In this episode you are going to listen to a conversation I had with English teacher and podcaster Stephen Devincenzi who does a podcast about learning English with the news.
We recorded a video for this but we had technical problems so only one part of that is available on YouTube. If you go to my YT channel you’ll see it. It’s the part where we discuss the pros and cons of using the news to improve your English. That’s the only video part on YouTube but the audio is fine and you’re listening to it now and this audio will be available everywhere including youTube as usual, and you can check to see if the automatic subtitles are available.
We were plagued by technical difficulties while attempting to do this episode and in fact this is the 3rd time we tried to record. We did this 3 times.
About 3 weeks before this we did another full recording of over an hour which turned out to be unusable because of issues with lag and distorted sound and horrible internet based problems, and then we set up another meeting but had to cancel that due to Stephen’s poor internet connection.
Then Stephen had fibre optic internet set up in his room.
And so did I!
And then I got electricity installed.
But then my fibre optic internet went down (and still is down) but despite the gremlins in the system we managed to record this 3rd version on Zoom with my iphone working as an internet hotspot.
This episode is all about learning English with the news, the pros, the cons, the hows the whys. But is listening to the news a good idea for learners of English? How can you do it? Let’s discuss.
I’ll chat with you again briefly at the end, but now let’s get started.
THanks for listening. Thanks to Stephen from the SEND7 podcast.
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section as usual. It’s always interesting to read what you have to say.
Have you used the news to learn English?
Did you find it useful?
How do you do it? Do you have a particular method?
Talks in English – British Council Paris – 19 May (Storytelling – Culture Shock & Live Podcast Recording)
In this episode I am talking to Martin Johnston from the Rock n Roll English Podcast. Do you know the Rock N Roll English Podcast? This is where Martin and his Rock N Roll friends and family do podcasts for learners of English that are unfiltered and frequently involve discussions of taboo subjects, but also plenty of other stuff as well. It’s very funny and bound to be good for your English and general cultural knowledge. Martin featured me in episode 250 of RnR English and we talked about what it’s really like being an English teacher with a podcast. That was a funny chat with lots of memories and funny moments. Episode 250.
In this episode though, we’re going to have a rambling chat about moving to different countries, Martin’s fundraiser for Ukrainian refugees and then some stories of travelling and getting stuck in tricky situations while abroad.
Martin has recently moved back to England after living in Italy for a number of years, so I thought I would ask him about his experiences of feeling like a foreigner in his own country, and some of his culture shock experiences both abroad and at home. Because this is a thing – reverse culture shock. When you feel like a foreigner in your own country after living abroad for a long time.
Martin has also recently launched a fundraiser for Ukrainian refugees. Basically it is a learning pack with 25 stories, and transcripts and exercises. All the proceeds go to help Ukrainian refugees. You can find out more at www.rocknrollenglish.com/stories
So this is a very good cause. We know that several millions of people have been forced to flee their homes as a result of this war, invasion, operation – whatever you want to call it. This violence and aggression has separated families and made civilians homeless as well as killing thousands. This is a horrendous thing to be happening on our doorstep and so the least we can do is try to provide support in some way, so I call upon all of you to go ahead and get that PDF with those 25 stories and all the money will go towards helping these refugees. Martin talks about it during the episode if you want more details. But let’s help out some fellow citizens of LEPland here. Plus, of course, you get tons of stories with audio versions and everything. It sounds like a win win to me.
So we chat about the project a bit, which is all about learning English with stories and this then leads us to have a story-off. This is a sort of battle of stories where Martin and I trade different anecdotes and we see who comes out on top. So there are 4 or 5 funny stories of travelling experiences we’ve had, in the second half of this episode. I hope you enjoy them.
That’s it for the introduction. There is a video version on YouTube. Don’t forget to smash that like button.
I should say there is some fairly explicit content in this episode, which means fairly graphic descriptions of things like nudity, sex and bodily functions, which is completely normal for an episode of Rock n Roll English to be honest.
I’ll speak to you again briefly at the end, but now, let’s get started.
So there you are, that was Martin Johnston. I hope you enjoyed our stories.
Don’t forget, if you want to get that pack of 25 stories by the RNR English family, go to www.rocknrollenglish.com/stories It costs just 10dollars or pounds, and all the proceeds go to help Ukrainian refugees.
This is obviously a very good cause as so many people have been displaced, made homeless and so on and these people need our help.
If you enjoyed our stories in this episode, you could check out some of the episodes with those stories told in full.
Check out 118 Sick in Japan (although I should be doing a live version of that next month) and also Holiday in Thailand
or A Rambling Chat with Moz for more of the spa story
This is a chance for me to just let loose and have a ramble while inviting you to this kind of housewarming party (or perhaps just the first part of the party) in my new pod-room. In this one I am going to welcome you into the new room and do a ramble challenge in which I am restricted to only talking about things inside the room, plus reading from some random books on my shelves. Grammar rules, adverbial collocations and a game show story.
