In this episode of Aussie English I cover the expression “It’s no skin off my nose“, which means “it doesn’t bother me”, “do what you like”, “it’s no risk to me”, etc.
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 — 10 months ago
AE 421 – Expression: To Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth
In 1930, life in Australia was tough. Jobs were hard to get, money was scarce, but there was a guaranteed way to make some cash. If you could scrape together a shilling, a pound, or a fiver, you could put it on a horse. Not just any horse, but a horse that was bound to win. A sure thing. Phar Lap.
G’day you mob! How’s it going? (I) Decided to call you guys “you mob”, you know, come up with a name for the listeners. Get you guys a little bit more Australian culture. “You mob” is the kind of expression that people often use in Australia to refer to a group of people, and it comes from the idea that a mob of kangaroos is a group of kangaroos. And so, you use the collective noun “mob” to talk about a group of kangaroos. And so, a lot of Australians will say “you mob” instead of “you guys” or “you lot”. So, g’day you mob. How are you going?
Today’s intro scene is a snippet from a story by AnimalXTV on YouTube, and again, (the) link is in the transcript or on the website. It’s about Australia’s, and maybe the world’s, greatest ever racehorse Phar Lap. So, ask any Australian and they’ll know the name Phar Lap. It seemed like a good time to tell you guys about him considering today’s expression is related to horses. So, his death was nearly as mysterious as his career was successful, but we’ll get into that in today’s Aussie Fact.
So, as usual guys, get a welcome to The Aussie English Podcast. This is the number one podcast for anyone and everyone wanting to learn Australian English. Whether you want to learn to understand Aussies or you want to learn to speak like an Australian, this is the podcast for you, and it’s brought to you by The Aussie English Classroom an online learning environment where you get all the bonus content for these expression episodes and the interview episodes on the podcast with courses, lessons, quizzes. You can meet other people. There are speaking challenges. There’s a whole bunch of extra content in there designed to help you learn Australian English even faster. So, don’t forget to sign up and give that a go if you haven’t already. It’s a dollar for your first month. (The) link’s in the description.
And also, don’t forget to get the free downloads for today’s episode as well. Make sure you go to the website and download the transcript and the MP3 if you want to study this anywhere, anytime.
So, today guys, let’s get into the Aussie joke. Today’s Aussie joke, again related to horses. You’ll remember in the last expression episode, to stab someone in the back, I told a joke about so-and-so walking into a bar. So, those ‘walking into a bar’ jokes are very popular in English, and today’s is another one, and it fits well with the horse theme for today’s episode. Okay. So, here’s the joke:
A horse walks into a bar one day and the bartender says, “Hey!”, and the horse says, “You read my mind!”. “You read my mind”. Do you get that guys? A horse walks into a bar one day and the bartender, the guy behind the bar, says, “Hey!”, and the horse says, “You read my mind!”, as in, “You knew exactly what I was thinking”, because horses like to eat “Hay”. Except “hay” the food the grass that horses eat is spelt H-A-Y, and the greeting “Hey”, which the bartender use there is H-E-Y. So, it’s another pun for you guys with the word “Hey!”.
Alright, today’s expression guys is “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”. “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”. I wonder if you guys have heard this expression before. “Don’t look at gift horse in the mouth”. So, it’s a proverb, a short and expressive saying in common use recognised as conveying an accepted truth or useful advice.
So, I’m sure you’ve got two questions, though: What the hell is a gift horse? And, why should I not look it in the mouth?
So, this is one of those expressions I’ve heard and I learnt from a very young age, but I never really understood what it meant literally until I was much older, and I’m sure that happens to you guys in your native language too.
Anyway, before we go through the definition of the expression and its origin, let’s go through the definition of the words in the expression.
Okay. So, “to look”. The verb “to look” is to examine with the eyes to examine with the eyes. And if you “look something in the something”, say you can look something in the face, you could look something in the back, whatever it is, it’s to face something with your eyes and look at that thing. So, if you look something in the mouth, you’re examining it and looking into its mouth with your eyes. You’re looking something in the mouth.
“A horse”. I’m sure you guys know what “A horse” is. It’s a four-legged farm animal often ridden by people as a hobby or for farm work or in sports. It’s a mammal. “A horse”. It’s got a long neck they tend to be about, what, eight nine 10 feet high. They tend to be pretty tall.
“A gift horse” is a horse given to someone as a gift. “A gift horse”. A horse given as a gift, given as a present.
And the last word “a mouth”. I’m sure you guys know what “a mouth” is. “A mouth” is what I’m currently using to talk. It is the orifice on an animal’s head in which food is placed, chewed, or swallowed. Or in the case of me right now, it is the thing I am using to talk.
So, those are the different words in today’s expression. But let’s go through the expression itself and define that, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”, and I should add, you are going to hear this in the negative most often. “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”. You probably won’t ever hear, “Oh yeah, look a gift horse in the mouth” in the affirmative there.
Expression Definition & Origin:
Alright, so the definition. We’ve established that “A gift horse” is a horse given to someone as a gift or as a present. So, when purchasing horses, back in the day, you know, back in the past, it was a good idea, (it) probably still is a good idea, to check the horse’s health and age by examining the quality of its teeth. And in order to look at the teeth, you have to look the horse in the mouth. Longer teeth obviously mean the horse is older, because they have teeth that keep growing, and fewer teeth obviously suggests the horse might be in poor health, and you don’t want a horse that can’t eat.
