In this episode of Aussie Chin-wags I ask my friends and family, “What do Aussies do in Summer?”.
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About the AuthorI learn languages, teach Australian English, and love all things science and nature!
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In this Aussie English episode of Effortless Phrasal Verbs I’m going to teach you to use phrasal verbs with OFF like a native English speaker.
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In this episode of Aussie English I give you some English speaking tips on how to instantly have better English conversations and speak english confidently.
AE 378: How To Instantly Have Better English Conversations
G’day, guys! What’s going on? I am out here in Royal Park during sunset. You can probably the city over here. Just thought I would sit down and have a chat to you guys about how to have better conversations in English. So, at the moment I’m… I’m reading a book about language learning and about how to have better conversations in general and I guess… I noticed these kinds of problems crop up. They occur, they happen quite a bit, but I thought I would talk about it. So, the first chapter, the first section that I’ve kind of gone over in this book is named Showing Your Stuff, right? Showing Your Stuff, so showing what you’re capable of and I feel like a lot of ESL learners trying to learn English a lot of the time they feel shy. They feel like they’re going to make mistakes. They feel like they don’t have the vocab to express themselves exactly how they would like to express themselves and then when they have conversations, whether it’s with other ESL learners or whether it’s with native speakers like myself, they tend to shut down and they don’t show their stuff.
So, there is an important point to make about this. I guess, first and foremost: you could be incredibly good at English. You could be even a native speaker, but if you are constantly shy, too shy to speak it’s going to seem like you don’t have a good command of the English language.
And so, the point of this chapter was saying that there are two ways a speaker can go, any given speak when they have a conversation. If they shut down and they kind of try to always be correct and keep sentences short and not express themselves very much, conversations are often incredibly laborious, they’re difficult, they are hard for the other speakers to sort of go along with it and continue because to their mind, for them, it feels like you’re not interested in having a conversation.
If your answers are really short and abrupt, you know, if I ask you how you’re going and you say good and then you don’t follow up with anything, it gives the impression that you’re not interested. So, the whole point of this chapter in showing us stuff was talking about not necessarily using the most complex language in the world, obviously, but putting putting content out there, going above and beyond, saying more than you think is required.
And I think that’s kind of the takeaway message, that’s the key: give the person who’s asking you questions, the person with whom you’re having a conversation, give them a lot of material and by doing so, paradoxically, you get control of the conversation because all of a sudden, you’re the one who’s giving the other speaker, the other person in the conversation, all this material for them to follow up, for them to ask questions about. And so, you actually gain control of where the conversation goes, ok?
So, not only are you making it seem like you’re interested, you want to talk to them, you are giving them a lot of material, but secondly that they can ask follow up questions about the things that you’ve brought up. Whereas if you don’t feel like expressing yourself to an extensive degree, I guess, you’re not giving them material that they can follow up on. So, if I say to you how are you going? And all you say is “good”, I don’t know where to go from there. I don’t know what kind of follow up questions to give you. Whereas if I say that same thing and then you say “I’m good. I’ve just been on holiday, I’ve just gotten back from my trip to Melbourne and it’s been really cold, the weather was good, but it wasn’t… it wasn’t amazing. We went surfing, we went hiking”… You’ll see there that, despite me talking a lot, the sentences that I’m using are still very short. We did this. I did this. I thought this. It was cold.
You don’t have to make things very complicated to still have really good conversation skills, right? Because after you’ve said these kinds of things, I went here, I did this, it was like this, the weather was this, the person you were having a conversation with, one: thinks you’re interested and willing to have a conversation and two: they can ask you follow up questions.
