In this episode of Embarrassing English Errors Ep04 I teach you the subtle difference in pronunciation of the words bitch & beach.
Download the full PDF transcript here.
Embarrassing English Errors Ep04 – Bitch & Beach
So, welcome to episode number four of Embarrassing English Errors, guys. Today we’re going to do the words “bitch” and “beach”, and these are two words that I’ve had from a lot of my Spanish speaking friends that have been driving them crazy recently. They’ve been driving them nuts, because they find it incredibly difficult to pronounce the difference between the words “bitch”, and a bitch is a female dog, and often slang or [a] derogatory term for a woman. It can be sort of low to medium in rudeness. It’s not the most offensive thing you could say but it isn’t too… too nice. And the word “beach”, which is obviously a pebbly or sandy shore. It’s the part of land between the ocean and the land obviously. So, it’s that small strip. Whenever you go to the beach… everyone will know what a beach is.
Anyway, you can see how you could confuse the words “beach” and “bitch”. They sound very similar and obviously when you’re talking about going to a beach or going down on a beach, you don’t necessarily want to make someone think you’re talking about a woman and you’re saying… you’re referring to that woman in a nasty way by saying “I’m going down on that bitch”. And also, if you say things like “I’m going down on the beach”, that makes sense. “I’m going down onto the beach. I’m going to have a nice day on the beach”, but if you were to say that you’re going “to go down on that bitch”… for one thing you’re referring to a woman in that sense and it sounds like you’re being very nasty, very derogatory, like you don’t think a lot about the woman you’re talking about. And also, to say that you’re “going down on” a woman, it refers to more to… “going down on” it means like “to give oral sex to a woman”. So, it’s a very sexual and um… sort of a dirty way of… of talking about someone and suggesting something like that. So, it’s definitely something that you do not want to confuse when you really want to say that you’re going down on the beach.
Another awkward situation could be just saying that “there’s a really nice beach near my um… parent’s house” or something. You could accidentally say “there’s a really nice bitch near my parent’s house”, which would suggest more that you think there’s a… a really nice woman near your parent’s house. Anyway, they’re the kinds of errors that you could accidentally make when talking about these two things.
Um… what are some words in English that sound like “bitch” and have the same vowel sound in them?
Witch [or which]
And what are some words that sound similar to “beach”?
And now let’s practice the vowel sound on its own five times.
Ih – Ee x 5
Bitch – Beach
And now we can run through some made up and real words just to practice the pronunciation of this “itch” and “each” sound after different consonants.
Lich – Leech
Stitch – Steech
Critch – Creech
Pich – Peach
Tich – Teach
Fitch – Feech
Blitch – Bleech
Plitch – Pleech
And now we’ll go through the words “bitch” and “beach” ten times just so you can practice the slight difference in pronunciation between these two words one after the other.
Bitch – Beach x 10
So that’s the end of this episode today guys, and remember you can always message or comment on Facebook to let me know about other things you’re finding difficult to pronounce. And if I haven’t already done an episode on them I will as soon as I can.
Have a good one guys!
If you guys enjoyed this episode of Embarrassing English Errors then make sure you check out the rest of the episodes and transcripts here. Also, don’t forget to come visit me on Facebook and let me know what you think of the podcast and say hey to the Aussie English community!
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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 — 3 years ago
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By pete — 3 months ago
AE 499 – Expression: — Up a Storm
We’ve been talking a bit this week about the 40th anniversary of Cyclone Tracy, the devastating cyclone in Darwin, and a caller mentioned, (it) might have been Annette, talking about the sound that was captured by a bishop at that time, Bishop Ted Collins, and the noise. We’ve managed to track it down. Here’s a bit of that noise that ripped through Darwin close to Christmas in 1974.
G’day, you mob! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone who wants to learn advanced English, obviously, too with a tiny little hint of Australian English in there as well, although, it may not be that tiny at times. Depends. Depends.
