Category Archives: Messages from Listeners

876. Thoughts & comments on recent episodes / A Spring Equinox Ramble 2024

Listen to me rambling about Daylight Saving Time, weird AI generated images for Luke’s English Podcast, and lots of comments and responses to recent episodes including the Birthday Party story 🎂 , the MBTI Personality Test 🙇 and the Walk & Talk in Paris 📹🚶.

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🔖 The Advanced English Summit – book your place for Luke’s Zoom talk (free) 👇

https://english-at-home.com/summit/


📄 Get the PDF 👇

Those Strange AI-generated Images 👇

873. Luke takes the MBTI Personality Test

The MBTI Personality Test (aka “16 Personalities”) is a very well-known and widely used test which claims to be able to give you a “freakishly accurate” analysis of your personality type. In this episode I take the test, explain the reasons for my answers, explain some vocabulary and give my thoughts on the test results and the test itself. Includes plenty of expressions for describing personality traits, behaviour, ways of thinking and feeling and the subject of psychological testing.

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Transcript / Notes

Hello!

In this much-requested episode I am going to take the MBTI personality test and use it to help you learn English.

I’ll go through the test, answering all the questions, and I will explain vocabulary that comes up along the way.

I expect there will be plenty of English here that we use to describe personality, behaviour, feelings, psychology and psychological testing.

I also want to discuss this test, which despite its massive popularity, is criticised for not being reliable or accurate. 

What’s going on here? Why is the test so popular? Can it really identify our true personality? What kind of personality type am I? And what about you?

You can take the test yourself if you want. It’s free and you’ll find a link in the description. 

A comment from a listener

Here’s a comment I received ages ago in response to the Q&A I did for episode 800.

JiaqiThese Q&A episodes are so fun! Thanks Luke!
I agree with one question – it’d be really interesting if you do the MBTI personality test and talk us through your choices! On 16personalities.com they have really good questions and good analysis of your result 😄
I have a feeling that you might be ENFJ aka The Protagonist, Luke👀… Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging. I’m INFJ (the introverted version).

OK then!

What is the MBTI Personality Test?

The MBTI Personality Test, in case you don’t know, is a very popular personality test which promises to help you learn all about yourself. 

Wikipedia

The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a pseudoscientific[1][2] self-report questionnaire that claims to indicate differing personality types

The test attempts to assign a binary value to each of four categories: introversion or extraversion, sensing or intuition, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving. 

One letter from each category is taken to produce a four-letter test result representing one of sixteen possible personalities, such as “INFP” or “ESTJ”.

The MBTI was constructed by two Americans: Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, who were inspired by the book Psychological Types written by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. The test was first published in the 1960s, and was based on work done by Katherine and Isabel in the 1940s. 

This test claims to be backed up by research and is used by millions of people around the world, especially in the world of work where employers often use it to work out the competences of their staff. They use it to put employees into different personality categories in order to help place them into roles at work that they are most suitable for. 

The test is divided into questions and your answers put you somewhere on a sliding scale between certain “opposite” personality traits. At the end, the test gives you a personality profile, putting you into one of 16 personality categories or personality types. I’ll go through those types in a moment. 

This test is extremely popular and actually Jiaqi is not the first person to ask me to take the test and talk about it.

Episode Plan

The plan is to do 3 things:

  • Take the test and talk you through my decision making process for each question – I’m curious to see what personality type I’m going to get. Will Jiaqi be right about me being an ENFJ?
  • Explain different vocabulary or possibly grammar that comes up in the test. I’m sure there will be loads of words and phrases to describe things like personality traits, feelings, ways of thinking, decision making processes and so on.
  • Talk about the test itself – I want to evaluate the test and consider whether it really is a valid and reliable test of someone’s character.

16 Personalities

Let’s look at the 16 personality types developed by Myers-Briggs.

As we go through these profiles, consider these things.

  • What category type are you?
  • Which one do you think I am? (You’ll find out, apparently)

https://www.16personalities.com/personality-types

Interestingly, there are no negative categories. All the categories are positive. 

Surely there must be some negative personality traits in people? 

Why don’t they come up in this evaluation?

For example, there are no categories like these.

7 Negative Personality Types (NOT in the MBTI test) 

Couch potatoes
Lazy time-wasters who avoid all sense of responsibility or personal challenge by spending the day lying in bed, scrolling through TikTok and maybe ordering a pizza. 

