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In this episode of Aussie English I play things by ear when explaining the expression “To Play By Ear” which means “to wing something”, “to improvise” or “to make it up as you go along”, etc.
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About the AuthorI learn languages, teach Australian English, and love all things science and nature!
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By pete — 1 year ago
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AE 381 – Expression:
To Hit The Nail On The Head
Ah, no. This report from Constable Riggs about the three little half-caste girls at the Jigalong Fence Depot. Molly, Gracie, and Daisy. The youngest is of particular concern. She’s promised to a full-blood. I’m authorising their removal. They’re to be taken to Moore River as soon as possible.
Oh, and Miss Thomas, if you could check that the rate for police transportation is still, I believe, 8 pence per mile.
Yes, Mister Neville.
G’day guys, and welcome to this episode of The Aussie English Podcast, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone who wants to learn Australian English, whether you want to understand what we’re talking about, whether you want to be able to use slang that we use, pronounce words the way we pronounce them, this podcast is the number one podcast designed to help you do that.
So, today we had an interesting opening scene from the movie The Rabbit-proof Fence. So, this was a movie created in 2002. It’s an Aussie drama. It’s a film based on the book Follow The Rabbit-proof Fence by Doris Pilkington Garimara. So, definitely check that book out and definitely check this movie out if you want to understand a bit more about Australian culture, and specifically about The Stolen Generations, which is probably the darkest chapter in Australian history, or at least one of the darkest chapters.
Anyway, this movie is loosely based on the true story, and it concerns the author’s mother Molly, who’s actually in the film, and some mixed-race Aboriginal girls who ran away from the Moore River Native Settlement, north of Perth, in Western Australia, in an attempt to try to return to their Aboriginal families after they had been forcibly taken by the authorities, by the government, and placed in this native settlement in 1931.
So, the film follows these Aboriginal girls after the fact, after they’ve been taken forcibly from their parents, from their families, as these girls try to escape and walk back 2,400kms along the Australian Rabbit-proof Fence in Western Australia to see their family, to meet their family, once again in a community at Jigalong.
So, they’re doing this, it takes nine weeks for them to do so, and the whole time they’re being tracked down by the authorities and an aboriginal tracker.
So, the scene that we saw at the start there was actually The Chief Protector of Aborigines for Western Australia, or at least the actor pretending to be him, acting as him, and this guy was named A. O. Neville, and he’s signing off on a document to allow these several mixed-race children to be forcibly taken from their parents, from their families, from their community, and placed into a church mission.
Anyway, we’re going to talk more about the history of this event and The Stolen Generations at the end of today’s episode. So, let’s chat about that in today’s Aussie fact.
So, today’s expression guys, today’s expression is ‘to hit the nail on the head’, ‘to hit the nail on the head’. This one was suggested by me, funnily enough, in the Aussie English Virtual Classroom. We voted on it yesterday, and you guys decided, for whatever reason, that you liked my expression the most. And so, here we are doing it.
But before, we get into the expression, guys, let’s get into today’s Aussie joke.
Where should a 500kg koala go? Where should a 500kg koala go? On a diet. On a diet. Do you get it, guys? The joke there is that you can go somewhere, you know, the koala could go, say, up a tree, or he could go away to a location, but you can also go on something such as a diet. So, that’s the joke. Where should a 500kg koala go? On a diet. He should go on a diet, ’cause he’s overweight.
Alright, so the expression ‘to hit the nail on the head’, ‘to hit the nail on the head’. Let’s go through and define the different words in the expression ‘to hit the nail on the head.
So, first we have the verb ‘to hit’, ‘to hit something’. ‘To hit something’ means to bring one’s hand, or it could be a tool or a weapon, into contact with something or someone quickly and forcibly. So, if you hit someone, that’s to punch them in the face, but you could use a hammer to hit a nail or to hit a piece of wood, and your bringing that hammer quickly and forcibly into contact with the nail or with the piece of wood.
‘A nail’. What is ‘a nail’? ‘A nail’ is a small metal spike, a small metal spike, with a broad flat end. So, one end is flat and the other end is incredibly sharp. And these things tend to be driven into wood, pushed into wood, hit into wood, to join things together or to serve as say a hook, if you were to bend this nail.
‘On’. You’ll know what ‘on’ is. ‘On’ is to be above and resting upon something.
‘The head’ or ‘a head’. ‘A head’ is the upper part of the human body with the face, the eyes, the nose, the mouth, the ears, the tongue, the teeth, everything like that. Your brain is inside your head. That is the head. But we can use this to also refer to, say, the top of something, the uppermost part of something. So, therefore ‘the head of a nail’ is the very top of a nail, as if the nail was standing up and it was the same as a human body, or it was representing a human body, the head on a human would be the very top part of the nail. The head of the nail.
So, let’s define the expression today, guys, ‘to hit the nail on the head’. If you hit the nail on the head, that is that you have found exactly the correct answer. You found the right answer. You were exactly correct. And it can be to say or do something that is absolutely correct. Ok? So, to hit the nail on the head is to be correct or it’s to stay or do something that is absolutely correct.
