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AE 384 – Expression:
To Blow The Whistle On Someone
Girls! Girls, is it… The most wonderful news. The troop that came in second on Saturday have been injured in a minibus accident and miss Fiona’s lost her foot!
No, no, no, no! That’s not the good news. That’s terrible news and we should all send a card. No, no, the good news is that they’ve had to forfeit and we are through to the Grand Final!
We are in the final! We are in the final! We are in the Final!
G’day, guys! Welcome to this episode of The Aussie English Podcast. The number one podcast teaching you Australian English, whether you want to speak like an Aussie, or whether you just want to understand what we’re bloody well saying when we speak with this accent. You’ve come to the right place, and just sit back, grab a cuppa, and enjoy.
So, this episode of The Aussie English Podcast is brought to you by The Aussie English Classroom an online classroom where you get to complete today’s expression episode as an English course.
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Anyway. Intro spiel over. I hope you guys are well. I definitely think that you would laugh if you currently saw where I was standing. So, I’m currently in the process of moving down from North Melbourne down to Ocean Grove to live with my parents for a little bit, save a bit of money. I’m waiting for my girlfriend to come back down from Queensland and then we’re going to find a place. But whilst I’m staying in this this house where I grew up back in Ocean Grove, my room has since been filled with a lot of crap. There are books in front of me. There’s boxes full of stuff. I can see wine bottles. I can see shoe boxes, books. Yeah, there’s tons of stuff in here, and I can barely move. So, you couldn’t swing a cat around in here. It’s just ridiculous. I’m actually standing in front of some pink metal flamingos.
So, anyway, I thought I would give you that image in your head to just know that I haven’t made it just yet. You know, I’m still going, I’m still working on things.
Anyway, guys. The intro scene to today’s episode was from a movie called Razzle Dazzle. Razzle Dazzle is an Australian mockumentary comedy film made in 2007. So, ‘a mockumentary film’ is a pretend documentary, hence ‘mock-umentary’, that makes fun of a particular topic. That’s what a mockumentary is. It mocks that topic, hence the word ‘mockumentary’. (It) rhymes with documentary.
So, this mockumentary takes aim at kids’ dance contests. You know those little contests that kids can be involved in where they’re all dancing together, and they usually involve crazy costumes and weird dance moves and parents have to go along to them. The mockumentary Razzle Dazzle targets that sort of aspect of Australian culture, you know, whoever does that. I’ve never done that. So, don’t hold it against me.
So, the things that makes fun of things like really pushy parents, really strange and bizarre clothing and costumes, permatans and wigs. ‘Permatans’ I assume would be tans that are permanent. You know those are orange things, like Donald Trump at the moment. And also making fun of really strong Aussie accents. So, it’s a really good little movie and it follows a dancing instructor with a penchant for politically incendiary dance routines. That is that they have names that are a little politically incorrect. And there was one that was called the Kyoto Protocol shuffle. Just to give you an idea.
So, it’s a really funny movie. It’s full of Australian humour. (There are) lots of different accents in there. And it’s a great example of Australians making fun of other Australians and their culture. Taking the Mickey out of other Aussies.
Anyway, check that movie out and now let’s get on to the joke. So, today’s joke isn’t really Australian-based, but I thought it was funny because it involves English spelling, okay, English spelling. So, here’s the joke.
Why can’t you hear a pterodactyl in the bathroom? ‘A pterodactyl’ is that ancient flying lizard at the time of the dinosaurs. You’ve probably seen pterodactyls if you’ve seen Jurassic Park. But, why can’t you hear a pterodactyl in the bathroom? Because it has a silent ‘pee’. It has a silent ‘pee’. Do you get that? It has a silent ‘pee’ meaning that it can urinate, it can pee, it can piss, quietly and you can’t hear it. But the joke there is that the word ‘pterodactyl’ actually starts with a silent ‘P’, and I believe that is because it is Greek in origin. The word pterodactyl. Okay? So, that’s the joke there. Why can’t you hear a pterodactyl in the bathroom? Because it has a silent ‘pee’. And I should spell pterodactyl. P T E R O D A C T Y L, pterodactyl.
