A conversation with my Dad about Easter, and a language point about adverbials. Full transcript available below.
This is the transcript to “EPISODE 2 – EASTER”
Hello, and welcome to Luke’s English podcast, the real British English podcast. This is episode two of the podcast and I’m very pleased because I’ve already had a couple of emails from a couple of people who’ve listened to the podcast, and one of those emails comes from Jose Manuel in Alecante in Spain and he asks me about Easter because it’s Easter at the moment. He asks me what we do normally in the UK at Easter and, well it’s funny you should ask that Jose (Jose, I’m sure that’s how you say it) because right now I’m at my parents’ place. I’ve travelled up on the train from London and I’m at my parents house which is in the countryside in Warwickshire and this is a typical thing that people of my age do, they normally travel back to their parents’ houses and they spend time with their families together and actually in this episode I’m going to be joined by my dad so I’m going to interview my dad about Easter, so he’ll tell you some typical things about Easter time in the UK and so that’s going to be our feature in part two and then at the end of the podcast I’m going to talk about some adverbs, some useful adverbs in response to another email that we got and so that’s what’s going to happen in today’s podcast.
Luke: OK, so I’m now joined by my dad, Rick, but obviously I call him Dad, I don’t call him Rick. Hi Dad,
Rick: Hello Luke
Luke: How are you?
Rick: I’m fine, thank you very much
Luke: Good, so, obviously I’m here at my parents’ house because it’s Easter, at your house. This is what I normally do, isn’t it?
Rick: Yes, it is, it’s a time to get together with the family
Luke: Right, ok so, so Easter then. Now Easter is a season when we remember the death and rebirth of Jesus Christ by telling our children that a large rabbit comes in the night and leaves chocolate eggs in the garden, now I don’t know about you but that seems a bit strange to me I don’t know what the connection is between the Jesus thing and a big rabbit and chocolate and eggs and things, what do you think about that?
Rick: Well this idea of the Easter rabbit coming and bringing eggs is a bit of an American idea really and I think that it’s a very interesting mixture between Christianity and old pagan beliefs, I mean, obviously the Christian celebration of Easter is, as you say, about the crucifiction and, after three days, the resurrection of Christ, so it’s a crucial celebration and stands alongside Christmas, the birth of Christ and then the death of Christ, the two big Christian festivals.
Luke: That’s the Christian thing, you said something about Pagan, what does that mean?
Rick: Well of course you know experts will tell you that 2,000 years ago when Christianity started to spread across Europe it did, if you like, take over the Pagan festivals that already existed
Luke: So Pagan is the kind of religion that people had …
Rick: it’s pre-Christian …
Luke: … before christianity,
Rick: Yes and it’s got a lot to do with various gods and superstition and of course pagan times there was a big winter festival and there was a big spring festival and the spring festival was of course the festival of fertility and growth and new growth …
Luke: …and new life
Rick: … of new life and of course if you lived in a society where it was very important that the crops didn’t fail this was a time when you wanted to have all the good luck you could get, to have the gods on your side to make sure that the crops had a very successful season …
Luke: OK, so before Christianity then, Easter was a festival, a pagan festival when people celebrated the start of new life and spring time and good luck for your, you know, farming for that year, right?
Luke: now I understand the egg connection because an egg is the symbol of new life right? But why … now actually one of my students asked me this last week, why do we have chocolate eggs, why chocolate?
Rick: Well I must admit I’m not entirely sure, but my guess is that people have given each other eggs at Easter time, or if you like, at spring time as a gift because it is, as you say, the time when all the birds are laying their eggs
Luke: right, chickens and stuff
Rick: well chickens but all the wild birds are nesting and making nests and laying eggs and remember that in the old days people used to use the natural resources very very much, the berries and the eggs were a resource …
Luke: so they …
Rick … and they would go out into the countryside and gather the eggs and eat them …
Luke: right, so they used …
Rick … so the egg season came in and people would no doubt give each other eggs and presents and then when we discovered the joys of chocolate I suppose it was a natural thing to give people chocolate eggs instead
Luke: just a sort of gift …
Rick: … a gift which symbolises new life
Luke: so its nicer really to give someone a chocolate egg than just an egg because just an egg, I mean, it’s alright, you can boil it or fry it or something but it’s nicer as a gift to give someone a chocolate egg I suppose
Rick: yes I suppose
Luke: right so let’s see, what do English families usually do then at Easter in the UK? oh um yea, what do English families normally do at Easter?
