Category Archives: Festivals

310. The Words of the Year (Part 1)

In this series of three new episodes Amber, Paul and I talk about a list of the 10 Words of the Year which have been added to the Collins English Dictionary. We’re going to explain the words and discuss the issues behind them and I’ll also explain and clarify a lot of the language you’re going to hear in our conversation.

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Links
Article in The Guardian about the 10 Words of the Year
Collins Dictionary Q&A about the Words of the Year

Transcript to the Introduction and some notes for language analysis
Hello everyone – welcome to another episode of LEP. I hope you’re doing well… etc.

This introduction is being recorded on 18 November, on a Wednesday, but the rest of this episode and the other 2 episodes in this series were recorded a couple of weeks ago.

This episode is all about the Collins Dictionary Words of the Year 2015.

What’s that?

let me break it down.

First of all, Collins are a publisher of dictionaries, and so it’s their job to monitor the usage of words in order to decide which words should be added to the dictionary every year. They do this by noticing new words and seeing how often they have been used in the last 12 months. They then pick some of the more commonly used new words and add them to the dictionary. These are their ‘words of the year’.

How do they monitor the words? They have a special database of word usage called a Corpus. This is a quote from the Collins website:

“This evidence is based on our 4.5-billion-word database of language called the Collins Corpus. The words in the Corpus are taken from a huge range of sources of spoken and written English, including newspapers, radio and other types of media, from all over the world.” Link here.

The ‘words of the year’ list is an interesting way to identify trends in language, but it’s also quite revealing about modern British life because these are the things we’ve been talking and reading about.

Some people complain that these words aren’t serious enough, and that adding them to the dictionary is an example of the decline of language in some way. I think it’s fine to add these words into the dictionary because they just reflect changes in culture and in the end with new words needed to explain new concepts. Also, we need a record of the words people are using – especially if you’re a learner of English. You want to be able to learn the real English that people actually use, don’t you? Then you’ll want the dictionary to include the words that people really use. It’s not Collins intention to decide if people should or shouldn’t use these words, rather to see which words are being used a lot just so that they can be added to the dictionary to reflect the language as a living thing.

As ever I’m curious to know what you think about these new words. What do you think of Collins’ list? How is the dictionary managed in your country?

In this episode, Amber, Paul and I are going to go through all the words in this list, explain what they mean and discuss the issues that relate to them. This episode is also going to be a kind of review of the trending issues of the year.

As usual our discussion is pretty fast and busy, which is normal when friends discuss things.

To help you to understand everything and to give you a chance to maximise your learning from this episode I’ve decided to break up the discussion into chunks.

What’s a chunk? It’s just a substantial piece, a part, a lump. Like, a chunk of meat, tear off a chunk of bread from a loaf, a chunk of rock, you can also talk about chunks of language – like fixed expressions or phrases. In this case, we’re talking about chunks of a conversation.

What I’m going to do is play you each chunk of the discussion and then explain some of the language you heard. That way you’ll understand and learn much more.

I really think this is the best way to do it because you’re getting the best of both worlds – you can listen to our natural and spontaneous conversation, and then I’ll break it down to help you understand everything and learn even more from our conversations.

This episode contains just one conversation chunk, and it’s just the pre-chat we had before we even talked about any of the words of the year! In fact, I started recording and said hello to Amber and Paul, asked them how they were, and we started chatting about different stuff like the weather and the November 5th and we talked before dealing with the words of the year. However, this pre-chat is so full of language content that it has taken up the whole of this first episode.

It’s a bit ridiculous – you won’t actually hear us discussing the words of the year in part one! So, before we listen to the pre-chat, let me just list the words of the year for you now, even though you won’t hear us discussing them until part 2 of this series. I like to make things complicated.

OK, so the Collins Words of the Year are (in reverse order – and all these words will be explained and discussed in this series of 3 episodes – you might not understand them now but you will by the end of the series I promise)

transgender, manspreading, contactless, swipe (left or right), ghosting, clean eating, Corbynomics, shaming, dadbod and binge-watch.

I will only say those words once. You will hear them again, and hear explanations, later in this series, but for now, let’s listen to the pre-chat I had with Amber and Paul

Pre-Chat
This includes stuff about climate change, November 5th, and some other things. So, let’s finally start listening to the conversation shall we? (I do go on a bit don’t I?)
Listen to the pre-chat

Language Analysis: Pre-Chat (The bits in brackets are notes for my comments)

Conspiracy theories (Paul talks about climate change as if it’s a conspiracy theory)
It’s a hot topic.
Is it a conspiracy theory? (upward intonation for surprise, doubt)
Some people say that climate change isn’t a thing.
some people deny climate change.
(climate change deniers / to deny climate change)
We are exacerbating the environmental trend.
We’ll be dead before anything bad happens.
We might not be (elision).
Would it be bad if we were still alive in 100 years? (pron – weak sounds)
There are already too many people (pron)
China – they’re getting rid of the one baby ban (a ban on having more than one baby)
Old people who are in retreat (he means in retirement)
China should open it’s arms to Syria (an interesting political idea – but I didn’t want to talk about it because it’s a sensitive topic and I didn’t want to go down a rabbit hole – get sidetracked).
It’s unusually warm, which is kind of nice in a way because we don’t have to wear big coats and everything. (pron, but also using a relative clause to refer to a while clause).
There was a plot to blow up the houses of Parliament.
1605 (how to say years – normally divide it in two, except: when it’s 05 06 etc, 1900 1800 etc, 2000-present = “two thousand and…”)
Passives – Guy Fawkes and his gang were caught in the act of trying to blow up Parliament. He was sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered.
And we’ve never forgot. (Nursery rhyme. “Forgot” isn’t it “forgotten”. Amber is referring to the old rhyme. Forgot here is poetic licence – it should be “forgotten” but that’s ok because of the poem and it’s old)
Words of Nathalie Portman there (Paul is referring to the film V for Vendetta which takes place in the future and has a character similar to Guy Fawkes. You hear the rhyme in the film. Obviously the quote is not from Nathalie Portman. In fact it’s an old rhyme from English folklore – we don’t know who wrote it)
www.potw.org/archive/potw405.html
Amber talked about the Lewes fireworks. www.lewesbonfirecelebrations.com
They make effigies and burn them. It’s very pagan.
Didn’t life change after that? (downward intonation – it’s a rhetorical negative question – it means – “life changed a lot after that, didn’t it”. “Didn’t she do well?” “Didn’t we have a good time?”)
(Obviously, 9/11 changed more than just the bottles of water not being allowed on planes and it was a very tragic event)
(Everyone laughed – not because 9/11 was funny, but because I was stuck in a serious topic suddenly and it was difficult for me to somehow get from this serious topic to the main topic – The Collins New Words of the Year.)
“How do I transition this to the actual theme of the podcast?”
“How do I get away from this potentially sensitive subject, which obviously is very serious, you know I don’t mean to make fun of THAT” (Features of spoken English – unfinished sentence, relative clauses, connected speech – all of it, and sentence stress)
2018 is when the next physical dictionary will be brought out. Some of these words may end up in that dictionary too. (phrasal verbs)
It depends if the words stand the test of time. (expression)
Article link: www.theguardian.com/books/2015/nov/05/binge-watch-2015-word-of-the-year-collins

End of the pre-chat.