Discussing meditation, meditation techniques, how it can help in our lives and improve us as language learners. Antony Rotunno is my guest and listen out for stories, advice, tangents and maybe one or two revelations.
This episode is called Meditation & Learning English, and as the title suggests, this is about the topic of meditation and how it can help us in our lives in various ways, including with our learning of languages.
My guest this time is podcaster and English teacher Antony Rotunno. Antony is back on the podcast after being on the podcast a few times last year when we did a series of episodes about John Lennon.
Antony has a few podcasts of his own and you might remember that recently I said that I’d listened to a couple of Antony’s episodes which were all about meditation.
They were called “The Joys and Wonders of Meditation”
I listened to them late last year, during quite a stressful period when we were having work done on our new flat, and I really felt like they helped me to find ways to keep my stress under control and get a bit of mental clarity during all of that chaos.
I definitely recommend those episodes to everyone.
That’s Episodes 4 & 5 of “Life & Life Only”. You will find links on the page for this episode.
While listening to those two episodes I immediately thought I should invite Antony back onto my podcast for an interview, this time about meditation.
I think there’s a lot of stuff to learn from them, a lot of benefits to gain from it all and some interesting ideas to consider about learning English.
As I said just a moment ago, Antony was on my podcast a few times last year talking about John Lennon and he’s always an insightful, articulate and thoughtful guest so it’s nice to have him back.
Just a reminder – Antony is an English teacher like me, he’s from England, he is a musician and also a podcaster. He has three podcasts in fact. You might want to check them out if you’re looking for more stuff to listen to.
“Life & Life Only” in which he explores themes of self-development, philosophy and the search for inner and outer truth. This is the one with the episodes about meditation.
“Glass Onion: On John Lennon” in which Antony goes into fascinating depth about many aspects of John Lennon’s life and related topics.
“Film Gold”, which is basically a chance for Antony to discuss some of his favourite films with different guests. I was a guest in a recent episode of Film Gold in fact. We talked about one of our favourite British comedy films of all time – Monty Python and the Holy Grail. If you want to listen to Antony and me chatting about that film, then check out Film Gold episode 15.
Those are Antony’s podcasts and they are available wherever you get your podcasts. You’ll also find links in the description and on the page for this episode on my website.
There you go, lots of other things for you to listen to there! But you might be thinking “Hold on Luke, I’m already listening to this episode about mediation!”
Ok, well, when you’ve finished this, if you’re still hungry for more, you could listen to Antony and me talking about Monty Python in episode 15 of Film Gold or Antony’s original meditation episodes from Life & Life Only, or anything else that takes your fancy.
But now let’s get back to this episode that you are listening to right now and the topic of meditation.
What is it, exactly?
How does it work?
How do you do it?
Is it just the same as relaxation?
What can the benefits be?
What can Antony tell us about his experiences of finding out about it and doing it, including going on several silent meditation retreats?
What are some simple meditation techniques that you can apply to your daily life?
And can meditation help you to be a better learner of English?
Those are the talking points. There are some tangents of course as we end up talking about some other bits and pieces along the way and there are also a few quick meditation exercises, or spot meditations, which you can do while you listen, if you like.
In fact, to give you an idea of what that means – what a spot meditation is – let’s do a very quick spot meditation exercise right now just before the interview starts, to help you focus.
I’m making this one up myself of course and I’m not a meditation instructor but I’m willing to give it a shot.
A quick meditation before listening – to help you focus
Just follow my instructions for a moment and it might put you in the right frame of mind to really concentrate on our conversation.
First – consider your body position while you are listening to this.
Just take a moment to be aware of your body and any feelings of tension that you might have.
Are your shoulders tense? Are you sitting upright or are you perhaps slumped in some way? Are you tied up in a knot? Are you standing unevenly on one leg or leaning to one side? Is your jaw clenched?
Take a moment to find those tensions in your body and release them. Just let them relax.
Take a few deep breaths from your diaphragm and feel the sensation of the air going in and coming out, and your stomach going up and down.
Now focus on my voice.
Focus on the shape of the words, the different kinds of sounds that are included in each syllable of each word.
Notice the rhythm of the sentences I’m saying – where the stresses are, where the pauses are, and any times my voice goes up or down.
Just try to follow it very carefully without letting your mind get distracted by other things.
If you feel your mind wandering off, if you get distracted or if you feel like saying “Come on Luke stop rambling, we don’t want another 15 minute introduction, just get on with it please” or something – if you feel your mind wandering at all, then just guide it back and as you listen to this conversation between Antony and me, keep going with that approach.
So that was just a very brief spot meditation to help you focus your attention a bit.
OK, so now let’s start the episode properly and here we go.
Meditation and Learning English with Antony Rotunno.
Luke & Antony Discuss Monty Python & The Holy Grail
Some other things you could listen to while waiting for new episodes of LEP.
Film Gold: Monty Python & The Holy Grail
I was invited by Antony Rotunno onto one of his podcasts last week to discuss this British comedy classic.