Anyway, so, the intro scene there, guys, the intro scene was from a radio segment from 2GB Sydney that was aired in 2014. You can probably check out 2GB if you’re in the Sydney area and it was on the YouTube channel Des Poeling-Oer. (I’m) not sure how to pronounce his name, but there will be a link in the transcript if you would like to check out that entire video, although, it was a short one.
But yeah, that was about Cyclone Tracy, which took place in northern Australia, in the Northern Territory, back in the 70s. But we’ll get into that in today’s fact.
Anyway, guys, this is the Aussie English Podcast. This is where I try to help English learners who’ve come to Australia, but elsewhere in the world as well, learn advanced English. So, I’m interested in trying to help you sound more like a native speaker when you learn English, when you’re speaking English, ok? So, that’s the whole point of these episodes. So, obviously you’re listening to the Aussie English Podcast, if you would like to get access to the transcripts and the MP3s unlimited access so that you can download these, make sure you go to TheAussieEnglishPodcast.com and you can sign up there for the price of a coffee per month and you’ll be able to download these anytime, anywhere and practice wherever you want.
Also, the Podcast is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom, guys. Now, this is where I put all the other content the courses, the videos, the other bonus MP3s, the exercises, the quizzes, everything else that I create I put into the Aussie English Classroom in the form of a course. Except there are many, many, many, courses. So, each week for these expression episodes I create three videos at the moment for pronunciation, for expressions and for vocab and then I guide you through 10 or so different pieces of vocab expressions etc. and I try and help you expand your English so, if you want to join up there, you will get access to this episode’s bonus content as well as previous episodes. You’ll also get access to the interview course that I have in there with other Australians and the pronunciation course so, that you can work on your English pronunciation. Just go to TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com, don’t get it confused with the podcast website of TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com hit sign up, you can enroll and it’s just one dollar for your first month so, give that a go! Anyway, guys, let’s get into today’s joke.
So, today’s expression is obviously about the weather, it’s about storms. So, I thought I’d try and find a joke that is related to the weather. So, here’s the joke: what does a cloud wear under its raincoat? What does a cloud wear under its rain coat? Are you ready? Thunderwear. Thunderwear. I told Kel this one earlier today and she was very underwhelmed with the joke. She was like… *claps*.
What does a cloud wear under its raincoat? Thunderwear. So, it’s a pun on the word ‘underwear’ and the word ‘thunder’, right? From a cloud, thunder that comes from a storm cloud. Anyway, dumb jokes aside, let’s get into today’s expression, guys.
Today’s expression is to ‘verb’ Something, ‘verb’, ‘verb’, ‘verb’ + up a storm, right? So, up a storm, but there’s often a verb before the expression ‘up a storm’, ok? We’ll get into that in a sec. This one was from Zinnia who suggested this in the Aussie English Classroom, a Facebook group we all voted. Good job Zinnia, she won!
So, ‘up a storm’ it’s an interesting expression, because this expression, the first part of it can change. So, you might hear this as to cook up a storm, to dance up a storm, to work up a storm, to kick up a storm, to stir up a storm. The verb at the start there can change, ok? But before we get into how it is defined, let’s talk about the words in this expression.
So, obviously, the first word can be a verb of some kind that can change and the definition of that verb is going to depend on the verb.
But the word ‘up’, the word ‘up’ here isn’t literally talking about the direction upwards, right? So, like, above you, in that direction, the opposite of down or downwards. In this case, the word up is a preposition and it’s part of a phrasal verb. To cook up, to dance up, to work up, to kick up. And in this case, it means to something into a desired or proper condition, right? So, if you cook something up, you are changing something so, that it is cooked. You are completely cooking that thing so, that is how ‘up’ is working here, when it’s combined with a verb, it’s kind of like to completion or into a desired state or proper condition.
The other word in here ‘a storm’, right? ‘Storm’ is a violent disturbance of the atmosphere, with strong winds, usually rain, thunder, lightning, and snow, but no thunderwear, right? So, often you know, there’s storms. There was a storm here last night with a lot of rain that came, though, and there was a lot of wind. Fortunately, though, there was no lightning or thunder and there’s never been any snow, not at least here, not at least here.
