In this episode of Aussie English I give you some English speaking tips on how to instantly have better English conversations and speak english confidently.
AE 378: How To Instantly Have Better English Conversations
G’day, guys! What’s going on? I am out here in Royal Park during sunset. You can probably the city over here. Just thought I would sit down and have a chat to you guys about how to have better conversations in English. So, at the moment I’m… I’m reading a book about language learning and about how to have better conversations in general and I guess… I noticed these kinds of problems crop up. They occur, they happen quite a bit, but I thought I would talk about it. So, the first chapter, the first section that I’ve kind of gone over in this book is named Showing Your Stuff, right? Showing Your Stuff, so showing what you’re capable of and I feel like a lot of ESL learners trying to learn English a lot of the time they feel shy. They feel like they’re going to make mistakes. They feel like they don’t have the vocab to express themselves exactly how they would like to express themselves and then when they have conversations, whether it’s with other ESL learners or whether it’s with native speakers like myself, they tend to shut down and they don’t show their stuff.
So, there is an important point to make about this. I guess, first and foremost: you could be incredibly good at English. You could be even a native speaker, but if you are constantly shy, too shy to speak it’s going to seem like you don’t have a good command of the English language.
And so, the point of this chapter was saying that there are two ways a speaker can go, any given speak when they have a conversation. If they shut down and they kind of try to always be correct and keep sentences short and not express themselves very much, conversations are often incredibly laborious, they’re difficult, they are hard for the other speakers to sort of go along with it and continue because to their mind, for them, it feels like you’re not interested in having a conversation.
If your answers are really short and abrupt, you know, if I ask you how you’re going and you say good and then you don’t follow up with anything, it gives the impression that you’re not interested. So, the whole point of this chapter in showing us stuff was talking about not necessarily using the most complex language in the world, obviously, but putting putting content out there, going above and beyond, saying more than you think is required.
And I think that’s kind of the takeaway message, that’s the key: give the person who’s asking you questions, the person with whom you’re having a conversation, give them a lot of material and by doing so, paradoxically, you get control of the conversation because all of a sudden, you’re the one who’s giving the other speaker, the other person in the conversation, all this material for them to follow up, for them to ask questions about. And so, you actually gain control of where the conversation goes, ok?
So, not only are you making it seem like you’re interested, you want to talk to them, you are giving them a lot of material, but secondly that they can ask follow up questions about the things that you’ve brought up. Whereas if you don’t feel like expressing yourself to an extensive degree, I guess, you’re not giving them material that they can follow up on. So, if I say to you how are you going? And all you say is “good”, I don’t know where to go from there. I don’t know what kind of follow up questions to give you. Whereas if I say that same thing and then you say “I’m good. I’ve just been on holiday, I’ve just gotten back from my trip to Melbourne and it’s been really cold, the weather was good, but it wasn’t… it wasn’t amazing. We went surfing, we went hiking”… You’ll see there that, despite me talking a lot, the sentences that I’m using are still very short. We did this. I did this. I thought this. It was cold.
You don’t have to make things very complicated to still have really good conversation skills, right? Because after you’ve said these kinds of things, I went here, I did this, it was like this, the weather was this, the person you were having a conversation with, one: thinks you’re interested and willing to have a conversation and two: they can ask you follow up questions.
“Oh! I’ve been there. Did you like it? Oh, the weather was cold! What did you do? Did you go out?”, you know? Those kinds of things so, I guess, summing up to keep this video short: no matter what your level in English, try to always show your stuff when you’re having a conversation, ok? Try to give more than you think is required when answering questions. If someone says “How are you going?” You can say “good”, but then follow it up with some more information, give them some material to ask you more questions. And, as a result, you’re going to have control of where the conversation goes. It’s going to be related to things you’re comfortable talking about. If you keep it short, keep it quiet, the other person has to try and come up with questions that you have no control over. So, that’s why I think it’s important always try to show your stuff when having a conversation.
It doesn’t have to be complex, but just put out there as much as you can and, yeah, enjoy having longer and more fruitful conversation, guys.
I hope that helps.
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By pete — 1 year ago
Learn Australian English in this expression episode of the Aussie English Podcast where I teach you how to use the expression RIGHT ON THE MONEY like a native English speaker and with everyday english examples.
AE 429 – Expression: Right on the Money
You may have seen some videos doing the rounds online. The new British £5 banknote and the new Australian $5 note being used as the needle for a record player.
It’s pretty cool. They actually play music. Oh! That’s so cool!
G’day you mob! How’s it going?
Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. I’m your host Pete and this is the Aussie English Podcast. So, if it’s your first time listening, thanks for joining us, and if you have been listening for a while now, big thanks for coming back.
So, this is the Aussie English Podcast, guys, and the main aim of this podcast is to teach Australian English, whether you want to sound like an Australian when you speak English or whether you just want to understand how we speak, the different kinds of slang that we use, the expressions we use, and the various accents, this is the podcast for you guys, so welcome.
So, that intro scene there, guys, that was a really nifty little video that I found on a YouTube channel called BrainCraft where an Australian named Vanessa Hill talks about things such as science, psychology, neuroscience, and more.
So, I stumbled upon that when I came up with the Australian fact for today’s episode, which is going to be talking about Australian banknotes, the Australian money. And yes, our notes are pretty epic. They’re pretty cool. I’m sure that if you’ve lived in Australia you’ve seen them, and if you’re overseas and haven’t been here yet you may have still seen these online on TV somewhere, and our notes are so epic that they can play music on a record, but we’ll get to that in the end, guys.
So, a few quick announcements. I’ve been working my butt off, I’ve been working my arse off, trying to put together some new vlog videos for you guys up on the YouTube channel. Those will be linked in the transcript, and you can also obviously go to Aussie English on YouTube and just search for the word ‘vlog’, V-L-O-G.
So, these are where I go around Australia, I go around with friends, I see people, and I do daily life kind of stuff, and I’m giving you access to everyday kind of English. The way that I interact with strangers, when I order coffee, when I order food, how I speak to my friends. So, this is all in an effort to show you the real English spoken by a native speaker.