End of Part 1: We haven’t even started talking about the words of the year yet!

Part 2 will be available soon.

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Words of the Year 1

294. California Road Trip (Part 7)

Hello listeners and welcome back. This is part 7 in this series which is based on my recent trip to California. I didn’t expect this to be a 7-part series, but it just keeps going because I’ve found more and more things to talk to you about! It’s like the podcast episode that refuses to die, it keeps coming back for more! It’s like the Lambton Worm or something – just when I think I’ve finished it off, it gets longer! I think this will be the last episode, but who knows. Time seems to shrink when I’m recording episodes of this podcast. An hour seems to disappear in just a few minutes because I get really involved in what I’m saying. I wonder if it’s the same experience for you. I hope so.

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If you haven’t heard the previous 6 episodes in this series then I suggest you go back and listen to them first. So far I’ve talked about lots of things including the history of California, some British & American English, Venice Beach, Segways, Baywatch, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hollywood & Celebrity Culture, Hotel California by The Eagles, Yosemite National Park, bears, The church of Scientology, an interview with AJ Hoge from Effortless English, a biography of Robin Williams, and descriptions of the things I did and saw while on my honeymoon with my wife.

In this episode I’m planning to talk about San Francisco, earthquakes, the hippie movement, customer service, the California coast and some more British and American English vocabulary.

A lot of what I am saying is transcribed on the page for this episode at teacherluke.co.uk. Look for episode 294.

*I’m expecting a package to be delivered by the postman at some point, so you might hear a knock at the door or the buzzer. It goes ‘buzz’, so it’s not a doorbell it’s a buzzer.*

Let’s get straight into it.

August 16
Cemetery & view of Golden Gate Bridge.

Fisherman’s Wharf & tourist area. Sea lions that weirdly arrived in the harbour just after the 1989 earthquake. Why did they suddenly arrive after the quake? Perhaps their previous social spot had been damaged or something like that. I’m not sure.

Cable car. Long delay and pretty grumpy service but it’s a great experience, hanging on to the side of the car as the driver pulls various weird levers, making the car move up and along the steep streets. We met an American couple who had been married for over 30 years. The wife did all the talking. Apparently they’d been to a Giants game (baseball) and he had caught a loose ball that had flown into the crowd. Apparently this is quite an honour in the states. You can keep the ball.

I met AJ Hoge in the afternoon. Listen to the previous episode for that interview.

That evening we ate dinner in a really well-reviewed Japanese restaurant just near our hotel – Sanraku – incredible sushi! This is the best Japanese food I’ve ever had outside Japan, and I had a load of sake and a couple of beers. Sake is really nice and a little dangerous to drink because you get drunk without realising it because it has such a light taste.

August 17
Earthquake in the morning!
A bit about earthquakes.
Tectonic plates.
They move against each other. Sometimes they overlap, sometimes they press against each other.
Sometimes pressure builds up and then the plates suddenly move at the fault lines. This causes ripples of movement through the ground, or the whole ground to suddenly shift position. The movements, ripples, vibrations or whatever you want to call them can last some time, and they can cause huge amounts of damage.
If the quake happens off-shore, then there’s likely to be a big tidal wave or tsunami after the event. As the ground is displaced very quickly, it can displace massive amounts of water. For example, it might cause the water level to rise suddenly. Imagine filling a plate with water and then tipping the plate slightly. It would cause some of the water to run off the side of the plate. It’s like that but on a much larger scale of course. The water has so much volume and mass that it is almost impossible to stop. When it reaches the land it carries lots of earth and all kinds of detritus with it, turning the wave into an incredibly powerful and unstoppable wall of destruction. You can see footage of this from the Japanese tsunami of 2011. What a tragedy that was (although the Japanese showed characteristic strength and determination in the way they recovered from it).

It pretty much impossible to predict an earthquake, but it seems that along the San Andreas fault at this particular spot near San Francisco, there is a really big earthquake every 70 years or something, and the big one is long overdue. In fact, the whole region of California is subject to earthquakes quite regularly.

Earthquake Myths and Facts
Here are some myths and facts about earthquakes, from the U.S. Geological Society website.
www.usgs.gov/faq/taxonomy/term/9830

San Francisco style
Everyone’s wearing sports gear and they’re all really health conscious. They’re constantly in their gym gear and they look very active and healthy. In fact, being healthy and looking after yourself seem to be important aspects of life in this part of the country.

Acai bowls
My wife persuades me to switch to these instead of the big plates of pancakes and its a good move.
Acai are berries that grow in Brazil and apparently they contain everything you need. Vitamins, nutrients, amino acids and all that stuff. These acai bowls are popular all along the coast. They’re a bit hipsterish, but they’re good. The acai berries are turned into a kind of powder, which is mixed with things like almond milk or hemp milk, and frozen fruits, and then blended to form a sort of sorbet. This is then put into a bowl and mixed with granola, nuts, cut banana and strawberry, and is topped with coconut flakes or other things. They’re really good and they keep you going for ages without making you feel bloated. In fact, you don’t feel that full, but you’re not hungry either, and it gives you plenty of energy and no guilt.

My wife is now on a mission to make acai bowls popular in Paris!

Haight Ashbury
We then walked towards the Haight Ashbury area. The plan is to walk all the way over to that part of town, picking up some coffee on route. Then we’d walk through HA, pick up lunch at Wholefoods there, and eat a picnic in Golden Gate Park where apparently there is live music every Sunday. I’m quite curious about Haight Ashbury, because I’ve heard about it and read about it so many times, especially in documentaries about music and art from the 1960s.

History of Haight Ashbury & the Hippy Movement
What happened in Haight Ashbury in the 60s? What was the hippy movement all about?

There was a counterculture movement, a youth movement in the USA (and in many other places of course) that started in the late 1950s but really gathered momentum in the 1960s, seemed to peak in the middle of that decade, and was pretty much over by the early 1970s. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, as I know that a lot of you listening to this are fans of the music that we associate with that time, and you may well know as much about this subject as I do, but nevertheless here is a brief history of the hippy movement.

This was a subculture and ideological movement which started with the beatniks earlier in the decade. “Beatniks” – that’s kind of a nickname given to the movement that came before the hippies. The beatniks were writers, artists, intellectuals and radicals who were united in a general feeling of dissatisfaction with the status quo. They rejected materialism (e.g. the idea that happiness in the USA can be found by marrying, getting a steady job, buying the right home with the right car, and the right modern accessories in your home and all that kind of square thinking). The Beats were more interested in soul-searching and trying to find some deeper meaning to life. This seems pretty normal now, and part of the dominant culture these days. Everyone has their soul-searching teenage period where they write a diary, write poetry and get all deep and meaningful. Well, that was common for teenagers of my generation in the UK, who got into indie music, started dressing like goths and smoked self-rolled cigarettes. The beats were the first to do that (although I expect there were other movements in Europe that did essentially the same thing, like the Bohemians). The Beats were heavily inspired by jazz musicians like Charlie Parker and Miles Davis and like this kind of jazz music, life for the Beats was a free-form search for truth and inspiration in the creative process. It was like a big improvisation with no boundaries. Sounds pretty groovy, hip and cool right? In fact those are words that come out of that time. All of them were probably coined by jazz musicians, but the beat generation appropriated them, or at least used them too. So, if things were good they were ‘cool’, or ‘hip’. You ‘dig’ things which are ‘cool’. The opposite of ‘cool’ was ‘square’.