So, the definition of the expression, right? ‘— up a storm’, but with a verb before it. So, as I said, it’s interesting because it can change, you could say Cook up a storm, dance up a storm, work up a storm, kick up a storm, but the most common one here I’ll ever hear is ‘cook up a storm’. I think this tends to be the most common one that you’ll hear and it may seem confusing, right. It’s effectively acting like an adverb though, up a storm, right? You’re adding it to have before it it’s modifying the verb. And so, ‘— up a storm’ is added to mean the action of the verb, to a great amount, with fury, with intensity. So, you’re doing something, the verb, you’re doing that verb with enthusiastic spirit, to great amounts.
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If you’re cooking up a storm, you are cooking something up a lot in a furious manner. If you are working up a storm, you’re working something up to a great degree, in an enthusiastic spirit, ok? But it can kind of change the meaning depending on the verb you use. You cook up a storm, you can imagine you are cooking a large amount of food all at once, you’re preparing a great deal of food. If you talk up a storm, you are talking to a great extent. You are talking to a great amount, with a lot of intensity. If you kick up a storm, in this case, if you kick something up, it’s more that you’re creating a situation in which people are very angry or upset or critical so, you’re like causing a fuss, ok?
So, let’s go through three examples using three different versions of this expression. So, this is how I would use these in day to day life, ok? So, the three examples will be for cook up a storm, talk up a storm and kick up a storm.
So, number one: cook up a storm: and this is a true story. So, Kel and I are getting married in the next month and my mum is very keen to have a really big family party of some kind, to have all my family and friends over, my extended family and grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, third cousins. She wants all of those people over at the house to introduce Kel to them, to the entire family. So, she’s invited them all over to our place in Ocean Grove for a Brazilian style barbecue, because Kel is Brazilian, they want to cook up some Brazilian food. So, they’ve decided to theme it with a Brazilian theme and they’re going to cook up a bunch of Brazilian foods from recipes that they get online. So, hopefully that means lots of farofa, feijão, and churrasco. So, that is like… Farofa is this kind of cassava flour powder that you add to food and it’s really tasty. Feijão is beans, black beans, and churrasco is just barbecued meat. So, hopefully will have lots of that. So, because they are planning to cook up a lot of food and for so many people at the party I’m sure on the day they’ll be cooking up a storm, right? They’ll be cooking up a storm in the kitchen, they’ll be cooking loads of food up, they’ll be doing it with intensity, with fury, with enthusiastic spirit. I hope that while they’re preparing this food, they’re going to be cooking up a storm.
Number two: to talk up a storm. To talk up a storm. My sister got pregnant last year, ok? She had a bun in the oven. She was up the duff. She was pregnant and nine months later, obviously, she had a baby. This was in November last year and her daughter is named Isabell. So, my niece is now almost a year old. She is beginning to walk, she can say a few words, you know, things like ‘mama’, ‘dada’, but I’m sure that in no time at all she’s going to be able to talk up a storm, right? She’s going to be able to learn to speak. She’ll start talking everyone’s heads off, she’ll start saying all these other words and so, she’ll be talking, she’ll be speaking non-stop, all the time, enthusiastically, to a great extent, she’ll be talking up a storm.
And, example number three: to kick up a storm. So, in this case, imagine you are going into the city one day for a bit of retail therapy, and retail therapy is something that women quite often use. They use this expression retail therapy to refer to buying clothes or buying things when they’re upset or they’re in a bad mood or they’re sad, right? So, imagine you’re a girl, you’ve broken up with your boyfriend, you’re feeling really bad after the breakup, you want to cheer yourself up, you might go out and have a bit of retail therapy, right? Because you going to buy some stuff in retail. So, if when you go out to get some clothes, some food, some whatever it is that you want to buy for your house or for yourself, you go into the city and there’s a massive protest going on in the street. Thousands of people holding up signs, holding up placards, shouting slogans, are making a lot of noise, and you might want to know what all the fuss is about. You might want to know why they’re kicking up such a storm. So, what’s all the fuss about? Why are they protesting? Why are they kicking up a storm? So, if you find out it’s a relatively trivial matter. Maybe, you know, they want a 1% increase in the wages of teachers. And you think that’s not really important. You might say they’re kicking up a storm over nothing and that these protests are nothing but a storm in a teacup, meaning they’re a very small problem. They’re very trivial, it’s not a big issue, they’re kicking up a fuss over nothing. They’re making a mountain out of a molehill, they’re kicking up a storm over a very trivial matter.