And also recently, my girlfriend was kind enough to buy me a GoPro, and I’ve been strapping this GoPro to my chest and walking around places like malls and shopping centres and just shops when I buy things, and again, I’m going to create videos that show you how I interact with people when I purchase things, when I ask for directions, when I ask where something is in a supermarket. So, make sure that you go over to Aussie English on YouTube, check out those most recent videos, and please leave a comment, let me know what you think, and also, if you have any suggestions for things you would like me to vlog about, make sure that you mention those in the comment.
Obviously, some more quick announcements, guys. The Aussie English Podcast is completely funded by you guys through your donations via my Patreon page, where you can sign up to donate as little as a dollar a month. You can donate more if you would like, but this is what helps me do what I do. And also, obviously, The Aussie English Classroom. So, you can sign up there to get all the bonus content, the videos, the quizzes, the MP3s, accent training staff, everything extra is in the Aussie English Classroom, the website online. And because I’m so proud of this product and I want it to help you as much as possible, the first 30 days are just one dollar. So, make use of that deal, guys. When you sign up you pay just a single dollar for your first 30 days before you have to pay the monthly fee, and you can thoroughly test out the Aussie English Classroom.
Anyway, that was a big intro, guys, but let’s get into today’s Aussie English joke. Okay, so this one as well is related to money. So, see if you get it. Okay? Here we go.
Why don’t cows have any money? So, why don’t cows, you know, those animals that go ‘Mooooo’, on farmland. Why don’t cows have any money? Because farmers milk them dry. A bit of a dad joke, but it’s a good one. Because farmers milk them dry.
So, I like this for several reasons. It obviously is talking about money, and then its talking about cows and farmers, but also, it uses the really cool expression ‘to milk someone dry’. And in this case, if you’re milked dry by someone or something, it’s that they have taken a resource from you. So, they’ve taken money from you and you have nothing left. So, it’s a joke. Why don’t cows have any money? Because they get milked dry. So, quite literally the farmers take milk from them, and then figuratively, they’re taking their money, right? Because they’re getting milked dry.
Anyway, today’s expression is ‘on the money’ and this was suggested by Emma. It was a great suggestion in the Aussie English Classroom private Facebook group where we all hang out, all the students in the Aussie English Classroom are always in their posting videos, and we choose the expressions for each week’s episode in there.
So, ‘on the money’ or ‘right on the money’. You can use either of these. I wonder if you guys know what this expression is, or have you heard it before? ‘Right on the money’ or ‘on the money’.
It’s a bit of a simple one, but we’ll define that after we define the words in the expression, okay?
So, ‘right’. ‘Right’, can mean a few things, right? I can use it like that to clarify whether or not you think I’m correct, whether or not you agree with me, right? You can use it to mean the opposite of left, you know if I turn to the left, while I’m driving, that’s the opposite of turning to the right. But we can also use it when something is exact, something is accurate, something is precise, okay? So, if I say that you are exactly right, you are correct, you are exact, okay?
‘On’. ‘On’ is a very common preposition that I am sure that you know. It means to be above a surface and touching it, resting on that surface. Okay? ‘On’. Right on something, exactly above and touching the surface of something.
And the last word, ‘money’. Again, I’m sure you know this one, guys. Coins, banknotes, things that are used as a medium of exchange. So, in order to exchange goods, you often use money, as opposed to just trading.
Expression Definition & Origin:
Alright, so the expression ‘on the money’, or ‘right on the money’, it just means that you are exactly correct, that you are accurate. So, if you’re right on the money, you are exactly correct, you are exactly accurate. You’re right.
So, I looked into the origin of this and there were a few different ones, but the one that I like the most that I thought that sounds about right was a story from a guy called Brad Friesen. So, he said he was a kid working as a surveyor’s assistant it was explained to him that when the earliest surveyors do their work they install what are called ‘benchmarks’, a 1-inch by 1-inch steel rod hammered into the ground at a known location and elevation. Over time, the top of these rods tarnishes as it rusts and it becomes hard to see in the viewfinder of a surveyor’s transit. So, putting a shiny coin on the top would render them more visible when the transit was setting level precisely above it. So, you’d be right on the money when you set that transit to be focusing on the coin.
So, there you go. That could be the origin, who knows, but it was an interesting explanation.
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So, as usual guys, let’s go through some examples of how I would use the expression ‘to be on the money’ or ‘to be right on the money’.
Alright so, example number one. You could imagine that you are a teacher in a classroom full of high school students. You’re teaching something like biology, maybe physics, chemistry, could even be English, and you ask a question to the classroom. So, maybe your writing on the board, you ask a question, you turn around, and you’re like, “Who knows the answer to this question?”. The students put their hands up. You pick one of these students, and he or she answers exactly correctly. They answer with 100 percent accuracy. They’re 100 percent correct. They are right on the money, and their answer is right on the money as well.
So, example number two. Maybe you like to gamble on animals. So, you like betting, so horse racing or dog racing. We have the greyhounds racing in Australia, where they use greyhound dogs that chase, like, a fake rabbit around a track. So, if you get a hot tip, like a really good tip, about an animal that you really should bet on, a mate of you maybe he tells you, “Oh, man, you definitely have to put money on this horse or on that dog”, and you do, and he ends up being correct and you win a lot of money based on his tip. You might go back to him and say, “Dude, that hot tip, that suggestion, was right on the money! I put money on it, I won, and I made a heap of money, because your suggestion was on the money.”.
Example number three, guys. Okay. So, now imagine that you are the CEO of a company, big or small, whether it’s Facebook or Google, or maybe some kind of small company that’s from your local area, you’re the one who makes all the decisions. So, maybe you’ve got to make a decision this week about hiring a new employee, or maybe opening a new store or branch of your business somewhere, or maybe even moving into a new area of business. If you make that decision and it pays off, meaning that it was successful, it was the right decision, it was a great idea, everyone in that company might tell you, “Dude, that was right on the money!”. Although, they probably wouldn’t say “Dude” to the CEO. They’d probably say Mr or Mrs or whoever, but probably a little bit more politely than ‘dude’, but they would say, “That decision was right on the money. It was a perfect choice. It was on the money!”.