My appearances on ZEP and RNR English at the end of last year
Episode 759 – Notes
I thought I would quickly record an episode to let you know that I’m still alive, LEP still exists, and I just want to give you a bit of an update on what’s going on and have a bit of a ramble.
I have other episodes in the pipeline and I was hoping to upload one of them this week, but for one reason or another, that’s not going to be possible so I’ve decided to record this one quickly and upload it quickly.
Again, I’m just recording this on my handheld recorder but I’m not at home because I can’t record at home, so I’m just in the street, reading some notes from my phone.
Why aren’t you recording this at home Luke?
There are guys working on the flat above ours now.
We are now experiencing what our downstairs neighbours experienced when we did work on our place.
Our flat and the flat upstairs were sold at the same time.
You can just imaging you are hanging out with me (in the streets of Paris) while I’m recording this. I’m just going walk around the neighbourhood while recording, trying to avoid noise, and trying to avoid the weird stares I might get from people in the street.
It’s been more than 3 weeks since I uploaded an episode and this is only the 4th episode in about 2 months I think.
I told you that the podcast would be delayed and disrupted, right? So it shouldn’t be a surprise.
Why haven’t there been any episodes for almost a month?
Time races by.
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” (John Lennon)
I always wondered what John Lennon meant by that.
I guess he is expressing a kind of paradox that many of us live with.
While making plans for the future, real life just happens in the meantime, day by day, moment by moment.
We aim for the future, we set our sights on things we would like to achieve, and make plans for those things.
But the fact is, life is really lived in the present, and while we are making plans, life just continues to happen to us in the present moment.
I guess he is saying that we mustn’t forget to live in the moment and enjoy the moment.
I suppose for me at the moment, I mean that while making plans for this podcast, mainly the space in which I’m going to record it, real life has just been happening day by day.
In fact, real life and the day to day tasks and challenges of it have been dominating my time recently, preventing me from being able to actually get to do the things I have been planning.
I’ve had a goal in mind for ages – sitting in my new podcast room which is more or less ready, with all my stuff arranged in a fairly tidy way (things on shelves, in drawers, guitars on walls, pictures or posters on the walls, a working internet connection, a decent desk, a comfy chair (which I might spend most of my life sitting on) the right kind of lights, a kettle, a backdrop for videos that looks pleasing to the eye, a computer which actually works and which allows me to record and edit audio and video properly, and so on and so forth, a kettle and cups of tea, another chair or two for guests… you know) but that goal or vision just keeps getting put back and put back.
Why? I can’t really even explain it – just general stuff has been getting in the way. I think a lot of people manage to move house and get back to their normal lives quite quickly, but this just seems to be taking ages and it’s because of lots of little things.
Here are some reasons why things are taking so long.
My daughter got sick with covid and I had to stay at home to look after her. My wife was also sick at the same time (not covid, mysteriously) and so I was off work looking after them. That was a week.
Teaching at the BC three mornings a week.
Wednesday afternoons with my daughter.
Not a massive amount of time. Normally it’s enough – in normal conditions, but these aren’t normal conditions.
I got sick – a couple of times actually. The first was a virus (not covid-19 – maybe covid-18 or one of the other covids). The second was a really bad back which caused loads of discomfort and a migraine. I couldn’t move, basically! Probably because of general stress but also the fact that I hadn’t sat on a comfortable chair for weeks. No sofa.
Washing machine delivered, but then broken – laundrette
Meeting with guy to fit radiators
Meeting with guy to get quotes for lots of other stuff at home, like making fitted shelves (beyond my skills) and other bits of carpentry
Meeting a guy for a quote for electricity at my office
Meeting guy who came to connect internet
Many other deliveries and things
The list goes on!
Now it’s the school holidays and we’re travelling tomorrow to the UK.
I might be able to record an RT Report or a Gill’s Book Club or something with my brother, but equally, I might not. Maybe we’ll just want to relax and have a holiday. I don’t know. I will see.
Oh, and there are guys working on the flat upstairs, and guys working on the building opposite us. It’s like the entire city is under construction at the moment.
This is just what is going on in my small corner of the universe.
I am not complaining at all. I have a nice life and I’m very happy. But I’m feeling quite impatient and a bit frustrated at not being able to do the things I would like to do, and the fact that my goal keeps slipping further away from me. I will get there eventually! It’s like being in a car and using GPS, and the arrival time keeps changing and getting later and later as the GPS recalculates your route with delays and traffic and so on.
Bear with me
If you’re impatient – hang in there
It’s a bit interminable – all this waiting around
But good things come to those who wait.
The podcast will be back again, properly, and I will be recording, producing and publishing audio & video episodes and premium episodes at the usual rhythm soon.
Maybe this is a good chance to catch up on episodes, or listen to episodes from the archive…
Chatting to pub quiz host Sarah Toporoff about her love of trivia, and asking each other quiz questions about history, geography, literature, language & pop culture. Can you answer the questions and follow the conversation?
