Author Archives: Luke Thompson

About Luke Thompson

I've been teaching English for over 18 years in London, Japan and France. I also do an award-winning podcast for learners of English called "Luke's English Podcast". In my free time I'm a stand-up comedian who regularly performs shows in English in Paris and sometimes London.

693. English With Lucy / A Conversation with Lucy Earl

Chatting to Lucy Earl from the English with Lucy channel on YouTube.

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Introduction & Ending Transcripts

Hello everyone, How are you doing today? 

I hope you are fine and completely ready to listen to this new episode of my podcast. 

A couple of things before we get started.

WISBOLEP Voting – www.teacherluke.co.uk/wisbolep

Voting is currently underway in the WISBOLEP competition, as you may know if you have heard the previous episode of this podcast. If you haven’t voted yet, head over to teacherluke.co.uk/wisbolep to hear all the entries and to choose who you think should be interviewed in an episode of the podcast. Find the voting form, tap the names of the people you want to vote for and then click vote. The voting closes on 6 December at midnight CET. 

LEP Premium 27 & 28 – www.teacherluke.co.uk/premiuminfo

Also, hello premium subscribers – you might have seen that I’ve uploaded parts 1 & 2 of premium series 27. P27 is an error correction series. It’ll be an 8-part series in total. Parts 1 & 2 are available for you now. In that series I’m not just correcting some common errors but using those errors as a starting point to teach various bits of vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. Check it out in the LEP app or on the website. Premium 27 parts 1 & 2 are already available for you.

Also – coming very soon to LEP Premium (and possibly even available now, depending on when you listen to this) – coming soon is an episode with over 50 phrases from the conversation you’re going to hear in this episode. I’ve picked out over 50 things which I think that you might miss or that you might not know. It will help you to understand this conversation a lot more and will help you use it to expand your English beyond the benefits of only listening to it.  

To find out how to access the premium episodes and to get all the relevant information about LEP Premium go to teacherluke.co.uk/premiuminfo

A Conversation with Lucy

In this episode you can hear me in conversation with Lucy Earl from the English with Lucy YouTube channel.

Do you know English with Lucy on YouTube?

I’d be surprised if you didn’t. She has to be one of the most famous English teachers on YouTube, certainly one of the most well-known British English teachers on that platform.

Her YouTube channel currently has over 5 million subscribers and that number is growing all the time. The last time I checked it was 4.something and then checking today it says 5.06 million, so she’s doing quite well, isn’t she? 

Yes, it is a huge success and earlier this year Lucy actually mentioned this podcast in one of her videos and recommended it as a good way to learn English through listening and I thought, “Hello, Lucy knows about LEP, and apparently she likes it. That’s nice. Maybe I should invite her onto the podcast for a bit of a chat.”

So that’s what I did and that’s what you’re going to get here. A friendly chat with Lucy Earl from English with Lucy.

Here is a quick run-down of what comes up in the conversation you are about to hear. 

We talk about…

  • Our accents and how they change sometimes, depending on who we’re with.
  • Lucy’s educational background & university life.
  • Learning Spanish and how she managed to get fluent
  • Getting recognised, or not getting recognised by people who have seen her videos
  • How she got into teaching and how she started her YouTube channel 
  • Some stories of living and hanging out in London, where she went to university
  • What it’s like sharing a flat with lots of other people and the conditions we lived in and things we did when we were students
  • The process of making video content and her approaches to managing her time
  • The experience of being a content creator at home, including how to stay focused and motivated and avoiding distractions like social media and procrastination in general.
  • How organised or disorganised we both are, in various aspects of our lives – including how tidy our bedrooms are.
  • Life on the farm (because Lucy lives on a farm these days) and how the weather is so important
  • What Lucy plans to do in the future, including some details of a new pronunciation course she has set up. 

Spot the moments of humour

As you listen to this I would like you to spot the moments of humour that come up. Maybe you’ll notice them, which is great, but I just want to flag this up as a little thing to focus on. I wonder if you will spot all the humorous moments. Try to listen out for these things.

Self-deprecation —> putting yourself down in order to be modest or not arrogant, perhaps saying things which aren’t really true but saying them just to be humorous and to show that you don’t take yourself too seriously.

Innuendo —> pointing out things that could have a sexual meaning or outright saying things that obviously have a double meaning which is sexual. Basically this means saying things which are rude and sexual but not saying them directly. Just hinting at it, suggesting something that has a sexual meaning, saying something a bit ambiguous that could also be rude if you think about it. This often involves things like the verb “do” which can mean several things including “having sex”.

If you don’t really get what I’m talking about then don’t worry, I will explain it all later in the episode.

But there are a couple of moments of self-deprecation and 4 or 5 specific innuendos to listen out for.

I’ll highlight them more specifically at the end. 

Also, there is a video version of this conversation on my youtube channel (just the conversation without my intro and outro). So, if you’d like to watch the two of us speaking, and for example you want to see me blush when at one point Lucy mentions taking off her clothes, then you can. Just go to my channel and check out the video there. Don’t forget to like and subscribe as well, ok guys?Smack that like button. Actually, just clicking it or tapping it is fine. No need to actually smash the like button. You might damage your computer, or phone, or tablet.

Anyway, so I will now let you listen to our chat. Watch out for the things I mentioned, try to keep up and I hope you simply enjoy listening to this conversation with Lucy Earl from English with Lucy. Here we go…

YouTube Version (doesn’t include 25 minutes of intro/ending content)

———

Ending

So, that was my chat with Lucy and it was very nice to actually meet her and chat to her like that, person to person. It’s always lovely to meet people and actually talk to them properly, especially when you only know them from YouTube videos or something. 

epiphanylanguagestudios.com – offer code LUKE15

Don’t forget that you can get a 15% discount on all of Lucy’s new pronunciation courses if you use the offer code LUKE15 (that’s l u k e, not l o o k or l u c k, ok?) A little spelling test there – if you fail to spell my name properly, you will not get the 15% discount.

epiphanylanguagestudios.com 

Use the offer code LUKE15 to get 15% off Lucy’s pronunciation courses.

We’re not done yet. I still have plenty of things to say here. 

Those moments of humour

I asked you at the beginning to listen out for certain bits of humour – self-deprecating humour and also some innuendos. Did you notice them? They were probably quite obvious, but let’s see.

Innuendos

A reminder of what an innuendo is – it’s a comment which is indirectly rude or sexual. Not a directly sexual comment, but one which is a bit ambiguous and could have a sexual meaning. I talked about this in episode 447 which was all about British humour with Amber Minogue. 

Anyway, here are the innuendos in this episode.

Lucy: A language exchange 

Luke: were they just exchanging languages or…

~exchanging languages, or exchanging other things – bodily fluids perhaps, or as Lucy pointed out, tongues. Bear in mind that this was in reference to people in their teens or 20s on Erasmus programmes, socialising at infamous nightclubs like Tiger Tiger in London where people typically go to pick people up or get picked up by people and exchanging tongues is quite a normal thing that happens there.

Lucy: Being with a Spanish guy – that is, I’m sad to say, one of the best ways to get fluent in another language… is to shack up with someone!

Luke: Learning by doing, as it’s called.

~Learning by doing. This normally refers to learning a skill by actually doing it, or perhaps learning English by doing something in that language, such as learning English by doing a cooking course in English. Or learning to cook by actually cooking rather than just being shown how to do it by a cooking instructor. 

But “doing” can also mean having sex. Not always of course. It depends heavily on the context. Don’t be scared of the word do. If you said “I’m doing my homework” I don’t think anyone would misunderstand that. It only becomes an innuendo in certain contexts, like this one. Getting into a relationship with someone, and no-doubt getting into bed with them too, can be a great way to learn a language. Learning by doing. You see. OK. I’ve made that joke on the podcast a few times before. Have you ever noticed it before?

Lucy also mentioned the phrase “to shack up with someone”. This is not “to shag someone”, although it sounded like that. To shag someone means to have sex with them. It’s a fairly rude slang expression, which I don’t count as a proper swear word by the way.

Anyway, that’s not what Lucy said. What she said was, “One of the best ways to get fluent is to shack up with someone”. This means to move in with them. It’s quite an informal expression. A shack means a place to live, like a house (specifically it’s a sort of little house made of wood or something) but the point is “to shack up with someone” means to move in with someone and live with them. But the suggestion is also that this means being in a relationship with them too, and the suggestion is also that you’re sleeping with them, right?

Lucy: I have a terrible habit of removing my clothing… Oh, and putting it on the floor.

Luke: Not just removing your clothes.

Lucy: Well that’s another habit, but I’ve had therapy for that. [I don’t think she has actually had therapy for this – she’s just being self-deprecating so she doesn’t sound like an exhibitionist]

Luke: (Talking about shepherds and saying something like “You don’t have sheep on your farm though do you?”)

Lucy: I think his dad did do sheep at one point. I think everyone’s done sheep at one point. You’re not a real farmer unless you’ve tried sheep.

Luke: You mean breeding sheep. Sheep-on-sheep action. Not anything else.

Lucy: Oh lord no! 

Luke: You did talk about doing sheep. I felt compelled to highlight the innuendo. I’m very good at digging myself into holes here. 

Lucy: I think that’s what the farmers were doing.

Self-deprecating humour

My podcast is massive. It’s got global reach. It’s very influential. I’m working on Vladimir Putin, subliminally. [I’m not really] Sarcasm + self-deprecation

50+ bits of language highlighted in Premium 28, coming soon…

There may be other specifics that you didn’t notice or didn’t understand in this conversation. If you want to make sure you got it all, and learn loads of English from this episode, check out P28 which is either coming very soon or available now, depending on when you listen to this. I’ve got about 50 extracts from this conversation, full of target language for you to pick up and add to your active vocabulary. Check it out. That’s Premium episode 28 in the LEP Premium subscription, available for premium subscribers now or at least very very soon. To find out more about the premium subscription go to www.teacherluke.co.uk/premiuminfo 

Song on the Guitar

Some Might Say by Oasis – chords & lyrics here www.e-chords.com/chords/oasis/some-might-say

Thanks for listening – speak to you again soon!

692. WISBOLEP Competition Entries – Listen & Vote!

Listen to recordings sent in by listeners and vote for who you think should be on LEP.

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⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️ YOU CAN VOTE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE ⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️

Episode Transcript

Introduction

This is an episode about the WISBOLEP competition and it is your first chance to listen to recordings sent by listeners and vote for who you think should be on LEP.

Just in case you haven’t heard previous episodes or you got abducted by aliens or something and you don’t know – WISBOLEP means “Why I should be on LEP” and it is a competition which I launched in episode 681 as a way to invite one LEPster onto the podcast to be interviewed in a full episode.

Also thank you if you listened to me talking in episode 687 about the possible options (options 1- 4) for the next stage of this competition, and thank you to those of you who gave your input in the form of comments and emails.

After thinking about it, scratching my head and trying my best to do this in the most fair way possible I have now made my decision about how to proceed with the competition.

In the end I’ve gone for a combination of Option 3 and Option 4 which I outlined in episode 687.

I just decided that this was the best way to do it, and I’ve made my decision and I’m sticking to it.

Here is that decision.

My decision for WISBOLEP

I’m being the judge for round 1 – in fact I’ve already done it.

I have now listened to all the recordings in round 1 (and there were 101 recordings in total). I’ve listened to them all a few of times, and I’ve chosen 16 people who will go through to round 2.

I made an executive decision and narrowed it down to 16. I think in episode 687 I said it would be 20 recordings, but I decided even that 20 would be a few too many and that I had to do my best to narrow it down even further to 16.

So, I’ve done the unenviable task of whittling down 101 entries to just 16 and these are the 16 people you can vote for – and you will be able to listen to their individual recordings a bit later in this episode, after I’ve done a bit of explaining.

I must say, choosing 16 candidates out of 101 was not an easy decision to make at all, but I think that ultimately doing it this way is the best way.

Why wasn’t it easy Luke? Why was it difficult?

It wasn’t difficult to listen to them all. That was great. But the tricky part is that there were so many great recordings that I had to reject. The general standard of entries was really high this time, so while attempting to select just 16 people, I had to reject lots of entries which I still thought were really strong.

Profuse apology warning

I just know I am going to feel a strong urge to constantly apologise to the 85 people who I didn’t select. I’m really sorry you didn’t get picked, and you are probably going to hear me say that a few times as you listen to this.

“It’s ok Luke – no need to apologise too much, we understand”

Ah, thank you for saying that. It reassures me.

Why have I chosen to do it this way?

(No voting in round 1, me choosing the final 16 myself)

The reason for that is that there were so many recordings that I couldn’t think of a fair way to organise it.

If I’d asked you the audience to listen to all 101 recordings, it wouldn’t have worked.

There was no way I could run the competition fairly in that way, asking the audience to listen to every single one of the 101 recordings and then choosing one person from that long list. I don’t think people would have listened to all 101 recordings, and they might not have remembered them all if they did. So I think you can see that voting like that just wouldn’t work.