Internet trolls
Hate-filled nerds who use the anonymity and lack of accountability of the internet to provoke negative emotional responses from other users, probably because they have trouble establishing genuine loving relationships in the real world.  

Selfish scumbags
The type of person who would push your elderly grandmother out of the way while getting off a bus, these are completely self-interested psychopaths whose only motivations are to gain wealth, power and influence over others, all for their own benefit.

Scroungers
Never willing to pay their own way, scroungers are always looking for opportunities to get things for free or to benefit from the hard work of others, while making the least amount of effort possible and spending none of their own money.

Cowards
Weak-willed losers who run away from any challenge due to a fear of failure which is actually caused by an underlying narcissistic tendency with an overriding sense of self-preservation combined with the feeling they have been wronged somewhere down the line and therefore deserve to be given everything they want without taking any risk themselves. 

Bullies
Bullies make themselves feel better by making other people feel worse. They belittle, abuse and pick on people in weaker, lower-status positions in order to cover up for a deep-seated sense of inadequacy probably stemming from a problematic loveless relationship with one or both of their parents, who probably bullied them too, sending them into a vicious cycle of abuse. 

Other possible categories:
Creepy weirdos
Manipulative gaslighters
Compulsive liars
Sociopaths
Politicians

We all know people like that, but interestingly the test contains no descriptions like that, or in fact any negative descriptions whatsoever. 

Some comments before I begin

This will probably take a lot of time because I think there are lots of sentences in this test, but that’s fine isn’t it. (By the way, I am glad so many people agree with my thoughts from episode 871 about longer episodes).

As I discuss these questions, you might think I am over-analysing or thinking about each question too much, but I’m not. I’m going to answer the questions in the most honest way I can, but I also want to use my critical thinking to analyse the thinking or assumptions behind each one. 

Full disclosure, I am sceptical about this test. I will discuss why as we go through the questions.

I did an A Level in Psychology (I got a B – check me out) so I am vaguely familiar with some of the science behind this kind of thing. 

Test reliability and test validity

For a test like this to be objectively, measurably accurate it should be both reliable and valid. 

These are standard concepts in scientific testing, which any good test should comply with in order to produce results which we can reasonably accept to be accurate.

Test reliability – tests should be reliable

This refers to the consistency of a test – how the test consistently produces the same results, time and time again. 

If the MBTI test is reliable, it should always produce the same results every time someone takes it. 

Because, as the makers claim, we have fixed personalities and so it should always put us in the same category each time.

Also, if a test is unaffected by measurement errors or random effects like the person’s mood, environmental factors, the weather on that particular day etc – if it is unaffected by these things, it makes the test stronger and more reliable.

Test validity – tests should be valid

This means that the test actually tests what it says it tests, and nothing else.

It’s different from reliability because even if a test gets the same results each time, it might not be valid, meaning that the results still might not be accurate. 

If the MBTI test is valid, it means that, for example, it is accurately labelling people – it is putting people in the right categories. For example, when it says that someone has a certain personality type and would be well suited for a particular job, this is actually true

Let’s take the test 👉 https://www.16personalities.com


Luke’s result on 6 March 2024: INFP “The Mediator”

I have taken the test before (did I get the same results?)

Luke’s Result on 11 December 2023: INTP “The Logician”

Results when I took the text on 11 December 2023. I was at work and I had a bad stomach.

Luke’s Result on 19 Jan 2023: INFJ “The Advocate”

The results when I took the test on Friday 19 January 2023 and I felt a bit tired.

Problems with the MBTI test / Criticisms

  • Poor validity
    According to its critics, the test does not accurately predict a person’s performance in any way.

    It’s basically meaningless and comparable to a horoscope in terms of its validity.

    But of course plenty of people believe horoscopes, including you maybe and you might disagree with my criticisms here because you like horoscopes and you like this test because you feel that it gives you a meaningful sense of perspective and insight into yourself.

    But if horoscopes are true and we really can predict someone’s future, why don’t newspapers put them on the front page? Instead they always put them in the middle of the newspaper, down at the bottom somewhere next to the puzzles?

    More about horoscopes in a moment.
  • Poor reliability
    People typically get different results when they take the test multiple times.
  • Inaccurate representation of character traits
    The test presents its character traits as independent from each other and mutually exclusive, but they’re not. In each question you are either one or the other (introvert or extrovert) but in reality these things are not mutually exclusive concepts and we can be a bit of both, and maybe it depends on the situation.

