Talking to English teacher & podcaster Zdenek Lukas from the Czech Republic about how he learned English to a high level by working on a building site in East London with a team of cockneys who couldn’t pronounce his name properly. Also includes tangents about football commentators, climate change denial, flat earth conspiracy theorists and more. [Part 1 of 2]. Intro & outro transcripts available.
Hello listeners, how are you today? Fine? Pretty good? Not too bad? Can’t complain? Mustn’t grumble? Could be worse? Doing alright? You’re doing alright. Good. Glad to hear it.
Here is a new episode and it’s a conversation with Zdenek Lukas who is an English teacher from the Czech Republic. You might have heard me mention Zdenek on the podcast before and in fact you might already be familiar with his voice because he has a podcast of his own. You might be one of his listeners in fact.
Zdenek’s podcast is called Zdenek’s English Podcast – yes, that does sound familiar doesn’t it? It’s like the name of my podcast. As Zdenek has said himself many times, he was inspired to start his podcast mainly after becoming a fan of my podcast and I’m ok with that.
He did actually ask me before choosing that name and I said yep, go ahead. This was years ago now, I think around 2013, when he first set up his podcast and got in touch with me about it.
These days Zdenek’s English Podcast exists in its own right. He’s uploaded about 250 episodes which feature monologues from him about his life and his journey with English, and also conversations with his friends, native speakers he meets in his hometown or on trips to London and in gaming communities online and he even records episodes with his students of English from time to time.
I thought it was about time I talked to Zdenek on this podcast and I wanted to ask him about these things:
- how he learned English to such a high level
- his story of moving to the UK where he ended up working with cockneys in the East End of London
- how he became a teacher of English
- his thoughts on the question of non-native speakers as teachers of English
- his podcast
- his love of board games and how they can be used for learning English
- the board game he has created himself and the online board game communities that he’s part of
So my plan was to interview him about all of those things, but naturally we ended up going off on various tangents, especially at the beginning of this first part, and then we got into all the questions I wanted to ask Zdenek and I found out about his whole story. This is a two part episode.
Part 1 Summary
Here’s a quick run-down of what’s coming up in part 1, just to make sure you can keep up, especially since the conversation goes off in a few directions at the beginning.
We mention what happened at LEPster meetups in London that Zdenek organised last year and the year before. I attended the first one but not the second. He recorded episodes of his podcast on both occasions.
We talk about what it takes to be a genuine LEPster and whether some people might stop listening after a few episodes.
We talk about where Zdenek’s home town is and the general location of the Czech Republic.
A few tangents:
- Global warming & climate change denial
- The time I talked to some Flat Earth conspiracy theorists on The Flat Earth Podcast
- Louis Theroux (UK documentary film maker)
Zdenek tells us about his academic background in linguistics and English teaching including details of the university dissertation he wrote about the language of English football commentators.
And then we get into Zdenek’s whole story of learning English, including what happened when he travelled to England in his early 20s with no plan, just the will to get away and have an interesting experience in another country. The result was that it really pushed his level of English and led him on his current career and life path.
I will let you discover all the details now as you listen to our whole conversation which is presented to you here in two parts.
This is part one of course, so without any further ado, here we go!
Ok everyone, that is where we are going to stop, but the conversation will continue in part 2 which should be available right away I think, so you can just move on to that one now, can’t you?
So, that is it for part 1 and I will speak to you again in part 2.
Thanks for listening…