So, this expression and its origin. This expression is extremely old. I was actually somewhat shocked when I look at this expression up and I tried to find the origin of this expression. One of the earliest, if not the earliest, appearances of this expression is actually in Middle English. So, it’s effectively in another language. Very, very, old English from the year 1438. How crazy’s that, guys? So, the 15th century. And it appeared in The Book of Margery Kempe. The book was called ‘The Book of Margery Kempe’. And it’s an account of the life of a religious visionary Margery Kempe, and is considered to be the earliest surviving autobiography written in English.
So, just for something a little different. I’ve actually got the passage here, or the sentence here, written in Middle English, and I definitely recommend that you guys have a look at the writing, if you’re listening to this now. Download the transcript and have a look at the writing, ’cause it is quite weird to see this, because a lot of these words sound the same, or at least represent the same words, but the spelling has changed from Middle English to Modern English. So, I’m going to try and read it as, I guess, I would say this, but yeah, definitely check it out, ’cause it’s pretty interesting.
Yyf I here any mor thes materys rehersyd, I xal so smytyn ye nayl on ye hed that it schal schamyn alle hyr mayntenowrys.
I probably completely butchered the pronunciation there as I have no idea how to pronounce Middle English, but check it out. In modernised English, though, this passage reads:
If I hear any more these matters repeat it I shall so smite the nail on the head that it shall shame all her supporters.
So, it’s pretty interesting.
If I hear any more these matters repeated.
Yyf I here any mor thes materys rehersyd
That was the Middle English.
I shall so smite the nail on the head
I xal so smytyn ye nayl on ye hed
that it’s show of shame all her supporters.
that it schal schamyn alle hyr mayntenowrys.
Anyway, let’s go through the examples for today’s expression, guys.
So, a classic example for me, and when I would use the expression ‘to hit the nail on the head’, is when I’m giving my private lessons to students. So, I give my private lessons to students, we’re practicing English. They tend to practice their pronunciation in our private lessons quite a bit. And when they get it correct, I often tell them, “You got it perfect. You nailed it”, and I might say, “You’ve hit the nail on the head, mate. Great job! You’ve hit the nail on the head. You got that correct.”. And if they really shock or surprise me with how much they nailed it, I might say, “Strewth, mate!”, which is a way of showing shock or surprise, “Strewth, mate! You hit the nail on the head. Strewth.
Example number two. So, imagine your mate’s about to buy a second-hand car. So, your mate’s trying to buy second hand car. He wants to go on a bit of a road trip. He’s interested in buying a wagon, which is a car with a lot of room in the back. The kind of car you’ll see people doing road trips in where they can put a mattress and a lot of gear in the back, whether it’s eskies whether it’s camping gear, all that sort of jazz. So, he buys a wagon. (It) could be a Holden or a Ford, and maybe you’re unsure why he went for those two brands. You might ask him, “Is it because they’re cheap and they’re easy to repair?” So, it’s cheap to get parts for these cars and they don’t cost much. “Is that the reason you got this car?”. And he might say, “Bingo! Exactly! You hit the nail on the head. That is the exact reason I bought these cars. They’re cheap and they’re easy to repair. You hit the nail on the head.
Example number three could be imagine that you and your mate have bought this car now. So, we’re continuing on the previous story. You’ve bought this car, and it turns out that it’s actually a total bomb, it’s a total dud, it was a massive rip off, and your mate’s been hoodwinked, he’s been tricked, he’s had the wool pulled over his eyes, he’s been taken for a ride. These are all just different ways to say that he’s been cheated or tricked. And so, your mate’s a bit pissed off. So, he’s angry, he’s upset, he’s losing his shit, and he tells it to get my car, “We’re going to go for a drive to my farm”. The farm’s out in the sticks. (It) might take an hour or two to get to, ’cause it’s out in the sticks, it’s out in the bush. You might ask you mate, “Why are we going to a farm? Are you going to leave it there on the farm without the rego and the plates, just as a paddock bomb or something? You know, a car that you can just drive around on the farm that doesn’t need to be registered, (it) needs no rego. If you’re correct, he might turn around and say, “Yeah, strewth, mate! You’ve nailed it. That’s it. You hit the nail on the head. That is exactly what I plan to do with this bomb.
So, that’s it guys hopefully by now you understand the expression ‘to hit the nail on the head’. I use this all the time, guys. I’m sure it’s used everywhere whether you’re in Britain, New Zealand America, Canada, wherever you are in the English-speaking world, people will understand ‘to hit the nail on the head’ means that you are exactly correct or that you’ve said something or done something that is exactly right.
So, let’s go through a pronunciation listen and repeat exercise as usual, guys. This is your chance to practice your English pronunciation, but not only that, it’s your chance to try to perfect the Aussie accent. So, listen and repeat guys, and pronounce things exactly as I do if you want an Aussie accent. Let’s go.
