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AE 414 – Expression: To Have Egg on Your Face
18th century Europeans thought it was a hoax when they first saw drawings of the peculiar creature. But make no mistake, this odd-ball animal’s no joke. It’s a one of a kind all-terrain species combining three animals in one. And it goes from cute to killer in an instant.
Welcome to the Aussie English Podcast, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone learning Australian English, guys. Remember that the Aussie English Podcast is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom, an online learning environment designed to give you all the bonus content in sort of course form, lesson form, with quizzes, other MP3s, and just other materials for you to use that go with the podcast and often go with the videos on YouTube, in order to help you learn English faster. So, don’t forget to sign up and give that a go if you haven’t already. It’s a dollar for the first 30 days, and then it’ll continue on at a monthly rate after that.
Anyway, the intro scene today, guys. Can you guess which animal the intro scene was referring to? And that was a snippet from National Geographic. So, what was that animal? I want to let you think about that, and we’ll get to it in the Aussie English fact. But let’s say it’s an animal that was thought to be a hoax when the British first saw it. It looks like it’s made up of two or three different kinds of animals. And it lays eggs and is venomous. So, can you guys guess which animal this is?
Anyway, we’ll go over that in the Aussie Fact. Let’s go through a few announcements.
So, I’ve just gotten to Canberra, obviously, guys. I’ve been here for about a week, and I’ve been house hunting. That’s been a lot of fun. Not really. Not really at all. It’s been an interesting experience, because I had no idea how many people are looking for houses in Canberra. I had no idea it was this popular. I thought it would be an absolute shoo-in to find somewhere to live and that has definitely not been the case. I’ve been to about five or six house inspections in the past week, some of which had 25 or more people all looking at that house. So, it’s been insane. It’s been insane. But that’s what I’m up to at the moment. Still kind of getting into the rhythm of life. Still kind of getting settled, but hopefully it will all pan out okay in the long run.
Anyway, guys, don’t forget to get the download for today’s episode. Jump over to TheAussieEnglishPodcast.com, the website, and you can download the full transcript for this episode as well as the MP3, and you can read every single thing that I am saying and learn all the vocab and anything that you might miss when you’re listening and I’m speaking the way I do at a normal pace, ’cause I know that sometimes for some people I speak very quickly.
Anyway, let’s get into the Aussie joke, guys. The Aussie joke. And you guys know that I love puns. I love puns. I love jokes that are “punny”. Get it? Instead of “funny”, “punny”.
Alright, so today’s joke is: What do you call an alligator in a vest? What do you call an alligator in a vest?
And “an alligator” is like a crocodile, but these guys are found in America. An alligator.
And “a vest” is kind of like a little suit top thing that you put on. It doesn’t have sleeves. You wear it on the top of your body over a shirt. That is a vest. You know? It sort of buttons up or zips up at the front.
So, what do you call an alligator in a vest?
An investigator. An investigator. Right? Because it’s an alligator in a vest. It’s an “in-vest-agator”. A play on words there, guys. So, I hope you like that joke.
Let’s get into today’s expression, which is “to have egg on your face”, “to have egg on your face”.
So, this one was suggested by Quel. She suggested it in the Aussie English Classroom private Facebook group, which all of the members of the Aussie English Classroom have access to. We suggest expressions every week and then we vote on them in a poll, and this week was “to have egg on your face”.
Alright so, let’s go through and define the words in the expression “to have egg on your face” as we normally do in each episode.
So, the first verb there “to have”, “to have”. I’m sure you guys know what “to have” is. This is one of the most common verbs in English. So, “to have” is effectively to own or to possess something in this example. Right? If you have something on your face it is that it is currently existing on your face. You possess it and it’s on your face. Right? So, if I have a T-shirt on, I’m wearing a T-shirt, I have it on my body.
“An egg”. What is “an egg”? You guys will probably know what “an egg” is. “An egg” is something that an animal lays, which later hatches into a baby animal. Right? So, a chicken lays an egg. You make omelets out of eggs. You’ll know what “an egg” is.
The particle “on”, the particle “on”. See this can be used in many different ways, but typically, it means to be in physical contact with something and to be supported by something. So, usually something will be a resting above a surface whilst in contact with it, and it is “on” that surface. So, right now, I’m looking at my computer, which is on the table. Okay? It’s sitting on the table. It’s supported by the table. It’s in contact with the surface of the table. It’s on the table.
“A face”. “A face” is the front part of a person’s head including the forehead all the way down to the chin. So, your eyes, your nose, your mouth are all on your face. Okay?
So, there are all the words in the expression “to have egg on your face”.
Expression Definition & Origin:
Let’s go through and define the expression as usual, guys. So, the expression “to have egg on your face”. Have you heard this expression before, and do you know what it means? “To have egg on your face”. Obviously literally, this would mean that you’ve been eating an egg or maybe someone’s thrown an egg at you and the egg is now on your face.
