out and take photos here, I use those skills. Knowing-in-Action.
Number two. I’m reflecting in action. I’m taking photos, I’m looking at the photos as soon as I’ve taken them, I’m zooming in, I’m thinking, with the hell of a done wrong? Why don’t I like this? How could I improve this? Is there something wrong with it? I’m scrutinizing those images and I’m thinking in the moment, I’m reflecting in the moment, on what I’ve done and how I could improve that.
But then number three. I’m reflecting afterwards. So, I come out here, I do my one, two hours, however long it is, I take a few thousand photos, I go home, and I sit down, load all the photos onto my computer, and I start going through them. And I start looking at the ones that I like. I sort them out, delete the rest, and then I start scrutinizing the ones that I like and I think, how could I have improved them? Or, what I like about them? What have I done right and what could I do more of in the future?
And if I’m having specific problems like maybe the animal is too blurred, and I’ll show you some of these photos in a second and how I’ve hopefully improved. If the animals too blurred, I get on YouTube, I get on Google, and I start searching ‘how to take sharper images’, ‘I take blurry images, what do I do?’. So, I start looking at how I can improve on the mistakes that I’ve been making.
So, once I identify those mistakes and I sort of think about it, I reflect on those errors, I then plan my next practice session. I then think about next time I go out into Mulligan’s Flat, next time I go out and take some photos of whatever it is, birds, kangaroos, what thing am I going to focus on and try and improve upon? What skills have I just researched? What skills have I just learnt about in order to implement the next time that I go out? And that’s what I’m doing today. I’m out here again after spending the morning looking at a whole bunch of photos that I liked some of, but didn’t like most of it, and I’m thinking about, how can I sit down, how can I practice those, and how can I improve on those mistakes today?
And I’ll tell you what, guys, this has really helped me improve at a lightning pace. You could definitely do this by just coming out here all the time and taking as many photos as possible, but I think that would take a lot longer. In fact, you might improve, but you may not ever get to the level that you want to get to if you’re not scrutinising your own work and thinking about how to improve it in depth, and having that real reflective approach to improvement. Okay?
So, now let’s talk about this in English and how you guys can apply this to improving your English no matter what level you currently have. Okay? We’ll go up the top of the mountain. Let’s head up.
I think that was a bad idea. This hill’s really steep, guys. I’m going to have to wait for like 10 minutes once I get to the top just so that I’m not out of breath and you guys zone give me a hard time about my cardio abilities. Beautiful day though. Beautiful day!
I’ve been walking for like 10 minutes looking for these bloody kangaroos. First time ever I’ve been in Mulligan’s Flat and I couldn’t see kangaroos. I’ve come up this hill, come all the way down, these guys are here, the moment I set the tripod up and move towards it and clicked go, there’s dust and they’re gone. Anyway.
I wanted to chat to you guys about applying the Reflective Practice principle, theory, whatever it is, to your English. How this is going to help you improve your English no matter what your level is as fast as possible.
And instead of just giving you a bit of my mind spewed out, I want to try and give you some actionable… *Rosellas calling*. I want to try… Are you done? Good. I want to try and give you some actionable tips that you guys can apply to your English learning… whatever the ways that you set it up, okay? So, you’ve got a routine, a schedule, maybe you don’t even have one of these, but if you have a routine or schedule, I want you to try and apply these several tips and tricks to that schedule in order to improve your English. Okay?
Alright. So, number one. You need to define a practice session. Whatever it is, however it is that you’re practicing, when you’re practicing your English, I think you need to create a half an hour or maybe a 1-hour period at least once a week where you are actively practicing your English.
Number two. During those sessions, you need feedback. Whether it’s internal and it’s coming from you when you can work out what it is that you’re doing wrong, or whether it’s external and it’s coming from someone else, a friend, a family member, a tutor, a teacher, whoever it is, you need to be getting some kind of feedback on which you can then practice, you can scrutinize, you can improve upon.
Number three. You need to go away and practice on the feedback that you’ve just been given. What is it that you got wrong and how can you do it correctly next time?
Finally, number four, guys. You need to take this in mind and use it to organize your next practice session, and it becomes a cyclical process. You need to apply this every time you do this practice session and you’re going to get results that just compound. You’re going to improve a lot faster than if you were just winging it, you were just improvising, every single time.
So, I guess, finishing up. This is something that I always… I always get asked when I meet people who’ve been in Australia for a very long time, and they say to me, I’ve been here for nine years and my English hasn’t improved. What am I doing wrong? And I’ll ask them, how are you practising? Usually, they’ll say, I’m not. Or they’ll say, oh, I speak, but I don’t study. Or they will be studying, but they won’t be practising the things that they’ve studied.
So, that’s it for me today, guys. Hopefully, you got something useful out of this. Don’t forget to hit subscribe, don’t forget to hit that bell notification button if you would like to stay up to date with all the future episodes, and if you have suggestions, if you have questions for things you would like videos on, put them in a comment below. And now, it’s my turn to put my money where my mouth is, get out there, start taking some photos, maybe some videos as well, and working on what I’ve been trying to improve during my Reflective Practice sessions.
So, with that, guys, let’s go have a look and see what’s around today in Mulligan’s Flat.
Target acquired. I found this little bunch of trees here and I can hear them squeaking. These are these small birds that I’m after and I’m trying to get really sharp nice shots of, that I’ve been having quite a bit of trouble with recently. Let’s see how we go.
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