Listen & Repeat:
Hit the nail
Hit the nail on
Hit the nail on the
Hit the nail on the head x 5
I’ve hit the nail on the head.
You’ve hit the nail on the head.
He’s hit the nail on the head.
She’s hit the nail on the head.
We’ve hit the nail on the head.
They’ve hit the nail on the head.
It’s hit the nail on the head.
Good job, guys! Good job. So, we’re going to practice the pronunciation and the connected speech of all of those phrases we just went through in today’s Aussie Classroom course. So, these classes, these expression episodes, get turned into courses on The Aussie English Classroom website. If you want to sign up, it’s just $1 here first month. You can give it a go. You get a heap of lessons, usually, six lessons with each of these expression episodes on the podcast. I give you vocab lists. I break down the slang. I give you some phrasal verb substitution exercises to practice those difficult phrasal verbs and learn synonyms for them. And then, I also break down the pronunciation as an Australian, as well as the connected speech. So, the interesting stuff that goes on that might be pretty subtle when you’re just listening. And then we often go through grammar. So, if you want to give that a go, go to TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com and enroll. It’s just $1 and you can start levelling up your English today.
Anyway guys, let’s go through today’s Aussie facts, and then we can finish up.
So, today’s Aussie fact ties in with The Rabbit-proof Fence movie and the excerpt that you heard from the movie at the start of this episode, and I want to talk about The Stolen Generations or The Stolen Children. This is probably the darkest chapter in Australian history or at least one of the darkest chapters in Australian history, and it was where children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent were removed from their families by force. So, they were removed forcibly by the Australian Federal and State government agencies, and they were placed in church missions under acts of their respective parliaments.
The removal of those children, who were referred to as ‘half-caste’ or ‘mixed-race’, ‘mixed-blood’, etc. was conducted between the years of 1995 and 1969. Although in some places, mixed race children were still being taken into the 1970s. And to put that in context, that was when my parents were teenagers. So, it wasn’t that long ago, and many, many, many, of The Stolen Generation children are still alive today.
So, why did Australia do this? Why did the Australian Government take half-caste or mixed-race children from Aboriginal families and communities? The idea was for the government to quote-unquote “protect” these mixed-race or half-caste children from abuse and neglect in their communities, because they were part European, and as a result they were seen as, I guess, the burden or they were meant to be protected by the Australian government.
So, the official government estimates are that between 1/10 and 1/3 of these indigenous Australian children were taken forcibly from their families and communities between the years of 1910-1970. So, for about 60 years this took place. And that numbered about 20,000 to 100,000 children. Somewhere between there. But estimates are a bit sketchy. And it affected every single region in Australia, every single part of the country.
It was also a belief at the time that this action was required as Aboriginal Australians were quote-unquote “dying off” as their population had steadily shrunk, it decreased from 1.25 million in the year 1788, when Australia was first settled or colonised, and it had shrunk down to only 50,000 Indigenous Australians in 1930. So, the government or the public of Australia were worried that Aboriginal Australians were quote-unquote “dying off”. Whites, the European Australians, assumed that the full-blood tribal aboriginal population would be unable to sustain itself and that it was doomed to extinction. And the idea expressed by The Chief Protector… How ironic is that?… The Chief Protector of Aborigines for Western Australia, A. O. Neville, who was the guy being acted as in that snippet at the start of today’s episode, the idea expressed by him and others as late as 1930 was that mixed-race children could be trained to work in white society, and over generations they would marry white people and be assimilated into the society. And so, I guess, this gives you an insight into the sort of racist views of Europeans in this time who thought that full-blooded Aboriginals were less than Europeans. They weren’t complete civilised humans and that they couldn’t assimilate properly into society. But that they thought that half-bloods would be able.
So, The Chief Protector of Aborigines was the legal guardian of every single Aboriginal and every half-caste child up to the age of 18 years old, and they were also given total control of all Indigenous women, regardless of their age, unless these women were married to a man who was considered substantially European in origin.
So, that just blows my mind, to be honest, because in today’s day and age, it’s just such a racist and just offensive idea. But, you have to put it in the context of people who grew up in the 1800s in the early 19th century. But yeah, it just blows my mind reading this stuff.
Anyway, this guy, The Chief Protector of Aborigines, actually had to approve marriages between indigenous women and non-indigenous men. So, it’s pretty upsetting for someone like me who feels for these people and who does share a bit of that sort of European guilt at the way that indigenous Australians have been treated in the past and how they are treated today. And, it really goes to show that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. So, despite these people thinking and believing they were doing the right thing at the time, the actions were close to evil. You know? Like, they just led to so much suffering.
So, European Australians believed that their civilisation was superior to that of Indigenous Australians in this time, and people in this period of time, who held these beliefs too, considered any proliferation of mixed-descent children, who were known as “half-castes”, “crossbreeds”, “quadroons”, which is someone who is one quarter black, and “octoroons”, who is someone who is one eighth black. And I laughed there because these terms I don’t even know. And I would imagine these terms are now considered highly derogatory and offensive to Indigenous Australians. But that’s how they were referred to in this time. And these people believed that any proliferation of these children would be a threat to the nature and stability of the prevailing civilisation, of Western civilisation, and their ‘heritage’, the ‘racial heritage’, of Western civilization. So, that’s just how racist sort of that entrenched an ingrained opinion of Aboriginals was back in this time.