So I had to be very selective myself first, which as I said, was not fun. Well – the selection process wasn’t fun. Listening to all the recordings from lovely LEPsters has been amazing (and you can still listen to them all – details in a minute). But having to reject so many of them was not a pleasure for me. But, so be it.

Can I just be super clear then…

A quick summary – Just to re-cap

  • I received 101 recordings, but you’re not voting for the 101.
  • I’ve selected 16 recordings for round 2. You’re going to listen to them (in this episode) and vote for them. www.teacherluke.co.uk/wisbolep
  • Then a winner will be chosen based on those results and I’ll interview that person in an episode.
  • I think I will probably have 2 runners-up as well, who will get half an episode each.

But Luke, what about the other 85 recordings?

85 AMAZING LEPSTERS STILL WORTHY OF YOUR ATTENTION

I have not just thrown away all those other recordings that I didn’t choose. I didn’t just throw them in the bin. I’ve published them all on my website and in the LEP App, and you can listen to them all if you want. And I highly recommend that you do that. You can listen to 85 LEPsters who are still very worthy of your attention, and there is some sumptuous video footage there too for you to enjoy while you listen.

You will find all the recordings on the website in one long YouTube video (with timecodes so you can skip to different LEPsters quite easily if you like) and that video also includes a few little comments from me after each recording. Actually, this video turned into something amazing. Let me tell you about it. This is the WISBOLEP Round 1 video “85 Amazing LEPsters still worthy of your attention”.

You can see the video at the bottom of this page.

What happened was, I collected the 85 entries and then recorded myself playing them all one after the other, and I added little comments after each one. The whole track is about 3 and a half hours long and it’s just audio. The plan was to put it up on YouTube so I could embed it on the website page as an unlisted video. Originally I planned to just have a single static image on the screen (like my normal audio episodes on YouTube) but when I was editing it all together I thought “I wonder if I can find some video footage to accompany this recording?” So I found loads of stock video footage – video footage of things like British landscapes & monuments, street scenes in various parts of the UK, drone footage of the British countryside, some footage from other parts of the world. I collected over 3 hours of it and then added the audio track on top. The result is quite mesmerising. You can listen to all the 85 rejected recordings and my comments while gazing at stunning views of Scottish mountains, cosy English villages, the busy streets of London and other locations. I really recommend that you watch it.

You will find that video embedded on the page for this episode (at the bottom). The link to the YouTube video is in the show notes for this episode, and I’m also adding the audio track into the LEP app, as an app-only episode, so you can listen in the app if you want, and you can pause and it will remember where you stopped just like a normal episode.

So that’s the WISBOLEP Round 1 recordings “85 Amazing LEPsters still worthy of your attention”. No voting, but you can listen to them and I hope you do. The voices of 85 LEPsters from around the world who are charming, funny, who have little stories to share and who have had success in their English learning journeys. Link in the description, embedded video on the website page for this episode, audio in the app-only category in the LEP App. Check it out!

Here’s how the rest of this episode is going to work

  1. In a moment I’m going to say some specific things for the 85 people who sent recordings but didn’t get picked for round 2.
    Then we’re going to move on to round 2 – that’s the voting round.
  2. I’m going to give you some advice for making your votes.
  3. We’re going to listen to the 16 recordings.
  4. Then you can vote for your favourites on the website (at the bottom of this page).

I hope you listen to all of this because I want you to know my decision making process, and also I really want you to listen to all the competition entries for round 2 in order to be able to vote.

1. Some words for those people not chosen for round 2

I’m now talking about the 85 people who have not been chosen for round 2.

First and foremost I want to say a big well-done to everyone who took part and sent me recordings. Seriously → Well done. You did really well. I am really impressed by the general standard this time.

I really want everyone who sent me recordings to know that I am your fan, and that I hope that everyone who listens to this podcast – all the LEPsters – I hope that they actually choose to listen to all of the recordings that have been sent to me. It’s not difficult – the recordings are just a click away – as I outlined a moment ago.

The responsibility to actually listen to all those other recordings is now over to you – the audience. It’s your choice.

Again, those of you who sent me recordings, I want to say well done for going out of your comfort zone, making the effort and taking the time to do that.

Even if you haven’t been selected for round 2, I want you to know that I think you are great. There are plenty of recordings that I didn’t pick which are still excellent. You are all interesting and inspiring for me. I wonder if I could do the same thing in French, so please know and remember that I’m proud of you and you deserve to feel really good about entering the competition in the first place.

You probably want to know my reasons for choosing the 16 people, or not choosing 85 people. I’ll explain in a few minutes.

Why 16, Luke? Why not 20 or even 25?

The reason for choosing 16 is to make it much easier for all the LEPsters who will now have to choose their favourite in the next round. I think that limiting the number of people will make it much more practical for you the audience. Also, it will make the voting more fair. If there were too many people in round 2, it would be too difficult to listen to all the recordings, too hard to remember them all, and therefore too hard to choose.

How did I choose the 16 people? What’s my criteria?

As a teacher I don’t like rejecting people – because my job is to be encouraging, to help build people’s confidence and maintain their motivation. As well as instructing people in the ways of the English language, and correcting people and so on, my job as an English teacher is also to give my students a confidence boost. So, it has not been great fun for me to essentially say “no” to 85 people.

The criteria for my decision were simply these questions: (and I want you to think about these things when you come to vote for your favourites after listening to this episode fully).

Who do I think would be a good guest on the podcast?
Who would I like to hear more from?
Who do I think my audience would like to hear more from?

This is based on more than just the standard of English on display.
Ultimately, it’s about connection not perfection.
It’s about what you say, not just how you say it.
Here’s the thing. In the end, English is just a tool. It’s a tool that we use to communicate ideas, to help people, and to connect with people, to get things done.
I wanted to reflect that in the choices I made and try to pick people who have particularly specific, insightful, inspiring or entertaining things to say.
Now, I don’t mean that language ability is not important. Of course it is important because having sufficient control over the language helps you to achieve things in English – it helps you make connections, it helps you effectively communicate ideas. But remember that it’s the ideas, the connections, the enjoyment – these are the important things. So, to what extent are these things being achieved?

Who has insightful things that the audience might want to hear?
Who can share some really useful or interesting things about learning English?
Who has some interesting or entertaining stories to share?
Who grabbed my attention?


I keep saying this has been difficult because I’m worried that the people who didn’t make it to the final 16 – that you will feel like your recordings didn’t meet any of these criteria – but in many cases, they did. It was hard specifically because so many recordings did suggest insightful, interesting and entertaining things – but because I was forcing myself to narrow down the list to 16 I couldn’t pick them all.

You will see that even with just 16 candidates it will be really hard to choose a favourite.
You will almost definitely want to hear more from almost everyone and I’m sure there will also be people from the 85 recordings that didn’t qualify who you will also want to hear more from.

Disclaimer – No level assessments, language feedback or error correction

I think that some of you probably expect me to give English assessments of the competition entries. You might want me to comment on things like the accent, grammar or vocabulary of each participant, perhaps giving level assessments.

Well, I am afraid that I am not able to do that. I’m not giving full responses/feedback to all the competition entries.

So if you are expecting to get an assessment of the English of each person, sorry – it’s not going to happen.

That’s not the purpose of the competition, and I believe that kind of language assessment is a very personal thing, a complex thing and also a professional thing and since this is not a level-checking test, or an official English proficiency test, or an IELTS speaking exam or a level-placement interview that I might do at school, I’m not going to go through that process.

You’ve heard me explain my criteria for choosing candidates, and so that is all I am going to comment on.

I really want to encourage you to start developing your own sense of assessment, anyway.

And by assessment I mean judging the quality of someone’s English.

Let me refer again to this idea that it’s all about successfully communicating ideas and emotions. The ability to grab people’s attention, make connections with people, to communicate ideas and feelings in a clear and concise way.

This is the ultimate assessment of someone’s English. It’s the end result.

Also, I am not going to do error correction at this stage. Some of you will hear errors and you’ll want them to be corrected. I understand that.

I’m not doing error correction in these competition episodes, but I am planning to do it in a premium episode. I’ve been noting down certain language errors while listening in order to collate them and then I will record a language-oriented premium episode involving error corrections, but I will do it anonymously. I won’t name names. That’s just what I’ve decided to do and that is that. So, an anonymous error correction episode will arrive in the premium section after doing this competition.

So, from now onwards I would like you to turn down the volume on the “language judgement” part of your mind, and turn up the volume on the “community spirit” part. Let’s enjoy hearing from all these fellow LEPsters from around the world and look forward to hearing more from one of them in an upcoming conversation.

2. Round 2 – The voting round

This is where you finally get the chance to listen to those 16 recordings and then vote.

I’m going to play them all to you in just a few minutes.

How to choose

Simply this: Who do you want to hear more from?
Do you want to know more about a particular person?
Maybe they have hinted at a story that you’d like to hear.
Maybe they have insights into learning that you’d like to hear about.
Who would you like to hear talking to me in a full interview?


Remember – it isn’t about who has the best English per se, although this may be a factor.

It’s more about whose story you want to hear the most. Remember: Connection, not perfection. [Thanks “All Ears English Podcast” :) ]

Who is the most the most intriguing, the most interesting, the most likeable, the most engaging, the most sincere, the most insightful or just the most enjoyable person to listen to? Who has the most potential for a good conversation with me?

Tips

Prepare to make a note (mental note or written note) of the people you want to choose.
When you hear someone you might vote for, note down their name / nationality / other details.

Then go to the voting page and select the ones you noted. Yes I am saying “ones” and “people” because you will be able to vote for more than one person.

Voting rules

  • You can vote for up to 5 people
  • You can only submit your vote once and you can’t change it after you have clicked “Vote”, so be sure about your selection.
  • You won’t be able to see the results of the voting until the voting has closed.
  • The voting closes on Sunday 6 December at midnight CET.

3. Let’s listen to the 16 recordings (Finally!!)

Here are the 16 recordings for round 2. These are the people you can vote for.

I will say the person’s Name & Nationality or any other remarkable features, and then their recording.

I won’t make any other comments after them, because I don’t want to influence your decision. I will only say things to help you remember who you heard.

I am presenting them in alphabetical order by first name.

If you want to hear these recordings again, you can find them all on the page for this episode. Just go there [www.teacherluke.co.uk/wisbolep] and you can listen to them as many times as you like. You will find the audio and the voting form at the bottom of the page. You’ll need to scroll past the transcript I’m reading from.

Remember, if you sent a recording and you’re not here (that’s most of you) – please do not feel too disappointed. It’s quite possible that your recording was also fantastic – but, you know, I forced myself to pick 16. This is the way.

Let’s start.

*Play recordings – they’re all available at the bottom of this page, with the voting form*

One thing is clear from listening to these recordings

It is possible to improve your English to a really good level in adulthood, and you can do it in your own way.

4. VOTING IS NOW OPEN – Please vote for your favourites

What happens next?

When the voting is closed on SUNDAY 6 DECEMBER AT MIDNIGHT (CET), we will see who has the most votes.

If it’s a draw, I will cast the decisive vote.

The winner will be featured in a full episode. It’ll be a conversation between me and the winner.

I also plan to feature the two runners-up in an episode too (they’ll get half an episode each).

Reminder: If you want to listen to those 16 people again, you can find the individual recordings on the page for this episode (with the voting form)

Final words

Well done to everyone for taking part in this competition.

I want to urge you to also check out the other recordings “WISBOLEP ROUND 1 – 85 LEPSTERS STILL WORTHY OF YOUR ATTENTION” (video below) and enjoy the nice views in the video.

Feel free to leave your comments in the comment section as usual.

For the 85 other LEPsters – I must say I am still curious about what they have to say and I think they could be very interesting to hear from. I have suggested that they record themselves and make the recording into a YouTube video which I can then share on the website. Perhaps if someone out there already has their own podcast or would like to start one they could consider interviewing some of the people who took part in this competition.

I will let you get in touch with each other in the comment section of this episode. Please feel free.

That’s it! Please vote, please listen to all the other recordings and please be excellent to each other!

I will speak to you again about WISBOLEP after 6 December, when the results are in!


Audio version (also available in the App-only episodes category of the LEP App)

[DOWNLOAD Audio Version of WISBOLEP Round 1 – 85 LEPsters – 310MB]

691. Jerome Butler – Dialect Coach

How do professional actors change the way they speak for different acting roles? What can learners of English take from the way actors do this, in order to apply it to their language learning? In this conversation I speak to Jerome Butler who is a very experienced dialect coach working in the TV and film industry in the USA, and we discuss these questions.

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Photo by Alison Cohen Rosa www.alisoncohenrosa.com/

Introduction Transcript

Hi folks, I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been working on the WISBOLEP competition and it is coming soon. I’ll let you know exactly what I’ve decided, I will play you recordings from listeners and you’ll be able to vote and we’re going to find a LEPster to be interviewed on the podcast. So the next installment of Why I Should Be On LEP is coming soon.