Alright, guys, good job. So, we’ll go through a listen and repeat exercise. This is your chance to practice your Aussie English pronunciation. If you’re practicing any other accent too, that is fine. I know there are plenty of listeners from other countries around the world whether it’s England, Canada, or America, and they don’t necessarily want an Australian accent. All I would recommend is using your normal accent and still saying these sentences, and the good thing about this expression is that it is used everywhere, guys, all around the world. Okay. So, listen and repeat after me and practice your pronunciation. Let’s go.
Listen & Repeat:
Right on the
Right on the money x 5
I was right on the money
You were right on the money
He was right on the money
She was right on the money
We were right on the money
They were right on the money
It was right on the money
Good job, guys. Remember, if you would like access to the video and the exercises and everything else that will more thoroughly go through the connected speech in these exercises, make sure that you enroll in the Aussie English Classroom. Remember, it’s just one buck, one dollar, for the first month. You can get in there and you can learn to speak better Australian English, and English in general, through the use of these pronunciation materials.
Okay, anyway, let’s get into the Aussie fact for today, guys, and then we’ll finish up.
So, today I wanted to talk to you all about Australian money, but more specifically, I guess, Australian banknotes. So, we’ll leave the coins for another day.
So, Australian banknotes are often touted as the world’s best banknotes. They are definitely very pretty. Now I wonder if you guys have seen these before. So, I was watching a video by a YouTube channel called StandUpMaths, this is definitely one worth checking out and I will link it in the transcript, and he was talking about how cool the maths is behind these notes. So, these notes are based on a log scale where the width doesn’t increase with value, but the length increases in a linear fashion with value, and according to the Australian Mint, even the thickness increases as well based on the value of the note. So, I thought that was very cool and it is something that is very unique to money in the world. I think only Australia does it. But if you want to learn more about the maths behind this, check out the video at StandUpMaths’ YouTube channel.
So, the notes that we have in Australia come in five sizes or five values. We have the five-dollar note, the ten-dollar note, the twenty-dollar note, the fifty-dollar note, and the hundred-dollar note, and they get larger or thicker, longer or thicker, as they increase in value.
So, these are brightly coloured and look like Monopoly money, as many people say, and the colours are pink for the five-dollar note, blue for the ten-dollar note, red or orange for the twenty-dollar note, yellow for the fifty-dollar note, and green for the hundred-dollar note.
And some cool stuff for you guys that I thought I would mention is that I’ve heard slang terms from time to time regarding the twenty, fifty, and hundred-dollar notes. So, I wonder if you can guess, if I said I wanted ‘a lobster’. What colour’s are lobster, specially, when it’s cooked? It’s orange. So, I’d be talking about the twenty-dollar note. I’ve got a couple of lobsters in my wallet.
If I said I wanted ‘a pineapple’, what colour’s a pineapple? It’s yellow. So, I’d be talking about a fifty-dollar note.
And then, I have also heard ‘a green tree frog’. Can I have a green tree frog? Oh man, he’s got a few green tree frogs in his wallet. And that would be talking about the green hundred-dollar note.
Now these aren’t necessarily things that all Australians use, but I thought it was a cool anecdote to mention as I’ve heard friends use those slang terms or, I guess, euphemisms in the past to talk about these.
So, why is Australian money so unique aside from the colour and the size? Another thing, another aspect, of money, the Australian banknote and why it’s so unique, is that it is made of polymers. And these are completely waterproof notes. They’re tear resistant notes. So, you can put them in water. They won’t get wet. And if you’re tried tearing them, they’re not going to tear. So, that’s pretty unique as well. So, they’re incredibly durable and they don’t really wear out unlike money from say, America.
So, Australia got its own currency separate from that of Britain in 1966, and after a nationwide competition to name our notes, we settled on the decimal dollar instead of the UK pound. Other submissions included names such as Austral, Boomer, Kwid, and Ming.
So, these were paper notes until 1988, when the Reserve Bank of Australia and the CSIRO, sort of a science company in Australia, teamed up to create the polymer banknote. So, I didn’t realise it was that long ago in 1988. Since then, the polymer bank note technology has been improving and has culminated in the series of beautiful polymer Australian banknotes that we have today that I hope you guys have seen. And if you haven’t, make sure that you give it a quick google after this. They’re beautiful.
So, there’s plenty of cool anti-counterfeiting science and features behind these banknotes, which you can check out via the videos I’ll link in the transcript, guys. Check out BrainCraft’s video, the one that the intro was from at the start of this episode, if you want to know more about the anti-counterfeiting science and if you want to see this banknote being used to play music.
So, that was the other thing about our banknotes. So, because they’re so resistant to wear and tear the edges of these notes stay incredibly rigid and sharp, and you can actually hold the note down onto the top of a record, as it’s spinning on a record player, and it will play the music. It’ll vibrate and you can hear the music. That’s pretty epic.
So, our unique polymer bank note technology has been licensed to at least 24 other countries all around the world from Canada to Romania and even Mexico.
So, who’s on the banknotes of Australia? I might go more into depth with this in another episode, ’cause there’s quite a few people. There’s two people on every single note, on the obverse side, the front side, and on the reverse side, except for the five-dollar note, which only has the British Queen Elizabeth II on it.
So, I’ll go through these another time, but specifically, but why do we have Queen Elizabeth on our notes still of where Australia and not Britain? Well, we’re still part of the Commonwealth of Nations, or what was previously known as the British Commonwealth. So, we were obviously a colony of Britain. So, besides Britain and many other countries, too, have the Queen’s face on their currency, including places like Canada, New Zealand, Mauritius, Fiji, and even Jamaica.
Anyway, that’s it. I hope you enjoy today’s episode, guys. I hope you enjoyed this episode on cash, on dough, on moolah, on money, and don’t forget to download the free MP3 and the free transcript for this episode that you can study anywhere anytime via the link below.
I’ll chat to you soon, guys. Have a good one.
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By pete — 1 year ago
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AE 381 – Expression:
To Hit The Nail On The Head
Ah, no. This report from Constable Riggs about the three little half-caste girls at the Jigalong Fence Depot. Molly, Gracie, and Daisy. The youngest is of particular concern. She’s promised to a full-blood. I’m authorising their removal. They’re to be taken to Moore River as soon as possible.
Oh, and Miss Thomas, if you could check that the rate for police transportation is still, I believe, 8 pence per mile.
