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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About the AuthorI learn languages, teach Australian English, and love all things science and nature!
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By pete — 1 year ago
AE 388 – Interview: Scottish Accents, Favourite Movies, & More with Christian from Canguro English
G’day, guys. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. Today is another Aussie English interview episode. So, this episode was relatively impromptu. It was unexpected. It was spontaneous. And it was on Instagram. This was the first interview that I’ve done on Instagram. So, I got on Instagram. If you haven’t checked it out, go to Aussie English on Instagram. I have an account there, obviously, and I was on there fiddling around and I was chatting to Christian from Canguro English, recently, and he suggested that we do a live class together. So, apparently, before I actually realised that you could do this, you can do live classes on Instagram. So, we did that tonight. We were chatting about all kinds of different things in the live class. We were talking about different accents in English comparing American English, British English, Australian English, and talking about the difficulties that you may or may not have when travelling in these different countries if you have only been exposed to a single kind of English. We also talked about our experiences learning languages, whether bad pronunciation is worse than bad grammar, or good pronunciation vs. good grammar. If you had to choose one, which would be the one that you would choose to hear in someone speaking English? Christian and I have a bit of a debate about that. We talk about the future plans for Aussie English and for Canguro English. Christian has just started his podcast and there’s one episode up already. The link will be in the description for you guys to go and check out Christian’s podcast but just sit back and enjoy this episode, guys. It’s just a natural conversation between Christian, a fellow Australian, who’s currently living in Spain, and myself, obviously.
And remember, that if you want the breakdown of 5 to 10 minutes in this episode, you can jump over to the Aussie English Classroom where you will get a quiz and some vocab to study for a section of this interview episode. So, this is all in a bid to try to help you improve your English.
Anyway guys, I won’t hold you up any more. Here we go. Christian from kangaroo English and me just have a yarn.
Hello everybody and welcome to this live stream. I’m going to be going live this morning with Pete from Aussie English. The man, the legend…
Good! It worked! It worked.
Yeah! I had exactly the same problem with Adriana. For some reason, I’m like… I’m like, you know, cancer! Nobody wants me in their livestream.
I can’t even understand it was “unable to join”. So, it had like everyone else showing up that had them, and I could invite them, but for you said “unable”. And then, when I came in I just had to send the request. So, it’s technology.
So, maybe I have some setting wrong in my Instagram. I don’t know what it is, because I looked yesterday. I have to do some googling and find out what the problem is.
Man, I… this was the first time I even used it, yesterday, when I got on. I had no idea. I don’t do any of the live things on here. I’ve only ever used Facebook. So, I was just there like…
Wow! So, it’s incredible. This is amazing.
It’s pretty good. It’s pretty crazy. The only thing I think that they can improve on is it muting you when I talk and vice versa, ’cause I feel like I can’t hear your reactions whilst I’m talking until I stop talking. It’s like Skype.
So, where are you right now.
I am in my parents’ kitchen and living room. Behind me you can probably see their living room, and then their kitchen is here, and I am just sitting down at this big viking table. You can see it here. This is my desk at the moment.
It’s a beautiful house, actually.
Yeah, they renovated it a few years ago. So.
It looks like it has lots of glass everywhere.
Yeah. It’s pretty cheeky. If you come… you see behind me here there’s a courtyard with windows and everything, and then my room is up here, and I have a little… (I’ll) see if I can show you. I have a cute little like outdoor patio here and my bedroom’s behind here. So.
Is that… Are you living in the granny flat?
It’s part of the house. It’s still joined. But to get there, I have to go… (I’ll) see if I could show you guys, all the way… all the way up these stairs, and then turn in the door at the end there to get to my bedroom. So, you can see why I prefer to be down here. And it’s yellow, because the Sun’s setting behind me over here. So… I know.
I have the exact opposite this morning, ’cause right now the sun is just coming out.
You look like you’ve just woken up. Are you having coffee?
Yes. I woke up about half an hour ago. I’m definitely not a morning person. It takes me a long time to actually, you know, get started. So.
I’m the same. I get up at like I’m 9:30-10(am). That’s when I crawl out of bed, and I’m like, “Oh, yeah, I can do stuff now”, and then, I go to bed at 3am. So, that’s good.
Well. Yeah, well, I think probably from an Australian that’s a little bit more, like, abnormal, ’cause I’m like… I know that a lot of Australians get up very early, right?
I guess there are quite a few, especially down here, I don’t… you probably can’t… you won’t be able to see it, but through the windows here, if I take my head off (the screen), there’s sand dunes just here and then there’s a beach on the other side. And so, mum every morning gets up at like eight o’clock and goes on walks the dog and there’s, you know, hundreds of people down on the beach walking their animals. So, they’re all the people who get up early in are peppy and, like, “Oh… let’s get, you know… rise and shine!”.
But what a spectacular place to live. So, the beach is just there, just like.
Well. A kilometer away. Half a kilometer away. Maybe 500 metres. Yeah, so it’s pretty good.
Well, I know where I’ll be staking when I visit you.
Man, you should come down. I’m trying… I have to live here and, like, rent whilst I’m trying to save up to get a place here, ’cause I want to live here in Ocean Grove, but I need to save a bit of money first. So… but it would be nice. Definitely come to Melbourne.
We’ve got a question here. Well, Tum… Tum… Ok, I let me try say this. Tumwah Shifkuna says that we look like twins in the language sphere.
Yeah, that’s it. Except I think I’m slightly more freshly-shaved. There’s a little…
You might… So, you how much more spectacular beard.
Just at the moment, though. Like, for now. I just haven’t shaved for a month.
No, it’s nice. And we have an actual question here from… Well, he has… He doesn’t have his name, but his username is “Arfander”, and he says, “Is there any accents in English that we don’t understand?”.
Yeah. I have to agree. I think the most difficult accent, I think, for most native speakers would be Scottish, right?
I think so. Maybe some of those really regional American accents like in… in the south or, I think, some of those really weird places in Canada where they live in very small… like Newfoundland, right? Where they live in very small communities. And so, it almost intensifies as a result. But I remember, as a story, when my dad used to watch Billy Connolly videos, and Billy Connolly’s a really good comedian, but he’s from Glasgow. And I remember, for the first year or two not understanding it. Dad would put these on all the time and I wouldn’t understand. I’d miss the punch line. I wouldn’t know what he was saying, ’cause his accent is so strong. So, that took a long time to adapt to.
Yeah, I think that’s the interesting thing, right? But, like, it’s not… ’cause people sort of have this idea that there are, like, strong accents, but it’s, like, all accents are equally strong. It’s just a question which accents we are accustomed to hearing.