Rick: well it is a traditional time for the family to get together and it’s a long weekend, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and those four days is when most families, you know, get together and these days they get in the car and they drive to the parents or the grandparents and it is very much a family get together and they give each other chocolate eggs in most households.
Luke: When I was a kid I remember what you and mum used to do is at Easter you used to hide eggs, you used to hide chocolate eggs around the house or around the garden and me and James, (James and I) would go and try and find the eggs, so that was always fun.
What did you do when you were a child?
Rick: Well I remember I used to go to my grandparents’ house. They lived up in the north of England in the countryside, and they had real boiled eggs, hard boiled eggs which were boiled in water that had been coloured with something so you were given a pink egg or a blue egg or a green egg and we would roll them, this was really quite a well established tradition that you roll the eggs down some kind of bank, down a hill, you roll the eggs down a hill, why I’m not sure but that’s what people did, they used to roll the eggs down the hill and run after them as a kind of game
Luke: so you’d walk up a little hill with your blue or pink eggs and then you would sort of roll them down the hill and then run after them and have a lot of fun running after some blue and pink …
Rick: … that’s right and if your egg broke it didn’t matter because it was hard boiled it was cooked and then you would eat the egg at the bottom of the hill, that’s what you did, you rolled the egg down the hill and you chased after it and you caught it and you ate it.
Luke: Right, well that sounds like lots of fun I suppose these days if … I think probably children are so lazy now that if you hid some chocolate eggs in the house they would probably, you know, be too lazy to get up and try and find them, you’d probably have to leave ipods or something around the garden, because if you left an ipod in the garden then a child would probably get up from in front of the TV and try and find it. I think kids these days are too lazy to do anything really unless there’s an ipod involved.
Rick: I don’t really agree with you Luke and I know you’re really just teasing, but the point is of course is that it’s fun and kids do like to search for things, to hunt for things whether it be a little chocolate egg or indeed a little chocolate rabbit and sometimes you hide little chocolate rabbits around the house and ask the children to find them and they love it.
Luke: I hit a rabbit the other day in the car when I was driving.
Luke: There’s lots of rabbits around here, you know I was I – um my parents live in the countryside, listeners – and there’s lots and lots of rabbits especially at this time of year and I was driving the car to the station to pick up my brother James, and a rabbit ran out in front of the car and I didn’t hit the rabbit with the wheels so I didn’t squash it but the rabbit went under the car and I heard a kind of noise …
Rick: … clonk …
Luke: … a kind of dum noise as the rabbit, probably the rabbit hit his head on something under the car. I looked in the mirror and there was just a dead rabbit
Rick: what a horrible thought! Mind you you do see an awful lot of dead rabbits on the roads these days there are thousands of them and they do have a terrible habit, a rabbit habit of running out in front of your car …
Luke: they’re stupid aren’t they?
Rick: … they wait until you’re coming and then they run out
Luke: They’re just stupid really aren’t they. Anyway there are so many of them that it doesn’t matter
Rick: Well it’s a pity for that particular rabbit but there’s nothing much you can do about it when it hurls itself in front of your car
Luke: Well there’s plenty of food for the birds
Rick: That’s quite right lots of birds eat the dead rabbits – the crows, the magpies and the buzzards, they live on the rabbits which are killed on the roads.
Luke: Well, thanks very much Dad for, you know, for agreeing to talk to me, yea, it was very nice, thank you
Rick: ok and I hope you have a very happy Easter Luke
Luke: Yes, happy Easter to you too
Rick: Thank you.
Ok so that was my dad, um a very nice man, very well educated, he knows a lot of things about history and all sorts of things so I’m very lucky to be able to interview him.