Strangely enough, this wasn’t just the belief of a few men. It was a response to public concern as well over the increase in the number of mixed-descent children and the sexual exploitation of young Aboriginal women by non-indigenous men, as well as fears among non-indigenous people of being outnumbered by a mixed descent population. So, there’s that racism again.
So, the Northern Territory Chief Protector of Aboriginals Dr Cecil Cook, he argued that, “Everything necessary must be done to convert the half caste into a white citizen”. And Walter Baldwin Spencer reported that in the 1920s many mixed descent children were born to Aboriginal women and white fathers, and these white fathers had actually worked on the construction of The Ghan, which is a railway that goes from Adelaide to Darwin, I believe. And these men, whilst working on it, were obviously hooking up with Aboriginal women, making them pregnant, and then just disappearing and leaving these children when the project was completed.
Anyway, guys. That is long enough for today’s episode. I hope you enjoy this Aussie fact. I hope it gives you some insight into The Stolen Generations, one of Australia’s darkest chapters in our history. And I will see you in the next episode. Peace out guys.
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By pete — 2 years ago
In this Aussie English Expression episode I teach you how to use the Australian expression ALL OVER THE SHOP like a native!
[sdm_download id=”1744″ fancy=”1″]
Expression: All over the shop
G’day guys! How’s it going? Welcome to this Expression episode of Aussie English. I hope you guys are all going incredibly well. I hope you’ve had a good week. Obviously, I’ve been up to a few different things this last week or weekend. I’ve been working on the Traveling With Pete episodes, and you may or may not have seen the first one that has come up, that I’ve put up online, Point Lonsdale. So, if you haven’t check that out. There’ll be a link down below. Definitely suss that out, definitely go have a look, definitely go and explore that episode, and definitely give me some feedback on what you guys think of that episode.
So, I made that down near my parents’ place. They live in Ocean Grove, which is a small down that is next to Point Lonsdale and Queenscliff and another one called Barwon Heads. And I sort of went to all of these places and just sort of walked around, checked the place out, showed you guys some of the scenery, took some footage with the camera, and just chatted to you off the top of my head, really. So, as usual, I kind of try and treat you guys as if you were there with me, as if you are chatting with me, as if you’re sitting next to me. I don’t really change how I speak, and I just go through expressions that I use as well when they come up that I think, “Oh, you guys are really going to like this! You’ll really enjoy this expression. You may not know this one. It may be a little difficult. It may be a little stereotypically Australian, too.”. So, there were quite a few good ones in there like SKETCHY, DODGY, SHODDY, and there was one more, SHONKY. So, definitely go check those slang terms out. As well as the expression TO HAVE BUCKLEY’S CHANCE. That’s a really funny one, and I had no idea where that actually originated from until I was walking around the lighthouse in Point Lonsdale and read the sign that was on William Buckley, a man who was in that area and the story’s in the video. So, go and check that out.
So, I won’t get too much into it, but check the video out. It’s pretty long. It’s kind of like a half-hour episode. And tell me what you think of the format. Is it too long? Is it too short? And also the fact that I’ve put up expressions that I use as I speak at the bottom there in this video that I think you guys might need defined or may need spelt out, because I’m very visual as well. I like reading and I understand a lot more if I’m reading what I’m hearing. So, I’ve tried to mix that into the video to help you guys with any of these things you could potentially not know and want to learn. So, check out the Point Lonsdale Traveling With Pete video and let me know what you think.
Anyway, today’s obviously an Expression episode and the expression of the day is ALL OVER THE SHOP. ALL OVER THE SHOP. And so, this is usually used with the verb TO BE beforehand, TO BE ALL OVER THE SHOP. It’s a way of describing something or explaining something. It’s a slightly more slangy version of TO BE ALL OVER THE PLACE, and I’ll get through the definitions in a sec. But obviously, to define the words in this expression you’re probably going to know all of them, but SHOP, I might explain, (it) is obviously somewhere you can buy things, somewhere that sells things usually. So, the definition of a shop, if you go to a shop, a bookshop, you buy books, it sells books. That’s a shop.
So, the definition of TO BE ALL OVER THE PLACE (SHOP* whoops!) or simply, ALL OVER THE PLACE (SHOP* whoops again!) is, there’s sort of two I might add as well, we’ll go over the first one.
- To be scattered in a lot of different places.
So, if your clothes are thrown all around your room as mine sort of are at the moment I could say that, “The clothes ARE ALL OVER THE SHOP”, or “My bedroom’S ALL OVER THE SHOP.”, “I’m all over the shop.”, everything’s pretty messy. “It’S ALL OVER THE SHOP.
The second definition is:
- To be confused or badly organised.