I think that’s it. And it tends to be… it tends to be that there’s… a lot of accents might be different, but they kind of converge a bit on… the vowels aren’t that different from one another, right? Like Standard British English, Standard American English, Standard Australian English, they’re kind of the same, but as soon as you go to sort of an outlier like Scottish Glasgow accent, it’s almost like their vowels are all switched around and that’s what messes with my wiring. I’m just like.
Exactly. And the vocabulary. I mean, like, in Glasgow they have so much slang that’s very specific…
That never leaves. That, you know, we don’t see on television. We don’t see it written in newspapers. So, you just… you have know idea what it means. Like, it’s.
I had to learn a lot of that from just Billy Connolly. I think he was my only sort of conduit for learning Scottish slang, because I only ever watched him, and it took a long time of watching, rewatching, getting the context, and then I was, like, “Finally! I think I know what he’s talking about when he says, “Wellies” or, you know, “Jimmy”, or something”, and I’d be like… that’s what compounds it, right? It’s almost like the accent is one thing, but then if they speak quick and on top of that they use slang everywhere, it just makes it so much harder, ’cause you can’t parse that in real time. It’s just like.
I mean, imagine the poor English learner who, you know, who’s been studying English with a teacher for four or five years and then they go to Glasgow. They don’t understand…
But that’s the same for us, right? Like, if we did a sudden school trip in Glasgow, the average Australian would probably feel like they were in a different country. You know, like, they would be like “You alright pal? You alright? You alright?”, and you’d be like, “What are they saying?!”.
Yeah, if anyone wants to… if anyone watching wants to hear some authentic sort of Scottish… you know, with slang, they should definitely look for the comedian Billy Connolly.
Yeah, he’s brilliant. With subtitles!
I’m going to type his name down in the comments.
Billy Connolly. Connolly. Is it with two L’s?
I think so. That’s one of those… Billy, and then Con… yeah, it’s double N and double L.
Oh, yeah. He’s a funny guy.
And also, there’s a video on YouTube and sometimes I show it to my students. And if you go to YouTube.
This is the guy. If you can see him. I don’t know how the… the screen’s probably too bright, but.
I mean, he just looks like a comedian. He’s funny… just looking at it him’s funny.
He’s so good. He’s amazing.
Yeah, if… on YouTube, if you… there’s a video. If you just type in YouTube, “Scottish people speaking in English maybe”, that’s the title of the video, and it’s it’s a little excerpt from Jeremy Kyle.
And it’s these two Scottish people arguing. And honestly, it’s impossible to understand. (It’s) absolutely impenetrable. It’s crazy.
Yeah. I’ll have to find it. There’s a few of those videos. I remember seeing one where there’s a guy who’s stuck on a roof and he doesn’t know where to put his feet. And these guys are teasing him like, “Just put your feet in the flashing. Put your feet in the flashing”, and he’s say of “flashing” or something like that of the roof and the guy’s like, “Where the fuck do you want me to put my feet? Where am I supposed to put my f…”. And he’s just, like, losing it, and you’re just, like, ***laughter****. It’s amazing. It’s amazing.
But it is… like, speaking about, like, how we get used to accidents. I remember recently, I was watching an episode of… what’s the name? The Ellen Degeneres show, and she plays a game called “Accents”. So, basically you… the people, they hold, they put a tablet on their heads and it says, you know, you have to do a Scottish accent or an Irish accent or New York accent, and the actor… It was the actor…Oh, I can’t remember his name. Man, I’m getting old. I can’t have anything. Anyway it had this really famous American actor on the program. And so, they were playing the game, and he could do New York and California and Scottish and South African and he could do British. And then, she does this, and it’s says “Australian”, and he’s like, “….”. He couldn’t do it, because… and I think because nobody really sort of hears it, right? Nobody practices the Australian accent.
No one cares. No one cares about us.
I think they… you know, didn’t they do that thing where they asked all these Americans where to show Australia, and they put a map out, and they… just the dots were just everywhere from South Korea to Iraq, and, like, no one knew where it was. So, it wouldn’t surprise me. But that’s what I find interesting. People say I have a strong accent, and… who are also English speakers, and a lot of the time I feel like they’re just Americans who just aren’t exposed to the Australian accent. Whereas, we hear… we watch TV from Britain, from, you know, Ireland, Scotland, America, Canada, and so, we get sort of everything and learn to understand it. Whereas, I think countries like America and Canada are probably a lot more insular and just focus… They only see their TV. And so, learn their accents and that’s it.
What’s it like in Spain?
I met a guy from California, recently, and I asked him, I said, you know, “What do people think the British accent?”, and he was like, “Wow. It’s like the British accent is like so elegant, and, you know, like James Bond, basically.” You know.
Well, what was it like for you with learning Spanish, because obviously you had, you know, Spanish-Spanish, “cena” instead of “cena”, and then you have all of these other Spanish-speaking countries that are larger than Spain. So, it’s not like you’re not going to come across them. Was it weird learning those accents?
I think, honestly, I think that when you’re learning a language, like, the last thing that you can do is have, like, a perfect accent, and in fact, it… look, like even now, I couldn’t tell you the difference between an Argentinian Spanish accent or or a Cuban Spanish accent, because, like, those little details of the language, that comes with time, with social awareness, with cultural awareness. Like, that’s something that… that if… you have to be very deep in a language to notice. I mean, I’m sure that most of our learners wouldn’t know the difference between American accent, South African accent, you know.
South African. Especially, the Australian and New Zealand (accent) tends to be one where we hear it, we hear it, and we’re like, “Man! It’s like day and night. What are you talking about? We’re totally different!” And everyone’d to be like, “You guys are the same. It’s like…”You bastards!”.
But was it like that? Learning Spanish, was it… initially, you learn Spanish Spanish, and then had to sort of adapt and learn all these other accents to like hear and understand them? Or did you learn all of them as a result?
I think, in my experience, ’cause I only speak one other language, so I can’t say for what it’s like in other languages. Maybe it’s much more different. But, for me in Spanish, Spanish is… lots of people try to say that there’s a big difference between Spanish Spanish and Latin American Spanish, but really there isn’t. The grammar is identical. The accent is more or less, you know, the same. For example, to give you an example, one of the main differences is in Latin America, they would they would drop the ‘s’ of any plurals.
So, a correct pronunciation of cars would be “coches”, “coches”, but in Argentina they would have “coche(s)”. The ‘s’ would just…
Ah! So, it’s a shame just through context, is it? You hear, like, the articles or something before it, and you’re like, “Yeah, it’s plural.”.