We associate the Beat movement with certain writers, who are called the Beat writers, or Beat poets. These are people like Jack Kerouac, Allan Ginsberg, William S Burroughs and Ken Kesey. Some of the beats were into buddhism, sexual liberation and drug use. Out of this subculture came the hippies, who pretty much based their whole way of life on the ethos of the beat generation, and used books like “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac as a starting point for their own rejection of materialism and ‘normal’ life.

The word ‘hippie’ comes from the word ‘hip’, meaning ‘cool’ or in tune with this way of thinking. People also used the word ‘hipster’, but now we know we use the word ‘hipster’ for another kind of modern subculture – those uber-cool people who you find in East London who grow their own denim butter, have long beards and skinny jeans, use no electricity, ride fixie bikes, reject mainstream products in favour of vintage or handmade stuff, reject the dominant political system, and live in an apartment paid for by their rich parents. They’re similar to the beat generation or the hippies but today’s hipsters just seem to be more interested in just being cooler and more culturally aware than everyone else, and don’t have the same sort of communal spirit or mission as the hippies did.

Anyway, a whole generation of young people in the USA and in other parts of the world in the 1960s were really influenced by the beat generation and took on their values, and pushed them further – not everyone did this – not everyone at the time was a hippie. No, it was a subculture after all, but enough people lived the lifestyle for it to be a significant cultural movement. The hippies took it a bit further and embraced the whole concept, forming communes (shared living communities) in certain places – notably Haight Ashbury in SF and Greenwich Village in NYC (where the likes of Bob Dylan were playing protest songs and folk music in cafes).

The introduction of certain drugs, especially LSD into these communities really accelerated the whole movement, along with certain key events like the escalating conflict in Vietnam and the release of records like Bob Dylan’s first album, and albums by the Beatles. LSD was a drug that was created by accident by a pharmacist/chemist. It ended up being appropriated by the hippie movement because of the way it gave users incredibly transcendent mind trips, which made the hippies feel like they were experiencing things on a whole new level of consciousness. The innocence, youth, energy and vitality of this movement peaked in 1966/1967 particularly in the community of Haight Ashbury where, according to the accounts of lots of people, there were all kinds of open, free gatherings of people who took LSD, danced, made love and generally were very peaceful and transcendent, when they weren’t organising protests against the Vietnam war or other injustices. The hippies were for harmony with nature, sexual liberation, the use of drugs for mental liberation (aka consciousness revolution), peace, free love, communal living and eastern influenced spirituality. For the hippies, their immense optimism, fuelled by psychedelic drugs and perhaps a certain amount of naive idealism created the feeling that their love was going to change the world, and that there would be a sort of consciousness revolution which would cause the whole world to realise a totally new way of thinking and to start living in peace. The soundtrack to this period was albums like Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band by the Beatles. The thing is though, all the drug taking and free love did not come without a price, and it was naive of the hippies to think that their lifestyle was sustainable. True spiritual transcendence could not be achieved by simply taking a 2 dollar hit of acid, and many people just ended up mentally damaged by their use of LSD, and when harder and more addictive drugs like heroin arrived, the scene became much darker. In fact, hard drugs and other things like the later threat of AIDS pretty much killed the innocence and youthful spirit of the movement.

The optimism of the hippie movement and its decline were really well described by writer Hunter S. Thompson in his book Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. There is one particularly famous passage in which he describes the essence of the movement as like a wave that travelled across the country, then broke and flowed back again, leaving a sort of cultural high-water mark, or a cultural mark on the country. This is probably Thompson’s most celebrated bit of writing. There is a film version of the book, directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Johnny Depp, who does an amazing acting performance in the role of the main character, who is a version of Hunter S. Thompson. Let’s listen to the scene from the film when Thompson talks about Haight Ashbury and the hippie movement. This is Hunter S. Thompson, played by Depp, in 1971, looking back at the previous 5 or 6 years, surveying what had happened before.

Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas – The High Water Mark

The Woodstock Music Festival was probably the culmination of this whole movement. It didn’t take place in San Francisco, but near New York. That was a massive happening, with hundreds of thousands of people who gathered together to celebrate love and peace, with some of the great bands and musicians of the time, like The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Crosby, Stills & Nash playing the soundtrack.

The end of the dream came with a few events that showed the dark side of all that drug taking and chaos – Charles Manson, Altamont (a Rolling Stones concert that involved the Hell’s Angels who killed a guy), hard drugs and their damaging effects, AIDs.

How does this relate to that Eagles song? They’re singing about people damaged by loss of innocence – the same people who used to be idealistic, but ended up lost in decadence and the temptations of sex, drugs and rock & roll.

Talking of rock & roll, let’s listen to George Harrison, who of course was a member of the Beatles and someone who was at the heart of this whole scene. Here he is from the Beatles Anthology documentary talking about how he visited Haight Ashbury in 1968 expecting it to be a kind of hippie heaven of peace and love, but in fact by 1968 it had become quite a scary place with lots of people just living in the street, begging and taking hard drugs (he described them as ‘bums’). I think it was quite a shock to him and that’s when he decided to stop taking LSD and he sort of rejected the hippie movement and instead chose to embrace Indian transcendental meditation – a much more disciplined and well-established form of spiritual exercise.

George Harrison (originally from Liverpool, UK) – Haight Ashbury 1968

What’s Haight Ashbury like now?
It still has that general atmosphere, but the original feeling is long gone I think. But it’s still a really cool place, and I was very interested in visiting it in order to see what it was really like. Now it’s artisanal coffee shops, a mix of branded clothing stores and unique clothing boutiques. Really it’s just another tourist destination where you can buy Bob Marley posters, hippie clothing, bongs, pipes and fake retro t-shirts. It’s a bit like Camden Town or something. It’s not a genuine place of consciousness revolution any more although there are still some communes of hippies living there and I think that there’s a lot of housing which is offered to homeless people, or people of no fixed address. In the surrounding streets I saw quite a few homeless people, or homeless looking people and people who seemed to be suffering from mental illness, or on medication for drug addiction. You also find some interesting murals painted on the walls with anti-capitalist messages written on them. That’s partly the feeling of the area, but also there’s a sense that the place is a bit of a tourist attraction. There’s Nike store there for example, which is like a temple to individualism and materialism.