So, the idea behind the expression, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”, is that it’s bad manners to examine, to inspect, or to scrutinise a gift and wish for more than you’ve been given. It shows mistrust towards the giver, right? You don’t get something for free and then examined to see if it’s up to your standards. So, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”, effectively just means, don’t be ungrateful when you receive a gift.
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So, the origin of this expression. This was another one of these cool English expressions that is quite old, and some of the sentences that I’m about to read to you in Middle English. So, I really recommend reading the transcript and checking out the spelling of some of these words. Okay?
So, anyway, as with most proverbs, the origin of “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” is pretty ancient and unknown. It’s at least 450-500 years old in the English language, and it appeared in print in English in 1546, in John Heywood’s A Dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the prouerbes in the Englishe tongue. And again, I recommend looking up how that spelt. So, you’ll see the old English spelling before it was standardised. So, it was written in this book. “No man ought to looke a geuen hors in the mouth.”
So, make sure you check out the spelling guys. There one thing you might notice is that there are lots of U’s where there should be V’s. And so, prior to the standardisation of English spelling, U was obviously used instead of a V.
So, Heywood likely obtain this phrase, though, from a Latin text from St. Jerome, The Letter to the Ephesians, and this is from 400 A.D., so 1,600 years old, which contains the text, “Noli equi dentes inspicere donate”, which is Latin that I have probably mispronounced, and it means, “Never inspect the teeth of a given horse”. So, where St. Jerome got it from who knows. But one thing for sure is that this is a very old expression.
So, as usual guys, let’s go through some examples of how I would use the expression, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”. We’ll go through a little listen and repeat exercise, and then we’ll go through today’s Aussie fact.
So, examples. Example number one. Imagine you’re a young kid. You’re 18 years old in Australia. You’ve finally gotten your license. So, you’ve gotten your P-plates, your probationary plates, once you’ve completed your license test to drive. You got your license. Your dad and your mum have scraped together all this money. They’ve scraped together some savings to buy you your first car. This is something that I didn’t have the luxury of. My parents helped me. They gave me a little bit of money, but they didn’t buy me the car outright just for me. So, your parents tell you it’s out the front of the house, and that you guys should walk outside and check it out, and the first thing that you do, once they take you out there, is look under the hood of the car to see if there’s an oil leak, to see if there’s anything wrong with the engine, and maybe you noticed something, and then you complain about it, and you say, “Oh, there’s an issue with the car that you’ve given me!”. Your folks might tell you, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, mate. It’s a free car. Why are you complaining? Don’t be ungrateful. Don’t question what you’ve received as a gift. Just take it and be happy. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”.
Example number two. Imagine that you’ve gone on a road trip through the Aussie Outback. Maybe you’ve gone to see Uluru or maybe you’ve gone to see… I don’t know, any of these other places out in the Australian outback. You’ve gone with your mates, and the car that you’ve had has broken down. You’ve waited for a few days and you’ve run out of food and water. So, now you guys decide together that you’ll have to set off on a hike back down the road, which is incredibly long, maybe it’s a hundred kilometres, and you know that it’s dangerous, but you need water and food. Just as you guys get ready to set off, someone happens to drive down the road and find you. You turn to your mate and you say, “What are the chances of this? Why on earth is someone here? Why would they be driving down this road? It’s so desolate.”, and your friend might say, “Dude! Don’t question it! Be happy that someone saved us from dehydration, from an unpleasant death in the desert. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”. Don’t be ungrateful. Don’t question what you’ve received. Just take it and be happy. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth Michael Jackson.
Alright last example. Example number three. You and your friends are getting ready to go out on the town. So, maybe some girls, you’re some sheilas, you’re putting on your makeup, you’re doing your… you’re tarting yourself up a little bit, making yourself look nice, so that when you go out on the town, you know, you can have a good time with your friends. So, you call up an Uber or you call a taxi, and it’s really busy that night. You know, it’s a Saturday night. The busiest night of the week for people going out. And they say they’re going to take an hour to come and pick you up. So, you guys reconcile yourselves to waiting, but one of you decides, your mate decides, “Ah, screw this! I’m going to message one of my friends and see if they can give us a lift so they can come and pick us up and drive us to this place.”. So, this person calls their mate who says, “No dramas! All good! I’ll come get you now”. And you say that you don’t actually like that person. So, your friend’s friend you don’t like, and you’d rather not get a lift with them and just wait instead, and your friend turns to you and says, “Dude! Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Don’t complain. Let’s just get this lift it’s a short trip. We’ll be there in no time and we can start partying. Don’t be ungrateful. Don’t question what you’ve received. Just take it and be happy. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”.
So, I hope you guys understand now what the expression, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” can mean. It can mean: Don’t be ungrateful when you receive a gift, don’t be critical of that gift, don’t refuse something you’ve been given, or don’t be unappreciative of or question a gift that you’ve received.