Yes, Mister Neville.
G’day guys, and welcome to this episode of The Aussie English Podcast, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone who wants to learn Australian English, whether you want to understand what we’re talking about, whether you want to be able to use slang that we use, pronounce words the way we pronounce them, this podcast is the number one podcast designed to help you do that.
So, today we had an interesting opening scene from the movie The Rabbit-proof Fence. So, this was a movie created in 2002. It’s an Aussie drama. It’s a film based on the book Follow The Rabbit-proof Fence by Doris Pilkington Garimara. So, definitely check that book out and definitely check this movie out if you want to understand a bit more about Australian culture, and specifically about The Stolen Generations, which is probably the darkest chapter in Australian history, or at least one of the darkest chapters.
Anyway, this movie is loosely based on the true story, and it concerns the author’s mother Molly, who’s actually in the film, and some mixed-race Aboriginal girls who ran away from the Moore River Native Settlement, north of Perth, in Western Australia, in an attempt to try to return to their Aboriginal families after they had been forcibly taken by the authorities, by the government, and placed in this native settlement in 1931.
So, the film follows these Aboriginal girls after the fact, after they’ve been taken forcibly from their parents, from their families, as these girls try to escape and walk back 2,400kms along the Australian Rabbit-proof Fence in Western Australia to see their family, to meet their family, once again in a community at Jigalong.
So, they’re doing this, it takes nine weeks for them to do so, and the whole time they’re being tracked down by the authorities and an aboriginal tracker.
So, the scene that we saw at the start there was actually The Chief Protector of Aborigines for Western Australia, or at least the actor pretending to be him, acting as him, and this guy was named A. O. Neville, and he’s signing off on a document to allow these several mixed-race children to be forcibly taken from their parents, from their families, from their community, and placed into a church mission.
Anyway, we’re going to talk more about the history of this event and The Stolen Generations at the end of today’s episode. So, let’s chat about that in today’s Aussie fact.
So, today’s expression guys, today’s expression is ‘to hit the nail on the head’, ‘to hit the nail on the head’. This one was suggested by me, funnily enough, in the Aussie English Virtual Classroom. We voted on it yesterday, and you guys decided, for whatever reason, that you liked my expression the most. And so, here we are doing it.
But before, we get into the expression, guys, let’s get into today’s Aussie joke.
Where should a 500kg koala go? Where should a 500kg koala go? On a diet. On a diet. Do you get it, guys? The joke there is that you can go somewhere, you know, the koala could go, say, up a tree, or he could go away to a location, but you can also go on something such as a diet. So, that’s the joke. Where should a 500kg koala go? On a diet. He should go on a diet, ’cause he’s overweight.
Alright, so the expression ‘to hit the nail on the head’, ‘to hit the nail on the head’. Let’s go through and define the different words in the expression ‘to hit the nail on the head.
So, first we have the verb ‘to hit’, ‘to hit something’. ‘To hit something’ means to bring one’s hand, or it could be a tool or a weapon, into contact with something or someone quickly and forcibly. So, if you hit someone, that’s to punch them in the face, but you could use a hammer to hit a nail or to hit a piece of wood, and your bringing that hammer quickly and forcibly into contact with the nail or with the piece of wood.
‘A nail’. What is ‘a nail’? ‘A nail’ is a small metal spike, a small metal spike, with a broad flat end. So, one end is flat and the other end is incredibly sharp. And these things tend to be driven into wood, pushed into wood, hit into wood, to join things together or to serve as say a hook, if you were to bend this nail.
‘On’. You’ll know what ‘on’ is. ‘On’ is to be above and resting upon something.
‘The head’ or ‘a head’. ‘A head’ is the upper part of the human body with the face, the eyes, the nose, the mouth, the ears, the tongue, the teeth, everything like that. Your brain is inside your head. That is the head. But we can use this to also refer to, say, the top of something, the uppermost part of something. So, therefore ‘the head of a nail’ is the very top of a nail, as if the nail was standing up and it was the same as a human body, or it was representing a human body, the head on a human would be the very top part of the nail. The head of the nail.
So, let’s define the expression today, guys, ‘to hit the nail on the head’. If you hit the nail on the head, that is that you have found exactly the correct answer. You found the right answer. You were exactly correct. And it can be to say or do something that is absolutely correct. Ok? So, to hit the nail on the head is to be correct or it’s to stay or do something that is absolutely correct.
So, this expression and its origin. This expression is extremely old. I was actually somewhat shocked when I look at this expression up and I tried to find the origin of this expression. One of the earliest, if not the earliest, appearances of this expression is actually in Middle English. So, it’s effectively in another language. Very, very, old English from the year 1438. How crazy’s that, guys? So, the 15th century. And it appeared in The Book of Margery Kempe. The book was called ‘The Book of Margery Kempe’. And it’s an account of the life of a religious visionary Margery Kempe, and is considered to be the earliest surviving autobiography written in English.
So, just for something a little different. I’ve actually got the passage here, or the sentence here, written in Middle English, and I definitely recommend that you guys have a look at the writing, if you’re listening to this now. Download the transcript and have a look at the writing, ’cause it is quite weird to see this, because a lot of these words sound the same, or at least represent the same words, but the spelling has changed from Middle English to Modern English. So, I’m going to try and read it as, I guess, I would say this, but yeah, definitely check it out, ’cause it’s pretty interesting.
Yyf I here any mor thes materys rehersyd, I xal so smytyn ye nayl on ye hed that it schal schamyn alle hyr mayntenowrys.
I probably completely butchered the pronunciation there as I have no idea how to pronounce Middle English, but check it out. In modernised English, though, this passage reads:
If I hear any more these matters repeat it I shall so smite the nail on the head that it shall shame all her supporters.
So, it’s pretty interesting.
If I hear any more these matters repeated.
Yyf I here any mor thes materys rehersyd
That was the Middle English.
I shall so smite the nail on the head
I xal so smytyn ye nayl on ye hed
that it’s show of shame all her supporters.
that it schal schamyn alle hyr mayntenowrys.
Anyway, let’s go through the examples for today’s expression, guys.
