Category Archives: Conversation

881. The first non-native speaker to read the UK TV news (with Barbara Serra)

Barbara Serra is an award-winning Italian journalist who has spent much of her career reading the news in the UK on various high-profile well-established English language news networks including the BBC, Channel 5, Al Jazeera English and Sky News. Barbara has quite a specific relationship with the English language. We talk about learning English, challenges in her career, and the relationship between accent and identity.

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Intro Transcript

Hello listeners, today on the podcast I am talking to Barbara Serra, the Italian journalist who reads the news on television in the UK. She’s a very interesting guest and has lots of interesting things to say about the way her identity and career have been shaped by her relationship to the English language. 

We’re going to talk about reading the news in the UK when you sound like a foreigner, lots of questions around identity and accent, and all sorts of other things that Barbara has experienced in her time as a broadcast journalist. I think you will find it very interesting as a learner of English looking to improve your English as much as possible in different contexts, both personal and professional. 

LEPster meet-up in Da Nang Vietnam

Gordon’s Pizza (in An Thuong area) on Friday 17th May from 9pm.

Send Zdenek an email if you’re interested – teacherzdenek@gmail.com

Barbara Serra is an award-winning Italian journalist who has spent much of her career reading the news in the UK on various high-profile well-established English language news networks including the BBC, Channel 5, Al Jazeera English and Sky News. 

Barbara has quite a specific relationship with English. It’s her dominant language but not her native language. She has a certain accent, which does place her outside the UK somehow. So how has this affected her career as a news reader and reporter? 

Broadcast journalism is associated with a certain model of spoken English – in the UK that would be what is often called BBC English, and traditionally the role of newsreader has been synonymous with that kind of high-level, high-status form of spoken English. 

So what has Barbara’s experience been? 

What is the story of her English? 

How did she get the point where she was ready to do this job? What kind of challenges has she faced while reading the news in the UK? 

And what does this all tell us about learning English, what it means to improve your accent, the relationship between accent and identity, the definition of “native” and “non-native speaker”, the status of different English accents in the English speaking world?

Let’s get into it.


LINKS

👉 Barbara’s email newsletter “News with a foreign accent” https://barbaraserra.substack.com/

👉 Barbara’s website with course info https://www.barbaraserra.info/

Luke on a couple of other shows recently

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878. From Learning to Teaching and Beyond (with Elena Mutonono)

These days Elena Mutonono is an experienced business coach who helps online English teachers to gain independence and control over their own careers, but Elena’s journey started as a learner of English herself. In this conversation I ask Elena about how she learned English, making the step to becoming an English teacher, then teacher trainer and what challenges online English teachers face when trying to work in a crowded and demanding job market.

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https://youtu.be/Sp-1fX1Q15I

Links

Elena’s website https://www.elenamutonono.com/

Elena’s Instagram https://www.instagram.com/elenamutonono/

Elena’s podcast https://www.elenamutonono.com/podcast/

869. Working at UNESCO | English in International Diplomacy

In international diplomacy, “communication is everything”. This is the main point of this conversation, in which I talk to my friend who works for the UK delegation at UNESCO in Paris. We discuss the work that UNESCO does, and the various communication challenges involved in working together with representatives from countries all around the world, including the collaborative writing of official documents where the use of a single comma can be debated for hours, and the meetings and conversations in which cultural sensitivity and good-will are essential elements for success. Also includes some communication idioms and guitar playing near the end of the episode.

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Introduction Transcript

My guest today is my friend who works at UNESCO. 

UNESCO stands for The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (Wikipedia)

It is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) which has the aim of promoting world peace and security through international cooperation in education, arts, sciences and culture. 

Perhaps the most famous thing they do is to protect certain world heritage sites, but that is only one of the things that they are involved in.

My friend works there and in this episode you’ll hear us talking about his work and about communication in the context of international diplomacy.

This is quite complex stuff actually. 

Normally in these situations, when I’m publishing an episode like this, I have to make certain decisions about what to say in the introduction.

How much should I explain in advance? 

What kind of support should I give to my audience before you listen?

People listening to my podcast have varying levels of English. Rather than slowing down and stopping to explain every word, I want to give you a conversation at natural speed, but explaining some context at the start can really help a lot of people. It’s not just because of English. It’s also just a question of general knowledge too.

Before I met M__, I didn’t really know a lot about what UNESCO did, and honestly, I think most people probably find it a little bit of a mystery. 

So I have decided to explain one or two things here, so you are properly placed to understand all of this and therefore enjoy it and benefit most from it.