So, as usual, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise, guys. So, this is your chance to practice your pronunciation, your Australian or your English intonation, the rhythm of speaking. Imitate me exactly as I speak in order to practice your pronunciation, guys. This is your chance to do so. Let’s go.
Listen & Repeat Exercise:
To look a
To look a gift
To look a gift horse
To look a gift horse in
To look a gift horse in the
To look a gift horse in the mouth
I’d never look a gift-horse in the mouth
You’d never look a gift-horse in the mouth
He’d never look a gift-horse in the mouth
she’d never look a gift-horse in the mouth
we’d never look a gift-horse in the mouth
they’d never look a gift-horse in the mouth
it’d never look a gift-horse in the mouth
Great job, guys. Great job. Remember if you want to practice your pronunciation and focus on the connected speech in more depth from today’s episode, from today’s listen and repeat exercise, make sure that you join up to the Aussie English Classroom where we go through this in detail. This is the place where I try to really teach you guys how to speak with an Australian English accent, and you can focus on all the nitty gritty detailed stuff. So, remember you can try that for a dollar for the first month when you sign up. Just head over to theAussieEnglishClassroom.com.
So, today guys we’re going to go through Phar Lap, we’re going to talk about Phar Lap, in the Aussie English fact.
So, Phar Lap was a champion thoroughbred racehorse, and he was born on the 4th of October in 1926, so about 90 years ago. He died at the age of 5 on the 5th of April 1932 under very mysterious circumstances, which we’ll get on to in a bit.
So, the name Phar Lap derives from a Zhuang and Thai word for lightning, and literally means “Sky flash”.
He had other nicknames too, including, “Wonder Horse”, “Red Terror”, “Bobby”, and “Big Red”. He was foaled in New Zealand and trained and raced in Australia by Harry Telford, and Phar Lap was a chestnut gelding and was sired by a horse named ‘Night Raid’ from a black New Zealand bred thoroughbred mare called ‘Entreaty’.
He was purchased at auction for a mere 160 guineas in 1928 by an American businessman named David J. Davis who had been persuaded to buy the horse by a Sydney trainer named Harry Telford. Initially, thinking it was an amazing bargain, Davis became pretty angry once he received the colt and it arrived with a face covered in warts, a very gangly figure, and a very awkward gait when it was walking. In order to placate Davis Telford agreed to train the horse for free in exchange for a two thirds share of any winnings, which was a good choice as you guys will find out.
Although standing a winning racehorse at stud can be quite lucrative, Telford gelded Phar Lap, meaning that he castrated the horse, so that it couldn’t have babies in the future, hoping that the colt would then concentrate on racing instead of obviously concentrating on female horses.
Phar Lap lived up to the saying, “Looks can be deceiving” and “Don’t judge a book by its cover” as he received training from Telford and began to win races. His achievements captured the public’s imagination in Australia during the early years of the Great Depression, and he had a very distinguished career and dominated Australian racing winning a Melbourne Cup, two Cox Plates, and an AJC Derby, as well as 19 other weight for age races.
So, he won 34 out of 38 races that he was entered into, including 14 of these in a row. He won 14 in a row. He was the only horse to have been favourite for the Melbourne Cup three times in a row, and as a result of his success, bookmakers started to lose a lot of money, and the Mafia and other groups were not happy about this, especially when he headed over to the U.S..
So, soon after doing really well in Australia, he went to a race in the Americas Agua Caliente Handicap in Tijuana, Mexico, and he won this in record time in his final race.
At the time, he was the third highest stakes winner in the world. He had been bought for only 160 guineas, which was USD$130 at the time, and he’d won nearly £67,000, which is AUD$6.3 million dollars in today’s money. So, he was bought for the equivalent of about AUD$13,000 dollars and ended up earning his owners AUD$6.3 million. Not a bad return on investment, hey guys?
So, Phar Lap suffered a sudden and mysterious illness in 1932 in Atherton, California. Phar Lap’s strapper, Tommy Woodcock, found Phar Lap in severe pain with a high temperature early on the 5th of April 1932. Within a few hours, Phar Lap had haemorrhaged to death. An autopsy revealed the horse’s stomach and intestines were inflamed leading many to believe that the horse had been deliberately poisoned.
Later research found evidence suggesting other possible causes though including: an acute bacterial gastroenteritis, so an infection of the stomach and intestines; or that it could have been poisoning by a single dose of arsenic.
On top of this, anecdotal evidence from a friend of the late strapper for the horse, though, Tommy Woodcock, suggests the horse was allowed to graze on pasture covered in a poisonous plant the night before his death.
It was also thought that the Mafia at the time were getting frustrated with him winning all of these different races, and they may have played a part in the horse’s death as well.
So, it’s uncertain whether or not we will ever know how the horse Phar Lap died, but one thing for sure is that he lives on in the imagination of many Australians and had an amazing career.
And if you would like to check out lap. You can see his taxidermied body at Museum Victoria in Victoria, in Melbourne, or you can check out his huge heart, a massive 6.2 kilos, nearly twice the size of a regular horse’s heart, at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.
So, that’s it for today guys. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you enjoyed learning about Phar Lap. And just remember, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth next time someone gives you something, and I’ll chat to you mob later.
