20. Beware of Bad Pronunciation

Right-click here to download this episode.

This is a podcast for learners of English as a second language. Use it to improve your vocabulary, listening, pronunciation, idioms and cultural awareness. This podcast is about how you should be a bit careful of the reliability of some videos on the internet.

Transcript to Tracy Goodwin’s video:

“Now let’s practise the short ‘o’, and again I’ll give you words and sentences. I’ll say them standard American first, followed up with the British dialect.

Hot Hot

Coffee Coffeh!

Fought FOTT!


Bobby Bobbeh

Fond Fawned

Now some sentences:

Ron opted to ignore Dot

Lost coffee is not to be fought over

The dog was lost in the fog

The loft smelled like strong coffee”

OK, that’s Tracy Goodwin’s advice. Unfortunately, most of it is plain wrong. Sorry Tracy.

Here are some of the comments made on her YouTube page:

Somewhere in England there’s a bunch of poor Americans walking around talking like complete dicks because of this lady. Never in my life have I heard anyone say coffee like that. Ever. And I’ve live in England all my life.

Dear oh dear, that is class. Coffeeeeeeeeh. Brilliant. Do you do french accents too? Ha haw he haw

Never in all my days in Britain have I heared anyone say coffie like that.


She doesn’t have a clue. English people can understand Americans. We’re not retards that need to be spoken to in our ‘dialect’.

LOL lol lol lol!!!! The way she says coffEH is sooooooooooooooooooooo funny!!! i have a west coast accent but live in the UK, and let me tell you, that is sooooooooooo not how these people talk. Like, not one bit!!! Especially the way she says coffee, it is so not friggin’ “coffEH”! LOL. and that barbie thing she was on about is not bobby!!!! Certainly not!! LOL, what a freak! She ain’t no expert! ;]]]


UPDATE (April 2014)
I was thinking about this podcast episode recently, and I was a bit worried that I’d been unfair to Tracy, or that it was a bit cruel to publicly shame her. I was considering removing this episode, because I think it’s not very nice to make fun of other people online. I decided I’d have another look at Expert Village, and Tracy’s videos. I watched some more videos from Expert Village – and it made me realise again – these videos are terrible! I’m sorry, but it’s just not fair to label Tracy as an expert in speaking with a British accent, and in fact many of the other videos on ‘Expert Village’ are absolutely laughable. They’re not experts, much of the advice is wrong and in some cases dangerous. It makes me wonder how this channel operates. Who are the people in the videos? Who is in charge of Expert Village? How do you get a video on this network? In some cases, the so-called ‘experts’ seem to be embarrassed by their videos. Have a look at this video below. It’s a compilation of some of Expert Village’s biggest failures. I started with sympathetic intentions, but now I think Expert Village probably deserves all the criticism it gets.

18 thoughts on “20. Beware of Bad Pronunciation

  1. Linguistics

    Obviously she has some pronunciations which are completely un-britsih.

    But you were really rude to British people with regional accents and it’s inaccurate to say that you can’t understand Coffeh and you’re never heard it. Are you saying you don’t understand northerners? Her pronunciation is spot on for Manchester and it’s surrounding areas- not at all one small region of England.

    You need to be careful of your proscriptive teaching. If an EFL student was to come to England they’d hear this everywhere up north and wherever there is Northern diaspora. This, to them, is “correct English”.

    And her pronunciation is spot on for “over” for upper class people from regions like Chelsea.

    Obviously as natives it’s funny to hear her mix her regional accents.

    You’re not an expert in dialectology- BE CAREFUL ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE BEING TOLD ON PODCASTS LISTENERS.

    1. Luke Thompson Post author

      Ok, but there is no consistency to what she’s teaching. Some of it sounds like a Manchester dialect, but it’s not all like that. Also, I’m very proud of all the dialects in the UK. My criticisms of her were about her presenting her lesson as how to do ‘the British accent’, and the fact that she is presented as an expert. In fact, a lot of what she teaches is a total mishmash of different regions, and a lot is just wrong. I’m not the only person who had this reaction to the video. In fact, this is quite a well-known video online and many many people were similarly shocked and surprised by it as I was.
      Have a look at this video

  2. Maria Hellwig

    Oh, I forgot the main thing. I have nearly finished the transcript for this episode. How can I put it on the collaboration page?