Of course I don’t want to say too much or repeat myself or anything, so I’ve written this introduction in advance to try and keep me focused, to be informative but also efficient, and then you can just get stuck into the conversation with my guest.

M__ works for the UK delegation at UNESCO, which has its headquarters in Paris by the way. The word “delegation” comes up a few times (also the word “delegate”) and that will be explained.

UNESCO HQ is in Paris – I did stand-up there once, which was weird! I was invited as part of a festival in 2019 called Paris Talks. It was a bit like a series of TED Talks, all of them serious – about the future. 

***Luke talks spontaneously for a couple of minutes about doing stand-up comedy at the UNESCO HQ in Paris***

Whenever I chat to M__, if we have a drink together or something, I am always really curious about his work and I find it really fascinating. Hopefully it’ll be fascinating for you too.

So, we’re going to talk about the work that UNESCO does and the way the organisation works, but also about the different forms of communication that happen there, and this, for me as an English teacher, is perhaps the most interesting thing about it.

Imagine, nearly every nation in the world collaborating together at a government level on very important projects. This of course includes nation states which have different relations with each other, some friendly, some antagonistic. 

Also, you’re dealing with often vastly different cultures with different communication styles and values. But you’ve got to try to work together with these different groups towards a common goal.

This involves communication at a very high level – international diplomacy. What does it take to cross these barriers of culture, politics, economics, at a state level? 

Diplomatic communication is a huge part of it and working in this context requires a variety of different types of communication skills. 

There’s persuasion, there’s negotiation, there’s showing respect, there’s using pressure, there’s giving compliments and expressing gratitude and it can happen in writing and in spoken English too at various levels of formality.

Imagine these different communication contexts:

  • Huge meetings with representatives from countries all around the world, sitting at tables with little flags on them and everyone attempting to work together to agree on certain big decisions. Sometimes they don’t want to do the same thing. There are groups that are friendly, and groups that have their differences.
  • The collaborative writing of very formal documents in those big meetings. These are documents which UNESCO issues – a bit like laws passed by a government (although UNESCO doesn’t actually make laws)
  • Smaller, less formal meetings in which different delegations attempt to build support for their proposals, with negotiations and persuasion.
  • Individual one on one conversations or conversations in small groups, between the more formal meetings, where representatives might stand up and chat together perhaps over coffee and a softer form of persuasion or negotiation occurs, and the building of relationships and alliances.
  • And the work of interpreters – who sit in other rooms, looking through windows, with headsets on, having to simultaneously translate what is being said in these important meetings from one language to another, and the quick decisions they have to make about how exactly they should word things without subtly changing the tone of what is being said. Interpreters are a huge part of this. Maybe some of you listening are considering becoming an interpreter, or maybe you already are.

How is language used in these different situations? How does the language change?

We’re talking about different levels of formality, and the pragmatics of diplomacy at this high level.

Also, what does UNESCO do exactly? How does it actually work? What does M__ actually do on a daily basis?

These are the things I was very interested in capturing in this conversation.

Before we start, here are a few more details.

Here’s some more information from Wikipedia.

UNESCO was founded in 1945 and its founding mission, which was shaped by the events of World War II, is to advance peace, sustainable development and human rights by facilitating collaboration and dialogue among nations.[10] 

It pursues this objective through five major programme areas: education, natural sciences, social/human sciences, culture and communication/information.

What does it actually do? I find this quite hard to work out!

  • It assists in the translation and dissemination of world literature – making sure the best works of literature are available to be read by everyone, and not just in their countries of origin.
  • It works to bridge the worldwide digital divide (attempting to reduce disparities between developed and developing countries in terms of what technologies are available to people)
  • It creates inclusive knowledge societies through information and communication. By Knowledge Societies, UNESCO means societies in which people have the capabilities not just to acquire information but also to transform it into knowledge and understanding, which empowers them to enhance their livelihoods and contribute to the social and economic development of their societies. UNESCO has launched several initiatives and global movements, such as Education For All.

How does it actually do these things? As far as I can tell, they create what M__ calls “standard setting documents”. 

Those are not laws because they are not legally binding but they are similar to laws because they set out guidelines on what should or should not be done. 

Governments in the member states can use these standard setting documents to help them form policies and laws, in line with UNESCO’s overall objectives.

So they’re not binding legislation but these UNESCO documents are still very formally written. 

M__ tells us about how this is done, at the various stages, referring to different communication contexts in the process.

This all might sound a bit dry in my descriptions, but just let me take you back to that image of the large meeting room at UNESCO with all these representatives or delegates from the different countries. Imagine you are actually there. 