Many people think that the place is not what it used to be. I can’t help feeling a bit sad about this, because the hippies were onto something good. Their intentions were good, but maybe they were idealistic and naive. Maybe they were reckless with their drug use and their free sex, or maybe their movement got crushed by the establishment. Anyway, now in Haight Ashbury there are just remnants of those old values. Lots of organic shops and incense and stuff like that, and certainly some people who believe in ethical and sustainable living, but still a sense of increasing commercialisation. I wonder about some of the locals who have lived in the area for a long time and who now find themselves living in a commercialised tourist attraction.

I think I may have come across one of these people during a visit to CVS – a chain of pharmacies that you find all over the USA. We went in to buy some bottled water. We chose one bottle of Californian water and one bottle of Fiji Water, which is bottled in Fiji and then shipped to shops around the world, including California. We got to the counter to pay and the middle-aged woman who served us just said, in a very passive aggressive manner, “Yeah, why NOT buy bottled water from the other side of the world”.

I recognised the sarcasm, and immediately felt judged. What was she really saying?

Guilt trip! This made me feel pretty bad for a while, until I snapped out of it.

What do you think? I expect most of you are thinking – ignore her, she was being really rude! And you’re right, but…

I think she had a point to be honest, but I’m not sure if she made it in the right way. (I mean, giving someone a guilt trip about a product they are selling someone may not be the best way to get your message across, or maybe it is – it had an effect on me!) The woman was certainly rude to me, but does that matter if her point is valid? I wonder what it must be like for her working in CVS, while having these values. Maybe she doesn’t have to work there, maybe she has no choice. Who knows. I don’t even know her background, but just that one comment tells me a lot. What do you think? Did she have a point? Is it wrong to buy bottled water which is sourced in another country? Should the woman have said something to me? Is she a hypocrite for working in the shop even when she disagrees with some of the products it sells? Let me know your thoughts as usual.

I did have another couple of experiences with slightly passive aggressive, weird behaviour.
Another guy by the side of the road who seems to be homeless, tried to attract my attention: “Oh did you drop something…hey!” I just kind of shook my head and smiled a bit, but said no. He said “oh no it’s just my brain entrails you’re stepping on” There is a slightly bad vibe from some of these old hippies, but nothing more than that really. I didn’t feel unsafe there or anything, just a bit freaked out by some of these people.

In the park there was a guy who could have been homeless, or mentally ill, I’m not sure really. He was busking, and by busking in this case I mean playing classic American songs, like Motown, The Beach Boys, Elvis on a loud tape player and just singing along – loudly and badly, like a bad public version of karaoke that nobody wanted to listen to. There were three youngish people sitting on the bench next to him, looking pretty awkward because this guy was pretty loud and acting quite crazily and I think it was a bit off-putting for them. After a while they got up to leave and didn’t really acknowledge him or give him any money, and he said “Hey, thanks for the tip!” – A pretty passive aggressive comment considering they hadn’t given him a tip. I think they were a bit put off and possibly slightly scared of him, and they didn’t respond but kept walking away. He repeated, louder and louder “Hey, thanks for the TIP!! HEY THANKS FOR THE TIP!!!” – a slightly disturbing moment, but nothing bad actually happened.

Despite some of these little scenes had a really nice relaxing time in Golden Gate Park, even though there was no music when we were there, except for the “thanks for the tip” guy. We lay on the grass reading and napping a bit, digesting our food.

More Audiobook Recommendations – www.audibletrial.com/teacherluke
Let’s continue to look at a few recommendations for California-related audiobooks you could download free by going to www.audibletrial.com/teacherluke

The two books I’d like to recommend are associated with the Beat movement of American literature, which was so important to the values of the later hippy movement.

“On The Road” by Jack Kerouac
This is probably the book which inspired the hippy movement more than any other. This is what is written in the summary for this book on audible.com: Few novels have had as profound an impact on American culture as On the Road. Pulsating with the rhythms of 1950s underground America, jazz, sex, illicit drugs, and the mystery and promise of the open road, Kerouac’s classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be “beat” and has inspired generations of writers, musicians, artists, poets, and seekers who cite their discovery of the book as the event that “set them free”.

Do you fancy listening to an actor read that book to you? Visit www.audibletrial.com/teacherluke to sign up to a trial membership. You can download any audiobook you want, and then either cancel your membership and keep the audiobook, or continue as a member and enjoy more audiobooks every month.

“One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey
Ken Kesey was part of a group of writers called The Merry Pranksters, which also included a man called Neal Cassady who was one of the inspirations for a principle character in On The Road. Kesey and the Merry Pranksters were a group who advocated a particular way of life that inspired the hippy movement. The Merry Pranksters sounded like a cool and funny bunch of people. They drove around America in a big bus. That was the inspiration for The Beatles “Magical Mystery Tour” film. Basically, Ken Kesey is a very important figure in the American counter cultural movement of the 1960s. A key writer in the Beat generation. Beat writers like Kesey influenced so many important cultural figures that followed them, including pretty much all of the famous rock musicians who emerged from the 60s and 70s, including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, The Byrds, Neil Young and everyone else basically. They’re the ones who defined that whole lifestyle that is now so globally pervasive.

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is the story of a charismatic criminal who ends up in a mental hospital when he’s not really mentally ill. He fakes it in order to avoid prison, thinking it will be much easier. What he discovers is that the mental institute is far more sinister than he’d imagined, and he ends up in a great mental power struggle against the strict nurse who runs the hospital. It’s all about the corrupting nature of power, about fighting against the establishment, about the fine line between sanity and insanity, and the idea there is something rotten at the heart of the American administration. What’s more, it’s just a great dramatic story, terrifically well written with some fantastic surprises. The main character is a lot of fun, and the evil Nurse Ratched is a great villain.
It’s sad, joyful, moving, and powerful, particularly at the end. There’s also a great film of this book, starring Jack Nicholson.
You can download the original version, narrated by Kesey himself (abridged and only 3-4 hours), but I recommend the 50th Anniversary Edition read by actor John C. Reilly (who I’m sure you’d recognise if you saw him – he’s a brilliant actor, with a really distinctive voice). It’s unabridged, so you get the whole book which comes to 10+ hours of audio.

End of Part 7. Part 8 coming soon, and I’m sure it will be the final chapter in this series. :)
Haight Ashbury

245. Merry Christmas! (+ Other News) + Video!

This is just a chance to wish you all a Merry Christmas and to give you a bit of news. There is a video for this episode, featuring 15 minutes of extra footage which I filmed before recording the audio episode. You can watch it below. [Download audio]

Small Donate ButtonVideo – I started recording this 15 minutes before starting the podcast, so you’ll see me preparing myself to start recording, and I show you what it’s like to record a podcast in the slightly cramped (and badly lit) conditions of the ‘spacepod’ or ‘sky pod’! Unfortunately, the batteries in my camera ran out after about 30 minutes! Never mind – the audio podcast is my main focus anyway. :)

Contents of this episode
1. MEEEERY CHRISTMAS (if you celebrate it)
Click these links for previous episodes about Christmas:
160. The A to Z of Christmas
78. Christmas – It’s all about Family

2. Macmillan Competition

3. Nicknames – LEPPERS, LEPSTERS, LEPPISH, PLEPs, LEP Ninjas, LEP FC, The Cult of LEP, LEP United, LEPPARDS, LEPPANS, LEPIANS, LEPANESE, LEPLANDERS, LEPaholics… what do you think? Which nickname do you prefer? Do you need just one nickname or can we use lots of different aliases? I might do a proper survey on this to let you choose your nickname by committee.