It is possible to be a bit of both, but the test rigidly divides you into one or the other with every single question. This is true for all its categories which are presented as mutually exclusive. Even though there is a middle position in each question, you will ultimately be put in one of the categories.

  • Conflict of interest
    There are huge questions of independence, bias and conflict of interest.
    All the research behind the test is done by the same organisation that produces and sells the test worldwide making a large profit from it. 
  • Barnum effect
    The test has been likened to horoscopes as both rely on the Barnum effect, flattery, and confirmation bias, leading participants to personally identify with descriptions that are somewhat desirable, vague, and widely applicable.

    People believe the results because they want to. It confirms what they already (want to) believe about themselves, and it flatters them in the process – it makes them feel good. Everyone is a winner and nobody has any particular reason to disagree or criticise the results of the test.

    117. Psychics / Cold Reading / Barnum Statements | Luke’s ENGLISH Podcast
  • This is in fact just a glorified version of online quizzes such as “Which Harry Potter character are you?” but in fact it is more successful than that because it presents itself as serious, backed up by research and all the results are positive, unlike in the Harry Potter quiz because nobody is happy if they end up being Draco Malfoy or something.

Debunking the test 

Jordan Peterson actually does a good job of debunking the test. I’m not a big fan of his, but he seems to be spot on here.

Summary of his main points

The probability that a company will use a personality test is inversely related to the accuracy of the test. 

Meaning that the less accurate the test, the easier it is to sell. 

So there are other factors which cause this test to be so popular – it’s really nothing to do with its ability to accurately describe your personality or predict what you will be good at.

Companies buy the MBTI test. It sells about one million units per year. But it has ZERO predictive utility with regards to performance prediction. It does not predict performance. 

Why do people use it? Because it doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. In fact, it makes people feel good. Companies ultimately want their staff to have high morale. 

The test is old, it’s based on unsound and outmoded psychological techniques and should be replaced by another test called “The Big Five”.

An article on vox.comCLICK HERE TO READ

A summary of the article 

The arguments against the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test presented in the article can be summarized as follows:

1. Lack of scientific evidence: The test lacks empirical evidence to support its claims. It doesn’t predict job success, marital happiness, or overall performance in various situations.

2. Theoretical basis: The MBTI was formulated in the 1940s based on Carl Jung’s untested theories. Even Jung himself cautioned that his personality “types” were rough observations rather than strict classifications.

3. Unsupported principles: Jung’s theories were not grounded in controlled experiments or data but were rather theoretical. The test was developed by individuals without formal psychology training, further lacking scientific credibility.

4. Limited and false binaries: The test’s binary questions oversimplify complex human traits that usually exist along a spectrum. It categorizes individuals as one extreme or the other, ignoring the nuanced nature of human behavior.

5. Inconsistent and inaccurate results: The test often yields inconsistent results when taken multiple times by the same person, indicating its unreliability. It fails to measure traits consistently different among individuals.

6. Disregarded by psychologists: The Myers-Briggs test is mostly disregarded by contemporary psychologists, as it lacks significant research support in reputable psychology journals. Newer, empirically driven tests focus on different personality categories backed by actual data.

7. Entertainment value vs. practical use: While the MBTI might serve as entertainment, it lacks practical validity. Despite its widespread use in corporations and government agencies, its reliability and effectiveness have been debunked by psychologists.

Also the test assumes that you are a good judge of your own character. We might choose options based on how we want to be perceived, rather than on who we really are.

In conclusion, the arguments highlight the lack of scientific basis, the test’s reliance on outdated theories, its oversimplification of human traits, inconsistency in results, and the absence of support from the psychology community, suggesting that the MBTI is unreliable and largely disregarded by reputable psychologists.

The Big Five (another personality test)

Apparently this is a more accurate personality test, and interestingly it has its roots in language. The developers listed every single adjective they could find which describes personality and distilled them into 5 broad concepts. Basically, all personality descriptions boil down to these 5 areas:

The test is based on these 5 factors then, and on other more valid research and methods.

Take the test 👉 Big Five Personality Test 

But that is another story for another time. 

Your Comments?

  • What do you think?
  • Do you think the test is valid or reliable? (actually this is not a question of opinion – it isn’t!)
  • What did you think of my result? Do you agree?
  • Have you taken the test? What result did you get? What did you think?