Imagine having to open one of those big meetings. Imagine the mood in the room as you look out and see these different faces representing the different nations. Imagine the tone you would have to use in your speech, the specific wording, to gain their attention and their respect, to speak with the relevant level of importance, to try to create a feeling of goodwill, to make the different delegations feel respected, and then to attempt to unite these different nations with competing interests and worldviews.

Imagine having a specific project, and trying to get it off the ground – arranging smaller meetings to try to build alliances. Taking the time to chat one on one with people between meetings, drafting emails with proposals, and finally trying to edit formal documentation in collaboration with other delegates in huge writing sessions that can last days.

That’s the world we’re talking about here and specific things about how we have to adapt our language in these situations.

Several other things

  1. My friend is also a really good guitarist, and so at the end of this conversation we couldn’t help but turn our attention to the guitars in my podcastle. He plays one of my guitars and we talk about guitars. So, we do move from international diplomacy to guitars. If you want to hear him play, just stick around until the end of the conversation.
  2. Background noise. There was a guy in the corridor outside my podcast room doing some work – sanding a wall. So, apologies – you’ll hear the sounds of normal life bleeding into the recording slightly. I think it’s not too bad, but if you hear some noise and wonder what it is, it’s a guy sanding a wall outside.

Right, so without any further ado let’s get started. The first thing you’ll hear now is me saying that often the most difficult part of podcasting is the very beginning of a recording, and M__ gives me a good bit of advice which he has learned from his work at UNESCO.

So, let’s now join the conversation at that point. I’ll chat to you a bit at the end.


Communication Idioms (explained at the end)

  • To beat around the bush
  • To talk at cross purposes
  • To grab/get the wrong end of the stick
  • To hit the nail on the head
  • It strikes a different chord in people’s minds (if you speak from the heart)
  • This guy is trying to wrap me round his finger (to manipulate/control me)

867. Multimodal Communication (with Nik Peachey)

This episode is all about the different modes of communication that we use beyond the 4 linguistic skills of reading, writing, listening speaking. My guest is Nik Peachey who has helped to write a new paper published by OUP called Multimodality in ELT: communication skills for today’s generation. Listen to Nik and me chatting about the importance of multimodal literacy in our social interactions and in the ways we consume and produce media online.

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Read the OUP paper “Multimodality: Communication Skills for Today’s Generation” here (OUP registration required)


Introduction Notes / Transcript

Hello!

This episode is a conversation all about multimodality in communication. My guest is Nik Peachey, who will introduce himself to you in a few minutes when the conversation part of this episode begins.

Let me give you a bit of background information about how this episode came about, and what the main topic of conversation is.

I was contacted by OUP (they publish academic materials for English teachers and learners – course books but also teacher training materials for English teachers).

They have published a paper about multimodality in ELT and they wanted to see if I was interested in doing an interview with one of the people involved in the writing of this paper. The paper is called Multimodality in ELT: Communication Skills for Today’s Generation.

I thought “Hmm, multimodality, that’s a nice word – sounds interesting”. I was also aware of Nik Peachey already – he’s a fairly well-known figure in the world of English language teaching and publishing, especially in the UK. He’s a name you see at things like teaching conferences or in teacher training.

So I replied to OUP and said I was interested, they sent me a copy of the paper they have published and we arranged this interview, which actually took place a couple of months ago. It turned out to be a very interesting and wide-ranging conversation about so many things.

Let’s consider the title of that paper again “Multimodality in ELT: Communication Skills for Today’s Generation”.

Basically, this is all about how as teachers we always need to be aware of the ways in which learners of English need to use English to communicate in the world today. This involves looking at communication and considering how that happens, and also considering how changes in technology are having an effect.

How do we communicate? Is it just through language? How is our communication affected by advancements in technology?

What OUP are saying, with this paper, is that more and more our communication is multimodal, which means that we communicate in a variety of different ways or modes.

This is not just in terms of the 4 skills – speaking, listening, reading and writing. That is, traditionally, how communication has been defined.

Those are all linguistic or verbal modes (language based), but there are more communication modes than that, including non-verbal ones which are still hugely important. This includes body language, but there is a lot more than that, especially when you consider how much of our communication is mediated through technology these days.

To try and break this down, let’s think about this in two areas: social interactions (the way we speak and listen to each other face to face), and the way we consume media (content such as video, audio, texts).

There is also how these two things (social interactions and media) combine because more and more we use media to communicate – write texts and emails, do video calls, and combine text, images, video and audio to create social media posts.

So, let’s consider these two areas then: social interactions, and media, and let’s think about how they are multimodal – how they involve many various forms of communication.

