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.
This is the longest episode of LEP so far, and it’s a solo ramble. Relax, follow my words, hang out with me for 3 hours, get stranded on a desert island of the imagination, and then get rescued. Includes a haircut, a sleep and a t-shirt change during the episode.
PDF Script / Notes for this episode 👇
Since recording part 1 of this conversation, Antony caught COVID-19 and lost a bit of weight, but he managed to talk for about 100 minutes here about more topics he has previously covered in episodes of his podcast “Life & Life Only”. Here we discuss diverse things, including the extraordinary feats of endurance by David Blaine 🕴🏻, food and dieting 🍔, Stanley Kubrik’s film “The Shining” 🪓, the term “conspiracy theory” 🤫, the ways that comedy shows can reveal the truth 🎭, and the complex art of happiness 🙂.
☝️The audio version includes some extra content at the end, including a song on the guitar
Topics covered in this episode
- Who is David Blaine?
- What can we learn from his tricks?
- Do you watch what you eat or have a particular diet?
- What are your favourite films?
- What’s so interesting about The Shining?
- What’s wrong with the phrase “conspiracy theory”?
- What’s your favourite comedy show?
- Is British and American comedy different?
- What is the art of happiness?
Song Lyrics – “Coffee & TV” by Blur
Luke & Antony talk about the film “Sorcerer” (1977) on the Film Gold podcast
[Part 2 of 2] James and Luke discuss some more “facts” about the UK, but can you guess if they are true or false? Learn some interesting trivia about life in Britain, and improve your vocabulary in the process.
Video Version with facts on the screen – Automatic Subtitles Available
Hello listeners, and welcome back to the podcast.
This is part 2 of a two-part episode called 50 Random British Facts (True or False Quiz) with James.
This is part 2 – so if you haven’t heard part 1, go back and listen to that. It’s the previous episode.
In this one we’re going to go through the rest of the random facts about Britain which my brother and I put together earlier this year.
Just a reminder, of the way this works:
- First, James and I will read out some more random facts about the UK
- Some of the facts are true, and other facts are not true – they were completely made up by James and me.
- You have to decide which facts you think are true and which ones are false
- Then, after reading out the facts, James and I will reveal the answers and we will also discuss each fact a little bit.
Hopefully you can learn some odd and interesting bits of information about the UK, spot some useful English vocabualry, generally practise your listening skills and have a bit of fun in the process.
If you’d like to work on your pronunciation, here’s a challenge. Try reading the facts out loud, like James and I did. When you read them out, try to say them clearly and fluently, emphasising the right words, connecting parts of the sentence and adding pauses and intonation in the right places. It’s actually quite difficult but a good exercise. You can read the facts on the page for this episode on my website, or you will see them on the screen if you are watching the YouTube version. You could compare the way you say the sentences to the way James and I say them, and perhaps try to copy us, or shadow us. That could be a good way to push your English a bit further with this episode.
As I said at the beginning of the 1st part of this double episode, James and I recorded this in August 2022 and that was before the Queen died in September, and so this is a bit anachronistic as we talk about The Queen in the present tense as she was still alive and the head of state of the country at the time we recorded this. So just keep that in mind while you are listening to this I guess.
Oh and by the way, listen out for a cameo appearance by my daughter somewhere in the middle of the episode.
Now, are you ready to keep calm and carry on?
OK then, here we go with more random British facts – are they true or are they false?
Random British Facts 26 – 50 [True or False?] Listen to find out the answers
- 26. In 1657, England’s puritanical leader Oliver Cromwell passed a law making it illegal to serve richly flavoured food, believing it to be a pathway to sin.
- 27. It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armour.
- 28. It is illegal to put a stamp with the queen’s head on it upside down on an envelope (it’s considered treason).
- 29. It’s customary to let out a little bit of gas when you accept something which has been offered to you. A small fart or a burp. Keep some gas in reserve for moments like this. This is why English people eat beans.
- 30. Loch Ness is the largest body of freshwater in Britain by volume. It also keeps a temperature of 6°C all year round, not even freezing in the coldest Scottish winters.