Hello listeners! I hope you’re well. Welcome back to my podcast for learners of English around the world. That’s you, I assume. You are a learner of English and you are around the world.
Welcome to another episode of my podcast. This is where you can get English into your life in the form of some regular listening practise. This time you’re going to hear me in conversation with a guest and the guest in this episode is my friend Sarah Toporoff who also goes by the name The Paris Quiz Mistress.
This is the first time she’s been on the show and that means this one will probably be a little more difficult for you to follow, but that’s alright – it’s all good practice.
Sarah is originally from the USA (so you will be hearing an American accent from her, and a British accent from me in the same conversation – and yes, we actually understand each other of course) Anyway, Sarah is from the states, but these days she lives in Paris like me and basically – Sarah loves pub quizzes. In fact, she loves them so much that she decided to run her own pub quiz nights here in Paris, in English, which she does every Sunday evening.
She writes questions and reads them out in a local pub for teams of people to answer in competition with each other. Sarah also has her own podcast in which she quizzes her friends on various bits of trivia relating to their interests. Her podcast is called The Paris Quiz Mistress Podcast.
So, in this episode I thought I would chat to Sarah about her love of quizzes, and then we could quiz each other with some fun questions, and you can see if you know the answers and generally try to keep up with the conversation and develop your English in the process.
So that’s what you’re going to get – and this is a swapcast, which means that both Sarah and I are publishing this on our respective podcasts.
Before we continue I think I should give you a little bit of support before I throw you into the deep end and make you listen to this fairly fast conversation between two native speakers.
So, let me just clarify a couple of bits of vocabulary and some culture which are key concepts for this episode, and I also have a few questions for you to consider, in order to help you prepare to understand this episode more easily.
Some words and concepts
(Forgive me if I am stating the obvious here) A quiz is a fun game or competition in which someone tests your knowledge by asking you questions and you compete with others to answer those questions. Quizzes are usually done just for fun, unlike tests or exams for example, which are done not for fun. They usually involve questions relating to trivia…
Trivia (noun) / Trivial (adjective)
…and trivia basically means trivial information or facts which are interesting or amusing but not really presented for a specific purpose. “Oh, that’s quite interesting isn’t it?” ← that’s usually as deep as it gets. That’s trivia.
It’s just random bits of general knowledge, just for fun – facts and figures, names, dates, places, moments in history, pop culture and so on.
A pub quiz
As the name suggests, a pub quiz is a quiz done in a pub. Big surprise there. But pub quizzes are a very common feature of normal life in the UK where any good pub will have a quiz night. If you’ve ever spent time living in the UK you might have noticed this. Perhaps on a weekday evening in the local pub you might see teams of people sitting at tables competing against each other to answer questions which are read out by a host who might be speaking into a microphone. It’s sort of an excuse to just be in the pub and have a few drinks, but it’s also a really fun way to spend an evening with other people.
A good host will prepare some tricky but achievable questions that make you think and that could spark some conversation later in the evening, and the host might throw in some funny comments here and there just to keep things light. The questions are often quite convoluted and might sound more difficult than they actually are. At the end, the answer sheets from each team are marked and the winning team wins a prize, typically a bottle of wine or something like that. Pub quizzes are also known as trivia nights in some places.
Does that sound familiar? This is the world of the pub quiz. Are they a common feature in your country? Do they happen in pubs? Do you have pubs? Do you have questions? Do you have facts where you live? Are there other people? I don’t know where you are.
Fun quizzes like this also take place in other situations – and I’m talking about the UK and other English speaking places too and often things are similar in our cultures. I’m sure it’s the same for you, but is it? I don’t know. Anyway, where I’m from quizzing is sort of part of our DNA. Any excuse for a quiz – in pubs but also at family get togethers, at school or even at work Christmas parties and things like that.
Sorry for rambling here but seriously – thinking about this stuff might help you to focus your attention on the topic of this conversation bit more closely and follow things more easily, and therefore learn more English from this and as a result get a feeling of accomplishment which you carry with you in your life, bringing extra positivity and confidence which ultimately helps to make you a more successful and fulfilled person in your life, which then impacts on other people in similar ways and the benefits spread out from you in concentric circles improving the lives of other people around you and they start smiling a bit more and ultimately the world becomes that bit better which makes all the difference to the global balance of everything and basically I save the world with my podcast. That’s all I’m trying to do, so don’t stand in my way, ok? The fate of the world depends on this, alright?
Now, just in case this introduction wasn’t long enough, I am now going to quickly read out the questions that Sarah and I are going to ask each other in this episode, just to give you a chance to understand them in advance so you don’t get lost in the conversation.
You see, I am COMMITTED to helping you learn English and that means I am willing to make these episode introductions at least 3 minutes longer than they should be in order to give you a helping hand in understanding fast-paced and naturalistic dialogues between native speakers of English. That is how much I care.