4. Emails – I don’t get many opportunities to properly reply to your emails, and I get loads of them. I’ve tried lots of things – putting them in other folders, forwarding to other inboxes etc. The problem is, I just can’t get around to it. The reason is because I can’t really reply to you all individually. I have to just talk to you as one large group. Sorry if you have sent me an email and I haven’t replied. Really – I am very sorry and it hurts a little bit because you’ve gone out of your way. I love to receive emails but I can’t always reply. I haven’t published my email address on the website and I don’t mention it in the podcast (I used to) because I’d rather the correspondence came via teacherluke.co.uk and was public. That way I’m more likely to reply. Correspondence between me and you privately is very rare. So, if you have comments, do leave them on the website. I genuinely love reading your comments and I’m frequently impressed by what a lovely community of people I have listening to this podcast. It’s quite amazing really, so keep doing that – I’m sure I have a large silent majority out there. Most people don’t correspond with me directly. That’s fine. I never send emails to my favourite podcasters (except a text I sent to the Adam & Joe show once, which they read out!) So I understand that most of you have never commented or anything. I would like to hear from you so do get in touch. You could be a long term listener but first time commenter, or whatever. Anyway, I can’t always reply to specific requests which I get sent by email, and I do get a lot. For example, I often get emails with specific requests like giving you help for the IELTS test, asking for advice on visiting France or The UK or whatever. I would honestly love to reply fully to those mails but I can’t justify sitting down to write a full email when that time must be spent on other things.

What I would like to do is publicly read out some emails. I think this is a great way to give you a voice. If you would like to send me emails that I can reply to live on the podcast, please send your emails to podcastreply@gmail.com, that’s podcastreply@gmail.com. I will assume that if you send any email there that you’re happy for me to read it out on the podcast and reply to it orally. I can’t guarantee that all your emails there will be broadcast, but let’s try it. Send emails you’d like me to read out and respond to on LEP to podcastreply@gmail.com.

I realise there’s a forum section for questions you’ve asked me, and in fact several times I’ve attempted to record episodes in response to those forum questions and for one reason or another I had to abandon recording due to technical errors, and time issues. I’m trying to find a system for giving you a voice on the podcast at the moment. Let’s try a few ways until we get the right one. Perhaps the email inbox idea will give me just a little more discretion regarding which emails I reply to.

I am a little wary of giving you the impression that you can make requests for the podcast. One of the ways I can make this podcast work with my time schedule is to have total control over what I put out. It allows me to be flexible, determine my own schedule, motivate me by allowing me to have creative freedom and also it probably gives the podcast a distinctive and original quality. I do get requests that I’m sure would please a lot of people, but they would require a heck of a lot of preparation. Sometimes I do put a lot of time into episodes, but those are the ones I just seem to be particularly driven to produce, out of some urgent sense of creativity. Essentially, the urge to do episodes has to come from me, or they won’t really get done. So, at the end of the day I decide all of the output of the podcast, but it would be nice to feature your input too. Perhaps podcastreply@gmail.com is a good way of doing that. Send your correspondence there and I will aim to stick it into episodes of the podcast, and comment on your questions that way.

5. Lost podcasts. I’ve recorded a few episodes over the years that were not published or got lost due to a hard drive accident. You will probably never hear them and will never know what they were about…

Thank you for listening and Merry Christmas everyone!

Luke

188. World Cup 2014 (Part 2: England & The Dark Side of the World Cup)

In this second World Cup episode we focus on England, and then the dark side of The World Cup including the allegations of corruption and the civil unrest in Brazil. Right-click here to download this episode.

Contents
1. What does the World Cup mean to me? (Dealt with in part 1)
2. What’s the situation at this time? Who looks strong? What’s going on? The Basic Guide to World Cup 2014. (Dealt with in part 1)
3. Focus on England
4. Changes to the rules
5. The dark side of the World Cup
6. A brief History of The World Cup (In part 3)

3. England: What are their chances?
World Cup history – penalties. The curse of the penalty shootout.
Stuart Pearce Penalty video 1996 (Feel the passion!)

Why haven’t England won the cup even though the premiership is the top league in the world?
– Foreign players
– Clubs come first
– Finding the right coach
– Egos and personalities vs teamwork
– Pressure & Expectation from the media & the public (it’s assumed that England will win, “football’s coming home” and this doesn’t help)
– Finding the right squad
– Penalties (it’s all in the mind)
England: Letting the rest of the world shine since 1966 ;)

4. Changes to the rules, etc
Goal line technology.
The vanishing spray.
Player conduct – diving, cheating & time-wasting.
The Falklands/Malvinas Situation. Click here to read arguments for and against British occupation of The Falkland Islands. Click here to read an article about the Argentinian players’ protest.

5. The other side of the World Cup. The ‘dark side’ of The World Cup.
Controversy, corruption and civil unrest.
Riots in Brazil.
FIFA’s 2022 corruption scandal.
The Falklands issue – Argentina vs England www.debate.org/opinions/should-the-falklands-belong-to-argentina
John Oliver’s report

His main points:
The sausage principle: If you love something, don’t find out how it was made.
He’s excited about the World Cup, but he’s also conflicted about it because of the alleged corruption of FIFA.
Some Brazilians are unhappy about the World Cup because the money spent on hosting the games is not going to the people who need it.
FIFA persuaded the Brazilian government to overturn safety laws in football stadiums. The law used to state that beer could not be sold in stadiums. FIFA refused to negotiate and pushed very hard for this safety law to be overturned. John Oliver believes it’s irresponsible of FIFA to prioritise their sponsors over public safety.
FIFA’s boardroom looks dark and evil.
In Qatar, workers’ rights are so poor that it’s almost like slave labour. Also, health and safety standards are so low that it’s expected that thousands of workers will die during constructions of the stadiums. Downer :(

Stay tuned for part 3 coming soon!

3 Lions ’98 (Baddiel, Skinner & The Lightning Seeds) “Football’s Coming Home” Lyrics
Three Lions 98 Version

We still believe, we still believe
we still believe

Its coming home,
Its coming home, its coming
Footballs coming home

Tears for heroes dressed in grey
No plans for final day
Stay in bed, drift away
It could have been all
Songs in the street
It was nearly complete
It was nearly so sweet
And now Im singing

Three lions on the shirt
Jules Rimet still gleaming
No more years of hurt
No more need for dreaming

Talk about football coming home
And then one night in Rome
We were strong, we had grown
And now I see Ince ready for war
Gazza good as before
Shearer ready to score
And Psycho screaming

Three lions on the shirt
Jules Rimet still gleaming
No more years of hurt
No more need for dreaming

We can dance Nobbys dance
We could dance it in France

Its coming home, its coming home,
Footballs coming home….

source: www.lyricsondemand.com/0/3lions98lyrics/footballscominghomelyrics.html

Please leave your comments below.