But figuratively, we can say “to have egg on your face” means to be embarrassed or to appear stupid because of something that you’ve tried that has gone wrong. Okay?
So, we’ll go through the origins of this expression, but just let’s go through that one more time. “To have egg on your face” is to be embarrassed or appear stupid because of something you’ve tried to do that has gone wrong. So, effectively just to look stupid or to be embarrassed. Okay?
So, the origin of this expression. When I looked this up there were two origins that were hypothesised, that were put forth, as possible origins for this expression.
The first one was that it could have originated in the lower-class with the more rowdy kind of theatrical performances that used to take place in which an incompetent actor would have been pelted with eggs and forced off the stage. So, an actor who wasn’t very good, if he wasn’t doing a good job in a theatrical performance while he was on stage, the crowd in the lower-class part of society might have brought eggs to that performance and pelted him with eggs, as in thrown them at him, and forced him off stage. So, if he’d done a bad job, if he’d embarrassed himself, if he had appeared stupid, he would end up with egg on his face, because the crowd will have pelted him with eggs. So, that was origin number one. It’s a possible origin.
The second origin was that it could be potentially referring to a social mistake where at a meal or you’ve eaten with poor manners or a little bit sloppily and egg has been left literally on your face. Right? So, you’ve been eating in a way that is a little bit embarrassing or has caused you to appear stupid and you’ve been left literally with egg on your face. Okay?
So, let’s go through some examples as usual guise of how I would use this expression in my day to day life if I’m talking about being embarrassed or appearing stupid.
So, example number one imagine that you have to do some public speaking. So, maybe you have to give a speech or maybe you’re involved in some kind of debate. We always have debates and school when I was growing up. So, you have to get up in front of a big crowd, in front of everyone, and say a few things and maybe somehow, you’ve buggered it up. You’ve confused your words or you’ve said something incorrect, and people have started laughing or booing, and you’ve bailed, you know, you’ve decided “Wooh! I’m not going to finish this!”, and you’ve left the stage. Sort of similar to the actor who was potentially embarrassed on stage. You’ve left the stage and you’ve left with egg on your face. You haven’t finished your speech, because you were embarrassed. You felt like you appeared stupid. You had egg on your face.
Example number two. Imagine in this example that you’re a bit of a hoon. So, you love her running around in cars. And “a hoon” is someone who drives quickly and recklessly. So, maybe you are also a racer, someone who likes to race cars, and imagine that you are in a race against a bunch of other race car drivers, and you’ve been trash talking them. Okay? “To be trash talking”, and that means to sort of be sledging them, to be saying they’re awful, you’re the best, and to be talking a lot of “trash”. “To be trash talking”. And you’ve been saying how good you are that you’re going to smash everyone in this race. When the race actually takes place, you end up losing. You end up losing miserably. You come last despite all of this trash talk. So, you’ve got egg on your face. You lost the race. You embarrassed yourself. You appeared stupid. You have egg on your face.
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Example Number Three. So, imagine in this example you’re “a pollie”, “a politician”. We’ve used that expression quite a few times, that Aussie slang term “a pollie”, “a politician”. And you’ve made a bunch of promises to your constituency. And “the constituency” is the members of the public who vote for you in order to go into office, in order to make it into office, if you win the election. So, you’ve made all these promises, you get voted in, and then you can’t deliver on these promises. So, maybe you’ve promised free health care, or that taxes would be lowered, or education would be a lot better, but then in actual fact, when you got voted in, none of these changes came about. If that happened and there was a backlash from the public, you could say that you’ve embarrassed yourself, you’ve appeared stupid, and now you have egg on your face. The voters have turned on you and you’ve got egg on your face.
So, hopefully by now guys you understand the expression “to have egg on your face”. It means to be embarrassed or to appear stupid because of something you’ve tried to do that has gone wrong. Okay?
So, let’s go through a listen and repeat exercise as usual, guys, and then we’ll go through the Aussie English fact, and we’ll finish up.
So, listen and repeat after me in this listen and repeat exercise, guys. This is where you get to practice your pronunciation. So, find somewhere quiet, away from everyone, and repeat after me.
Listen & Repeat:
To have egg
To have egg on
To have egg on your
To have egg on your face x 5
Good job. So, let’s practice conjugating through “I don’t want to have egg on my face”, “You don’t want to have egg on your face”, all the way through the different pronouns. So, listen and repeat after me, guys. And I’m going to say this with stronger Australian accent. Okay? How I would normally pronounce these sentences.
I don’t want to have egg on my face.
You don’t want to have egg on your face.
He doesn’t want to have egg on his face.
She doesn’t want to have egg on her face.
We don’t want to have egg on our faces.
They don’t want to have egg on their faces.
It doesn’t want to have egg on its face.