And this is more when your’e explaining a person. So, if someone has been incredibly clumsy or incredibly forgetful, and usually it refers to this happening repeatedly. So, if someone has forgotten their keys at home or, you know, after that they’ve spilt milk on themselves while they were having breakfast, whatever. I’ll get through some examples in a sec. But it’s that idea of someone who’s forgetful, clumsy. You can say that, “They ARE ALL OVER THE SHOP.”, “That person’S ALL OVER THE SHOP.”.
So we’ll get into some examples.
1: So imagine a driver is driving all over the road, you know. He’s in front of you as you’re driving down the freeway or the highway. So, you’re driving well, you’re in a straight line and this person’s veering from side to side, you know. They’re going out of control. They may still be on the road but they’re kind of like *veering sounds*. And so, you could imagine they’re probably, you know, on drugs, drunk, just a really bad driver, maybe they’re being careless or reckless, clumsy, confused, they don’t know where they’re going, or maybe they’re just being stupid where they’re like *hooning noises*, you could say, you could explain that, that driver, that person in the car as being ALL OVER THE SHOP. And so, it’s that idea, at least for me, of he’s just clumsy, he’s going everywhere, he’s ALL OVER THE PLACE, but you could describe it as he’S ALL OVER THE SHOP.
2: A second example. Imagine a word colleague is having a really bad day at work. So, they’ve shown up late for a meeting. They got to the meeting and then spilt coffee on themselves. They then realised after the meeting it was lunchtime and they’ve forgotten their lunch at home, and not only that but they didn’t finish the work that was due on that day, you know. So, these repeated things happen. They weren’t organised. They were sort of confused or clumsy, disorganised. You could say, “They’RE ALL OVER THE SHOP.”. “This lady’S ALL OVER THE SHOP TODAY.”, “I’M ALL OVER THE SHOP.”, “He’S ALL OVER THE SHOP.”, “That person IS ALL OVER THE SHOP.”.
3: A third example could be that you’ve got a house inspection and the landlord or real estate agent’s coming to inspect the house. And so, you get home after work to clean your house, but there’s stuff everywhere. There’s clothes everywhere. You haven’t done the dishes. The dishes have piled up on the sink, you know, and on the table around the sink. It’s a big mess. You need to sweep, you need to mop, you haven’t cleaned and the guy’s coming over in the next half an hour. If you get home and you’re expecting it to be clean or that your housemates were going to do it or something like that you could say, “I came home to find the house and everything WAS ALL OVER THE SHOP. The house WAS ALL OVER THE SHOP. There was just a massive mess. This place is just, you know, it’S ALL OVER THE SHOP. It’s a total mess.”.
So, that’s pretty much it, guys. Hopefully, you get the sense or the idea and the definition of the phrase TO BE ALL OVER THE SHOP. This is definitely one that’s used a lot in Australian English. I’m not sure if it’s used in America or England, although, I would imagine that most native speakers would gather, they would understand, they would intuit what you were trying to say if you said, “Oh, that guy’S ALL OVER THE SHOP.” or “Your room’s so mess man, it’S ALL OVER THE SHOP.”. Worst case scenario I would just say, fall back on, rely on the phrase TO BE ALL OVER THE PLACE. TO BE ALL OVER THE PLACE is one that’s definitely used everywhere, but TO BE ALL OVER THE SHOP might be a relatively Australian way of saying TO BE ALL OVER THE PLACE.
So, that’s just one of those little disclaimers in case you guys aren’t that interested in Australian English and are more interested in practicing and learning American English and English English.
Anyway, as usual guys we’ll jump into a substitution exercises where you guys get to think a little bit and try and practice not only your pronunciation but also substituting in the phrase we’ve just learnt for another phrase. So, for example, I’m going to say a sentence in the form of, “I’m disorganised today.”. That’s going to be the first sentence, and then I want you to say the same one but instead of saying, “Disorganised.” I want you to say “ALL OVER THE SHOP”. So, I’ll say first, for instance, “I’m disorganised today, and then you’ll say, “I’M ALL OVER THE SHOP today.”
So, let’s go.
I’m disorganised today.
I’m all over the shop today.
You’re disorganised today.
You’re all over the shop today.
He’s disorganised today.
He’s all over the shop today.
She’s disorganised today.
She’s all over the shop today.
We’re disorganised today.
We’re all over the shop today.
They’re disorganised today.
They’re all over the shop today.
So, listen and repeat that exercise a few times, guys, if it’s a little difficult at first use it as a listen and repeat exercise where you just mimic, you say everything I say as I say it after me. Practice your pronunciation. But then, if you want to get a little more advanced I try and create these exercises as substitution exercises so that you have to think, you have to use English, you have to think, “Oh, what’s the part of the phrase I have to substitute in or out?” in order to actively think and actively use the language even if you’re on your own and not necessarily able to speak with an English native or someone who speaks English there and then on that spot.
So, I love doing these exercises because it also teaches you synonyms, more simple synonyms. So, “Disorganised” is a very simple and easy way of saying TO BE ALL OVER THE SHOP. And so, you obviously connect the two when you do these substitution exercises.