187. World Cup 2014 (Part 1: The Basic Guide)

Lots of people want me to talk about the World Cup, so here we go! This is the first in a series of episodes about World Cup 2014. We start with a general look at the tournament, the groups and the teams. Consider this to be your basic guide to World Cup 2014. Right-click here to download this episode.

I have been preparing podcasts on other things lately but that must stop because nothing else can happen at this moment – why? Because it’s the World Cup. You may have noticed. I think there is a law going round that 75% of anything must be about the world cup. That’s conversations, television, radio, newspaper articles, commercials, food, pets, weather, geography, elephants, whatever. It has to be connected to the World Cup in some way. It’s just an unwritten global law. If I talk about anything else on the podcast at this time, there’s a danger it will go in one ear and out of the other, there is only The World Cup! So, it has to be dealt with. So LET’S DO THIS. Let’s talk about THE WORLD CUP!

Don’t think that I’m reluctant to talk about it. I’m not. I love football. I really love the World Cup – well, most of it. There are some things that I don’t like about it, and we’ll come to that stuff later. I’m not reluctant to talk about it by any means, it’s just that it’s a pretty massive topic and I’ve been wondering how to cover it properly. I’ve decided that I’ll just ramble on about it and do my best to make it accurate and well-informed. Please be aware that I’m an English-teacher-podcaster-comedian-musician but not necessarily an expert on the world of international football, but I will do my best to talk about football with the level of knowledge and expertise that you might expect from most ordinary people in the UK. I have a normal level of knowledge of this subject. So, it’s a bit like talking to a guy in a pub about it, or chatting to a guy who you know at work or school, just like the sort of conversation you’re likely to have in the real world. It’s pretty rare that you get to talk to a football journalist isn’t it? Yes it is, unless you’re married to one or something.

Other World Cup podcasts you could listen to:
The Guardian Football Weekly Podcast (Very in-depth and well-made, but not produced with learners of English in mind.)
Languagecaster.com Lots of stuff about learning English via football here, including some podcasts. Have a look.
British Council Premier Skills English. Loads of resources to learn English associated with football.
Luke’s English Podcast – English Premier League Football.
Future episodes of LEP. I expect I’ll be talking more about the World Cup in the next couple of weeks, and this episode might be separated into several parts. Also, I’ll make a podcast with your comments too.

If you’re not a football fan, well, in this episode you’ll have to just enjoy the words that are coming out of my mouth, without getting too carried away by the general subject matter. I will be looking at both sides in this podcast, and there will be some general criticism of football and the World Cup later on in this episode (or in part 2 if it’s necessary to divide it into two).

It’s one week into the competition. I’m going to talk about how it’s going so far. It’s hard to make any big statements at this moment, because it could all change. By the time you listen to it, everything could be different. I realise that. Anyway, let’s talk football.

Here’s what I’m going to deal with in this episode. I’m planning another one very soon in which I will respond to comments which some of you have left in my forum. You can read that forum thread by clicking here: Luke’s World Cup Comments Forum Thread.

Contents
1. What does the World Cup mean to me?
2. What’s the situation at this time? Who looks strong? What’s going on? The Basic Guide to World Cup 2014.
3. Focus on England
4. Changes to the rules
5. The dark side of the World Cup
6. A brief History of The World Cup

1. What does the World Cup mean to me?
It’s an international celebration. It’s great fun to get caught up in the excitement. It brings people together. It’s a time when we forget our differences and let problems get settled on the football pitch. It’s also nice to see all the hot girls from around the world on TV sometimes. On the more serious side, the World Cup is becoming more and more controversial, basically because of FIFA and the allegations of corruption, and the civil unrest in Brazil around their hosting of the competition. More on that later. Right now, let’s focus on the football, and leave the politics until later.
My world cup story.
Meeting Rai de Oliveira. (Name dropping) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ra%C3%AD

2. Who looks like they could win at this stage?
Let’s look at the groups. To help me here, I am quoting from a very useful article on Slate.com called “How to Fake Your Way Through the Tournament Like a Champ”, which is a kind of dummy’s guide to The World Cup 2014. If you don’t know a lot about the World Cup, this might help you. Since the article was written, some things have changed, and are still changing now as games are being played every day, but it will give you a good idea of the context at this stage.

Now listen to part 2 of this World Cup episode!

183. Luke’s D-Day Diary (Part 1)


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Introduction
Friday 6 June this year was the 70th anniversary of the DDaylandings inNormandy. My Grandad Dennis was one of the soldiers who landed on the beach that day. Along with thousands of other men he risked his life to fight the Nazis in the 2nd World War. Many of his fellow soldiers did not survive. Last Friday I went to Caen in Northern France to take part in the D-Day commemorations and to see my comedy hero Eddie Izzard performing stand-up in 3 languages. I recorded a podcast during my trip, and some unexpected things happened! Listen to the episode to join me on my adventure.
6 June 1944 – D-Day
D-Day was a very important moment in World War 2. This was when the Allies fought back against the Nazis on the Western European front. It was a key victory for the Allies, but it was also very costly, particularly for the Americans, who lost thousands of men on June 6 alone. For more information about why D-Day was so important, click here to visit the website of the Imperial War Museum in London.

Ultimately, D-Day was a success, but it came with great destruction and loss of human life. The success was due in part to the very careful planning of the Allied forces before the day, but also to the extremely tough fighting in which the Nazis were engaged in the east with the Soviets.

Why was it called D-Day? Click here to find an answer to this question on the BBC Newsround website.

My D-Day Diary
In this episode you’ll join me on my journey to Caen, a town in Normandy that was a very important location during the Normandy campaign in WW2. Caen is where most of the commemorations were taking place (or so I thought). On Friday the town was visited by lots of people including heads of state such as The Queen, Barack Obama, Francoise Hollande, Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel. They were all very excited to learn that Luke from Luke’s English Podcast was also going to be in town ;)

I was podcasting regularly during the trip. First you hear me on the train, then walking through the streets of Caen on the way to my rented apartment room, then sitting on the steps of a church with my friend Sebastian Marx (from episode 130), then in a car with Yacine, on the street again, and finally in the train on the way home the next day. In the episode I talk about D-Day, my Grandfather’s involvement in D-Day 70 years ago, my experience of seeing Eddie Izzard’s comedy show, the dumbfounding excitement of having dinner with Eddie Izzard. All in all it was quite an emotional experience all round. I hope you enjoy the episode…

My Grandad, Dennis Hallam

Dennis is 94 this year. 70 years ago he was just 24 years old but he was an officer in the army, in charge of 35 young soldiers. It was his responsibility to lead these men off the boat, up the beach and ultimately all the way through France and deep into enemy territory. It was very brave of him, and he fought for my freedom. Without Grandad, I wouldn’t be here today and there would be no Luke’s English Podcast. Thanks Dennis.