Also some premium content is coming. Just a reminder that I recently uploaded a 28-minute video of one of my comedy shows. It’s me doing stand-up comedy in London a couple of years ago. I’d been holding on to that video for a while, but I finally decided it was time to publish it considering I’m not doing any gigs at the moment and I’m not sure when I will be able to. So, premium subscribers – check it out, as well as all the pronunciation videos I’ve uploaded and at least 100 premium episodes. teacherluke.co.uk/premiuminfo if you want to sign up or know more.

Also you can expect more free episodes, including the next WISBOLEP episode and more conversations with guests. 

I’ve been doing a lot of interviews recently as you’ve probably noticed. It’s been a really good run of guests that we have never heard before on the podcast, but I will go back to the old favourites soon enough, with hopefully Amber & Paul making a return and an episode of Gill’s Book Club – the book in question will be 1, 2, 3, 4: The Beatles in Time by Craig Brown – an interesting, recent book which explores the story of the Beatles in various interesting ways. We’ll be doing that in the new year because I’m getting it for Christmas and I’ll need a chance to read it. I think it will basically be a chance for me to talk about The Beatles with my mum and she was a huge fan back in the Beatlemania days and saw them live twice. So, you might want to get that – 1, 2, 3, 4 by Craig Brown. Anyway, onto this episode and this one is all about pronunciation, so get ready to think about accents and changing the way you speak. It goes quite nicely with other episodes like the recent one I did about Key Features of English Accents (682). So the question is, how can you change your accent? Let’s ask a dialect coach.

Jingle —

Jerome Butler – Dialect Coach 

Hello everyone – here is an episode all about accents and dialects and specifically how to convincingly sound like you come from a different place, with a different accent. 

You’re going to hear me in conversation with Jerome Butler who is a dialect coach. Jerome works with actors who need to change the way they speak. 

To give you an example of what this means, let’s say I’m an actor from England, and I’ve got a part in a TV show that takes place in the USA in a southern state. Perhaps the film is set in Atlanta or something like that (like in The Walking Dead perhaps) and the character I’m playing was born and grew up in that area, and so I need to change my RP English accent to a general Southern accent from the USA for the filming of the show. 

How can I do it? How can I change my voice? How can I consistently speak like I am from a southern state in the USA? Well, I would need a dialect coach, and that is what Jerome does. 

Actually, having to change your accent is quite common for actors in the English language TV and film industry. There are loads of famous actors who have successfully changed the way they speak for different roles. I mentioned The Walking Dead before and it is quite a good example – so many of the actors in that show are from the UK but they sound like they could come from Georgia or a neighbouring state. No doubt those actors worked closely with dialect coaches like Jerome. 

And it’s not just British actors working in the USA, it’s anyone who normally speaks in one way and needs to learn to speak in another way, and remember the English language is so diverse in terms of accents and dialects across different parts of the world that it’s very common for actors to have to make this kind of change in their work.

Now, talking to Jerome about this is actually a great opportunity for us to listen to someone who has a lot of experience and expertise in helping people change their accents. He’s been doing it for years now and has worked on loads of different film and TV projects and with loads of different actors from different parts of the world. Jerome is amazing actually, and we’re really lucky to have him on the podcast. I really enjoyed talking to him and it was very interesting to find out the specifics of what he does in his job.

For you as learners of English this should be particularly interesting, because the whole point of this conversation is to answer two questions really:

  • How can actors change their accents and dialects for different roles?
  • What can learners of English take from the way actors do this, in order to apply it to their language learning?

How can you change your accent?

It’s quite a complicated question as you can expect – it involves many linguistic factors and a lot of work. In just a one-hour conversation we can’t give you all the answers of course. It’s a complex and very personal process, but at least we can get a sort of window into that process by listening to what Jerome has to say.

Let me tell you a bit about Jerome’s CV before we listen to him talking, just so you get an idea of who you are listening to.

Jerome Butler has had a really diverse career working for over 25 years in acting, teaching and dialect coaching. He graduated from The Juilliard School which is one of the most prestigious acting and performance art schools in the USA. Loads of great actors went there, including well-known people like Adam Driver, Jessica Chastain, Oscar Isaacs, Anthony Mackie, Robin Williams and plenty of others.

He’s done various acting roles in theatre, TV and film productions even including episodes of Star Trek Voyager and ER but the majority of the work he has done in the industry is that of a dialect coach and if you look at his IMDB page the list just goes on and on, working on various productions with various performers including names you might recognise, like Emily Mortimer, Tom Hardy, Gerard Butler, Robert Downey Jr., Jonathan Pryce, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Impressive, most impressive.

OK so I just dropped a bunch of names on you there, but this episode is not a celebrity gossip type thing. It’s not about that. I’m not asking him to tell us what Robert Downey Jnr is really like. I just wanted to let you know that Jerome is a proper, professional dialect coach who has lots of real industry experience, so he knows what he is talking about.

He’s also taught classes at universities like MIT and has been involved in an artistic rehabilitation program in the California prison system. That’s quite a glittering and diverse CV, and of course now he has reached the high point of his professional career – appearing in an episode of Luke’s English Podcast. Haha. 

In this conversation we start by talking about the work he does and what it involves, and the conversation gets more and more specific as it goes, as we try to understand what he does and relate it to your learning of English.

Now, I would also like to say that I think as a learner of English, the decision to change your accent or perhaps I should say the decision to try to sound exactly like a native speaker of English is completely up to you but in the EFL/ESL community this is actually quite a contentious issue. Should learners of English aim to or expect to ultimately sound exactly like native English speakers? People seem to disagree about it. 

Even now I can sense, using my jedi force abilities that some of you are saying “yes we should try to sound like native speakers!” whereas others are saying “no, we shouldn’t” and probably most of you are saying “I don’t really know Luke, I haven’t made up my mind!” and a couple of you are saying “Sorry, what was the question?” 

Let me repeat it.

Should learners of English spend time and effort on trying to sound exactly like native speakers? Should we all aim for “native level speech” as our ultimate goal? Or is it better to keep your accent when you speak English because this is all part of who you are and it’s perhaps even damaging to set such high standards? 

These are questions that are often discussed and people continue to disagree on the answers. 

To an extent it is a question of personal choice – people can do whatever they like and if sounding like a native speaker is your personal goal, then fine. Some people manage to do it really well. 

One thing’s for sure – nobody can argue against the importance of intelligibility – being understandable and clear, but exactly who you should sound like seems to be up to you.

But anyway,  I felt I should mention this whole argument in the introduction here, and Jerome mentions it too before going on to describe the specifics of how someone could shift their accent.

Also keep listening to hear Jerome start training me to speak in that southern American accent that I mentioned earlier. Can he help me learn to speak like I’m in The Walking Dead and I’m from a southern state like Georgia or Tennessee or South Carolina or maybe even Alabama?

OK, I will talk to you again at the end in order to recap and sum up some of the main points that are made in this conversation. But now, let’s start this conversation with me in Paris and Jerome Butler across the Atlantic in New York City.

————————–

Ending Transcript

So, that was dialect coach Jerome Butler. Thank you again to Jerome for all that information he gave us.

So, for me that was fascinating and also reassuring to know that Jermoe uses more or less the same methods and approaches in the TV and film industries as I use in my English teaching. I think Jerome gave us some really valuable insights into how people can change their accents. As I said before, this is a huge and complex subject so we only scratched the surface here. 

If you’d like to know more from Jerome and use the tools he mentioned then visit his website, which is dialectcoachescorner.com/ You can create a free profile there and then start exploring and practising. It is for a general American English accent though, as Jerome pointed out.

Let me now just recap and sum up the main bits of advice in that conversation. If you found it a bit difficult to follow or to pick out all the specifics, this summary should help.

Summarising Advice from this conversation

Learn the phonemic script because it will help you become more aware of the different sounds that are used in English. There are apps you can use to do this. Check “Sounds” by Macmillan. This will really help you to identify and then produce specific sounds that are used in English → British English in the case of that. “Sounds” contains various tasks that will help you learn the sounds, practise recognising them, transcribing words phonetically and more. The full name is “Sounds: The Pronunciation App” and the best way to download it is from the Macmillan website www.macmillaneducationapps.com/soundspron/ 

Categorise words by the different sounds – for example, what is the vowel sound in the stressed syllable of the word?

You can take all the vowel sounds – monophthongs and diphthongs and consider them to be categories. Try putting different words into those categories.

Vowel sounds would be good. 

Also certain consonant sounds like voiced and unvoiced pairs, TH sounds and so on. Also, -ED endings for regular verbs.

A textbook like Ship or Sheep by Ann Baker can help because in that book all the different vowel sounds are listed chapter by chapter and you can practise recognising, categorising and repeating words with those sounds.

Mechanical practise is important. Repetition is the mother of skill – I think that’s the phrase that Jerome used. It’s reassuring to know this – and he’s a man with a proven track record of results. He knows that to help someone change the way they speak it is a combination of heightening your awareness of the different sounds and how they are made, then mechanical practise with those sounds until they “enter your body” and you acquire the ability to quickly switch between the categories and quickly work out how to say words in the accent you have chosen.

So, again, practise identifying which sound is used – practise categorising words over and over again.

Then practise saying these words by repeating after someone. Again – Ship or Sheep can help because there is an audio CD. Other books or websites may be available.

But there are many things to take into account. It’s not just vowel sounds. If I’d had more time with Jerome we might have got onto other things like intonation, connected speech, elision of sounds, sentence stress, weak forms and all that stuff.

It can be hard to do it on your own so you might also need a personal coach of some kind, like a one to one teacher who can work closely with you.

Let me point you towards Jerome’s website again dialectcoachescorner.com/ where you can contact Jerome, create a free account to access all the resources and more. Remember, that is if you are looking for a general American accent, or perhaps more specific regional accents in the USA. For British English, well of course I’d recommend my premium subscription!

So, work with someone, work with resources designed to help you with this.

Alternatively, you can practise simply repeating after someone whose accent you want to copy. 

If you want to copy my accent, you can repeat words and sentences after me. 

Do this either by shadowing – just try to repeat as you listen, or perhaps pause and repeat.

Or you can use the pronunciation drills in my premium episodes, because they are designed to help you repeat after me and I focus my attention on things like sentence stress and other specific features.

Practise practise practise.

Have fun with it too.

But also remember that it is a question of personal choice. Please don’t feel that you have to sound exactly like a native speaker. In my opinion, it is totally fine and reasonable to retain traces of your native language when you speak English. That’s part of who you are. Like Jerome said, perhaps the only reason to completely lose all trace of your first language in your English accent is if you are an actor or a spy. 

Also, I think it requires a lot of time, dedication and effort to work on your accent to the same level as a professional actor. This isn’t always a realistic proposition for learners of English who are also busy in their lives. So, working on being clear is the main thing and if you have a regional accent in English, that’s fine – it’s part of who you are, just like someone from Liverpool has a Liverpool accent, someone from Glasgow has a Glasgow accent, someone from Essex has an Essex accent – you can have an accent from your country, as long as people understand you.

It’s all a question of personal choice at the end of the day – but there it is, I think speaking to Jerome shows us that there are ways of working on the way that you sound, if you are prepared to put in the time and the effort.

I also wonder sometimes if some people are more naturally talented at changing their pronunciation than others, but that is a question I’m not completely able to answer at this moment. What do you think? Do you think some people are naturally better than others at matters of pronunciation?

A Few Expressions in the Episode

My tongue is firmly in my cheek – This just means he’s not being serious. He said calling himself a dialect coach would mean he’d get paid more.

We’re splitting hairs – To split hairs means to make very specific and unnecessary distinctions between things. Jerome could be called an accent coach or a dialect coach and it doesn’t matter – although to be specific, dialect refers to the words and the grammar, and accent refers to the pronunciation.

I’m not going to go into the weeds – This means getting deeply involved in very specific details. He’s not going into all the complex details, he’s just giving us a simple overview.

Links

Here are some of those useful links again

690. Urban vs Rural / Living Abroad / Cultural Differences (with Cara Leopold)

A conversation with Cara Leopold about the differences between life in Paris and life in provincial France, plus how it feels to live abroad away from your home country.

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Sign up to LEP Premium to watch my stand-up comedy performance in London www.teacherluke.co.uk/premiuminfo

Ending Transcript (The last part of the episode)

That was Cara Leopold from leo-listening.com. Thanks again to Cara.

I’m curious to read your comments and responses to this conversation in light of the things I said in the introduction.

I would like to say again – if you have ANY questions about behaviour, customs or culture in the UK which you don’t understand or find frustrating – please write them in the comment section. I would be glad to try and answer your questions both in the comment section and potentially in a whole podcast episode.