- 31. More than half of the London Underground network in fact runs above ground.
- 32. There are 6 official ‘native’ languages in the UK.
- 33. Queen Elizabeth II was born in the same room that Charles Dickens died in.
- 34. Recent studies found that skin from British people was more resistant to water compared to that of continental people, due to higher levels of wax residue found on the skin surface.
- 35. The Glasgow accent is so strong that people there often have trouble understanding each other when they speak.
- 36. Taxis are obliged to carry a bale of hay in the boot, thanks to old laws regarding the feeding of horses.
- 37. The Queen doesn’t have a passport.
- 38. The Queen owns all the swans in the UK, and as a result it is illegal to kill or eat them.
- 39. The department store Harrods sold cocaine until 1916.
- 40. The name of the UK’s flag is the Union Jack.
- 41. The word soccer originally comes from the UK.
- 42. There are 6 ravens which live at the Tower of London and an old royal decree from the reign of King Charles II states that if one of them leaves, the kingdom will fall.
- 43. During the time of Henry III (mid 13th century), a live polar bear was kept in the moat at the Tower of London.
- 44. There are more than 70 beaches in the UK.
- 45. There are now more parakeets in London than pigeons.
- 46. There’s a secret underground tunnel which runs directly from Buckingham Palace to Number 10 Downing Street.
- 47. Under the Salmon Act of 1986, it is an offence to handle a salmon ‘suspiciously’.
- 48. Until the late 70s it was common practice for doctors to recommend that pregnant women drink Guinness because the high iron content was thought to be beneficial for the pregnancy.
- 49. Until 1968 tobacco was commonly included in a child’s packed lunch along with bread, fat drippings, and tripe.
- 50. Until 1982 all buses and taxis were legally obliged to carry a bottle of brandy to revive any passengers taken ill during the journey.
That’s it listeners.
Thank you for listening.
Don’t forget, you can read all those facts on the page for this episode on my website. That could be a good way to just check some of the words and phrases that you heard in this episode.
I’m sure there’s some new vocabulary in there.
Here’s a selection (just read through them)
- A pathway to sin
- A suit of armour
- Gas / wind / a fart
- To keep something in reserve
- A body of water
- A bail of hay
- A muzzle / to keep an animal muzzled
- To handle something (two meanings)
- Fat drippings
- To be taken ill
- To revive someone
That’s just a selection. I’m not going into it all now, but you could pursue that vocabulary and research it and try to remember it and use it, or at least try to notice it again as you listen, read and generally come into contact with English.
Some of them are more frequently used than others. I don’t know how often you will talk about tripe or bails of hay in your life, but that’s the thing about pushing your vocabulary beyond the intermediate plateau. You have to go beyond the limits of the vocabulary that you come across on a daily basis and go into the more uncharted areas of English in order to open things out and expand.
Also, I explained some vocabulary at the end of part 1. I don’t know if you heard that, but I went into various words relating to laws, rules, regulations, government legislation and so on, as quite a lot of those things came up in the 50 facts. So go back and listen to the last 30 mins of part 1, if you haven’t already done so.
You see, it pays to listen to episodes all the way until the end.
Can you guess if these “facts” about the UK are true or false? James and Luke read out the facts and then discuss them one by one. Learn some odd things about the UK, pick up some vocabulary about laws and customs, and try not to laugh on the bus.
Video Version (with facts written on the screen) Try activating automatic subtitles
Hello everybody, before I play this episode I think I should give a kind of disclaimer about the content. I just want to say two things.
So this is an episode about Britain recorded with my brother in August, which is obviously before we all got the news that The Queen had been taken ill and had died, and we do talk about The Queen a few times during the episode, but of course she is no longer with us and now we have King Charles III.
So, firstly, the things we say about The Queen will be a bit anachronistic now as you listen to it – anachronistic, meaning belonging to the past, and a bit out of step with the present. So that’s the first thing – this was recorded when the Queen was still alive and when she was the head of state, which is now obviously no longer the case, so there are a few little anachronisms and we refer to The Queen in the present tense.