So, a classic example for me, and when I would use the expression ‘to hit the nail on the head’, is when I’m giving my private lessons to students. So, I give my private lessons to students, we’re practicing English. They tend to practice their pronunciation in our private lessons quite a bit. And when they get it correct, I often tell them, “You got it perfect. You nailed it”, and I might say, “You’ve hit the nail on the head, mate. Great job! You’ve hit the nail on the head. You got that correct.”. And if they really shock or surprise me with how much they nailed it, I might say, “Strewth, mate!”, which is a way of showing shock or surprise, “Strewth, mate! You hit the nail on the head. Strewth.
Example number two. So, imagine your mate’s about to buy a second-hand car. So, your mate’s trying to buy second hand car. He wants to go on a bit of a road trip. He’s interested in buying a wagon, which is a car with a lot of room in the back. The kind of car you’ll see people doing road trips in where they can put a mattress and a lot of gear in the back, whether it’s eskies whether it’s camping gear, all that sort of jazz. So, he buys a wagon. (It) could be a Holden or a Ford, and maybe you’re unsure why he went for those two brands. You might ask him, “Is it because they’re cheap and they’re easy to repair?” So, it’s cheap to get parts for these cars and they don’t cost much. “Is that the reason you got this car?”. And he might say, “Bingo! Exactly! You hit the nail on the head. That is the exact reason I bought these cars. They’re cheap and they’re easy to repair. You hit the nail on the head.
Example number three could be imagine that you and your mate have bought this car now. So, we’re continuing on the previous story. You’ve bought this car, and it turns out that it’s actually a total bomb, it’s a total dud, it was a massive rip off, and your mate’s been hoodwinked, he’s been tricked, he’s had the wool pulled over his eyes, he’s been taken for a ride. These are all just different ways to say that he’s been cheated or tricked. And so, your mate’s a bit pissed off. So, he’s angry, he’s upset, he’s losing his shit, and he tells it to get my car, “We’re going to go for a drive to my farm”. The farm’s out in the sticks. (It) might take an hour or two to get to, ’cause it’s out in the sticks, it’s out in the bush. You might ask you mate, “Why are we going to a farm? Are you going to leave it there on the farm without the rego and the plates, just as a paddock bomb or something? You know, a car that you can just drive around on the farm that doesn’t need to be registered, (it) needs no rego. If you’re correct, he might turn around and say, “Yeah, strewth, mate! You’ve nailed it. That’s it. You hit the nail on the head. That is exactly what I plan to do with this bomb.
So, that’s it guys hopefully by now you understand the expression ‘to hit the nail on the head’. I use this all the time, guys. I’m sure it’s used everywhere whether you’re in Britain, New Zealand America, Canada, wherever you are in the English-speaking world, people will understand ‘to hit the nail on the head’ means that you are exactly correct or that you’ve said something or done something that is exactly right.
So, let’s go through a pronunciation listen and repeat exercise as usual, guys. This is your chance to practice your English pronunciation, but not only that, it’s your chance to try to perfect the Aussie accent. So, listen and repeat guys, and pronounce things exactly as I do if you want an Aussie accent. Let’s go.
Listen & Repeat:
Hit the nail
Hit the nail on
Hit the nail on the
Hit the nail on the head x 5
I’ve hit the nail on the head.
You’ve hit the nail on the head.
He’s hit the nail on the head.
She’s hit the nail on the head.
We’ve hit the nail on the head.
They’ve hit the nail on the head.
It’s hit the nail on the head.
Good job, guys! Good job. So, we’re going to practice the pronunciation and the connected speech of all of those phrases we just went through in today’s Aussie Classroom course. So, these classes, these expression episodes, get turned into courses on The Aussie English Classroom website. If you want to sign up, it’s just $1 here first month. You can give it a go. You get a heap of lessons, usually, six lessons with each of these expression episodes on the podcast. I give you vocab lists. I break down the slang. I give you some phrasal verb substitution exercises to practice those difficult phrasal verbs and learn synonyms for them. And then, I also break down the pronunciation as an Australian, as well as the connected speech. So, the interesting stuff that goes on that might be pretty subtle when you’re just listening. And then we often go through grammar. So, if you want to give that a go, go to TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com and enroll. It’s just $1 and you can start levelling up your English today.
Anyway guys, let’s go through today’s Aussie facts, and then we can finish up.
So, today’s Aussie fact ties in with The Rabbit-proof Fence movie and the excerpt that you heard from the movie at the start of this episode, and I want to talk about The Stolen Generations or The Stolen Children. This is probably the darkest chapter in Australian history or at least one of the darkest chapters in Australian history, and it was where children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent were removed from their families by force. So, they were removed forcibly by the Australian Federal and State government agencies, and they were placed in church missions under acts of their respective parliaments.
The removal of those children, who were referred to as ‘half-caste’ or ‘mixed-race’, ‘mixed-blood’, etc. was conducted between the years of 1995 and 1969. Although in some places, mixed race children were still being taken into the 1970s. And to put that in context, that was when my parents were teenagers. So, it wasn’t that long ago, and many, many, many, of The Stolen Generation children are still alive today.
So, why did Australia do this? Why did the Australian Government take half-caste or mixed-race children from Aboriginal families and communities? The idea was for the government to quote-unquote “protect” these mixed-race or half-caste children from abuse and neglect in their communities, because they were part European, and as a result they were seen as, I guess, the burden or they were meant to be protected by the Australian government.
So, the official government estimates are that between 1/10 and 1/3 of these indigenous Australian children were taken forcibly from their families and communities between the years of 1910-1970. So, for about 60 years this took place. And that numbered about 20,000 to 100,000 children. Somewhere between there. But estimates are a bit sketchy. And it affected every single region in Australia, every single part of the country.
It was also a belief at the time that this action was required as Aboriginal Australians were quote-unquote “dying off” as their population had steadily shrunk, it decreased from 1.25 million in the year 1788, when Australia was first settled or colonised, and it had shrunk down to only 50,000 Indigenous Australians in 1930. So, the government or the public of Australia were worried that Aboriginal Australians were quote-unquote “dying off”. Whites, the European Australians, assumed that the full-blood tribal aboriginal population would be unable to sustain itself and that it was doomed to extinction. And the idea expressed by The Chief Protector… How ironic is that?… The Chief Protector of Aborigines for Western Australia, A. O. Neville, who was the guy being acted as in that snippet at the start of today’s episode, the idea expressed by him and others as late as 1930 was that mixed-race children could be trained to work in white society, and over generations they would marry white people and be assimilated into the society. And so, I guess, this gives you an insight into the sort of racist views of Europeans in this time who thought that full-blooded Aboriginals were less than Europeans. They weren’t complete civilised humans and that they couldn’t assimilate properly into society. But that they thought that half-bloods would be able.