Actually, I have done episodes about culture shock in the UK before, because I think, to be honest, I’ve probably heard all the comments, complaints, grumbles, gripes, questions and criticisms before – and so I have dealt with a lot of that stuff in previous episodes, but nevertheless I am very curious to see if I have any listeners who have experienced British culture shock. Ask me your questions and I will try my best to explain my country and my culture. This is my job, to an extent! So go ahead.

By the way, the specific episodes I did in the past about culture shock in England are episodes 192 and 193 – entitled “Culture Shock London” (focusing mainly on life in the capital city actually) and to give you an idea of the things I talked about in those episodes, here’s a little list. This is a list of some of the most common questions and complaints I have heard from foreign visitors in my country.

Questions / Complaints I have heard about London/The UK

  • Why do you have two separate taps in the bathroom rather than one single mixer tap? (This question has haunted me for many years actually)
  • Why don’t you have electrical sockets in the bathroom? I want to dry my hair with my hair dryer or use my hair straighteners but there’s no plug in the bathroom. How do British people manage this? How do you live like this??
  • Why is your food so plain and unhealthy?
  • Why is your weather quite miserable?
  • Why do you drive on the left? It’s like you do everything differently here.
  • Your trains are often late, delayed, overcrowded and too expensive. Why is this?
  • Why are there so many foreigners in London? I haven’t met a “real English person” yet.
  • Why are the houses and flats in London so old and draughty, with windows that don’t keep out the cold and yet the rent is so expensive?
  • Why don’t people talk to each other on the Underground, it’s like everyone’s ashamed or something, and it’s really hard to make friends with people. English people are so reserved. It’s like they’re impossible to make friends with.
  • Why don’t people carry umbrellas all the time, even when it’s raining?
  • The internet is too slow here.
  • You just don’t make any effort to speak other languages here. It’s just ENGLISH, and that’s it. Also, people don’t make any effort to help me when I’m trying my best to talk to them in their language. 
  • Why oh why do the pubs close at 11PM!?? I’m just getting ready to go out at 11!
  • Why do you eat dinner so early?
  • Why do English people go to the pub after work and just drink and drink and drink, standing up, without eating. It’s not very civilised.
  • Cigarettes are ridiculously expensive.
  • When English people do the washing up (the dishes), they use too much soap and then don’t rinse the soap off when they’ve finished. That’s like leaving chemicals all over your plates.
  • Why do you have carpet everywhere – even in the toilet sometimes, that seems unhygienic.
  • Why don’t you take your shoes off when you enter a house? That’s like bringing the dirt from the street into your home!
  • The British have a weird sense of humour. “What is this? British humour?” 

If those are some of the complaints or questions in your head, then you might want to listen to episodes 192 and 193 to hear my full responses.

But also, feel free to write new questions or indeed any responses you have in the comment section.

That’s pretty much it for this episode.

Cara’s chat with a Spanish friend attempting to adapt to life in the USA

Some reminders

New LEP Premium content is coming soon – I keep saying this, but I just want to reassure you. If you want to unlock all the premium episodes and also help me pay the rent, go to www.teacherluke.co.uk/premiuminfo

Download my app to get the entire episode archive on your phone, including loads of bonus content and access to LEP Premium episodes – search for Luke’s English Podcast App in the app store – you can do it right now! It’s completely free!

If you are listening to this on YouTube don’t forget to like and subscribe and leave a comment, it helps the algorithm to promote my episodes. Also, if I reach 100,000 subscribers YouTube will send me a nice glass thing which would be lovely, wouldn’t it. I am currently on about 76,000 so do subscribe to the channel to help that happen.

Follow me on Twitter @EnglishPodcast, and like the page on Facebook

Tell your friends about Luke’s English Podcast and also 

be excellent to each other, stay safe, stay healthy, stay positive and keep working on your English.

I will speak to you again on the podcast soon, but for now it’s time to say goodbye!

689. Baking Cakes, Telling Jokes & Speaking Chinese with Kate Billington

A funny chat with Kate who speaks multiple languages, makes delicious cakes, teaches English and does stand-up comedy. Enjoy!

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LEP Premium Promo

This episode of Luke’s English Podcast is sponsored by Luke’s English Podcast Premium. Premium LEPlanders, did you know that in the LEP App, as well as the category for premium audio episodes, there’s a category called Pronunciation Videos? Did you know that? There are currently 13 pronunciation videos in there with drills for you to repeat after me with annotations on the screen, plus a new video which I created and uploaded just the other day – a set of pronunciation drills for present perfect simple and continuous. I just thought I would let you know. I’m also working on a new premium audio series which is coming soon, so keep checking the premium category in your LEP App and also on my website. If you’d like to become a premium listener, then go to www.teacherluke.co.uk/premiuminfo  


Introduction Transcript

Hello listeners, how are you today? I hope you’re basically doing alright.

Sometimes I get messages from people who say things like this:

“Luke, when you talk on the podcast, are you talking at your normal speed, because I can understand everything you say” and “Can you speak at your normal speaking speed on the podcast please? Because we want to hear natural, fast speech – like the way native speakers usually speak.”

OK then. Actually, I think I do speak at my normal speed on this podcast more or less, most of the time, but as I’ve said before it’s probably easier for you to understand me when I’m talking on my own than when I’m talking to a guest. My conversations with guests tend to speed up. As you may have noticed.

But if you are one of those listeners who is looking for English listening at a fast, natural speed, then this kind of episode (that’s this one, that you’re listening to right now) is for you, because the conversation I’m presenting this time goes at a really rapid pace. 

My guest and I got quite carried away during this conversation, which does happen when I speak to guests. We didn’t see the time passing and we covered a lot of different little topics with some bits of humour thrown in and we weren’t simplifying our English throughout. It’s just like when you’re talking to your friends in your native language I expect. 

Basically, listeners – are you up for another English listening challenge? If the answer is “yes” then, great. Here you are. Here is this episode.

But it might be difficult, so brace yourself. It depends on your level of English of course. Maybe you’ll have no problem understanding this at all. But I think for some people, it might be a challenge.

Nevertheless, I’m not going to explain all the main points you are going to hear in advance, like I do sometimes at the start of episodes – that kind of explaining can be very helpful, but I’m not doing it this time, mainly because I want to keep the episode length under control – I don’t want it to end up being tooooo long. In fact, I’m going to stop this introduction in a moment and just let you listen to the conversation in full without loads of support from me. You’ll be alright. You’ll be fine.

My guest this time is Kate Billington, who you haven’t heard on this podcast before – so another new voice for you to get to know. 

Kate does a lot of different things – she speaks multiple languages. British English is her mother tongue but she also speaks Chinese, French, Spanish too I believe. She is an English teacher like me. She makes cakes at a professional level (unlike me – I’m not great at making cakes but I’m very good at eating them) But Kate is a pro. I mean she is a professionally-qualified cake maker. She has a particular set of skills as you will hear – and watch out for some descriptions of some classic British cake recipes. Kate is a stand-up comedian (yes, another one), and she is interested in lots of other things too, as you will hear.

Kate and I really enjoyed this conversation. I hope you do too and that you just get really involved in listening to us and that you don’t see the time passing. If you do lose track of what we’re talking about at any point, which is quite possible, maybe use your podcasting app to skip back a bit and listen again.

If it is difficult, all I can do now is just encourage you to complete the episode from start to finish, even if you don’t get 100% of what we’re saying. It’s important when learning a language to persevere. It’s worth it. Anyway, if you simply enjoy the atmosphere and the things we say, hopefully that will make things much more pleasant for you.

Remember you don’t have to listen to the whole thing in one go. If you need to stop at any point, your podcast app will remember where you were and you can just carry on again later, which is one of the great things about podcasts. 

The icing on the cake

Juuuust before we start, I feel I should explain one idiom in English which comes up near the beginning. “The icing on the cake”

I was thinking of calling this episode “The Icing on the Cake with Kate Billingon” but then I thought “no, people don’t know what that means”. But I want to explain it anyway because it does come up and you’re here to learn English, right?

If you say that something is “the icing on the cake” it means that it is something extra that is added to an already good situation, which makes it even better.

You have a situation which is already good, and then you add a little extra something to make that situation even better.

“The episode was good – but that joke that Kate told at the end was the icing on the cake”.

This is an idiom in English of course. It’s not only used to refer to cakes.

Icing is a sugary frosting which is added as a thin layer on top of a cake. So, the icing on top of a cake is an extra little layer of yummy sweet stuff which is added, making it even better. A cake is already amazing, right? Well, adding icing on top makes it even more amazing.

For exmaple: “It was incredible seeing Neil Young doing a concert in Hyde Park but Paul McCartney arriving on stage at the end of the show was the icing on the cake.”

This idiom comes up at the start. Watch out for it.

OK, I’m going to stop this introduction now. So let’s meet Kate Billington for the first time on Luke’s English Podcast, and here we go…


Ending Transcript

So, that was Kate Billington in an epically long conversation. Thanks again to Kate.

Hello you! You made it until the end. Nice one. How was that for you? I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. 

If this episode was a cake, what kind of cake would it be?

Maybe a long fruit cake – rich, quite heavy, fruity, made in the run up to Christmas, very British and best enjoyed with copious amounts of brandy.

Or maybe you found it more like a Victoria sponge cake – light, fluffy, sweet and moreish.

Or perhaps a battenburg cake – it looks like one solid whole, but when you get into it you realise that it’s made up of different sections. 

Anyway, thank you for listening all the way up to this point. 

Let us know any thoughts or reactions you have by writing something in the comment section on the website. 

  • How was this episode for you?
  • Did you learn anything from it?
  • Do you have any specific questions about vocab that came up?
  • Do you have any thoughts that you’d like to share?
  • Do you have any thoughts in your head, generally? (I hope so) 

Check out the page for this episode on my website where you will see things like transcriptions for my introduction and this ending bit, plus pictures of most of the cake types and pastry types that we talked about → Victoria sponge, fruit cake, Battenberg cake (aka window cake) plus some lovely French things like croissants, pain au chocolate and more.

Kate Billington on Instagram

Check out Kate’s Instagram to see lots of lovely pictures of lovely delicious cakes that she has made – yum yum yum and indeed, yum.

www.instagram.com/cake_by_cake_paris 

See stand up comedy in Paris (covid-permitting)

Also you can check out Comedy Croissant on Instagram & Facebook, especially if you are in the Paris area and you’d like to come to one of the shows when they eventually come back. And as I record this ending bit France is again under strict lockdown measures, which means the comedy shows are not happening for the foreseeable future, but when they’re back, which they will be one day, you’ll know about it if you follow Comedy Croissant on Facebook.

You can find information about all the English comedy nights in Paris by going to www.englishcomedyinparis.com 

Bonus Audio in the LEP App

LEP App users – There is a little outtake in the app (extra audio – just in case you didn’t get enough from this episode) – tap the gift icon while listening to the episode and you’ll hear a couple of bonus minutes of Kate and me talking about some blue bookends that I have in my pod-room. Bookends are things you put on the end of shelves to stop the books falling off. Usually they are rectangular in shape, but also L shaped – because part of the bookend has to go under the books. My blue bookends, which you might have seen in my videos, look like the Tardis from the TV show Doctor Who. The Tardis looks like a blue telephone box. Doctor Who fans will know. If you’d like to hear us talking about my Tardis-shaped bookends and whether I am a proper Whovian (Doctor Who fan) or not, then find the gift icon for this episode in the LEP app and tap it!

The bookends in my pod-room which caught Kate’s eye. The bookends look like The Tardis. Listen to the bonus audio in the app to find out more.

Posh, or not posh? Gap yah, etc…

Another thing is, if you are wondering about posh people – how to know if someone is posh, what a posh accent sounds like, and that whole “Gap Yah” thing, then go to the episode archive and find the “Posh or not posh” episodes – 581, 582 and 584. They should explain everything relating to poshness and how posh people speak.

Thank you again to Kate for this episode. Thanks Kate.

Dear listener, I will speak to you again soon on the podcast in either a free episode or a premium one (I’m working on more content for you), and yes the next part of the WISBOLEP competition is on it’s way. I am working on that too.

Thank you for choosing to listen to my podcast.

If you are feeling up for it you could leave a nice review for LEP on iTunes – it helps the podcast appear in those recommended lists and things. Like and subscribe and  leave a comment if you’re listening on YouTube. Consider donating to support the podcast by clicking a donate button on my website. Download the Luke’s English Podcast app from the app store and consider becoming a premium lepster by going to www.teacherluke.co.uk/premiuminfo 

And finally, please remember to be excellent to each other, stay safe, stay healthy, stay positive.

But for now, it’s just time to say, goodbye!

English Cakes

Again, check Kate’s Instagram, because her photos are much more appealing than these ones. www.instagram.com/cake_by_cake_paris/

Traditional English fruit cake
The Christmas version of an English fruit cake – probably “fed” with brandy and left in the cupboard for weeks.
Victoria Sponge Cake
Battenberg Cake (a.k.a “Window cake”) www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/battenburg_cake_60878

French Viennoiserie

“All butter” Croissant
Pain au chocolat (also known as a chocolatine in some parts of the country) 😋

688. Sean Connery

I recorded an episode about Sean Connery, who died yesterday. I didn’t expect to get emotional, but I did (a bit). Here it is. Hope you like it.