Alright, so let’s get into today’s expression guys.
Today’s expression is ‘to blow the whistle on someone’, ‘to blow the whistle on someone’.
So, this was suggested by Duaa in the Aussie English Facebook group, which is linked in the transcript. You might notice there that I’ve changed the name to the Aussie English Facebook group. It is much easier than always having to say the Aussie English Virtual Classroom Facebook group. So, (I) finally got around to changing the name there. The Aussie English Facebook group. You guys can search for it on Facebook and join it, and there are daily activities in there for you to be involved in. And obviously, you get to vote on expressions that I use each week in these episodes.
So, let’s go through and define the different words in the expression ‘to blow the whistle on someone’, ‘to blow the whistle on someone’.
So, the first two words there ‘to blow’. It’s a verb. ‘To blow’. ‘To blow’ is this *sound of blowing*. It’s to generate wind. It’s for air movement to occur. So, it’s usually done as a result of expelling air through pursed lips. So, doing this *sound of blowing*. That is the idea of ‘to blow’. Okay? You might blow a candle out. The wind might blow really strongly. It’s air movement.
‘A whistle’. Okay, ‘a whistle’. So, this can be two things. Firstly, it can be an instrument used to produce a shrill, high-pitched sound, especially for giving a signal. Okay so an instrument, a little tool, that you can put in your mouth. You can blow through it, and it makes a shrill sound. So, a referee and a footy match has a whistle and he blows the whistle in order to start or stop the game, right?
The other thing that a whistle can be is a shrill sound made by whistling. So, off I go *sound of whistling*. That is also ‘a whistle’. Okay?
So, the last one here is the use of the word ‘on’ for ‘on someone’. Okay? When you do something ‘on someone’. This is equivalent to doing something ‘to someone’. So, it sort of shows that that the action of the verb affects someone. And so, this actually happens with different kinds of verbs. It’s sort of another way of creating a phrasal verb. Okay? And you just kind of need to get used to the sorts of verbs that are followed by the particle ‘on’. So, for example you can ‘prey ON someone’. You can ‘run off ON someone’. You can ‘muscle in ON someone’. You can ‘rub off ON someone’. All of those are effectively you doing this verb TO someone, but instead of saying ‘to’ we say ‘on.
Alright. So, let’s go through and define the expression and its origins. Let’s chat about its origins. So, the expression ‘to blow the whistle on someone’ means to expose or report something scandalous or deceptive that someone has done or that someone is currently doing. So, to expose or report something scandalous or deceptive that someone’s doing so.
I had a bit of a look to see if I could work out where this origin may have come from, and there wasn’t really any specific direction given to me when I was searching. But I imagine that it originates from sports where the referees use whistles to control the game. So, they blow the whistle to start the game, to stop the game, you know, (to) pause the game. And for example, in footy, Australian Rules Football, in footy, if the ball goes out of bounds, or a goal is scored, someone marks the ball, any time the game needs to be stopped and then started again, it needs to be paused and restarted, the ref, the referee, will blow the whistle to signal this.
So, specifically, when someone gets fouled though, if someone hits another player or does an illegal move, this is when the referee will blow the whistle ‘on’ another player. So, on the bad player who found someone. The ref will blow the whistle on them. So, a penalty is then given against the bad player so that his opponent gets an advantage. And I think that in terms of say dealings or behaviour in the business world this is where this term has probably originated from. It sort of seeped into that world from sports so that now when anyone draws attention to a scandalous deceptive dodgy or sketchy behaviour that someone’s doing in business, at work, they’re figuratively blowing the whistle on that person in order to expose them in the hopes that they will be punished for their deeds.
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So, let’s go through and do some examples for today’s expression and how I would use it when speaking English, guys.