So, The Chief Protector of Aborigines was the legal guardian of every single Aboriginal and every half-caste child up to the age of 18 years old, and they were also given total control of all Indigenous women, regardless of their age, unless these women were married to a man who was considered substantially European in origin.
So, that just blows my mind, to be honest, because in today’s day and age, it’s just such a racist and just offensive idea. But, you have to put it in the context of people who grew up in the 1800s in the early 19th century. But yeah, it just blows my mind reading this stuff.
Anyway, this guy, The Chief Protector of Aborigines, actually had to approve marriages between indigenous women and non-indigenous men. So, it’s pretty upsetting for someone like me who feels for these people and who does share a bit of that sort of European guilt at the way that indigenous Australians have been treated in the past and how they are treated today. And, it really goes to show that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. So, despite these people thinking and believing they were doing the right thing at the time, the actions were close to evil. You know? Like, they just led to so much suffering.
So, European Australians believed that their civilisation was superior to that of Indigenous Australians in this time, and people in this period of time, who held these beliefs too, considered any proliferation of mixed-descent children, who were known as “half-castes”, “crossbreeds”, “quadroons”, which is someone who is one quarter black, and “octoroons”, who is someone who is one eighth black. And I laughed there because these terms I don’t even know. And I would imagine these terms are now considered highly derogatory and offensive to Indigenous Australians. But that’s how they were referred to in this time. And these people believed that any proliferation of these children would be a threat to the nature and stability of the prevailing civilisation, of Western civilisation, and their ‘heritage’, the ‘racial heritage’, of Western civilization. So, that’s just how racist sort of that entrenched an ingrained opinion of Aboriginals was back in this time.
Strangely enough, this wasn’t just the belief of a few men. It was a response to public concern as well over the increase in the number of mixed-descent children and the sexual exploitation of young Aboriginal women by non-indigenous men, as well as fears among non-indigenous people of being outnumbered by a mixed descent population. So, there’s that racism again.
So, the Northern Territory Chief Protector of Aboriginals Dr Cecil Cook, he argued that, “Everything necessary must be done to convert the half caste into a white citizen”. And Walter Baldwin Spencer reported that in the 1920s many mixed descent children were born to Aboriginal women and white fathers, and these white fathers had actually worked on the construction of The Ghan, which is a railway that goes from Adelaide to Darwin, I believe. And these men, whilst working on it, were obviously hooking up with Aboriginal women, making them pregnant, and then just disappearing and leaving these children when the project was completed.
Anyway, guys. That is long enough for today’s episode. I hope you enjoy this Aussie fact. I hope it gives you some insight into The Stolen Generations, one of Australia’s darkest chapters in our history. And I will see you in the next episode. Peace out guys.
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By pete — 4 months ago
AE 517 – Expression: Go Out On A Limb
This is the signal for ‘Big Bill’ Neidjie to begin on of the most important duties in the maintenance of his tribal lands. Only he and the other elders are traditionally entrusted with the task of burning the grasslands. They must clean the country, they say, but strictly according to aboriginal law.
Bill’s son, Johnathon Yarramana, has come to learn just how and when the fires may be lit.
The time is right when the birds begin to migrate. The young animals born in the grasslands have grown to maturity by this time and so can escape fire.
It’s also a comparatively cooler time of year and beneath the dry stalks there is still dampness. Fires will not rage out of control and so the country will be cleansed, but not devastated. If the laws about burning are broken and fires are started later in the season of heat and dryness, there will be great loss of life.
G’day you mob! How’s it going? Welcome to this episode of Aussie English, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone wanting to learn Australian English, but not just for them, for anyone who is trying to get to an advanced level in English and beyond as well. So, remember guys the Aussie English Podcast is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom. This is my online classroom with my courses and all the content that I create to help listeners just like you improve your English. So, if you’re working on pronunciation, you’re trying to improve expression comprehension and use you, you want to expand your vocab and you want to do so with the bonus content for these episodes and much more, go to theaussieenglishclassroom.com and sign up and remember you can try that for just one dollar for your first month, ok?
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Anyway, guys, the movie scene at the start there, I hope you like that, that was a snippet from a David Attenborough doco, I’m not sure exactly which one, but I found that on YouTube and thought that I would chop a little part out of it and show you it because it has something to do with what we will talk about at the end of this episode and that is bushfires, ok? And Indigenous Australians use and have used for many thousands of years bushfires to control the land for hunting for many different purposes. Anyway, we’ll chat about that in the Aussie English Fact at the end of today’s episode.
Alright, so, as usual, let’s start with an Aussie joke. So, I decided to try and find a tree joke, a joke about trees, because today’s expression references the limb of a tree, as in a large branch on a tree, ok? So, here’s the tree joke, here is the joke about trees. How did trees get online? How did trees get online? They just log in. They just log in. Do you get it? There’s a pun there with the word log, right? A log is a thick part of a branch of a tree that has been chopped up, right? If you chop a tree down and you chop the trunk up or a large branch up, you get logs. Those small chunks of wood, that’s a log so, how to get online, they just log in, because log in to is to get online. I don’t know. I don’t know. Bad joke.
Alright so, today’s expression, guys, is ‘to go out on a limb’, ‘to go out on a limb’, ‘to go out on a limb for someone’, you’ll usually hear it in that kind of pattern, so this came from Kel, my wife, in the Aussie English Classroom, seemed like a lot of you guys in the Facebook group were a bit busy this week so, we only had two expressions to choose from, Fatima, you almost got there, but next week, we’ll try next week. So, let’s go through and define the words in the expression ‘to go out on a limb’, ‘to go out on a limb for someone’.