Quiz Questions in this Episode
So listen to these questions, understand them, can you answer them? You’ll be more prepared. Listen to the episode to get the answers.
How many countries make up the UK and can you name those countries?
Which Eastern European country shares zero of the same borders with countries that it shared borders with in 1989 although its physical borders have not moved? (note: I hope you don’t mind the term “Eastern European country”)
Sarah’s Questions for me
These might seem a bit random, but Sarah is a great quiz mistress and there is a link between all the answers to these questions, and it’s a link that is tailored to me somehow.
For which film did the MPAA refuse to allow use of Ben Stiller’s character’s last name in the title, unless filmmakers could find an actual person with that last name?
What 2nd novel by English author Charles Dickens is alternately titled “The Parish Boy’s Progress?”
What film series began in 1988 and stars Bruce Willis as John McClane?
In British English it means “eraser”, in American it means “condom”. What is it?
What is the type of gun that features as a weapon in the board game “Cluedo”?
“Scar Tissue” is the name of Anthony Keidis’ autobiography as well as one of his hits, with which band?
PD James, Edgar Allan Poe and Gaston Leroux are all writers specialising in what genre?
The flags of Romania, Colombia and Moldova all primarily feature which 3 colours?
The first episode of what television drama opens with the news that that RMS Titanic has sunk?
Luke’s Questions for Sarah
My questions are really quite stupid and in fact I am not listing them here because they are too silly and I will let you discover them in all their glory as you listen to the episode. So just listen on if you want to hear my questions for Sarah – but to give you a heads up they focus on music, movies (well, one movie) and British English slang, so there is definitely some vocabulary to learn here!
MMMBop by Hanson
Mmm Bop – Lyrics
Can you tell me any of the lyrics from the first verse?
You have so many relationships in this life
Only one or two will last
You go through all the pain and strife
Then you turn your back and they’re gone so fast
Oh yeah (so much wisdom from someone so young)
And they’re gone so fast, yeah
Oh, so hold on the ones who really care
In the end they’ll be the only ones there
And when you get old and start losing your hair
Can you tell me who will still care (Hair was important to them)
Can you tell me who will still care? (interesting discussion point)
Mmmbop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du, oh yeah
Mmmbop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba du dop
Ba du bop, ba du dop
Ba du, yeah
Said oh yeah
In an mmmbop they’re gone
Plant a seed, plant a flower, plant a rose
You can plant any one of those
Keep planting to find out which one grows
It’s a secret no one knows
It’s a secret no one knows (Is it really a secret?)
Oh, no one knows
MMMM MMMM MMMM MMMM by Crash Test Dummies
Anaconda – 1997 (Trailer)
Luke’s British Slang Questions
If you describe something as pants, how do you feel about it?
“That film was pants. Total pants.”
How would you feel if you’d run out of bog roll?
You’d feel gutted of course.
Answer: Bog rollmeans toilet paper
Can you give me a reason why you might feel “chuffed”?
Answer: chuffed means pleased, delighted, happy
What would a British person probably say if they wanted to claim something, like perhaps a chocolate biscuit or a comfortable chair?
If someone needed to get some kip, how would they probably feel?
Answer: You’d feel sleepy or tired, because kip means sleep (noun)
What F word is used to say that someone is physically attractive? (It’s like saying “hot”)
What L word is a generic sickness – like the flu or a bad cold? (a pre-covid expression)
Answer: The lurgy
Where do you put suitcases in a car in the UK?
Answer: in the boot
What about the engine?
Under the bonnet
In any case, whether you can answer these questions or not, I hope you enjoy listening to this conversation about trivia and that you manage to keep up with it all and pick up some English. I will chat to you again very very briefly at the end, but it’s now time to get started properly and here we go…
Listen to the episode to get all the answers to the questions!
In other news…
My pod-room still isn’t ready but it should be connected to electricity and internet in a couple of weeks.
I’m still waiting to get a WIFI internet connection at home.
My shelves haven’t fallen down yet :)
I am working on LEP Premium series 33 parts 3 and 4 and they should be uploaded soon.
Video versions of episodes will return when I have a decent internet connection (and a new computer which is coming too…)
Hello listeners, welcome to LEP#757. In this one I am going to talk to you about how I am setting up my new podcasting room (is it an office, is it a studio?) and I’m going to teach you some vocabulary related to doing practical work with your hands at home.
Just before we start I just want to say hello properly to everyone in LEPland and deal with a little bit of podcast admin.
I hope you’re doing well. It’s been over 2 weeks since I published the last episode because of the house move (I moved house a few weeks ago). If you’re wondering how that’s going – I’ll talk about it a bit in this episode, but let’s just say that the phrase my wife and I have been using over and over is “it’s coming along” which means we are making progress, bit by bit, slowly but surely – unpacking our stuff from boxes, setting up the new place, getting things sorted out such as an internet connection at home and the important appliances like a cooker, a washing machine etc. Things are getting slightly less chaotic every day. Also I was ill for week (not COVID thankfully) which didn’t help. Anyway, if you’ve been waiting patiently for a new episode – thanks for waiting. If you’ve been waiting impatiently, I’ll still say thanks for waiting. Things are still up in the air so I can’t get back into the usual podcasting routine yet, which means there might be another delay after I publish this episode, but when I have my new podcast room set up and have done lots of other things that need doing, normal podcasting will resume. Hopefully this slowdown has allowed a lot of you to catch up with me.