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Episode Transcript & Notes

Hello listeners, 

Sean Connery died at the weekend. Sir Sean Connery as maybe I should call him. So here is an episode about Sean Connery, or at least an episode in which I ramble on about Sean Connery.

Just in case you don’t know – Sean Connery was an actor from Scotland who played James Bond (technically not the first, but he’s considered to be the first proper James Bond) and plenty of other roles in other films. Which ones?

Right, so hopefully you know now who I’m talking about.

Did you hear the news? Is this a big moment for you, or for people where you are? I don’t know how significant this is to you, although I know that some of you were definitely moved by the news and that you want me to talk about it. 

I’ll tell you about how I learned about his death yesterday, and I’ll give some of my personal thoughts and stuff in a minute.

Of course, it’s sad because we loved him in films and he’s gone now and it’s also strange whenever anyone dies because we can’t quite come to terms with the fact that someone who we knew is no longer in the world, they’re just gone now. It’s difficult to come to terms with that.

At times like this, when a public figure dies, I think we want to hear or read tributes to them, to revisit some of their finer moments, to appreciate them, maybe to re-evaluate their significance in the world, which may be the case with Sean Connery because to some extent he was quite divisive. 

I wasn’t planning to do this episode, because well, as you know, I’ve got my work cut out at the moment (I’ve got lots of work to do) with things like the WISBOLEP competition (still working on it), LEP Premium content (also working on it) and other upcoming episodes. 

I have another interview/conversation episode with one of my friends who you haven’t heard before, coming soon – probably in the next couple of days – here I am again, probably uploading too many episodes too close together… I hope you listen to them all.

But I digress. The point I was making was that when I heard the news of Sean Connery’s death I did feel sad (as I’ll describe in a minute) but I didn’t immediately think “Oh I must do an episode about this”  – the main reason being that although I used to enjoy watching Sean Connery in films, and I’ve always had fun imitating his voice, and people sometimes say my dad looks like him (my Japanese friend Moto was really struck by this when he met him once “Your dad looks like Sean Connery!” I think he was a bit intimidated) Despite those things, I don’t feel I really know enough to record a full episode on him – or at least I feel I don’t know enough about him to do the sort of tribute that you might expect. I mean, one filled with all the key facts about his life. A full retrospective of the man’s life and work. That kind of thing. I’m not really able to do that, in the time that I have. All I can do is just talk to you about what he meant to me personally. 

As I said, I’ve always enjoyed watching him in films (and by the way the James Bond films are not my favourite Sean Connery films) and I’ve always enjoyed having fun with his very characteristic voice, I was never a massive Sean Connery fan. 

Some of you out there listening are probably bigger fans of his than I am and you might know more details about his life than I do (and please feel free to add things in the comment section if you feel I have missed something significant) You may have read books about him and so on. I haven’t read those books, or seen all the documentaries about him, or watched all the interviews with him (but I have seen a few), but I will talk about him because he was a huge figure in popular culture, and he was British, of course. Although actually, I think he was Scottish, first and foremost. He was a very proud Scot and a vocal supporter of Scottish independence, so let’s say that while, technically, he was British (because Scotland is part of the UK) in his heart he considered himself to be Scottish first and foremost.

Also, another reason for me to do this episode is that I think quite a lot of you out there have been expecting me to talk about Sean Connery. I know this mainly from social media and comments on my website over the last 24 hours. I’ve had messages requesting an episode on Sean or messages from people saying that when they heard the news they immediately thought of me and expected an episode about him, which is interesting, because I suppose for many people I am your portal to British culture and you’ve heard me do my Sean Connery voice on this podcast quite a few times.  

Anyway, I think that when I get a few comments from people it’s usually just the tip of the iceberg and those few comments probably reflect the thoughts of many more of my ninja listeners who don’t get in touch with me.

So, I’m mainly doing this episode in response to the desire of my listeners to hear me talking about this. 

It’s going to go like this.

I’m going to give my personal thoughts about how I learned about his death and what went through my mind.

I’ll read from a BBC article about Sean Connery – just so I can cover some of the main facts about him, and perhaps read some quotes from public figures who have paid tribute to him in the last few days.

And finally I think it could be fun to consider his voice and do some impressions of him and tell a couple of jokes, because his voice was definitely one of the iconic things about him. 

So, once again, I will probably explain to you how to do a Sean Connery impression. We might listen to some samples of him speaking too, if I can find something appropriate.

My personal thoughts

How did I hear about it?

What was my response?

I posted a picture on Twitter which probably just confused everyone, I think. Let me explain.

BBC Article with Tributes

www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-54761824

Sean Connery on whether he was worried about being typecast

Jokes

What time does Sean Connery arrive at Wimbledon?

  • Tennish

Why does Sean Connery hate crabs?

  • Because they’re shellfish

What did Sean Connery say when a book fell on his head?

  • I can only blame my shelf.

687. WISBOLEP Problem / Polite Requests / An Inspiring Email / Fly Me To the Moon

A rambling episode with some news about a problem I have with the WISBOLEP competition (ooh!), some tips on making polite requests, an inspiring email from a LEPster and a song on guitar at the end.

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Hello everyone,

How are you doing? 

This is a weird period of history in which we are living? I hope you’re getting on ok. Here in France the government has just put some new lockdown restrictions in place and we’re all trying to work out what they really mean. I don’t want to go on about covid on this podcast too much, except to say “hang in there everyone” and keep calm and carry on. Check out my episode from earlier this year which is all about language for talking about lockdown and dealing with lockdown, including the word lockdown, if you’re wondering what that is.

Here’s an episode in which I’m on my own, doing a bit of housekeeping – general podcast admin. I’m mainly going to talk about the WISBOLEP competition (as you can see from the title of the episode), but also I’m going to ramble about a few other things too including teaching you a bit of English – just some simple advice about making polite requests, also an inspiring message from a listener and maybe a song on the guitar at the end, we will see.

I’m publishing this episode hot on the heels of the last episode, which was my conversation with Christian from Canguro English (LEP686). Have you heard that? I only published it a few days ago and conventional podcasting wisdom says that you shouldn’t publish another episode so quickly after the last one, because the last one will sort of get ignored, lost, forgotten or sidelined as people won’t notice it and it won’t get as many listens as it should. 

I think it’s a good episode, so if you haven’t heard it – be sure to listen to episode 686 with Christian. There’s also a video version of it on YouTube. It’s had a great response with people saying generally positive things, which is nice. Some people are requesting more video content. My position on this is that most of my content will always be audio, because that’s what I do – I make audio content, but every now and then I’ll do video versions of episodes and stick them on YouTube as well. OK. So subscribe to LEP on YouTube to make sure you get notified when I publish a video episode. I’ll probably tell you on the podcast too.

Also the episode before last has had some really interesting comments on the website. That was the episode about bilingual children in which we heard Alex in Moscow and his daughter Alice. Very interesting to read the comments from LEPsters or LEPlanders who are also bringing up their kids to speak English. Go to the episode archive and find 685 and read the comments. It’s all interesting stuff. I will do more of those bilingual kids episodes at some point. It’s a bit hard to mentally keep track of everything. There are a lot of ins, a lot of outs, a lot of what-have-yous – a lot strands in this old dude’s head, man.

WISBOLEP Problem

The deadline for sending in your entries was 15 October, so that’s long gone. One person is now freaking out.

The results aren’t ready yet or anything. You still have to vote for your favourites and all that – “how can we vote?” Steady on, the voting’s not ready yet either. All in good time. 

All the recordings are sitting there in my inbox and I haven’t had a proper chance to work on the next stage of the competition yet. Things take time around here, you know how it is. 

First of all I should say that it was great to get all the entries. I’ve managed to listen to almost all of them. I should say that it’s amazing to hear the voices of some of my listeners (some of them – obviously only a tiny portion of you sent in recordings because the vast majority of you are ninjas as we know, and that’s fine). It’s inspiring to hear little snippets of people’s stories of learning English, with the help of this podcast in many cases. That’s also quite flattering –  that’s not the point of it all of course – just to flatter me or something. The point was to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone a little bit and record something and send it in, to celebrate my audience a bit and also to just find a new guest with an interesting story to tell in an episode of the podcast. I want to say well done for everyone who plucked up the courage to record a sincere entry into the competition. Some of them are particularly inventive and… well, you will see.

It’s going to be very difficult to choose a winner, because there are quite a lot of really interesting people and I’m sure you are going to want to hear more from many of them. 

But the thing is, I have a bit of a problem. We have a bit of a problem with this competition. It’s a logistical issue. Logistical refers to the organisation of something complicated.

It’s not a major problem. It’s not like a Tom Cruise jump out of a plane to save-the-world Mission Impossible to problem or anything – no explosions. It’s quite a good problem really, but still, I’ve been scratching my head and wondering what to do about it.

What’s the problem Luke?

The problem is… I’ve had 100 entries – each one 2 minutes in length – that’s about 200 minutes in total, and that’s about 3 and a half hours if I play all the entries back to back without any pause or comment from me between them and without any introduction from me, and I will have to do some kind of introduction at the start, and it will also be necessary for me to say the names of each person again plus maybe one or two other things to help you remember them. 

So, 200 minutes or 3.5 hours, plus an introduction in which I explain the voting rules etc, and little comments from me –  that’s at least 4 hours of audio.

It’s too much, isn’t it? It’s too much audio for me to expect everyone to listen to. And I need everyone to listen to it all because I want to do some kind of fair voting process for this. Hmmm.

I like doing long episodes, but this goes beyond that, especially since I would like every single two-minute entry to be heard and you’ll need to remember which one or ones are your favourites in order to vote for them on my website.

Imagine a presidential election with 100 candidates, all presenting themselves to you one after the other. You’d never remember who they were, even if they were all extraordinary.

So this is the issue. Too many entries. It’s become a bit of a logistical nightmare.

It’s my fault. I take full responsibility of course. I set the 2-minute time limit for each recording because I thought you’d need that long to say something meaningful.

What did I expect though? For some reason I thought not many people would enter, but I don’t know why I thought that. I should have known that I’d get at least 100 entries! 

Anyway, what’s the problem? You might think.

Let’s go through the options I have ahead of me now and we’ll see.

Why am I telling you this? 

Transparency – I want everyone to know what’s going on, so that I don’t get loads of messages from people asking my why I’m doing it this way, and not that way and why didn’t you do this, and I thought you would do that, and I’m disappointed with this and why didn’t you play my recording, and I thought you’d play them all, and I was disappointed by the last Star Wars film and English is too complicated because the spelling and pronunciation are weird and there are too many accents and why can I understand you Luke but I don’t understand other native speakers and can you explain the Russian Joke and why why why and all that kind of stuff. 

To avoid confusion and questions, I want you to know the situation like I do.

Also I’m curious to see what you think and I would like you to tell me your thoughts because it can help me make the right decision. (although to be honest I think I’ve already made up my mind)

I’d like to have some input from you but ultimately, I do maintain supreme executive power, so I will still do what I personally think is best, but nevertheless, I am interested in your ideas and I want you to know my decision making process.

Some of you will think this is all unnecessary and that I’m overthinking it, but I disagree. I think it’s necessary and I’m applying the appropriate amount of thinking and talking time to this. So there. 

The main things we need to do are:

  • I want you, the audience, to be able to hear all the entries that have been sent to me (because I think people sent them to me with the understanding that they would be published for public scrutiny) and I want you to be able to vote for your favourites, rather than it just being a solo decision from me. 
  • I would like to give an introduction before playing all the entries, because there are things I need to say about the voting process and stuff like that. Also I would like to make one or two little comments after some or all of the entries, as well as repeating the names of the contestants. All those things will increase the time this will all take, of course – so we’re looking at 4hours plus in total.
  • Then, based on the voting by you the audience, I will interview the winner. There might be a couple of runners up too, we will see.
  • I want to do this in a way which is fair, and which gives everyone an equal chance (because I am committed to maintaining some democratic standards in this world!)

Options

Here are the different options which I’m considering. None of them are perfect, because of the whole “too many entries” issue. (by the way, saying “too many” does sound negative, but like I said before, this is quite a good problem in a sense. It’s a bit like having too much chocolate in your cupboard or something, or too much cake. Oh we’ve got too much cake! When and how will we eat it all? We can’t throw it away can we?) You see? Yes, you see. The cake metaphor is good. 

So, the options I’m considering. And I’ll say right now that I think I’m going to choose option 4. Anyway, here we go.

Option 1

I play all the entries (in alphabetical order, or chronological order) in one single epically long episode – probably about 4 hours long or more.

Problem: This is obviously far too long and just not a practical length for one single episode of the podcast. The chances are, people will not listen to the whole thing and most of the entries will not be heard and so the voting will be unfair.