In terms of social interactions there’s verbal communication (the words we’re using etc) but also body language, facial expressions, gestures, appearance, physical proximity. Also cultural factors come into play such as pop culture references that we use, or different social codes of behaviour in different cultures.

To communicate successfully we need to have an awareness of those social factors.

*Give an example of how I have to consider these things as an English teacher talking to my class – body language, facial expressions, gestures, appearance, physical proximity, cultural references, social codes of behaviour*

The second area is the way multimodality relates to the way we consume media – for example if you watch some video content online, understanding the various ways in which that media is constructed. How certain visuals are important, the use of certain tropes, the use of different fonts, different colours, different editing techniques, music and so on. Understanding these things allows us to decode the media we see, and this is crucial in understanding the intentions behind content we are exposed to, which in turn helps us to detect things like misinformation or just the purpose of the video.

For example, if you show a certain online video to someone who has very little multimodal awareness (like your grandmother or something) it’s not uncommon for this person just to be completely confused by what they’re seeing, or to experience some kind of culture shock. Imagine playing a video of Davie504 on YouTube to my grandmother. By the way Davie504 is an extremely successful YouTuber who makes very distinctive and funny videos about playing the bass guitar. If my gran watched one of his videos, I genuinely think she would not know what was going on. That’s because she isn’t familiar with all the different codes being used.

So it’s important to be have a level of multimodal literacy, so you can properly understand the media you are consuming, but also so that you can also communicate successfully through media yourself, by doing things like creating social media posts which combine sound, video, text and designs.

Nik Peachey is going to give various examples of these things during the conversation, which should help to clarify this all for you.

Ultimately, this is all about the importance of multimodal literacy in both our everyday communication and also in the way we consume content.

I guess for you, as learners of English, you can just consider how language exists as one part of an overall context which also includes things like culture, non-verbal communication, media literacy and more.

I hope you enjoy the conversation!

One note about the sound – I predict that some of you will comment that you found it hard to hear Nik. He’s not using a podcasting or broadcasting microphone, which might make it a little bit hard to hear him at first. You can hear some sounds of the room around him – a bit of echo and reverb. You might have to adjust your ear at the beginning, but you will get used to it. For me, this conversation got more and more interesting as Nik and I got to know each other better and got really into the whole subject of communication in its various modes. I hope you enjoy it too and that it makes you think about how learning English can be about more than just learning words and grammar.

I’ll speak to you again a little bit at the end of the conversation.

866. The Lying Game #9 with Amber & Paul (with Vocabulary Explanations)

The return of the lying game on LEP! Amber, Paul and I play a speaking game which I sometimes use in my English classes. Listen to our stories and try to work out if we are lying or telling the truth. The second half of the episode contains story summaries and vocabulary explanations. 

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Notes / Transcript

Introduction

This episode is called The Lying Game #9 with Amber & Paul

To help you understand, enjoy and learn more from this episode, I’m going to explain a coupe of things here at the start. 

Some of you might not need this introduction – it depends on your level of English – you can just skip forwards if you want, it’s only a few minutes. But my comments here are designed to be helpful.

This is another conversation with my friends Amber and Paul and we’re going to play a speaking activity called The Lying Game. I know a lot of you are already familiar with this game, but for the uninitiated – this game is something of a tradition on this podcast. It is based on a speaking activity which I’ve been using in my English classes for about 15 years. You’ll hear us recap the rules of the game in a moment, but it’s very simple. Basically, just listen carefully and try to decide if our stories are true or lies.

As you listen, I expect that you might have some questions which you would like answered. Some of those will be language questions about certain words, phrases, bits of pronunciation or grammar. For example, “What does it mean to “fall off the wagon?”, “What’s the difference between fat, fatty and fattening? “ and “is the funnest thing” correct English?”. 

Other questions will be about the specific details that you might not catch when listening to our stories – What exactly happened in each case? Wait, was that story a lie or the truth? Which parts were not true, etc? What just happened? What are they going on about? 

It can be tricky to listen to three fluent speakers of English (especially close friends) talking quickly together. I know what it’s like because it happens to me in French all the time. There are unfinished sentences, you get connected speech, people talk over each other a bit and interrupt each other. 

That does make it tricky to follow, but what I will say is that this is normal, natural, fluent speech and it is important for you to get familiar with it. The more you practise listening to this kind of thing, the more you will be able to follow conversations like this. 

But yes, you might have questions as you listen. 

So, at the end of this episode, in the last 20 minutes or so, I will help you, by summarising each story and telling you in plain English what happened in each part of the game. 