And secondly, when we do mention The Queen and a lot of other things, it’s done in a humorous way – and I’m aware that some people might find that inappropriate, but we aren’t really mocking her harshly or specifically. We copy her voice a bit and parts of the episode are just a bit silly and funny, but our intentions are decent. I don’t think we could be indicted for treason or anything like that. So, I hope you take it all in the spirit of good natured British humour, which is our intention, and let’s remember that The Queen has been praised a lot over the last week or so for her good sense of humour, so hopefully she would see the funny side (but who knows) In any case, I think it’s ok and I’ve decided to publish this. I hope you enjoy it, and actually I hope you see it as a sort of celebration of British stuff, for what it’s worth.
Alright then, now I have said that. Let’s start the episode properly. Here we go.
— Jingle —
50 Random British Facts (True or False Quiz) with James [Part 1]
Hello listeners, welcome back to my podcast.
Are you ready to do some more listening, to improve your English?
If the answer to that question is “Yes” then, good! Keep listening!
Here is a new episode featuring James, my older brother. This is a 2 part episode actually, and you’re listening to part 1.
In this one you’re going to hear James and me discussing various facts about the UK, that’s the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of course. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
A few weeks ago, James and I came up with a list of 50 facts about British life, customs, laws, history and culture, which we could talk about on this podcast. We thought you might find it interesting.
So that’s what you’ll hear. But the thing is – some of these facts are true and some of them are not true. They’re false, completely made up, invented by James and me.
So the game is, can you guess which of these facts are true and which ones are false?
Here’s how this is going to work.
First, you’ll hear us reading out our list of so-called facts and you can decide if you think they’re true or not
and then we will discuss each fact, we’ll reveal if they are true or not and we’ll explain some bits of language and culture along the way.
On the subject of vocabulary, two things:
- You will find a list of all the “facts” on the page for this episode on my website. They’re all written there for you, so you can go and read them if you like. If you hear a word and you’re not sure what it is, you can check all the sentences there. Also, I recommend trying to read those sentences out loud. All the facts – try reading them out loud. It’s quite good pronunciation practice. You can then compare your version to the the way James and I read the sentences, and perhaps you can shadow us, or repeat the sentences after us. Some of them are actually quite challenging, quite difficult to say clearly as you’ll see. That’s just something you could try doing. There are always other ways to push your English with these podcasts beyond just listening, or if you prefer not really doing any extra practice or anything you can just sit back, listen, enjoy and eat a chocolate biscuit.
- Some of the facts presented here are about UK laws, and you might hear a few different words to describe laws – things like this:
- A rule
- A law
- To Ban / to be banned
- An act of parliament
- Provisions in an act
- A royal decree
- An initiative
- A custom / to be customary
I’ll go through those words briefly at the end of the episode, giving you a little tiny taste of LEP Premium, with definitions, explanations and a couple of examples, just to make sure you understood the full meaning and difference between them, because lots of words like that will just pop up in this episode and you might think “Hold on, how many words for laws and rules are there? What’s the difference between a law, an act, a decree and legislation?
If that’s you – just listen on until end of this part to hear some vocabulary explanations from me, which no doubt will just be really helpful.
This is an audio-only episode, but if you are listening on YouTube you will see that the facts are written on the screen with a few pictures to illustrate them in most cases, which again should help you not only understand everything but also to notice vocabulary, with your eyes, and your brain.
And you can always switch on the automatic subtitles in English on YouTube, which are surprisingly accurate these days.
But now, that’s enough waffle. Let’s get started with part 1 of this, recorded at my parents’ home in England a couple of weeks ago, during the summer holidays, just after we’d eaten a large lunch with the whole family.
OK, so, this is part 1 of 50 Random British Facts, with James.
Random British Facts 1 – 25
True or False? 👉 Listen to the episode to find out the answers.
- In a recent poll by The BBC, 71% of British people said that British food was the best in the world. Examples given included curry and lasagne.
- 8% of British people live in London.