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By Admin — 7 months ago
AE 454 – Expression: Have a Skeleton in the Closet
As far as gripping, real-life crime thrillers go, this one has got everything. A mutiny, a psychopath, and a brutal mass murder. It’s a 400-year-old mystery, so it’s also Australia’s greatest cold case.
It starts in 1629, when the Dutch sailing ship Batavia strikes a tiny atoll off the West Australian coast near Geralton. Almost 300 passengers and crew survive the shipwreck, but over the next few months as they wait to be rescued more than 100 of them are slaughtered.
For centuries, their bodies lay buried, the story forgotten, but now the Batavia is a major archaeological project between Australia and the Netherlands, and every day macabre new discoveries are being dug up.
G’day you mob. What is going on?
Welcome to this episode of Aussie English, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone wanting to learn Australian English, or just English in general.
So, the Aussie English podcast, guys, is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom, an online classroom where you guys get access to the bonus content for these episodes. It’s set up as courses, a series of courses. I think there are probably 50 or so courses now in the Aussie English Classroom. You can work your way through them at your own speed. You get quizzes, you get MP3s, you get exercise, you get videos, at the moment going through vocab, expressions. It’s just all the bonus content, everything else, that you could want if you want to upgrade your English faster. So, that is just one dollar. If you want to try that, go to theAussieEnglishClassroom.com and enroll. It’s a dollar for the first month, and then it’s a monthly subscription after that.
And also, as you guys may have noticed, the podcast website is now also a membership website. So, if you want access to all the transcripts and the MP3s for every single episode of the podcast, you can sign up there and it’s only a few dollars a month. So, give that a go.
Anyway, today’s scene, guys. Today’s scene was from a program called 60 Minutes, a news program in Australia. 60 Minutes is pretty good if you’re interested in, I guess, what’s going on around the world, what’s going on in Australia, and you want exposure to many different Australian English speakers, usually, and you want to hear about interesting stories. You can find that all on YouTube. I will link the video for today’s Aussie Fact, which will be going over what happened in Western Australia in the 1600s, and it’s a segment called Island of Horror. So, I’ll link that idea. I recommend that you check out 60 Minutes on YouTube and that you subscribe to their channel and improve your English.
Anyway, a few announcements before we get into today, guys. So, this week has been pretty productive. I’ve been working like crazy. I put up a video recently showcasing my French and my Portuguese. So, this is the most recent video that I have put on YouTube. The Mass Sentence Method. So, I’m using a different method to learn French and Portuguese for the next few months and I wanted to make a video to sort of use it as… I guess, to show where I am currently with my skills, or lack thereof, in each of these languages. Anyway, check that out.
And aside from that, guys, I got engaged this week. So, I’ve… I got engaged to Kel over. We’ve spoken. We were chatting. It’s a long story, but we’re going to get married within the next, probably, six months to a year. So, yeah, that was… that was really amazing and I can’t wait to start my life with Kel, obviously, yeah.
So, that was that was really, really wonderful. I’m so glad she said yes. So, glad she said yes.
Anyway, guys, I’ve done a Walking with Pete episode about that, which will be up soon as well if you want to hear the story of how we got engaged. It’s not very crazy, but that will be up soon.
All right. So, today’s expression is ‘have skeletons in your closet’. This one comes from Belle who mentioned this in the Aussie English private Facebook group for members of the Aussie English Classroom. Every week we vote on a different expression and this was hers, ‘to have skeletons in your closet’.
Before we get into that, guys, let’s go through the joke today. So, the expression is obviously about skeletons so I thought it made sense to find a joke about a skeleton or some skeleton. So, here’s the joke:
Why did the skeleton drop out of medical school? Why did the skeleton drop out, as in, to fail, to leave, to quit medical school? Why did the skeleton drop out of medical school? He didn’t have the stomach for it. Another good one. Another good one. He didn’t have the stomach for it.
Do you get it? The stomach as in an organ in your body, but we use ‘to not have the stomach for something’ meaning that you can’t do it, you don’t have the guts, the strength, to be able to do it. And it sort of suggests that you get sick, you know, you feel sick at the sight of, say, dissecting a human body doing surgery. If you don’t have the stomach for something, it’s usually something disgusting and you’re going to feel sick if you see it. Okay? So, why did the skeleton drop out of medical school? He didn’t have the stomach for it, because he couldn’t handle surgeries, but he’s also a skeleton and he has inner organs. Pretty good joke.
All right, as usual, let’s go through the definitions in the expression ‘to have a skeleton in your closet’, and then we’ll go through what it means, where it came from, a little listen and repeat exercise, and then an interesting murder mystery Aussie Fact at the end, guys.
So, ‘to have’. ‘To have’ means to own or to possess something, right? If I have a dog, I own a dog. If I have friends, I possess friends. (I) don’t necessarily own them. They’re not my… they’re not something that I bought, but I have friends.
‘A skeleton’. ‘A skeleton’ is an internal or external framework of bone, cartilage, or rigid material that supports or contains the body of an animal. Okay? So, the human skeleton comprises 270 bones at birth, which later on then fuse and turn into 206 bones. If you ever went skateboarding as a kid or climbing trees as a kid you might fall out of the tree and break a bone, which is part of your skeleton.