So, anyway, remember to subscribe if you haven’t already. Give me a thumbs up if you like the episode, and try and use this phrase in a comment below on the YouTube video, on Facebook or on the Aussie English website page. And also, come over to Facebook and say hello if you haven’t already.
Anyway, see you next time guys!
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Check out all the other recent Expression episodes below!
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By pete — 1 year ago
AE 423 – Expression: To Have a Chip on Your shoulder
G’day, you mob. What’s going on? How have you guys been?
That intro scene, I wonder if you know that sound. If you have been to Australia, if you have been to a beach in Australia, or even a location near the ocean, near the beach, then I am sure you have come across that sound or at least the birds that make that sound. So, that was the common Australian seagull. These guys are white with grey wings. They have like a red bill, red feet, and they’re commonly known as “Flying rats” in Australia, because there are a lot of them and they will eat anything that you will throw at them.
So, the guy in the video that I found where I took that sound from was feeding them fish and chips. And today’s episode is going to be chip heavy. So, it’s going to be related to the word “chip” quite a bit. We have the expression “to have a chip on your shoulder”, which we’ll get into, and then we’re going to go over fish and chips, and I wonder if you guys have had fish and chips before.
Anyway, before that happens, guys, we’ll go through a few announcements, the Aussie joke, definitions, some examples, an exercise for your pronunciation, and then the Aussie fact.
Alright, guys. So, as usual, this is The Aussie English Podcast. My name is Pete. I am the host. Welcome if this is the very first time that you happen to be listening to The Aussie English Podcast, and if it is not the very first time, then welcome back. Thank you for listening to The Aussie English Podcast and thank you for your support.
So, the Aussie English podcast is obviously a podcast designed to teach you Australian English, whether you want to understand Australian English or you want to speak like an Australian this is the podcast for you, and it is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom at TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com. This is an online membership website full of courses, lessons, quizzes, videos, bonus content for all of the episodes on the podcast and more. So, if you want to learn Australian English and you don’t want to muck about, you want to do this quickly, this is the best place for you to go.
Alright guys, anyway, let’s get into today’s Aussie joke. Today’s Aussie joke is related to fish and chips as well, but bear with me, it’s a bit of a ripper. I thought it was funny.
A bloke walks into a fish and chip shop and says, “Can I have some fish, please?”. The guy behind the counter says, “Yeah, okay. It won’t be long.”. To which the bloke replies, “Well, it better be fat then”. Do you get it, guys? So, he’s asking for some fish and the guy behind the counter says it won’t be long, meaning it won’t take long to cook, but the bloke ordering the fish interprets that as the fish won’t be very long in size. It won’t have a long length. And that’s why he says, “Well, it better be fat then.”.
Alright, so that was today’s Aussie joke. A bloke walks into a fish and chip shop and says, “Can I have some fish, please?”. The guy behind the counter says, “It won’t be long”, and the bloke says, “Well, it better be fat then.”.
So, today’s expression is “to have a chip on your shoulder” and this one was suggested by Lima. Great expression, Lima. Good job.
So, let’s go through the definitions of “to have a chip on your shoulder”, and different words in this expression.
So, “to have”. You guys’ll know what “to have” is. You’ll know it’s to possess or to own something. To have something.
“A chip”. “A chip” can be quite a few different things. It means something different from say, fish and chips, where we’re talking about fried potato, in the expression “to have a chip on your shoulder”. In this case, it means a small piece of wood as might be chopped or chipped from a larger block. Okay? So, it’s a chip of wood. A chip.
If the chip is on your shoulder, it’s sitting on the part of your body that’s either side of your head that connects your arm to your torso. Okay? That’s your shoulder. So, those are the words in the expression, “to have a chip on your shoulder”.
Expression Definition & Origin:
So, let’s define the expression. If you have a chip on your shoulder, it refers to the act of holding a grudge or grievance that readily provokes disputation. Alright, let’s see if we can define that a little more simply. So, a chip on your shoulder, if you have a chip on your shoulder, it is that you carry or that you have figuratively a perceived grievance or a sense of inferiority to other people. Right? So, it’s the kind of thing where you’re jealous about what someone else has or what someone else has done and you feel inferior as a result, and because of this you feel a grievance between you guys, or that you hold a bit of a grudge. Okay? And so, I guess, the metaphor here is that you’ve got a chip on your shoulder meaning, like, it’s a burden, like you’re carrying around a large piece of wood, which would obviously slow you down. If you’ve got a chip on your shoulder, it’s like you have an emotional burden, because you’re jealous or you resent someone else for something they’ve done or possess, you know, maybe characteristics.
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So, let’s go through the origin of this expression. There were two different possible origins. The first one was that in the 18th century the British Royal Navy Dockyards, obviously in Britain, were where men worked on these ships, they built these ships, and they were called “shipwrights”. Okay? “Shipwrights” were the men who worked on these ships. And each day they had a daily allowance of wood chips that they could take home on their shoulders, and they could use these wood chips for firewood or as timber for building. However, this didn’t appear in common use in literature, this expression, “to have a chip on your shoulder”, until the 20th century. So, it seems unlikely that this was the origin.