- Work meetings in the UK often commence with a short joke before people get down to business. The joke is usually printed on slips of paper or distributed in advance by email.
- All pubs must have a picture of the Queen displayed somewhere behind the bar.
- Another way to say “thanks” in the UK is to say “Ta”
- Big Ben is the nickname of a large clock tower in Westminster.
- British people drink 100,000,000 cups of tea a day.
- Cockfighting is illegal, but heron fighting is still commonly practiced in rural areas.
- During the Second World War a fake “mock up” of London was built in the Kent countryside with an intricate system of lights, to confuse German bomber pilots during nighttime air-raids.
- Every year on the 5th November children burn an effigy of a Catholic terrorist who once attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament during the King’s visit.
- Every year the Mayor of London is given a dozen oxen as part of his annual pay packet. The livestock are usually donated to a charity of the Mayor’s choice, or slaughtered.
- A recent excavation of the site of Shakespeare’s former home in London turned up a number of clay pipes containing the residue of cannabis resin or “hashish”.
- In the UK, by law, if one man’s dog gets bitten by another man’s dog, the owner of the dog that did the biting must buy the other man a pub lunch, or something else of equivalent value.
- If the UK flag is flying at Buckingham Palace it means the Queen is in the building. FALSE – It’s the Royal standard.
- If you live to be 100 years old you will receive a personal letter from The Queen in the post.
- In 2020, English winemakers Langham Wine Estate of Dorset won the International Wine & Spirit Competition Sparkling Wine Producer of the Year, which is one of the most prestigious awards a winemaker can win. They beat every top French Champagne brand in the competition.
- In 1976 a huge rat was discovered in the London sewer system. The police lost 2 dogs in their attempt to capture and destroy the animal.
- In the UK we drive on the left side of the road, but in 1987 the UK government introduced plans to switch from driving on the left to driving on the right, to bring the country in line with European standards. The initiative, which was eventually scrapped, was to be phased in over a period of 6 months, with heavy goods vehicles and buses switching first, followed by cars and then motorbikes and bicycles.
- It is always raining, somewhere in the UK.
- It is customary to buy a packet of crisps to be shared while having a drink in a pub, and the crisp packet is often ripped open in a certain way to allow everyone to take crisps from the bag. (crisps, not chips)
- It is customary to make tea for any tradesmen (plumbers, decorators) who visit your house.
- When going to the pub with friends or colleagues, it is customary to order drinks in rounds.
- It is illegal in the UK to be drunk in charge of a horse.
- It is illegal in the UK to be drunk on licensed premises (a pub).
- It is illegal to carry a plank of wood along a road in the city of London.
To be continued in part 2…
So, that is the end of part 1. How many did you get right?
You are keeping track of your score, right?
It might be tricky to keep track of your score, which is fine of course.
To be honest, I don’t expect you to do that really. But I wonder if you generally managed to guess which of those things were true and which ones were bollocks.
Did anything surprise you? Did anything amuse you?
Let us know by leaving your comments in the comment section.
That was only the first 25 facts of course. We’re not done yet. This will all continue in part 2 when we look at facts 26-50, in the same way. I guess you can just look forward to that. It will require all your patience to do so, but I believe in you. You can do it.
Now, let me go through some vocabulary, as I said I would earlier.
A lot of these facts deal with things like laws, government actions and also traditions or customs and so I thought I would just clarify some words which relate to those things. Yet again I am doing this on the free podcast as a little taste of the kind of thing you usually get in episodes of LEP Premium these days.
The words I’m going to talk about now are:
- A rule
- A law
- Legislation / to legislate
- To ban / to be banned
- An act of parliament
- Provisions in an act
- A royal decree
- An initiative
- A custom / customary
Words for different types of law or government action
- A rule (countable noun)
A rule is just something which says whether you are allowed or not allowed to do something. The difference between a rule and a law is that the word rule is more general and is used in all sorts of situations, not just by governments and the police etc.
Schools have rules (e.g. no chewing gum in the classroom), people’s homes have rules (e.g. no mobile phones at the dinner table).
Also, sports and games have rules, like the offside rule in football.