And the last word here, ‘a closet’. ‘A closet’ is a cupboard or wardrobe, especially one tall enough to walk into. So, I have a few closets here in my room and it’s where I keep all of my clothes. I keep my clothes in the closet, in the wardrobe, in the cupboard.
So, let’s go through and define the expression, guys, ‘to have a skeleton in the closet’, or you might sometimes hear this as ‘to have a skeleton in the cupboard’, and sometimes too you might hear someone refer to ‘skeletons’. It could be plural. Someone has some skeletons in their closet. They have one or two skeletons in their closet. But the most common one is ‘to have a skeleton in your closet’.
So, if you have a skeleton in your closet, it has to have some kind of embarrassing fact or discreditable fact that you want to keep secret. So, it’s used to describe something that is an undisclosed fact about someone, which if this fact was revealed, it would damage the perceptions of the person or it would damage that person’s reputation.
So, obviously, it evokes the idea of someone having, presumably, a human corpse concealed in their home, you know, hidden in a closet so long that it’s decomposed. Except for the bones or skeletons. So, it’s been kept a secret that entire time.
So, let’s go through the origin, guys. So, it was known to have been used as early as 1816 in the monthly British journal The Eclectic Review, and ‘the skeleton’ in this case was disease, infectious or hereditary. And here’s the quote:
Two great sources of distress are the danger of contagion and the apprehension of hereditary diseases. The dread of being the cause of misery to posterity has prevailed over men to conceal the skeleton in the closet.
So, they’re trying to hide a disease that they have. So, a theory of where this originated is that it could have potentially derived from the era when body snatching was common. This is when people were stealing corpses in the UK. And so, prior to 1832 the United Kingdom’s Anatomy Act allowed the corpses of dead people to be more extensively used in medical research. And so, this is where you had people digging up graves and taking bodies. And so, the theory here is that maybe you would be a doctor who would conceal a body that had been snatched, that had been taken, in your cupboard or closet, which would be, you know, illegally used for teaching. Okay?
So, let’s go through three examples of how I would use this expression, guys.
Example number one. Imagine that I am a politician and I am running for election. I’m likely to win, everyone really likes me, but a few days before the election it comes out that I am a racist. I’m a closet racist, meaning that I hide the fact that I am racist. So, I have racist opinions and I’ve tried to keep them closeted, I’ve tried to keep them private. So, when this gets revealed to the public, it’s obviously a previously undisclosed fact that I was wanting to hide that I had kept, you know, closeted and only my closest supporters may have known, but once everyone knew, it was, you know, a rather unfortunate skeleton in my closet that people found. So, racism was the skeleton in the closet that I had in my life. So, when the voters of my electorate found out about the skeleton in the closet that I was hiding, the fact that I was racist, they refused to support me and vote for me.
Example number two. Imagine that you are an ex-convict. So, you were in jail for maybe 5 to 10 years maybe for something like tax fraud or laundering money from your company. So, if when you get out of jail you’re now, you know, no longer a prisoner, but you are an ex-prisoner you are an ex-convict, you start applying for jobs at different companies, and it’s likely that you’re going to want to hide the fact that you had gone to jail for tax fraud. So, if you went to a job interview and they were asking probing questions about your past, you know, they’re probing, they’re trying to find out, “What were you doing for the last 5 to 10 years? How come you didn’t have a job?”. You probably want to keep that skeleton in your closet. You want to hide that skeleton in your closet. You want to make sure that the fact that you were in jail for tax fraud, that is the skeleton in your closet, you want to make sure that that isn’t known. You don’t want them to find out.
Example number three. Maybe you’re going on a date with a girl or a guy, and the person is trying to probe you to find out about your history to find out about your past. You know, as people on first dates tend to do. They want to know about each other and where you grew up, what you did, blah, blah, blah. If you’re being open and honest with this person, you might say to them, “I’m an open book. You can ask me anything.” And if you have nothing to hide, you could say, “Don’t worry, I don’t have any skeletons in my closet. I don’t have anything to hide. I don’t have any skeletons in my closet.”.
So, hopefully you understand the expression, guys, ‘to have a skeleton in the closet’ or ‘in your closet’. It is to have some kind of discreditable or embarrassing fact that you’re trying to keep secret so that your reputation isn’t tarnished, so that you aren’t embarrassed in front of a lot of people or, yeah, have damaged perceptions about yourself.
So, let’s go through a listen and repeat exercise, guys, and then we can go through the Aussie fact.
So, listen and repeat after me, guys. This is your chance to practice your pronunciation. And remember, if you want to go more in depth with connected speech, with Australian pronunciation, with intonation, all of that kind of stuff and you really want to improve your accent, sign up to the Aussie English Classroom at TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com. There’s a whole course on pronunciation and there will be a video for today’s pronunciation exercise as well. So, let’s go.
To have a
To have a skeleton
To have a skeleton in
To have a skeleton in your
To have a skeleton in your closet
Do I have a skeleton in my closet?
Do you have a skeleton in your closet?
Does he have a skeleton in his closet?
Does she have a skeleton in her closet?
Do we have a skeleton in our closet?
Do they have a skeleton in their closet?
Does it have a skeleton in its closet?
Great job, guys. Great job. Let’s go through the Aussie English Fact and then let’s finish up.