So, hopefully now, guys, you understand the expression ‘Something + up a storm’, right? To cook up a storm, to talk up a storm, to kick up a storm. When we add ‘up a storm’ as an adverb to a verb before it, it means that we’re doing that verb to a great degree, with fury, with intensity, or with enthusiastic spirit, ok? So, as usual, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise, guys. So, in this one I use the example to cook up a storm and I want you to listen and repeat after me and practice your English pronunciation, ok? Let’s go!
To cook up
To cook up a
To cook up a storm x 5
Good job! Now, let’s practice using ‘to kick up a storm’ in the future continuous tense, ok? For example: I will be kicking up a storm. I’ll be kicking up a storm. However, this time, I’m going to use contractions and connected speech as I would when I’m normally speaking English at a natural pace, right? At a natural speed. So, try and pay attention to how these words link together and how the changes in sound occur. And if you want to get access to the exercise, the video where I break this down step by step, don’t forget to join the Aussie English Classroom, remember, it’s just one dollars for your first month at TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com and you’ll get access to this video, in the course, as well as all the previous courses where I break down exactly how I am changing my pronunciation when I’m speaking more naturally, how these connections in words occur, how the contractions occur. Ok? So, let’s go.
Tomorrow, I’ll be kicking up a storm.
Tomorrow, you’ll be kicking up a storm.
Tomorrow, she’ll be kicking up a storm.
Tomorrow, he’ll be kicking up a storm.
Tomorrow, we’ll be kicking up a storm.
Tomorrow, they’ll be kicking up a storm.
Tomorrow, it’ll be kicking up a storm.
Good job there, guys! Good job! You may think why am I using words like tomorrow in these sentences when we use certain tenses like I’ll be kicking, I’ll be doing, I’ll be thinking, because it’s placing it in the future, I think it’s always important to try and give context in the sentence itself so that you attach the tense with a time, ok? So, that’s why I tend to try and use words like tomorrow, yesterday, next year, until tomorrow, etc., to place those verb tenses in context.
Anyway, guys, let’s get into the Aussie English fact for today and then we can finish up and there’s a phrasal verb with up. Alright, so, now I want to talk about Cyclone Tracy.
So, obviously today’s expression was about the word storm or had the word storm in it. So, I thought, you know, what could I do about storms in Australia? And I thought about the severe cyclone storms that Australia gets every year in the monsoon tropics. This is the part of Australia in the north, above the Tropic of Capricorn, right? That goes through, roughly, halfway through Australia and separates the south from the north so, to the north of Australia cyclones hit the coast all the time whether it’s in the Northern Territory or Queensland, they get cyclones each year. Cyclone Tracy was a tropical cyclone though that made landfall on Christmas Eve and Christmas day in 1974 and it devastated the city of Darwin in the Northern Territory in Australia. So, really tragic, because… not just because it was such a devastating storm, but the timing couldn’t have been worse. It arrived on Christmas Eve and it, you know, destroyed Christmas Day as well for all the people there. So, it was the most compact cyclone storm to have ever occurred in the Australian basin and southern hemisphere, with gale force winds extending only 48 kilometres from the centre. So, outside of 48 kilometres from the centre of the storm, the eye of this storm, the gale force winds dropped off which is very weird. That’s a very small, compact, concentrated storm. So, this made it the smallest-ever tropical cyclone worldwide until the year 2000 and I think 7, 2007, 2008, when Tropical Storm Marco broke the record with gale force winds extending only 19 kilometres from the centre, massively compact storm.