    1. teacherluke Post author

      Go to the Transcript Collaboration page (in the TRANSCRIPT menu at the top of the page) and then find episode 20. Click that and you’ll be taken to the google document for episode 20. 😉

  3. Maria Hellwig

    Hi Luke
    it’s interesting what Kaska said that he or she feels like working full-time. I can understand what he or she means however I only have a part-time job with your Podcast. I am a Little bit addicted to it.
    But now I am going to the gym and later I watch football.
    I am sorry that your country is out. It was only because of you that I felt sorry about that.

    1. teacherluke Post author

      Ah, thank you Maria!
      Yes, transcribing podcasts is like doing a full-time job. It’s extremely time consuming, but certainly a valuable way to improve your English and help others to understand everything I say on the podcast. Thanks for doing it.
      Enjoy the gym, and the game! I’m about to start watching France vs Nigeria. I’m now supporting France as I’m living there, and England are out of course :/

      1. Anonymous

        Hi Luke
        I am really very thankful for your podcast and they helped a lot. After all the transcripts I’m now able to understand what you are talking about. It’s great and I am very happy. However I am such a bad speaker.Maybe I can overcome this eventually. It’s strange knowing all the words you (nearly) if I try to speak I feel like an idiot. But I won’t give up!
        Tomorrow we are going to be World Champions! -:)
        Cheers Maria

  4. Michaela Clauss

    Hi Luke
    I started to transcribe this on and have already 10 minutes transcribed. What can I do if I don’t find it in the collaboration site?

    1. teacherluke Post author

      Hi Michaela,
      If you don’t find an episode on the transcript collaboration page, just send me a message to request that I open a new google doc.
      There is a google doc for Episode 20 now, by the way.

  5. Anonymous

    You are a good teacher, really!
    English at School was my favourite because my teacher was great. However, you are the greatest!

    1. Christa Bartels

      I put number 20 on the collaboration page today. Michaela is me. I waited for the collaboration page to be opened and because it happened, I thought that maybe Michaela might be more successful! -:)
      Cheers Krissy

      1. teacherluke Post author

        Hi Krissy,
        I thought that Michaela might be you, and some other people who commented too – just a hunch, or my jedi mind skills! You’re sweet, and thanks again for the transcripts. I hope your work is going well!

  6. Nat Andrea

    I´ve listened to the episode and I agree with your reaction Luke. I mean, I´ve been studying English since I was 6 (I´m 35 yrs now); I graduated in 2010 as a Teacher of English, I also attended Conversation classes with a native speaker (he´s from Brighton). On average, I try to listen to BBC Radio Programmes 5 to 15 hours a week, and I´m aware that I do not speak with a British Accent. I think Tracy should have searched more British Sites where native speakers teach how to pronounce with British Accent and done some practice before uploading the episodes. If you search the BBC Page, you can find videos to practice the pronunciation of each sound:
    www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/pron/sounds/vowel_short_4.shtml – this vid is about the short o sound-
    Another example is the Cambridge Online Dictionary. There you find the pronunciation of a word in Brit and Ame English (dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/coffee?q=coffee#)
    It could be a good idea if you gave her some piece of advice about the correct British pronunciation, what d´you think?

  7. Kaśka

    I’m jobless now, but practicing english with your podcast makes me feel like I’m working full-time job:) This is excellent, thanks for putting so much effort into making this podcast! This is very valuable for me!

  8. Pingback: Teacher Luke’s lessons | Notes

  9. Leandro

    Hi Luke,

    Thans a lot for your useful help in my English, I think that I am improving my english pronuntiation everyday with your pleasant podcasts.-

    Leandro from Venezuela

  10. ruth

    I’m an English teacher.Your podcast’s are very useful for me.Really I enjoy listening to them for hours without getting bored.I can understand your language and accent very well without any difficulty.I’m very thankful to you.May God bless you abundantly.