I will also explain quite a lot of vocabulary which comes up – phrases, idioms, specific words etc, like “to fall off the wagon” “to be fattening” and so on. 

So, listen to us playing the game, try to work out if we are lying or telling the truth, and I’ll clarify vocabulary at the end and that vocabulary section at the end will be a little taste of the kind of thing that I do in my premium episodes, where I focus on explaining language. 

And finally, premium subscribers – have you noticed, I have published parts 1-5 of P56 (which will be an 8 part series in total when it’s all done) This series is all about vocabulary which I used in episode 863 recently, called “You and Your English in 2024” – Remember all the words that I highlighted in that lurid green colour? 

That’s the vocabulary I’m clarifying, explaining, teaching and helping you to remember and use in Premium series 56, available now for premium subscribers. There are vocabulary reviews, pronunciation episodes, PDF worksheets, video versions, discussion questions for speaking practice, memory exercises and more. 

Just make sure, if you are a subscriber, that you have added LEP premium to a podcast app on your phone. If you have done that you will see episodes 1-5 in your list, with the other parts coming very soon. 

Sign into your acast+ account to manage your subscription and add the episodes to a podcast app on your phone (I recommend PocketCasts) https://plus.acast.com/

If you want to sign up to LEP Premium to get access to those episodes – be my guest, just click the link you will find in the show notes of this episode.

But now, back to The Lying Game. I hope you enjoy it. And Stick around until the end to hear me clarifying and explaining some vocabulary. 

Oh, and by the way, there is some rude language in this episode, as usual – including the use of a few swear words.


Conversation / Lying Game happens


Notes / Script – after the lying game conversation

How was that for you? I got slightly over-excited in this episode and I couldn’t help butting in with my own comments and jokes here and there. Apologies if that made it a bit harder to keep up. I’m always trying to get the balance right between keeping things simple and keeping things entertaining. But I know what it’s like to listen to a busy conversation between people in another language. It can be tiring, it can be tricky but nevertheless, you made it. Of course it depends on your level of English. 

Story Summaries – SPOILER ALERT!

Let me summarise the three stories.

Paul’s Story

Paul said that after his bad show in Portugal, he “fell off the wagon” and got back on the booze. 

He got “shitfaced” and despite having a horrible hangover the next day in which he was sick over and over again (lovely, I know) he then continued drinking regularly again.

There was a point of contention here, because…

Amber and I guessed that this was true and Paul said that it was true.

However, there was a point of contention here, because although the first part of that story was true – he did fall off the wagon after that show in Portugal, in fact the other part – that he then continued drinking again after that, was not true. He quickly went back to not drinking after that one, exceptional, evening. So, was this story true or a lie? To be completely honest, according to my rules (if one detail is a lie, the whole story is a lie) this story was a lie, and therefore Amber and I didn’t deserve to get a point. 

But, that’s in the past now and in that moment the referee (that’s me, even though I am also playing the game – conflict of interest? Noooo) the referee said that Amber & I were right, so we got the points and then just moved on because we simply didn’t have time to sit around debating it any more. End result – Amber and I got one point each. 

Scores:  A 1, P 0, L 1

Luke’s Story

Then it was my turn and I said that I once took a hot air balloon ride with Bill Oddie (a tv presenter in the UK) and R2D2’s daughter (the daughter of actor Kenny Baker). 

Kenny was there but didn’t actually go up in the balloon because he said that “R2D2 doesn’t fly”. In my story I said that upon hearing this, my brother and I were both a bit confused because R2D2 definitely flies in the Star Wars films, a lot – in all manner of spacecraft. But anyway, that was the story. 

Amber and Paul both assumed that this story was completely true, and this is for a few reasons. 1) I almost always tell the truth in this game. 2) the story was way too specific and weird to be made up (they underestimated me) and 3) They just didn’t press me with more questions. If they’d been more inquisitive I’m sure they would have discovered that my story had no substance to it. In any case, Amber and Paul were both fooled and guessed it was true, but ah no, I made it up completely. 

To be fair it is based on a true story. Once upon a time, my dad did produce a TV series for BBC Midlands called The Balloon in which a presenter visited different parts of the midlands in a hot air balloon (sounds like something from Alan Partridge), but it was presented by Sue Beardsmore and neither Bill Oddie nor R2D2 actor Kenny Baker (or his daughter) were involved in any way. 

James and I were allowed to take a trip in the balloon one day at the end of the filming and it is one of the most memorable experiences of my life. It would have been even more memorable if R2D2 had been involved, but no. I got two points for this because both A & P fell for it completely.