3 of announcements and bits of admin before we start properly:
Premium subscribers – I am currently working (when I can) on P33 parts 3 & 4 which are turning into quite substantial episodes. Part 3 is all about word families, parts of speech and word stress patterns. That means how word stress patterns can change from the noun form of a word to the adjective, verb and adverb forms etc. (Politics – politician – political – politically, Economics – economist – economic – economically, architecture – architect – architectural – architecturally, etc)Part 4 will be pronunciation drills with full sentences, not just words on their own. So that’s coming soon to LEP Premium. If you want to sign up to LEP Premium to get all those episodes – go to teacherluke.co.uk/premiuminfo to get all the info. If you ever have problems with the registration process – try using other browsers, and not on a mobile phone.
Spotify listeners – hello! Recently loads of my episodes disappeared on Spotify. I don’t know if you noticed but episodes 1-664 just disappeared. Well, they should be back now or soon. It was just an automatic update which changed some settings, but those settings have now been reset. So everything should be normal, the episodes should be available again and you should be able to listen on Spotify as usual. In any case you can always get all the episodes in the LEP App which you can download free from the app store on your phone (just search for Luke’s English Podcast App). That’s the whole episode archive, plus about 10 bonus episodes which are only available in the app, all the mini phrasal verb episodes, some music and videos and access to the premium content too if you have a subscription.
OPP – If you’re looking for other things to listen to while waiting for new episodes of LEP at the moment, you could check out my appearances on several other podcasts. Recently several of my podcast friends reached milestone episodes and they both chose to invite me as a guest as a way of marking the occasion. Apparently I am the pod-father. First of all, Rock n’ Roll English hosted by Martin Johnston – he reached episode 250 recently and invited me on to have a chat about the ins and outs of making podcasts for learners of English and it’s a typically funny and unfiltered conversation. That’s episode 250 of Rock n’ Roll English. Also Zdenek’s English Podcast reached episode 400 recently and Zdenek invited me as a guest. I love the way Zdenek and Martin decided to pay their dues to the podfather in this way! I had an epic chat with Zdenek about loads of things including how his podcast has been inspired by mine in some ways and about the development of him as a teacher and podcaster. I think it’s a good conversation with insights about various things including what it’s like making podcast content and how confidence develops, the creative process and generally another inside look into podcasting for learners of English. Check them out – you will find links on the page for this episode. 2 other episodes of other people’s podcasts you could check out.
This is an episode about DIY – or Do It Yourself
This is not an episode about how you can teach yourself English, although I could talk about that a bit, later in the episode.
DIY is a common expression in English, meaning Do It Yourself and it relates to doing practical work at home.
People talk about doing DIY. We say things like “I’m going to do some DIY this weekend” “I’ve been doing some DIY”, “I did a bit of DIY at the weekend”, “I’m no good at doing DIY” “My husband does all the DIY in our house” “My wife tends to handle all the DIY because I’m rubbish at it, etc etc”.
DIY (Do It Yourself) means all the practical work that you might do at home from time to time – the things we do in order to make improvements to our home. I’m talking about things like putting up shelves, painting & decorating, fixing things and other similar work that you do to improve your own home without having to call someone in to do it for you, like a plumber, carpenter, decorator or electrician. You don’t call someone in to do it, you do it yourself. DIY.
It’s the sort of thing you might do at the weekend. Putting up shelves seems to be the most common example of DIY as far as I can tell. Putting up shelves – that thing that seems so simple on paper, but in reality is the sort of thing that can bring a person to their knees – and I don’t mean kneeling down in order to do some work, but to kneel down in a desperate plea to the gods of (what – wood? Screwdrivers?) in order to beg for mercy because your attempt to put up the shelves is proving to be too difficult a task. What do you mean, Luke? I mean, doing DIY, for example, putting up shelves can be a nightmare if you don’t know what you’re doing.
As I said, on paper it doesn’t seem that bad, but to do it right you have to do it properly. You have to read up on how to put up shelves, maybe watch some tutorials online, then plan a specific time to do it, go to the hardware shop or DIY shop to get all the right materials and tools. You put on some old clothes, maybe prepare an area of the home where you’re going to do your work and make sure no pets or children go anywhere near it, you get the stepladder out, and then you try and actually put some shelves on the wall, or build something or whatever, and if you’re not very good at it, if you’re not a practical person, it can be stressful and you end up making a total mess of it, and you hit your thumb with a hammer and then you start swearing and maybe break something and fall off the ladder, and have an argument with your spouse or something and then just give up and go to the pub or something. It depends how handy you are, how practical you are or not. For many of you, this isn’t a problem and the idea of putting up shelves being diffiult is laughable to you. I don’t know your life.