871. Rambling through my episode archive / Listener Comments / Gold YouTube Creator Award

A very long rambling episode with a big mix of vocabulary, stories about my trip to Rome, comments from listeners, lots of thoughts about episodes I’ve published over the last 12 months, more advice about learning English, and a story about being Jackie Chan’s English teacher.

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https://youtu.be/rw0_lkypqfM

Get the PDF for this episode 👇

1 Million Subscribers on YouTube 🎉

Here are my reactions to getting 1 million subscribers on YouTube, and probably 1 million+ on audio platforms too! Listen to me rambling on my own and with my daughter (6 years old now) while the subscriber number gradually goes up, and eventually reaches this big milestone.

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

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

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Notes / Transcript

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But yes, you might have questions as you listen. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Conversation / Lying Game happens


Notes / Script – after the lying game conversation

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

Story Summaries – SPOILER ALERT!

Let me summarise the three stories.

Paul’s Story

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

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

There was a point of contention here, because…

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

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

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

Scores:  A 1, P 0, L 1

Luke’s Story

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

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

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

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

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

Scores: A 1, P 0, L 3

Amber’s Story

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

But was this true?

Paul thought no, I said yes.

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

Final scores! A2, P1, L3


Vocabulary List

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

Listen to the episode to hear my explanations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Listen to 8 previous lying game episodes 👇👇👇

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

852. How does it feel to be blind? (Article & Vocabulary)

How does it feel to have a visual impairment? How do blind people navigate the world? How do other people treat you, if you are blind? And, how do we talk about blindness and other forms of disability in English? This episode is inspired by a listener called Hafid, who contacted me recently. I talk about the subject of blindness and disability in general, read an article written by a partially sighted person, and explain a list of words and phrases we should use when describing different forms of disability. Also includes various medical vocabulary such as the different parts of the eye and other related topics.

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Get the PDF 👇

Click here to read the article by Christina Hartmann on Slate.com

851. Rambling about The Beatles “Now and Then” 🎸

A listener left a comment on my website asking for my thoughts on the new Beatles song which was released last week, and I was happy to ramble about it for 45 mins. Listen to hear me give my thoughts and tell several stories related to what is being described as “the last Beatles song”. First I talk for about 10 minutes about burning down my apartment and my thoughts on the content I make for this podcast, and then I start talking about The Beatles until the end of the episode. To skip straight to the Beatles bit, go forward to about 12 minutes into the episode.

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https://youtu.be/HodVrx34ihQ

839. Kate Billington Cycled to Berlin 🚴‍♀️

Kate Billington returns for her 4th appearance on LEP to create some fun English conversation for you to listen to. We talk about lots of things, as usual, including her cycling trip to Berlin and a nasty accident she had on her bicycle in Paris earlier this year. Expect tangents, vocab, idioms, jokes, stories, cups of tea and some very “professional” podcast eating.

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The audio version has some extra content ☝️

British Council Mini-English Lessons on YouTube 👇

821. ChatGPT & Learning English PART 1

An episode exploring the various ways that ChatGPT might be able to help you learn English. Can it create study plans? Can it correct your errors and explain the corrections? Can you use it to simulate natural conversations? This is the first of a three-part series in which I test ChatGPT’s usefulness as an AI language learning tool.

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Episode Transcript

Hello everyone,

Welcome back to my podcast for learners of English around the world.

I hope you are doing well today and that you are ready for this epic episode, which is called ChatGPT and Learning English

Yes, it’s time for me to talk about ChatGPT, just like everyone else this year! Everyone’s been talking about it. Now it’s my turn. It’s taken me a while to get round to doing this, but here it is.

There are absolutely loads of ways ChatGPT can be used. We are all discovering just how useful this is.

There have also been lots of discussions going on about how it might change the world, for better or worse. 

People have been raising ethical questions about things like whether it is a form of plagiarism, whether it will encourage and enable cheating and other issues. 

I’m going to focus here on learning English, mainly.

ChatGPT is basically an extremely sophisticated AI (Artificial Intelligence) chat bot developed and run by a company called OpenAI. 

It’s free for anyone to use. Just create an account at OpenAI and then go to https://chat.openai.com/chat and you can start. 

You just type in your prompt or question and away you go.

How do people use ChatGPT?

I asked it that question. Let’s see what it said. 


Most people use ChatGPT to ask questions and seek answers on a wide range of topics. 

As an AI language model, ChatGPT can provide information, explanations, and guidance on a variety of subjects, such as science, technology, history, culture, and more. 