Yeah, exactly. Just… I mean, context is so important in language. And the other difference would be, as you mentioned, like in Iberian Spanish, you know, the ‘Z” would be like a “Th”. But in South America it’s more like soft… like a “Sss”. And as you have “Zorro”, which is a fox, and also the famous (Zorro), in Latin America.
Oh! (I) never knew that! I didn’t realise that meant “fox”. All these years, I thought it was, like, “zero” or something.
Yeah, me too! I was like, “What do you mean, it’s “Fox”? He’s called “Fox”. That’s really weird. Exactly. Oh yeah, so some people here are saying that’s Brazilian Portuguese and Portuguese Portuguese is the same situation.
It’s actually… It’s… I think it would be a bit different from Spanish and South American Spanish, because they use different pronouns and there aren’t grammatical differences. Again, I’m not that good, I’m not that proficient, in Brazilian Portuguese, but from what I’ve read there… well, and there’ll be completely different words. Like, I remember I was learning the word for “girl” in Portuguese Portuguese, but I didn’t know, and I was just using it, and I said it to Quel, and she’s like, “You just called me a “slut”!”. And I was like, “What?”. And she’s like, “Yeah, in Brazil, that word is a bad word.”. And I was like, “But it’s… “. I showed the source, and she’s like, “Yeah it’s fine in Portugal, but in Brazil, it’s very bad for you to call women “girl” or whatever in (Portuguese)”. And I was like, “God damn it…”.
Well, yeah, but I suspect it’s similar to, like, American English and British English, like, yeah there are some differences, but the total number of differences probably fit on one piece A4.
How would you… and that’s a good segue into, I guess, the differences between British English, American English, and Australian English. From our point of view, from our biased Australian point of view, what… how would you sum up… if someone sat you down, whether they were an ESL learner or they are an American or a British person, and they said to you, “Can you just tell me what the differences are? The biggest differences that I should expect when coming to Australia? Aside from potentially pronunciation, what are the differences in the language?”. ‘Cause I’ve got a few my head that I can mention, but.
Well, I am going to throw it right back at you, because, you know, I think you’re definitely more have much… ’cause, you know, ’cause you’re still living there, and you specialise in talking about these differences. I mean, what do you (think the biggest differences are).
Don’t put me on the spot, man. Don’t put me on the spot!
I think, I guess… we kind of break rules quite a lot, I think, grammatically, at least. Instead of saying “My car”, people will say “me car”, “me car”. And they use the wrong noun, wrong personal pronoun. They’ll say, “This is me wife. This is me car. This is me stuff”, you know. So, they’ll use those, and they’ll say, instead of “those”, they’ll say “them”. “Them ones”, “Them ones over there”, instead of “those”. They’ll do those sorts of things. I think too, we won’t say… what’s another example? “You guys”, I find that I say that quite a lot for plural “you”, instead of just saying “you” and it being… just leaving it as “you all”, like, I have to add something else to always make sure that people know that I’m talking about multiple people instead of just using “you”.
Yeah. I mean it’s incredible that English lacks a pronoun to talk to a group of people. I mean it’s such necessary thing. It’s such a necessary thing, and we don’t have it. I mean, but yeah, like, you could say “yous”, “yous lot” maybe?
That would happen too. Yeah “yous” where we’ve pluralised it by putting an “S” on the end. You’ll hear bogans say that. “Yous. What are yous doing? Are yous coming? Are yous coming with us?”. I know, and you’ll be like,… I’ll be there, and I’ll be like, “Oh my gosh! I can’t handle this! I’m going to have an aneurysm!”.
But isn’t it… I mean it just… if you said to somebody, “Okay. We need to invent a pronoun, a new pronoun, for a group”, you would say, “Well, we’ll put an “S” on “you” it’s a solution. You know, “Yous.”.
I know, that’s it. I can’t think how else… I wonder… there must have been a plural pronoun that just somehow fell out of use in our history, you know, from Middle English or Old English, and I wonder if we could bring it back, you know, “thou” or “thine” or something crazy. I think also though, we probably use… the thing that blows my mind about British English, American English, and Australian English is that we quite often use the same language, but at different frequencies. So, like, I’ll say certain expressions or things like, “I reckon”. I’ll use words that the Americans and the British probably know, and they probably use from time to time, but I use them way more often, and maybe in different circumstances than they would, you know. And the same with, like… what’s an example? American saying, “It’s called out.” You know, “it’s cold out.
It’s cold out.
And you’ll be like, “Out what?”
And they’re just like, “out”, and you’re like, “Oh, “outside”. Okay, gotcha!”.
Yeah, it is… Yeah, I think, that there’s… maybe there’s a little bit of business aspect to creating this idea there’s a big difference between British English and American English, but I really… I think that there’s not. I think it’s just marketing, really. And.
Well, there’s a question for you. What advice would you give people who want to learn English, but they don’t know where they want to go, if they want to leave their country and go to an English-speaking country, which English would they… should they learn, or should they… it doesn’t matter?
I don’t think it matters. I mean, I don’t think that it is… in the history of English teaching, nobody has ever gone to a country… like, no one’s arrived in America, and people would say, “Oh! Are you speaking British English?”.
I can’t imagine… I can’t imagine too, though, be like, “I’ve just spent seven years learning British English and I ended up in Canada. Shit…!”. Like, how am I going to communicate with the locals?!”
No, but I mean, it’s never happened. I mean, you know, maybe if you had studied British English for 30 years intensely, and, you know, you had… your words were perfect, an American would think that your turn of phrase, some of your vocabulary, was British, but it would never create a problem with understanding. I mean.
I mean, so… I mean, I want to ask you a question, because I’ve been wanting to ask you this for a long time. Are you travelling around Australia in a…? Tell me about this. What are you doing? What’s your plan?
I’m not yet. I’m not yet. That’s the goal, though. That’s the goal. At the moment, I’ve just moved out of my… the house I was living in Melbourne whilst I was studying. So, I was doing my PhD up in Melbourne, and that required that I was in Melbourne to go to the university and the museum on a daily basis, but the rent is.
You finished your PhD?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I did.
Oh my God! So, I need to call you Doctor Pete?
Please do not. Please do not call me Dr. Pete.
From now on, this is Dr. Pete, right here.
Do not call me Dr. Pete. I’m a doctor in rats, the evolution of rats. That’s… it’s meaningless.
Wow, what a great thing. No, congratulations. I know that’s a lot of work.
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Oh man, I’m so glad it’s done. Believe you me, believe me, I am so glad it’s done. So, I was… I decided to move, ’cause it was $900 dollars a month just to live in Melbourne, and I just decided I don’t need to be here, I can do it online, it’s just pointless. That’s it. I can come and mooch off my parents, and not pay anything for a short period of time. So, it’s like.