Recently my Dad (Dennis’s son-in-law) wrote to Dennis to thank him for what he did on D-Day. Here is a copy of Dennis’s reply, typed onto a computer by my Mum (Dennis’s daughter). Some words are defined below.

Dear Rick,
Thank you for your “Thankyou” card which made me feel both proud and embarrassed – I was only one of thousands.

It was pretty hairy, and for me and many others it started long before we reached the beach. The Channel crossing was vile – I was dreadfully sick. At some point during the night it was my turn to be Duty Army Officer on the bridge and I had to climb up there being sick and miserable. So it was almost a great relief to get onto the beach, even though wet through, having had to wade ashore, and even though there were assorted bits of metal flying around. What amazes and horrifies me is to think that I was just 24 and in charge of and responsible for a platoon of 35 soldiers. If there were privileges attached to commissioned ranks – and there were, of course, I think we deserved them – a lot was asked of us.

However, it was a war that had to be fought, I think, and one simply called on one’s training and did what seemed right at any situation.

I hope the celebrations will go well and it is good to know that what we did is remembered and honoured.

Thank you again – it was very kind of you.

Yours, Dennis.

Thank you too Grandad.

Eddie Izzard
He’s a stand-up comedian from the UK. I’m a huge fan. I won’t write more about him here because I’m planning to do an episode about him soon, in which I’ll play you some of his stand-up comedy. On 6 June he put on a special show, doing 3 performances – one in German, one in English and one in French. That’s really impressive, especially considering he is learning both German and French as second (or third?) languages. I was pretty awestruck to actually meet Eddie on Friday and then sit down to dinner in his company. I still can’t believe it happened because he’s sort of a hero of mine. Listen to the podcast to hear my reactions. I was quite excited.

Here’s some video of Eddie talking about how Anglo-Saxon English evolved, including his version of how English became a non-gendered language, distinct from the gendered French which existed in England at around the same time.

Here is a video showing footage of the D-Day operation. To be honest, the video doesn’t really show us how big the operation was. It was the biggest naval armada the world had ever seen, and has ever seen since. It must have been an overwhelming sight to behold.

War Is Hell

“Some of you young men think that war is all glamour and glory,
but let me tell you, boys, it is all hell!”
-General William T. Sherman

182. Learning English with Yacine Belhousse

This episode is all about the relationship between language, successful communication, stand-up comedy and learning English! It features an interview with the one-and-only Yacine Belhousse, who is a professional stand-up comedian in his native language and now in English too. A year and a half ago, Yacine hardly spoke any English. Now he regularly performs in English and this year he is doing a 1 hour stand-up comedy show at the Edinburgh fringe festival. How does he do it? How does he deal with the challenges of learning English while also making people laugh in English too? Listen and find out!

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I’m really pleased to present every episode of Luke’s English Podcast, but this one makes me extra pleased. Why? I just think that we come to some particularly useful conclusions during this conversation, especially related to the attitude that you need to learn English effectively. I’m also pleased to present Yacine because he’s got a great attitude towards learning English and because I think he’s really funny.

Conclusions about Learning Language
In summary here are some of the key points about learning English & communication from our conversation:
– To communicate well, you must take responsibility for communicative exchanges.
– Remember when you’re talking to native speakers, you’re just talking to another human. They have no reason to judge you if you’re just trying to communicate to achieve something. In fact, native speakers have the same responsibility for successful communication as you. So don’t feel that you’re totally responsible for any communication breakdown.
– Be confident and don’t worry about making mistakes. If you do make mistakes, you can learn from them and that’s how you improve. If you’re concerned that you can’t be confident – don’t worry. Confidence is something which just happens when you try to do something. If you focus on achieving successful communication, and don’t get upset by failure – confidence will just come naturally. So, don’t worry about confidence. Just focus on trying to achieve things.
– Have an organised approach to learning – mentally store words and phrases you like in the “good things bucket”. Reject bits of communication that didn’t work in the “bad things bucket”. Perhaps revisit the “bad things bucket” to learn from the errors, but enjoy the contents of your “good things bucket” too!
– Repeat words and phrases that you’ve learned. Repeat them lots of times in order to remember them.
– Learn by doing things. Learn to speak by speaking, failing, succeeding and moving on. You have to be active. Use your English. If you don’t use it, you lose it. You’ve got to be in it to win it!
– Be positive!

Listen to the conversation to find out more.

Links
Would you like to play Yacine’s computer game? Click here to visit the game on his website.

Will you be in Edinburgh during the Fringe? You should check out Yacine’s show. Click here for information on Yacine’s Edinburgh show.

Transcript to #182. Learning English with Yacine Belhousse
The introduction to this episode is transcribed below. If you would like to write some more minutes of transcript, click here to visit the google document for this episode.

Introduction
Here is my introduction to this episode of the podcast.

“Normally I have native speakers on this podcast; British people, Americans, Australians and stuff like that. And yet, most of the people who listen to this are non-natives learning the language. I rarely have learners of English giving their voice, which is a pity because everyone has a story to tell and interesting things to share. …

So, in today’s episode I am speaking to a friend of mine called Yacine. He’s not a native speaker. In fact, until quite recently he didn’t speak English at all. By his own admission, his English is not perfect. Sometimes he can’t find the right words, he has some trouble choosing the correct verb forms or pronouncing words naturally. These are all the normal problems faced by people learning English. However, I believe Yacine is quite special and that’s why I’ve brought him onto the podcast, despite not being a native or near-native speaker of English.

But why Luke? Why are you featuring a learner of English in one of your interviews? Well, there are lots of reasons:
– I think Yacine has a really good attitude towards learning, and I want to explore that so we can pick up some good things about language learning.
– Yacine is a professional stand-up comedian in his native language but he is also now performing shows in English. In fact, this year he is doing a regular one hour show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which is perhaps the biggest comedy festival in the world, and he regularly performs comedy with the great & legendary Eddie Izzard, who is considered by many to be one of the greatest stand-ups of his generation. Eddie Izzard is not just an inspiration to stand up comedians, he is also an inspiration to language learners all over the world, and we’ll find out more about that later. Yacine is very influenced by Eddie Izzard, and he often supports Eddie when he does shows in France.

Learning a language is a challenging thing for anyone. You know when you speak you feel shy and embarrassed sometimes because you don’t want to be judged (just like me when I go to the boulangerie). These are normal fears. But, can you imagine going on-stage in front of lots of people, Scottish, English, perhaps a bit drunk because the show is on at 9.30PM, and delivering a full one hour stand-up performance in a language you’re trying to learn?
– It must be very challenging.
– You’d need a lot of self-confidence and self-belief.
– You need to focus very carefully on how to communicate your message.
– You need to be able to deal with any possible breakdown of communication.
– You need to stop worrying about errors, and if you make errors learn from them but don’t let them make you lose confidence.
I want to know how Yacine faces these challenges, but also, for me these are the challenges faced by any learner of English, but they are multiplied by the fact that Yacine is also doing this on-stage while having to make people laugh. It’s impressive and I want to know more.