People may also use ChatGPT for language learning, writing assistance, and brainstorming ideas. Additionally, ChatGPT can be used for entertainment purposes, such as generating jokes, riddles, or trivia questions. 

Overall, people use ChatGPT as a helpful tool for obtaining information, learning new things, and solving problems.

I’m recording this episode in March 2023 and I’m talking about ChatGPT3, which as the name suggests is the third iteration of this software, released by OpenAI in November 2022. This is the version that has got everyone talking.

What is OpenAI? 

This is the company that has created ChatGPT. 

According to Wikipedia, OpenAI is:

“… an American artificial intelligence research laboratory consisting of the non-profit OpenAI Incorporated and its for-profit subsidiary corporation OpenAI Limited Partnership. OpenAI conducts AI research with the declared intention of promoting and developing a friendly AI.”

  • Non-profit laboratory
  • For-profit subsidiary corporation
  • Research “…with the declared intention of promoting and developing friendly AI”

Declared intention → Interesting wording! 

That seems to suggest that there are also undeclared intentions, doesn’t it? 

Does this mean that they have other intentions that they’re not declaring, like maybe developing “unfriendly AI”, and what would that be like?  

Would it just be rude to you if you asked it a question? 

Like if you ask it, 

Can you recommend some good mystery stories to help me learn English?” 

and it just says… 

“No. What do you think I am, Google? Go and find out for yourself, and don’t ask such me stupid questions, human.”

That would be unfriendly AI. 

And that’s probably the best case future scenario for “unfriendly AI” isn’t it? Just a rude and unhelpful chatbot. 

Of course unfriendly AI could end up being a lot worse than just that. 

It could be… I don’t know… Terminators.

But don’t worry, because thankfully, this is not the case and they are developing “friendly AI”. 

So, everything is ok. I hope.

Am I a bit cynical or suspicious about this?

Forgive me if come across as slightly suspicious, cynical or even paranoid about this kind of thing, but I have to admit that when I read about companies like OpenAI that develop artificial intelligence products like ChatGPT or robotic developers like Boston Dynamics (you know the ones that make those vaguely terrifying robots)

and things like that, when I read about those things, it does make me feel like I’m living in a dystopian science fiction film or something. Just a little bit. 

It all has that kind of “dark sci-fi” atmosphere to it.

But no, this technology is not evil of course, yet, probably. 

I suppose it depends who is in charge of it and all sorts of other things, but having watched so many of those science fiction films, well, I can’t help feeling slightly alarmed or at least uncomfortable to some extent.

But of course those are just films and companies like Open AI are in no way similar to the fictional corporations in those films. Not similar at all. 

Look at their website – https://openai.com/ 

It is decidedly non-scary. It’s all nice with friendly people sitting around smiling and chatting and lots of green plants in the background and it’s all natural and sunny and safe.  

“Safe” is definitely a key word on their website. 

They really want us to know that they are making sure their projects are definitely safe and friendly and beneficial to humanity

No need to worry! We’re making it safe. 😊

https://chat.openai.com/chat

Anyway, this episode is supposed to be about how ChatGPT can help you learn English, and whether or not it will make me (and countless other people) completely redundant and unemployed. 

So, let’s get back to the point: 

ChatGPT and Learning English

Despite my ironic comments about science fiction films, I am fascinated by ChatGPT and the way it can be used as a tool. 

The potential is huge. Its use as a language learning assistant is only the tip of the iceberg really.

The more you play with it the more you realise what it can do, depending on the prompts that you give to it. You also realise its limitations and how it sometimes gets things completely wrong.

For example, the other day I was asking it random questions and I asked it this:

Who is the most famous guest ever to have appeared on Luke’s English Podcast?

So it does often get things completely wrong. 

That is something to bear in mind.

Useful ChatGPT Prompts

Chat GPT is basically a chat bot. It works like you’re having a conversation with it, in text form.

You write prompts into the chat box and then get responses as if it is a person writing back to you.

Usually these prompts are in the form of questions to request information or to ask ChatGPT to do things. 

What time is it?

So basically: 

I can’t tell you the time because I don’t know and anyway I’m above that kind of thing. Just consult some of your 20th century technology and don’t bother me with such petty simple requests.

Prompt: 

Can you give me some tips on how to make my podcast introductions shorter?

For some reason this screenshot was lost!

You can also enter imperative instructions, like this: 

Make a list of evil corporations in science fiction films

So, as I go through this episode I’ll be using various prompts. If you are looking at the notes/transcript on the page for this episode on my website or while watching the YouTube version, you will see all the prompts I’m using written in italics.