So, example number one. Imagine that you find out your boss at work is committing a lot of fraudulent acts. So, he is cooking the books, which means that he is modifying the financial documents at work. He’s falsifying these documents. He’s cooking the books in order to steal money, or maybe in order to not pay tax and save the business some money. So, this is really illegal. In pretty much every country in the world I don’t think you would get away with this. So, if you drew attention to the fact that your boss was doing this, that he was committing fraud, you’re blowing the whistle on your boss. You’re being a whistle blower, and you’re blowing the whistle on this dodgy guy, on the dodgy undertakings of your boss.
Example number two. You’ve got some dodgy politicians. So, some sketchy or dodgy pollies, some politicians. And these guys are leaking information that they shouldn’t be to the media in order to better their own political positions. So, it’s negatively affecting their opponents political position.
If you find out about this, maybe you’re a journalist or something, you find out about this misconduct because they’re not meant to be doing this legally, you could take it up with the authorities or maybe you could leak this information yourself to the media about these dodgy pollies. Okay? So, you’re being a whistleblower in this case. You’re blowing the whistle on the scandalous and deceptive activities of these sketchy pollies. You’re blowing the whistle on them.
The third example here is tobacco companies. So, tobacco companies knew for a very long time that you can get incredibly sick, you can get diseases from smoking cigarettes. So, from smoking ciggies. It’s a slang word in English for cigarette, a ciggy. So, they knew that these things were incredibly bad for your health that they were causing diseases like cancer, but they didn’t do anything about it because they wanted to keep making money.
So, if you were a worker for a tobacco company and you had access to this privy information, to this private information, maybe you went to meetings with certain executives, with execs, from the company, they could be the CEO or something, and you find out that they were purposefully hiding this information or delaying the release of this information in order to save money or in order to make more money, you might decide, “Screw this! I’m going to the media and I’m going to blow the whistle on these dodgy CEOs, these dodgy execs.”. So, you want to bring light to what they’re doing. You want to show them for the people they are, and for the misdeeds, the misconduct, that they’re doing. So, you blow the whistle on them. You’re a whistleblower, and you go to the media to blow the whistle.
So, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise, guys, and then we’ll smash out today’s Aussie fact, and we’ll finish up.
So, listen and repeat after me, guys. This is your chance to pronounce this expression and the words in it just like me, and improve your English accent.
Listen & Repeat:
To blow the
To blow the whistle
To blow the whistle on
To blow the whistle on someone x 5
I blew the whistle on him.
You blew the whistle on him.
She blew the whistle on him.
He blew the whistle on him.
We blew the whistle on him.
They blew the whistle on him.
It blew the whistle on him.
Awesome stuff there, guys. Great job! Remember, if you want to get the breakdown of this listen and repeat exercise where I go through the different aspects of pronunciation and connected speech in more detail, make sure that you sign up for The Aussie English Classroom and give it a go. It’s $1 for your first month.
Anyway, let’s get into the Aussie fact, guys. Today, I wanted to talk to you about the history of the discovery and immigration of Australia. So, this has got a lot of points in it, so I might break this up into multiple parts. But today, we’re going to go through everything up to British colonisation. Alright. So, we’re going to go through a brief overview of the immigration and discovery of Australia.
So, firstly 60-40,000 years ago Indigenous Australians arrived. They arrived in Australia 60-40000 years ago. That’s a very long time. This occurred during the end of the Pleistocene epoch, which is a period of geological time, when the sea levels were a lot lower than they are today. They were between 100 and 150 meters lower than they currently are today. So, there was a lot more continental coastline exposed so that you could walk further out to sea, because the seas were lower. And so, the continental coastline of Australia extended further north as a result, as well as further south, east, and west. And Australia and New Guinea, the landmass above Australia, formed a single landmass which is known as Sahul. Okay? So, Australia and New Guinea were joined this time into a single landmass and they were called Sahul. There was a land bridge that joined Australia and New Guinea, and this stretched across the Arafura Sea, the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Torres Strait. So, the north of Queensland all the way to New Guinea. And so, the ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians most likely just walked here across this land bridge 60-40,000 years ago. So, that’s point one.