Great job, guys. I know that those sentences were a little long, but I wanted to try it, because there’s quite a bit of interesting stuff going on related to pronunciation and connected speech in those sentences, and we will go over that in much more depth in the Aussie English Classroom. So, don’t forget if you want to get access to all the bonus content for today’s episode, and you want to upgrade your Australian English or just your English in general and learn with lots of fun courses and lessons quizzes and bonus MP3s, especially those focusing on pronunciation and connected speech, then sign up to the Aussie English Classroom, guys. You’ll find the link attached to this episode. It’s $1 for your first 30 days, and then you pay a small monthly fee after that for access to the classroom.
All right, let’s get into the Aussie English fact and we’ll finish up.
So, the Aussie English fact, guys. Do you know what animal that was we were talking about at the start? The animal was the platypus. The Australian platypus.
So, when British scientists first received a specimen of the Australian platypus, and they first laid eyes on it in the late 18th century, they thought it was a hoax. They thought the animal was fake.
So, English zoologist George Shaw said, “It naturally excites the idea of some deceptive preparation by artificial means”. Effectively saying that it definitely looks like someone has put this together as a fake animal.
Shaw was the first person to publish a scientific description of the Australian platypus, which was in fact a very real animal. And when reading Shaw’s account of this 200 years ago, it’s easy to see why he was skeptical at first about whether the creature was real or not. So, he said, “Of all the Mammalia yet known it seems the most extraordinary in its conformation, exhibiting the perfect resemblance of the beak of a duck engrafted on the head of a quadruped.”
So, this effectively means, the creature’s beak perfectly resembled that of a duck and the body seemed awfully close to that of an otter or a beaver. Okay? A quadruped is an animal that walks on four legs, quadruped, “four legs”.
Initially Shaw thought it was more plausible that some jokester had put this together and had taken the bill of duck and the body from an otter or a mole or a beaver or something, and put them all together, sewed them together, shipped it from Australia as a joke, but Shaw went on to say that only with “the most minute and rigid examination”, did they persuade themselves of it being in fact a real beak and snout of a quadruped.
So, the scientific name of the platypus is Ornithorhynchus anatinus, and “Ornithorhynchus” means “bird-snout” and “anatinus” means “duck-like”. So, bird-snout duck-like is effectively what Ornithorhynchus anatinus means.
So, this animal is found in eastern Australia both on the mainland and in Tasmania, and it lives in freshwater streams, rivers, and lakes.
The platypus is one of only a few species in the mammalian group called “the monotremes”, which is an ancient form of mammals that is known for laying eggs. And monotremes only include the platypus and several species of echidna today. Every other species has gone extinct.
So, some unique features of the platypus. Platypus lay eggs just like echidnas and all monotremes, and the eggs take about 10 or so days to hatch, and then they drink milk that is secreted from the skin of the platypus. The platypus doesn’t actually have nipples, unlike marsupials like kangaroos, and eutherian mammals like humans, rats, and dogs, for example.
The platypus has a duck-like bill, which uses electrolocation. That’s pretty cool. So, electrolocation is somewhat similar to how sharks find their prey in the water. So, the platypus uses this form of electrolocation to feel the movement of invertebrates, things like yabbies and insects, in the water, and it can fish them out of crevices under rocks. And it uses this sense because it has such poor eyesight and closes its eyes underwater so it doesn’t actually see any of its prey, it feels them using this electrolocation.
It has a plump tail, kind of fat tail, because it stores its energy there as fat reserves.
It’s got webbed feet, which are obviously used for steering and swimming in the water.
And interestingly, the male platypus has spurs or spikes on its hind legs, which can inject venom into other platypus males, when they’re fighting for females in wintertime, or into any other animal that is unfortunate enough to grab a male platypus. And the females don’t actually have these spurs. So, if you’re unfortunate enough to be investigated by a platypus, the male platypus, if you pick it up, the pain is said to be long-lasting and excruciating. One ex-military guy in Australia said it was worse than when he got shrapnel from an explosion in the army. And worst of all it can’t be relieved with conventional painkillers. So, things like morphine don’t work on this venom.
Short-term victims will feel nauseated, they’ll suffer from cold sweats, and they might see the muscles around the site of envenomation slowly waste away.
And long-term victims can be left with hyperalgesia, which is a hypersensitivity to pain, and this can last for up to three months after being envenomated by a platypus.
So, I’m sure you’ll all agree, guys, the Australian platypus is one cute and cuddly Aussie creature, and one that is incredibly interesting, but it’s one that you should definitely not muck around with if you see it in the wild.
Anyway guys, that is long enough for today. I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. It’s always a pleasure to know that I am chatting to you guys whilst you’re going about your day, doing your thing, and I hope you have an amazing week guys, and I’ll chat to you soon.
See you later.
Learn to use 6 x Aussie English Expressions from this episode!