Scores: A 1, P 0, L 3

Amber’s Story

Amber said she had developed a phobia of cows – “bovinophobia”. This was a result of several experiences she had with her family on holiday where they encountered cows in fields (including one time in Argentina) and Amber felt very scared, and since then she has realised that she actually can’t stand cows at all, and can’t even look at some paintings of cows which she saw during her recent art history course, finding their bovine faces strangely repellant. She hasn’t been officially diagnosed as suffering from bovinophobia, but she believes she has it.

But was this true?

Paul thought no, I said yes.

In fact, it was not true. Although Amber is definitely wary of cows, she doesn’t have a phobia of them. Remember, a phobia is the irrational fear of something. Being very scared of something when there’s really no reason to be scared of it. But Amber’s fear of cows is completely reasonable and logical considering they do actually kill quite a lot of people each year by trampling them to death. But she is not scared of pictures of cows, so her fear is not irrational or extreme (which is how a phobia is defined).

Final scores! A2, P1, L3


Vocabulary List

A little taste of LEP Premium here – just a tiny taste because I am not going to go into a lot of detail here and you don’t get all the other peripheral things like extra examples, memory exercises, pronunciation exercises, speaking questions etc.

Listen to the episode to hear my explanations.

  • You treated us to lunch
  • It’s one of the funnest things to do
  • Is this true or is it made up bullcrap?
  • It was a rough show
  • I relapsed from alcohol
  • I got completely shitfaced
  • So you fell off the wagon
  • He still looks quite svelte. You do look in good shape.
  • I needed to stop. I needed to get fit.
  • Alcohol is very fattening.
  • I vomited. I threw up. [I was sick. I puked.]
  • You gave up drinking. You quit booze.
  • He’s back on the booze now. It’s a slippery slope.
  • A year of sobriety. Adam was not the most supportive of your sobriety. [to be sober]
  • Hair of the dog.
  • You never lie and [your story] is too obscure. (too obscure to be made up – she doubts my imagination)
  • He’s very old. He’s got a plethora of stories.
  • Oh ye of little faith, you didn’t think I had it in me to lie.
  • We should have known [that he was lying] but honestly he’s got such a track record [so we expected him to be consistent and to tell the truth again].
  • People get trampled by them (cows).
  • You’re repelled by the image of a cow.
  • Their fleshy bovine bodies shifting left to right as they try to position themselves against the fence to have a look at you.
  • I started getting anxious, scared, nervous. (these words are similar. Nervous does not mean angry). 
  • Farmers put their hand all the way inside the rear end of a cow.
  • Horses are renowned for kicking you when you’re behind them.
  • You can get a hoof in the head. hooves
    (Actually, I’m not sure someone said these exact words, but I think the word “hoof” did come up)
  • Cows are all squished up close to each other.
  • How do you feel when you get on line 9 at 9AM in the morning, and there are a lot of people mooing around.
  • I don’t have animosity towards cows. [You just don’t want to get trampled]
  • You have a rational fear of cows rather than an irrational fear.
  • Flimsy naked monkies
  • A monkey with alopecia – [it was] ripped! They are just all muscle.
  • A monkey jumped out and I thought “that monkey can have me any day”
  • It was just like a bloke, a massive bloke.

The Zenith show (January 6) already happened so you can’t get tickets for it any more. I talked about it in LEP#864.

Thanks to James Kuo (LEPster) for making these two episodes happen. 

OK, that’s enough from me I think! I will be back in your eardrums in the next episode. 

I have a few more episodes with guests which I recorded late last year to publish and then I am planning to do more solo podcasts for a while, including more stories, which I have been enjoying a lot. Acting and storytelling – lots of fun.

OK, don’t be a ninja – leave a comment. I hope you’re not a skeleton. 

Have a great morning, afternoon, evening or night and I will speak to you next time but for now, goodbye!!!


Listen to 8 previous lying game episodes 👇👇👇

308. The Lying Game (Part 1) with Amber & Paul | Luke’s ENGLISH Podcast Scores: A 2 / P 2 / L 2 (“even stevens”)

309. The Lying Game (Part 2) with Amber & Paul | Luke’s ENGLISH Podcast Scores: A 0 / P 1 / L 4

317. The Lying Game 2: The Rematch (Part 1) with Amber & Paul | Luke’s ENGLISH Podcast Scores: A 1 / P 2 / L 1

318. The Lying Game 2: The Rematch (Part 2) with Amber & Paul | Luke’s ENGLISH Podcast   Scores: A 6 / P 3 / L 3

343. The Interactive Lying Game (with Amber & Paul) / Descriptive Adjectives with T / Three is a Magic Number | Luke’s ENGLISH Podcast Scores ?

