The final part of this series about trending words and issues in 2018, this time with friend of the podcast Amber Minogue. Join us as we talk about jogging, picking up litter, bird watching, VAR & football, veganism, ethnic diversity in Hollywood and more. Notes available.
Here is the 6th and final part of this series about The Collins Words of the Year and in this one I’m still talking to my friend Amber (a friend of the podcast – one of the POD-PALS as you know) about this list of words chosen by the Collins Dictionary team for 2018.
These are words that were used a lot this year, probably because they reflect various issues which are big at the moment and which lots of people are talking about in the media, online and in normal life. Interestingly, it seems that the issues of the moment are things like: the environment, climate change, Brexit, identity politics, mental health, relationships, diet, lifestyle trends, technology, football, gender relations, race relations and the latest dance craze.
So, these are the things we’re talking about in this series. I’m happy to be joined by Amber because it means there are some unexpected funny moments, conversational tangents and general laughter. In this one for example, we end up talking about obsessional bird watching, Marvel movies and what Scarlett Johansson is like in real life.
I hope you enjoy our conversation. I’ll speak to you again on the other side (not in the spirit world, I mean, on the other side of this conversation).
OK, let’s carry on then, with the next word from the Word of the Year list, which is plogging. What’s that then? Well, listen on and you’ll find out…
Noun: a recreational activity, originating in Sweden, that combines jogging with picking up litter
Comes from the Swedish word plocka “to pick” + jogging
- Do you do this?
- What do you think of littering?
- Have you ever seen anyone littering?
- Do you ever say anything to people who litter?
- Why do people drop litter? What excuses do they give?
Footage of flocks of Starlings, as mentioned by us. They’re actually called bird murmurations.
Abbreviation: video assistant referee
Some notes about VAR – *not actually said in our conversation*
It seemed to create a fairly clean World Cup – cleaner than others in the past, but still not perfect of course. It didn’t stop Neymar from diving, but it did make him look stupid. It’s hard to say if it was a resounding success. For clear “black and white” decisions, it seems to work. Offside, ball across the line, etc. But when there’s still a human element of subjective judgement, it’s still doesn’t quite solve the problems. For example, judging whether a handball is intentional or not – sometimes slow motion can make it look intentional when it’s not.
There’s some doubt over whether it really is fair. Sometimes you see mysterious committees of people discussing the decisions in the VAR room. Some people jokingly called it the Vladimir Assisted Referee, I suppose as a suggestion that it could still be subject to corruption somehow – especially since you can’t hear what is being said in the VAR room. People still disagreed with a lot of the VAR decisions.
Also it meant this was the WC with the highest number of penalties ever. It has changed the game a little bit. We’re still working out how to use it well.
Noun: a person who refrains from using any animal product for food, clothing, or any other purpose
No animal products at all.
- Pros and cons of a vegan diet?
- Have you ever eaten at a vegan restaurant?
- Would you consider going vegan?
Verb: to cast a white actor in the role of a character from a minority ethnic group or to produce a film or play using white actors to play characters from a minority ethnic group
E.g. casting Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in Dr Strange. The character is Asian in the comic books. Tilda Swinton is a white British woman.
Is this an example of “whitewashing”? Was the character of The Ancient One already a racial stereotype anyway?
Other examples might include Scarlett Johansson as Major in Ghost In The Shell and Johnny Depp as Tonto in The Lone Ranger.
Right! That’s it! The Words of the Year series is done! We survived!
It was a bit tricky there in places as there were some controversial topics that can be difficult to talk about without getting some people’s backs up, but I think it was good to have Amber with me for the last two episodes. There was a bit more levity there I think.
Levity (noun) = humour or lack of seriousness, especially in a serious situation. It’s like making things a bit lighter than they are.
Levity is often a good thing, because I (personally) don’t like things to get too heavy and for people to disagree with me angrily. I just want everyone to like me and for everything to be ok and never to be challenged or disagreed with in any way, he said, jokingly.
What else do I have to tell you?
At the beginning of part 4 I mentioned the last-minute special stand up show I was doing with Paul at The Comedy Store in the UK.
The Comedy Store
Meeting some LEPsters. Nice to meet you!
People keep telling me they like the British Comedy episodes. I plan to do more. They just take a bit of time to prepare.
People also like the storytelling episodes. Again, I plan to do more of them! They take time as well, if I’m writing the stories myself. Also I’m a bit reluctant to read out other people’s stories all the time, because they’re not mine, you know. There are royalty free stories in the public domain, but they’re not always perfect (too long, old fashioned language). But we will see.
If you like my storytelling episodes, there are quite a few in the archive. They’re in two categories I reckon, maybe 3 categories.
Cat. 1 – telling a pre-written story, written by me or another author. E.g. The Mystery Story (29) and The Mystery Continues (30), and The Hyde Park Mystery Story (in the App – App-Only Episodes category), also The Hitch-hiker by Roald Dahl (545), A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (320), the Victorian Detective online text-adventure mystery stories (338, 339, 425, 426)
Cat. 2 – telling a story which I’m making up on the spot. Improvised stories (usually quite stupid and comical) like The Pink Gorilla Story (125) and The Pink Gorilla Story 2 (400), The Talking Dog Story (153), The Prawn Story (166) and the Phrasal Verb Chronicles parts 1 and 2.
Cat. 3 – just episodes with some anecdotes and stories from my life. Check out episodes in the archive with the words “anecdotes” or “story/stories” in the title.
(Hi Cat! 3 Cats, in fact!)
So there are some storytelling episodes in the archive and in the app that you might not have heard, and which you can check out. But I do plan to do more of that kind of thing. My episodes have always been quite diverse and I aim to keep it that way. I’ve got more interviews with guests coming up as well in the future.
Feel free to send me your suggestions, if I think they are doable I will add them to the ever growing to-do list. It’s very easy to make the list! It’s harder to make the episodes actually happen.
Also, do check out LEP Premium. There are about 23 episodes/videos now available, plus some phrasal verbs and more content coming every month. To sign up for LEP Premium go to www.teacherluke.co.uk/premium
That’s it! I expect to talk to you again in some form before the Christmas holidays. We are going to the UK to spend a week at my parents’ house. I have no idea if I will get a chance to record anything with my family while we’re there. I will see. You can expect more episodes to arrive in the New Year, and hopefully one before Christmas. We will see.
But for now though, that’s it.