So, ‘to go out’. ‘To go out’. This is to move in an outwards direction, right? You can go out of a house, which is to exit the house, to leave the house, to move out of the house. You can go out of the city if you’re in the city and you go out of the city, you’re moving outwards from the city, you’re leaving the city. But if you go out on something, now by saying ‘on’ something we’re talking about moving out, moving outwards, moving in an outwards direction, but now we are on something, right? Like you’re standing on something. So, maybe you go out on a balcony. If you have a balcony in your house you walk out on the balcony, you go out on the balcony, maybe or a tightrope walker and you’re about to walk out on the tightrope you are going out on the tightrope, ok? So, to go out on something is to move outwards on something.
And the last word here ‘a limb’. ‘A limb’ can be an arm or a leg of a person or an animal or maybe the wing of a bird, right? ‘A limb’, but in this sense, it is a large branch of a tree which resembles a limb, I guess, of an animal. You know it’s a long thin part of an organism in that case, a large branch of a tree. So, what does the expression to go out on a limb or to go out on a limb for someone mean? So, if you go out on a limb, it can be that you are isolated, but generally it means that you put yourself in an isolated position in which you’re supporting someone, but you yourself don’t have the support from other people so, you can go out on a limb to support someone, to protect someone, to help someone and the idea there being is that you’re doing it alone, you’re not doing it with a lot of other people’s support behind you. So, maybe as well it could be that you’re in a position where you’re not joined or supported by other people when you’re supporting someone and another definition here was to do something that is strongly believed in, usually in support of other people when it’s risky or extreme and I guess that ties in, it’s risky or extreme because other people aren’t doing it with you, ok?
And the phrase is referring to climbing a tree and going out on the limb of the tree as if, I guess, you were chasing an animal or maybe you’re leaning out and trying to get an apple or some fruit, but you’re taking a risky course of action. You’re doing something that’s dangerous in order to get something. So, you’re putting yourself in a sort of uncomfortable position, to go out on a limb, to go out on a limb for someone.
So, the origin of this expression was that it was first used in a figurative usage back in the late 19th century in 1895, when it was used in the Steudenville Daily Herald, a US newspaper. However, here, it’s not actually referring to climbing trees, but instead it was referring to being having someone isolated, having them isolated so, that they were vulnerable, in a vulnerable position and the quote was:
”We can carry the legislature like hanging out a washing. The heft [the main part] of the fight will be in Hamilton country. If we get the 14 votes of Hamilton, we’ve got them on a limb or all we have to do is shake it or saw it off”.
Ok, so the idea here being I don’t know what the context is for trying to get votes, but if they get enough votes they will have, I take it, the opposition in a vulnerable position and he’s talking figuratively when he says he’ll have them on a limb and all they have to do is shake the limb or to saw the limb off, right? To get rid of them, I guess.
So, let’s go through three examples of how I would use this expression in day to day life, ok?
So, example number one. Imagine you’re working in a factory. So, you’re a factory worker. You are a labourer. You work with big machinery with tractors, robots, conveyor belts, all of that sort of stuff. One day you make a catastrophic error and you accidentally leave a tool in a part or a section of the machinery. So, maybe it’s a spanner or a screwdriver or bolts, nuts, whatever it is and they get sucked into the machine and they do irreparable damage to that machine. They destroy that machine so, you notice that you see that, you freak out, you’re really worried, you think you might lose your job because you stuffed up and you’ve cost the company a heap of money because they need to replace that equipment, but your boss goes out on a limb and he saves you from losing your job. So, maybe he reports to the people above him at the company and he tells them how skilled you are, how important you are, how integral you are, how crucial you are for the company and maybe he explains it wasn’t really your fault or it was a simple accident. So, you don’t get fired because your boss went out on a limb for you. He puts himself in a vulnerable position in order to support you and maybe without anyone supporting him when he does that, but he’s saved your job.
Example number two. Imagine you’re an up and coming footy star. You know you love footy, you play footy, football, Australian Rules Football in Australia, you’re a kid, you’re a young kid who’s been playing all his life, training hard and your dream is to get selected and play on an AFL team so, you go to tryouts and you are showing a whole bunch of scouters, people who are selecting young up-and-comers to go on to these footy teams, and you have to show your stuff, you have to show them what you’re made of, right? So, ultimately, it’s their decision as to whether or not you get on the team. And if one of the scouts sees you, although you haven’t been performing incredibly well, you haven’t done as well as you would normally, but he sees you and he thinks this kid’s got a bit of talent. I think he’s going to go far. He might go out on a limb and support you when he talks to the other scouters and convinces them to put you through into the team, to select you, right? So, he goes out on a limb for you in order to get you through, right? He wants to support you and he’s doing it alone. He’s not doing it with other people’s help. He is isolated, he’s vulnerable.
Example number three. Maybe you are a fisherman on a fishing boat and you’re out at sea when there’s a huge storm with thunder, with lightning and it rolls in before you can do anything, before you can get back to port safely. So, the swell is really huge, you know, the waves are up and down, three, four, five metres you’re really worried that the boat is going to capsize in this swell, that your crew might get thrown off the boat, get thrown overboard and likely drown and, obviously, that you will lose the catch, the fishing catch that you’ve got this trip. So, the coastguard might come out to try and save your lives. So, these are the sailors whose job it is to help sailors or fishermen in distress at sea. So, they come out in their vessel into the storm and they find you, they get you guys on board, they hook your boat up to their boat so that they can tow it all the way back to the port and have your vessel get all the way back to safety without, you know, hopefully too much damage, despite the fact though that they’re putting their lives in danger, right? There’s a lot of peril. The storm could endanger them as well. So, despite the dangers, the coastguard went out on a limb to rescue you and your crew. They were isolated, they put themselves in a vulnerable position, in danger, in order to rescue you. They really went out on a limb to save your lives.
So, I guess, too I might add here because I just realised I haven’t touched on this, you can also use to go out on a limb when you’re talking about something you don’t know much about, right? Or when you put something forth and you’re not really sure. So, Kel came in before and I was talking to me about this suggestion and she had thought about it during IELTS, where if you get asked a question you don’t know much about, you know, maybe they say to you what’s your thoughts on the political situation in Bosnia? You might say okay… you’ve kind of caught me off guard. I’m not prepared, but I might go out on a limb and say that the political situation is not too good, right? So, you’re going out on a limb. It’s like here, it’s like saying you’re going to take a risk, you are going to put yourself in a vulnerable position, right? I’ll go out on a limb and say that this.