436. The Return of The Lying Game (with Amber & Paul) [Video] | Luke’s ENGLISH Podcast  Scores: A 1 / P 3 / L 2

642. The Lying Game Returns (with Amber & Paul) | Luke’s ENGLISH Podcast Scores : 2 / 2 / 2

663. The Lockdown Lying Game with Amber & Paul | Luke’s ENGLISH Podcast Scores A 2 / P 3 / L 1

Total scores after Lying Game #9: A 14  / P 16  / L 15

858. Trivia Quizzing with Sarah and Fred (Part 2)

This is part 2 of this double episode. Please listen to part 1 first! Sarah and Fred are trivia quiz nerds with a new trivia podcast. In this episode they joined me for some trivia quizzing and conversation. In this second part you can listen to my quiz for Sarah and Fred, and then Fred’s quiz for me. Can you answer the questions? Can you follow the whole conversation? Listen carefully!

[DOWNLOAD AUDIO]

☝️ The audio version contains 7 extra minutes at the start of the episode


🎧 Listen to Luke’s first episode on Sarah & Fred’s podcast “Not An Alias Podcast”

📸 Fred on Instagram @FredMeUp

📸 Sarah on Instagram @ParisQuizMistress

855. Discussing Films with Cara Leopold

Talking to Cara about films, movies, her movie club for English learners and a discussion about films and what they mean.

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Introduction Transcript

Hello!

In this episode you will be able to listen to a conversation with Cara Leopold all about films. 

If you are a long-term listener to this podcast, then you will know Cara. She’s been on this show a few times before.  

Just in case you need a reminder, Cara is an English teacher from the UK, currently living in France, and she loves films and uses them to help people learn English. In fact she  is the creator of the Leo Listening Movie Club, where she helps advanced, film-loving English learners understand and discuss iconic movies together in order to master conversational English.

Cara Loves films.
I love films too, who doesn’t?
We all love films, don’t we? 
And it’s very common to talk about films we’ve seen.

Are you able to do that in English?

I want you to think about what is involved in having a conversation about films in English.

When we talk about films, we do a number of things, including:

  • Summarising the plot or story of the film
  • Describing the main characters 
  • Talking about actors and their performances, 
  • Talking about directors and they way films are directed, edited, locations, effects and music.
  • Giving our opinions about films, including the things we like and don’t like
  • Discussing the meaning of films, and any social, historical or personal issues which are connected to them.

How do we do those things in English? Are you familiar with the language of cinema and the language of talking about films?

What I want to do with this episode is let you listen to a natural conversation (one that isn’t scripted in advance) about films in order to let you hear all those things being done.

So that’s what this is! 

You can use this episode in several ways. 

1) Just listen for enjoyment, listen to what we have to say about various different films, and just try to follow the conversation, and practice your general listening skills in the process. 

2) Focus on noticing the specific vocabulary or grammar that we use to do all the things I mentioned before. Listen out for the ways we describe, summarise, give opinions and generally share our thoughts about films.

We mention lots of different films in this conversation and one thing which I’m thinking about is that those films might have different titles in your language. I hope you are able to identify the films. 

You can see a list of the names of the films we mention on the page for this episode on my website. If you want to check out those movie titles, and perhaps google them to find out what they are called in your language, just go to the episode page on my website and you’ll see all the titles listed there, plus various other links to things which we mention or which you might find useful.

Right then. It’s now time to listen to my conversation with Cara. 

I will talk to you again briefly at the end of this but now, let’s get started.


Ending Transcript

Thanks again to Cara.

You can check out her work. 

On her website you can see details of the different courses and resources I mentioned before, which involve improving your English with films.

www.Leo-listening.com 

Also check out her YouTube channel where she has been posting videos lately. Some of the videos there include things like:

  • The best movies for English learners
  • The 5 best podcasts for movie loving English learners
  • Should you watch movies in English with or without subtitles?
  • How to understand movies in English without subtitles
  • And more

Also you will find a link to Cara’s LinkedIn page where she has been writing posts about various things.

Cara Links

As well as that, on the page for this episode on my website you’ll also find 

  • Links to those previous episodes of this podcast about using films and TV series to improve your English. That’s episodes 523 and 660 

Also! Links to the episodes about Groundhog Day that we mentioned.

Episode 129 (parts 1 & 2) of Daniel Goodson’s podcast “My Fluent Podcast” in which Daniel and Cara discuss Groundhog Day

And a list of all the names of the films Cara and I mentioned in this conversation, in case you wanted to google them to find out what they are called in your language.