Option 2

I play all the entries, but in a series of episodes (that all get uploaded on the same day). It would probably be 5 or 6 episodes → Introduction, WISBOLEP 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5. 20 entries in each episode. Each episode is about 45 minutes long.

Problem: It’s more or less the same as option 1. Will people listen to all the entries? The people in parts 4 and 5 might not get as much attention as the ones in the first part. 

Also, I have to say that I have to be a bit careful about what I publish to my podcast feed.

Dropping 5 episodes of only competition entries into my podcast feed is not the greatest idea – and I say that as a podcaster and podcasters must be fairly careful about what they publish. I have to be honest, I think that the majority of my audience aren’t that invested in the competition and the entries. 

I have a survey on my website asking people to vote for their favourite types of episode (find it in the CONTANT section) and this kind of episode – competition entries from listeners – is actually the least popular type of episode that I do. I like doing them, but I have to make sure I do it right. I think the reason this type of episode got low votes in my survey is because the last time I did this (YEP competition) I published all the entries from round 1 (8 episodes in total, all in a row) and it probably wasn’t what a lot of people wanted in their podcast feed. I shouldn’t really do that again.

Option 3

I choose what I think are the best entries and create a shortlist of something like 20 entries, and play them in one episode, and let people vote on just those 20.

Problem: 80 people’s entries just get rejected and never get played or published in any way, which is a pity and I think that would disappoint about 80 people who took the time to record something thinking that it would appear on LEP. I don’t think I ever said that all the entries were guaranteed to be played on the podcast, but I may have given that impression.

This would essentially solve the main problem of there being too many entries, but I don’t really want to just just chuck 80 recordings in the bin. Those people recorded them expecting them to be heard by more than just me.

Option 4

I create two rounds of voting. 

The first round is done on the website only, meaning that all the entries are posted on my website but not played in an episode of the podcast.

That way, the people who really want to listen to all the entries and vote for them, can do it by going to the website and listening there. I would probably post all the audio as an unlisted YouTube video because I can create time stamps for each entry, making it easier for you to find them and hear them.

So, the episodes would all be available for listening on the website (so they are made publically available) and people can vote for their favourites there. The winners of the first round could be decided by a combination of votes from listeners and my own choices.

Round 2 would be something like the most popular 20 entries from round 1 and all of them would be played in an episode of the podcast.

This would make it much easier for the whole audience to vote.

The winner of round 2 would be interviewed on the podcast.

It might be possible for some runners up to be featured too.

So, which option do you prefer? 

To be honest, I’m leaning towards option 4. I think I’m going to choose option 4 but I’d also like to run it by you to see what you all think.

The chances are, you’ll all have different opinions and different advice, which is fine.

I get the final say and you’ll just have to trust me on that.

Let me just recap

  • Option 1 – one mammoth 4 hour episode with all the entries. No.
  • Option 2 – one mammoth 5-part WISBOLEP series. I don’t fancy it.
  • Option 3 – I choose the top 20 entries and publish them, and just bin the rest, never to be heard by the public.
  • Option 4 – Put all the entries on the website and those people who want to listen to every single one, can do it, and they can vote too.The most popular 20 (let’s say) will then be published in a single WISBOLEP episode for the second round of voting. The selection process will be based on a combination of the listener voting and my own judgement (which will probably be more or less the same I expect).

Again, some of you might say I’m overthinking this whole thing. But I’m just trying to do it properly and fairly.

I think I’m going to choose option 4, but as I said, let me know your thoughts. 

You might have an idea for an option 5 for example, so feel free to share that. 

But do bear in mind that I also have to limit the time and cost that is involved on my side for this.

For example, if your idea for Option 5 could be for me to do a YouTube live stream in which I play all the entries one by one, with some comments from me… well, that could be fun, but it would also mean me live streaming on YouTube for a lot more than 4 hours probably, and it’s rare that I ever get 4 free consecutive hours in my life these days! So, that would just not be practical from my side. [Do it at night!] No, sorry. I need my beauty sleep.


My name is Luke not Luck / look / Mr Luke / luke (lower case L) or Luke’s

I’ve been doing this for 11.5 years, nearly 700 episodes (a lot more in fact) and I’m still talking about how to spell my name (I remember saying this in episode 1 of the podcast).

People often spell my name Luck → but maybe it’s autocorrect!

Proofread your emails and comments before you send them! (advice for us all)

So this whole “Luck English Postcard” thing might just be a conspiracy by computers and phones that are “just trying to make the world a better place” by helping us with our spelling (and yes, “postcard” is often what people type when they mean podcast – maybe that’s because they think the word is postcard – it is the sort of word people learn in lower-level English classes, or it’s because your computer doesn’t have very good English and it’s “helpfully” autocorrecting podcast to postcard. I don’t know.)

Having said that, I remember many many times when I was actually called Luck, look, ruku or rook or whatever by learners from around the world that I have met, but again that’s probably because it’s hard to pronounce Luke, or people don’t realise that Luke is a name and they think my name is Luck. 

For example, if I was learning Chinese or Russian or any other language with words that look different to English I am sure I would make similar errors and worse probably. I do it in French. 

Basically, what I’m saying is I forgive you. But please do remember to proofread your emails and comments. ;)


Making Polite Requests

Another language point here with reference to people getting in touch with me: making requests.

People often request certain things from me. Like for example they’re very keen to hear me talk about a certain topic.

  • Luke, make an episode about Peaky Blinders.
  • Luke, do more videos.
  • Luke, publish an episode about Ricky Gervais.

Honestly, when I read that, probably in the queue at the supermarket or something, my first reaction is “no”. “No-one tells me what to do! … well, except maybe my daughter, and my wife, and my boss at work, and the government, and.. well ok fine, some people tell me what to do, but you get the point.”

Even though I would quite like to do an episode about Peaky Blinders, or Ricky Gervais and I like doing videos when I can. 

My first, stressed out, overloaded mind, trying to not catch COVID reaction is “no – don’t tell me what to do!”

I think this is just because of the way the request has been presented to me.

In most cases, when people request things from me, I am sure they are being very well-meaning and there is no malice behind it at all, quite the opposite. They’re showing their enthusiasm and it’s motivated by positive feelings. They like the podcast and would love to hear something about Peaky Blinders or whatever it is.

What I’m saying is, think about how you word your requests. 

Think of the difference between a request and an order (or an imperative).

Requests are polite (they should be), orders are not really polite. Orders are what the police do, for example. “Get in the back of the van!” 

I could get into the fine details and all the linguistic specifics, but this is not LEP Premium, so let’s just keep it simple.

Order / imperative

Make an episode about Ricky Gervais.

Even your boss at work doesn’t use imperatives.

Write this report and send it to me by 5pm Friday, and also come in to work on Sunday, we need you.” –> if you work in a horrible place with a boss who doesn’t care about your feelings even a little bit.

Usually bosses will at least sugarcoat their requests a little bit, to help the medicine go down.

If you could wrap up this report and ping it to me by end of play on Friday, that would be great, and I’m afraid you’re going to have to come in on Sunday – there’s nothing we can do about it – I’ll see if I can get you a day off later in the year maybe.

Request

Let’s consider how to turn an imperative into a simple and polite request.

Luke, make a new video with Amber and Paul.

You could add a “please” to that, because we all know that adding please makes it more polite, right? 

Luke, please make a new video with Amber and Paul.

That’s better, but adding please to an order isn’t enough. It is still an order, and it just sounds like you are a rich person giving commands to a member of staff or something. 

Also, adding thanks at the end makes it sound a bit dismissive and a little bit rude even. 

Luke, please reunite the Beatles on the podcast. Thanks.

Saying thanks for something before it’s been done, I think, sounds a bit pushy. It’s like assuming it’s going to be done.

We sometimes write “Thanks in advance” at the end of an email with a request, but it can still come across as a bit pushy. [Thinks: I need to do an online course about writing emails…]

The issue is with the structure. Any imperative structure still sounds quite rude even if you add lots of stuff at the start or end, because it is still an imperative. It’s still an order.

Luke, please consider making an episode about James Bond. [good, you’ve added “please consider” – a nice bit of hedging but you’re still ordering me to do it.]

Luke, if you have time, please consider making an episode about James Bond. [“If you have time” is a thoughtful thing to add, but again this is still an order.]

Both those things are better, but this is still not what I’m looking for.

What are you looking for Luke?

You need to make your request into a question. To cut a long story short I just recommend that you add “Could you” at the start and “please” at the end. That’s it. That’s probably enough, probably. Don’t forget the question mark.

Luke, could you make an episode about Ricky Gervais please? 

This is much better. It just comes across as much more polite and nice and I don’t feel like I’m being ordered to do something. I’m more willing to have an instantly positive response to that.

Even better would be a bit more hedging (adding things before or after the main statement), just to show more respect. 

You don’t have to go too far. 

Luke, your podcast is a work of genius unrivalled in all forms of art, culture and human endeavor, and I am certain that in your infinite wisdom have you have considered all possible topics for an episode of your esteemed podcast. Having said that, and I pose this most humble of requests to you with the deepest level of respect, sir, would it be at all possible if you could consider spending even a tiny speck of your most valuable time on the consideration of an episode devoted to the subject of Richard Gervais. I am certain that you would bring new insights and depth to this topic, and that all other commentary on it would pale in comparison to the profound work that you would undoubtedly produce.

That’s obviously too much.

But you could do this:

Hi Luke, thanks for your episodes. I particularly enjoy the ones about comedy, especially the one you did about Karl Pilkington. Could you do an episode about Ricky Gervais at some point, please? I’d really like to hear your thoughts on his stand up and TV shows. Don’t know if you’ve already considered that, but it would be really interesting to hear your thoughts.

Or, more simply – Luke, could you do an episode about Ricky Gervais please? 

I know online culture is to just put things in the simplest and quickest way possible, but let’s not abandon the pragmatics of politeness in the process.

This is not just me by the way – I’m not just ultrasensitive or anything – this is a cultural thing and I think it’s true across the English speaking world. 

Some of you might think that my comments here are waaaay too much and that it’s completely mad, unnecessary and over-sensitive to phrase your requests like this, but if you want my professional opinion I’d say → this is the right way to do it.

And that’s it. 

Just to recap. If you are requesting something from me, just add “Could you…” at the start and “please?” at the end. Nice one.


Inspiring message from Daniel ER on Facebook

Dear luke, [actually it should be Luke with a captal L :) ]

I´m not sure whether you will have time to read this comment but here it goes anyway.

Three years ago, I got a ticket to Australia. With no English at all, I was determined to have an amazing adventure, live in another country, and obviously, learn English.

To be honest, it was really hard at the beginning. I had to play music in the street to earn some cash and I felt bad when I couldn´t say what I thought to the kind people of Australia.

Six months went by like nothing so I grabbed my backpack and accordion and took a road trip towards the north of Australia (Queensland).

I could [was able to] get a job in a resort as maintenance and although I [‘ve] gotta say that Australian English “is a thing”, all of them helped with my English, they were really patient with me.

Most of the time I was sad: People speak too fast, where is that accent from? What do you mean by “smoko” mate? It was then when I found your podcast. I had lots of time to listen to Spotify while I was fixing something at the resort so I took advantage of that. This really helped me a lot, I couldn´t be more grateful. I won´t forget episode 297 called “be positive” as I listened to it just on time, just when I was feeling that this fight wasn´t worth it.

Now, being fully aware that my English is not the best one, it is at least functional and that´s the point of all this, isn´t it? We must keep improving but at the end of the day you should be nicer to yourself, I mean that we have to recognize the achievements done so far.

I am back in my country (Chile) and I could [was able to] get an amazing job in which I speak English all day long, and you don´t know how awesome that is to me.

I honestly believe that maybe you are not fully aware of what do you actually do… you help people to achieve their dreams so be proud of all your efforts because we – your listeners- will be eternally grateful.

If someone out there is reading this comment and you are feeling frustrated and sad, just keep going! You can do this, it is not impossible and you have everything you need to learn this beautiful language. The key, in my opinion, you must be willing to go through the tough and uncomfortable moments that are on this path. You will remember them since they are the ones that teach us most. (quite sure I wrote that badly hahaha)

Thanks a lot for everything and I´ll certainly be listening to the podcast.

A huge hug from Chile.

Daniel — in Santiago, Chile.


www.teacherluke.co.uk/premiuminfo

I’m working on Premium content which will arrive soon. This will be audio premium episodes and hopefully some pronunciation videos too. 


SONG – Fly me to the moon

Lyrics & Guitar Chords

tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/frank-sinatra/fly-me-to-the-moon-chords-335196

686. Christian from Canguro English

A conversation with YouTube English teacher Christian Saunders from Canguro English about the realities of learning and teaching English, motivation and goal-setting in language learning, Paul McCartney recording an album in his kitchen and plenty more. Video version also available on YouTube.