(What a) tough choice! So, but, now is the goal. I want to go around and I want to show people the real Australia. I guess, that’s the goal. I would love to go round and interview real Australians about who they are, what their Australia is, where they grew up, what they… what their opinions on things are, like, living a happy life or having good relationships with people. Those sorts of things I would love to get in and just ask the average day person and bring that to the language learning scene on the podcast or YouTube so that people can just learn Australian English, whilst also learning English, but then, understand the Australian mindset. So, that’s the goal with that at least, and that’s why I’ve got a car now, and not enough money to put fuel in it.
Wow. But like, is there not any interest from the world of academia? Like, are there not any universities interested in this project from, like, sociolinguistic perspective, or…?
(I’ve got) no idea. I should probably find out.
I think… because, you know, when they do analysis of, for example, if they want to know how many people use the present perfect when they’re talking about, I don’t know, a story of the past, they try to get hold of real recordings. And I thought that you could collaborate with the university or something.
I’ll have to get… I’ll have to get locality data on all of these people. I’ll have to get like a GPS position before I start every interview so that I can be like, “This is where they were when they spoke these words.”.
And listen, you know that in the world nobody has more money than education.
So, that’s it. We’re loaded. We’re balling.
They might pay for your car, right?
Who knows. Who knows, but it’s probably worth following up and asking, yeah, if anyone here has interest in it, or… no idea.
There’s some questions here for some people.
Yeah, sorry, guys.
LiveLifeEnglish wants to know what our favorite movie is.
Oh my God. I hate when people say, “What is your 1 favorite…?”, and you’re like, “That’s worse than just saying, “Do you have a few…?””, and you can, like, spout them off. I’ll let you go first.
For me, I think probably my favorite film would be Eyes Wide Shut. Stanley Kubrick’s final film. An incredible film. And a lot of people really hated that movie. So.
Or maybe a close second would be the film There Will Be Blood with Daniel Day Lewis. That was an amazing movie.
Oh, man. He is incredible. I think that’s probably an easy thing for me to say, “Who is your favorite actor?”, than, “What is your favorite film?”, but based on that, I would say The Dark Knight with Heath Ledger. That blew me away. That absolutely blew me away. He was phenomenal.
Yeah, he was incredible. I mean, no one can ever be The Joker again, ’cause he was just so good.
I know, Jared Leto tried and it was a shambles.
So, is… would he… would you say that Heath Ledger was your favorite actor as well?
He was one of them, definitely. I think Tom Hardy is one of my favorite actors too. He is really versatile, and he was in the third installment of that Batman series, as, you know, “Let the games begin”, to be like this I guess, “Let the games begin, Batman”. Like… He was jacked in that film. He was… that was amazing.
Ok. There’s another question here. What is… what is worse to you as native speakers, grammatical mistakes or a bad accent?
I think for me, you can have the strongest accent in the world, but if you don’t make as many grammatical mistakes it’s just not as difficult to listen to, because it takes me a moment to get used to your accent and then it’s fine. But, if I hear a native person making massive grammatical errors, I’d prefer to listen to someone with a strong accent who doesn’t make as many grammatical errors than a native speaker who makes lots. You know. So, it’s not that big a deal, but if I had to choose, I think that would be it.
Yeah, it’s funny that, isn’t it? It’s almost like a type of prejudice, like, in the sense that we expect… you expect a native speaker to be able to control grammar properly, right?
I don’t know if it’s that or if it’s more that I just… my brain has to work harder to fill in the gaps. If someone makes grammatical errors, I have to think harder about… what are they trying to say? Whereas, if the accent’s just strong, that’ll… as soon as I get zoned in on the vowel sounds they’re making or they’re different… slightly different consonant sounds, then I don’t have to work anymore after I’ve realized, “Okay, they’ve got a slight accent. I’m used to it”, but if they make big grammatical errors, sometimes I’ll be like… you know, like, if they completely change phrasal verbs, you know, to say “look under” instead of “look after someone”. They could say that perfectly, and I’d be like, “I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.”.
I’m going to get up and just turn on the light, ’cause the Sun’s setting me. There we go. Let there be light!
What about you Christian?
Well, yeah. I mean, really… I think it’s a difficult question to answer. I think, if I can understand you, I don’t really care. Oh, man see… (Pete just put a hat on his head)
I’ve got to… if I do this, my head’s shiny, right? So, the light comes from here. And, you know, so I’ve got to, like, put my hat on to cover the light off my head. Bald man issues, bald man issues.
Oh my God. Maddik said that he prefers to listen to native speakers because his brain doesn’t have to work as hard.
I’ve got an interesting anecdote for that. I… when I was learning French really really hard, like, working away at it, and I was doing it every day, I found it so easy to speak to French people, and then one day when I was at the gym, I was speaking to one of my friends who was French and another guy who was Australian came up to me, and started speaking French to me, and I had the biggest issues with his accent. He had it… he didn’t have… He didn’t put any accent on to try and speak French. So, instead of trying to use the French accent, he just didn’t use it. And then, on top of that, he was making a lot of grammatical errors. And again, it wasn’t a judgment on him or anything, it was just that, all of a sudden, I went from perfectly understanding the native speaker to having to work really really hard with trying to work out, as someone who’s… French isn’t my first language, so that made it even more difficult. But yeah. So, I can understand both. You’re having breakfast at the same time, are you?
As you know, I only got up five minutes before we started. So, you know. I eating… it’s more malt loaf.
Malt loaf? What’s in it?
It’s a really dense fruit bread. It’s really good. The problem is it’s very cloying.
It’s very what?
Cloying. Like, it sticks to everything. It’s very intensely, you know.
You’re not producing enough saliva to deal with it.
You are getting old Christian!
Yeah, let me just take my teeth out so that I can eat it better.
That’s it. You just need a glass of saliva from yesterday that you can just sip on every now and then, you know.
My coffee’s all gone. SO…
That’s it. But what about you? What were you saying? Which is more difficult for you, a strong accent or bad grammar?
I don’t know. I think if I can only if I can understand you, I don’t care. Like, if… like, you could have perfect grammar and a bad accent, and I can’t understand you, or, you know, you could have really terrible grammar, but you pronounce it words well and I can understand you it’s… so many different… I mean.
It’s almost like it depends what grammatical errors you’re making, really.
Because, I had the opposite experience to you. One day I was at the school, and this person came in, a Spanish person and said… and said in English, “I ah…” he came in and he was like this. “incomprehensible English”, and I was like, “What are you saying to me?”.
And then, in the end, we spoke in Spanish to organise the class, and during this time, there was a student waiting to have class with me, and she understood what this guy said perfectly.