Here are a few questions which you could answer in the comment section if you like:

  • Have you seen any good films recently? 
  • Do you prefer films or TV series? Why?
  • What films have helped you learn English? How did they help you? 

Films we mentioned in this conversation

  • Pétaouchnok  (The French film starring Philippe Rebbot, who Cara saw at a cafe recently)
  • Films which Cara has watched in her film club recently
  • Get Out
  • Groundhog Day

    Jane Austen adaptations
  • Sense and Sensibility
  • Pride and Prejudice

    Richard Curtis films
  • Love Actually
  • Four Weddings & A Funeral
  • Notting Hill
  • About Time
  • Yesterday 

    Danny Boyle films
  • 28 Days Later
  • 28 Weeks Later

    Horror films 
  • Paranormal Activity
  • Insidious
  • John Carpenter films
  • Halloween
  • The Thing

    Paul Verhoven films
  • Robocop
  • Total Recall

    David Fincher films
  • Se7en
  • Fight Club

    One of my all-time favourite films
  • Taxi Driver

    More recent films
  • The Barbie Movie
  • Killers of the Flower Moon

853. A Conversation with Rhiannon Carter

Join me as I meet and get to know Rhiannon, an English coach whose mission is to help you feel awesome about your English. I had never met Rhiannon before this interview, so listen as I get to know her and we chat about her English & Welsh roots, moving to Edinburgh, studying theology at university, early experiences as an English teacher, why learners often feel ashamed of their English, and how she can help. We also discuss the wonders of fish & chips and deep fried Mars bars which you can buy on the streets of Edinburgh.

[DOWNLOAD AUDIO]

Work with Rhiannon 👉 https://www.rhiannonelt.com/

Instagram 👉 https://www.instagram.com/rhiannonelt.coaching/

Rhiannon’s podcast 👇

850. Any Language You Want 📖 with Fabio Cerpelloni

Fabio has written a book about language learning, based on his own personal experiences of learning English. Each chapter ends with the same sentence: “This is how to learn a language”. But each chapter disagrees with the next. There are many ways to learn a language, and none of them is the only right way to do it. In this episode, we talk all about this and Fabio shares some of his stories. Fabio is the host of “Stolariod Stories” a self-development podcast which includes lots of lessons about learning English, and learning about life in general.

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☝️ The audio version has 20+ extra minutes of rambling from Luke ☝️

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IK3zmdowd_A&ab_channel=Luke%27sEnglishPodcast

👉 Get Fabio’s book “Any Language You Want” https://fabiocerpelloni.com/any-language-you-want/

👉 Listen to Fabio interview Luke about stand-up comedy on Stolaroid Stories https://pod.link/1588409467/episode/5a1f614be55bdffa8513091565ef4985

👇 Video version of “The Art of Making People Laugh” on Stolaroid Stories


Also, listen to Luke’s funny story on Bree Aesie’s podcast recently 👇

849. STORIES OF INSECTS, BUGS & CREEPY CRAWLIES with Zdenek Lukas

Bed bugs in Paris & London, Mosquito hunting in the middle of the night, a home invasion by fleas and the terrors of cockroaches – listen to some anecdotes about encounters with insects with Zdenek who has recently relocated to Vietnam. Also watch out for various insect idioms which appear during the conversation.

[DOWNLOAD AUDIO]

Insect Idioms

Here are the idioms which popped up during this conversation.

1. **To have a Bee in Your Bonnet** This idiom means that someone has an idea or a thought that’s constantly on their mind, often an obsession.

2. **To have Ants in Your Pants** If someone has “ants in their pants,” it means they are restless or fidgety, unable to sit still.

3. **To be as Busy as a Bee** This idiom describes someone who is extremely busy and productive, like a hardworking bee in a hive.

4. **To have Butterflies in Your Stomach** When you’re nervous or anxious, you might say you have “butterflies in your stomach.”

5. **To be The Bee’s Knees** This expression is used to describe something excellent or outstanding.

6. **To Make a Beeline for** If you “make a beeline for” something or someone, you head directly towards it, just like a bee flying straight to a flower.

7. **Like a Moth to a Flame** If someone is drawn to something or someone despite the potential dangers, they are said to be like a moth to a flame.

8. **To bug someone** To annoy someone

Also, to bug a place means to hide recording equipment in a place in order to spy on the people living there. Zdenek believes his apartment is not bugged, thankfully.


🏆LEP Premium series P53 available now! Click here to sign up to LEP Premium🏆


Luke on Other People’s Podcasts recently 🎧👇