So, Cyclone Tracy first started as a storm that formed over the Arafura Sea. And then it moved southwards and affected Darwin with category four winds. The highest sustained winds during this time were up to 205 kilometres an hour with gusts nearly 250 kilometres an hour, right? That’s crazy. I don’t think I’ve ever… I’ve never been in a car that’s driven that fast. That’s insane.
And so, these storms, I guess, they form over the warm water in the tropical areas and then when they hit the land they start to dissipate, but they build up all that energy from the warm water in the oceans. And that happens around the tropics.
So, Cyclone Tracy completely devastated Darwin and it killed 71 people and many thousands of people were injured. In 1974, the cost of the storm was $837 million dollars in damage, which today is more than $6 billion dollars. Initially, after the storm 65 people were killed, were found to have been killed, with six missing and it was only in 2005 when the Northern Territory Coroner proclaimed that the six people that were still missing had perished at sea. So, this cyclone knocked down more than 70 percent of buildings in Darwin, including 80 percent of people’s houses.
And if you search for Cyclone Tracy in Google images you’re going to see the full extent of this cyclone’s destruction. It’s just insane. Everywhere is flat it looks like those photos you see of the U.S. when a massive tornado has gone through a town.
So, 25,000 of the 47,000 inhabitants of the city were made homeless prior to landfall of this cyclone and they were evacuated. Most of Darwin’s population got evacuated to places like Adelaide, Whyalla, Alice Springs, Brisbane, and Sydney and many of these people actually stayed in these cities and never returned after the storm. After the storm had passed and people had assessed all the damage from the storm, the city was eventually rebuilt using more stringent standards to cyclone code so that, hopefully, in the future, the city would be more cyclone-proof and you would prevent any of this sort of destruction to the same extent in the future.
So, that’s the story of Cyclone Tracy, guys. It was a very small and compact storm that hit Australia at a very unfortunate time, during Christmas, in 1974 and it killed 70 people making it the deadliest storm in Australian recorded history, as far as I’m aware.
So, if you come to Australia, I’m sure that if you mention knowing information about Cyclone Tracy the average Australian here is going to have heard of that cyclone and if they were alive during 1974, they may have even been there.
Anyway, guys! Thank you so much for joining me. I hope you have an amazing weekend and I’ll see you in the next episode, episode 500, which I have something very special planned for.
So, I’ll see you then. Bye!
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By pete — 4 months ago
AE 497 Expression: On Thin Ice
I came from the other end of the Snowy River down in Victoria on a farm out from Orbost and my father, who had the farm, said, ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they could do something about stopping these bloody floods?’.
Every snowmelt the floods would come down and cover the crops and so on.
It was difficult for them.
G’day, guys! G’day, you mob! How is it going?
Remember, ‘you mob’ is a slang term in Australia for ‘you guys’, right, and it is from, I guess, a mob of kangaroos, a group of kangaroos. So, you mob, I hope you’re going well. I hope you’ve been having a ripper of a week.
So, today’s intro scene was about Australia’s greatest-ever engineering feat, the national heritage listed Snowy Hydro Scheme, and the video at the start there was from the Environment Department’s YouTube channel. So, I will leave a link in the transcript if you guys would like to check that out. I would obviously recommend that as you will get exposure to other people speaking with Australian accents and obviously using all kinds of different vocab and everything in English. So, check that out.