So, this is what I want to investigate in this episode:
– How he’s learning English.
– Doing comedy in French vs English.
– French audiences vs UK audiences – are they different?
– Is humour universal?
– How is good communication an essential part of comedy? How do you make a successful joke? It’s about successfully communicating an idea.

Footnote: Yacine has only been learning for a few years. He hasn’t attended any courses or lessons. He’s self-taught. My professional opinion is that he’s doing really well. His English is better than it was a year ago, and his English is certainly much better than my French!

Yacine might make errors during the episode, and that’s fine. I’ll help him or even give him corrections (“yes please” – he says). This episode is not a judgement of his English, and it’s not his comedy performance either – that happens in Edinburgh. What this is, is an investigation into his English learning experiences and the relationship between language, communication, comedy and language learning!

Click here to transcribe more of this episode using a google document.

Thanks for listening, and have a good day/evening/night!

Luke

yacine PODPIC

London Olympics 2012

More interviews with speakers of English. This time I went to the Olympic Park in East London and spoke to some people about the Olympic Games.

TRANSCRIPT:

London Olympics 2012

What do you think?

Girl 1: Hello

Girl 2: Hello

Luke: Hello, where are you from?

Girl 1: Australia

Luke: Really?

Girl 2: And the UK

Luke: Right, okay, fantastic. So, you are living in England are you?

Girl 1: I am living in England, at the moment yeah.

Luke: Okay, so which event are you going to see today?

Girl 1: Women’s basketball

Luke: Okay right, I see. So how was the Olympic ceremony in your opinion?

Girl 2: It was pretty amazing, yeah it was really good.

Luke: Okay, what do you think of the orbit over there?

Girl 1: I want to go up there

Luke: Yeah?

Girl 1: Can you go up there?

Luke: I don’t know actually

Girl 1: I think you can and I want to go up there, it looks cool

Luke: What do you think about the way it looks?

Girl 2: Yeah it looks really good everything’s done really nice and it’s, yeah really well done.

Luke: Okay, cool and so in general is the Olympics good for London or bad for London?

Girl 1: Good I think

Luke: Why’s that?

Girl 1: I don’t know, it brings more people here. I don’t know! I’m not even from London! To her…

Luke: What do you think? Do you think it’s improving London or is it just annoying or…?

Girl 2: A little bit annoying, but

Luke: How is it annoying a little bit?

Girl 2: It’s just I guess costs quite a lot and the traffic and everything’s quite a hassle but generally I think it’s pretty good event for us to have

Girl 1: The spirit!

Girl 2: Yeah, it brings everyone together. But it’s annoying when you have to try and get to work

Luke: Yeah the traffic is a bit of a problem

Girl 2: Yeah the traffic but no  it’s good it’s good for us to have  .

Luke: Well have a great time

Girl 1: Thank you

Girl 2: Thank you cheers bye!

Luke: Thank you, bye

 

Luke: Hi, how are you doing?

Man: Very well thank you

Luke: Where are you from?

Man: We’re from Devon

Luke: Devon, okay. So, hello

Daughter: Hello

Luke: Hi, what’s your name?

Daughter: Ellie

Luke: How’s the Olympics for you so far?

Daughter: It’s cool

Luke: Yeah, what do you like about it the best?

Daughter: I’m not really sure

Luke: You’re not really sure?

Daughter: No, it’s all good

Luke: Which event are you going to see?

Daughter: Erm, the swimming.

Luke: Swimming, okay, alright brilliant. So what did you think of the opening ceremony?

Man: I thought it was pretty awesome actually, I thought it was a good err, it was good for Britain, showed off Britain, a bit quirky, a bit funny, errrm, yeah not trying to be anything that we’re not.

Luke: Okay. And erm what do you think of the Orbit over there?

Daughter: I think it’s really cool.

Luke: You like it?

Daughter: Unusual yeah

Luke: Unusual you think yeah? And what do you think about that?

Man: I haven’t really thought about it to be honest but it’s an interesting structure

Luke:T is isn’t it yeah. Do you think that the Olympics is good for London or bad for London in general?

Man: Brilliant, absolutely amazing

Luke: Why?

Man: Err, it just puts Britain on the map, puts London right in the centre where it should be. I think it’s great for Britain.

Luke: So who are you going to cheer for today?

Daughter: Erm…

Luke: Britain I would say. Team GB right? Okay right well have a fantastic day

Man: Thank you very much

Luke: and err, bye

Man & Daughter: Bye!

 

Luke: Hi mate

American: How’s it going?

Luke: Fine thanks. So where are you from?

American: I’m from America

Luke: What a surprise! And which event are you going to see today?

American: We’re actually going to watch Phelps swim. We’re going to support him.

Luke: You’re going to see what?

American: Phelps, Michael Phelps

Luke: Oh yes

American: in the 400 IM

Luke: Okay brilliant. And so how’s the Olympics for you so far?

American: Oh well it’s our first day here so we’re excited about it. Hopefully we can get back out here and see some more events.

Luke: Have you been in London long now?

American: I’ve been in London for two weeks actually. Doing summer school here.

Luke: What do you think of the place?

American: I love it. It’s a lot of fun.

Luke: What exactly about it do you like?

American: What do I… pardon me?

Luke: What is it exactly that you like about London?

American: Oh it’s, I don’t know it’s different from everywhere else, you can’t, like, can’t find most things you find all in one place like you can in London.

Luke: How is it different to the States?

American: There’s a lot of different things. The culture, the language are slightly different. It just, I don’t know it’s the European melting pot I guess, from over here.

Luke: What do you think of The Orbit?

American: Erm, I don’t know. I guess it’s err, London’s attempt at the Eiffel Tower.

Luke: You think so?

American: I guess

Luke: What is it?

American: Err, it’s an observatory tower I believe. Maybe I’ll make my way up there.

Luke: Yeah, okay well have a fantastic evening

American: Thank you nice to meet you

Luke: And a great time in London

American: Bye

Luke: Bye

104. Brighton Fringe Festival #1

Part 1 of a trilogy of podcasts from the Brighton Fringe Festival.

Right-click here to download this episode.
Hello Listeners! This is the first of three podcast episodes recorded with comedians Alex Love, Paul Langton and Moz at the Brighton Fringe Festival last month. In this episode I introduce Alex, Paul and Moz and we discuss a number of topics including: British accents, experiences in foreign countries, comedy shows and a mysterious character called Luke Johnson. Listen to the episode to find out more, and please feel free to leave comments and questions below.

Every evening Alex, Paul and I performed a comedy show called Snigger Happy in a hot room above a friendly pub called The Temple. We had a great time performing the shows and enjoying ourselves in Brighton, which is a lovely town near the sea on the south coast of England. Also with us was another comedian called Moz, who was performing a solo show called Balloon. We performed 4 shows, with each of us doing 15-20 minutes of stand-up. I also managed to record three episodes with Alex, Paul and Moz. This is the first of those episodes.

Click here to visit Alex Love’s blog: www.alexlove.co.uk It’s all about his experiences performing comedy in venues all over London and the UK in general. Alex is a really good writer, and has written as a journalist for The Guardian newspaper.