Tip: Writing prompts for ChatGPT

It’s quite important that you word your prompts carefully, and if you don’t get the response you’re looking for first time round, you should keep trying with more specific and detailed prompts in order to get the right response. 

I’ll show you some examples of this during the episode.

Specific Ways You Can Use ChatGPT to Learn English

Let’s look at some specific things you can do with ChatGPT to help with your English. I’ll show you specific prompts that you can write into ChatGPT and I will give my comments about each response it gives.

Overview

These are the things we are going to explore and assess during the episode.

  • Ask it to create a study plan for you
  • Ask it to correct your errors
  • Use it for conversation practice
  • Use it for practising English in different situations (e.g. job interview role plays)
  • Ask it to create texts or dialogues to study with
  • Ask it to help you with exam preparation (IELTS, FCE, CAE etc)
  • Ask it for definitions of words, and synonyms, antonyms, and collocations
  • Ask it about the etymology of words and phrases
  • Ask it to help you remember words with mnemonics
  • Ask it to transcribe things into phonemic script 
  • Ask it to convert things into different versions of English (i.e. between UK and US English, or other varieties)
  • Ask it to help you with sentence stress, pausing, intonation etc
  • Ask it to create grammar or vocabulary quizzes or tests
  • Ask it to create text adventure games to help you learn English
  • Ask it to adapt its English level (e.g. for low level reading)

Ask it to create a study plan for you

I am an upper-intermediate learner of English, currently stuck at the intermediate plateau. My main areas of weakness are listening, speaking and pronunciation. I want to speak with a British accent and I want to be completely fluent at a C1 level or higher. Can you create a step-by-step study plan for me?


Yes, I can help you create a study plan to improve your listening, speaking, and pronunciation skills and reach a C1 level of fluency in English.

Here is a step-by-step study plan for you:

Step 1: Improve your listening skills
Listen to English language podcasts, news broadcasts, and audiobooks for at least 30 minutes a day. Try to watch English language TV shows, movies and videos without subtitles to help you develop your listening skills. Focus on understanding the overall meaning of what is being said, rather than getting stuck on individual words.

Step 2: Improve your speaking skills
Start speaking English every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. You can practice with a language partner, tutor or a language exchange program.Focus on fluency rather than accuracy at first, don’t worry too much about making mistakes.Record yourself speaking and listen back to identify areas where you need to improve. Try to use vocabulary and grammar structures that you have learned in context, rather than simply memorizing them.

Step 3: Improve your pronunciation
Watch and listen to videos of native speakers and try to mimic their pronunciation. Practice individual sounds, such as vowel and consonant sounds, using resources like pronunciation apps, websites or audio resources. Work on intonation, rhythm and stress patterns in connected speech, which are important aspects of British accent. Take pronunciation classes or work with a speech therapist, if possible.

Step 4: Build your vocabulary
Learn new words every day and use them in sentences to help you remember them. Try to learn words in context by reading articles, books or watching videos in English. Use flashcards, vocabulary lists and apps to help you memorize new words.

Step 5: Work on grammar and writing
Study English grammar rules and practice them through exercises and quizzes. Write short paragraphs, essays, and emails in English to practice your writing skills. Get feedback on your writing from a tutor, teacher or language partner.

Step 6: Take formal English language exams
Take a C1 level English language exam such as the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to measure your progress and get certified.Remember to stay motivated, practice consistently and have fun with the process of learning.

Good luck!

That’s all good advice. But as a teacher, I know that when I give advice like this to my students, there are always other questions, doubts and obstacles that the students have.

I wonder how ChatGPT would respond to these kinds of comments.

  • But I don’t have time to do all those things
  • I can’t understand that podcast that you shared with me, and it was too long
  • I can’t understand TV series without subtitles
  • I don’t have anyone to practise my speaking with
  • You say “don’t worry about making mistakes” but how can I improve if that doesn’t matter?
  • I try to copy native speakers, but who should I copy? Who has the best accent?
  • I copy native speakers but I still can’t lose my accent
  • Can you recommend a good book or website to help me practise my grammar?
  • If I write things in English, who can correct them for me?

Actually, I tried inputting those comments into ChatGPT and it did come back with some pretty useful and relevant advice. I won’t share it all here because there isn’t time, but you could try it if you like.