- A law (countable noun)
Laws are the rules which determine wether things are legal or illegal. They are made and introduced by the government and enforced by the police and justice system.
To break a law
We also have the word “law” (opposed to “a law”) which means the whole system of rules which determine what is allowed, not allowed, what people have the right and don’t have the right to do or have.
- Legislation (uncountable noun)
Legislation is another word for law, but it is uncountable.
Here are some sentences which basically mean the same thing:
The government created legislation banning the possession of handguns.
The government created a law (or laws) banning the possession of handguns.
So it’s the same as the word law, but we don’t say “a legislation” because it’s uncountable. Instead we would say “a piece of legislation”.
The government introduced new legislation banning the use of diesel cars in urban areas.
The government introduced a new law banning the use of diesel cars in urban areas.
Legislate is a verb
To legislate for or against something – which means to create laws to oblige people to do things, or to prohibit certain things.
The government in 2007 legislated against smoking in indoor public places.
- To ban something (verb)
This means to prohibit or stop something and it’s usually used in reference to government laws which make something prohibited.
Smoking was banned in public spaces in 2007.
The government banned smoking in 2007.
Sometimes the word ban is used in situations outside the legal system, for example –
Mobile phones are banned in the classroom.
A person can also be banned from a certain place, for example,
Dave has been banned from the golf club for starting a fight last week.
It can be a noun or a verb.
The smoking ban. There’s a ban on smoking.
The government banned smoking.
- An act of parliament
An act is a specific piece of legislation which creates law.
When politicians make laws, for example in the House of Commons in London, there’s a certain process and we use different words for that legislation during the process.
First the law is introduced by a member of parliament as a bill which is a written proposal for a law. The bill is discussed by the MPs in the House of Commons and the House of Lords and is voted on, and when that bill has been approved (including being given the Royal Assent by the Queen) it is written into law in the form of an act.
This act defines the law. It’s kind of like a contract. Each act, which contains various laws, has a name. For example, The Treason Felony Act 1848, which makes it an offence to do any action with the intention of deposing the monarch. This makes it illegal to plan or try to remove The Queen from the throne (or in fact to remove the crown from The Queen) and this includes planning and devising things in written form, spoken form and with the use of images etc. So that’s the Treason Felony Act, which was created in 1848, which makes it against the law to try to depose the monarch.
Another example is the The Data Protection Act 2018, which controls how your personal information is used by organisations, businesses or the government. The Data Protection Act 2018 is the UK’s implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
And another example is the Homicide Act 1957, which makes it illegal to kill someone, or commit murder. By the way, it says 1957, but of course murder wasn’t legal before 1957, it’s just that in 1957 the law relating to murder or homicide would have been redefined somehow, and a new act was created, which contained provisions relating to all acts of homicide.
- A provision (countable noun)
This is like a specific section of an act of parliament, or a specific detail in an act of parliament. You also get provisions in contracts between people.
- A (royal) decree
A decree is an order that something must be done. A royal decree is when the king or queen orders that something must be done. These days it doesn’t happen in the UK, so royal decrees are only heard about when referring to history.
King Edgar in 957 decreed that all settlements (towns) in England were restricted to having only one “alehouse” per settlement. This was a law to try to control the number of pubs or places selling ale across the country. The decree lasted until after the Norman conquest of England in 1066 after which more and more alehouses, inns and pubs started arriving.
Here’s an example from The Bible, of a decree by a Roman Emperor.
The Gospel According to Luke, Chapter 2 Verse 1
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David). To be taxed with Mary, his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
- An initiative (countable noun)
- A custom (countable noun)
This is a way of behaving or doing something which has existed for a long time. It’s like a tradition.
The adjective is “customary” and is often used in the phrase:
It is customary to do XXX.
It was customary to do XXX.
It is customary to bring a gift to someone’s house if you are invited to lunch or dinner.
It’s customary in Japan to remove your shoes when you enter someone’s house.
It’s customary in the UK to shake someone’s hand when you first meet them, especially in more formal contexts.
