78. Christmas – It’s all about Family (with James)

This episode is all about Christmas. Learn plenty of general English vocabulary and culture.
You will find some vocabulary and definitions below.

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In this episode I talk to my brother (James) about Christmas, and plenty of other things too!

*Caution – this episode contains some rude language and swearing :)*

This is a natural conversation between my brother and me. We talk mainly about Christmas and what it means to us as Londoners in England, UK. We also talk about other things as we naturally get sidetracked during the conversation.
The intention of the conversation is to explain what Christmas really means to us. Some of the things we say are intended to be humourous, which means sometimes we use irony, but most of the time we are being serious.
It might be difficult for you to follow everything we say, but we explain many things while talking. I have made a list of vocabulary and expressions that we use in the conversation. You will find this list of vocabulary and definitions below. Many of the definitions come from this website: www.thefreedictionary.com/, and some of the definitions are written by me.

I recommend that you check the vocabulary and expressions in your own dictionary too, and look for examples of the expressions online by googling them. Listen to this podcast several times to really catch all the expressions and to listen to them being used in the natural context of our conversation. Then try to use the expressions yourself, in your own conversations or just while practising English alone.

Vocabulary is defined below the transcript.

L – Luke
J – James

L: Hello and welcome to this Christmas episode of Luke’s English Podcast. Now, today I’m joined once again by my brother James. Hello James.
J: Hello.
L: And today we’re going to tell you all about what a typical Christmas is for most people in the UK. The UK?
J: Well, yes. I suppose we are specifically Southern England. You know, there are slightly different traditions around the UK such as Scotland may do things slightly differently up north of England things. So, I suppose, we can only really claim to represent Southern England.
L: Or like London. To be honest really, I think, we can only talk for ourselves. So mainly what we’re going to do in this episode is just tell you about what Christmas really means to us.
J: But I suppose it is fairly typical of English and British people.
L: That’s true, that’s absolutely right. So, we’re going to tell you about a typical Christmas for us, here in London, in England, in Britain, in the UK, in Europe, in the world etc. Right? And also we’re going to teach you, along the way… we are going to teach you bits of vocabulary and expressions that relate to Christmas and New Year and all the things and celebrations and various aspects of Christmas. Okay? So, cultural stuff and a bit of vocab in the process.
J: Okay.
L: Yeah. So, how are you doing?
J: I’m okay. I’ve got a bit of a cold, but I’m fine.
(sound of phone ringing)
L: Oh, the flimmin [this is not a word] phone , I bet that’s a cold caller.
(sound of phone ringing)
J: Luke’s just gone to answer the phone. This is sometimes a common thing.
L: (answering the phone ) Hello, Luke’s English Podcast.
(after a while)
L: No.
(sound of hanging up the phone)
J: Yes, very common thing. People get hold of your phone number through the telephone directory and they phone you up trying to sell you stuff or sometimes is just a robotic voice trying to sell you something. Very annoying and very little you can do about it.
L: That was a robot voice then it said: “Hello, this is an important recorded message for Luke Thompson.” And so immediately I knew it was a cold caller. Right?
J: It’s borderline illegal although…
L: It’s very annoying.
J: It’s very annoying. It’s well into the annoying category. Yeah.
L: We call them “cold calling”, because it’s a way for companies to just call someone without any warning…
J: Without any previous interactions, so as sort of a warm contact would be if they already answered a question essay and they wish to receive more information, but in this instance he hadn’t been asked. So that’s why it’s a “cold call”.
L: Because they’re just calling you without any previous contact at all. Cold call, which is ironic, because when the phone rang, you were just telling everyone that you had a cold.
J: Different meaning of cold. Cold is just, well I guess it’s the same around the world, a mild flu.
L: Yeah. It’s like a virus that goes round. And everyone kind of catches it. Because people always say: “Oh yeah, there is a cold going round”, you know. “It goes round” that means that, you know, it passes from person to person.
J: Especially in a place like London, where we have very tight concentration of people on public transport and cold and minor diseases, that sounds disgusting, but sorry it’s true…
L: Minor diseases.
J: Minor diseases can spread quite easily through the handrails and the shared air that you got on the ground.
L: Yeah, it’s right.
J: It’s common thing in London to get cold quite a lot.
L: Basically the London underground is just…
J: …a breeding ground for disease and infection.
L: A breeding ground for disease and infection. So that’s true.
J: There you go. Some people say this podcast is too positive. So, there you go. We’re given you a negative there.
L: My brother believes that sometimes in this podcast I just… I’m just too positive about things. I don’t agree, I think, you haven’t really listened to many of the episodes.
J: No, I’ve hardly listened to any of them, to be honest.
L: You haven’t really listened to the episode that you’re in.
J: No, I haven’t, I was too embarrassing.
L: And I did say “you’re in”, I didn’t say “urine” there.
J: Good.
L: We don’t ever mention urine on the show…
J: …in this house.
L: …until now.
J: Let’s get to the point.
L: Can I just explain what happened there? Sometimes in English words can sound like other words. Right? Like if you say the word “you’re” meaning “you are” and “in”, “you are in” it can sound a bit like the word “urine”. Right? “You’re in”, “urine”.
J: It’s not a very good joke, but some examples of this work better than others.
L: I don’t think that’s really a joke, it’s more just a coincidence.
J: It’s a double meaning.
L: Urine/You’re in.
J: So you could for instance… I don’t know if should say this, if I were to offer you a coffee