Her mind… Her… she had like the accent, the Spanish accent, when speaking English was, like, in her mind. It was very peculiar. I couldn’t understand the guy. He was completely… you know, he displayed all of the worst characteristics of the Spanish accent in English, and you know, he spoke really fast, and oh man, but…
So, what advice would you have for English learners then, who say, “Alright. I am ever going to work on my pronunciation or grammar. Which one should I focus on first and, you know, most heavily.
I don’t know. I think people have an idea. You know, they have no idea what their problem is. Don’t you think? Like, I think people know.
Your weak spots.
Yeah, and I think you just have to be honest with yourself. And I think, as well, you have to be perceptive. Like, people don’t understand you, you’re speaking and they’re like, “???”. You have to work on that.
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I think that’s one of the keys that I always tell my students is once you get to the intermediate to advanced level the thing you need to start becoming an expert at is finding what things you’re screwing up, whether it’s your accent or it’s grammar, and it’s not that you can just identify them all today, find the answer, and “bam!” it’s all fixed. It’s an ongoing process, literally, on a day to day basis, for the next year, 10 years, 100 years. You’re going to have to spend… just constantly identifying your mistakes. And it’s the same with me. I have to keep doing that on a daily basis with my English. I find things that I’m saying, you know, incorrectly, maybe even my pronunciation. Until two years ago I was saying “pronOUncation” instead of “pronUnciation”. And at the time I was like, “Well, “to pronounce” something. It’s “pronounciation”.” And then, one of my friends looked it up and show me, you know, (they) grabbed the computer, and was like, “Pronunciation*”. And now every time I hear someone make that error it just hits me in the.
Yeah, I mean it is… these kind of little misunderstandings. You know, they’re quite common, I think. And it’s more embarrassing, right, if you’re a native speaker, because you feel like, “I should know that. This’s my language. I should know.
Yeah, well that’s like when you call me out on spelling.
Even when you’re spelling correctly.
Oh man, that got me! So, Christian keeps catching me making spelling mistakes or… on Instagram. And he’ll be like “Wrong! Wrong”. And I’ll just be like, “Damn it!”. I did that too fast. I didn’t check it. I was lazy. And then, he did it yesterday when it was all 100% correct, and I was sitting there for five minutes like, “Oh my God! what have I screwed up? Why can’t I see it?”.
Oh, it was… I’m really sorry about that.
That’s ok. I… you trolled me. You got me. You trolled me well. I was totally like, “I can’t see it! Am I that dumb?!”.
Well, I think that your merch, your merchandise, your t-shirts, and everything, is really cool, and anybody watching you should definitely buy some of Pete’s stuff and support him through buying some of his t-shirts and hoodies, and you can wear them with pride.
See if you can show me. Send me a photo if any of you get it. And I’ll have to get some as well, and start wearing them around the street so that people think I’m learning Australian English.
Well, what about you Christian? Tell us about the podcast and your yawls for that in the near future. What’s the… what’s it called and what’s the aim of the podcast? And how can people find it?
Well, the… I’ve only made one episode so far, and my goal was to… because, sometimes there are things I want to talk about in videos, but too heavy for a video or to, like, long, and a podcast seemed like a perfect place to talk about those things. But, if I’m going to be honest, I think my first podcast was too dry, and it was a little bit too serious, and, you know, I’m not sure if I said all the things I wanted to say.
That’s how it goes. That’s how it goes. You just have to keep (at it. Would’ve… I think, someone… they tell me when I started, they were like, and this is a bit crass, but you guys’ll love it. “Just keep throwing shit at the wall and see what sticks.”. So, it’s a vivid image. Just keep throwing. It doesn’t have to be “shit”. It can be “mud”. Just keep throwing things at the wall and see what sticks to the wall, and just keep, you know, keep doing the good bits that stay. So…
Yeah well, I mean for me, the experience was… ’cause I had to sit in this sort of like a room with lots of blankets to absorb the sound, and I was doing take after take, and, oh, it just wasn’t… It was really frustrating. Super frustrating. And.
That’s the learning experience, though. That’s, you know, starting a new language.
It is! It’s like a new language. There’s no visuals. It’s just voice, and wow. So, I’m hoping that I will improve, you know, over the next 10 or 20 podcasts. I really want to improve my… well everything: delivery, content, everything. So…
I think you just… the way to look at it, and it’s like language learning, it’s almost like, you know, at first you have your first conversation, and you’re like, “Oh, that one’s so bad!”. But you have to look at it like, “How am I going to be after ten conversations, twenty conversation, a hundred conversations?”, and then just go out and have them as soon as possible. And like, get in there, dive in there, make them awful, but then walk away from it with the experience of 10 conversations, 20 conversations, 100 conversations. Just punish it. Punish mate. You’ve got this.
Great advice. I’m sorry Pete, but I have to go, because my battery is going to go flat at any moment.
Man, you(‘ve) got to be MacGyver, mate. You(‘ve) got to always be prepared.
I know. I feel bad about that.
We’ve had some questions in here asking us to make this a podcast. Is there any way I can get the audio off you and we can check this up? We could do, you know, both of us.
You know, I don’t know, ’cause I did a long stream yesterday, and I tried to save the video to my telephone. And it was impossible, and I don’t know why, and I don’t know if I can do it through the Instagram website. I don’t know. But I will try to do something to.
We’ll give it a go.
But, I don’t know if anybody wants to really hear us rambling.
Man, they love this sort of stuff. They love it. They love practising English hearing two people speak at once. That’s the funniest thing I had… A whole bunch of them are just like, “More conversations! Not just one person speaking. You need everyone in there.”. So…
Well, listen, we should definitely do this again soon.
I had a great time chatting to you.
I need to find out what’s wrong with my telephone so that we can do the stream on your account and you could invite me.
Yeah. Just give it a go. See if you can save this one. But worst-case scenario, we’ll just have to catch up again.
Yeah. So, for anybody who doesn’t know, this is Pete from Aussie English, YouTube channel, podcast, courses, everything. The man, the legend, the doctor.
And this is Christian from Canguro English, another Australian. if you guys from my channel, go and follow Christian at, I guess, it’s Canguro English on Facebook, on YouTube, and you don’t have a current web site for the podcast, yet or do you?
No, it’s just on Soundcloud. Yeah, there’s no website.
Soon. It’s in the making, guys. It’s in the making. But if you want access to another Aussie, follow Christian.
Alright, well, it was a pleasure Pete. Speak to you soon my man.