Anyway, I’m pretty wrecked, I’m pretty stuffed, I am exhausted. It’s been a lot of running around this week. We’ve had to organise a whole bunch of stuff regarding marriages. So, Kel and I are getting married soon, and we’re just… We’re not having a big thing, right? We’re not making a big deal of it. We’re not really doing a traditional marriage in a church or even with a lot of people there, to be honest, because Kel’s family’s in Brazil, so we just thought it’s probably easier to just do a small thing here in Australia and really just go and sign the papers. So, at the moment, we’re having to go through and get all of the documents ready, so like my birth certificate, my passport, her birth certificate, her passport, the documents to apply for marriage with witnesses. So, today we had to go to the cop shop, to the police station, and have a justice of the peace sign all of these pieces of paper as we were there signing them as well. So, that’s been a bit of a headache, and before that we tried to have our friends witness it, but they screwed it up, they stuffed it up, and signed as the people getting married and not as the witnesses. So, we had to go through it again. Anyway.
Welcome to this episode of Aussie English, guys. We’re getting close to episode 500. So, this is probably going to be the second last expression episode before we hit 500, and something special is going to happen once we get to 500, so stay tuned for that. Anyway.
Aussie English, the Aussie English podcast. Welcome. If you’ve been listening for a long time, it’s good to have you here again. If it’s your first time, welcome, thanks for joining me.
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Welcome to this episode today, guys. This one is ‘on thin ice’. It’s a really good expression. I use this quite a lot, and to be honest, my father used to use this on me quite a lot as a little rambunctious and mischievous teen as I was growing up, but we’ll get into that shortly.
Firstly, let’s get into the Aussie joke, and this one is a good one today, because it involves Batman, right. Dunununah dunununah Batman!’. Batman. Alright. So, the joke is:
What’s man’s favourite food? What is that man’s favourite food?
Are you ready for this? Are you ready?
Do you get it? Oh my gosh… So, what’s that man’s favourite food? ‘Just-ice’ as in, ‘justice’, right? If you separate the word ‘justice’ into ‘just-ice’, it’s like saying ‘only ice’, he just likes eating ice, he is only interested in ice, but it’s funny because Batman is obviously a superhero who is interested in justice, justice. ‘Just-ice’, ‘justice’. Badoomsh! Alright.
So, today’s expression is ‘on thin ice’, right, ‘to be on thin ice’. This was suggested by me this week in the Aussie English Classroom Facebook group. So, that’s four members of the Aussie English Classroom. This week we all suggested expressions. I put this one in, I threw this in as my suggestion, and it got voted on and I won. Go me!
So, let’s go through the definitions of the words in the expression ‘on thin ice’, right. I’ll skip ‘to be’. You know what ‘to be’ is.
‘On’. If you’re on something, you’re physically in contact with and supported by something. So, you’re on the surface of something, usually, right? I might put my coffee here that I’ve got on a coaster, the thing that protects the table. I put the coaster on the table, I put my coffee on the table, and then after I finish the coffee, I might put it on the bench next to the sink. Okay? ‘On’.
‘Thin’. ‘Thin’. Something that is ‘thin’ is… it has the opposite surfaces or sides of it very close together. Right? So, a piece of paper is incredibly thin, because each side of the piece of paper is very close together, right. It’s very, very thin. You can use this for describing something like a piece of paper or maybe a stamp or a book. You know, you could have a thin book with very few pages or you could have a thick book with a lot of pages. But you can also describe someone as being ‘thin’ when you want to say that they are not fat. Right? So, like a piece of paper, both sides of the person are very close together. They are thin.
The last word here, guys. ‘Ice’. ‘Ice’ is frozen water, a brittle transparent crystalline solid, right. The crystal when water freezes, when it goes below 0 degrees Celsius, it becomes ice.
So, let’s go through and define the expression ‘to be on thin ice’, and I wonder if you guys have heard this before. I wonder if anyone has said to you are on thin ice. Be careful you’re on thin ice.
So, if we imagine this literally, if you were literally standing on thin ice, what do you think the message there is, right? It’s that you’re resting on ice that is thin and it’s likely to crack and break, so you’re in a precarious and risky situation. So, literally, if you’re on thin ice, you are standing on ice that is thin, it is liable to crack or break, and you’re likely to fall into the cold water below.
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Figuratively, it is that you are in a precarious or risky situation. So, you might not literally be on ice, but you might be in a dangerous situation, so you are on thin ice, right.