But I do know, that DIY is a very common thing in life and surely this is something that unites all of us to some degree. Either because we all have to do DIY sometimes, or at least we know someone who has to do DIY and it’s just a thing that happens in our lives. Do you know all the English that you need to talk about DIY? The tools, the verbs, the specific phrases for all of it? That’s what I’m dealing with here.
The reason I’m doing this episode right now might be obvious for those of you who are regular listeners. I have just moved into a new flat and also I’m setting up a new office/studio for myself and this is involving a lot of this kind of work.
In fact, this is what is taking up most of my time at the moment, which is why the podcast has been a bit delayed recently. When I’m not teaching English classes at the British Council or spending time with my wife and daughter doing family things, I’m working on the flat and working the office.
What I’m going to do in this episode, then, is:
Describe exactly what I’ve been doing in the office and talk about how I’m trying to set it up as a good base for my podcast work. I’m going to describe the DIY I’ve been doing.
Go through a vocabulary list of various words and phrases for talking about the fascinating subject of DIY.
Setting Up The Pod-Room
What is it?
Where is it?
What does it look like?
What does it need to be?
What are you doing with it?
Tell us about the shelves you put up, in as much detail as possible.
Vocabulary – DIY
Putting up shelves
Tape measure – to measure things (length, depth, width, height, distance from x to y etc)
Spirit level – to check that things are level (horizontally or vertically)
Pencil – to mark lines or crosses/spots
A drill – to drill holes (into thing)
A cordless drill
Battery / battery pack – charge it regularly
Drill bits (different bits for different materials) – to drill holes of the right size / to drill (into)
Types of material – masonry (stone and brick), wood panels (MDF, chipboard, wood (pine, oak etc)
Wall plugs / Rawlplugs – to hold screws in place and prevent damage to the walls (you push them into the holes and then when you screw in the screw, the plug expands inside the hole and grips the inside of the hole, preventing the screw from falling out) they ensure a tight and secure fit for screws in material which is brittle or porous.
Screws – screw them into the wall or into wood to attach things
Nails – hammer them into the wall or wood to attach things
Screwdriver – to screw in screws, or unscrew screws
Electric screwdriver / power screwdriver – a convenient way to screw screws
Hammer – to hammer nails or pull nails out of walls
Mallet / rubber mallet – to hammer other things, without causing damage. You can use a mallet to hammer rawl plugs into the holes, for example.
Pliers – to hold things firmly, to grip things
A saw – to saw wood (handsaw, hacksaw, etc)
Sandpaper – to sand things and make them smooth or take off rough edges – like wood, dried filler or rough patches of paint
A plane – to remove layers of wood
File – to rub against wood (usually) and change the shape, remove layers (e.g. if a door sticks and doesn’t close properly)
Rags – to wipe things, clean things, dust things (remove dust)
Dustpan and brush – to clean up dust and other bits and pieces
A multi-tool – a convenient thing to help you do lots of things, including cut your arm off if it gets trapped under a rock in the desert
Paint – to cover surfaces, to coat surfaces, to add colour, to make things look nice
Layers of paint or coat:
Primer – to prepare the wood by covering dark colours or patches, prevents things from leaking through (like some oil or sap which comes from knots in the wood) and makes the surface smooth (MDF is absorbent so the primer helps to stop the MDF from absorbing all your paint – it also causes wood fibres to stand up, so you can then sand them down) etc
Sealer – seals the wood and creates a watertight layer
Types of paint, with different appearances:
Matt (flat surface, low “sheen”, not reflective, harder to wash, prone to marks and scuffs, easy to add other coats without showing up brush strokes)
Eggshell / satin (higher level of “sheen” than matt, easier to wipe than matt, more durable than matt)
Gloss (highly reflective, has a very high “sheen” level, sometimes used in kitchens because it can be wiped clean and is therefore a bit more hygienic)
A brush – to apply paint to things
A roller – to apply paint evenly and conveniently to large surfaces
A tin/tub of paint – the containers the paint comes in
Masking tape – to cover parts which you don’t want to paint, like skirting boards, windows, handles etc
Plastic sheets – to cover and protect the floor from drops of paint
When the pod-room is set up and I have a proper internet connection (and maybe a new computer) I will be doing podcasts with videos like in 2021 and you will be able to see the amazing and inspiring work I did on the shelves 😂
In this episode I’m going to wish you a Happy New Year, ramble a little bit about what’s going on in LEPland, restate some of my aims and objectives for this podcast, and give a few comments on how you can use the podcast to improve your English, with reference to some recommended episodes from the archive.
Happy New Year everyone! (new listeners, long-term listeners, mid-term listeners and anyone else who happens to be listening)
All the best for 2022. Try to keep up your motivation for learning English throughout the year. I hope I can help. That is my aim.