All right, guys. So, the year is 1629. This is 140 years before Captain Cook discovered Australia in 1770. Dutch ship Batavia has hit a tiny atoll off Western Australia’s coast near the town of Geraldton and nearly 300 crew members have survived the shipwreck. But over the next three months, as you’re about to find out, hundreds of them were slaughtered. So, to this day, it still remains Australia’s first and biggest mass murder, and for hundreds of years, the bodies were left in the sand of this island and the story was somewhat forgotten.
So, what happened here exactly? So, the Dutch vessel Batavia was headed to the city of Batavia, which was Jakarta in Indonesia. That’s what its name was at the time. It sailed badly off course for some reason on its way, though, and it struck Australia as Abrolhos islands on the West Coast.
Forty people drowned just trying to swim to the small island after the ship had wrecked and the ship’s commander Francisco Pelsaert took a long boat and sailed north to Jakarta for help, meanwhile, leaving a man called Jeronimus Cornelisz in charge. And this guy turned out to be a total psychopath.
So, a few weeks after the shipwreck, Cornelisz ordered his supporters to murder any potential opponents as well as anyone considered a drain on supplies. So, the strong, the weak, and the old were all slaughtered as well as many women and children. However, some women were kept as sexual slaves. You know, typical, huh?
Many of the skeletons that have been recovered display incredibly bad signs of sharp weapon trauma, which goes to show the brutality that occurred on this island. Fortunately, there was a hero, a soldier named Wiebbe Hayes, and this guy was sent initially by Cornelisz to some surrounding islands, a small group of islands nearby, with some men to look for food and water, but I’m pretty sure based on what we know now he was sent away. They wanted him to be away so that they had more control and they could obviously carry out these murders. And this became evident when Wiebbe and his group found water and they set off a fire to show Cornelisz that they’d found, and Cornelisz ignored the fire.
So, Hayes and the group worked out something strange was going on, especially after a few people in some makeshift rafts made it to the island where Hayes was and started to tell of the horror that Cornelisz had been orchestrating.
When the survivors made it to the island, they raised the alarm obviously and they told him about what Cornelisz was doing, and Hayes knew that it was just a matter of time before Cornelisz would come for them as well. So, they built a makeshift kind of shelter made from stone slabs to provide some protection and to prepare for what they thought was an inevitable battle. So, this was the first European structure to be built on Australian soil.
Three months later the captain Pelsaert arrived back at the atoll with a rescue ship and both Cornelisz and Hayes had to race in their own boats to get to the ship first to tell their side of the story. So, fortunately, Hayes got there first and Pelsaert found out the truth about war Cornelius had done slaughtering all these people, keeping these women as sex slaves on this island.
So, there was a trial and 7 of the mutineers including Cornelisz were hanged. Although, Cornelisz had both of his hands chiseled off before he was hanged.
And the crazy thing is that Cornelisz showed absolutely no sign of remorse this entire time suggesting that he was indeed a total psychopath.
Luckily 80 to 90 of the people who were initially shipwrecked made it all the way back to Batavia alive with Pelsaert.
So, that is the story, guys. A pretty crazy story about the first and largest ever mass murder in Australia by the Dutch on these small islands off the West Coast.
So, I hope you enjoy this episode, guys. I hope you found that fact at the end incredibly interesting. Make sure that if you want the transcripts and the MP3s for the podcast episodes to sign up to be a member at theAussieEnglishPodcast.com. It’s just four dollars or so per month to get access to everything.
And if you would like to take your English even further, go to theAussieEnglishClassroom.com, It’s a different website. And you’ll get access to all the courses that I have created, guys. So, this is the ultimate one stop shop for anyone who’s trying to prove their English, but specifically their Australian English. And remember, guys, it’s just a single dollar for the first month. You can try it for 30 days. That’s how confident I am that you’re going to enjoy it. I want to give you enough time to get in there and try it, feel accustomed to how it all works, feel comfortable. It’s a single dollar for a month. Okay? So, get in there and give it a go. I’m sure you’re going to love it.
Anyway, I will chat to you soon, guys. Have a great weekend.
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By pete — 1 year ago
Learn Australian English in this expression episode of Aussie English where I teach you to use AS FIT AS A FIDDLE like a native speaker!
AE 353 – Expression: As Fit As A Fiddle
Welcome to this episode of The Aussie English Podcast, guys. The Aussie English Podcast is the number one podcast for learning Australian English. My passion here is making it a lot easier for you to understand Australian English as well as speak English like an Australian whether you come Down Under, down to Australia, or whether you have friends who speak Australian English, are Australian etc., the goal of my podcast and my personal mission is to make learning Australian English easy.
So, a quick announcement. We’re almost at a million listens. One million listens on the podcast, which is just mind-blowing. So, thank you so much for that, guys. We’ve almost passed half a million views on YouTube. I’ve been thinking about the format of podcasts and videos recently, and I’m thinking about sort of rearranging it. Changing the format slightly. So, I’m going to do that with this episode, guys. I want you to let me know what you’re thinking after the episode’s finished. Again, if you want all the bonus content for these episodes, sign up to The Aussie English Classroom, guys. It’s one dollar for the first month, and then it’s $19.99 after that for every month that you decide to continue using it. It’s aimed at teaching your Australian English, to speak it, to understand it, just like I do. So, get in there, give it a go, and let me know what you think.