Audio Version (with extra content)

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LEP Premium Promo

Hello folks, let me tell you about LEP Premium. There’s a thing called LEP Premium and it’s my paid subscription service. In premium episodes I do my best to help you expand your vocabulary, understand grammar and improve your pronunciation. I publish the episodes on my website and in the LEP App. If you’d like to sign up or just get more information go to www.teacherluke.co.uk/premiuminfo

Introduction Transcript

Hello listeners,

In this episode you can hear me having a conversation with Christian from Canguro English. 

Do you know about Canguro English? Some of you will already be aware of it. 

Canguro English is a YouTube channel, it’s an Instagram account, it’s a Facebook page, it’s a Twitter account and it’s also an audio podcast, and it’s all the work of Christian Saunders, an English teacher who originally comes from Australia but now lives and works in Spain. 

By the way, the “Canguro” part is spelled c a n g u r o – and it’s spelled like that because it is pronounced exactly the same as the word kangaroo when pronounced in Christian’s Aussie accent, the kangaroo of course being one of the symbols of Australia (Do you know what a kangaroo is? It’s that animal that has a long tail, large hind legs and a pouch on its belly. They jump around the Australian outback and in fact can only be found in Australia). Say kangaroo in an Aussie accent and it sounds like it should be spelled c a n g u r o.

I’ve been aware of Christian and his work for a few years now as his videos often pop up in my suggested videos section on YouTube. Christian teaches English in his videos like many other YouTube English teachers, but over the last few years he has focused on delivering messages about changing the way we learn and teach languages, the importance of taking responsibility for your own language learning, and generally exploring the psychology and philosophy of learning other languages, especially English.

When I see Christian’s videos, I’m always struck by how passionate he is about his work, how he manages to communicate quite complex ideas using simple language in a clear and engaging manner, his use of metaphors and visual demonstrations and a generally thoughtful and generous approach to helping people not only learn English, but to think about how they approach the learning of English.

Then recently Christian did an event on social media in order to raise money for educational charity. Some of you might have seen it. The video involved him reading every single word from a copy of the Merriam-Webster dictionary, live on YouTube, which is actually much harder than it sounds. 

He sat in front of the camera with the dictionary in front of him and proceeded to read each word one by one, and he continued doing it for 18 solid hours. You can find the video on YouTube.

I watched some of it and it was impressive – not just because it was for a good cause but because it seemed so tough! 

After 10 hours or something he seemed to be totally exhausted! His eyes were hurting, his face was hurting, his brain was hurting! He must have been going mad sitting in front of that huge tome with so many thousands of words ahead of him, and the whole time there were people in the comment section encouraging him, cheering him on and donating money to the educational charity he was promoting – the aim being to raise $50,000 to go towards the building of a school for poor children. 

After watching Christian for a whileI went to bed, and when I woke up early the next morning, he was still going!

I decided there and then that it was about time I talked to him on my podcast, just because I wanted to know what it was like for him, to let him explain why he was doing it, and also to get stuck into a wider conversation about lots of other things, and that’s what you’re going to hear. I sort of had a feeling that we’d get on quite well and that we’d have plenty to talk about, and I wasn’t wrong as you’ll hear in our chat.

This was a long conversation but it went by really quickly and it was really enjoyable to actually talk to Christian properly after having seen his thought provoking videos on YouTube. 

Our conversation covers things like, catching COVID-19, the charity dictionary-reading marathon, Christian’s story of moving to Spain and renovating an old barn into a home for him and his family, what it’s like being an English teacher in classrooms and also a content creator for learners of English online, motivation in language learning, my personal situation learning French, Christian’s speaking style, how Barack Obama speaks, Paul McCartney recording an album in his kitchen and loads of other things too. 

I’m very happy that I spoke to Christian because the conversation you’re about to hear does contain some really important principles about language learning – including many big conclusions that both Christian and I have reached after being involved in language teaching and learning for many years. Listen carefully – there is definitely some good wisdom to be picked up from this (I hope so anyway) and at the very least, it’s nice to just get to know Christian in a bit more detail.

You should know that there is a YouTube video version of this conversation in which you can see both Christian and me talking to each other, so head over to my YouTube channel “Luke’s English Podcast” on YouTube to find it, and don’t forget to like and subscribe when you do that (that’s right “smash that like button” guys). You will also find the YouTube video of this conversation embedded on the page for this episode on my website.

That’s it for my introduction. I’ll talk to you again briefly at the end of this episode. But now I will let you get stuck into this conversation with Christian from Canguro English, and here we go.


Ending Transcript

So, that was Christian from Canguro English. Come on, that was good wasn’t it? I hope you agree that there were plenty of solid bits of insight about language learning there, from two teachers who’ve been working for years to actually help people learn English. 

Thank you again to Christian for talking to us and for giving his sincere and thoughtful comments on all the stuff that I asked him about.

Remember, there is a video version of this episode and you’ll find it on YouTube – Luke’s English Podcast is the channel name. Don’t forget to like and subscribe, ok guys. Smash that like button, etc. Seriously though, why not watch the video now that you’ve heard the audio. It could be a good way to reinforce what you’ve heard and there’s a good chance you’ll understand a lot more the second time round. My episodes are often long and have a lot in them, so listening or watching more than once is definitely worthwhile, if you can find the time to do it.

Also, check out Canguro English on YouTube. Have a look at his dictionary challenge if you want to see a man suffering! Otherwise, have a look at the various videos he has made about the psychology of learning English and more.

A quick note about WISBOLEP – I am working on the next part of that, so stay tuned and watch this space.

Also, I’m working on premium content which should be coming soon, but otherwise there’s a large library of episodes there for you to work with, including pronunciation drills which I think might be some of the most valuable of the premium episodes. Teacherluke.co.uk/premiuminfo 

Finally, I feel inspired to sing a song with my guitar. 

The tune I’m going to do is called Wonderful World – not the Louis Armstrong one, although that is lovely. This is the one by Sam Cooke and it is dedicated to my lovely wife who has more patience than I gave her credit for in this episode :)

You’ll find the chords and lyrics on the page for this episode if you’d like to sing along or learn it for yourself.

Wonderful World by Sam Cooke (Lyrics and guitar chords)

tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab/sam-cooke/wonderful-world-chords-258832

685. Raising Bilingual Children [1] Alex and his daughter Alice, in Moscow

An episode exploring the subject of how to raise a child to speak English. I speak to Alex, an English teacher from Moscow about how he has been speaking exclusively in English to his 4-year-old daughter Alice since she was born. Let’s find out how it’s going.

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Introduction Transcript

Hello listeners,

Just in case you don’t know. My name is Luke and this is my podcast for learners of English all around the world. Welcome. 

Just a reminder at the start here that this podcast is made possible thanks to donations from listeners and the paid premium subscription that you can sign up for in order to get access to over 100 episodes all devoted to helping you improve your grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. The library is growing all the time as I publish new premium stuff, and I am currently working on some new episodes which I hope to record and publish soon. Being a Premium LEPster means you get access to all that content, as well as the free stuff, and it also means that you support this whole project too. To get all the information, including the very reasonable prices just go to teacherluke.co.uk/premiuminfo

One other thing – there’s a big vote coming up, a very important election in which one person is going to be chosen and it’s all very tense and historic – everyone’s talking about it – yes that’s right I’m referring to the WISBOLEP competition on LEP (what else?) I just wanted to mention this because people have been asking about it. The competition is closed now and I am working on the next stage of it, which will be to let you hear all the competition entries and then let you vote for your favourites, then based on the results of that vote, I’ll choose a LEPster to be interviewed on the podcast. I can tell you that there have been lots of strong entries so it will be difficult to choose just one person, but that’s what we have to do. So, stay tuned to LEP to hear an episode with everyone’s 2 minute speeches in which they try to convince you to pick them for LEP. That’s coming soon, when I’ve worked out how to manage it all. It’s coming in any case. Right, that’s that then, and now it’s time to start this episode properly, and here is the jingle!

JingleYou’re listening to Luke’s English Podcast, for more information visit teacherluke.co.uk

Hello and welcome back to the podcast everyone. 

This is the first in a series of episodes called Raising Bilingual Children, and it is about exactly that – the topic of bringing up children to speak several languages, or more specifically bringing up children who speak English as well as another language.

Ever since my daughter was born nearly 3 years ago I have been meaning to talk about the topic of raising bilingual children, or at least raising children who speak English fluently.

My podcast is mainly here to help my listeners improve their English, but a lot of you out there have kids and naturally your thoughts turn to them and their English. 

I have had lots of requests from listeners asking me to talk about this topic, so that’s why this series exists, this being the first proper episode on the topic. I’m not sure how often I’ll be doing these, but it’s a topic I plan to return to in various ways in the future. 

Maybe you have children and you want them to speak fluent English as well as another language. This is for you if that is the case. Maybe you don’t have children yet, but you might in the future, in which case you are thinking about how to help your future children learn English. We know that starting early is so important in language development. So, it’s certainly useful to have an awareness of this topic so you can do the right things when children come into your life.

Or maybe for you, having children is not a concern, because you’re not going to have children or you’ve already done it, but I still hope this will be interesting for you, because ultimately it is all about learning English and certain essential principles related to doing that. 

The topic of raising bilingual children is massive. I am by no means an expert on this specifically, although it’s something I’ve been reading about, thinking about, talking about and also I’ve been doing it myself because I am raising a bilingual child, or hoping to, anyway. 

As you may know, I live in France, and I have a young daughter – she’s nearly 3. My wife is French and and we are doing our best to make sure that our daughter learns to use both French and English with ease and confidence. So, I have experience in this area. But I haven’t done a masters degree in this topic or anything like that. My qualifications and experience are in teaching English to adults mainly. So I’m learning about it myself too.

It’s a complex topic.

There are big questions that come up when you start to talk about bilingualism in children, like “What is bilingualism exactly?”, “How do we define “bilingual?” “What is a native speaker?”, “How do children acquire languages? And is this different to the way adults do it?” and more… “What are the standards that we can realistically expect from children who aren’t living in an English speaking country and whose parents aren’t native English speakers?”

Also there are the many combinations of factors involved – many different situations that make it quite hard to get a proper grip on the topic. 

For example, (and let’s just let’s use France as an example here, because that’s where I live,  but you could replace France with any other country and this will still work)

Examples of Different situations

These different situations might require slightly different approaches or they might involve different challenges for parents. 

  • One parent is French, the other is a native English speaker, they live in France. (like my situation) 
  • One parent is French, the other is a native English speaker, they live in England.
  • Both parents are French, neither is a native speaker of English, but they live in England, the child is at school in English.
  • Both parents are English, both are native speakers, but they live in France and the child goes to school in French.
  • This is the holy grail: Both parents are French, neither is a native speaker of English, they live in France and the child is going to school in French.
  • Or similarly, one parent is French and let’s say the other is Korean, neither is a native speaker of English, and they live in Brazil and their child is going to school in Brazilian Portugese. 

There are probably more possible combinations, and also there are other factors to take into account, like whether there is a wider community that exists in the target language (like grandparents who speak English that live nearby) or whether the child is going to a “bilingual school” (and there are various versions of that) or a monolingual school (only in English).

The more you think about the possible combinations, the more complex it gets! Especially from my point of view as I want to cover all the bases.

Also, there are different approaches you can take.

  • One parent, one language. 
  • English in the home, another language outside.
  • English at the weekend and another language during the week. 

Lots of combinations.

But, without getting too academic about it, I think one of the best ways to explore this subject is just to talk to people in various situations who are raising their children to speak English or who have done it, and just find out as much as possible about them. 

Actually there are loads of people I can talk to about this, including my wife, our friends like Amber for example – who lives in France and has two children now, some of my colleagues at the British Council whose job it is to teach English to children and a lot of LEPsters who have success stories to share.

Alex Suvorov and his daughter Alice (4 years old)

This brings me to this episode in which I am talking to a long-term LEPster Alex Suvorov, and his 4-year-old daughter Alice.

I have been meaning to talk to Alex on the podcast about this topic for quite a long time now. 

As you’ll hear, Alex fits into the category of a non-native speaker in a non-English speaking country (I mean one where English is not the first language) who has been raising his child to speak English.

There’s a lot to unpack here, but basically I want to find out firstly how Alex got his English up to its current level, and then talk about his daughter’s English. That’s it, basically.

Hopefully we can shed some light on this whole subject and maybe give you some inspiration or food for thought.

At the beginning of the conversation Alex is joined by Alice, and you’ll be able to hear her speaking a little bit, but after a few minutes she goes into the other room and it’s just Alex and me, but at the end you will be able to hear a short recording that Alex made of him speaking to Alice, which will give you a little idea of what her English is really like.

So, without any further ado, let’s go.


Ending

So that was my conversation with Alex Suvorov, about his approach to giving his daughter a headstart in English. I’d like to say thanks to Alex and his daughter Alice. 

Now, it would be interesting to hear a bit more from Alice so I’m now going to play a quick recording that Alex & his daughter made together, so you can hear her speaking in English. 