Alright, guys. So, that was an interview with Christian and myself. But Christian from Canguro English. That’s spelt CANGURO ENGLISH. Canguro English, but two words. You can check him out on YouTube, his podcast has come out and it’s on Soundcloud, he also has an Instagram account, and you can see him on Facebook. So, check Cristian out, guys, if you want to learn English from a fellow Australian English teacher, and the links will be in today’s transcript.
Don’t forget guys, if you’d like to support this podcast and maintain it ad-free on the podcast, (to) help me do what I do every week and keep bringing you awesome content, then you can sign up to be a patron via my Patreon page that is PATREON. Just search Aussie English Patreon. You can sign up there and donate as little as a dollar per month to keep the lights on in my house and to keep me bringing new content on a weekly basis just like this.
Aside from that guys, if you want to support the podcast and you want to upgrade your English at the same time, don’t forget to sign up to the Aussie English Classroom. You can try it for one dollar for your first month, for your first 30 days, you can get in there, do courses, do all sorts of lessons and quizzes, interact with other people, and now with the new speaking challenge, every week you can practice making videos and posting them in the Aussie English Facebook group in order to practice your spoken English. Also, you will find a breakdown of between 10 to 15 minutes of today’s interview in the Aussie English classroom that’s designed to focus on teaching you more of the vocab and expressions used in this interview. So, it’s all about reinforcing your English.
Anyway guys, you’ve been awesome. Keep doing what you’re doing and keep levelling up your English and you will only succeed. I look forward to chatting to you in class. See you guys.
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By pete — 3 years ago
Download the full PDF transcript here.
Ep043: Expression – A Bitter Pill To Swallow
G’day guys! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. I hope you have all been having a good week. It’s been a little while since I’ve posted an episode and I hope you’ve really enjoyed the interview that I posted up the other day.
So I talked to a friend, Shana, about dating for about a half an hour maybe even longer. I think it could’ve been 40 minutes or so. And I just thought that I would give you guys some… some more interesting material where I have a proper conversation with someone about a topic that is relevant to a lot of us. So dating is something I’m sure most if not all of us are doing or have done in the past, and Shana and I just wanted to try and use a lot of vocab surrounding dating as well as different expressions used to talk about dating, and give you exposure to an American as well as an Australian, so two different accents, talking about the same topic, and then talking about how the expressions may differ in the US compared to Australia, and as well how dating and the perceptions of dating and different things that we consider okay or… different behaviours, different things that we do, how it changes, how it varies between the US… So different expectations of the man of the woman, etc.
So anyway, if you liked that interview let me know what you thought. We’re wanting to do more of those in the future especially for people who are learning English from ESL teachers because Shana my friend form the US is starting up her website ESL Prep Class where she creates materials for people to use prior to having a class. So before they have a class in order to prepare for the class. So, say, you want to have a class with an ESL teacher about dating, she’s going to create some material that you can either read or you can listen to like this podcast to give you access, to give you exposure to the vocab, to expressions and all of that sort of stuff surrounding, say, dating, prior to you having an ESL class or an ESL lesson with a teacher. So that when you show up, so that when you go to, when you have the lesson you have already had that experience talking about, listening to and practicing the vocab that you’re going to use. So anyway. We’re hoping to do more of those sorts of things in the future whether you’re having an ESL lesson with anyone at the moment or plan to in the future or whether you just want some stuff to listen to to practice these different kinds of expressions, words and topics. So let me know what you think. Let me know if you thought it was too long? Did we speak too quickly? Was the quality of audio ok? Because I know… we recorded this over Skype and I know that my voice is ok but Shana’s is a little bit hard to hear at times. So anyway, yeah. Give me some feedback and let me know what you think guys, and I will try and improve things in the future for you.
So today I want to talk about an expression and the expression is “a bitter pill to swallow”, “a bitter pill to swallow”, which can often be shortened to just “a bitter pill”, “a bitter pill”. And the definition of “a bitter pill to swallow” or just “a bitter pill” is any situation or information that is unpleasant and it’s not easy to accept but it has to be accepted. I’ll go through the definition of the words in the phrase “a bitter pill to swallow” and then I’ll explain a little bit about how you would use this and give you some examples, and then we’ll go through some exercises at the end to practice pronunciation.
So the word “bitter”, the word “bitter” is a word that explains anything that has a sharp, acrid, unpleasant taste. So, “acrid” is a bit of a complex word and it wouldn’t be used very often, but to have a sharp or unpleasant taste. If something is bitter then it means that it is not sweet. So you might know the drink lemon lime and bitters, when they put the bitters in the drink, it is something that gives it a bit of a bitter taste. So yeah, anything that isn’t sweet is considered bitter, or to have a bitter taste.
“A pill”, a pill is a medication. So anything that you would put in your mouth and swallow as a medicine tends to be a pill, especially in a solid form. So it’s not a liquid, it’s a solid. So, a pill can be a capsule of medicine, or it can just be one of those small white circular hard masses that you would swallow. So that’s “a pill”.
And “to swallow” is I’m sure most of you know, to cause or to allow something to go down your throat, to pass down your throat. So if I swallow, I make that sound [swallowing sound], I swallow something. You know? I could swallow a drink. I could swallow food. And you could also use this figuratively, where if you have to swallow something, like, say, a bitter pill, or something that you’re not really comfortable with. So like a situation, “yeah you’re just going to have to swallow that”. It means that you’re just going to have to deal with it. You’re just going to have to accept it. You don’t have a choice. You have to swallow it. And so that’s the sense of that it’s a bitter pill to swallow. It’s kind of a situation that you don’t like but you’ve got to deal with it. You have to accept it.
So what are some examples of where we could use this sort of expression to explain the situation? Number one, say, a team is playing at a grand final, so a footy team in Australia is playing in a grand final and unfortunately even though they played very well, they lose at the end of the game. And you could say, “losing the grand final was a bitter pill to swallow for the footy team”. So it was an unfortunate situation but they had to accept it and then move on and hopefully improve from the situation. So it was a bitter pill to swallow. Or you could say that, “losing the grand final was a bitter pill”.
Another example could be, say, a child or a young adult has moved out of his home from his parents’. And his parents are no longer paying his bills. You could say, “when his parents stopped paying his bills it was a bitter pill for him to swallow”. So when his parents stopped paying his bills it was a bit of a wake up call we would also say it’s a situation that isn’t too fun, it’s unfortunate, it’s hard, but he has to accept it. He has to get a job. He has to pay his own bills now, and move on. He has to get on with things. So that’s what you could say about that situation. His parents not paying his bills is now a bitter pill for him to swallow.
Another example, and the last example, could be, say, you’ve gone to have a job interview. You think you’re going to do really well at the job interview. It’s the dream job you’ve always wanted. You’re really excited but at the end of the day you don’t get the job. You could say, “not getting the job was a bitter pill for you to swallow”. Or you could just say, “not getting that job was a really bitter pill”. “It was a bitter pill”.