Aside from that too, before we get into today’s content I’ve released the Effortless Phrasal Verb course as I’m sure a lot of you have noticed. I’ve been doing Monday and Thursday live lessons free on Facebook. So, you can join in. That’s at 7:00 PM on Mondays and Thursdays. 7 p.m. Melbourne time. UTC +10 hours, I believe. So, make sure you don’t miss those. That’s free. But then, the course is the video inset into a, what would you call it, a slideshow with all the information, with all of the example sentences, the phrasal verbs, the example sentences, yeah, exactly. So, get in there, give that a go, if you want to learn phrasal verbs effortlessly.
Anyway. I thought I would start these episodes with a joke from now on. I’m going to try and maintain my use of this format. I’ve jumped around a bit and changed it up, but we’ll try and start with a funny joke. Get through the expression and thcoe content. I’ll give you an interesting Aussie slang word that I’ll use in the today’s episode. So, keep your ear out for that and try and listen out for a few of the Aussie slang words. But we’ll talk about one of them at the end. And then after that, we can go through an interesting Australia fact for you guys. So, I’m really trying to combine all these different things and make these episodes more interesting to listen to.
So, the first one, the Aussie joke that we’re going to start with is, why did the manager hire the marsupial? Why did the manager hire the marsupial? Can you guys guess why? Why did he hire him? Why did he decide to have him at his work, you know, as an employee? Why did he hire the marsupial? Because he was “koala-fied”. He was “koala-fied”. Do you get it? He was “koala-fied”, as “qualified”, but we’ve used the word koala there right. Why did the manager hire the marsupial? ’cause he was “koala-fied”. Good one.
So, let’s just diving guys. Today’s expression is from Duaa. Well done Duaa. She picked this in the Aussie English Virtual Classroom, everyone voted on it, and it got to the top. I think nine or so people decided this was the expression they liked best. Thank you Duaa.
So, today’s expression is “as fit as a fiddle”. “To be as fit as a fiddle”, “to be feeling as fit as a fiddle”. “As fit as a fiddle” is today’s expression.
So, as usual, let’s go through and define the different words, guys.
So, “as something as”. This form is used as a comparison. The word between the two as’s can be anything you want. It’s usually an adjective. Big, tiny, annoying. whatever. So, as big as an elephant, as tiny as an ant, as annoying as possible. It’s used for comparisons. OK? Comparisons. He’s as fit as something. So, he’s really fit.
“Fit”. A few different things. In this sense, today the way that we use it in this expression, “fit”, if something is “fit”, it is to be healthy, to be in good physical condition, to be in good health. If you are as fit as something, you’re as healthy as something, you’re in as good a condition as something else. OK? Fit.
However, it can also mean to be suitable for something or seemly. So, if something is fit for a purpose, it’s suitable for that purpose. This beer is really good. It’s fit to be drunk.
So, I’m going to have a sip. And that’s a that’s a cockatoo in the background, guys. See if you can see it. That was a Sulphur-crested cockatoo. First time I’ve had one of those come into my classrooms.
So, if something is fit, it can be suitable, seemly. So, it’s useful. It’s correct for that purpose. Fit for that purpose.
A politician could be unfit for office. So, he wasn’t fit for office, meaning he didn’t deserve to have the position he had.
I could have a really dodgy car that isn’t really fit to be driven, meaning it’s poor quality and shouldn’t be driven. It’s not fit to be driven. So, “fit” in that case means suitable, and unfit, unsuitable.
“A fiddle”. We went through the verb recently. If you fiddle with something, it’s to kind of play with it too. But, “fiddle” the word as a noun is a colloquial term for a violin. A fiddle. Maybe because you fiddle with the violin, right? Or maybe that’s why we call fiddling, fiddling. So, “a fiddle” is a colloquial term, sort of a slang term, used everywhere in the English-speaking world, for a violin. So, a bow stringed musical instrument. Usually, the smallest. A violin or a fiddle. He plays really well on the fiddle.
So, I looked up the origin… Actually, we won’t get into the origin yet.
The definition of “to be as fit as a fiddle”, the expression, he is feeling is fit as a fiddle or he is as fit as a fiddle, means to be incredibly fit, to be incredibly healthy, to be in incredibly good condition. I’m as fit as a fiddle. He’s as fit as a fiddle. She’s as fit as a fiddle. She’s incredibly fit. He’s incredibly fit. I’m incredibly fit. So, just to be really fit. He’s as fit as a fiddle.
Now, we’ll get into the origin. So, I looked up the origin of this expression, and as I said before the two different definitions of “fit”, although “fit” today in this expression means to be healthy, in good condition, and we use it in this expression to mean that something is as healthy as a fiddle, when this expression was first coined, meaning when it was first created, when someone first came up with the expression, as fit as a fiddle, “fit” meant suitable, seemly, as in “fit for purpose”. So, the expression originates from at least the early 1600s, which blows my mind. That’s, you know, 400+ years ago where it used to mean as… or it used to be “as fine as a fiddle” or “as fit as a fiddle”, meaning as good as one, suitable, seemly. OK?