L: Go on.
J: I could say: “You’re for coffee?”.
L: Like “You’re for coffee?” as a question like “You’re for coffee?”, but also sounds like a rude word.
J: It sounds a little bit like a…
L: “You’re for coffee?”, “You fuck off-y?”.
J: Okay, okay. I think they get it. Sorry about that.
L: Anyway, so you haven’t really even listened to the episodes that you’re in, have you? Don’t tell me to fuck off at this point.
J: Enough swearing. I think we should delete that bit.
L: Let’s get down to business and talk about Christmas, shall we? But we’re both… before we do that, we both suffering from ever so slight colds.
J: That’s why we sound sort of slightly bunged up. There is a phrase for you.
L: Bunged up. I’ll write this down. I must write down…
J: So write down call cold, bunged up.
L: Urine.
J: No, not that one.
L: I should write it down. Call cold, bunged up.
J: Bunged up, that’s just means blocked up nose.
L: You’re for coffee.
J: We’re not going to do that one.
L: I don’t know, I might write it down anyway. Urine. You’re in.
J: Things not to say in a business meeting for instance. You don’t lean over to the managing director and say “You fuck off-y?”. That would be a social faux pas, which is French.
L: A faux pas. That is. Faux pas is a French word.
J: And some English phrases are just literally a French phrase which we quite like a sound of. It’s been picked up over the years and accepted as English phrases, for instance: cliche, faux pas.
L: Yeah, a cul-de-sac.
J: Yeah.
L: It’s true.
J: Cul-de-sac…
L: Wait, wait, wait. What is first of all… What is a faux pas? What is a cliche? And what is a cul-de-sac? What’s a faux pas? Well it’s a French word.
J: Fake. “Faux” means “fake”, doesn’t it?
L: Maybe. I don’t know what the original…
J: I don’t know what the literal thing means, we’re very embarrassing. If you know, write in the comment underneath.
L: I’m sure. I’ve got lots of listeners who speak French, who can tell us exactly what “faux pas” means in French, but in English…
J: It’s just means a minor mistake.
L: It’s a social mistake.
J: A social mistake, yeah.
L: So for example, if you go to a business meeting and you…
J: …are wearing trainers.
L: …and you’re wearing sport shoes, trainers, sneakers, pumps, that kind of thing, to a business meeting, where you should be dressed in formal way. That would be a faux pas, like a social mistake. Okay. Next one was a cliche, another French word.
J: It’s because that we don’t have a literal translation for that in English, so we use the French, which means a cliche. A kind of… it’s very hard to explain.
L: Welcome to my job.
J: It’s very hard to explain without using the French.
L: I think the cliche is something which has happened many, many, many times and to the point which it’s now become really sort of predictable and not even necessarily true.
J: Slightly embarrassingly obvious, maybe.
L: Obvious, predictable. It’s been repeated many times.
J: So for instance a cliche would be an English bloke swigging lager with an England top on watching the football.
L: So that’s a cultural cliche.
J: A cultural cliche.
L: Which is very similar to a stereotype.
J: It is, that’s the word I was looking for. It’s similar to a stereotype, but it doesn’t just have to fit a person. It could fit a style or…
L: Usually stereotypes describe a type of person, don’t they? Like the German stereotype, the American stereotype, French stereotype.
J: And all the best stereotypes have an element of truth in them as well, obviously.
L: Like the English stereotype. There’s two English stereotypes for me. One is that we are very posh, stuck up, kind of gentlemen…
J: Drinking tea, wearing bowler hats.
L: And being very posh and going “Oh, my dear… my good man…” that kind of thing, which you know the Americans love that kind of English stereotype. But the other stereotype is…
J: It’s a football hooligan. Somebody goes (sound of hooligans).
L: Right? I think actually most English people have both.
J: A bit of both.
L: Yeah. They can be very reserved and polite and “Oh sorry”, but on the other hand they can… if they have a few drinks…
J: They can be quite ignorant and stupid.
L: They become ignorant and stupid.
J: And I include myself in that, unfortunately.
L: I think, you’re more hooligan than gentleman. I am maybe more gentleman than hooligan, but it depends…
J: So you like to think.
L: I don’t know, I don’t know if it’s true. It depends. Sometimes you’re more gentlemanly than I am and sometimes…
J: I don’t watch football, I want to point that out, I don’t follow a team. I never drink lager.
L: How many time have you had a fight in your life? Physical, a physical fight.
J: A few, but they were really asking for it.

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