Recent research suggests that around 4200 years ago a wave of migrants from India actually arrived in Australia. So, how crazy’s that? If you’re an Indian listening to this right now in Australia, you guys are potentially more closely related to indigenous Australians than I am, because of this group of Indians that migrated to Australia over 4,000 years ago. So, this was discovered through DNA analysis of modern Indigenous Australians. They looked at their DNA and they compared them to other peoples in the world, and they found that 11% of DNA of modern Indigenous Australians originates from India. 11%! How crazy is that? And this coincides, this period of time, 4,200 years ago coincides, with the arrival of dingoes into Australia suggesting that Indians took their dingoes, their dogs, with them when they came to Australia. And these Indians may have also brought some unique stone tools called microliths. So, that’s point two.
Point three. So, recorded history shows that in the early 17th century, so the early 1600s, the continent of Australia experienced its first coastal landing’s and exploration by European explorers. So, the Dutch had colonies in Southeast Asia at the time established by the Dutch East Indies Company, and Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon in 1606, onboard the Duyfken, is generally considered to be the first European discoverer of Australia.
So, between the years of 1606 and 1770, something like 54 European vessels made landfall on Australian soil, and at this time Europeans referred to Australia as ‘Terra Australis Incognita’, which means ‘unknown land of the south’. So, despite all these vessels visiting Australia though, none of them ever claimed ownership of Australia. That’s point three.
Point four. There’s an interesting theory that Australia may have been first seen by Europeans 80 years before the Dutch in 1521-1524 by some Portuguese navigators. So, what’s the evidence for this? There are Dieppe Maps, a group of 16th century French world maps, that depict, that show, a large landmass between Indonesia and Antarctica. The landmasses in question on the map carry French, Portuguese and Gallicized Portuguese place names. There was also the presence of Portuguese colonies in Southeast Asia from the early 16th century, so the 1500s, in places like Portuguese Timor. And Portuguese Timor, now known as East Timor or Timor, is found 650 kilometres north of Australia. So, it’s really only a stone’s throw away. Various antiquities have also been found on Australian coastlines, which are claimed to be relics of early Portuguese voyages.
So, that’s pretty interesting that the Portuguese may have seen Australia 80 years before even the Dutch, who saw Australia 170 years before the British. That was point four, and here’s point five and then we’ll finish up.
So, in 1770, Englishman Lieutenant James Cook or Captain James Cook charted the east coast of Australia in his ship HM Barque Endeavour for Great Britain, and returned with accounts favouring colonisation at Botany Bay, which is now in Sydney, New South Wales.
The First Fleet of British ships was led by Governor Arthur Phillip and it arrived at Botany Bay between the 18th and the 20th of January 1788 to establish a penal colony. So, this was 18 years after James Cook found Australia, or at least “discovered it”, quote-unquote for Britain. The First Fleet comprised 11 ships and transported roughly 1300 people, which included 778 convicts, so criminals. 586 men and 192 women.
So, that’s it. So, the key points here with regards to British discovery and colonisation of Australia. Captain James Cook didn’t discover Australia and wasn’t even the first European to step onto Australian soil. He claimed Australia for Great Britain as he had been instructed to by King George III of England on the 22nd of August 1770, and this was at Possession Island, and he named Australia New South Wales. So, that’s where the state name New South Wales comes from.
Governor Arthur Phillip led the First Fleet of 11 boats that were the first European colony in Australia. And they arrived in January of 1788 in the area which is now Sydney.
So, I hope you enjoy this episode, guys. There’s heaps of content in here for you. Lots of Aussie culture, Aussie history, and a bunch of expressions and vocab for you to help upgrade your Aussie English. Enjoy your week, guys, and I’ll chat to you soon. See ya!
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