As usual, let’s go through some examples, guys, of how I would use this expression.
Number one. Imagine that my father got sick. So, my father ended up in hospital last year, but eventually he healed up. He got better. He came good. And now he’s as fit as a fiddle. Now he’s incredibly healthy. Now he’s in great condition. My dad is no longer in hospital. He came good. He healed up. And now he’s as fit as a fiddle.
Number two. Imagine I’ve been working out a lot recently. So, “to work out” is to do lots of weights. Maybe I’m doing chin ups, bicep curls, squats, deadlifts, all sorts of different exercises, and I’m using a weight. I’m working out. So, I keep going to the gym four days a week for the past three months. And I’ve worked on my cardio. I’ve also gained a lot of muscle mass. I’ve lost a lot of fat gained strength. Now I feel as fit as a fiddle. I feel as fit as a fiddle these days. I can swim. I can run. I can lift things. I feel as fit as a fiddle.
Number three is imagine that you have a wife or a girlfriend who’s become a bit of a health nut. “A bit of a health nut”, meaning that she’s gone crazy, she’s gone a bit nutty, for health. So, she started watching her weight. She started watching what she eats. So, watching her diet. She is paying attention to her weight, what she eats, and her diet. Imagine now she loves green smoothies, meaning she puts all kinds of veggies into a smoothie. She blends it. She blends it up. So, she puts all these veggies in, you know, kale carrot, celery, all of that sort of stuff. She puts it in, blends it up, drinks it, and has it as her brekky shake. She has a veggie shake every morning for breakfast. So now she could say, “Since I’ve started watching my weight, watching my diet, watching what I eat, I feel as fit as a fiddle. And I am as fit as a fiddle.
So, that’s the expression guys. As fit as a fiddle. To be incredibly fit, to be incredibly healthy, to be in great condition. You can feel is fit as a fiddle. You can be as fit as a fiddle. So, use this one. It’s a really good one.
As usual, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise, guys. I’ll just wet the whiskers first. I’ll wet the whiskers, as in wet my moustache with the beer that I’m drinking. It’s Dad’s birthday so I’ve got to celebrate. And look at this as a whale on the beach. How cute is that? A blue whale. Isn’t that nice? I think it’s a blue whale.
So, we’ll go through a listen and repeat episode… exercise*, guys. I’m going to say “I am as fit as a fiddle” and we’ll conjugate through all the different pronouns. Let’s go.
Listen & Repeat:
I’m as fit as a fiddle.
You’re as fit as a fiddle.
He’s as fit as a fiddle.
She’s as fit as a fiddle.
We’re as fit as a fiddle.
They’re as fit as a fiddle.
It’s as fit as a fiddle.
Let’s just go through all of those one time fast.
Listen & Repeat:
I’m as fit as a fiddle.
You’re as fit as a fiddle.
He’s as fit as a fiddle.
She’s as fit as a fiddle.
We’re as fit as a fiddle.
They’re as fit as a fiddle.
It’s as fit as a fiddle.
Good job guys. Good job.
So, let’s talk about the slang word that I used in there. I used a few. Veggies. Did you get what the definition of the slang word “veggies” is? “Veggies” or “a veggie” is vegetable or vegetables. So, if I eat a lot of veggies, I eat a lot of vegetables. If I put a veggie in my green shake, I’m putting a vegetable in my green shake. So, “veggies” means vegetables. Some example sentences. I’m going to have some veggies for dinner. I love my veggies. No one ever eats veggies for breakfast unless they put it in a smoothie. No one ever eats veggies for brekky. Vegos love veggies. “Vegos love veggies”, meaning vegetarians love vegetables. Vegos love veggies.
And we’ll finish up the episode, guys, with an interesting Australian fact. A fact about Australia. I’ll try and do this every week.
The highest mountain in Australia is Mount Kosciusko, and pay attention to the spelling of this word. It’s… I think it’s Polish. And everyone screws this up. Even Australians when they read this. They’re like, “HUH!?”. Mount Kosciusko. So, Mount Kosciuszko is 2,228 metres high or tall. 2228 metres. So not even 2.5 kilometres high. That’s how low all the mountains are in Australia. So, that’s about 7300 feet high. “Feet high”, if you prefer “feet” instead of mountain… instead of metres*. And it’s located in New South Wales in the south east, just north of the border of Victoria with New South Wales. And it’s part of the Great Dividing Range, which goes up the east coast of Australia. So, there you go. Interesting fact for today’s episode Mount Kosciusko is only 2,228 meters tall, metres high, and that’s the largest, that’s the highest, that’s the tallest, mountain in Australia.
So, let me know in a comment, guys, what the highest mountain is from the country that you’re from. I’m sure a lot of you guys are going to put me and the rest of Australia to shame. I hope you enjoy this episode, guys. If you want all the bonus content for it to practice pronunciation, phrasal verbs, grammar, all the slang that I used here as well, listening comprehension exercises, and the vocab, make sure you sign up for The Aussie English Classroom. I’ll put a link in the description. And yeah, let’s start taking your English to the next level, guys. Thanks for watching and I’ll chat next week. Peace out, guys.
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