But this one is also often used to mean that you’re already in trouble and that you can’t afford to make another mistake. Right? So, my dad would say this to me when I was a kid and I had already misbehaved, I had already done something wrong, maybe I’d done a few things wrong, and I was at the point of pushing him over the edge. I was at his breaking point. If I had done one more thing, something bad would have happened, like maybe he would ground me or he would give me some kind of penalty or punishment, right? So, he might say to me, ‘Look, you’re on thin ice. No more. No more misbehaviour, Pete’. You’re on thin ice.
So, where does this expression originate from? This idiom is one that originated from Holland or the Netherlands. We also call Holland the Netherlands in English. So, skating, you know skating on ice, was popular there and that’s where it came from originally, skating on ice, on those blades on the bottom of your shoes on ice in winter, and the phrase that you were ‘on thin ice’ was commonly used especially when seas, rivers, streams, etc., would freeze during winter, and then people would skate over them. So, it would be like a warning. Right? You’re on thin ice. Be careful. Don’t, you know, jump up and do any pirouettes or something.
So, anyway, let’s go through the examples of how I would use the expression ‘to be on thin ice’ like a native speaker in my day to day life, right? Okay.
Example number one and this is the literal example. You’ve travelled up to one of the snowfields in the Australian Alps in Australia. So, imagine Thredbo or Mount Buller or Mount Hotham. You’re out snowboarding or skiing one day and you end up off the track, falling down the side of a mountain, a cliff, or ravine, or something, and landing on a frozen lake. You might get knocked out during this fall, you know, you get KOed, you’re… you go black, you’re not conscious, but when you come to, when you wake up, you hear you made shouting out to you from a distance saying, ‘Be careful! Don’t move suddenly or abruptly. You’re on thin ice!’. So, you’re literally on some ice that is thin. Be careful where you put your weight, because if you aren’t careful it might break and you might fall into the water.
Example number two, and I pretty much went over this earlier on. I used to get in trouble with my father all the time as a kid or a teenager. I’d push his buttons. I would push the limits. I would… you know, maybe I would swear or maybe I, you know, did something I wasn’t allowed to do, I misbehaved, I didn’t come home on time, I missed my curfew. If I was already in trouble, I’d misbehave several times before, as I said, my dad might say to me, ‘You’re on thin ice! So, if you make another mistake, you’re in for it. You’re going to be in trouble. You’ll be in real trouble and there’s no turning back. You’ll be grounded. I won’t give you your pocket money. You’ll be punished in some other way. You’re on thin ice.’. Right? It’s kind of like you’re on your final warning. So, don’t misbehave, don’t muck up, don’t do anything wrong.
Example number three. Imagine you’ve just got a promotion at work, but it comes with a probation period. So, probation period, as in, you have to be evaluated after three months, for example, the probation period is three months long, and after three months, they will tell you how you’ve done and if you’ve done well, you’ll get to keep the job. So, imagine, though, while you’re going through this probation period for three months you screw up a few things, you make a few mistakes, you don’t do your job ideally, but only just manage to scrape by. So, your employers or your boss might tell you, ‘Look, you’re doing okay, but you need to shape up, you need to do better, because you’re on thin ice. If you make any more mistakes, we might have to not give you this promotion, we might have to demote you’, right? So, you’re in a risky situation. You need to pay attention and shape up in order to maintain this position. You’re on thin ice.
So, hopefully now, guys, you understand the expression ‘to be on thin ice’. Obviously, literally, this would be to be on ice that is thin, that is likely to break or crack. So, you are in a precarious or risky situation.
Figuratively, this can mean that you are in a dangerous situation that isn’t necessarily related to ice breaking at all.
And lastly, it can mean that you’re in trouble, you’re already in trouble and you can’t afford to make another mistake, and you’re on your final warning. Okay? You’re on thin ice.
So, as usual, guys, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise here where you guys can practice your pronunciation. Okay? So, listen and repeat after me. Let’s go.