- A crime
- An offence
These two words 👆 are synonyms.
End of part 1. Part 2 coming soon…
Understand English as it is spoken by native speakers. Let’s listen to Karl Pilkington rambling about life, the universe & everything, and see what we can understand and learn. Karl is from Manchester, so we’ll be looking at some features of his accent, picking up plenty of vocabulary and having a bit of a laugh along the way.
Full Episode Transcript
Welcome back to the podcast. How are you doing today?
In this episode we’re going to do some intensive listening and use it as a chance to learn some vocabulary and pronunciation.
This episode should be a bit of a laugh as we’re going to take a deep dive into the world of Karl Pilkington and listen to his thoughts on some big issues like health, food, animals, holidays and just existence itself.
We’ll be looking at the different features of his Manchester accent, and there will be lots of vocabulary to pick up too as we are covering a range of different topics. You can also consider this as a little intensive listening test, as I will be setting questions that you have to find answers to, then going through each clip in detail and breaking it all down for language.
We last heard about Karl Pilkington on my podcast in episode 656 in which we listened to a couple of his Monkey News stories about a chimp that works on a building site and another chimp that pilots a space rocket.
Do you remember that? If you don’t, then get the LEP app and listen to episode 656. It was a very popular episode and it should make you laugh out loud on a bus maybe.
That was pretty funny stuff, and Karl is very funny even though he’s not actually a comedian.
Who is Karl Pilkington?
To be honest, Karl Pilkington was most well-known about 10 years ago
and these days he’s not in the public eye as much as he used to be,
but he’s still a fairly well-known person in the UK, especially for Ricky Gervais fans.
Karl is just an ordinary bloke from Manchester who met comedians Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant when he worked for them as a radio producer in London.
Later, Ricky invited Karl to be on his podcast in order to broadcast his weird ideas and inane ramblings to the whole world, and the rest is history.
The Ricky Gervais Podcast became a world record-breaker with over 300,000,000 downloads.
In episodes, Ricky, Steve & Karl would talk about big topics like religion, evolution, philosophy, nature, birth and death and Karl would often say some bizarre and hilarious things, apparently without intending to be funny.
Ricky was always slightly obsessed with Karl, and he always described him as “an idiot with a perfectly round head like an orange”.
After being on Ricky’s podcast, Karl went on to become a fairly well-known figure in the UK, doing more podcasts with Ricky, then TV shows, books and documentaries like “An Idiot Abroad”.
Karl is known for his funny and slightly odd musings and observations about life.
He comes from a working class background in the Manchester area, and his accent has many of the features that you would expect from that.
Accent / Pronunciation
We will be going into the specific features of his accent in more detail as we go and this kind of follows on from episode 682 which was all about common features of pronunciation in England which are different to RP.
Which accent should you have?
So this episode is about one of the UK’s regional accents.
You might be thinking – Luke, by doing this episode are you saying that we should all learn to speak like Karl?
I’m not saying that. You can choose your accent, and many learners choose a neutral accent to learn, but it’s not all about learning an accent, it’s also about learning to understand different accents, and learning about the varieties of English that are out there.
So, you might not want to speak like Karl, but I certainly want you to understand Karl and the many millions of other people who speak English in a non-standard way.
So this episode is all about understanding an accent, rather than copying it. But of course you can copy Karl’s Mancunian accent if you like.
There will also be plenty of vocabulary coming up too as we pick apart the things that Karl says and the way he says them.
You’ll find it listed on the screen on the video version and also presented in text form on the page for this episode on my website.
We’re going to be using a series available on youtube in which Karl ponders certain big questions in just 3 minutes of video, originally broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK as part of their “3 Minute Wonders” series.
These are short videos in which Karl talks about his fridge, health, food, animals and holidays, covering each topic with his usual ramblings, all delivered in that Manchester accent, know what I mean?
I have about 6 recordings, which are about 3 minutes each (this could become two episodes).
Before I play the recording I’ll give you a little bit of context and I’ll set some questions.
Then you listen and try to get the answers.