So some exercises we’ll go through guys. I will just change the pronoun in the sentence “It was a bitter pill for me to swallow”. And you guys can practice your pronunciation after me. So let’s go:
It was a bitter pill for me to swallow.
It was a bitter pill for you to swallow.
It was a bitter pill for him to swallow.
It was a bitter pill for her to swallow.
It was a bitter pill for us to swallow.
It was a bitter pill for them to swallow.
So that’s the expression “a bitter pill to swallow” or “a bitter pill” guys. A situation or information that is unpleasant but has to be accepted. Hope you have a good one guys and I’ll see you soon!
If you liked this expression episode guys then please jump over here and check out all the other Aussie English expression episodes to help you improve your Aussie English.
Also be sure to come over to the Aussie English Facebook page and chat to the many other Aussie English learners. Practice a few of these words or phrases, ask any questions you may have, and be a part of the conversation! All the best guys!
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By pete — 1 year ago
Learn Australian English in this Walking With Pete episode of Aussie English where I talk about how to learn a language with podcasts!
AE 336 – WWP: How To Learn A Language With Podcasts
G’day guys. Welcome to this episode of the Aussie English.
Although, it’s a Walking With Pete episode. Oh, that’s a nice brisk night tonight.
Just out for a walk and I thought I would talk to you guys, I thought I would do one of these Walking With Pete episodes about how to best learn a language via podcasts, by using podcasts.
So, what is my advice? How would I go about learning a language via podcasts?
Obviously, if you’re listening to this podcast you are trying to learn English, for one.
And obviously, for two, for the second point you have a high level of English.
If you cannot understand me speaking as quickly as I’m speaking, using the language that I’m using, then you guys definitely have an advanced level in English.
So, firstly, pat on the back for that, because it’s not easy to get to any advanced level in any language that isn’t your native language.
So, you should definitely be proud of the fact that this is where you’re at, guys.
Good stuff. But the basic point I want to make, or the basic thing that I want to talk about, is podcasts.
What would I do with regards to learning a language if I was obviously at the upper intermediate, at the advanced level, in a language?
So, first and foremost obviously, I want to find a podcast that I enjoy listening to.
So, if you guys don’t enjoy listening to Aussie English I don’t know what you’re doing here.
You guys should definitely go and find a podcast that resonates with you, that you find riveting, that you find interesting, that you find fun to listen to, and continue to use that resource.
So, that’s the first thing. Try and find a podcast that you enjoy. It’s not hard work.
It’s something that you can do effortlessly, that you enjoy doing. That’s the first step.
And I’m sure you guys have probably experienced this in other areas in your own languages and in your own life where if you try and force yourself to read a book that you don’t like, to watch a TV show you don’t like, to watch a movie you don’t like, aside from the fact that it’s hard work you don’t absorb anywhere near as much from that thing than if you were to be watching a TV show or a movie or reading a book that you do enjoy.
So, it’s kind of a cumulative effect. It’s almost like the… in both directions too.
Both positive and negative. The more you enjoy something, the more of it you can consume, and thus the more you’re going to advance.
So, especially, in terms of language learning, especially, in terms of picking a podcast, if you enjoy the podcast and it’s not hard work you’ll obviously listen to more, and you’ll obviously be taking… you’ll be taking note, you’ll be focused in, you’ll be concentrating.
You’ll be a lot more attentive to what I’m saying in the podcast, or to what anyone is saying in any other podcast.
1. Find something you enjoy
So that’s the first one. Be interested in the resources that you’re using.
So, find a resource that you enjoy, that is easy work, because then going through it and utilising it, consuming it, using it, is going to be effortless.
You’ll just keep doing it day in day out, and you’ll keep building, you’ll keep gaining your knowledge, you’ll keep improving a lot faster than if you were using something that was really difficult, that was hard work, that you didn’t enjoy.
So, that was… that’s number one. Point number one. Find something you enjoy.
2. Find a podcast at your level (or just above)
Point number two. Match that thing to your level. This is one that is kind of difficult to do at times and it takes a bit of practice to get used to it and a bit of use. You got to go out there and try these things. Use these things.
And see… work out what your level is. It can’t… It’s not always intuitive when you first start.
You don’t necessarily know where you stand, and sometimes we’re not the best judges of our expertise, at least, or our advancement in these sorts of areas.
So, point number two is trying to find something at your level.
And in fact beyond that, you should be trying to find something above your level, but not so far out of… away from your level that it’s too difficult.
So, the thing shouldn’t be too easy and it shouldn’t be moderately easy.
So, I imagine it… you could find a resource that was at your exact level in English.
You want something that is ahead of you, but enough… ahead of you enough that it’s going to keep you moving forward.
So, I guess a good analogy for this is the donkey or the mule with the carrot in front of the donkey’s head.
Right? You probably know that analogy where in order to get the cart to move forward the farmer or the man who’s on the cart with the donkey in front of him pulling the cart, he has a carrot on a stick.
You know suspended from a stick on a string.
This carrot’s sitting there like a fishing rod with the hook.
Instead of a hook that’s got a carrot.
And so, he uses that to put it in front of a donkey to get the donkey to move forward.
So, if it goes too far in front of the donkey, the donkey is going to say, “Well, screw this. That’s too hard. I’m not going to bother with that. It’s way too far out of my reach. Achieving this goal is too far. It’s too hard. It’s too difficult. So, I’m not even going to try.”
That’s what happens with the language learning when you pick a resource, whatever that resource is, that’s too difficult. If it’s too hard, it’s really too easy to say, “I can’t do this.”
And also, it’s obviously going to chip away at your motivation.
If it’s a lot more difficult than the level that you’re at, so it’s not paired well with where you are at, whether or not you know it it’s going to affect your motivation, I’d imagine.
Or at least it’s really really going to test your discipline to see whether or not you can get through it.
The other side of it is that if the carrots too close the donkey eats it doesn’t move.
So, in that analogy if the carrot’s too close to the donkey and he eats it that’s the same as you using resources that are too easy.
You’re absorbing them like crazy, but it’s not pushing you forward.
You’re not advancing as a result of absorbing those resources, of using those resources.
So, this would be like me trying to advance my English by watching Play School, which is a TV show for children here in Australia.
You know where they’ll do, “One and two is three and three and four is seven.”
You know they’ll have those sorts of things on TV. My language… my English language is probably not going to take leaps and bounds, you know, it’s not going to move forward, I’m not going to advance quickly if the resource that I’m trying to use in order to achieve that is really not accurately set.