So, hopefully, you guys understand the expression ‘to go out on a limb’. Generally, it’s used when you’re putting yourself in an isolated position, but you’re supporting someone or you’re trying to help someone, right? Without the support of other people or it’s to do something you strongly believe in without the support of others when it’s very risky or extreme and it can be also when you want to comment on something that you don’t know much about, right? As in, you’re going to take a risk and give your opinion, you’re going to go out on a limb and say, blah blah blah.
So, as usual, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise, guys, where you can practice your pronunciation, and remember if you want to work on your specific accent, if you’re not working on an Australian accent, you’re working on a British, a New Zealand, a US accent, whatever it is, just copy the words that I’m saying, but don’t necessarily copy my accent exactly, but if you are working on an Australian accent then really try and mimic how I say these things, if you want a general Australian accent. Ok? Let’s go!
To go out
To go out on
To go out on a
To go out on a limb x 5
I went out on a limb for him.
You went out on a limb for him.
He went out on a limb for him.
She went out on a limb for him.
We went out on a limb for him.
They went out on a limb for him.
It went out on a limb for him.
Good job, guys! Good job! Now remember, if you want to get the full breakdown of all of these phrases all of these sentences step by step, join the Aussie English Classroom and not only will you get the video for the pronunciation, the connected speech, everything that’s in this section. Not only will you get that, but you’ll get all of the other videos for today’s expression episode including the vocab breakdown and the expression break down for the other interesting parts vocab expressions used in this episode. So, go to theaussieenglishclassroom.com, sign up and check out those videos for this episode as well as 50 other episodes that are up in there as well.
Alright, so I mentioned at the start today that I was going to talk about bushfires. So, that’s today’s Aussie English fact.
As you may or may not know, bushfires in Australia are relatively prevalent. They happen every single year. They’re always on the news during the dry and hot seasons are. So, let’s go through a little bit about bushfires. Bushfires are a frequent and important part of Australian climate and its environment so, prevalent in Australia due to the mostly hot and dry climate that we have here in Australia and fires occur on an annual basis, every single year, primarily during summer or during the dry season up in the North of Australia, and the impact is extensive. It happens all over the place to bushland, to forests and even to suburbia where people have decided to build houses around forested areas around or in forested areas.
So, although on one hand they have the potential to cause extensive property damage and even loss of human life, on the other hand bushfires are an important part of Australian ecosystems and the biology and life cycles of many native flora and fauna, for example, positive effects of bushfires include:
- Heating up the soil, cracking seed coats and triggering the germination of many plant seeds,
- Triggering woody seed pods held in the canopy to open up and release their seeds onto a fresh and fertile ash bed below, and this happens with Banksia plants,
- Clearing thick understorey in forested areas to reduce competition for plant seedlings. So, those seeds when they land in that ash bed are more able to grow quickly because of the ash as nutrients, but they also have less competitors because they have been burnt away from bushfires.
- Also, encourage new growth that provides food for many animals.
- And they also create hollows in logs and trees that can be used by animals for nesting and for shelter.
- And aboriginals in Australia often light bushfires, which is a practice called ‘traditional burning’, and they do this in order to: make access easier through thick and prickly vegetation, to maintain a pattern of vegetation, to encourage new growth and also attract game for hunting. So, they want to attract animals in to eat the new vegetation so that they can hunt these animals. And they also do it to encourage the development of useful food plants for cooking, warmth, signaling, and even spiritual reasons.
So, this practice was done for so long more than 40,000 years that many ecosystems in Australia have adapted to this and they rely on regular fires lit by humans in order to thrive.
That said, there are many negative effects of fires, which include:
- The damage done to vegetation in communities such as rainforests, where it can often take hundreds of years for rain forests to recover from a fire.
- They can kill and injure plants and animals.
- They can cause erosion and the subsequent sedimentation of creeks and wetlands, which is where the erosion goes into the water and it decimates the local flora and fauna. It makes it hard for them to survive them.
- It can also open up areas to the impacts of weeds and feral animal invasion. So, where trees and plants and everything had been burnt away, weeds can come in and live there, animals that have been feral and are introduced into Australia like rabbits, foxes, they can more easily get in too, and also, humans suddenly now have access to these places and they can vandalise these places as well.
How bushfires in Australia are managed? If you come to Australia, you may sometimes see practices such as back burning and prescribed burning taking place in places like national parks and other forested areas around the country near suburbs and this is usually outside the bushfire season. It’s usually done then when they set fires to the understorey, to grasslands, etc. in order to burn away excess wood, excess grass, etc., to make it safer and easier to control during summer and also communities as well as individual households in these areas usually have plans, they’ll be encouraged to have bushfire action plans so that if a bushfire should occur, they know exactly what they need to do in order to get out safely to evacuate the area.
So, let’s chat about the worst bushfire in Australian history. This bushfire was called ‘Black Saturday’, and it was actually hundreds of bushfires all on this one day, and it was the worst Australia bushfire in terms of lives lost. These fires were a series of bushfires that were ignited or were burning across the state of Victoria on Saturday the 7th of February in 2009, it was nine years ago, with the final fire going out or being put out more than a month later on the 14th of March.
The fires occurred during extreme bushfire weather conditions and resulted in Australia’s highest ever loss of life from a bushfire with a total of 180 fatalities and a further 414 people were injured as a result of the fires. There were as many as 400 individual fires recorded that day with the total amount of burnt area, including more than a million acres so about half a million hectares of land.
What caused these fires? There were various confirmed causes of these fires including:
- power lines,
- and even arson
So, people had actually lit these fires on purpose and more than 3,500 buildings including two thousand homes were burnt to the ground and completely destroyed. So, it was a very tragic event and if you ask any Australian about Black Saturday they will know what you’re talking about and they will know about the tragic loss of life.
Anyway, guys, I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode today, I hope you’ve learned a little bit more about English, some expressions, a little bit more about Australian history as well, although, recent Australian history and I hope you guys have an amazing weekend and I’ll see you soon. Peace out!
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