Error correction 

It can correct your errors. Just ask it to. 

Write a sentence or enter a paragraph and it’ll correct it.

Let’s try that. Let’s ask it to correct the errors in this comment which someone wrote on my website a few weeks ago. 

Can you correct the errors in this website comment please?

Hey Luke. How’s it going? Hope u enjoy. I’m walk to this website. Very well, its so exactly for me. I’m listening and hear you podcast (british), tbh i really like british accent. It posh vibes! And i like it. Thankyou so much for learn (british) english with your podcast in comedian, story telling, etc 


Sure, here’s the corrected website comment:

“Hey Luke, how’s it going? I hope you’re doing well. I’ve recently discovered this website and it’s been a perfect fit for me. I’ve been listening to your podcast, and as a fan of the British accent, I really enjoy it. The posh vibes are great! Thank you so much for helping me improve my British English through your podcast which features comedy, storytelling, and more.”

Let’s ask it to explain the corrections it has made. 

Can you give explanations for the corrections you made?


Certainly! Here are the explanations for the corrections I made:
“Hope u enjoy” –> “I hope you’re doing well.”

I changed this phrase because “hope u enjoy” is an informal and abbreviated way of asking how someone is doing, which might not be appropriate in all situations. Instead, I replaced it with a more standard greeting that asks how Luke is doing.

“I’m walk to this website” –> “I’ve recently discovered this website”

“I’m walk” is grammatically incorrect. I replaced it with “I’ve recently discovered” to convey the same idea in proper English grammar.

“Very well, its so exactly for me” –> “it’s been a perfect fit for me”

The original phrase is not grammatically correct and does not convey a clear message. I replaced it with “it’s been a perfect fit for me,” which expresses the idea that the website meets the writer’s needs and expectations.

“I’m listening and hear you podcast” –> “I’ve been listening to your podcast”

“I’m listening and hear you podcast” is not grammatically correct, and it’s not clear whether the writer is currently listening or has listened to the podcast in the past. I changed the phrase to “I’ve been listening to your podcast” to express that the writer is a regular listener.

“tbh i really like British accent” –> “As a fan of the British accent, I really enjoy it.”
“tbh i really like British accent” is an informal and abbreviated way of expressing admiration for the British accent. I changed the phrase to “As a fan of the British accent, I really enjoy it” to express the same idea in more formal language.

“It posh vibes!” –> “The posh vibes are great!”
“It posh vibes!” is an incomplete sentence and not grammatically correct. I changed the phrase to “The posh vibes are great!” to convey the same idea in a complete and grammatically correct sentence.

“Thankyou so much for learn (british) english with your podcast in comedian, story telling, etc” –> “Thank you so much for helping me improve my British English through your podcast which features comedy, storytelling, and more.”
The original phrase is not grammatically correct and does not convey a clear message. I changed it to “Thank you so much for helping me improve my British English through your podcast which features comedy, storytelling, and more” to express the idea that the writer is grateful for Luke’s assistance in improving their British English through his podcast.

This is actually very impressive for a chatbot, although it doesn’t provide the same level of detail in its explanations that I would as a teacher and of course a teacher can deal with questions, interpret what the learner wants/means, and adapt more organically while allowing the learner to practise their English communication skills in the process. But still, it’s impressive.

Use ChatGPT for conversation practice

  • Can you practise having a conversation with it? 
  • Is it capable of having a proper, meaningful conversation?
  • Can it provide the kind of conversation practice that you need for language learning? 
  • Can it pretend to be your English teacher or someone else?

Chatbots have always been very limited and quite annoying when it comes to having a normal conversation, because they just can’t do it, frankly. 

Let’s see if ChatGPT has made big improvements in that area. Is it easy to chat to, or does it quickly become weird and unnatural?

I’ve chosen some questions which I think would be totally normal conversation starters (with humans). 

Let’s see if we can start a conversation with it, using these questions.

Conversation starters

Let’s input these and see if we can have a conversation in real time. (no screenshots, just a realtime chat here in a new window https://chat.openai.com/ )

  • How are you?
  • Have you been busy recently?
  • What have you been up to?
  • I’ve been listening to a podcast about The Beatles. Are you a fan of The Beatles by any chance?
  • What’s your favourite Beatles album?
  • Who do you think is going to win the 6 Nations this year?
  • Did you see the Scotland vs France rugby game at the weekend?
  • Any idea what the weather will be like this weekend?
  • My brother’s birthday is coming up but I’ve got no idea what to get for him.