Then I’ll break it down – listening to each bit again, with some explanations if necessary.
We’ll also pay attention to pronunciation – specifically his Mancunian accent. I’m going to break that down too, exploring the main features of that particular accent.
And I’ll sum up some of the vocab from each clip before moving on to the next one.
#1 Karl on Life
Karl goes around a museum looking at meteorites, dinosaur skeletons and endangered animals (stuffed ones or models) and muses about life in general medical science.
- What does Karl wonder about the big bang?
- What makes the meteorite room a bit disappointing?
- What’s Karl’s main criticism of humanity today?
- What does Karl think would happen if a dinosaur got loose and started to “run riot”?
- What’s Karl’s main point?
- The big bang
- Did it only seem big because there was no other noise to drown it out at the time?
- Meteorites (on earth)
- Meteors (flying in earth’s atmosphere)
- Asteroids (flying in space)
- The edge is taken off it because that isn’t the only one.
- I’m not surprised they went extinct, they’re all in here.
- Enough’s enough. If your body is that done in, call it a day.
- The more we know, the more we interfere.
- Don’t interfere with nature and that.
- Even if it was going round running riot they’d go “We don’t want it to go extinct”
- The panda is dying out.
Notes on Karl’s accent
Here’s a summary of the main points regarding Karl’s Manchester accent.
Many of these features are common in people from the Manchester area, although not all people from Manchester will speak like this, and there are different degrees of it.
This is certainly Karl’s Manchester accent in any case.
A lot of what I’m about to say will include things brought up in the episode I did about Key Features of English accents, episode 682.
- Look, how many do you need?
- I’m not surprised they went extinct, they’re all in here.
- She’d had a new lung, a new heart
- He puts his hand in and goes “Yep, it’s broke”
- They weren’t doing anything. They weren’t jumping through hoops. (talking about animals in a zoo)
- I don’t know if it’s cruel or not, to have them in there.
- I’m 32, I think I’ve got the hang of it.
Glottal stops (/t/ sounds get replaced by /ʔ/ )
- I’ll have a look at the meteorites.
- If you’re going to eat a live animal, don’t eat one that’s got eight arms that can get hold of your neck.
- Let me see them again when they’re better.
Go back to my episode called 682. Features of English Accents, Explained to find out more about glottal stops.
#2 Karl on Health
Karl recounts a conversation he had with a woman about going to the gym.
- Does Karl go to the gym?
- What does he think of the idea of breathing classes?
- What does he think of drinking 7 pints of water a day?
- What’s Karl’s argument for not going to the gym? Heart beats, tortoise
- I know what’s probably putting you off – the fact that it’s hard work.
- Breathing classes – I’m 32 I think I’ve got the hang of it.
- My Dad’s like 60-odd. I’ve never seen him drink a pint of water, yet they’re telling us we should have, like, 7 pints a day or something, and then they wonder why there’s a water drought on.
- They keep coming up with daft ways of keeping fit.
- Chucking paint at each other.
/æ/ not /ɑː/ (the “bath/trap split”, again)
Short A sound /æ/ in bath, podcast
(gas and glass have the same vowel sound in Karl’s Manchester accent).
This is normal across all northern accents, and many accents in the midlands. I would use /ɑː/ because although I lived in the midlands for many years (half my childhood), my accent is mostly from the south because I’ve lived there more and my parents don’t have strong regional accents.
Come to my class. We do breathing classes.
/ʊ/ not /ʌ/
The U sound in but, enough and much.
I pronounce it /ʌ/ but Karl pronounces it more like /ʊ/
Do you go to the gym much?
#3 Karl on Food
Karl talks about a new trend – eating things which shouldn’t be eaten.
Coming from England, Karl thinks it’s weird to eat certain things that might be eaten in other cultures, like live octopus, insects, frogs, snails, probably raw meat, raw fish and sushi.
- What is the danger of eating a live octopus?
- What’s Karl’s issue with kids and food today?
- What does Karl think about eating dog?
- They choke you. Why would you want to eat that?
- If we’re eating octopuses, why are dogs getting away with it?