Now like I said at the beginning of the show, I had another email about an English question, now I got an email from Miho in Yokohama in Japan and she asked me what ‘basically’ means, because she heard me in the first podcast using the word ‘basically’ a lot and she’s right I do say ‘basically’ quite a lot, it’s a very common word, particularly for me. Lots of people use the word ‘basically’. Now the word ‘basically’ is an adverb and adverbs are great words, very useful words that you can use at the beginning of a sentence. Now a word like ‘basically’ doesn’t really mean very much but people use it almost like a habit. Really, ‘basically’ is used to say … before you say something you use the word ‘basically’ to show that you are going to say something in a simple or basic way, OK? So for example if I use the word ‘basically’ you put it at the beginning of the sentence and you’d say something like this: “basically, this is a podcast to give learners of English some listening practice” OK?
Now there are lots of other adverbs that you can use in a similar way at the beginning of a sentence and you’ll probably know adverbs because most of them end in ly, now we get lots of different kinds of adverbs in different positions in the sentence but the adverbs I’m going to teach you now are ones you can use at the start of a sentence. So we’ve got adverbs like basically, actually, obviously, strangely enough, frankly speaking, recently, unfortunately, amazingly and hopefully. Ok so I’m just going to give you some examples of that now, so we’ll start with ‘actually':
“Actually this is only the second podcast I have ever done” ok? So there’s an example. Now if you speak Spanish and some other European languages, ‘actually’ in your language means ‘currently’, meaning ‘now’ so actually doesn’t mean ‘now’i t just means ‘as a matter of fact’, right? So, “actually this is only the second podcast I have ever done”.
The third one is ‘obviously’. Now we use “obviously” to say something that is obvious, so say something that everybody knows. Now, football players use ‘obviously’ a lot when they are doing interviews now, just as an example you might say “obviously we were the best team in the competition” right? Now you would say ‘obviously’ because your team won so of course your team was the best one. “Obviously my team was the best team in the competition” for example.
The next one is ‘strangely enough’, now that’s used to say something that is strange. OK, so for example, “strangely enough I don’t really like fish and chips, even though I’m English” right? So that’s strange because most English people like fish and chips, so “strangely enough I don’t really like fish and chips even though I’m English”.
The next one is ‘frankly speaking’, now this is something you would say that’s rather honest, OK, so for example, “frankly speaking it was the worst film I’ve seen in a long long time” so if you are being very honest about something you can say ‘frankly speaking’, “Frankly speaking it was the worst film I’ve ever seen”.
The next one is ‘recently’. Now you probably know ‘recently’, we use it to say something that happened in near or close time. Right? So for example “recently I’ve been listening to lots of Rolling Stones records”. Ok? “Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Rolling Stones records”.
The next one is ‘unfortunately’, and we use that one to talk about something bad that’s happened, OK? something that you regret, OK? So for example, “unfortunately, I had to leave before the end of the lesson” OK ? “unfortunately I had to leave before the end of the lesson”. So that would be a bad thing because, obviously you want to be in the classroom for the whole lesson, but “unfortunately I had to leave before the end of the lesson and I missed the most important part”, for example.
And finally, the next one I’d like to teach you is ‘amazingly enough’. We use that one to describe something amazing for example “Amazingly enough, I’ve never been to Edinburgh” “Amazingly enough I’ve never seen a musical” and “amazingly enough I’ve never been to Harrods”. Now that’s amazing because I live in London and I’ve never been to Harrods, right? So “amazingly enough I’ve never been to Harrods”, OK?
Oh there’s one more, and that’s ‘hopefully’. Now if you hope for something then you can use ‘hopefully’, for example “hopefully this podcast isn’t boring” right? Ok?
Right, so that’s the end of part three and that’s the end of this podcast. Don’t forget to email me. I’d like to end with a question again now, and the question this time is: what kind of music is popular in your country at the moment? so what are people interested in at the moment in terms of music in your country? So, for example is it mainly English language music so music from American or Britain, or is music from your country more popular than English Language music? So, don’t forget to email me, that’s: firstname.lastname@example.org and I look forward to hearing from you very soon. That’s the end of the podcast, bye bye bye bye bye…..