To be on
To be on thin
To be on thin ice x 5
Good job! Focus on linking those words. There’s a few things going on there. You will see though, if you join up to the Aussie English Classroom, when I break this down in the 10-minute video that I do each week for the pronunciation exercises, you will see the sort of little tidbits, the little important bits of information, about connected speech there, okay? To be on thin ice. Hopefully, that makes sense.
So, let’s go through and conjugate this just in the present tense, guys. Okay, so ‘I am’, ‘You are’, etc., but we’ll contract ‘am’, ‘are’, and ‘is’ on to the previous pronouns. Okay? So, let’s go.
I’m on thin ice
You’re on thin ice
She’s on thin ice
He’s on thin ice
We’re on thin ice
They’re on thin ice
It’s on thin ice
Good job! Good job! And I hope you paid attention to how those words are linking together, the connected speech there, okay? Anyway.
Let’s get into the Aussie English fact for today, guys, and then we will finish up, and I will bid you farewell for this week. All right.
So, today’s Aussie fact. It’s all about the Snowy Hydro Scheme. And so, my thought pattern was, okay, the phrase is ‘on thin ice’. What is there in Australia that is ice or snow or the cold that I can talk about? And I thought about the Snowy Mountains, and then I thought about the Snowy Mountain Hydro Scheme. So, I wonder if you guys have heard about this.
So, what is it. The Snowy Hydro Scheme is a hydroelectricity and irrigation complex in south-east Australia. The Scheme consists of 16 major dams, seven power stations, one pumping station, and over 225 kilometres of tunnels, pipelines, and aqueducts that were constructed between the years of 1949 and 1974. So, (it) went for about 25 years.
Astonishingly, only 2% of the construction work is visible above the ground. It was completed on time and in budget in 1974 at a total cost of $820 million dollars, which today, is the equivalent of more than $6 billion dollars. Pretty Penny.
So, this scheme was the largest-ever engineering project undertaken in Australia and was overseen by Chief Engineer, Sir William Hudson. Around two thirds of the workforce employed in the construction of the Snowy Hydro Scheme were recently-arrived immigrant workers desperate for work who originated from over 30 different foreign countries. The total number of workers on the Scheme was more than 100,000 in that 25-year period, and the official death toll reached 121 people. I don’t know if that’s a lot or if that’s not very many. Sounds like a lot.
At the completion of the project, the Australian government maintained much of the diverse workforce and created the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation, SMEC, which remains an international engineering consultancy company up to today.
So, why was the Snowy Hydro Scheme built? You know, why was it put into place?
The Snowy Hydro Scheme was implemented to solve a yearly problem for farmers and inhabitants of south eastern Victoria. So, every year here in the snowfields in the Australian Alps the snow would fall on the Great Dividing Range and it would melt in spring time and summer time obviously, and then flood the low-lying flood plains and river flats in places like East Gippsland in southeast Victoria as the water flowed out into Bass Strait and into the Tasman Sea. Thus, each year, farmers didn’t know if their crops would be ruined by these floods or not.
In order to divert the excess snowmelt water and spare the farmers their yearly headache, the Snowy Hydro scheme was implemented, and this had numerous benefits including channeling the water away from the farmers crops into the Murray and Murrumbidgee River irrigation areas, which allowed farmers to access this water via the irrigation systems, and also, they were able to harness the power of the water and turn into electricity using hydroelectricity. Right?
So, how was this done? The water falls about 800 meters and travels through large hydroelectric power stations, which generate peak-load power for the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, and Victoria.
And in 2016, The Snowy Mountains Hydroelectricity System/Scheme, whatever you want to call it, was added to the Australian National Heritage List.
So, whether you’re into skiing and snowboarding, hiking or camping, or you just want to check out the dams and power plants and other things related to these Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme, the Snowy Mountains in the Australian Alps are definitely a beautiful spot worth checking out if you find yourself in the south east of Australia.
Anyway, guys that’s it for today. I hope you enjoy this episode. I hope you have a lovely week and I’ll see you soon. Catch ya!
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