So, it’s sitting way too far below. It’s too easy or it’s way too far above it’s too hard.
So, point number two is find something that is at the right difficulty level.
And this difficulty level pretty much goes for anything that you’re trying to improve in in life needs to be ahead of you.
It should be hard, but it shouldn’t be too hard that you can… you want to give up.
So that’s point number two.
3. Use a podcast with transcripts
Point number three, with regards to language learning and podcasts, is getting access to transcripts.
Now why is this important?
It’s one thing to listen to a podcast and understand what’s going on.
And I think even for native speakers who are listening to a podcast we’re not absorbing all the words all the time.
So, we actually still miss quite a bit of what’s said.
So, I think this is even more the case if English isn’t your first language it’s your second language, you’re going to miss a lot of the nuances, a lot of the smaller words, as well as some of the bigger words that you don’t know, if you don’t have access to a transcript.
So, a transcript is the written words, as what is said.
So, it’s the… it’s literally the words on a page of what’s been said.
The podcast, the resource, has been transcribed.
And so you’ve written down the words that are being said.
And this… It’s so important to have access to a transcript.
And this is part of the reason in Aussie English that with all of the podcast episodes I always try and make sure that there is a free transcript even if you’re not a member, because I still know how important it is, and how much I still want you guys to have access to that resource.
Some of them I obviously don’t.
The longer ones that are over an hour long, ’cause it’s just a lot of work.
But for these sorts of ones there’s always a transcript.
Transcripts are really good because they’re filters.
You can’t hide from what you don’t know, from what you don’t understand, if you’re reading through a transcript.
It’s so much more apparent, if you have the words in front of you when you’re listening to the podcast, as to which words you would have otherwise missed.
So, the really small words that might get absorbed or disappear in contractions that you won’t necessarily misunderstand what’s being said, but you didn’t gain 100 percent understanding of what was going on grammatically or at the level of the language, and then therefore be able to go away and implement it when you speak, and when you write, and when you listen, you know, to other people who end up making the same kinds of sentences.
So, it’s really important to be able to see those words and be able to have two things going on at the same time.
Listening and reading.
And then also, obviously, it’s really good because of all the words that you’re not going to understand, of all the words that you are going to find or hear for the very first time.
And this is so easy for advanced, high… advanced intermediates to advanced learners of a language to skip over.
It’s not the end of the world if every now and then a big word or a noun some kind of adjective, one of those rare words gets used, and we don’t understand it.
We can often piece together what’s going on.
We can often make out the sense, the context.
We know what’s being said more or less. And so, it’s not the end of the world.
But, you’re not going to learn what that word was, that you missed 30 seconds ago on a podcast was, unless you have access to a transcript and you can read while you listen.
Go through. Note all the words you don’t understand.
Note all the expressions that you might not understand.
And then look them up. Learn them. Write them on the transcript.
And then listen to the episode again. So, that’s point number three.
Find a podcast that has a transcript. So, that you can read and you can listen.
And a lot less gets by, a lot less goes through, and you don’t absorb it from the podcast episode.
And this is something I always noticed I do whenever I listen to Français Authentique or any of these other podcasts for Portuguese or Spanish.
If I don’t have a transcript, I may understand what’s going on, but I miss a lot of the words.
4. Use the transcripts as a filter to find new vocab
Point number four is to use the transcripts as a filter.
So, use them as a filter. Almost a reverse filter. What do I mean by this?
A filter is something that used, well, to sift through something, to filter it…
This is one of those hard verbs for me to define.
But, in the sense of using a transcript as a filter, what I mean is that you’re using it to filter all the words that you didn’t know out of the podcast.
So, you’re using the transcript to find those words, to take note of those words, to look those words up, find out what they mean.
Write them then on the transcript, and then listen, listen, listen, repeat, repeat, repeat that podcast multiple times now that you have looked up all of that vocab and understand that vocab, until you can hear all of those words now and understand what they are when you listen.
I think this is one of the biggest things with learning a language with podcasts, aside from the points already mentioned, is having that transcript and are using it to build your vocabulary.
Using it to filter out all of those words that you otherwise didn’t know prior to that podcast, that you didn’t know before that podcast, and learning them.
And this is going to be invaluable if you’re trying to advance quickly with learning a language.
And obviously, by using a podcast, by doing it on your own.
So, you don’t have other English speakers around. And it can be transferred to any resource.
If you’re watching a movie, if you’re watching a TV show, if you’re listening to an audio book, if you’re consuming anything in English as long as you get access to the written words as well as the audio that is going to advance you a lot quicker than if you had only one or the other.
So, I think those are the main four points. Find a podcast that you enjoy, number one.
Number two, make sure it is at the right level.
And it should be just a little bit in front of you.
You should position the carrot in front of the donkey that’s pulling the cart at the right distance to get that donkey to move forward.
So, it needs to be a little bit difficult so that you are constantly then running into new vocab, new things.
Number three is finding a podcast with a transcript.
And this ties in with number two and why it’s so important to have one that is just ahead of you, because then you’re going to have access to a lot more new vocabulary, and you’re going to be…
You’re going to be filling in your vocab holes.
So, you’re going to be finding all of these words that you don’t understand, all of these aspects of grammar that you might not commonly hear or use.
And then you’re going to add them to your repertoire.
And then, obviously, Number four it’s using it as a filter.
It’s taking note of all of these things that you didn’t know and learning them.
Putting in active effort to look them up, to learn them, write them down on the transcript, and then listening to that podcast episode again, again, again.
Once… you’ll find too, you’re going to find that once you’ve looked these words up, and once you know what they mean, your memory is going to be triggered really easily and really quickly when you hear them in that podcast episode.
So, you don’t need to necessarily learn them by heart, but just having looked them up once or twice, and reading over the transcript a few times with the episode playing at the same time, and then after that only listening to the episode, you’re going to notice you’ll remember this vocab, and it’s going to stick with you. It’s going to stay with you and you’re going to advance incredibly quickly.
So, those are the four points that I think you should take note of.
When picking a podcast make sure that it’s interesting, it’s just ahead of your level, there’s a transcript, and you use that transcript to find your holes in vocabulary, to find the things you don’t already know, and then to learn them.
So, I hope that helps guys. I hope you enjoy this episode.
I hope that Aussie English’s being a useful resource for you guys.
I hope that the transcripts are really useful.
And I hope that if you’re not already using them like this that you start doing it tomorrow, and that you start noticing gains, that you start noticing improvements really quickly.
So, with that I’ll leave you to it guys.
Someone doing a burnout in the background there on Lygon street off in the distance.
I hope you have a good day or a good night, a good morning, and I’ll see you later.
Peace out guys.
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