It’s better than previous chatbots but conversation is still limited.

Ask it to pretend to be someone else

Conversation becomes a bit easier and more natural.

Can you pretend to be Ringo Starr so I can have a chat with you?

How are you at the moment Ringo?

Ask it to correct your errors while having the conversation

Can you pretend to be my English teacher, and correct my errors while we chat?

It can continue the conversation and also correct your errors.

This works ok sometimes but, it doesn’t pick up on all your errors and after a few responses it seems to forget to correct you. 

It’s a bit difficult to keep a conversation going with a chatbot that has no emotions or opinions.  You have to carry the conversation quite a lot and, well, it’s not the best conversationalist. It tends to switch into “information mode” where it just gives you Wikipedia-like responses.

E.g. If you try to talk about Premier League football, it will mainly explain what the premier league is, rather than sharing opinions on it. I said “Let’s talk about the premier league”. It asked me what my favourite team was. I said I didn’t really have one but I liked Liverpool. I asked what it’s favourite team was. It gave me the same old response “As an AI language model I don’t have personal preferences or emotions…” and then proceeded to kind of lecture me about Liverpool FC, giving me a kind of summary of the club, like what you might read at the top of Liverpool’s Wikipedia page. 

So, it’s not the best conversationalist. It’s not bad, but it seems that sharing personal opinions or sharing our emotional reactions to things, is pretty vital in human conversation and since it can’t do that, conversations with it fall a bit flat. 

But it is fun to play around with it.

I tried having a conversation with it in French (a language which I am learning, badly) and wanted to see if my experience was different from the point of view of a language learner.

I found that it really helped. It was a good experience in terms of learning French. 

Just trying to express myself in written French was a challenge, and this was good. I need these challenges in order to progress. 

I asked it to correct my mistakes. It did it, and it felt almost like having a conversation with a person. 

I didn’t feel judged or stressed (as I often do when talking to a person) and I learned some correct phrases. I felt free to repeat certain things over and over again in order to practise, without judgement.

Ending script for part 1

This is where we are going to stop. This is the end of part 1. We will continue in parts 2 and 3.

I hope you’re enjoying this so far and finding it useful as a way of considering how ChatGPT might be able to help you learn English, or how it might not. 

This video is actually in 3 parts. I recorded all of this last week and it ended up taking me 3 hours to go through all the ideas I mentioned earlier, all the various ways you can use ChatGPT for learning English. 

Parts 2 and 3 will be available very soon. If I have already published them by the time you watch this, you will find links for them in the show notes.

Also you can get the PDF of the script for this episode and for the other parts – with most of the things I am saying and all the ChatGPT prompts which I’m using. Check the show notes/ episode description.

Coming up in part 2 I will be playing around with ChatGPT more and doing these things:

  • Continuing to evaluate ChatGPT as a way of simulating natural conversations
  • Seeing if it can pretend to be your English teacher and correct your errors and explain them
  • Testing if it can pretend to be someone else, to make conversations more fun or interesting
  • Checking how well it handles role plays in order to let you prepare to use English in specific situations
  • Seeing if you can simulate job interview situations with it
  • Asking it to create useful texts or dialogues for studying with
  • Looking at exam preparation by asking it to provide sample written texts in response to FCE or CAE writing tasks
  • Seeing if it can give yu good advice for doing Cambridge exams
  • Seeing if it can create reliable, useful exam practice tasks to help you prepare for IELTS

All of that coming up in part 2, which will be available soon or maybe now.

Personally I am finding it fascinating to experiment with ChatGPT and seeing what it can do, and wondering how it might change the world for better or worse.

There’s no doubt that AI like this will increasingly become a normal part of lives as we move into the future. What will the effect of that be on society and the planet?

There are some fairly strong feelings about ChatGPT going around. I’m curious to know what you think about it, so leave your comments in the comment section.

I’ll continue to discuss all these things and test ChatGPT further in upcoming episodes.

Thank you for listening or watching. If you enjoy my content, then share it with your friends, like and subscribe, leave a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to this, and consider signing up for my premium episodes to get vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation episodes with stories.

OK, I will speak to you again in part 2 of this, but until then – goodbye bye bye!

End of part 1

820. A Springtime Ramble 🌷🌸 Learn English with LEP

Rambling on my own about getting stuck in a time-loop 🔁, protests and strikes in Paris 🔥, the arrival of child 2 👶, and more.

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