This is about 5 minutes long and you’ll hear Alex basically trying to get Alice to show us her English, which is quite hard, because as you might know, it can be quite difficult to get little children to cooperate sometimes, but if you listen carefully you can hear Alice responding to Alex’s questions and prompts and saying little comments here and there.

Bear in mind that she is only 4 years old. So in terms of her English we’re not looking for Dame Judy Dench here – you’re never going to get spectacular and fully formed language from a child of that age, in any language. So don’t expect to hear Amber Minogue here. THat’s not what we’re looking for.

What we are looking for is the ease with which she speaks in English. Listen out for how comfortable she is speaking English. Actually, I don’t hear any grammar or vocabulary errors from Alice but she might be a bit hesitant  or shy – because 4 year old children often are and Alice knew she was being recorded here. Her accent might sound a bit Russian, but as we said near the end of the conversation, for a 4 year old the main thing is that sense of confidence and comfort in English – and I think Alice has that. Specific points of pronunciation can be worked on later. But a foundation of comfort, confidence, fluency and the feeling that English is your own language combined with an instinctive sense of grammar and vocabulary are the most important things you can give a child. I think you can hear that from Alice. 

Anyway, let’s listen…

Listen to Alex and Alice talking…

So that was Alex and Alice.

Some of you will be desperate to say that she has a Russian accent, and maybe she does a bit, but like we said before, that’s fine. We’re not looking for perfection here. We are looking for a baseline or foundation of comfort in English, and I think it’s fair to say that Alice has got that. You heard her producing correct grammar, fairly complex little chunks of English, decent and other things might come later, like her accent, especially if she continues to listen to English from things like cartoons, films, and also audiobooks and so on.

But the main advantage that little Alice has got is that English is part of her life. 

Is Alice “bilingual” – well that depends on how you define bilingualism. 

As Alex said, he estimates her vocabulary to be about 20% behind that of a native speaker of her age. That’s great. Remember: Connection, not perfection. For those of you who cannot get over the fact that Alice still sounds a bit Russian, I would ask you this – Is Alex wasting his time? Would it be better for Alice if her father only spoke Russian to her? Is it realistic to expect Alice to speak like a native speaker, like mini Amber Minogue? Is Alice’s English 20% worse than a native speaker, or is it perhaps 80% better than a child who only ever speaks Russian?

Food for thought there.

Of course it is about personal choice. 

But still, it is worth thinking about.

If you are also raising your child in English to some extent, do get in touch and tell us about your experiences in the comment section of this episode. We’d like to know what you think and what you are doing, including your doubts too.

Thanks again to Alex for talking to us and sharing his story. 

You can find Alex on Instagram by the way, and everything he posts is in English, so check it out. 

www.instagram.com/suvorovalexander/

And that website for checking your vocabulary – www.testyourvocab.com

The website’s test is fairly reliable I would say, if you answer it honestly. It’s all based on an academic research project and every time you take the test the data gets added to their database, and the database is there to help with the academic study. Anyway, to cut a long story short, it seems quite reliable, but that’s the best I can say.

I just took the test. It took about 5 minutes. Would you like to know how many words I know? 

Well, apparently I know 31,200 words which is ever so slightly above average for a native speaker of English in my age group. So, this means I am entirely normal, or a tiny amount above normal, which is good to know. So, my English appears to be a very good sample of what the average British person knows, which is quite reassuring.

Do you have a story of raising a bilingual child that you’d like to share? Tell us about it in the comment section below!

684. Chasing the Tangent Train with Elspeth Graty

A conversation with English-teaching stand-up comedian Elspeth Graty, which covers lots of different topics including Elspeth’s background in England, teaching English, cultural differences, “French-bashing”, old-fashioned telephones and The Tellytubbies. Enjoy!

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There are now well over 100 audio and video episodes in the premium archive and you can access them all, plus new ones that are coming. That’s what you get when you become a premium lepster. To get all the information, including how it works and exactly how wonderfully reasonable the prices are – go to www.teacherluke.co.uk/premiuminfo

Introduction Transcript

Hello listeners,

How are you today? Doing alright all things considered? I do hope you’re managing to keep calm and carry on during this weird and difficult period of history that we are all experiencing.

Shall we start the episode? OK.

Here’s the second in a series of interviews I’ve been doing lately featuring people I’ve been meaning to talk to on the podcast for quite a while (quite a while — is that a short time or a long time? Quick answer: It means a long time.)

I just wanted to record natural conversations with some new guests so you can hear their voices, their stories, their thoughts so you can notice bits of language and practise your English listening as usual.

The first of these recent interviews was with Marie Connolly from Australia, which was the last episode of course. I hope you all enjoyed it.

This conversation is with a friend of mine called Elspeth who is from England.

Elspeth is an English teacher and she also does stand-up comedy in the evenings, which is how we met each other. Yep, she’s another English-teaching comedian friend of mine.

Explaining this episode’s title

The title of this episode is “Chasing the Tangent Train with Elspeth”.

The title is just a metaphor – please don’t expect a conversation about train travel!

It’s just a metaphor to explain the fact that this conversation is full of tangents and I hope you can keep up with it. In fact, it’s mainly tangents.

What is “a tangent”?
Long term listeners should know this, but plenty of people won’t know so let me explain.

In a conversation, a tangent is when the topic changes to something quite different and seemingly not related to the main point of that conversation.

It’s when you digress from the main point, go away from the main point or get sidetracked.

“To go off on a tangent”

There are lots of tangents in this conversation. So, for the title of the episode, I was trying to think of a way to describe the experience that you will have of just following the changes in direction in a conversation and seeing where it goes.

I ended up with “chasing the train”, which is not actually an expression you will find in the dictionary – I made it up.

Let’s imagine, then, that this conversation is a train and it’s going down the tracks and every now and then it switches to new tracks and continues for a while, then it switches to another new track and then does it again, and again and so on. Can you keep up with the train? I think you get the idea.

My overall aim for this interview was mainly to get to know Elspeth in more depth and to capture an authentic conversation to help you learn English. That is the destination for this train journey. But as I said, the topics move around a bit, which is totally normal in a conversation. Just ask David Crystal, he wrote a book all about it and he’s a professor and definitely knows what he’s talking about.

What I’m getting at is that this might be hard for you to follow – depending on your level of English.

So you’ll have to focus.

Nevertheless, I can help you keep up with this if I let you know what the main changes will be in advance.

So I’m now going to give you a quick overview of the main changes in topic in this chat.

The main points in this conversation are, thus: (these aren’t spoilers)

We talk about

  • Where Elspeth comes from originally, and how her family moved around parts of England
  • Being the daughter of a vicar (that’s her, not me obviously) A vicar is a priest in the Anglican church – the church of England. The cliche of the typical English vicar is that they wear black with a little white collar, they’re often softly-spoken grey haired men with glasses who ride bicycles around their parish and love drinking tea, eating cake and generally worshipping god.
  • Our accents, which are not strongly affected by the region where we grew up (we actually come from the same general area in England)
  • Having harvest festivals at church when we were children
  • Then there’s a big, random tangent → Remembering the old dial telephones we had in our houses when we were children. Remember them? You had to put your finger in and turn numbers around a dial, and it went went kkkkkkkkk. You don’t remember? That must be because you’re young, or you’re old and you’ve lost your memory.
  • Services you could get on the old analogue telephones, like the operator (a person who you could speak to and who would deal with your telephone-related enquiries) and the talking clock (a recorded voice that was constantly telling the time and you could call a number and listen to it)
  • Coventry Cathedral in Coventry, which was almost destroyed during World War 2 but was rebuilt and is now definitely worth a visit if you’re in the city
  • Elspeth’s life in France, her French, and whether or not she feels French or English after living here for quite a long time
  • Some of the cultural differences between England and France that frustrate us a bit, like the usual things – being punctual, walking down the street and in particular, queueing – standing in line to wait for things in public
  • Teaching English to young engineers, and the challenges that French students have when learning English
  • Some of Elspeth’s experiences of learning French
  • How Elspeth can behave slightly differently in English and in French, especially when doing stand-up comedy in the two languages
  • Elspeth’s thoughts on her own clothing choices and fashion sense, and how people react to it, especially the Nike Air Max trainers that she wears
  • Teaching English online using Zoom – and what that is like
  • Doing stand-up (going on stage and telling people jokes and stories to make them laugh) and Elspeth’s favourite and least favourite things about doing that
    Where her inspiration for comedy material comes from and “flow activities” or being in a “flow state
  • If there is a connection between stand-up and English teaching
  • A little story about The Tellytubbies that Elspeth uses in her English lessons, which makes the students laugh (The Tellytubbies is a children’s TV show) The story involves The Tellytubbies, William Shakespeare, the county of Warwickshire in England and April Fool’s Day. Basically, the county council of Warwickshire played an April fool’s trick on the people of Warwickshire, and it involved The Tellytubbies and Shakespeare, and people didn’t like it.
  • Why English people get into rages – like road rage, or trolly rage in the supermarket
  • The concept of French-bashing (criticising or making fun of the French and French culture) and why Parisians seem to complain about each other’s behaviour quite a lot (Parisians are people living in Paris)
  • How people’s behaviour in public in Paris compares to behaviour in the UK and in Tokyo
  • Things we love about France – because there’s a lot to love about this country too
  • Finally, a bit at the end where we both conclude that Paul Taylor is basically a cake – a delicious British cake.

Actually, reading out that list – it doesn’t seem like there are that many tangents, but there are tangents ok? What I’ve just given you there is the main flow of the conversation.

Right. Now that you have an overview of the track layout, let’s get this train rolling.

Let’s just get started. Here is my conversation with Elspeth, and here we go.


Luke’s fuddy-duddy slippers (a Christmas present from a couple of years ago)

Ending Transcript

Right, so that was my conversation with Elspeth. I enjoyed it a lot, especially because we have quite a lot in common, not least because we are from the same neck of the woods (a local area where someone lives).

How did you get on? Did you manage to follow it ok? Well, you must have done, because you made it. You’ve caught up with the train. You can have a rest now. Well done for keeping up.

I expect you’re getting out your phone now. If that’s what you’re doing, open up Instagram on your phone and check out Elspeth’s page, which is @elslostinfrance which I now realise would have been the perfect name for this episode, right?

Elspeth on Instagram

www.instagram.com/elslostinfrance/

I could do a lot of rambling on now, about all sorts of things, like what’s been going on and the WISBOLEP competition (which is now closed by the way – no more entries please. The deadline has passed, unless maybe you’re in a part of the world where it is still the 15th October – in which case, you have until midnight).

I’ve received loads of entries and let me tell you – it is going to be difficult to choose just one winner. There are so many really interesting recordings and stories of how people learned English and all kids of other things. It will be hard to pick just one person. Also I’m now wondering how I’m going to manage the whole thing. I’ve had nearly 90 entries. I don’t know why I didn’t expect to get so many.
Each entry is about two minutes long and so – 180 minutes, even without my comments (and I really want to make even very short comments).

Shall I play them all on the podcast? That’s a lot, isn’t it?

I think the best way to do it might be to make a YouTube video of all the audio (if that makes sense) and then I can add time stamps for each person, which will make it much easier for everyone to find each recording.

In any case, I will find a way to manage this. It could take a while though, so be patient.

I do want to re-state that it has been amazing listening to all the recording (I’ve had brief listens to most of the recordings sent). There are some awesome people in my audience. I just want to give a shout out to anyone who sent in a recording. Well done for plucking up the courage to do that. The competition is going to be a bit of a celebration of my audience from around the world.

Not much more to add here, except the usual mention of LEP Premium which you can find out more about by going to www.teacherluke.co.uk/premiuminfo I’ve been getting some very positive feedback about it. There are now over 100 episodes of LEPP now in audio and video form. Check it out to see what you’ve been missing.

I’ll be back again soon with another episode, perhaps one in which I just ramble on about all the stuff that I’ve been meaning to say on the podcast for a while, a few listener emails, some songs perhaps and more…

Let me say thank you again to Elspeth for her contribution to this episode. Thank you Elspeth.

Everyone: Hang in there. Keep your chin up.

Hey, do you want some anti-covid funk music to cheer you up? (Yeah)

OK. This is something that I recorded this morning. I probably should have been doing some work but after dropping off my daughter at school I suddenly felt compelled to play some bass, and one thing led to another and I ended up recording a little 2-minute funk groove. The drums are from a youtuber called Dimitri Fantini (link on the episode page). I needed a 90bpm 16-beat funk groove and he delivered. Credit to Dimitri for the drum track. I’ve added bass using my Mexican-made Fender P-Bass, some rhythm guitar with my Fender Stratocaster (also made in Mexico) as well as some string sounds which are from my Yamaha P-45 electric piano.

I called the track Funk in the Kitchen, because it’s supposed to make you dance in your kitchen, or indeed in any other location.

Brace yourselves – music is coming… In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, let the funk commence…

Thanks for listening… Speak to you again soon… Bye!!