How was your Christmas/New Year? Did you have a holiday? What did you do?
What’s the situation Luke, as you record this? (summarise the last couple of weeks, and what’s going on around you)
I might not be able to upload episodes regularly for the next few weeks. If LEP goes quiet – I am still here and still working, but not able to record or upload because of all the different disruptions. My life is like a puzzle at the moment and I am putting all the pieces back together.
LUKE’S ENGLISH PODCAST – AIMS
To provide a resource of authentic speech for learners of English.
All of them! Especially ones which are unscripted.
To inform my audience about methods and strategies for improving their English.
To educate my listeners about the English language by explaining or providing examples of grammar.
Premium episodes www.teacherluke.co.uk/premiuminfo (articles, sentence structure, present perfect tense, narrative tenses, modal verbs about the past, quantifiers and more) but also a lot of episodes in the archive deal with grammar. Here’s a selection.
To keep my audience engaged in the listening process long term, by providing a resource to help them laugh while they learn.
To make people laugh out loud on public transport while listening to the podcast!
To dominate the world with an army of LEP ninjas equipped with biscuits and good English. …Ok, one of my listeners asked me to add this as an aim for my podcast, ha ha! (Thanks Chriss Benitez)
Those episodes can be found in the LEP app or via the episode archive. Most good podcasting apps will have the entire archive, but I think iTunes or Apple Podcasts doesn’t show all episodes. YouTube doesn’t show all episodes either. Only some of my episodes are on YT. I’d like them all to be there (just the audio) eventually.
HOW TO USE LUKE’S ENGLISH PODCAST TO IMPROVE YOUR ENGLISH
People from all over the world use my podcasts to improve their English, and lots of people email me to tell me how much they love the podcast and find it useful. Some of you might be wondering how you can improve your English by using the podcast. I’ll tell you more about this in a moment, but let me first recommend a couple of podcast episodes you could listen to.
Many people tell me they are completely addicted to the show. Usually they say that they found the podcast via one episode in particular and then start listening to all the others before becoming completely hooked. I have quite a hard-core following. The podcast won the Macmillan Dictionary Award four times and was nominated for a British Council ELTon award, so I must be doing something right!
L.E.P combines English teaching with plenty of entertaining conversation, humour and genuine insight into the culture of the English language. My methodology and approach are based on the idea that language is acquired by engaging with it in authentic form, over longer periods of time. Although this is not the only way to improve your English, listening to natural authentic speech over quite long periods of time can greatly improve your listening skills, pronunciation and vocabulary. This goes on to improve your spoken English, and your general instinct for grammar. I try to balance this approach by regularly recording episodes in which I directly teach you vocabulary, pronunciation or grammar.
Good grammatical awareness is based on instinct as much as on active knowledge of the rules of English. When you take an English exam you have to answer questions that test your knowledge and use of grammar or vocabulary. For example, consider this question:
FILL THE GAP IN THE SENTENCE WITH THE APPROPRIATE WORD
“I just can’t rely __ this car any more. It keeps breaking down. I need a new one.”
1. with 2. from 3. on 4. to
The answer is ‘3. on’, of course.
How did you know the answer? Really think about it. How did you know that ‘on’ was right? Do you remember learning ‘rely on’ in a book, or in a class? Maybe you did. But, for many of you, the answer just felt correct. Your instinct just said ‘on’. Well, this instinct is what you develop when you read or listen to the language a lot. Your brain builds up a kind of memory bank of all the words you have seen and heard. So, when you see ‘rely ___’ you automatically feel that ‘on’ is the right answer. Why? Because you’ve seen/heard ‘rely on’ lots of times!
The point is, that listening to English a lot can really help you to get a ‘feel’ for the language. You learn grammar rules by the frequency in which you hear patterns. You learn about good pronunciation by hearing the language a lot. You develop an ‘ear’ for English.
It’s just like when you live in a foreign country to learn English. It’s the best way to learn a language. Just live in that country and get completely surrounded by the language every day. Eventually you pick it up and learn it well. That’s because you’re hearing it so much and you’re getting used the rhythm and intonation. Every language has a beat. You can learn the beat of English by hearing it a lot.
So, you can use Luke’s English Podcast to do this. It’s like living in another country. You can listen a lot, pick up bits of vocabulary, get a ‘feel’ for the language, understand pronunciation and all kinds of cultural stuff. Not only that, but many listeners tell me the best thing about the podcast is simply that it makes them laugh out loud.
So, enjoy the podcasts and good luck with your English.
In this unedited episode I share some of the thoughts that have been running through my head, talk about being busy and look at some vocabulary to describe busy times in your life. Video version available.
James and Luke discuss designs sent in by listeners, and choose the winner(s). The prize: to have your design featured in the LEP Merch Store, plus an £80 reward! Listen for plenty of descriptive language, diplomatic language and ways of giving positive and feedback in English. Video version also available (with all the designs on screen) below.