And so, let’s go over the other origin. The phrase “a chip on one’s shoulder” is reported as originating with the 19th century US practice of spoiling for a fight–which means of wanting to fight someone. If you spoil for a fight you really, really want a fight. You want some kind of altercation–spoiling for a fight by carrying a chip of wood on one shoulder daring others to knock it off. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the first recorded use was in 1830 in the Long Island Telegraph Newspaper, when two churlish boys were determined to fight, a chip would be placed on the shoulder of one and the other demander to knock it off at his peril.
So, who knows. Who knows where this originates from, but apparently the second origin there is more likely.
So, let’s go through some examples, as usual guys, where we can talk about how I would use the expression, “to have a chip on your shoulder”. This one is a more complicated expression. So, pay attention to these examples and see if you can understand how you would use this in your life.
Alright so, example number one. Imagine that you’ve got a very old and unpleasant uncle who never went to university, he never finished high school, maybe he went straight into the workforce, working in a factory, and is always trying to show off that he is still intelligent, that despite not going to university, that despite not go into high school, he’s still very smart. And so, as a result, he’s very demeaning and nasty to the rest of the family who did go to university or who did finish high school. So, he’s constantly competing with these people putting them down and trying to show off his intelligence. If he did this, I would say he’s got a chip on his shoulder about not having been to university or about not having finished high school. He resents those who have been to university, who have finished high school, and as a result, he has a bit of a complex about it, that is he’s sensitive and it’s a sensitive issue. He feels inferior to everyone else. He has a chip on his shoulder. He has a chip on his shoulder, because he never finished uni.
So, example number two. Maybe you have friends or family members who aren’t very well-off. So, they don’t have a lot of money. They’re not very wealthy. So, you and the rest of the family have done pretty well for yourselves, meaning that you do have good jobs, you have enough money. You might not necessarily be rich, but you can afford nice things, you know, you can afford to travel, you can afford a nice house, you can afford a nice car, because you’ve got good jobs and relatively high incomes. So, if your friend or other family members have a chip on their shoulder about this difference between you and them where they’re poorer, you’re richer, it might manifest with them always trying to compete with you, buy nicer things, show off what they’ve done, what they’ve bought, maybe they wear a lot of jewellery, etc. So, this competitive nature, and if it turns into resentment as well, a bit of a grudge, a bit of a grievance, we could say that they have a chip on their shoulder. They have a chip on their shoulder, because they aren’t as well-off, or because they have money troubles. They have a chip on their shoulder about not being wealthy.
Example number Three. Imagine you’re a teenage girl with a twin sister. Okay? So, this happens sometimes you hear about these twin sisters, they’re not identical, and so they look different, they’re not identical twins. So, I imagine that one of these girls is an average looking girl. So, she’s not ugly, but she’s not attractive. Okay? She’s a “Plain Jane” we would say, an incredibly plain looking girl, “Plain Jane”. Rhyming slang there for you guys. But her sister is a 10 out of 10. Okay? So, she’s a 5 out of 10 and her sister is a 10 out of 10, one of the best-looking girls at school. Okay? So, when both start to become interested in boys, as these girls get into their teenage years, and one becomes incredibly attractive and the other one isn’t as attractive, is very plain, she’s a “Plain Jane”, you would imagine that the attractive one would get all the attention from the boys, okay, and the Plain Jane girl, the normal looking girl, would get relatively ignored. So, you might grow to resent your sister for her dumb luck, for just being dealt the cards she got dealt. She’s attractive, she’s getting all this attention, but you’re not. It’s not fair. You might start holding a grudge against your sister, because of her attractiveness, and it could be a constant source of grievance. So, you could get upset when you see the attention she gets. You can get jealous. If this was the case, you’ve got a chip on your shoulder about not being good looking. You feel inferior to your sister, and thus, you resent your sister. You have a chip on your shoulder, because you aren’t as attractive as your sister and don’t get the same attention. You’ve got a chip on your shoulder.
So, that’s the expression, guys. I hope you understand how to use it, “to have a chip on your shoulder”. So, it refers to the act of holding a grudge or a grievance that readily provokes disputations. So, you know, it provokes you showing off, you arguing, it’s a constant source of frustration, always coming up in conversation, or more simply, it’s just that there’s a perceived grievance or sense of inferiority because of something.
So, let’s go through listening and repeat exercise, as usual guys. This is your chance to practice Australian pronunciation, or just to practice your English pronunciation with the accent that you currently have if you’re not after an Australian accent. So, listen and repeat after me, and focus on the connected speech in this exercise, guys, if you want to sound more natural when you speak English. Okay? Let’s go!