“Oh! I’ve been there. Did you like it? Oh, the weather was cold! What did you do? Did you go out?”, you know? Those kinds of things so, I guess, summing up to keep this video short: no matter what your level in English, try to always show your stuff when you’re having a conversation, ok? Try to give more than you think is required when answering questions. If someone says “How are you going?” You can say “good”, but then follow it up with some more information, give them some material to ask you more questions. And, as a result, you’re going to have control of where the conversation goes. It’s going to be related to things you’re comfortable talking about. If you keep it short, keep it quiet, the other person has to try and come up with questions that you have no control over. So, that’s why I think it’s important always try to show your stuff when having a conversation.
It doesn’t have to be complex, but just put out there as much as you can and, yeah, enjoy having longer and more fruitful conversation, guys.
I hope that helps.
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Learn Australian English in this Grammar In Plain English episode of Aussie English I teach you how to use the singular they like a native English speaker.
AE 390 – Grammar in Plain English:
The Singular They
G’day guys, and a welcome to this episode of Aussie English, Grammar In Plain English. No more jargon, guys. No more jargon. So, today we’re going to be talking about all the different ways that we can use the word ‘they‘, as well as: their, theirs, themself, etc. as a singular pronoun, guys, as a way of referring to one person, okay?
So, we use ‘they‘ to refer back to a pronoun words such as:
- No one.
And the same goes for noun phrases:
- Any employ,
- Every student,
- Which person.
- Everyone tried their hardest.
- Someone left their umbrella here.
- There’s someone on the phone and I have no idea who they are.
Note: you have to use the plural verb after ‘they‘.
- They are…
- They do…
- They think…
- They hope…
You’ll never say:
- They is…
- They hopes…
- They does…
- Someone’s calling you and they hope they’re not wasting their time.
- I know someone who’s got a crush on you, but they haven’t told me much.
- There’s someone waiting outside, but they don’t leave soon.
Use ‘they‘ when referring back to nouns of different genders when joined by ‘or‘.
- Pete or Kelly think they can do it.
- Out of Matt or Jane, one of them thinks they‘ll get to the party.
Use ‘they‘ to refer back to an individual of unknown gender or whose gender you don’t want to reveal.
- My friend said they‘d be in Melbourne this week.
- Do you know anyone who would think they‘re a good applicant for this job?
- Someone donated money, but they wish to remain anonymous.
When not to use ‘they‘.
Don’t use ‘they‘ when the context makes it obvious which gender you’re talking about.
- A man came over yesterday and they wanted to see you. You would say: A man came over yesterday and HE wanted to see you.
- Do you know this girl? They‘re waiting outside. Nope. Do you know this girl? SHE‘s waiting outside.
The same happens with a named individual, because more often than not if you know their name you’re going to know their gender.
- Jane thinks they can do it. Nope. Jane thinks SHE can do it.
- Pete thinks they‘ll arrive late. Nope. Pete thinks HE‘ll arrive late.
If you use ‘they‘ in this situation, you make it sound like Jane or Pete is thinking about or talking about ‘other people’.
- Jane thinks they (those people).
- Pete thinks are they (those people).
To make sure that you know that he’s talking about himself or she’s talking about herself, you have to say ‘he‘ or ‘she‘.
A special note on ‘themself‘ or ‘themselves‘.
Apparently, you should probably use ‘themself‘ in these situations where they are thinking of themself, okay? When it’s sort of reflexive.
However, because native speakers are so used to hearing ‘themselves‘ in the plural, even when we use it in the singular form we’re going to hear or we’re going to say:
They think of ‘themselves‘, instead of, they think of ‘themself‘.
Use either. It doesn’t really matter, guys.
Anyway, that’s it for this video, guys. I hope it helps. Start using ‘they‘, because this is a small tip that will make you sound a lot more like an English native speaker. I’ll see you in the next episode, guys.
G’day, guys. Pete here. Just a quick message. If you want the bonus content for today’s video, make sure that you come over to TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com, click enroll here, and you will get access to all the bonus content for today’s video as well as all of the podcast expression episodes and interview episodes. So, if you’d like to upgrade your English, jump over to TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com, enroll, and start levelling up your English. I’ll see you in class.
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