Listen & Repeat:
To have a
To have a chip
To have a chip on
To have a chip on your
To have a chip on your shoulder x 5
I’ve got a chip on my shoulder
You’ve got a chip on your shoulder
She’s got a chip on her shoulder
He’s got a chip on his shoulder
We’ve got a chip on our shoulders
They’ve got a chip on their shoulders
Great job, guys. Great job. Remember, if you would like a breakdown of all the different aspects of connected speech in this exercise, so that you can learn them, so that you can implement them when you speak English, make sure that you sign up to The Aussie English Classroom where you’ll get exercises for the connected speech and we’ll go through them step by step so that you can use them when you speak English.
Let’s go through the Aussie fact for today, guys. So, today, I wanted to talk about the history of fish and chips. Fish and chips. I wonder if you guys have had fish and chips in Australia, or maybe in England. If you’ve been to England you will have seen and probably tried fish and chips.
So, first of all, what the hell is fish and chips for those of you who haven’t been to Australia or England? Fish and chips is a hot dish of English origin and it consists of fried battered fish and hot potato chips, as well as a bunch of other things that get fried as well. But the most common thing is obviously hot potato chips and fried battered fish, and it’s a common takeaway food and an early example of culinary fusion. So, where these two different kinds of food were taken and fused together.
So, today, I found a really cool article that I want to read for you guys. It’s just a short one about the history of fish and chips. And this comes from Fishandchipsawards.com.au. The link will be in the transcript. I really recommend that you go and check out this website, because it allows you to find where all the awesome fish and chip shops are. So, it gives out awards every year to all the different states and territories in Australia, and it ranks the best fish and chip shops, and funnily enough, the one that won in Victoria is right near where I grew up, and I’ve been there before, and it was called Trident Fish Bar. So, you can check these out. The links’ll be the description. But maybe have a look to see, if you’re in Australia, where the closest award-winning fish and chip shop is and go and check it out.
So, here’s the article guys. Let’s go.
Eating fish and chips is an iconic Australian experience. Possibly more well-known than a pie at the footy. You can get fish and chips in just about every Australian town, but how, where, and when did fish and chips find their way onto Aussie plates?
Like so many other elements of Australian society, the history of fish and chips is one of multicultural influences. In this case, refined into a simple and tasty meal enjoyed equally by all walks of life.
Fried fish is thought to have first been brought to Britain in the 16th century by the Marranos, a group of Jewish migrants from Spain and Portugal. The invention of potato chips is claimed by both the French and the Belgians, the potato of course originally coming from the South American Andes before being adopted by the Europeans.
The first recorded combination of fish and chips was in a London shop opened in 1860 by Jewish migrant Joseph Mallon. It didn’t take long for the concept to catch on here, and the first Australian fish and chip shop is often credited to Greek migrant Athanasius Comino who open his shop in 1879 on Sydney’s Oxford Street.
So, there you go. I had no idea that Sydney was potentially the birthplace of fish and chips in Australia. Back to the article.
It might have been even earlier, though, as family records say Athanasius copied the idea from a Welshman down the street. The peckish Greek man had supposedly wandered into the unnamed Welshman’s shop and decided that cooking fish and chips didn’t look that hard.
Back in Britain, fish and chips became so popular there were 35,000 shops by 1927, although, numbers have since declined to about 10,000. Former Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, called fish and chips, “The good companions”, and during the Second World War, they were considered so crucial to public morale that they weren’t subjected to rationing as most other foods were.
In Australia, there are an estimated 4,000 fish and chip shops today, with successive waves of migrants investing in these businesses and playing a crucial role in popularising the take away offering across the country. Of course, fish and chips is also an essential menu offering in many hotels, bistros, and restaurants.
Whether wrapped in paper or served with the finest china and silverware, fish and chips are a classic part of the country’s culinary landscape.
So, that was a neat little article guys from Fishandchipawards.com.au. I recommend that you go and check it out.
And before we finish up, I want to tell you what I would normally order when I go get fish and chips. So, if you guys are thinking about getting fish and chips anytime soon. This is what I would normally get. So, I would go to a fish and chip shop. I would get minimum chips, at least, that’s if there’s two of you. If there’s more people, you might have to get more chips. I would get one to two dimmies, which are dim sims. These are kind of meat in batter that’s deep fried. “Dimmies”. I would get one or two potato cakes. Kind of like a potato that’s been flattened into the shape of a flat circle and then deep fried. And then I would get some flake, and flake is kind of an unknown shark. It can be any kind of shark. It’s boneless. It’s a really tasty fish. And then, the cheeky thing that I do, I run off to the shops whilst the fish and chips is being cooked, and I often get tomato sauce from somewhere like Coles or Woolies, because you can get an entire bottle for like two dollars, so you save a lot, and the drinks, as well, I tend to get from Coles or Woolies, because the sauce and the drinks and everything else at the fish and chip shop is often marked up in price.
Anyway, guys, that is today’s episode. I hope you enjoy this episode. Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever had fish and chips, and what you thought of that meal. It’s one of my favourites and I would love to know what your experience was like.
Anyway, guys, I will chat to you soon. All the best.
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